Hypochondriacs Anonymous.

Yesterday a friend suggested something very probable to me. I may just be a hypochondriac. Like always, I researched this possibility. It affects 6% of the population, but I also don’t know how old that statistic is. It seems very low, but I could consider myself as being one.

When I was in 9th grade, after learning about STDs, I thought that I had an STD. I thought that I had genital warts. I began checking myself constantly for signs of STDs. I also thought that I was pregnant, and that running excessive miles in cross-country would make the baby go away. People, I was a virgin.

I had nothing wrong with me, except that I was advised by my doctor to get more Iron in my blood because I was close to having blood-deficiency.

Years passed in high school. When I began having sex, the worries began once again. I learned that I really, really loved sex. So I did it often. I used protection, minus 1 or 2 times. When I first came to college, I got tested for everything, including HIV/AIDS. Most people I know have A) Never had a blood test or B) Have them once a year, if not, less. Others do not go to the doctor when they “think” they have something, and others have unprotected sex when they know they have something, such as HPV.

Why do people do this? I don’t know and I can’t imagine their reasoning. Me, on the other hand, will wake up the next day after engaging in protected sexual activity, and think that I have somehow contracted HIV, warts, chlamydia, and gotten pregnant. These worries sometimes consume me to the point where my body begins creating fake symptoms. I have actually begun shaking, thoughts spinning in my head, keeping me up at night. I have put myself in cold sweats, and then gone on to think that it’s a sign of a disease. I have had body aches, and made myself believe it was a sign of HIV.

When these worries happen, I then begin to bother my past sexual partners– texting, calling– to ask them if they have had STDs. At the time of sexual encounter, this question was already asked. However, I have trouble actually believing the person.

Condoms are 97% effective against the transmission of STDs and HIV/AIDS if used correctly. This is true, right? This means that 97% of the time, I am safe from contracting a disease. Yet, months after my last sexual partner, I will still imagine that he has given me something, even if I have NO symptoms at all.

I have gotten yearly pap smears since I was 18. 2-3 of those years, I had returned to the doctor for more pap smears. This is excessive, but so are two blood tests a year. I have wasted hours in the waiting room and hours worrying at home. The final answer from my doctor has always been this: Your pap smear came back normal. Your blood test came back negative.

Since my last pap smear, I have had 8 sexual partners, due to my excessive drinking and black outs. 2 of these were unprotected, yet contributing to no symptoms of anything. The rest of these partners used condoms. Sex is something I love, and I do not really regret my decisions because of that. But I do regret that I waste so much time worrying. Currently, I believe that I have contracted herpes from an ex-hook up partner/boyfriend/guy I dated. I make myself believe that people have it out for me, and that they have plans to give me diseases. Currently, I also believe that I could be pregnant, even though my period came on time last month, I’ve gained no weight, and have no symptoms. Whenever I have PMS (breasts become tender, moods become irritable), I attribute it to pregnancy and head to the computer where I research all the symptoms, putting myself into a shaking nervous anxiety attack. Then my period will come on time.

I always misdiagnose ingrown hairs for genital warts or herpes. I check myself everytime I get out of the shower, unless I forget.

I don’t know why I have unprotected sex with some people, but that is completely my fault. If I should go to the doctor again for tests, it would be the third doctor visit in less than 6 months. It would also be my second blood test in one year.

Perhaps I should stop seeing the doctor, and instead, see a psychologist. As far as I know, I have HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, and HPV in the back of my throat. My neck currently aches, probably from all the worry and staring at an online medical database. I woke up with aching shoulders, probably from sleeping in angst.

You may be thinking, “Well, stop having sex.” or “Go get tested.”

My fears have become so irrational that I am trying, for once, to resist going to the doctor unless or until major symptoms should arise. I have always been careful, this is a fact, for at least 98% of the time. Each time I go to the doctor, I am told that I am fine. Also, I have been to the doctor so many times this year that I have reached my family insurance cap. I went a couple more times because I got a yeast infection and I had poison ivy, however I thought that the poison ivy was scabies. I knew I had a yeast infection, but I didn’t believe myself, and figured it was clamydia. I am always a nervous wreck. Now, I am trying to deal with the problems myself instead of getting in my car, running out for plan B, pregnancy tests, researching every STD known to humankind (including pictures of infected people, and comparing them to my perfectly healthy-looking private parts). I am trying, for once in my life, to be rational and put  my worries into other forms. Now, I’m trying to move on with my life and leave my worries behind. Having numerous body ailments = unrealistic. Cleaning my room = realistic.

I hope that I do not need therapy for this, but it may be a good idea. Whenever I see a therapist, I just sit in the chair and don’t really say anything. I think I’m a hypochondriac, but I also may just be faking the symptoms, even though my heart has been pounding and I’m feeling nervous as I’ve typed this entire thing.

I hope that you, the reader, can provide me with some helpful insights, aside from the old adage, “Get tested,” as I know my body very well and the rational part of my brain is beginning to say, “Do not worry unless you have a reason to.” Thank you for reading.

JadeAmethystt is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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3 Comments

Filed under social commentary, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Hypochondriacs Anonymous.

  1. True secret: I hate it when disenfranchised wankers crack wise about being “OCD”because they need to feel psychotic.

    Why is this? Because I am perhaps one of the most OCD people you know (I like to think that I hide it well.)

    Having battled this on and off for over a decade, I have learned the following about combatting the humn mind.

    1. Meditation helps. A lot.
    2. Drugs CAN help, but often become problems in themselves. They can also aggravate the situation.
    3. For the same reason, psychiatrists scare the fuck out of me. (Psychologists can sometimes be helpful.)
    4. Oftentimes, trying to help hurts.

    Example: You think you have HIV. You go research HIV, get HIV tests, and just to be safe, donate half a paycheck to the local HIV clinic.

    Guess what? You don’t have HIV. But what you HAVE done is to put the thought “HIV” through your mind so many times that the hypochondria can basically run on autopilot without stepping outside your current pattern of thought. What would be much better is to simply think “I am clean.” Meditate on the feeling you get right after a warm bath, when even the sweat has drained right out of your body and everything is clean and fresh-feeling. Go ahead and take a bath, if it’ll help you relax, WITHOUT scrutinizing yourself for symptoms or deformities. If you feel compelled to worry, remind yourself that even a casual glance leaves little HIV karmas swimming aound your brain – karmas that could burn you later.

    In any event, I wish you luck with this. The human body and human sexuality are entirely too beautiful to be the objects of fear and mania.

    P.S. Thanks also for encouraging sane levels of sexual cleanliness in your post. Good to know America’s craptastic sex ed programs haven’t ruined us all.

  2. jakefunc

    The trend I’ve noticed with my OCD friends is that once they’ve cleared one obsession their OCD finds something else to latch onto and scrutinize.

    Is this obsession something you think you can live with? If not, try to get some kind of help, but I believe that you will undoubtedly be subject to prevailing doom and your mind will find another wrench to throw in the gears of your life.

  3. Annie

    I have the same issue. I am on birth control and use protection otherwise. But you have to remember you are fine if you are doing both. You shouldn’t let it stop your life, if you want to have sex, have sex. And have no worries.

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