Today I have lymphoma. Yesterday was bowel cancer. I curiously palpate my underarms, searching for that slippery lump, stealthily hiding from my grasp. I check again, and again. I then move up to my neck, again massaging for lumps. My temperature is high. The low-reading thermometer is lying. It is frustratingly difficult to explain to someone the affliction that is hypochondria and the terror one experiences with this condition. It is not an obsession, it is the solid, unwavering belief of illness which is not abated, soothed or remedied by reason. Logic is irrelevant and I often describe the illness as an “inhibition of reason”, whereby the sufferer is capable of seeing and understanding reason but is unable to truly believe said reason. Bouts of hypochondria last for days, weeks or months, sporadically disappearing and resurfacing. Sometimes I beg for the uncertainty to be removed, sometimes I yearn for the very condition I fear to take its place inside me, to wreak its ungodly havoc on me.
I surf WebMD, checking the entries for lymphoma, striking off the symptoms in my head whilst frantically considering the possibility that I have yet another ugly disease. I then move to the forums in search of a first-hand account of the symptoms of lymphoma. I want to know how it feels, I want to connect, I want certainty. The internet is a horrid tool for the hypochondriac, providing fuel for the fire to burn, yet curiously I find it difficult to stop myself. I am aware that what I am doing is worsening my mental condition but I continue to compulsively search, somehow satisfying the renegade compartment of my mind.
I take up a notepad and pen and begin to write, carefully composing each sentence like the finest symphony, I write through the fear and through the worry. I enter a form of literary hypnosis, during which I have control over my mind. I become oblivious to my slowing heart rate and my calm breathing. This is the only weapon in my arsenal which has proven effective against my rebellious mind, leaving me free to die another death.
::Andrew also writes at The Robed Scribe::