Friday, October 5, 2007
Lower East Side, Sept. 2007
You know, nearly every day I write something here that makes it sound like I have my act together. (I like to reinforce that idea, even for myself.) Well, today I have to burst that annoying bubble and make a confession.
I can be a hypochondriac.
I know, I know - I’m all about letting things be and facing the ever-changing moment. But this is one part of my life where I utterly fail at taking my own advice -- when my mind takes me so far out of reality I can’t even tell what reality is.
It started in seventh grade or so. A boy in my hometown died from a rare brain infection that he contracted swimming in one of our many lakes. I spent nearly every day in the lake in summer, and as a result I became terrified that I’d been exposed to this same malady. (My family still calls this the time I “got the amoeba.”)
I went through a similar spell over rabies when I discovered a sick squirrel in a vacant lot near my house. I came home and told my mom about it. She said, “You didn’t TOUCH the squirrel, did you?” And of course I had. I was terrified for days.
I still have this tendency. A swollen lymph node makes me wonder about cancer. I worry about HIV, even when I don’t do anything that would give me HIV. My asthma, which came back to life early this week, is at least partly stress induced -- and the more it flares up, the more stressed I get.
The best way to treat my asthma, I have found, is to take it easy. Watch a lot of movies, go to bed early, skip the gym for a couple of days. That’s what I’ve been doing this week, and it’s been working.
I don't like admitting that this part of me exists. But there it is. Really facing life means even facing the parts of ourselves we don't particularly like -- right?
I’m going to continue the relaxation trend this weekend by going to Ithaca with my friend David. We’ll probably do some easy hiking and eating out and exploring. A full report to follow on Monday! Have a good weekend!