Tackling the fear and anxiety brought upon by hypochondria
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, hypochondria is an excessive concern about your own health. It involves believing you have an illness that you actually don’t have.
Living with hypochondria has caused great anxiety in my life, mostly because the things that can cause the illnesses I’m afraid of are in our everyday world and are out of my control.
Where others get stressed over a final exam or a big show, I get stressed over a minor headache that I think may be a brain tumour. This may seem strange, but I’ve lived this way my entire life. I stress about things that I cannot control, which is debilitating in its own right.
But can you really blame a girl for being paranoid?
We live in a world where almost anything can kill you. From radiation to hidden carcinogens, we’re constantly exposed to a variety of toxins.
I’ve always been a hypochondriac, and with the amount of information circulating the internet.
For example, according to a report by Consumer Reports, cell phones emit a type of radiation also found in microwaves and toaster ovens. While radiation is not known to alter DNA, this data alone freaks me out.
It creates an irrational link within my mind between mobile phones and radiation damage, igniting anxiety.
A report from Reader’s Digest titled “Is Google making us sick?” talks about how the population has a greater access to information, making self-diagnosis a new normal. Medical websites are inundated with remedies and solutions to your every question, creating a new breed of hypochondriacs.
We live in an age where we have access to an unlimited amount of data and information, which has definitely fuelled my hypochondria.
A recent German study cited by Consumer Reports, found that mice subjected to the type of radiation present in microwaves and cellphones promoted the growth of brain tumours. It is only a matter of time before this radiation affects us too. It may just be brewing for about 30 years, but since we have our phones on us every second of every day, it doesn’t seem so far fetched.
I worry about food a lot too, for processed and altered food products are not something I want to be putting into my body. It seems that most affordable (and cheap) food contains additives.
After watching the documentary Food Inc., I became way more conscious of the food I’m ingesting and where it’s coming from. This led to an intensification of my hypochondria because I feel a loss of control over my diet, possibly eating poisonous delicacies.
Lastly, the air we breathe is slowly contributing to poor health. The air is filled with pollutants like sulfur dioxide, methane, and carbon monoxide just to name a few. According to World Health Organization, air pollution is known to cause an increase in the possibility of developing respiratory illnesses, strokes, lung cancer, heart disease and premature death. You may not smell or see these pollutants, which is what makes them so scary.
There is no way to avoid them, we are all subject to it and we will all be affected in some way.
I live with hypochondria and at times it can be a struggle, considering we live in a world where I can access thousands of pages of information.