I have to admit I suffer a little from freaking out a little bit when I get sick, to put it mildly. I remember once at University a friend on mine was in the residence where a girl had passed away from meningitis and I may have been to visit her there once since the whole ordeal, but I was adamant I had neck pain and flu-like symptoms that may be the start of meningitis. I promptly marched myself to the doctor where I could get a pill that would cure me. Um… I’m pretty sure I wasn’t even sick and I was imagining every ‘symptom’, but for my own peace of mind that little pill helped me. I do have a reason for being paranoid though! When I was growing up and I felt sick I would tell my mother and she would tell me it would go away and I would usually end up really ill and the one time the doctor said if they had taken me in any later my throat would have closed and I probably would have suffocated. So my irrational behavior is supported… to an extent. I don’t blame anyone, I am just more cautious when it comes to being sick because I often leave it so long I end up with a worse infection. Having doctor diagnosed tonsillitis about 6 times in one year will push you over the edge.
The funny thing is I know some people who suffer from hypochondria and my paranoia does not compare. They always have life threatening diseases and if they go away somewhere and it is known that there is a disease that is prominent in that area they will most likely end up with it. Sometimes the person may be in your family and sometimes they may be your friend. Isn’t it funny how they always call a family member or friend to tell them about their illness instead of making an appointment with a doctor? These people are not always easy to deal with so here are some tips that may help you to keep your sanity while they suffer from every disease imaginable!
1. Hypochondria usually stems from some other problem, for example the constant need for attention. People may present symptoms so that they can get sympathy from others. Hypochondriac’s should not be coddled. It is the same concept when you pick up a crying baby. The baby will eventually cry just so that someone will pick them up. Try to ween them off that attention by not giving it.
2. In order to keep hypochondriac’s from crying for attention you should try to find other ways to make them feel special, before they contract an incurable disease. Tell them they look good even if you are so annoyed with them you cannot find any nice words to say.
3. Some hypochondriac’s make up illnesses to get themselves out of things they do not want to do. If you really want them to join you will have to make the event worth their while otherwise they will suddenly fall ill and tell you how sorry they are to miss out.
4. You have to accept hypochondria for what it is. Think of it as part of your friend, partner or family members personality, because you will never be able to convince them that it is all in their head. This is not something that will go away so if you want to stay in the relationship or keep the peace with your friend, learn patience.
5. Maybe some people are just that unlucky! You never know if they have the disease or not! When I told my parents I think I may have meningitis my dad told me to go to the doctor because if I didn’t have it then there was no harm and if I did then they would have caught a deadly disease in time.
Otherwise, just smile and nod because at least that way you cannot be accused of doing anything wrong.