Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Year in Diseases

Not to be all mushy about the new year, but as 2006 comes to an end, I couldn't help but look back on the blog and draw some conclusions about how the hypochondria is progressing. I was shocked. The amount of diseases I've been inflicted with over the year is tiring. And while I've only been blogging for five months, the majority of my ailments have ran their course during that time.

So, being the lovely list maker that I am, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to lay them out here...
  • Breast Cancer
  • Bird Flu
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Tonsillitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Appendicitis
  • Throat Cancer
  • Skin Cancer
  • MS
  • Throat Collapse
  • Lung Collapse
  • Lymph Node Malfunction
  • Tissue Degeneration of the Neck and Face
  • Acid Reflux
  • Sadistic and Sophisticated Sinus Infection
  • Pinched Nerve in the Elbow
  • Blood Clots
  • Eye Twitch (caused by Nerve Pathway damage)
  • Organ Combustion
The inumerous heart attacks, strokes, brain tumors and aneurysms must not be forgotten, and undoubtedly deserve to stand alone from the list - as it is they who have given me some of my best deaths.

And while I've been weak in succumbing to the imaginary illnesses, I feel I've progressed in two important ways.

The first, toning down the judgmental behavior. Instead of becoming infuriated by the actions of others, I look within myself and try to understand why their behavior upsets me. What I've found, more often than not, is the qualities that bother me most about others, are the same qualities that I dislike about myself.

The second, is the realization that I have control of myself and my emotions. Nothing else. That external factors don't control me. I control me. This is a tough one that goes back to the whole negative thinking routine, but I'm proud to report that things are progressing in this area.

These things may not seem hypochondria-related, but in the end, I think it will be baby steps like these that will lead to a hypochondria-free me.

Happy New Year and cheers to a healthy 2007. Let the binge drinking begin!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Put Your Happy Face on

Let the celebrations begin. Despite my last attempt to thwart our trip this morning, we’re off to see the “fam.”

And not only do I have to worry about the endless hours of visiting, I also get to stress about crashing off the side of the icy mountain and dying on the way there. I’m not sure which scenario is worse.

We're already behind schedule. So, flask in hand, and off I go. Merry fucking Christmas.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

138/88

I'm having severe chest pains. And head pains. I can't breathe. My heart is beating eratically and I'm twitching. My temperature is 97.1.

She's...Dead...Jim

Now that I can open my eyes enough to see the computer screen, I suppose I should chronicle the horror of this December afternoon.

I had a 4:15 p.m. doctor’s appointment, for my annual “woman wellness checkup.” And I should’ve known how the visit would go, when I entered a waiting room full of people wearing face masks. But, I didn’t see it coming.

Seven shots, two cigarettes, and three hours of crying later, all I have to say is this is not what I needed four days before Christmas.

To make a long story short, my blood pressure is 138/88. The doctor took it twice just to be sure. Forget the countdown, my annual Christmas breakdown has officially begun.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Four outta Five ain't Bad

If I was playing baseball, that is. Unfortunately, I’m referring to the anxiety disorders I qualify for in this article.

Anxiety disorders are a category of illnesses marked by persistent, irrational and excessive worry that interferes with everyday functioning. They include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder (SAD) and specific phobias.

GAD
, check. OCD, check. Panic Disorder, check. SAD, check. It’s hard to wrap my head around how I’ve gotten to this point. But, I’m starting to realize that most of these disorders are rooted in my discomfort and dislike of myself.

I'm ashamed of my family, my background and the lifestyle choices I've made, and continue to make. I feel like I subconsciously use anxiety as a diversion from my underlying discomfort and distaste for myself. By obsessively focusing my attention on strokes and cancer, or upcoming events, I can blame my anxiety on external factors
rather than acknowledging that the true source comes from within.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It's Been Confirmed

I’m a horrible person. I’ve known it all along. But, Rey confirmed it for me, tonight. After our…crash.

It was about 5:02 p.m., when we—thanks to TiVo—paused the Cowboy/Falcon game and left the house for the black raspberry liqueur we needed for our French Martinis.
(Which, I would not recommend).

And it was snowing. Slightly. As we pulled out of the garage and I customarily bitched at Rey for how slow he, and everyone else, was driving.
But, we made it. Eventually. To Billy Bob’s Fine Wine and Liqueur, and hence, proceeded to spend, way more than we had, on liqueur, the week before Christmas.

And, not two minutes after our checker disingenuously told us to, “drive safely in that weather,” Rey was spiraling out of control directly at the blue, ‘80’s Ford in our left hand lane.

Time slowed as we fish-tailed toward the truck.
It was silent as I warily turned toward Rey. And found him, flashing the most accusatory look I’ve ever seen in my life.

(Mind you, we’re 180 degrees into our turn, and all he can think about is pointing fingers.)

Then, just as I’m bracing for the hit, we suddenly catapult away from the truck. Slam into the guardrail. Twice. Finish our 360 and spiral into a parking lot.

The short of it is, we were lucky enough not to hit another car.
And, we drive an SUV, so we got a way without a scratch.

But that wasn’t enough for good old Rey. He passionately told me how horrible of a person I was, for laughing about the crash. (Okay, I was hysterically laughing for about twenty minutes).

