My anxiety must have started long before my hypochondria- I wasn’t like other kids. When I was young, one of the things I latched onto in my time of worry was God. I went to a catholic school so he was incredibly ‘nearby’. I was a basic Jesus freak (not to devalue devout Catholics) by the time I was 7.
In grade two (a couple of years before my health anxiety hit), my class was given scapulars. Our scapulars looked like less-elaborate rosaries and our priest told us that they would bring us closer to God. My teacher read us a book about all the miracles that these necklaces had given people. One lady survived a plane crash, and all because of her scapular! Basically, I learned that if you wear a scapular, you are immortal.
I wore it all the time, in the shower, on planes, I even gave it to my mother when she went on her business trips, just in case the plane engine failed. Come to think of it, that is probably the only time I took it off, that and the time I lost it at camp.
Camp was my worst nightmare, but when I lost my scapular, it became hell. I made sure all the girls in my cabin were aware of my lost scapular and I told them to alert me immediately when (if) they found it.
A couple of days went by and there was still no sign of it. Then one of the girls found it on the cabin floor. I felt as if I was re-united with a lost loved one. I was happy again. They must have thought I was crazy to be so concerned over a religious artifact, but I was so consumed in my anxiety that I simply did not care.
One summer I was wearing my scapular while jumping on my best friend’s trampoline. I soon realized that the bottom part of my scapular was missing- the most important part. The cross. We looked and looked. We never found it. Maybe a year later my class went on a catholic retreat and I bought a new one. But it didn’t seem as legit and miraculous as the one I got in grade two. I didn’t believe the new scapular would provide the miracles I needed, so I simply stopped wearing it.