Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Three months in the life of a certified hypochondriac

I have always thought of myself as a fairly normal girl.

Not too outlandish in my beliefs, not too brain-mental about anything more than other people's eating habits, skin picking, and sniffing. There's the innate fear of raw tomatoes on bread, but everyone has their Achilles heel. On the whole, I reckon I'm generally calm, analytical, and above all, of rational, sane mind.

Which is clearly why I've spent the last three months absolutely convinced that I was going to die.

Not once did I let my entirely self-diagnosed terminal prognosis slip to anyone. This, I reasoned, was something I had to get my head around first and then I would go to the doctor and he, with solemn face and kind words, would reveal the true trouble I was in. 

To begin with, it was just a niggling thought in the back of my mind. For the first month I swept my worries under the carpet; mind and hand occasionally lingering on the offending skin, telling myself that it was probably nothing.

Then it was Christmas (no time to hear such news), and my fear gathered momentum. Not an hour went by when I didn't consider my fate. After all, it was around this time last year that bad news came my way: so the timing would be almost poetic.

It was a few days into 2012 that I took a deep, brave breath... and checked my findings with Google.

And that, naturally, was when the real worrying began. 

There it was in black and white on the screen: this is what you have, therefore this is what is wrong with you. Forum after forum, health check website after health check website. Seek. Help. 

For those of you who think I'm joking, that I'm exaggerating the fear; hear this. My mind began extracting words from newspapers that I glanced at on the tube. Statistics I'd normally not pay attention to lept out at me from pages and the world's adverts, conversations and media seemed geared to impressing upon me a message: There is something wrong. 

It was after yet another week of internal worrying and sleeplessness when I finally forced myself to book an appointment at the doctors. 

And so it was that on Monday morning, 9:15 sharp, me and my gigantic fear walked into the clinic. Once there I sat, waiting to be seen, and gearing myself up for the news I knew, beyond doubt, was coming my way in a matter of minutes.

Eventually my name was called, and I calmly explained my findings to the doctor. "Right." he said, after writing down some notes. "Shall we have a look, then?"

I produced the offending skin and waited. 

"Sorry...which bit? Where did you say it was...?"
"Just there."
"Oh, there?"
"Yep. That's it."

I waited.

"Ok...Well, that's normal."
"Completely normal."
"Are you sure?"
"Absolutely. Everyone has it. There's nothing wrong."
"Oh. Right. Oh god, phew."

If it's possible to mentally skip out of a doctor's surgery, that was what I did.

Which is how I rattled along to my next conclusion: my body might be healthy, but my mind - well... not so much. 


Breeza said...

I do the same thing. Stay off the internet! :) It can be helpful but most of the time self-diagnosing is the worst thing you can do.

Blonde said...

Oh gods above, no. Don't Google-diagnose. That way self-torture lies. Glad you're not leaving us any time soon.

(Word verification: burrica. Close enough to burrito that this might too be a sign...)

London-Lass said...

Glad that you're fine but now I'm curious what it was the doc proclaimed normal saying " ... everyone has it ... "

Inverted nipple?
Bunch of freckles?
Large mole with thick tuft sprouting therefrom?

Helen said...

I regularly self diagnose my impending demise. Never learn my lesson.

Raw tomatoes on bread is the food of the devil himself.

Glad you're ok! xx

Ellie said...

The Internet is a great source for new diseases. Check it out!

panda_eyed said...

Have you read 'A spot of bother' by Mark Haddon? You've pretty much described the plot. It's worth a read :)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Breeza - Tell me about it. Lesson learned, I promise.

Blonde - The word verification knows TOO MUCH. No more playing doctor. My Googling days are over.

London Lass - All of the above. A terrifying combination.

Helen - I am so glad that I'm not the only one scared shitless by tomatoes on bread.

Ellie - So true. They discover a new one every day.

pandaeyed - Yes! I have read it. It's a funny book, and I have a lot in common with the protagonist.


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