Hypochondria and obsessive compulsiveness are definitely the two biggest demons in my life right now that I’m fighting to overcome and I’m not using this word “demons” lightly either, because these two conditions torment me badly every, single, day.
Both are ailments that have afflicted many of my family, yet I am choosing to work through them and find healing, rather than suppress them with drugs and medications like most of them did. But it’s not easy.
For the hypochondria in me, every single sensation, every single bump, every single blemish, every single pain, every single everything that I see or feel with my mind and body is multiplied by a thousand times in seriousness in my brain. In other words, I struggle with having any real sense of rationality over anything dealing with my health.
As for the obsessive compulsiveness in me, once any hypochondria fear kicks in with something dealing with my health, I become immediately preoccupied with it and can’t turn my mind off from thinking about it. Eventually, I always seem to cave in to some type of compulsive action that arises out of my brain’s attempt to deal with it in the hopes it will eliminate the fear and the perceived problem.
It’s probably best for me at this point to provide a real-life example of what both of these demons do to me when they become overly active.
Take two weeks ago when I woke up one morning and noticed an oddly-shaped, red welt on my left side just above my hip that had a black mark directly in the center of it. To the hypochondria part of my brain, it all appeared to be the size of Mount Vesuvius and was most likely the result of some type of spider, maybe a brown recluse, that had bitten me during my sleep. Or quite possibly it was actually a bug that had burrowed its way into my skin and was now living there at that very moment, feeding off of me. Thoughts of necrosis and chunks of skin having to be taken out of my body slowly began to consume me. And that’s when the fear and the obsessive-compulsive part of me really took over. I started looking in the mirror, staring at it for one minute, two minutes, three minutes, and more, until I totally lost track of time. I then proceeded to dig at it with my nails, and then a needle, until I bled, as my brain screamed at me that I had to remove whatever it was that was in there. Sadly, I created an even bigger problem for myself that ended with me using tea tree oil to cleanse the entire area, which had now become three times the size of what it originally was. I spent the rest of the day after that worrying about it, looking at it in the mirror countless times, hoping it would just disappear. When my partner finally came home later that day and took a look at it for me, what he saw was so much simpler to him and far more rational. As what he saw resembled either a mosquito bite or a horsefly bite that I had mucked around with way too much. I’m happy to report that I listened to his advice from that point forward, which was to leave it alone, and thankfully, at this point, it’s mostly gone.
That’s why I feel so powerless over these demons a lot lately and have had to rely more on people like my partner to be the rational part of my brain for now. Because in my brain, I perceive everything with my health as a serious crisis that warrants either a trip to the doctors or a drastic attempt to fix it myself and neither of those situations ever fare well in the long run.
It wasn’t all that long ago before beginning my work on healing from these two demons that I actually spent a good year running from doctor to doctor, holistic practitioner to holistic practitioner, having test after test run, procedure after procedure conducted, spending countless hours, multiple days a week, and tons of money, until I landed in the psych ward, heavily medicated on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs that only made me feel like a zombie and didn’t help one bit, leaving me an even bigger mess than before.
So why I’m writing about this subject today is not only to help all those out there who are facing something similar in their brains to know they’re not alone, but also to help educate those who might have someone in their life who’s dealing with these two conditions at the same time. The answer isn’t to tell them to get over it, to ridicule them, to tell them they’re crazy, to provide a healing path, or to diminish what they feel. Instead, I find it’s best to support them by letting them know they are loved, by attempting to ease some of their irrational fears if possible, and by supporting whatever path they’re on to find healing.
In my case, I’ve chosen an extremely difficult path to heal from both of these demons, and that’s to face them head on, and walk through each perceived health crisis without drugs and medications, or anything else that might be my brain’s attempt to curb or numb the irrational fears and drives that continue to arise from within. Because for me, I want to be completely free from these conditions once and for all. And I know with God’s grace, with my dedication to this process, and continuing to trust and believe that everything happening to me is part of the healing process to get me there, that I will eventually be freed from two demons that have plagued my family for generations.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson