DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Dec 4 2015

Hypochondriac Blues

by Hope L


Today I saw my doctor for my annual physical.  I haven’t been to see him in a few months because before that I was seeing him constantly, and I thought we needed some time apart. He likely gripes about his patients to his wife.  I believe I would if I had someone like me for a patient!

You see, I have a lot of health problems. Well … um … My doctor assures me that I am very healthy for a 52-year-old.  And then I leave his office relieved, if only for maybe another 24 hours.

You might be guessing by now that my only real problem is that I am a hypochondriac. Not that I have been officially diagnosed, mind you. No, my sweet doctor, bless his young-enough-to-be-my-son’s heart, would never tell me that I’m a hypochondriac.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

“Illness anxiety disorder, sometimes called hypochondria or health anxiety, is worrying excessively that you are or may become seriously ill. You may have no physical symptoms. Or you may believe that normal body sensations or minor symptoms are signs of severe illness, even though a thorough medical exam doesn’t reveal a serious medical condition.”

Aha! I just knew there was something wrong with me! I evidently have Illness Anxiety Disorder.  I am one of those people with a headstone ready–and it reads, “See, I told you I was dying.”

I just took an online hypochondria test. I scored High. This should not surprise you, or my doctor, or my spouse. After all, I told you all I was sick.

Thankfully, DCPL has many resources about all sorts of medical and health-related topics, which no doubt hypochondriacs like me will want to carefully research. Oh, and of course, other people can read them as well.

WellEnoughBut even better, read this: Well Enough Alone: A Cultural History of My Hypochondria by Jennifer Traig.

If you’re like me, you will want to stock up on reading materials to keep you informed lest you miss out on color commentary of your latest malady.  Or–and this is important–a potential malady.

And of course, there’s a plethora of things on the internet and on television (think “Mystery Diagnosis,” “House,” “Medical Investigation,” and, of course, everybody’s favorite hypochondriac “Monk”).  I’m a little bit ashamed to say that I’ve looked at some strange illnesses discussed on the web, but I won’t burden you with any of those probably Photoshopped, exploitative shockers.

Right now I’m going to lie down with a good book because I feel a low-grade fever coming on…

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