Stay off WebMD

Shaking my feet and twiddling my thumbs, I tried to remain still as the nurse read my blood pressure and heart rate.

I already knew my results before she strapped the blood pressure monitor around my thin bicep.

A Fitbit graces my right wrist, allowing me to access my heart rate whenever I please. I check my blood pressure occasionally as my family has a sphygmomanometer.

I am aware of my health, but sometimes I get anxious about it. Jokingly, I refer to myself as a “self-diagnosed hypochondriac.” However, there are people, unlike me, who have been formally diagnosed with hypochondriasis.

Now known by the DSM-5 as, “illness anxiety disorder,” the term “hypochondriasis” is more well known by society.

The website Refinery 29 interviewed Maryam Nassif, a woman who struggles with hypochondriasis.

“I’ve had health anxiety for as long as I can remember. I sought professional help when it got too much and I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, which includes hypochondria. I’ve been going to therapy since, and things have been looking up for me, for a brief moment – until the coronavirus outbreak,” said Nassif.

The 22-year-old described the feeling of suffocation because of the pandemic.

“The whole thing feels apocalyptic to me. I often feel heaviness in my chest, accompanied by feelings of doom, feeling like the world might end right there and then. The more the virus spreads around the world, the more I feel suffocated and helpless,” she said.

Personally, I can relate.

Like many others who struggle with different levels of hypochondriasis, I am petrified.

I only leave my house to go for long walks. The normalcy that was once my life has been stripped of me because of microscopic parasites.

A technique that I have practiced for many years to manage different stressors in my life has worked for me during this time – and it could work for you, too.

Think about a situation you are in that’s unfortunate. Ask yourself, “Can I change this?” If you can’t, accept it for what it is and work with it.

Radical acceptance is defined as the idea of accepting something as is and accepting your inability to change it, allowing you to move forward despite being unable to change the unchangeable.

Radical acceptance can help us all, especially those of us struggling with hypochondriasis during this time.

Stay off WebMD, go for long walks, read, and Facetime friends and family, we will all get through this – even those of us who live with hypochondriasis.