365 Days of Hypochondria

And other personal happenings.


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Strain of Consciousness #3 (Day 246)

University is not my life. And that is not a unique statement. Other people I know feel the same way. Yet, I always come back to this phrase, because it’s an easy one to forget.

During my university semesters, I wonder where I’ve gone to. Who I am during school is simply not me. I value everything I learn in school and my mind is challenged by the knowledge I am gaining, but I lose my will to be inspired. I feel de-motivated, and occasionally worthless. Grades consume me and exhaust me. I was always taught that getting good grades was indicative of goodness itself, but getting good grades, in the long run, doesn’t challenge me or move me or alter me in any way. Getting bad grades means everything. And grades themselves are only letters or numbers, a reflection of a mental state, a good or bad nights sleep, a passionate moment, not a reflection of me and my full potential as a creative human being.

I revel in the very aspects of university that challenge convention. I love my professors that speak from a place of passion and I love the rare courses that see me as a human being and not as a grade point average. My creative writing course, or my ecology course, for example. I love participating in the university community. The writing contests and the on-campus publications- all of that is wonderful. But besides all of that- the all nighters, the grade anxiety, the not-wanting-to-get-up-in-the-morning, that’s not me. And every year I wait for summer, because during my time away at university, I have four months of warm-weathered freedom, and I spend that time in a creative mind-space. It is during those four months that I grow. I work and I challenge myself creatively and I grow.

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Hiiii (Days 243-245)

I’m currently eating half a box of cereal without milk whilst pondering my human existence. If you’re a queer hopeless romantic who is still trying to get over your past, like, four lovers- watch the movie Weekend and realize that striving for homonormativity ends in heartbreak. You will not inherently find happiness by replicating heteronormative romance-film tropes. (Carve out your own unique space/style of love and happiness!) Or don’t! This is just what I am planning to do.

Anyways these thoughts basically sum up my week so far. My schedule is crazy, therefore my brain is all over the place.

xoxo


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Cookie Update (242)

I get really emotional about food during finals. A measly cookie becomes a tiny package of warmth and comfort. I ate a lot of cookies today and I feel like I’m turning into one. It’s sort of scary in a dystopian sort of way. I wish cookies were vegetables, that way I wouldn’t have to worry about vitamin c deficiency.

Do you see how my assignment overload is making me crazy?


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Public Selfies & Private Investigations (Day 240)

You know when you’re trying to take a selfie on your laptop in public and you’re trying not to smile because you don’t want people to know what you’re doing but at the same time you don’t want to look like a zombie? And the photo never works out because you end up looking like you’re stoned with stupid smirk on your face? No? That’s just me?

Anyways what I’m trying to tell you is that I’m a failure at procrastination so instead I’m writing this post!

Today I went to a research conference put on by the Women’s Studies department at my university. Three of my friends presented in the conference and they were just lovely.

I’ve been feeling pretty inspired lately. As well, I realized last night that without this blog, I wouldn’t have figured out a lot of things about my mental health. Maybe my inspiration and my self-awareness go hand in hand. This blog is a way for me to investigate myself. I’ve always wanted to be a private investigator and I guess I can call myself the PI of my own mind. That has a cool ring to it.


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When I’m Not Me: What An Episode Feels Like (Day 239)

This is an important post because a lot of people don’t understand how my hypochondria works. Some people try to understand it (to that, I say- thank you!) but a lot of people never will. This is a post about what my mind experiences on a day-to-day basis and what an episode feels like.

I didn’t want to blog about it at the time but I had a nightmare at the beginning of the week. Normally, I feel ambivalent towards nightmares, because like any kind of dream, I’m fascinated by them. This dream however, was very triggering and I woke up in a panicked state. It was 8:00am and I couldn’t get my mind to stop racing. I tried squishing my head with my pillow (as if that would halt my thoughts) but when I tried to calm myself down, my mind simply refused. Like all of my episodes, I experienced a lack of control.

For me, hypochondria exists in two forms:

Form #1: Daily Awareness (When I’m Me)

This isn’t necessarily hypochondria. It’s what life is like for any “healthy” brain except that I experience a daily over-awareness of chemicals and things. This symptom of hypochondria is tolerable and it doesn’t consume my mind all the time. (I do often think about things like school and work and cats and cute girls okay?) It just means that I like to consciously use all natural cleaners and that I’m somewhat aware of intentionally making myself sick. This isn’t really anxiety, it’s simply me being overly aware of my environment.

Some people think I have hypochondria on my brain 24/7. This is not the case. I’m not scared of sick people unless you’re a complete stranger and you’re breathing your contagious illness a millimetre from my face. I really could care less if my friends or family make me sick. If they don’t have an extremely debilitating, contagious fatal illness, I like their germs, in a friendship kind of way. I only ever freaked out once when I thought my friend gave me Mono. This is laughable now.

Sometimes general awareness of my environment triggers me into an episode, but only sometimes. For example, this once happened when I accidentally sat on a couch covered in bleach. But that’s another story.

Form #2: Episode (When I’m Not Me)

This form of hypochondria is rarer than the first. It usually exists during moments of stress or after experiences of death. This is also the form of hypochondria that exists inside my brain when I am triggered (I am most often triggered by discussions around serious/fatal illnesses). It’s a state of panic. When I’m in this state I am NOT rational like I am in my daily mindset.

The good part about this state is that few people have ever witnessed it. I like to keep it deep inside of me and a lot of the time, it happens when I’m alone. With that being said, I do have episodes around people sometimes so I’ve mastered the secretly-panicked-inside-but-normal-outside way of living. Just the other day I had an episode with three of my friends in the room but no one noticed because I’m an artist at containing my emotions. Maybe four or five people have seen me panic (and those are my immediate family members). Hey mom, remember that time in high school when I made you drive me to the ER? Yeah…sorry about that.

Sometimes this state is induced by alcohol but only on rare occasions. When I’m in this panicked mind frame, life sort of blurs and my thinking is very negative. I call this mindset an “episode” because after it’s over I come back to my “normal self”, and anything I had thought during the episode becomes distant. Only after an episode do I recognize my own irrationality. When I view my irrationality from a retrospective point of view, I feel like I’m remembering a dream.

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So that’s that. Those are the two ways in which I have experienced my hypochondria for the past thirteen years. If you think this makes me a fear-mongering psycho, please read this post.

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Questions? Ask them.