I’m a recovering hypochondriac.
Okay, maybe I am not totally recovered.
I am a hypochondriac, but I am getting better about not freaking out when my hand falls asleep and I start to worry that it may have to be amputated due to a rare circulatory disease.
I’m pretty sure my issues stemmed from watching my young father die of a heart attack when I was 11. I was home alone with him when he took his last breath, and from that point forward, I was nervous. I was downright scared of sickness and demise, ya’ll. I thought every tick was infected with Lyme Disease, every nail was riddled with Tetanus and every dog with missing patches of hair and mouth froth had Rabies.
I mean, some dogs just have substance abuse issues and it’s totally unfair and judgmental to assume that they have Rabies. That’s a low blow.
Google intensified my hypochondria by 3.5 million percent. With every twinge or pain or sting, I used to consult with Google, M.D. And Dr. G never eased my fears. Dr. Google only confirmed the worst.
“That could be nipple chafing OR breast cancer. Probably breast cancer.”
“That could be indigestion OR a heart attack. Probably a heart attack.”
“That could an ingrown toenail OR Gangrene. Most definitely Gangrene.”
Seriously. Google, M.D. once diagnosed me with Gangrene. Do I look like a Civil War solider who was wounded at the Battle of Antietam?
No. I merely had some toe tenderness because I cut my toenail too short, but this conclusion was too simple for Google, M.D. Google, M.D. wanted to cover my nose and mouth with an Ether-soaked handkerchief and hack my toe off because I had Gangrene.
The following is a true story. I swear I couldn’t make up this sort of craziness even if I was drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of Jaager every day.
One night, while lying in bed and trying desperately to fall asleep, I smelled bread. Yeah, you read that correctly. Bread. I thought it was really weird, so out of curiosity and boredom, I grabbed my phone off the nightstand and Googled, “I smell bread.”
I was having a stroke.
No lie. Go Google “I smell bread”. Do it right now. A ton of pages will pop up about how smelling bread is a sign of a stroke or impending death.
I. Can’t. Even.
I freaked out for 45 minutes until I turned on the light and looked around for a grain source. Turns out one of my kids had swiped a crescent roll from the kitchen and carelessly dropped it under the bed. Thanks, Dr. Google. I was prepared to meet the White Light when the cause of my problem was Pillsbury.
I am a firm believer that if you worry about pain, you will feel pain. I once read an article about blood clots in the legs. This is most definitely terrible reading material for a hypochondriac. Within a few minutes of soaking in that horror piece, my calf was throbbing. It wasn’t imaginary throbbing, either. I was really exhibiting the signs of a blood clot. And then I forgot about it. And my calf forgot about it, too. And then everything was cool until I saw a news report on some kind of horrifying brain-eating worms that you can acquire from sushi. I don’t even eat sushi, but after devouring a ham sandwich, my head hurt. And I just knew a worm was going to fall out of my ear.
One day, I finally had enough of this madness. I was seriously driving myself stark-raving mad. I decided to quit consulting with Dr. Google. And you know what? I am better.
Worry never does us any good. It only robs us of our happiness. And if everything turns out okay (which it usually does), you’ve done all that worrying for nothing, right?
I just dropped some knowledge on you. Take note.
I no longer flip the script at every bump or bruise or ingrown hair. I don’t run to Google every time my body does something totally unexplained and batpoop crazy. I don’t ask the doctor if the smudgy pen mark on my hand is actually a symptom of Morgellons (Google Morgellons. Then again, don’t.) I don’t rush to the ER with my flashers on because I’m convinced a chin zit needs to be lanced and sent to the lab for further testing.
I really am better. And oh, what a relief it is.
If you suffer with hypochondria, I recommend you stop seeing Dr. Google.
He’ll send you to an early grave.