No "Hype" in Hypochondria

hy·po·chon·dri·ac

ˌ/hīpəˈkändrēˌak/​

noun

  1. a person who is abnormally anxious about their health.

 

 

Anonymous 1:

Who doesn’t sometimes get the feeling that there is something medically wrong with them? For me, it is something that occurs every time I get a stomachache, and those are very common. I am usually reserved with the fact that I am a little bit of a hypochondriac but sometimes it is hard to control the thought that something might be wrong with you.  

Every time the slightest pain runs through my body I think: cancer. I know it’s something horrible to think because there are people that suffer from cancer every day and they probably never thought they would have it. Some of them would say I’m bringing it upon myself for thinking it so much, but I can’t control the thoughts most of the time.  They don’t happen every day, just when things hurt or feel uncomfortable but when they do, at times they become consuming.

So how do you stop these horrible thoughts from completely consuming you? I found that thinking of a very happy memory as soon as these thoughts begin to flood in, helps a lot, my go to thought is puppies. Other than that, it’s just a constant struggle that you begin to learn to live with. Obviously not as much of a struggle as truly being sick would be, but still a struggle. Therefore if you are a hypochondriac too, know that you are not alone.

 

 

 

 

Anonymous 2:

I believe we’re all a bit of a hypochondriac… With Google and WebMd, we’re a panic attack away from mistaking digestion problems with appendicitis. Which is why I never quite understood my sister’s anxiety… I even brushed it off in most cases. Whenever I would hear her talk about her pains, fevers, and rashes, I would write it off as “paranoia.” I even found it kind of funny that a doctor would suffer from hypochondria, it sounded so ironic it should be featured in a Wes Anderson film. That random pain in her throat or lower abdomen? Not that big of a deal. Oh, and what about that lump that she felt all of a sudden in her armpit? That’s nothing!

It wasn’t until this summer that I realized how scary and real hypochondria can be. We were at a restaurant, celebrating the end of the week, and my sister had just gotten over a bad allergy, that took her almost 3 weeks to get over. Throughout the night, we ordered seafood or food with fruit extracts, all of which, for those of you who don’t know, tend to cause allergic reactions or at the very least a small rash on some people -I know this because this happens to me sometimes. Why does it happen? Who knows. But for me, five times out of ten that I eat seafood, something happens. Anyways, back to my sister. Around an hour after we started eating she mentioned she was feeling warm, which we all told her was probably due to the bright light on top of us, but she felt like something wasn’t right, so she ordered water and stopped eating. A few minutes later, she was visibly flustered and she told us her arms itched, to which I responded with: “If you’d have an allergic reaction, it would’ve happened right away. Calm down.” But obviously, this didn’t help and about 10 minutes later, I saw her breathing fast, still feeling out of breath, unable to move and what I could clearly see was fear in her eyes. I knew all these symptoms -my sister was having a panic attack and I had a chance to help her. I took her to the bathroom for she couldn’t walk very far, sat her down and told her to breathe. She started crying and holding onto me, and I just stood next to her, trying to calm her down. She told me she really thought she was having an allergic reaction and her fear took over her. I just nodded my head. I might not understand her hypochondria, but given that I’ve been diagnosed with GAD myself, I know a thing or two about irrational fears. Later, while we were walking, so she can let some oxygen into her brain and relax a little bit, she noticed she was no longer hot, her chest wasn’t red anymore and her arms didn’t itch.

 

It’s amazing the power of the mind and what it can convince you of and if you know someone with hypochondria or any other anxiety disorder, just be patient. Whether you understand it or not, this is their reality and what they need the most are support and kindness.

 

Anonymous 3:

What do you do when no one believes you that you are sick? You believe that something is very wrong and not right but you don’t have a confidant to talk to about it. “You’re overreacting. You’re fine. Walk it off. I bet it’s nothing.”

Sometimes it is easy to think the worst and think that your common cold is actually a case of Spanish influenza or black plague. Not all of us are on the track to go to medical school or intune with biology, science, and illnesses so it is easy to blow things a bit out of proportion.

But you are in charge of your body… it is your body. You know it better than anyone else so if you think something is wrong then who is it to say that you are incorrect for feeling a certain way about it.

My sister was often told she was a hypochondriac by our mother when she thought something was wrong with her. No matter what it was, it was never as bad as she made it out to be according to my mom - the nurse. She thought that since she has a medical background that unless she deemed you sick or injured herself, that no one else’s opinion (even doctors) mattered. Like I mentioned, we all have times of over-dramatizing what is wrong but there were often times that when my sister had strep throat (which she had every year) that our mom would just blow it off and tell her she was fine until she physically couldn’t swallow and needed to go to the doctor/hospital. I’m not going to lie, I often thought my sister was being dramatic but I quickly realized that it’s not my body, I shouldn’t have an opinion. If she thinks something is wrong, I’m going to offer my opinion and support on what she should do.

On the other side of the spectrum of hypochondria, there are even medical professionals who are lessening issues just to get through the patient list or avoid having someone come in or even misdiagnosing because they don’t want to take the time to fully examine someone. When I was a sophomore in high school, I got ringworm (which kind of looks like Lyme's disease) on my leg but we didn’t know what it was at the time. My mother called the doctor to try to get an appointment to get it looked at but we often ran into scheduling conflicts. Fast forward a couple days later when my mom ran over my foot with the car and I’m calling the same office again saying I need to come in to get checked.  The nurse on the phone is telling me that I need to see an orthopedic (bone doctor) for the ringworm on my leg and that I need a regular doctor for my injured foot… Now I am not a doctor nor was I any means an adult yet but I knew as a high schooler that that was incorrect. So I tried to clarify to this nurse that I needed a doctor for my leg and an orthopedic for my foot which I needed a referral from her. She wouldn’t budge and said she’d call me back.

**4 hours later after I told my mom about the conversation with the nurse and then going to student coach cheer camp**

My mother comes to pick me and is panicked and says, “we are taking you to the hospital. The nurse on the phone said you have Lyme disease.” I was terrified because as I’m asking my mother what is going to happen and she’s telling me that it can be treatable but after time my muscles will start to atrophy and it’ll hurt to walk and I would no longer be able to dance or do Bethettes. We get to the hospital as I am hysterically crying and they exam my leg and tell me that I do NOT have Lyme disease but to be safe to take this massive pill that will speed up during the, now diagnosed, ringworm and atopic dermatitis on my leg. All of that unneeded, unnecessary upset and drama because a nurse wouldn’t schedule me in for an appointment with the doctor and illegally diagnosing me over the phone…   No wonder people diagnose themselves these days.

As I said earlier, even if you aren’t in the medical field or have any background in biology or diseases - if you think something is wrong with your body, don’t worry about who is telling you otherwise. You know your body best, you know when something is wrong. Trust your gut.

 

 

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