I am a hypochondriac. This, along with all of my other illnesses, is undiagnosed. But I rarely go a month without feeling that I have some terminal illness. I have had this overactive imagination for most of my life and I am still not dead. BUT ONE DAY I WILL DIE AND THEN YOU'LL BE SORRY.
It is, of course, completely irrational to think that I am dying all the time. One of the main reasons is because I am 23 and in good health. I don't pretend to know the meaning of life, but I reckon an important part of it is to enjoy good health when you have it and not worry too much about stuff. It seems to be a philosophy that serves people well if they can adopt it. And to be fair in general I am pretty stress free. I get the right level of nervous about going on stage every night; not so nervous that I am sick but enough to show that I care about the show. But I don't beat myself up too much if I have a bad one and I don't think I'm the new Eddie Izzard if I have a particularly good one. I'm good with change and take my fair share of risks. But when I get any sort of pain whatsoever I immediately assume that it is cancer. And not nice cancer either. Really bad cancer that will manifest itself on my face as a bulbous, puss-filled tumour so everyone can see it and comment on how disgusting it is.
I think part of it is, as fellow hypochondriac Ted Danson says, I am fascinated by the human body. Its plethora of tubes and valves, electrical sparks and noxious gases, all working together. And working in spectacular style. I once asked a friend of mine who is studying to be a doctor whether her experiences learning about the intricacies of the body meant that she got worried about the amount of things that can go wrong. Her response was that she was in awe that so little does most of the time. I take this to mean that statistically, I should already be dead. I have beaten death to this point. And it is angry and going to give me a tumour. AND THEN YOU'LL BE SORRY.
My anxiety is furthered by the NHS's attempts to be helpful with their adverts, often saying something about 'catching it early'. Yet when you go in with suspicions that you have 'it' and 'it' is actually heart burn not a heart attack, your GP looks at you like a time-waster. It makes you wonder how early they expect you to catch it. Currently I am catching it too early, so early it doesn't exist. Using the word 'catch' suggests, too, that there is some closure to the situation once you have caught it, when the reality is if you catch it late you actually don't grasp it at all, just watch as it gallops into eternity.
I don't buy that human life should be finite, that there is something natural about death. If we somehow worked out how to live forever I bet we'd get used to it quickly. I think 80 years is nowhere near enough time. I want 8000 years. And then some. I think it's cruel and unfair to expect us to work out who we are and what we want from life in such a short space of time. Especially when I am wasting most of my time worrying about death. I'd love to spend more time on all things. Like this blog. But I have an appointment with my GP because I'm worried I've been blinking a bit more than usual. Tell my family I love them.