Fear, or should I say anxiety, is not something that can be easily wished away . So the patient taught me.
Knowing it is all in your head is not enough to make the symptoms go away; because ,the symptoms are real...at least...they feel real.
It all started with some minor complaints, that soon became frequent, soon - the patient found himself continually at the Doctor's clinic, soon - he became convinced there was always something wrong with him.
Then - the fear started, the chest tightness, the feeling that all was not well - now, it had almost crippled him. He carried a face-mask around for fear that germs would enter his nostrils, and from there into his lungs.
He was also scared to fly.
He anticipated the fear before he entered the plane, he had to leave for the Doctor's clinic just before his flight because he knew the fear would come. And come it did.
He sat, weak and unable to breathe throughout the short flight to his destination, his chest tight and gripping.
I was his first port of call after landing.
I examined his chest and heart, I found nothing wrong. I tried to reassure him and told him it was all in his head.
Frustrated, he looked at me and asked me if knowing it was just in his head was enough to make his symptoms go away.
Oops! I guess not - but then I'm no Psychiatrist.