Anxiety Part III: Healthscare

Every week or so, it seems I’m dying of something else. It could be HIV, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, or any of the other millions of things that can go wrong with the human body. Of course, I probably don’t have any of those things. But that doesn’t stop me from worrying.

I guess I just have a intense aversion to dying. I really don’t want to die. Combine that with a predisposition towards anxiety and you have a recipe for trouble. Your mind is constantly searching for something it can turn into a life threatening illness. You have a headache? It might be a brain tumor. Or an aneurysm. You know that bump in your mouth that’s probably a saliva duct? Maybe it’s mouth cancer. Coughing a lot lately? It could be pneumonia.

This just goes on and on. And the internet always makes it worse. You can go over to Web MD’s Symptom Checker, put in the most innocuous ailment, and it gives you a list that includes all the possible causes, no matter how remote. When you see that, your mind goes spinning and you search the web to find something that says you’re not dying.

For me, the illness de jour is chronic melamine toxicity. My family has used melamine plastic plates for as long as I could remember and it’s not uncommon for us to put them in the microwave. Then the thought comes: what if the melamine leeches into my food and gives me cancer! What if I have cancer right now?

That takes me to my laptop and the internet, where I learn that melamine plates are not microwave safe and have been known to leech in to food. However, a study in Taiwan found that leeching was not a high enough level to cause health problems, but the chronic effects of long term use are still unknown. Long story short, it’s probably not going to kill me. The key word there is “probably.”

But that doesn’t stop me from worrying. I would prefer that it was “definitely” instead of “probably.” Too that there’s no such thing in life as certainty. At least I can take comfort in the fact that next week it’ll probably be something. And they say that variety is the spice of life.


One thought on “Anxiety Part III: Healthscare

  1. It is really funny when you talk to someone who has anxiety too, and worries all the time; it kind of makes you feel more normal and bring you back down to earth a little bit. But, when you are alone, you pretty much convince yourself without a doubt that something is wrong and you are probably going to die from it. Some phases in my life more than others, I do this to myself. I always think the worst is happening to me. I recently had a mouth sore that I was convinced it was cancer. Its been gone for months now, but I spent weeks worrying constantly about it. I even cried about it and was secretly overwhelmed. Looking back on it, I know something was wrong with that picture, but then, I had it all figured out. I think reading your post reminded me to stop doing this to myself and remain positive. I need to focus on fighting hypochondria. Also, I’ve learned to stop searching web MD for diagnosis. I’ve probably diagnoised myself with 10 major illinesses in the last 3 years. This has got to stop, for real this time.Thanks -Fant

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