this is super long, i'm sorry ;;; but it feels kinda good getting it all out, so i hope that's okay.
i've always, always been an anxious kid. i started showing signs of ocd back when i was about four years old; i was petrified of someone in my family dying, so i would do these strange sort of prayers (though i wasn't a religious kid) begging for my family not to die. pretty morbid behavior for someone as young as four years old.
about a year later i developed a fear of pregnancy after an unfortunate occurrence with the neighbor boy who was a year older than me (he was six and i was five). he was my best friend at the time, and little kids who are best friends sometimes "do things" because they're curious. this led to a fear of HIV as well, but i'd rather not get into that one in detail.
then when i was eight i was staying up past my bedtime and watching this documentary on TV about stigmata. once again, i wasn't a religious kid, and yet this documentary severely messed me up, and for months on end i was terrified of "coming down" with stigmata. i didn't even really understand what it was, but that didn't stop me from checking my palms for bleeding. in hindsight it was ridiculous, but then again i was a little kid scared out of my mind, and at the time it felt so real.
eventually when i was about ten or eleven i developed a morbid fear of food poisoning. i stopped eating because i was so afraid i would get sick. this is when my mom started getting concerned about my mental health since i was constantly anxious and afraid and crying all the time from this irrational fear of being killed by eating a packaged meal. i can't remember how i got over this fear, i just remember it lasted quite a while and was one of the hallmarks in my ocd, if not one of the worst anxiety manifestations i've ever had.
for a while my anxiety took a backseat, though it was always still there in the corner of my mind, coming out to play whenever i'd get an irrational thought about the food i was eating (this eventually led to the beginning of an eating disorder in high school which i luckily nipped in the bud before it escalated into something more serious).
what got me into this anxiety spiral was my wisdom teeth becoming infected in 2012. i was halfway across the country away from home visiting some friends, and out of nowhere i was hit with the worst feeling i've ever felt in my life - my entire body went cold, i broke out into a sweat, i was nauseous and dizzy and felt like the world was closing in on me. i had no idea what was happening to me. it didn't help that my friends and i were at a convention, so there was a lot of walking around in the heat, which only made me feel worse. i spent a lot of the time in the hotel room sleeping and panicking. that night i broke out into a high fever while everyone else was asleep, so i spent the night in the bathroom crying on the phone to my mom because i was, of course, terrified and clueless and away from home. (because on top of all this, i have separation anxiety from my mother. whoopee.)
so a trip to the ER in texas told me that my wisdom teeth were impacted and infected, which was causing my fever and feeling so ill. i was prescribed antibiotics, which cleared up the infection and had me feeling better. but my mind was all over the place, and i relapsed into what i think has been the worst spiral of anxiety i've had in my whole life, as well as the longest. ever since that tooth infection in 2012, i've been in a pretty much constant state of hyper-awareness over my body, having countless trips to the ER, tons of tests being run, all coming out normal. for months i was convinced i was going to die of a heart attack, despite being only 19 at the time. i had chest pains, arm numbness, trouble breathing, you name it.
once my heart attack fear subsided, this led to a seven month long obsession with schizophrenia. to this day i don't think i've ever had an obsession worse than this one, even though it's long gone and hasn't come back since. but the sheer fear i felt for those seven months was unbearable. this is when the depersonalization/derealization kicked in for the first time. it was horrifying, as anyone who has experienced that can attest to.
eventually this fear miraculously subsided once i saw how many people with ocd shared my fear - only for it to be replaced, once again, with worries of physical diseases, which is where i'm at now.
then last february, my stepdad died in his sleep from a congenital condition that i won't go into details of so as to not make anyone panic. this, i think, was probably the last straw for my anxiety, and it's been five degrees above hell ever since. this isn't the first death in my life that i've faced - i lost one of my best friends to a car accident in high school, and one of my ex-boyfriends died of another congenital condition that i'm still unclear about - but the death of my stepdad was by far the worst. this led to my fear of sleeping since i was scared i wasn't going to wake up, a fear that i've seen being spoken about very often on these boards.
all in all, i think i'm a hypochondriac for many reasons. 1, i was born with a mental illness that eventually manifested once i was a little kid; 2, i've had a morbid fear of death for pretty much my whole life and have had to watch people i love die; 3, my severe separation anxiety and constant need to be in control; and 4, my wild imagination and habit of overthinking the tiniest of things until they're huge ordeals in my mind that i obsess over for months at a time. (my schizophrenia fear cropped up out of nowhere when i suddenly got an intrusive thought of, "what if i start hearing voices?" it was as simple as that, and yet led to the most complex, crippling fear my anxiety has ever thrown at me. i'm still shocked that i somehow moved past it, because i honestly thought it would last forever.)
sorry for the length of this post, it just feels better to actually talk about this with people who can relate. i don't get to do that very often.