I have always wanted this blog to be a platform where I could be raw, honest, witty and real. Everyone who knows me, knows that I am an open book— my anxiety, fears, relationship, opinions, finances, etc. You ask, I’ll tell. That’s just how I roll.
So today, I am going to talk about something that isn’t as cute as this outfit (because this outfit is really, really cute), and it certainly isn’t fun. It’s living life as a hypochondriac.
A hypochondriac, by definition, is someone who is abnormally anxious about their health.
I am not entirely sure when I started living with the fear of dying. But, coincidentally, it all began after I started watching Grey’s Anatomy a few years ago. It’s unclear whether the cause was seeing all of the over-dramatized, unrealistic accidents and illnesses as Shonda Rhimes portrayed them on ABC, or if it was the mere fact that I was getting older and more aware of the terrible things that can happen to really good people. Either way, here I am, a 20-something hypochondriac.
Generally speaking, my anxiety doesn’t root from everyday stresses, social obstacles or self-doubt. Instead, my health is the foundation of my anxiety.
Here’s the real kicker, with the exception of a broken wrist and a mild-case of Mono, I have lived an exceptionally healthy life. I know I am lucky, yet I still worry. I worry about myself, and those I love. I worry about things that are out of my control. I just worry— a lot.
If I have an ache in my leg, my mind immediately entertains the idea of a blood clot. If I am short of breath after a run, I am convinced my lungs are suddenly collapsing. If there is a shooting sensation in my arm, I think I am having a heart attack. If I feel any sort of lump or bump, it’s cancerous. When my runner’s knee starts to bother me, I imagine a dislocation happening and waves of anxiety consume me. If someone at the dinner table is coughing, my heart stops and I assume they are choking. If someone I love is experiencing discomfort of any kind, my breath catches and I suggest we go to the hospital. When I sigh, or take a deep breath, and my chest feels tight, I conclude that my heart is failing altogether. One time I had even persuaded myself that I had internal bleeding, based off a stomach ache and WebMD diagnosis.
I’m crazy, I know.
I carry all of my anxiety and stress in my chest, and as a result it gets tight and hard to breathe, which causes even more of a panic. So you can see, it’s quite a vicious cycle.
I have tried everything from laying down and meditating, to drinking wine to drown out the anxiety. However, what seems to work best for me is to just talk it out. Explaining my symptoms to my friends and family, gaining the reassurance that it’s all in my head and I’m not actually dying, brings me back down to reality.
I don’t think that I’ll ever be free of my health-induced anxieties, and Lord knows I certainly won’t stop watching Grey’s Anatomy, so being able to cope with it is key. I am forever grateful for every single person who listens to my worrisome rants and talks me off the ledge of an unnecessary trip to the hospital.
If anyone has any at-home remedies for anxiety, or hypochondria, shoot them my way in a comment, DM or email. You’re not alone, here.