- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Christine Lampard has opened up about her battle with health anxiety as a mum.
The Loose Women presenter, 43, has talked candidly about hear fears of becoming ill and being less able to care for her children.
She shares Patricia, three, and Freddie, one, with football manager and former player husband Frank Lampard, 44. She's also step-mum to Luna, 16, and Isla, 15, from Frank's previous relationship with Elen Rivas.
"I try and be chilled but it's made me more anxious," she told the Mirror in an interview. "It's created a form of health anxiety in me."
"Suddenly I think, 'I can't be ill because I've got to be here for you,'" she explained.
Her fears aren't just for her own wellbeing, but for her little ones' too.
"I have constant worry about them – if I could zip them up in a NASA spacesuit it would be wonderful," Christine added.
"I've become that mum, I think, 'You're so precious, I'm here to protect you.' I've become a bit more stressed but it's all for the love of them."
With Frank away from home managing Everton on Merseyside, and her role on Loose Women, as well as Lorraine for the summer, like other busy parents, she's juggling many different things at once.
However, despite her anxiety, and often long-distance relationship, she's grateful for the time and flexibility she does have compared to some other parents.
"Oh my god, we've literally nothing to be moaning about compared to some people," she recently told Fabulous magazine.
While they have a place in Liverpool (where Frank works), which can be a "lovely change of scenery", Christine remains in West London with the rest of the family for the most part, where they're based.
She added, "Yes, it's one less person to lend a hand, but we manage. I would never want to sound like I'm remotely ungrateful. It's just logistics. I'm relatively lucky that I'm not working every single day.
"I've got Loose Women and Lorraine, and everything else fits around that. I feel for single parents or anyone who works 12 hours a day and juggles childcare, because it is really difficult."
Christine and Frank met in an awards ceremony in 2009, after both only deciding to go last minute, which led them to being introduced by Piers Morgan. They tied the knot in December 2015.
While Christine's lifestyle may help to make things that bit easier, it shows that anxiety doesn't discriminate against anyone. And while health anxiety can be particularly stressful, there are ways to help if you're suffering too.
What is health anxiety
Health anxiety is when you spend so much time worrying that you're ill, or about getting ill, that it starts to impact on your daily life.
The Anxiety UK website also states that it is "often housed within the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) spectrum of disorders" and those affected by health anxiety "have an obsessional preoccupation with the idea that they are currently (or will be) experiencing a physical illness".
So, similarly to OCD, a mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours, people can obsess and worry about being unwell.
How to tell if you have health anxiety
The first step is to be able to spot when you might be suffering from health anxiety. As per the NHS, you might have the condition if you:
constantly worry about your health
frequently check your body for signs of illness, such as lumps, tingling or pain
are always asking people for reassurance that you're not ill
worry that a doctor or medical tests may have missed something
obsessively look at health information on the internet or in the media
avoid anything to do with serious illness, such as medical TV programmes
act as if you were ill (for example, avoiding physical activities)
As anxiety itself can have physical symptoms, like headaches or a racing heartbeat, in a vicious circle, this could make things worse as you might mistake these for signs of other illnesses.
How to ease health anxiety
First and foremost, there are ways you can try and help yourself, which might just get things under control.
The health service suggests:
Keep a diary
You might not realise how often your signs of health anxiety are presenting. To help with this, note down when you check your body, ask people for reassurance, or look for health information. You can then try and gradually reduce how often you do this each week.
Challenge your thoughts
Draw a table with two columns and write your health worries in the first, and then more balanced thoughts in the second. For example, if you write 'I'm worried about these headaches' in the first, and 'headaches can often be a sign of stress' in the second, it can help you to see things more clearly.
Anxiety and over-thinking can thrive in certain situations, such as being alone. So, when you have a health anxiety urge, such as checking your body, distract yourself by going for a walk or calling a friend.
Get back to a normal routine
If you've been avoiding doing things because of your health worries, like socialising or sports, try to start gradually incorporating them back into your normal routine again.
Whether you want to try meditating, breathing exercises or simply taking a minute to yourself, feeling relaxed will help calm your anxiety.
When to get help for health anxiety
While self-help can be beneficial, that's not to say you shouldn't also seek professional help. You should see a GP if your worries about your health are preventing you from leading a normal life, and your own measures aren't working.
If you are diagnosed with health anxiety, you may be referred for psychological therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), or offered medication to help treat the issue.
To find out more on the condition, sometimes referred to as hypochondria, see in full the NHS' page on health anxiety.
You can also can also call Anxiety UK's helpline on 03444 775 774 Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5.30pm or text the support service on 07537 416 905.