As a hypochondriac, you tend to over analyze every pain or “symptom” you feel. This can lead to issues when you really do have serious medical condition. The other evening I began feeling a small tinge of pain on my right side. It wasn’t bad though, so I tried to ignore it and go on with my normal activities. As the night progressed, the pain grew stronger and stronger and I thought that maybe I had eaten something that didn’t agree with my stomach. Even though I had a lot of homework to do, I decided to call it a night in hopes that rest would be cure my pain. I took some Tums and ibuprofen and went to sleep.
I awoke a few hours later from greater levels of pain than I had felt earlier. Moving hurt, lying still hurt, thinking hurt, everything hurt. I didn’t want to wake up my wife so I started browsing my iPhone for symptoms associated with abdominal pain. This is something a hypochondriac should never do. Looking at the symptomatology on the internet leads you to believe that you have every disease that pops up in Google. Nonetheless, my novice research and gut feeling led me to believe I had appendicitis. I was in too much pain to worry about the other diseases that came up while searching, but more on that later.
I still hoped, though, that this wasn’t what I was experiencing. I kept thinking that if I could just fall asleep, my pain would go away and I would wake up in the morning and feel fine. No matter how much I tried, though, I couldn’t fall back asleep, the pain was simply too much.
Eventually my wife woke up and inquired about what was wrong. She knew I hadn’t been feeling well when I went to bed and after I explained what I was feeling she suggested we go to the hospital. I told her I didn’t want to and to go back to sleep and that women should be seen and not heard (totally kidding about the last part, of course). After more encouragement, I finally agreed to call a doctor to get his or her opinion.
Of course she agreed with my wife. My wife is ALWAYS right.
Being a hypochondriac means, at least for me, that you don’t only obsess over catastrophic illness but also over the possible result of these diseases, death. When you’re going through a rough time dealing with intrusive thoughts about sickness, you often contemplate death and what it would mean to you and your loved ones. You think about what the end would be like, what you have or haven’t accomplished in this life, and who will miss you when you’re gone. You tend to dwell a long time on the people you love and how much you’d miss them. You also think about what you believe happens to one after their final chapter is written and contemplate the expansiveness of eternity. It’s morbid, but it’s part of the disorder. Emily Dickinson, a famous hypochondriac and poet, often reflected on death in her work.
I relate all this because even though I was fairly certain I had appendicitis and knew it was a fairly curable malady, I still thought “hey there’s a chance that this might be it, how do you want to go out?” Knowing I had the most important person in the world with me, my wife, and that I still had some time to be with her, I started contemplating the earthly things I would want to have with me were I to go. Not because I believe that you take anything with you but because I wanted to leave a mark of the things that mattered to me in this world. I already had my cross around my neck and my wedding ring on; my faith and my family are the two most important things in my life.
I grabbed my Broncos hat and we headed out the door.
So when I started this blog, I got really excited about it and typed out the first post in a hurry and promptly forgot about it. It doesn’t really matter though because no one has read this haha. Anyways, I rediscovered this and really do plan on updating it on a fairly regular basis. I have all sorts of stuff I’d like to get off my chest about the NFL lockout, a recent bout with appendicitis and some of the stuff I’m learning in school and the kinds of questions I’d like to answer with it. Maybe if I write, people will read and find something useful from my writing. Maybe not. Either way, it should be a cathartic experience for me and a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of grad school.
What a terrible comparison. If someone were to write a biography about your life, I think the last person you would ever want to be compared to is Adolf Hitler. Even if the fact was completely mundane. i.e. “Like Adolf Hitler, he had a mustache and was fond of schnitzel.” There are certainly less horrific ways to describe a man’s facial hair and taste for German fare.
Unfortunately, however, I have found recently that Hitler and I do have one thing in common and that is Hypochondriasis. A few months ago, I started fearing that I had cancer, everywhere. First testicles, then brain, then lung, tonsil, thyroid, etc etc. These fears have pervaded my thought process lately and every random bodily function has been identified by my mind as a symptom. Everything. Minor pain, forgetting someone’s name, pimples, everything. It sucks, constantly thinking you’re going to die.
It took me a while to realize, though, that instead of omni-cancer, I had hypochondria.
So instead of wallowing the self pity so common with this disorder, I’ve decided to share it with whoever (whomever?) cares to read about it. I hope to update this blog about once a week with more experiences. I don’t intend to report solely on my Hitler-like disorder, so expect posts about other things I find relevant like football (Go Broncos!), grad school, the news and life in general. I hope you enjoy and that I can provide some inspiration to others who may experience hypochondria and feel embarrassed or frightened by it.
Thanks for reading.