Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Degrees of Hypochondria
Are you one of those glass-half-full people or glass-half-empty people? When something happens do you think about how much better it's going to get or how much worse it's going to get?
I think hypochondriacs are glass-half-empty kind of people. You know, they feel a twinge or a pain and they always wonder (or imagine) how much worse that's going to be. It's never just a pain with them. It's always a precursor to something worse.
I think most people have tendencies toward hypochondria at some point in their lives. But they manage to keep it under control. They keep their paranoia to themselves. These people are also good at burying their heads in the sand. They get a cut on their hand or arm and a day or two later it starts hurting. They wonder if it's getting infected, but they hope that by ignoring it, the cut will heal on its own.
These people usually die quickly.
Then there are people that are not so private about their phobias. They have a twinge in their side, and they know it's appendicitis. At least, they're pretty sure it's appendicitis. Just to be certain they will consult with everyone in a three-block radius to see if they think it's appendicitis. They might joke once or twice about it, but mentally they're planning who is going to feed their cat while they're in the hospital having surgery. This will happen until they realize that the pain is on their left side and their appendix is on their right. Then they will laugh it off, but privately wonder if they have a tumor.
These people tend to die quickly because they are annoying the people around them.
The worst degree of hypochondria are the full-blown hypochondriacs. If it's out there, they're going to get it. And it will be bad. In fact, it will be worse than anyone else that has ever had it. These people are actually able to worry themselves into an legitimate health-endangerment situation simply by the power of their worry.
These people are also the most fun to mess with. I know one of these people. If someone near her is sick, she will develop symptoms within twenty-four hours. An ache or a pain will send her to bed for two days. She's loads of fun at parties. Fortunately we don't live near her. But we do talk on the phone on a regular basis. Did you know you can actually catch a cold over the phone? Apparently you can--even over a bad connection. I've talked to her before when I had a bad cold. She developed symptoms the next day and called to let me know I had given her my cold.
Well, I refuse to feel guilt. Her cold only lasted until the next phone call. I waited a month or so and then when we talked again on the phone, I coughed and sniffed and hacked my way through the conversation. I wasn't really sick. I just put on a good show. Wouldn't you know it? She got sick again the next day. She caught my imaginary cold.
I wonder what would happen if I told her I was pregnant.
These third degree hypochondriacs usually live very long lives in spite of all their illnesses. In fact, even when they're at death's door, they dance back and forth across the threshold a few times. I guess all their diseases have increased their resiliency.
As for myself, I'm typically of the ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away persuasion. So far that works for me. What about you? Any hypochondriac leanings? What degree are you?
P.S. I'm not really pregnant. Just wanted to clarify.