Hypochondria and children..
They don’t mix well.
Allow me to explain.
I am a paranoid hypochondriac. I have always been a hypochondriac, since childhood when I thought every little thing was wrong with me and fretted endlessly about it.. and then into my teenage years when I held it private so no one would know.. and my 20s when I thought I was aging faster than many others and sick all of the time.. and now soon my mid-30s, where I worry about blood circulation, brain cells diminishing, heart problems.. everything including the C word. Yes, hypochondria.
The most recent ailment to grip me: One leg seems to be bigger than the other.. blood clot!? Circulation problem!? Lymphoedema!? I need to un-bookmark WEB MD.
I don’t have (a substantial knock on wood will loudly take place after I write this sentence) any of these problems mentioned. At least not that I know of.. Although that one leg being bigger thing has me perplexed. But when is studied closer, I noticed one arm is bigger than the other.. Perhaps one ear, too.. We are not symmetric. Until I feel pain I’ll ignore it.
Oh but pain?
When I begin thinking about things, suddenly the mind-body connection works perfectly. I can’t win the lottery through positive thought, but I can sure make myself sicker with negative dwelling..
And enter a child.
There is a little something different about my hypochondria over the past few years. It has, let’s say, matured. I am not selfish anymore.. A hypochondriac is somewhat selfish, after all. The “me me” and “I’m sick!” when someone else is sick is almost offensive. As a matter of fact, here is a little secret about someone with hypochondria: When someone they love is sick, or worse, they too will begin to wonder if they have the same symptoms. And when you look through the voluminous symptoms most diseases (and the C word) have, they are similar. They are scary.. the hypochondriac precipitously has each one!
And then a the hypochondriac becomes a father. Or mother. In my case, a proud dad since February 2011.
And that is where my vexing over medical ailments that never were changed.
I went to the ER for a lot of problems in life.
There was the time I had a blood clot. But didn’t. Or the moment I swore I swallowed a chicken bone, but miraculously had no evidence to prove it. Or the heart issue.. Probably bad diet and too much coffee. Or my big leg. I stand by the time I went to the hospital for a snake bite. I was bit. But probably by a ringneck and not a poisonous killer.
That was then.
Now as a dad, the hypochondriac in my wonders all of the irrational things about my child. I keep them to myself, though. I do not want him picking up any potential traits of a worrying goofball who always tries to find the next ailment to create a medical crisis.
When my son turned two, or somewhat around that period of time, he developed a nasty flu. And fever. The fever was so bad, we had to take him to the ER. He was over 105 and rising.. this may have been the most frightening night of my modern life—truly. My wife and I were kind-of-new parents, two years in and not yet fully adapted to everything. But to see a child of yours lethargic and deficient of all energy, zapped by a horrible fever, is scary.. hypochondria stopped being an issue for a bit. Now it was real. Now it was dangerous..
He improved with the help of antibiotics.. I hope to never have to deal with such a long night again, and don’t wish it on any other parents.
But this is where my hypochondria changed. Instead of only selfishly tormenting my own body and mind in a ‘me me’ fashion, I looked at my innocent son Ayden and realized that I needed to keep myself healthy for him. Not for me anymore.. for him. He needed me then and does not. The same goes for my wife. Our son needs us to be healthy .. for him.
That is an interesting change, for anyone I think. Going from someone who loses sleep because of the array of medical harms that could come my way and instead dismantling a thought process to actually improve your mind and body is a big change.
Additional to that, I am 34 and almost 35. Candles will be on a cake in only less than one month as Virgo the Virgin takes over the calendar. I admit, this is not “old” in the modern sense. Maybe the Victorian sense.. however, I still think I am aging. With that process, I am becoming more open to the chances of ailments actually striking. But the goal now is to not SEARCH for problems, but instead prevent them. That is interesting to my. As a hypochondriac for life, I always thought I had every problem but yet somehow didn’t strive hard to prevent them. After achieving the prize of parenthood, my diet changed. I quit drinking alcohol in the volume I was during my 20s.. I look for clean and healthy GMO free food. I care about things that may endanger me.. I want to be healthy. I want to beat hypochondria by actually being well. And feeling well.
We all have medical crises that take place. And they will take place when we least expect them. Like swollen legs—although in my case I think it’s just an old fashioned moment of hypochondria and a disproportionate body.
When you have a child, however, the medical crises you get hit with will affect not only you, but mostly now others.. The ripple effect sets in.. Your child, or children, need you. And for that reason, anyone out there who is still a parent with hypochondria needs to ditch that idea as fast as you can. Improve your mind and body. Actually work day and night to eat to live instead of live to eat. Cut the alcohol… and whatever else. Because unless you actually care a bit more to achieve a long life for your child, your hypochondria may come to fruition.