So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

After nearly losing my life delivering my second daughter, I suffer from health anxiety. I am much better today, better than I have ever been, but getting to this point has not been easy.

What exactly is health anxiety? It is when you think every little thing that ails you is going to kill you. You may know this as hypochondria. You may be a hypochondriac yourself.

In the age of Google, the number of those suffering from health anxiety continues to rise. That’s the flip-side to having information at your fingertips.

A pimple is deadly skin cancer.

A bump is the dreaded C.

A bug bite is the West Nile virus. 

Thanks, Google! I was never a hypochondriac before I almost died. I was the person who rode every ride at the theme park without thinking twice about it.

Then I almost died . . . and suddenly I felt what didn’t kill me the first time would catch me on any given day.  

When you’ve stared death in the face, it changes you.

Sure, it made me appreciate every moment. I tell my family I love them every chance I get. I hug them more, and I try to laugh with them as much as possible.

RELATED: Mothering With Anxiety One Hard-Fought Moment at a Time

Since nearly dying, I’ve become less stressed about certain life situations.

That guy who cut me off this morning . . . I let it roll off my back.

The mom who acts ridiculous at the PTA meeting . . . whatever.

My health anxiety sneaks in when I start to feel sick, get a migraine, or basically just feel out of sorts. 

Common cold? No, it must be something else. I imagine my lungs black as night as I cough.

Heartburn turns into a possible heart attack.

A bruise means my muscles are failing me.

I have spent hours on Google trying to self-diagnose. It is an endless dark rabbit hole. I would convince myself I had X only to read something else, and no, it must be that instead.

When I was in the worst spiral of healthy anxiety, it affected my relationships. It was a time stealer.

It stole my time from the things I wanted to accomplish. 

It prevented me from working on my book. It prevented me from watching my favorite television show. It stole time from my husband because I was too caught up on my phone reading about what I most likely did not have.

One more search, I would tell myself. It turned into hours wasted. I would get upset with myself only to begin the vicious cycle again anytime I felt under the weather. 

RELATED: Through the Doubt of Anxiety, God is Faithful

Some people who suffer from health anxiety go to the emergency room or the doctor’s office every time they feel anything off. They will go from doctor to doctor, believing none of them are being truthful or they don’t know what they are doing. 

My health anxiety attacks did not cause me to do that. Mine was much more focused on the internet and spending hours reading and researching diseases. There are varying forms of health anxiety, and we each suffer from it in our own way.

My health anxiety clouded my mind and overtook my heart with worry. 

Some would say this is the devil’s work. He wants you miserable so he can steal your joy. It feeds his ego. I read that on a Catholic self-help site.

I also read that if you suffer from health anxiety, your best friend is cognitive behavioral therapy, and I believe that 100%. 

In 2017, I was at the peak of my health anxiety. I had just nearly died at the end of 2016, and I had so many questions.

I was struggling to understand why I survived while at the same time worrying if my body was genuinely healing itself properly.

I re-played images in my mind of all the blood that left my body as I was hemorrhaging. I convinced myself that somehow the blood transfusion infected me with something else. I went to dark places in my mind where I saw myself losing blood as I slept, never waking up.

At the end of 2017, I had decided enough was enough. I felt I had missed out on so much with my second daughter. Instead of playing with her, I was searching the internet. I would search for the lasting effects of blood loss or the dangers of a blood transfusion as she played by herself on the playmat.

I knew something had to change.

I spoke to a pastor. I told him what I was feeling. I purposely went to this pastor because he was not the judging kind. He would not tell me, “Put it all on Jesus and have a nice day.” 

RELATED: God Actually Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle

No, he spoke to me, not at me. He actively listened. He did not pretend to have all the answers. He prayed with me. He did not say, “Lord, heal this woman.” He said, “God, help bring Aliette peace and clarity.” That slight difference is everything.

I had to put in the work myself if I wanted to change, but God would be my biggest cheerleader. 

I started small. If I found myself with the need to search for whatever disease I might have, I gave myself a limit.

I would tell myself, “I will search this for twenty minutes max.” Then I would put the phone down and walk away. I often needed to shut my phone completely off.

I would place limits on daily searches. Instead of searching every day, I would tell myself on a Monday I would not search again until Thursday. Usually, in that three-day window, whatever I was feeling was gone, and the need to search Google went with it.

I prayed and asked for clarity and a peaceful heart.

If I failed and went on a searching binge, I started all over again by limiting myself on how much time I dedicated to it. It was a daily painful exercise in mental strength.

I went through various cycles of success and failure, finally beating it in 2019. By then, I had stopped searching Google entirely for whatever I thought may kill me.

If I felt sick, I simply called my doctor and booked an appointment. If I felt the urge to get on Google, I would find something else to do, and I would turn my phone off. 

I am proud to say I overcame my health anxiety.

I beat the need to Google every symptom. I stopped believing that something was out to get me and take me away from everything I loved.

I moved on to focusing on what I could do with the time I had. I picked up my writing again, and I focused on my family and friends. I made new goals and laid out plans to achieve them.

This is what helped me, but it was a slow process. It took nearly two years to overcome my hypochondria fully, and it is still a daily struggle sometimes to stay off the internet. Yet, I have done it and you can, too. 

RELATED: Maybe We’re Living in the Age of Anxiety

If you suffer from health anxiety, my solutions may help you, or they may not. You may need additional help from a psychologist, medication, or a combination of these things. We each have our own path to achieve optimal mental health. 

Do not be ashamed if you suffer from health anxiety.

Google has made it easy to become a hypochondriac. Talk to people and let them know what you are feeling. You will be surprised at how many people suffer from health anxiety silently. It is believed that 1 in 4 people suffer from this condition, but very few seek treatment. Do not let that be you. 