* * *

Californians and snowboarding—good.
Californians and driving in snow—not so much.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

If Only

As I’ve said before, I NEED A MAMMOGRAM! However, waiting for the results are a big source of anxiety for most women. Go figure. According to studies, women that need a second mammogram to check out abnormalities, suffer anxiety at an even higher rate. You don’t say. If a doctor ever, e-e-e-e-ever utters the words "abnormality" and "test" in the same breath to me, I’m going straight home to draft my last will and testament and suck down as many martinis as I possibly can.

Good-Bye Prozac, Hello Electricity


Anyone who has read this blog for awhile is aware of my apprehension towards anti-depressants such as Prozac, well, it appears there is now another option. Microcurrent electrical stimulation, aka shock therapy. That’s right, apparently a daily dose of electricity cures depression, anxiety and even pain. Here is the gist of the article:

“More than 100 studies show it helps depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and even pain. Electrical currents travel through electrodes and activate nerve cells in the brainstem, producing feel-good chemicals like serotonin and acetylcholine.

Wait, it gets better, you can purchase your very own “at-home” system for under $1000.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Duped Again

What can I say. The plane didn’t crash. The party was a great time. And the three weeks of anxiety I put myself through were all in vain.

It’s easy to look back now and see how ridiculous I acted leading up to the party. What’s not so easy is keeping that in mind when the next social situation arises.

Anxiety is a sick, sick game...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I am a Party Person...I am a Party Person...I am a Party Person...

Damn, it's not working!

There is a Difference

I’m very diligent about monitoring the common areas of my office and the whereabouts of my coworkers, so I’m not faced with any unforeseen encounters. Trips to the kitchen and bathroom are very calculated, and today, when I was sure the coast was clear, I headed for the kitchen to make my lunch.

Much to my dismay, (and thanks to my apparently poor calculations), I was followed in by a senior attorney. So, I did my best at being cordial and initiated a conversation about the only thing that’s been on my mind for the last two weeks. “So, you’re not going to the Christmas party?” I ask. I was shocked by her response.

“No. I’m not a party person. I don’t like parties. I’m no good at parties, so I don’t go.”

Okay, first of all I was shocked because I would never be able to say that—even though I feel that way—because to me, not being a “party person” is a bad thing. It would make people look down on me, which in turn makes me a horrible person.

But the other reason why it surprised me is because she’s this extraordinarily smart, witty and opinionated woman and I can’t fathom her passing up an opportunity to socialize. She’s overtly social in the office, she’s very chatty and funny and it seemed out of character.

The bottom line is I don’t want to go to the Christmas party because I’m uncomfortable with myself and terrified of looking stupid in front of others; she doesn’t want to go to the party because...she doesn’t want to go to the party. Big difference.

And there’s nothing wrong with being the type of person who doesn’t get thrilled at the idea of a Christmas party. What is wrong is when you feel like killing yourself to get out of it.

It
’s all about self-acceptance. If only I could accept myself.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Calm Before the Storm

The Christmas party has all but consumed me these last couple days. Last night I was in tears. Today I’m okay.

My social anxiety is so intense. It’s almost unbearable. It’s hard for me to believe I live in this state of constant panic. The fear is always there. It’s so real. So paralyzing.

I think about it, about how pathetic I am, and how stupid it sounds to be terrified of a Christmas party. Free drinks, music, good food, nice views. I should be thankful that this is the worst of my problems.

I just have such strong feelings of inadequacy. I don’t know if it’s because I was brought up in a negative household, or because I was abandoned by my Dad, or because of the warped portrayal of normal by the mass media, but I always feel like I’m not good enough. I feel like I have to be the most outgoing, the funniest, the most knowledgeable, the prettiest, the best dancer. And I’m not.

I feel like I always have to put on a fa├žade for people to accept me, and I do it so often it’s like second nature. I know it makes me feel even worse in the long run because it reinforces the idea that the real me really isn’t good enough.

It’s just like the title of this post, I was gonna log on and write about how calm I am about the party, but that’s bullshit. I’m screaming inside.

My flight leaves at 1:55 p.m. on Friday.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Hypochondriac’s Worst Nightmare

I’m not trying to send anybody into a fit of hypochondria, but I couldn’t keep this one to myself—Discovery Health actually has animated, step by step demonstrations of how the most horrifying diseases attack the body.

I thought I was being safe when I opted for Anthrax in lieu of the stroke or heart attack route, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. This is a taste of what I got…

“Within a few days after initial exposure, cold-like symptoms including fever, cough, aches, and general malaise develop. Although some people experience a brief recovery, this is followed by a rapid onset of more serious symptoms. During this time, sores develop in the lung tissue where the bacteria first entered the body and fluids build up within the chest cavity. This produces bleeding and swelling and restricts breathing.

The toxins also reach the brain and spinal cord causing bleeding within the thin layer of tissue that encases these structures. The results are severe respiratory problems, hemorrhaging, shock, and often death.”

There was also something in there about the lymph nodes swelling and hemorrhaging. Needless to say, I’m dreading the next time I develop “cold-like” symptoms.

I’m warning you now, this is not a safe place for hypochondriacs. ENTER…

Friday, December 01, 2006

Something New to Fear!

As if anxiety wasn't bad enough. (And, no this is not my truck.) According to this article, panic attacks can cause you to drive your vehicle into a wall.