365 Days of Hypochondria

And other personal happenings.


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New Diet (Days 285-287)

These past couple of days I’ve been realizing that I have a few health problems I need to get under control. Well, one health problem: my acid reflux. I’m still boggled as to how on earth I even ended up with such an ailment but as I’ve previously written, I blame it on my past overconsumption of hot sauce. I miss that stuff so bad.

My awareness of my acid reflux has nothing to do with my hypochondria. Rather, the reflux is really starting to take a toll on me, especially on my breathing. One of the main symptoms I have is asthma and it has affected me in other ways as well.

I’m not overweight so this new diet has nothing to do with me counting calories. On the flip side, I am being careful to make sure that I get enough calories in a day. The diet involves extremely healthy, bland food, and on a low-acid diet, you are supposed to eat small meals frequently, rather than consume larger meals three times a day. It definitely takes some getting used to.

So far, I’ve figured out that some of the foods that are great for people with acid reflux are: oatmeal, bananas, lettuce, green beans, sweet potatoes, broccoli, rice, and cous-cous. Aside from eating these foods, I’ve also been drinking ginger tea (I simply boil ginger in water) and hot water with honey. As well, I’ve been taking an apple-cider vinegar capsule before I go to bed and a probiotic when I wake up in the morning.

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In order to make my food less bland, I mix different ingredients together. For example, today I combined kale salad with sweet potato! This diet is hard for those who aren’t used to unseasoned food but it’s definitely do-able.

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I’m sorry I’ve been so awful with posting lately. I have been taking photos and thinking of ideas; my mind is always on this blog, even when I’m absent. More to come tomorrow!

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New Chapter (Day 281)

Change is underrated. Recently my life has taken an unpredicted turn for the better. If someone approached me about the concept of change five months ago, I would have told them that I liked my life how it was. But really, I was idling at an incredible low, and although I didn’t realize it, I had stopped growing.

I recently cut my hair off. That small (big?) change kind of set me free. I feel like myself again. Now that my mentality has changed, my everyday mood, my thoughts, and my lifestyle have changed for the better as well. I can think clearly and I feel more confident in what I can accomplish for myself.

Too often, low self-esteem can curl us up and cage us. I couldn’t change when I thought that I deserved less than what I do. Unfortunately, it takes time and a few regrets (or simply learning experiences) to incite the change we need in our lives. But eventually, it does come. And that’s something to always look forward to. I am looking forward.


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How To Love The Doctor’s Office (Day 266)

Please note that I realize how lucky I am to have healthcare. I am not complaining; my hypochondria makes me quite critical. But maybe that’s not a bad thing.

I sometimes (usually) have an irrational aversion to the doctor’s office. However, a lot of the time I think that my disdain for the doctor’s is quite normal.

After all the doctor’s office usually:

-smells like disinfectant

-simultaneously smells like sorrow

-has a waiting room that induces “lead-up” anxiety and

a television tuned in to a popular news station (broadcasting the latest in biased & melodramatic journalism)

What normal person would enjoy that atmosphere? However, I do have to admit that a lot of my aversion to the doctor’s office is derived from my hypochondria. Lately though, I’ve had a change in mindset. I’ve begun to realize that knowledge isn’t something to be feared. Rather, knowledge can empower you and give you control over your body. I came home to see my family doctor this week but I wasn’t able to make an appointment. So I’ve decided to set an appointment up for myself when I get back to the city. I’m going to take one for the team and write about my doctor’s appointment. Can you tell it’s been a while since I’ve gone?

It should be noted that not all people with hypochondria have an aversion to the doctor’s and I certainly didn’t used to be this way. (I used to supplement my health anxiety by visiting the doctor TOO often.)

If you have hypochondria or any other mental health issue, how do you feel about the doctor’s office?


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Brain Links (Day 265)

When I feel off or down, I like to escape reality. How do I do this you ask? Well, when I’m not working or at school, I’ll binge watch t.v., spend an obscene amount of time playing games on my iPad, etc etc. Some people might equate this with laziness, and maybe it is laziness (I suppose I’m quite fortunate to have time to escape reality) but I often think of it as a coping mechanism. All sorts of strange behaviours can be linked with one’s psychology. Some people link procrastination to stress or a fear of failure. During my exams I attempted to procrastinate my studying, and in doing this, I realized a lot of my procrastination habits result from an ironic fear of attempting something in case of failure. When I procrastinate, I do the same activities that cause me to escape reality. I think it’s a coping mechanism that forces me to reduce my stress. I get stressed out easily because I overthink everything. The moment I enter something into my calendar I can’t stop thinking about it until said project or date is done and over with. This creates me into someone who hates planning things. I guess that’s why I prefer spontaneity– it’s stress-free for me.

I have no clue what the point of this post was, it’s really just me rambling. But I guess now I see how linked all of my mentalities are. Cause and effect etc etc.


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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.


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I May Never Get Better (Day 236)

You can’t always fix a brain. You can alter it, work on it, and try to ignore it but it will never really change. It will always be the brain that you’re forced to go back to when you’re sick of trying to find remedies. I think that deep down, I know that I will never be able to rid myself of hypochondria. This is very sad to think about. But I’m lucky in a way, because I’m the kind of person who won’t ever let it crush me. I laugh at it. I laugh at it after I break down in those moments of panic that I dearly hate. But I do eventually laugh at it- after I wake from those crazy episodic states. Those moments feel like dreams later on. As if they never existed. I always hold on to the hope that maybe they never really happened.


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Update: Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules (Day 231)

Today’s post is just going to be a little update on those apple cider vinegar capsules I previously mentioned. I have nothing but positive news! I take a capsule with water every night before I go to sleep and that routine (along with a better diet) has completely eradicated by acid reflux (or at least the annoying symptoms)! I highly recommend them to anyone dealing with acid reflux. They are total life savers. Finally I can stop worrying that I have lung cancer or some strange illness- my chronic cough was most definitely linked with my acid reflux. :)

Some foods that also help:

-oatmeal (this helps tenfold)

-bananas

-whole grain bread