I woke up today and began thinking about all of the ‘little’ quirks I had before my hypochondria started. I’ve always thought that my hypochondria might have been preventable, had I not watched the movie that triggered it as a kid. But this blog has forced me to look at certain phases in my life on a grander scale, allowing me to see patterns and triggers that really made my health anxiety sort of inevitable. Well maybe not completely inevitable, but a version of it.
My brain has always been hyper-sensitive to the world around me. I was never extremely sheltered, yet when I was young, I was somewhat innocent & naive (probably due to my catholic upbringing). Movies affected me in a weird way, for example, I couldn’t even sit through a Star Wars movie without getting scared. One time, I caught my grandfather watching James Bond and felt so sensitive and protective of him that I told my mother what he was doing and the fact that it might be frightening for him. I was also always protective and sensitive towards any situation involving my twin brother or my mother. My mind viewed everyone else as being sensitive and innocent and I guess that was ironically due to the fact that I, myself, was sensitive to people, feelings, and experiences.
When I was in early elementary school (maybe grade 1) (I’m not exactly sure of the age, only the photographic memories), I had mild OCD (I think that would be the right term?). It was never diagnosed but I’m sure the things I did, weren’t normal. For a period of time I had the compulsion to touch the pavement on a road before I walked across it. I can distinctly remember the importance I placed on doing this. As well, I had certain rituals when walking through my house; I would tap the stereo in the living room twice and draw a triangle in the dust on the window sill before making myself comfortable in the living room. The rituals would get longer and more complicated every time I passed certain objects. I only ever realized what all of this meant a couple of years ago, when I was thinking through memories of my childhood.
Eventually though, my compulsive behaviour did go away (but maybe not subconsciously). I think certain things I did involving religion and God, were my alternative ways of coping. I was sort of pre-occupied with God. You’re reading this, but you probably don’t fully understand. Sometimes while waiting for my bus to school, I would write messages like ‘I love Jesus’ in the dirt and I even (at an early age) contemplated being a nun. I was also somewhat compulsive when it came to praying. I would say a certain amount of prayers each night, and it got to the point where I was saying 15 prayers every single night. No one ever told me to do this, I was religious on my own (and it was stressful).
I probably moved from compulsive behaviour to god to hypochondria, and my hypochondria (tied with my hypersensitivity) was probably triggered by all of the above. So I shouldn’t blame it on a movie. Like a domino effect, everything triggers everything else. In some cases, you are suddenly stuck with a chronic coping mechanism disguised as a prolonged mental illness. Presently, I am no longer naive or innocent, and I love watching those scary movies. On the outside I seem ‘normal’ but inside I’m hypersensitive and irrational. And I don’t blame it on anyone but my brain chemistry.