Posted in In which Anna vomits her thoughts at you

Why I’m A Hypochondriac

My name’s Anna and I’m a hypochondriac.

I know I’m a hypochondriac because I’ve diagnosed myself with it using the internet.

I know because the slightest sniff of a symptom and I’m on Google finding out how many types of cancer I have (hint: at least three, no matter what symptom it is).

If I had everything I’d diagnosed myself with, I’d be clinically dead. Twenty-four times.

But there’s a reason I’m like this.



Draw up a chair and let me tell you The Story of a Hypochondriac.


San José Library on Flickr

There was once a little girl. Well actually she was a big, fat girl but her beloved nan kept telling her it was “puppy fat that would drop off” in the same hopeful tone from ages 3-10, despite the evidence increasingly pointing to it being “human fat that wouldn’t drop off because you keep feeding it with chocolate, god damn it Anna.”

Aged 10 it finally did start dropping off, alarmingly quickly, coupled with an insatiable thirst, a corresponding neverending need to pee, and an inexplicable exhaustion. In short, all the classic symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.

A GP that must have been on glue diagnosed the girl with constipation, despite her having none of the symptoms. Stay off the glue, kids, especially if you’re practicing medicine.

Five days later the child was in a diabetic coma with hospital doctors battling for literally 10 hours to bring her back from the brink of death.

Google knew more than the glue-sniffer.

The little girl thought of her grandfather; the only person she’d ever heard of who was banned from a hospital on grounds of overuse, being a terrible hypochondriac who read medical dictionaries for inspiration.

It was in the genes.

The little girl became The Hypochondriac.

One sunny July (well, one rainy July – this is England), The Hypochondriac, now aged 27, sits at her desk at work. During a routine readjustment of her sleeve she discovers a tick on her bicep.

“Eurgh,” she says to her boss (the one with the duck fetish). “I have a tick on my arm.”

“How odd,” says The Duckfather. “Don’t get many of those in England.”

The Hypochondriac removes the tick with the small but well-stocked medical kit tweezers she keeps in her bag.

“I’d better Google ticks and find out which disease I’m going to get,” she jokes.

“Wise move,” agrees The Duckfather, who is used to the hypochondria. Anna has worked for him for two years and, in that time, has self-diagnosed herself with ebola 13 times.

“Ooh!” says Anna, scrolling through the Google results with hypochondriac-joy in her eyes. “I could get Lyme disease, Colorado tick fever, or Rocky Mountain spotter fever.”

“Probably all three,” Ducky says sagely. “Especially the second two, since we’re in London.”

They laugh. Oh Anna and her hypochondriac ways! Not all ticks carry Lyme, and even when they do there’s only a 2% chance of their bite victims contracting it. Of course Anna isn’t going to get Lyme disease!

Fast forward two weeks. Anna discovered a rash on the tick bite site.

Anna has Lyme disease.

It’s not just Google that tells her; it’s a real doctor, who has to look up the appropriate antibiotics in a book because she’s never had to treat Lyme before, what with it being so rare and everything.

Well, okay, so that’s kinda bad luck, but nothing to get paranoid about. That’s no proof that Anna always catches everything no matter how unlikely it is. That’s just the hypochondria talking!

Anyway, antiobiotics will sort it out.


Anna dutifully takes her antibiotics and keeps busy updating her spreadsheet of the symptoms of all 993 illnesses she’s definitely got writing her third novel (insert some sort of teaser that will make you want to read it–am I doing this marketing thing right?)

The next day she goes to her friend Tach’s to “eat Doritos and watch some programme about dead people and then maybe we can find The Human Centipede 3 on Netflix” because Tach knows what makes Anna tick. She’s the one who got her the sharkado-in-a-glass after all:

Get yours here and no I am not paid for advertising these I JUST LOVE IT


Merrily munching Doritos, Anna starts to feel a pain between her shoulder blades. It comes and goes throughout the dead-people-and-human-centipede-watching.

The next day the pain is worse, and it’s making her yelp when she swallows which makes her really sad because eating is Anna’s third favourite thing in the world after 1) writing and 2) diagnosing herself with illnesses. Some days it comes joint-second because there are a lot of nutrition-related illnesses out there.

