365 Days of Hypochondria

And other personal happenings.


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Coffee & Haircuts (Day 129)

Today, Saralyn and I woke up, got haircuts (I got bangs!) and then went to a coffee shop downtown to write our essays.

Hair:

I am now at home, snuggling up with one of the cats. Hopefully I can continue some essay writing tonight. I hope everyone’s Saturday went well!!

xx

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Strain of Consciousness #1 (Day 128)

There are words with hard edges, like regret. These words make you wince when you speak them, so you tuck them away, and only think of them. Then there are words that come packaged in warm syllables. These words sometimes embody disaster, words like ambivalence and anger. Words that are spoken so often, they are hot from the friction of lips rubbing together. Polished to a pulp, these words define certain actions, certain ways of being, yet they lack an emotional definition. We use these words because they don’t mean a thing. Contradictory words to describe things that won’t ever meet an understanding.

I’m protective of these words. The words that are selfishly stolen and robbed of true meaning. I have a disdain for people who take these words for themselves. I have a disdain for people who created these words, these ’emotions’, for themselves.

If words are inherently recycled and untrue, then what is emotion? What is sadness, and happiness, really? What is melancholy? When I think of melancholy, I think of a grey rainy day, and I have forced myself to believe that I am feeling an emotion akin to weather. Can a word be weathered? Can the weather be described by a word that holds one single definition? Can the weather be described by a word that holds four definitions, each succeeding the other in hierarchical order? I’m not one to trust the dictionary. I’m not one to trust words. And I’m not very trusting of the users of such words.


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Untitled (Day 127)

In regards to writer’s block, I’ve been waiting for that feeling that possesses me to write. I felt it today, only the feeling was slightly changed. It’s the same typical ball of inspiration that resides inside my chest, only this time it’s knowing, and a little more controlled. It’s comforting to know that that feeling hasn’t left me (but if it hasn’t left me then why is it altered?). I feel like I (myself) have changed.

Google:

Google.


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Conscious Hypochondria (Day 126)

When reading this post, keep in mind that I am not a psychologist or scientist- I am very simply someone living with a particular experience.

As a self-proclaimed (but ‘recovering’) ‘hypochondriac’, I have always been conscious of the chemicals and toxins that surround me. Whether these chemicals exist in the form of pollution or house-hold cleaning products, I am almost always aware of potential dangers to my health. This consciousness influences my lifestyle and choices. For example, I only like to buy natural products, and I could never see myself raising a family in the city.

My ecology class recently read Marie Clements’ extraordinary play entitled Burning Vision. If you haven’t read it, the play revolves around the atomic explosion that occurred over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. The play takes place in a variety of countries, employing a variety of themes, and as mentioned by my professor (Dr. Julia Emberley), exposes the connections between the countries and beings who were affected by the bombs. For instance, the writing discusses uranium mining in Canada. This mining affected many cultures and people. The miners (mainly men) and the radium painters (of watches, and mainly female) developed cancer from the mining of uranium. As well, still to this day, numerous populations of people are affected by the aftermath of the atomic bombs and uranium mining in general. Connections forged due to violence and warfare are still alive and operating today.

After discussing Clements’ play, the class watched a documentary on uranium mining. The documentary did a good job of depicting how the mining affects Indigenous populations and a major theme within the film revolved around capitalism and the favouring of economy over ecology. As well, the film depicted the urgent need for Western society to develop a sense of consciousness towards capitalist actions, in order to recognize the full impact of such actions and prevent violence and harm. This consciousness and awareness already exists within Indigenous culture and spirituality. Sadly, the government and people in power fail to listen to Indigenous populations who are directly impacted by uranium mining, even though the populations are developing sickness, and cancer because of the mining.

How does this link to ‘conscious hypochondria’? Well, I would describe my episodes of hypochondria as being derived from my ‘subconscious’. In regards to environmental degradation, my ‘everyday brain’ is already consciously aware of chemicals and pollution (because of my experienced hypochondria). My hypochondria therefore, has made me aware of the health dangers that surround me. Through this perspective, one can see the clear tie between mental health and ecological issues (again, a conscious perspective that Indigenous culture already understands).

Consciousness is a concept and way of thinking that Eurocentric and capitalist forces are afraid of. Consciousness allows people knowledge of their surroundings, therefore it also allows people to understand when violence and harm are occuring. So consciousness is dangerous to the powerful forces that would prefer to remain unquestioned.

I would never wish mental illness upon anyone. But imagine if capitalist Western society developed a conscious form of hypochondria. This form of hypochondria would not be distressing per say, rather it would allow people in power to directly see uranium mining as affecting health, and they would want (key word ‘want’) to actually stop any violence and harm. My hypochondria in my day to day life, psychologically gives me no other choice but to avoid things that negatively impact my health.

Can hypochondria be productive? Would a taste of it actually force people in power to make the right decisions? I would argue yes, but nonetheless, one can clearly see the intersecting lines between mental illness and ecological health and well-being.

Comment below if you want to critique or add thoughts!


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Reasons To Be Happy Today (Day 125)

-I live in a cozy house with lovely roommates.

-I’m alive.

-I’m taking steps to control my hypochondria.

-I can afford to go to university.

-I have a cute and quirky assortment of family members.

-I have lovely friends who send me sweet things in the mail sometimes.

-I know some amazing individuals who support me.

Sometimes it’s just important for me to remind myself of the ways in which I’m lucky and very privileged. It’s especially important for me to do this during stressful times.

To do this week:

-Finish my essays.

-Mail all of my penpals.

-Drink lots of tea.


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Dear Future Words, (Day 124)

I have a confession to make today.

I have serious writer’s block.

It probably has something to do with exams and stress but I just can’t help but take it personally. My work for my creative writing class has become dull and uncreative and when I sit down to write for pleasure, I can’t seem to make the words flow properly. Usually, I can find the perfect words to describe exactly what I’m feeling at a particular moment but lately, I come up dry. My professor comically said that he had a similar problem (probably in the 60s) and he went to the doctor, who prescribed him pills.

“The pills didn’t help, I sat in my bedroom for days and couldn’t stop singing. By the end of the week I could hardly talk, my throat was so sore.”

This anecdote wasn’t very helpful, but he did later ask me if I was “watering my writer’s block”. I’m not too sure what such a thing entails but I’m guessing he wants me to envision my writer’s block as some sort of metaphoric plant that I must learn to work with, perhaps until I can master it. What an interesting metaphor?

I’m hoping to recover from all my stress during winter break. I want to come back to school in January and blow people away with the words that won’t surface just yet. I know I have something to write about, I just haven’t uncovered it.

Be afraid, be very afraid. (You know who you are.)