I've always been a bit of a worrier. That sentence could be the understatement of the year. I have been gifted with an overactive imagination, coupled with a propensity towards gloom and doom. This fatalistic creativity has led me to be a bit, ahem, DELUSIONALLY PARANOID, when it comes to the health of my children.
As a therapist, I get the gift of being able to diagnose my own mental illness, yet not always the ability to treat it. I know that my thinking is often irrational, and I know that it stems from some traumatic events in my own life. Specifically, the four miscarriages before adoptiong Jafta, and then his own adoption nearly disrupting. I spent several years feeling like every child we had was destined to be taken away from us. I still struggle with that thought. If I was really honest, I think I even fear that India narrowly escaped the fate of the other pregnancies we lost, and that any moment her own miraculous life will be taken away, too.
I know that my situation is unique, but I think many of us share some crippling fears about the health and development of our children. Since mine were born, I have stressed over every minor illnesses and/or deviation from the "typical" developmental milestones. I will also confess that I have spent a ridiculous amount of time googling symptons, and crying at the computer as I diagnose rare and deadly diseases that I am sure my child has. Light colored poop? Must be liver failure. A fever and a rash? Sounds like smallpox. Since my kids were born, I have been convinced that they were afflicted with:
spinal meningitis (bad fever)
malaria (we went to Mexico and then they caught a bug)
autism (my two year old is ignoring me!)
sensory processing disorder (why is she covering her ears at that noise??)
hepatitis A (tan poop)
measles (a rash!)
mumps (a rash!)
rubella (another rash!)
torticolis (head fell to same side when sleeping)
hydrocephaly (genitically large cranium)
intestinal failure (too much food in the poop)
heart defect (feet turned blue when cold)
This list could go on, but I'll spare you the WebMD details. My anxiety is something I may always deal with, but I am trying hard not to "go there" each time a kid is sick. For one, I try to stay away from the internet and talk to an actual doctor about their symptoms. Novel idea, right? I also try to talk about my fears, out loud, to another real person. Because I find that when I say this delusional stuff out loud, even I can hear how crazy I sound.