It’s the same thing every day. My wife, Flora, is pregnant, so she has various minor ailments all the time. But no matter what it is — headache, stomach ache, cramps — she always thinks she is going to die. Yesterday she had a headache, and after writing for a few hours, I decided to go check on her.
Guess where I found her?
She was on WebMD looking at information about brain tumors. Not only that, she had worked her anxiety up into such a tizzy that she was having a panic attack. I spent the next hour convincing her that it was just a headache and she was, in fact, not dying.
My wife has a severe case of hypochondria.
Hypochondria: a state in which a person continuously worries about their health without having any reason to do so — Cambridge Dictionary
As long as I have known Flora, she has been this way. Stomach ache = Cancer. Neck pain = High blood pressure. If she has to pee a lot, she most probably has a UTI. How many bouts of cancer has she been stricken with? How many heart attacks have just been chest pain?
All Joking Aside
I joke about it, but I shouldn’t. Flora has serious anxiety and panic issues, and these false alarms will often make her sick for days. I do what I can to diffuse her worry, but if you’ve ever had anxiety, you know that it is horrible when you can’t stop over-thinking. You can’t stop even if it’s making you sick.
She doesn’t want to go to the doctor, because when I have taken her before, all they did was dope her up on medication. She has seen what medication did to me, and she doesn’t want it for herself. And now that she is pregnant, she couldn’t take anything if she wanted to.
I always make a big deal out of her “illnesses,” but the truth is that I worry about her. I don’t just worry about what anxiety is doing to her. She is so convinced that something is wrong with her that I start to worry that she does indeed have a serious problem.
Just today I took her to the clinic because she has been complaining about headaches and neck pain. I told her to text her doctor if she was worried and her doctor told her to get her blood pressure checked. I’ll admit I was even worried for a little while (her BP is fine though).
What if one day, I ignore one of her pleas for help, and it turns out that she does have something wrong with her? It is kind of like the boy who cried wolf — right?
I Would Do Anything
I love Flora more than anyone I have ever loved before, so I have to make sure I balance her paranoia with making sure I react when something really is wrong with her.
If that means that she texts her doctor a few times a week, that is what she will have to do. Her doctor said to call her anytime, and, after all, that is why I pay so much for a private OB. Thankfully, her doctor is the best we could have ever hoped to find, and she doesn’t treat Flora like a nuisance. I guess, over the years, she’s learned that her patients sometimes worry more than they should.
So, in an effort to manage Flora’s anxiety, I am just going to have to be that much more understanding about her needs. I’ve learned that part of being a good husband is allowing her to not be afraid to tell me anything — no matter how “silly” it sounds.
We have a great relationship. When I am anxious or going through a bad depression, Flora is always there to hold my hand and tell me everything will be alright. She has seen the worst that my illness has to offer and has never left my side. She was there when I was at my lowest — and found me half-dead on the floor. I can never repay that fact that she didn’t leave me, even when I tried to end my life.
It doesn’t matter that she has a new illness every day. I will always be the shoulder she can cry on and the rock when she feels afraid.
I will always be here because that’s what you do when you love someone.