So what does a hypochondriac do?

Googles and makes a doctor’s appointment. Another one.

The antibiotics that are fixing the very-rare Lyme disease have reacted in a way they very-rarely do and giving Anna a very-rare oesophageal ulcer. That’s as fun as it sounds.

Do you see why I’m a hypochondriac?

I’ll just wait here where the diseases can’t find me. Amanda Quintana-Bowles on Flickr

P.S. Please don’t be concerned. The ebola has cleared up wonderfully all 13 times.

Featured image from musicalwds at Flickr.


Romance author

16 thoughts on “Why I’m A Hypochondriac

  1. Bugrit. I was going to say ‘what next,’ but thought the better of it. I’m really sorry and concerned. I’m glad you can see (or manufacture) the funny side, but hey.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I too am a hypo-whatsaname. When I feel ill, it’s the onset of a heart attack, and all because I once heard a sufferer start their heart attack story with, “I woke up that morning and just felt a little unwell, nothing more…”

    I’m also diabetic (type 2) but you know that already. I had a text today from my surgery telling my fasting test is due. I try, I really do, but chocolate is very very nice and makes me happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had 43 heart attacks to my knowledge. I also have more chocolate than I should. Do you like dark chocolate? Apparently people tend to eat less of that because it’s richer. I don’t, so I buy little snack bars of chocolate which at least limits my portion sizes.

      Still going to die soon, though.


  3. I do like dark chocolate, but can only eat a little at a time as you say. That’s not a bad idea – make a bar of chocolate last a fortnight! Thanks for the tip.


  4. Oh dear Ms Kaling. That is what I call ‘seriously unlucky’. But I’m a glass-half-full-kinda-gal and I’m thinking, hey, maybe your fourth book could be about a hypochondriac who googles so much about medical conditions that she becomes an expert and gets a job at a hospital and falls in love with the most amazing looking doc – EVER. Or not.

    Get well soon. At least your illness hasn’t affected your sense of humour – always a pleasure to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank god you’ve got Google on your side.

    A few years ago I had the frequent urge to pee with minimal result and some bleeding. Classic urinary tract infection symptoms. I go to a clinic and they make me pee in a cup. “You have a UTI. Here are your antibiotics. We’ll call you if the test results reveal something else.” I go home with my antibiotics and have the worst 12 hours of agonizing pain in my life.

    A couple weeks later the symptoms return. I go back to the same clinic. I tell them I was recently in for the same thing. They send me home with more UTI antibiotics.

    A couple days later I’m not better so I go to a different clinic. Immediately the doctor says he doesn’t think it’s a UTI. He calls the first clinic and learns BOTH UTI TESTS WERE NEGATIVE.

    So, not only did they not call to say “oh, nvm, those antibiotics aren’t going to do shit. Lolz. Our bad.” On my second visit they didn’t think, “hmm, I see we misdiagnosed you a few weeks ago. Let’s actually apply our critical thinking skills and see what is going on.”

    I’m sent for a cat scan and…drumroll…it’s a giant tumor on my right kidney. The kidney and tumor have cancer (super fun rare kids cancer called Wilms). Surgery to remove them a couple weeks later and chemo a couple weeks after that.

    I, too, am now a hypochondriac.

    Last night I stayed up past my bedtime learning about my serious self diagnosed potassium deficiency.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh I wonder if I have a B12 deficiency, too. I’m pretty sure I have a vitamin D deficiency.

        I’m so glad the ebola has cleared up. You should write a memoir about your journey.

        But seriously, sounds like you have every damn reason to be self diagnosing. I’m so sorry all that has happened!!! I’m picturing a tick that fleed it’s home in a rite of passage to fund the perfect host. It traveled far and wide to find you and gift you with its special powers. It could be a children’s book! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

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  7. I self diagnose all the time. But I’m usually right. So if I do need to go to the doctor, it’s for a second opinion, lol. I diagnosed myself with mono when I was eleven with the help of a babysitters club book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha I’m just the same! I give the doctor my symptoms and if he doesn’t diagnose me properly I’m like, “Maybe it’s Green Parrot Disease?” and then he knows he’s dealing with a Googler.


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