Chapter 2: Part II: Something Must Be Wrong

HEALTH ANXIETY AND CHASING THE BLOOD-WORK…

Now… like many people, my anxiety attacks were happening in the absence of any scary beasties. There were no saber-tooth tigers, no rabid dogs, no masked-murderers, no man-eating snakes or reptiles of any kind, and no hairy house-spiders that know just the right way to walk in order to creep me out. In fact, this was all happening within the confines of my cozy, secure home where I should be feeling safe and anxiety-free.

Evidently, my brain is a rational fellow and, thrown into such a predicament, he strived to find a logical explanation for what was happening.  Having checked all available data from the eyeballs and other sensory outposts, he arrived at the conclusion that there were no external threats. So the question was where to look next? The answer was ‘inside’.  This was a bad idea. Operating on the understanding that there is no smoke without fire I became convinced that there was something wrong with my body.

I’m talking about the sort of something that doesn’t get better. The sort of something that you couldn’t possibly self-diagnose. The sort of something that means your time on this Earth is rapidly coming to an end. These episodes would last for a few hours. During each episode I would be totally convinced that something was wrong. Let me pause for a second to emphasize this…

…TOTALLY CONVINCED…

I describe these moments as being like hallucinations. Even though there was a distinct lack of logic in my diagnosing, I believed whole-heartedly that I had become the grand master of all things medical. I would also feed my own hallucination. For example, one night I became sure that my kidneys were failing. I felt that I was peeing more often than I should be. To help my kidney function I prescribed myself pint after pint of filtered tap water. Of course, drinking more water made me pee more, which made me even more convinced that my kidneys were failing, which in turn made me drink more water to help them out. A vicious loop of insanity, if ever there was one.

In the days that followed, all manner of imaginary illnesses befell me: Liver disease, heart issues, tumors, rare viruses… pretty much everything except what I actually had – health anxiety. I repeatedly found myself in doctors’ offices acquiring blood work and providing urine samples.  I sat in disbelief as results came back clear.

How could this be?

I knew that something was wrong with me.

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