Howard the Hypochondriac

Yesterday I felt weak and visited the doctor for the third time this week.

            I get these feelings where sudden fatigue makes me feel like I am getting sick. My doctor told me for the third time that I was perfectly fine, that I had no sign of physical illness. But I can’t help feeling paranoid that something’s going to happen to me. I worry constantly and can’t seem to trust anyone who tells me I’ll be just fine. Even if I get a stomachache, I worry that I will have gastro-intestinal problems. Nothing’s working out.

            At work, I feel isolated because no one respects me anymore after I called in sick for the tenth time in the last three months. Sometimes in the middle of my work, my heart seems to pound a little harder. This happened last week and I had to rush to the emergency room. As always, the doctor told me everything was okay and that I had nothing to worry about. I don’t understand how these doctors can continue to tell me that I’m fine when clearly the symptoms are there. It’s as if any minute now, I’ll be hospitalized when everyone least expects it, and then I’ll be able to say to everyone “I told you so.”

            I’ve tried reaching out to my best friend, Dave. He was great. He completely understood what I was growing through and actually seemed to believe me. But for some reason, Dave stopped talking to me. I found out two days ago that he had been diagnosed with dissociative amnesia and that he most likely forgot who I was. He didn’t know who he was.

            I’ve tried talking to my family about it too. They’ve been somewhat distant lately. The last time they came to visit, my stomach felt irritated and I could have sworn I was experiencing internal bleeding. Of course, I saw the doctor again and after he told my family everything was all right, they’ve been keeping their distance.

            I’ve never had this “problem” before. I grew up with a normal childhood and am the only child. In fact, I think my childhood was great. I played football when I was younger and other sports. My family was always supportive of me in my goals and encouraged my interest in athletics. It wasn’t until six months ago that I realized that I might be vulnerable to a disease.

            My doctors finally diagnosed me with hypochondriasis today. My family has become much more involved with my condition. Today, I even felt reassured when my father told me I was not going to get ill from my stomachache this morning. My parents are even getting me to engage in activities I used to enjoy before I started dealing with hypochondriasis. Today, I watched basketball with my dad, went out to eat at a restaurant with my parents, and even bought tickets to a concert for later this week. I used to love concerts but haven’t been to one ever since my condition. I’m afraid I might get a heart attack from dealing with all the crowds and the loud noises. But I think I’m doing better now, and having my family with me is really helping.