the shame of not being “normal”

Since yesterday’s posts were pretty sad, I should probably update that I am all right now! The anxiety attack passed in about 3 hours or so.

In that 3 hours, I made the decision to confront my anxiety problems more actively. I signed up at a support group website (although my first attempt at talking to someone was a disaster – more on that another time), I checked out counselling services at my university and, most importantly, I told my boyfriend about it.

The last one was the toughest. It made me quite shameful and silly to tell someone that I was having an anxiety attack and I might get proper help for it. I felt like I was a weak and unstable person, because normal people aren’t like this. I was so sorry that he couldn’t have had a normal girlfriend, and that he had to deal with issues like this. Who wants to deal with it if they have the choice? And that went to the core of it – I was scared that he would leave me. Because I love him so much and I didn’t want him to decide that he did not sign up for this.

I remember when we first started dating, he said he likes emotionally stable girls, and I have been anything but. I want to go back to being the amazing girl he fell for but I can’t. I always try so hard yet fall short, and I have this deep fear that I will lose him because I’m not all that great.

I know the logical thing to say here is that no one is perfect, no one stays “amazing” forever, that everyone has flaws and I should, in any case, be with someone who would stick with me through these personal issues. However, thinking logically has never been a problem for me. I have always known the logical answer. Feeling logically, on the other hand, is a whole other ball game. Knowing all these things does not make me feel any better. I am still scared.

When he replied my messages, the first thing he said was, “It’s not silly if it is important to you.” Oh I cried. But dear, will you be here forever? I know I am still in control of the situation though. I can get these anxiety and hypochondria problems fixed – or at least get them under much better control – I only hope you will forgive me for being the person I am before that.

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the anxiety is hitting me like a train

The worst part of hypochondria is hitting me right now. Had a bit of gastric this afternoon and couldn’t really breathe properly. I was watching a movie at the time. It was nothing I had not felt before and, as I predicted, it went away once I finally began to burp the gas out of my stomach.

However, on the train ride home, I began to suddenly have those worst worst hypochondriac thoughts where you think something is wrong with you – what if you have a disease, what if you have an illness, what if you lose your sight.

It was all I could do to not cry on the train. Once I alighted and came up to ground, I walked into the sign of a field and trees, to the sound of a crying child and singing birds. Idyllic, and it made me feel better, yet it also made me want to cry at the same time.

Held myself together while I bought dinner, walked home so I could soak in nature a bit, but began crying on the way back nonetheless. Now I’m just in my room, being a mess and crying for absolutely no reason.

I just want to be normal. Normal people don’t cry for no reason. Normal people don’t get anxiety attacks. I tried my mindfulness thoughts – I really did. But right now I just want someone to talk to. I have a ton of people I could contact right now but what do I say? “Hi I’m crying for no reason.”

This is terribly written post. But now that I’ve vomited all of that out…I feel a teeny bit better.

I WILL BE STRONG. I WILL FIGHT.

a chat with a fellow hypochondriac

I discussed being a hypochondriac with my mom and sister today, one of the rare times I talk openly about the issue. My sister had brought the topic up because her husband happens to be a hypochondriac too. He will obsess over little issues like a fast heart rate like me, and even had numerous tests done with a cardiologist to make sure everything was okay. He has had a few health problems, but nothing serious I would say. I started with the issue of floaters because my eyes have been the main thing on my mind recently, and found out both my sis and bro-in-law have floaters too! My sister thought it was fun to have them because she would try to follow them around or count them – what I would do to treat them with the same lightheartedness.

I could tell my brother-in-law was relieved to hear me describe the obsessiveness and panic that accompanies me whenever I find something “wrong” with myself. My sister has encouraged me before to talk about such things in front of him because it puts him at ease. I felt much better too! It was nice to find someone who understood exactly how I felt, without being made to feel silly. My family was around too to make sure we didn’t talk ourselves into a disease either. Overall, it lifted a bit of the weight on my shoulders.

I have googled for some hypochondriac forums before because I thought it would be good to talk to others about it. However, most of the places I find seem to be an abyss of doom – just hypochondriacs chatting with others about symptoms that they’ve been suffering and their fears. It made me scared because the last thing I want now is to be bombarded with symptoms and diseases. And being online, it would be oh-so-easy to search for the disease and set myself off again.

Talking with someone I know, on the other hand, doesn’t quite have the same gloom and doom about it. In real life, it’s a lot harder to panic over a symptom when talking with someone. It’s like when I say it out, it doesn’t seem so bad. What had been a mountain in my mind seems like a little molehill when I say it out loud, especially when my friends react with nonchalance. This can be both a good or a bad thing. On one hand, they could help me shake off the anxiety and march on with my life. Others don’t think it is serious, or others have experienced it too. I’ll be okay! But more often than not, it means that I can never really assuage my fears completely because people just don’t know how worried I am. If I think I am losing my vision, a simple “Oh it’ll go away!” won’t help me.

Talking with a fellow hypochondriac in real life strikes the right balance. I treat the issue with a little distance, and yet I know the other person understands all the complex thoughts swirling in my head. The fact that my family was around probably helped a lot – they were the “grounding points” to ensure we didn’t drive each other into another bout of anxiety. My sister even told me that my hypochondria is fairly mild because my parents are doctors and they have reigned me in most of the time when my fears get out of hand. My brother-in-law is worse because his mom tends to worry a lot too.

I have always thought my parents were half the reason I developed hypochondria, but I am very grateful for their presence. When I am worried about something, they are simply a phone call away. (My siblings and I live overseas.) It’s good to have that sort of support. :)