Day One Prompt – Unlock the Mind

IMG_1236As I was driving into work this morning I noticed one of my warning indicator lights flashing. It has actually been doing that for several months now, and although it indicates my tires are low on air, I have mostly ignored it. I have inflated the tires a few times and after a while the light comes back on. I know I should take it to the dealer to get it checked out, but that seems like way too much effort for something I believe is not really accurate.

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Hmm, that sounds familiar. I started thinking about all of the other little warning indicators in my life that I tend to ignore. I am a mental health advocate and believe in taking care of one’s health in general, yet I am the first one to ignore the little signals that my body sends me when I need to address an issue that makes me uncomfortable. Yes, I can be an outright hypocrite about the very topic I blog about, burying my head under water when it comes to my own self awareness.

IMG_1196One of these indicators is my propensity to become a hypochondriac when I am under stress. Every little ache, pain, or bodily sensation becomes cause for concern. Just as the smouldering flames of my distorted thinking start to turn into more rational thinking, I jump onto the internet searching for a diagnosis to fit my constellation of symptoms. This self-absorbed phenomenon is usually at its worst towards the end of winter, when my wine and chocolate consumption cannot replenish my serotonin or vitamin D levels fast enough. Focusing on my ailments becomes a form of distraction when I am faced with the more complex emotions that arise when I am stressed about work, school, family situations, or lack of sunshine.

Fortunately, I am able to notice my rumination earlier now by paying attention to the indicator light a little sooner. Usually the warning signs come in the form of a friend’s raised eye brows when I am in the midst of telling them about the probability that I will no longer be with them because of the tumor in my lungs. When even my doctor gives me a puzzled look and wonders what I’m doing in his office, I realize I just might be over-reacting and need to return to my moratorium on internet surfing for medical explanations to the normal wear and tear on my body. If that doesn’t do it, then going back to counseling is a good way to sift through the log jam of emotions that tend to pile up.

I’m not denying that at my age I do indeed have a few minor ailments. Just this past week I passed a kidney stone (for real). Of course there will be eye rolling when I relay this story, because like the little boy who cried wolf, my credibility is at an all time low.

My season of prognosticating the worst case scenario is drawing to a close this year, and with this blog post I will have a whole new audience to convince next year when my mind sets out on the path of misinterpretation once more.

Until then, I’ll keep rolling down the tracks like the little engine that could, hopefully a little wiser this time.

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4 thoughts on “Day One Prompt – Unlock the Mind

  1. Hypochondria isn’t helped when we have sites like Webmd to help everyone along with self-diagnosis that we’re all going to die of an incredibly painful lung disease when we really just have the flu. What I’m saying is… you’re not alone in this.

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  2. I’ve passed a kidney stone also… WebMD does have its usefulness, though. As I lay “dying” on the carpet of my apartment a little of a year ago, I carefully and accurately entered the information about my abdominal pain into its algorithm. It responded: Crohn’s disease – instantly.

    5 Gastroenterologists and an emergency surgery to clear a near fatal blocked intestine later, I was formally diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

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    • Yikes, glad you figured it out and hopefully you are doing ok now. And I must confess I did use the internet to help figure out the kidney stone, even though I am a nurse and recognized the symptoms. 🙂

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      • Once instance in which I “passed” a kidney stone (I’ve gave birth to a number of them), I just so happened to be in a dungeon-like hostel in San Francisco, traveling. At the brink of death, I gave in and called the ambulance (the fear of the ambulance bill finally got outweighed by the fear of death bill) … I crawled down to the front and laid myself out. A great big loud ambulance full of EMT’s arrived. RIGHT at that moment, the “pass” occurred; all pain subsided. Sigh.

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