Anybody who knows me will tell you: I’m a total hypochondriac.
Over the last (stressful) week alone, I’ve gone through “having” breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, IBS and prostate cancer, even though I don’t even have a prostate. Anytime a small symptoms arises, my mind blows it out of proportion.
Google is a wonderful thing, but for a hypochondriac, Google is the enemy. Every single symptom known to man can be linked somehow to Cancer and a hypochondriac’s mind always goes to the worst case scenario, so cancer it is.
Being perimenopausal is only aggravating the situation. I feel like my body is completely betraying me and I don’t know what is normal or not. So many symptoms of menopause are non-specific and could, or could not, be symptoms of something more serious as well. It’s confusing. I am in constant anxiety. I don’t want to disregard symptoms for fear of finding out later that they were something to worry about, but I also don’t want to be a burden to our already stretched-thin health system.
Which is another factor seriously aggravating my hypochondria: the state of our health care system.
The possibility of getting sick but not be able to get the care I need is simply terrifying to me. And the more time passes, the more that possibility increases. Every day, I see some of my friends being diagnosed with potentially deadly illnesses. They comment having to wait longer to be diagnosed, therefore having to wait longer to start treatments. Those precious days could mean the difference between life and death. And today, I’m ok, but what about tomorrow?
Being exposed to constant news about other people’s health is taxing on the hypochondriac too. Seeing our Facebook pages and Instagram feeds constantly filled with people fighting cancer or other illnesses, or worst, dying, only makes us worry more about our own health. I keep asking myself “when is my turn coming?” I live with a feeling of impending doom.
I understand that this may all seem silly to you, selfish even. So many are dealing with real issues and I’m healthy, so why can’t I just be thankful? What you have to understand is that to me, when I have an episode, it’s very real. I AM dying in my mind… I guess all I can do is focus on what IS in my control. Eat well, sleep plenty, drink water, exercise, take my vitamins. Let the episode pass and press on.
Are you a hypochondriac? I’d like to hear from you. Email [email protected] with your story. Hypochondriacs Unite! Maybe we can help one anoth