Am I a hypochondriac? I struggle with fear. It comes out in weird ways. I think maybe I am hard-wired to “go there” when something slightly bad happens. I have noticed that some people who are on the “artistic” side seem to think they are dying more often than those who are logical. (My husband never thinks he’s dying). I am putting the blame on my chemical make-up. I was born emotional, and, by golly, no one is gonna talk me out of it. I think it’s part of the creative gene I inherited. I’m blaming my mom’s side. She was artistic and musical in her younger years.
Let me explain how this “artistic” gene plays out in life. This summer we went on vacation to the Rocky Mountains. It was a lovely time.
We hiked, had friends over, fished, shopped, and watched movies. I was fine until we watched a movie about a football player who found a lump on his leg. His leg was eventually amputated, and then he died. It was heart-wrenching. Of course, it had a love story so I was “all-in” with this movie.
I could not stop thinking about it. Later in the week, I discovered I had a lump on my leg. (I had it checked out when I got back, and it was fine.) I know I can be a hypochondriac, so I played it cool. I didn’t tell anyone. For the rest of the trip, I thought this could be my last vacation.
They’d know soon enough. No use ruining their last vacation with me. I was just going to savor the memories of my husband and children. I’d make sure to take lots of pictures. And tell everyone I love them a lot.
Ok, I ‘m exaggerating a bit. But I did mentally go there. I had to really talk myself out of the “what if this were to happen” scenario. I hate that I do this, but I just can’t seem to help it.
Don’t Mind Her
I wish I could say this has not been a struggle my whole life. Unfortunately, it started when I was little. I used to walk around with a thermometer in my mouth.
I think my mom was worried I was going to get mercury poisoning because I had it in my mouth so often. (Thermometers had mercury in them back in the dark ages). It got to be where no one noticed it was in my mouth anymore. “Oh, that’s Julie. She likes to walk around with a thermometer in her mouth. She’s fine. Don’t mind her.” I know. Pretty pitiful, huh? I’m embarrassed to write this.
No One Noticed Anymore
When I realized no one really noticed anymore, I went to greater lengths to get more attention. I did the thing most children wouldn’t have the guts to do. I used my heating blanket to warm up my thermometer when my mom wasn’t looking. (Sorry mom if you’re just finding this out.)
I think my mom probably knew I was conning her. She’s pretty smart. With all my flair for the dramatic, I became known as a hypochondriac. She figured out I wasn’t very sick after it kept happening. (It was nice to get a day off from school-Ferris Bueller, anyone?)
My Kids Have the Same Gene
Things have come full circle. I won’t go into full detail, but one or more of my children have the same gene. There have been a few school mornings where something was not quite right, and I was summoned to get the thermometer.
Little did either of them know I was the master con artist with thermometers. I could see right through the “sick” act.
Most of the time I didn’t fight it when it when someone was “sick.” I think we all need a break from life. It didn’t happen too often. Looking back, my “sick” syndrome was more of an attention-getting scheme. It wasn’t until later when I was older that I really started struggling with real fear and anxiety.
I Have Let Fear Rob Me
Fear has robbed me of some really good things in my life. There is no one to blame but myself for this happening.
I should have never spent my mental energy on vacation thinking I was a goner. I eventually got a hold of myself after a while, but I am angry I let it go on even that long. I am better now than I used to be.
In the past, I wasted many days worrying about things that never happened. I am trying to do a better job of trusting God with my life and with those around me that I love, but it is a struggle. For more information, check out this article from Lifehack that talks about the 10 Fears That Are Holding Us Back In Life.
Prayer Is the Best Cure for Fear
It is especially hard now that both of my children are in college. I would say the one thing that I have had to learn is how to pray. I can do nothing else but that. Pray.
And that is what has made all the difference. I still worry some, but I stop myself a little faster and get out my Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie O’Martin. I use these prayers to give me the right words to say. And the verses to repeat back to God. It calms my spirit down, and I am much more peaceful. It is the only thing I have found that works for me to combat the fear. I wish I had known this earlier in my life; this could have saved me a lot of emotional energy. How do you handle fear? Do you “go there” when something seems amiss.
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