Monday, November 24, 2014

Illuminations



Being a hypochondriac sucks, but it sure makes for interesting stories.

If you type in “hypochondriac” to Google, you’ll notice the definition is “a person who is abnormally anxious about their health.” Ignore the grammatical mistake for a moment and consider living a life where paranoia about illnesses dominates your every thought. Imagine feeling a numb pain in your arm and thinking you’re on the verge of having a heart attack (at the age of 21). Imagine feeling a zit on the side of your head and thinking you have a brain tumor.

In fact, I’m just going to enumerate the illnesses I’ve (or, better yet, my hypochondria) diagnosed myself with over the last couple of years as a result of hypochondria:

1.     Brain aneurysm: I came to this conclusion after I had an ongoing headache for two days in a row when I was 17. Sure, the headache had nothing to do with the fact that I had my sinuses were clogged and I had a head cold. Clearly, it was an aneurysm.
2.     Multiple Sclerosis: This is my favorite one. I felt a numb sensation in my hands for about a month straight, which probably had something to do with my anxiety over the start of student teaching and grad school applications (and sleep deprivation), and I thought I had MS. Seems legit.
3.     Oral herpes: after I shared a drink with my friend who was prone to getting cold sores (even though she had no cold sores visible when we shared the drink).
4.     Mononucleosis: after sharing a drink with my friend who had just recovered from mono (notice how neither of these anxiety episodes resulted from an unsafe sexual encounter. They were reactions to what WebMD described was a 5% chance of transmission).
5.     Colon cancer: I was constipated for about two days when I was 19. Shockingly, it wasn’t colon cancer.
6.     Lyme disease: My cousin got Lyme Disease (about a year ago) while walking through a forest near his house (located in Bumblefuck, Connecticut), so naturally I thought I had Lyme Disease because I had walked in the same forest. When I was 12.

The Internet is a hypochondriac’s worst enemy, especially websites like WebMD. The best is: a lot of the symptoms for some of these conditions are the symptoms of, oh, I don’t know, EVERYTHING?

Symptoms of mono: dry throat, fatigue.
Sure enough, my throat was dry…and even though I had just eaten, like, a pack of saltines, it had to be because I had mono. And I had started feeling fatigued; and even though I was running on 4 hours of sleep that night because I had a paper due the next day, I figured the fatigue had everything to do with my nonexistent mono.

So, yeah, being a hypochondriac sucks. But, I figure if I survived all the aforementioned diseases, then I can survive anything. Right?

-AH

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