I used to think of hypochondria as something that people developed because they had too much time on their hands, were too imaginative, or just craved attention. Then I developed a full blown serious case of this disorder.
It was hard to admit that’s what I had, and it is still hard because like any mental disorder, it carries a certain stigma.
It’s hard to say when I developed symptoms and when all its ramifications began to pop up; it wasn’t overnight. I have gone back a little in my personal history to try to figure out how it could have begun, although I think it is difficult to pinpoint the origins.
I have had three breast biopsies (surgeries), needle biopsies of the breasts, ultrasounds, and mammograms- which were all routine, with the exception of one that was diagnostic. This was all due to cysts, etc. and not something I really want to go into because that is beside the point. All the results of all these tests were benign.
The point, however, is that all of those procedures would leave me extremely anxious, and sometimes the anxiety was almost unbearable. I think the groundwork for the hypochondria was being set.
Now all of those procedures could have happened over another part of the body, resulting in the same type of anxiety. What I am trying to say is that hypochondriacs usually concentrate their worries on particular parts of the body. In my case it is the breasts, but it can sometimes shift to other areas.
The groundwork for my hypochondria was put in place several years ago. It may or may not have been due to all those procedures, but I kind of think it did.
Now other women may go through the exact same thing I did, and feel perfectly fine. We are all different. Fortunately, the anxiety only manifested itself when I had to see a doctor. My heart rate would go up in the waiting room, I would get sweaty palms, and would only really calm down when I began talking to the doctor. If the anxiety only showed itself at those moments, then that was something I could live with.
I didn’t think I needed a shrink then, but things changed.