Being a Hypochondriac

I’ve known for a while that I have bouts of hypochondria. I think it traces back to when I was younger, maybe 11 or 12, when my primary care doctor sent me to a dermatologist because he didn’t like the look of one of my moles, and he just wanted me to get it checked out by a specialist, just in case.

I don’t remember the whole time between the two appointments, but I do remember one specific day. I was at the fair, I think, with my mom and sister. There may have been someone else with us, but I can’t remember now. I just remember that I couldn’t stop worrying about that mole.

I could see where my doctor had a small amount of concern. It wasn’t circular. Instead, it was shaped almost like a lumpy cross. I prayed and prayed that it was nothing. That I’d be OK. And I found it so ironic that my “Jesus mole,” as I had deemed it, was the one that caused me such worry.

That mole turned out to be fine. But I never forgot how worried I was. And I never forgot how the doctor told me I was at a higher risk for melanoma because of all my moles. And I never forgot that the doctor told me I had a large mole on my back that I should watch: As long as it didn’t change, it should be OK.

Fast forward to two years ago, when my hypochondria hit an all-time low. (High? It was intense, is all I know.)

I looked at that mole every day. But not just once a day. I looked at it almost incessantly. I would look at it again just one minute after I looked at it, telling myself I hadn’t looked well enough and needed a second look. I cried. I got to the point where I had a breakdown at least once a day, because “I didn’t know if it was changing.” I found a second mole to worry about.

I finally got put on an antidepressant to control my anxiety. The hypochondria was bad, but I also struggled with anxiety and panic attacks due to other causes.

That helped, but it’s not completely gone. Here are a few examples of what being a hypochondriac is, in my experience, over the last 12 years.

Being a hypochondriac is: Worrying that you’re pregnant when your period is late, even when you’ve never had sex, which would make it impossible.

Being a hypochondriac is: Learning someone you know once had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and determining that bump on your shoulder — which you thought was a cystic acne bump — is the same thing.

Being a hypochondriac is: Determining a spot on your leg is definitely squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma.

Being a hypochondriac is: Learning you have a mouse in your apartment and immediately researching the bubonic plague, its symptoms for humans and dogs, and how many cases in the US are reported per year to learn your chances…just in case.

Being a hypochondriac is: Worrying that a bump you feel in your shin is bone cancer before remembering you ran your shin into a car earlier that day when helping a friend pack.

Being a hypochondriac is: Having digestion issues and determining it’s colon cancer.

Anyone else living with hypochondriac struggles?

(Just to update, mostly so no one comments and freaks me out about how I may actually have something wrong with me: I’m seeing a derm for the back mole (which has not changed), leg spot and shoulder bump later this month. My primary doctor wasn’t concerned about any of them, but I want to get the mole removed anyone just because of its location, and I figure it wouldn’t hurt to ask about everything else. Oh, and my digestion issues only lasted a few weeks.)

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Does a Daith Piercing Really Work for Migraines?

If you’re a chronic migraine sufferer, I’m sure you’ve heard of this by now: The daith piercing.

It’s rumored to work similarly to acupuncture. Supposedly, the spot on your ear where you get the daith piercing is a pressure point for headaches/migraines.

Keep in mind, this is all word-of-mouth. There haven’t really been studies on the daith piercing as of yet that determines whether or not it actually works.

From what I can tell, there seems to be a pretty even split: Doctors saying it doesn’t have a scientific basis for working, and migraine sufferers saying it has helped them.

I get migraines anywhere from once a week to once a month. The pain is excruciating, and you really can’t do anything sometimes. I spent my last Friday night falling asleep at 5:30 p.m., as soon as I got home from work, because I couldn’t do anything else. My usual cure for a migraine is medicine and a nap. Just one or the other usually won’t work. Something about the medicine+sleep formula seems magic. Unfortunately, you lose the hours that you sleep and likely the hours leading up to the sleep when the migraine was starting.

So when I heard about the daith piercing, I was intrigued. Could something as simple as a piercing help me suffer from fewer migraines?

I’m still considering whether or not to get a daith piercing, but right now my mentality is this: Why not? The only real downfall is some people say it can take up to a year to heal. But Body Piercing magazine‘s website puts that number at only 3 to 6 months. If it doesn’t work, at least you haven’t spent a bunch of money. Body Piercing Magazine also states most reputable piercers will only charge $40 to $50, though I’m sure the cost varies based on the cost of living in your city.

So now I speak to those of you who have had a daith piercing. Does it work? Or is it just another myth? Comment below and let me know!