Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Life is like a Teeter-Totter

I either wake up running or fall out of bed. I eat at the same restaurant for three weeks in a row, then not all for the next five. I go from drinking ten cups of coffee a day for six months, to none.

Simply put, I'm an extremist, and it spills into aspects of my life that aren't so trivial. For instance, I can’t take a day off work because I’ll spend the entire time obsessing that I’m a horrible person and will be fired upon my return. (I don’t take into consideration that I’ve worked the last eight months straight without a day off, come in early, work late and pick up everyone else’s slack the other 364 days of the year). Oh, or that I’m grossly underpaid.

Everything is always: if (blank), then (blank). Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. With a mind like mine, that’s overactive, negative and with a tendency for the extremes, that uncomplicated equation turns my waking hours into a living hell.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Well, Here's Something I Don't Tell People...

I'm the product of an affair.
My charming and classy mother revealed this to me during a druken episode when I was twelve years old. It just about ruined my world. I was traumatized. The "Dad" that I knew and loved was suddenly not my Dad at all, and my "real Dad" couldn't even be bothered with my existence. Wow, now that's something appropriate to lay on a twelve year old. Oh, and to top it off, she swore me to secrecy, because "people would look down on us" if they knew.

So, I tucked it away. I learned to hide the pain in the back of my mind, where it's stayed for all these years. But, I'm not gonna carry my mother's burden anymore. It's her dirty little secret, not mine and it's hindered me long enough.

I know that not knowing my father is part of who I am, and has shaped me in ways that I don't even realize. So my plan is to dig deep down and figure out exactly how it's influenced me. But, that'll be for another post; just admitting I'm a bastard is about all I can handle in one day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Call Me Twitchy

Bad News: My left eye has been incessantly and wildly twitching!

I looked up “eye twitch” online, and I’m apparently suffering from Epilepsy and mild seizures – (good old WebMD). But, I’m trying to be rational, so, I’m dismissing that suggestion and attributing it to something more realistic. I’ve determined that the twitch is being caused by a reckless weekend, that involved too much alcohol, which resulted in severe damage to the nerve pathways in my brain that control this damn eye!

This is not good, I’ll keep you posted...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Low Self-Esteem 101

This is a perfect example of why women, namely myself, have low self-esteem. While this clip isn't about hypochondria, I think it's related because low self-esteem often accompanies hypochondria; at least in my case it does.

The media's portrayal of "beauty" definitely has something to do with my issues of self-worth and inadequacy. We all know models are airbrushed, but actually seeing it happen is powerful...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Readers Beware


Fifteen Things That Freak Me Out

  1. Aches
  2. Pains
  3. Aches & Pains
  4. My Mom
  5. Surprise Visits
  6. Flying
  7. Questions
  8. People Calling My House
  9. Elevators
  10. Knocking at the Door
  11. Vents in the Bathroom
  12. My Neighbors
  13. Drinks with Co-Workers
  14. Getting Water at Night
  15. Food from Other Peoples' Houses

Wow, this list doesn't really do much for my reputation. I swear I'm not a bad person to be around, I'm actually quite pleasant, (if you don't call me, ask me questions, knock at my door, or invite me to go somewhere).

Killing Me Softly

My Dearest Stroke, Blood Clot and Tumor:

How I await our next foray;

I long for the shakes, the sweats, the aches you bring me everyday.

Your numbing pain plagues my brain, making life seem so much fuller.

All I need to be happy are my stroke, blood
clot and tumor.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bad Day

I had a major panic attack today. Brought on by a "dizzy spell," although I'd hardly call it that. Over the past week, I've been periodically feeling like and intensifying wave is sweeping through the back of my head and into my sinus cavity where it stops in a pressure packed, resonating hum. It's been freaking me out. But today, I went beyond freaking out.

I was positive this “sensation” was a tumor, crushing my brain. It wasn’t pretty. I was on the verge of hysteria; I had to be talked out of going to the hospital. I seriously thought the tumor was killing me right there and then.

I've since attributed it to a sinus/ear infection, although my heart's not truly in it. Oh, and the Beast (aka my manipulative, intrusive mom), announced that she's going to be "dropping by" this weekend. Seems like every time I think things are progressing, I get a smack in the face.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

My Unprofessional Professional Opinion

It is not disputed that hypochondria can be successfully treated. Behavioral and drug therapies have both proven promising, and ultimately produce the same result: a reduction in the strength of dysfunctional beliefs.

While many define hypochondria as the preoccupation or obsession with health and imaginary disease, it is more accurately defined as the surrender to irrational beliefs. The hypochondriac embraces an idea as truth, without evidence or consideration for past experience.

Professionals are now proclaiming this way of thinking to be the hypochondriac’s physical illness, a “neuro-chemical imbalance in the brain,” which causes the person to succumb to illogical viewpoints. They’ve proved that this flawed judgment can be corrected by altering the mind’s thinking process through drug therapy. But, are we “illogical people” capable of correcting our way of thinking without the enablement of prescription drugs? Cognitive and behavioral therapists have proven that belief systems can also be altered through alternative means, such as psycho education and the monitoring, identifying and challenging of our unreasonable thoughts.

If both treatment methods are ultimately successful, is one superior to the other? Does the end justify the means?

While drug therapy is regarded as a successful treatment for hypochondria, its effects are temporary and only last while the patient is medicated. The thinking process is artificially altered, instead of consciously changed by the patient. This means it is more of a temporary fix or “Band-Aid,” not the solution. This approach is fitting for today’s American society, which is addicted to instant gratification. Medication is to the hypochondriac, what the diet pill is to the obese; while it initially sheds the pounds or irrational thoughts, it is addicting and temporary.

It’s my personal belief that the cure must come from within, not from a bottle. In my experience, the irrational thoughts that fuel the hypochondria don’t stop at health-related concerns, it seeps into other aspects of life and causes clouded thinking in general. In order for the hypochondriac to experience a higher quality of life, free of irrational thinking, we must address the problem, not mask it. But, if we truly do suffer from a tangible neuro-chemical imbalance, how can therapy alone address this? I don’t know.

What I do know, is that the mind is a powerful thing. If we can harness our imaginations and focus our energy in positive ways, life would be a much more enjoyable experience. Studies do show that a group receiving placebo will experience the same result as a group taking Prozac if they truly believe in the cure.

Therapy or drugs, to each his own, but I’d definitely advise against the lobotomy of the 1960’s.

* * *

Reading too many scholarly journals has kicked my brain tumor into high gear…must go medicate with some beer.