I have always been a hypochondriac. As long as i can remember. I think I came out of the womb feeling anxious that i was in a hospital with a bunch of sick people around me.
I did have a somewhat sick early childhood. One surgery as a toddler and a heath scare with my spine when I was 3. That was of the emergency kind -when the parents think their kid may die. But thankfully turned out to be something minor. Although these things happened so early to me but none the less probably ended up scarring me indefinitely.
It wasnt until I was around 7 or 8 years old that my hypochondria became apparent. There was an Australian TV show called Country Practice. Which aired every night at maybe 6 in the evening. It was an eighties type version of ER. But set in an Australian country town and instead of good-looking George Clooney types -the actors were mostly old & overweight. Every episode there was a new illness or accident the dr’s had to solve to save the patient.
This should have been a comfort to me but instead it terrified me. I remember misunderstanding the diagnoses of someone being diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in one episode. Which I in my 7-year-old mind thought was a cancerous tuna. I from then on vehmetley refused to eat any canned tuna incase it gave me cancer.
I don’t think i even knew what cancer was. But i did know it was bad and could kill you and tuna was what gave it to you. When my mother finally figured out why i vehmetley refused to eat tuna i think it was way more funny in the way kids misunderstand things than worrying.
I vividly remember another episode where a little girl fell off a swing and bumped her head,then had a nap and fell into a coma and died. All of a sudden after every innocent child type normal bump of my head i would be scared to sleep. In fear i woud never wake up again. I remember this exactly 30 years later? I can’t remember any algebra. But this stayed in my mind. Why?
Now you think this would be super worrying to my parents. Like “Hey my kid is showing some signs of phobic type behaviour” For my parents it was the eighties. I don’t think the word anxiety even existed. And if it did no one i knew said it. I guess my parents just thought i was a quirky kid and hoped id grow out of it. But they did have enough parental foresight at some point – to not let me watch anymore country practice or medical related TV shows.
Apparently most phobias – issues – are all things born out of your childhood experiences. Something to do with developing neurons and the subconscious. I don’t know the exact science behind it. Because quite frankly im not that intelligent & just too lazy to reasearch it. And that’s why I pay a therapist.
But this realy frightens me about having children.
No one beat me. No one abused me. I didn’t have a bad childhood.
But one part of the culture. One experience. One overhead conversation. Or even some random harmeless tv show can seep into a childs brain and scar them. They can misinterpret it. And some kids even hide that fear too scared or to young to verbalise it.
And as a parent how can you know and control what seeps into your kids head and how they process that fear and how it may shape them. And how one TV show could teach a kid that dr’s are heroes and make you better. Versus me as a child believing i’m going to get cancer from eating canned tuna.
Or maybe I really did come out of the womb a hypochondriac. Or my mother had a secret affair with Woody Allen.