For some people, it’s alcohol.
For others, drugs.
For me, it’s the emergency room.
For the past three years I’ve struggled with Health Anxiety. Always worried about my health and if the slightest thing went wrong, you could find me in the beautiful gowns provided by the St. Vincent’s emergency department.
For a while, it felt like a second home. The nurses knew me by name, the doctors recognized me from times they had previously treated me. And it helped, for a while, until a new pain or “illness” would surface, in which case I would find someone to take me, or drive myself, no matter how much pain I was in, to the hospital.
You see, majority of my friends and I’m sure some of my own family, thought I kept going back for pain pills. As well as the doctors have assumed such things, so had the world around me.
I slowly found myself getting treated like an addict, instead of a patient. They no longer cared about what was going on with my body, but more what they thought I was trying to get.
I would never and have never made up an illness or pain in order to get pain pills and I’m still struggling on a daily basis to break the bias so many have against me.
I am in a constant state of pain, most of which seems to be a side affect of my past. Health anxiety isn’t easy to get rid of, and it’s not easy to explain. I’m not afraid of the common cold, I’m not a germaphobe. I’m afraid of something so seriously wrong with my body that I won’t be able to fight. I’m afraid of death and the sicknesses that being you there. And I fight it every day. Regardless of how it seems, I am always fighting.
Today, is 41 consecutive days that I have not been in the ER. And that number may not seem like much to you, but to me it’s a mountain that I am fast climbing.
I couldn’t do it without my family. And those I consider family. Thank you.