1 February 2017

Hypochondria is NOT a Joke

Wow, is this me actually writing something on my blog?? Yes, yes it is.
I've been away for a few weeks because I've not been feeling myself recently. Being bogged down with anxiety and studying/working has meant that blogging has been at the bottom of my priority list. That's not to say that I've not had time to blog, but I don't see the point in writing content that I'm not proud of. But let's forget about that now, I'm back and I'm ready to write a personal blog post; there's no better way to come back than with something personal. 

Hypochondria. It's a word you may have heard thrown around referring to someone who constantly worries about their health, then everyone will fall around laughing until the joke dies down and then they'll return to the thing they were doing. If that's the first time you'd ever heard of Hypochondria then you'd probably think it was a joke and use it in the same context. But did you know that it's actually a mental illness? Yep, a real, restricting form of anxiety. 

Do you ever get a headache, google search your symptoms and then automatically have to break the news to your family that you've only got six months to live? Do you constantly self diagnose yourself? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you've probably been referred to as a hypochondriac. I am in no way a medical professional, and to be honest it's not something to be worried about. That's only if it happens a few times. However, if it happens at least 5 times a week like it does for me, then maybe it's a cause for concern. If I wrote you a list of the amount of life threatening illnesses I self diagnose myself with  in a week then you'd probably have a list that is 6ft long. I stop myself going out through the fear that I'm going to be sick, have an excruciating pain and then have to go to hospital. Sometimes I would say that this is one of the main causes of my anxiety; I constantly fear that there is something wrong with me and then the more I google my symptoms, the lower my life expectancy becomes. It's a vicious circle. I also think that my fear of hospitals has something to do with it as well; a hospital is somewhere you go when there's something wrong with you, and I don't like  knowing that there's something wrong. I also HATE being in pain.

If that's not enough, I can't watch the television or do my job without going into a state of panic. Any medical programmes, medical dramas or characters with illnesses make me feel anxious and I have to leave the room until the programme is over. It also doesn't help that I work with hair and wigs which means that I deal with a lot of cancer patients who are going through chemo (even just writing the word cancer makes me full of anxiety). I think that these people are some of the bravest, most wonderful people in the world and I really do admire their bravery but when they speak to me about their illness and they tell me how they were diagnosed, I am again flooded with anxiety and sometimes have to excuse myself from the situation and ask another member of staff to take over, or I fight through it which I do in most cases. The next thing I know, I'm googling whichever type of cancer they have and looking at the symptoms, just to check that I don't have it too. 

Hypochondria is an anxiety that seriously affects my life. The amount of sleepless nights I have through worrying that something is wrong with me, that I could go to sleep and not wake up in the morning, is a number that is too high to type. I get the slightest stomach pain and start to shake because I'm scared of the thing that's wrong with me. My family also hate me for it, I try to express my concerns and worries but they tell me that I'm being dramatic which I know I probably am, but what if the people who did have these symptoms were told that same thing too, and then it turned out to be something much worse? That right there is just an insight to the way my brain works, and it's so messed up. 

What I'm trying to say is that the next time you joke about hypochondria or laugh and call someone a hypochondriac, just remember that it is a real mental illness. If I sat here writing and joking about depression or social anxiety then I'm sure that this post would be inundated with comments about how disgusting I am and how horrible my opinions are. Fair enough, call someone a hypochondriac if you please but remember there's people who live with it every day, people who can't sleep at night. 

I'm sorry if this post was a ramble, or if you didn't really understand what was going on, but I've been wanting to write something like this for a while and as I express all of my thoughts and feelings on this blog, I thought that this would be the best place to do it. 

What are your opinions on this matter?

Lots of Love,
Meg





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