Whatever you need to help defeat your health anxiety, do it. You are a gift to this world. Your time with your loved ones is everything. You deserve to live a life where you do not allow your hypochondria and endless internet searches to steal your joy and time. Your life experience is more valuable than a Google search.

Aliette Silva

Aliette Silva is a mom and a writer that lives for a good Cuban sandwich. Her work has been featured in Today Parents, Her View from Home, Filter Free Parents, and Scary Mommy. She writes posts, shares stories, and snaps pictures of the daily mama grind. When she is not writing, you can find her chasing sleep or her two girls all over Disney World.

I’m the Quiet Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, smiling, black-and-white photo

I’m the quiet mom. The shy mom. The highly introverted mom. The mom who doesn’t do very well in social situations. The mom who tries to be social but usually comes off as a little awkward. I don’t overly like this about myself. But it’s who I am. I could try to change this about myself. I could try to be the outgoing mom. The social mom. The loud and extroverted mom. And I have tried. However, completely changing who a person is at heart is not something that can be easily done. Complete change is also very unlikely to...

Keep Reading

Here’s to the Strong Ones Living with Type 1 Diabetes

In: Living
Pregnant mom on beach, black-and-white photo

This is a shout-out to all the sweet girls. The ones hustling so hard to live like normal. The ones with type 1 diabetes. Some of you have been living with diabetes as long as you have been breathing. Some of you are newly diagnosed and need to know someone who has been managing diabetes for years. I have been living with type 1 diabetes for 17 years, and I see you. Whether you have been diagnosed for 17 hours or 17 years, chances are I’ve felt what you feel too.  I’m here to tell you that type 1 diabetes...

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Lose Yourself to Be a Good Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman brushing wet hair

There is nothing wrong with losing yourself in motherhood. Diving in head first, serving your kids and spouse endlessly, never asking for a break, being proud for providing an amazing childhood for your kids, and allowing mom to become your entire identity. But what if you don’t want that?  When did this become the standard of motherhood we are all expected to achieve? Why does society say the best mom is the one that’s 110% physically and emotionally available for her kids all the time and never does anything for herself? Why are you less of a mom if you...

Keep Reading

No Screens Before 7: How Our Family Broke Free of the Screentime Habit

In: Living, Motherhood
Kids using smartphones

“We still have three more minutes!” my 7-year-old says, bouncing with Christmas-like anticipation and excitement. “Well,” I say, looking from him to his 9-year-old sister, “what could you do for three minutes?” “Leg wrestle!” they exclaim and run to the carpeted living room. This life-filled exchange was not happening in my home just a couple of months ago.  In spite of my best efforts, screen time had taken over. Both the kids and I would slip into this zombie-like, space-time vortex. I would look up and know it wasn’t healthy, but it was just so easy to just keep on...

Keep Reading

Witch, Please! Hocus Pocus 2 Release Date Means the Sanderson Sisters Countdown Is ON

In: Living
Bette Middler in Hocus Pocus 2 on Disney+

“Lock up your children!” screeches Winifred Sanderson (played by Bette Midler) in the teaser trailer for Disney’s long-awaited Hocus Pocus 2 movie. But I say, “Mark your calendars!” Disney revealed the release date for this much-anticipated sequel and I’m happy to report that the Sanderson sisters will be flying above Salem and to your Disney+ stream on September 30th! The countdown is ON! Check out the trailer and get excited! But first, a confession:  I have to be honest, I was 16 when the original Hocus Pocus came out, but for some reason I never saw it until I was...

Keep Reading

Good Dads Make Great Grandpas

In: Grown Children, Living
Grandpa walking with two grandsons, color photo

This is not only written for my dad, but for all the dads out there who aren’t the typical, everyday dads. The hands-on dad, the dad who goes on bike rides, the dad who watches his grandbabies. The dad who creates a legacy whether he realizes it or not. The world needs more of you.  It’s not every day you get a dad who enters a diaper changing contest and comes in second place. Yes, that happened to my dad. He would take me up to the local mall to walk around and one of the stores was holding a...

Keep Reading

Dear Friend, I Don’t Want To Lose You

In: Friendship
Two women smiling, color photo

I’m sorry I don’t text you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t call you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t check in to see how you are. I’m sorry this friendship can feel one-sided at times. I’m sorry I’m so distant. The truth is I’m struggling. I’m struggling with life. I’m struggling with finances. I’m struggling with trying to please everyone and do everything. RELATED: Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it The problem is I try to please everyone—everyone who doesn’t matter. My problem is I’ve gotten so content with our friendship that I know you’ll...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

I Traded My Body for This Full Life

In: Living, Motherhood
Happy family smiling

It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life. I was cradling my firstborn child—my rainbow baby—tenderly in my arms as she contentedly nursed. I looked down at this beautiful miracle, unable to mirror her blissful content. Six weeks after the birth, I was still feeling like garbage. Being a first-time mom, I figured the fatigue was par for the course. My other symptoms, however, were suspect. Will I see my daughter grow up? were my thoughts as the streams of grief flowed, pooling on her swaddle. At my medical check-up, I brought my concerns to my doctor...

Keep Reading

The Truth is I’m Drowning

In: Living
Woman with hand on face sad

I find myself sinking. Really disappearing. Everyone around me sees me. They see my smile, my involvement, my willingness to please and participate. No one notices how easily I shift between despair and real tears and conforming to what the situation requires of me. Sometimes this shift happens within the matter of minutes.  Not waving, but drowning. I’m on a weight loss journey. The scale told me I am down just over four pounds. And I feel really good about that. I know I have another 15 to 20 to go, but I am four down. I made a promise...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!


Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime