Hypochondria: (noun) abnormal anxiety about one’s health, especially with an unwarranted fear that one has a serious disease.
Or in laymen terms: OMG I AM DYING!
In my 30 short years on this planet, I have had:
Over 100 heart attacks, 20 strokes, five brain aneurysms, 2 brain tumors, and countless other diseases that no one who isn’t a doctor should know how to pronounce.
I know every symptom of every fatal disease known to man (and have experienced each of them), and I’m almost 100% certain that with my vast knowledge of the human body and everything that can go wrong with it, I could graduate top of the class from med school.
And in case I haven’t made it glaringly obvious already, I have severe hypochondria.
I also have panic attacks. Which means that, on top of being absolutely convinced I’m going to drop dead at any given moment, these feelings also make me freak out to the point of calling 911 over something as small as a toothache.
I’ve had both of these conditions since I was 16, and whereas I’ve had them under control for going on three years now, they have still taken a massive toll on my life.
When people think of hypochondria, they usually picture a drama queen or maybe someone who is just seeking attention, and almost always there will be a joke told at this person’s expense. But I can assure you that, as hilarious as it is to picture a 30-year old grown woman curled up in a ball sobbing hysterically because she thinks she may have cancer because of radiation poisoning from a 20-second x-ray, there is absolutely nothing funny about it.
I have spent more hours than I can count, locked in my own head, unable to actually live because I was so terrified of dying. And sadly, since so many people, including doctors, look down on this disorder, it’s hard to get the help you need. So you’re stuck in this constant cycle of fear, which is the one aspect of hypochondria that is real. Crippling, gut wrenching fear.
But there is one thing I believe that is stronger than that fear: the person suffering from it. The fear does NOT define you and recovery is more than possible. There is no “right” way to go about it (although staying off of WebMD is a good place to start), but I am living proof that you can go from spending your life locked in a bubble, to actually LIVING!
Life is short, don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from facing it head on!
“Every song ends, but is that any reason not to enjoy the music?”
Stacey Murfield is a 30 year Peer Supporter, wanna be writer, dreamer, and mental health advocate. She was diagnosed at 16 with Panic Disorder and Hypochondria, followed a few years later by major depressive disorder, and recently a diagnosis of Bipolar disorder. 2 years ago, after hitting rock bottom, she has become focused and passionate about becoming a voice others who suffer from Mental illnesses, and hopes to one day live in a society where mental health stigma is just a page in a history book.