I’ve tried to trace the roots of my hypochondria, but don’t really know if I hit the nail on the head, or if I ever will, or if it really matters. The fact is, I am a hypochondriac and it is taking a toll on me.
Somewhere along the line I started developing an obsessive compulsive disorder related to the hypochondria. This has probably been the most difficult part of the whole hypochondriac scenario. An obsessive compulsive disorder involves obsessive thoughts which force you to perform actions.
For example, let’s say I see a spot on my chest and it looks like a freckle. At first glance I know it’s a freckle, but then the obsession kicks in, telling me that maybe it’s not. So I have to examine it again, and again and again. My anxiety level goes through the roof. Finally, I reach the decision that it really was just a freckle. If I really suspect that it is something more, I make an appointment with a doctor. Most of the time, I do not suspect that.
It sounds simple, but it isn’t because the anxiety level can almost make you feel sick. The more you check, the more anxious you feel. The only thing that calms you down is a distraction, and the longer the distraction, the better. Say, you have to be at a certain place at a certain time, or someone calls you and starts a long conversation – those are good distractions. And like I said, the longer they last, the better. You might return to examine that freckle later on in a few weeks or a month, but for now, you have kept that uncontrollable part of your brain from flaring up.
You seek reassurance from people that you are alright. Not all of the time of course. Most of us are rational people who function well in society. If people know you suffer from hypochondria, they are sympathetic, but even they may act puzzled. None of them really understand obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), even if you are a hypochondriac who has it.
If you are wondering if I diagnosed myself, the answer is yes. Later on when I began seeing a shrink, she confirmed it. It was pretty obvious.