How I Balance Advocating For Myself as a Patient with Avoiding Hypochondria

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and none of this is meant to provide medical advice. This is just my personal experience.)

I struggle with being my own patient advocate and not being a hypochondriac. I know that having OCD means that I have a tendency to catastrophize and this includes imagining worst-case possible illnesses or medical situations. I know when I’m at my most mentally ill that I can see an aneurysm instead of a migraine or some other catastrophic illness in a simple flu or cold.

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Some Things You Cannot Do Until You Are Ready

There’s a lot of discussion in the world about “if you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never do it” or “don’t wait until you’re ready, the world is at the end of your comfort zone.” For many people “ready” seems like a dirty word. It’s an excuse or a limit to what you can do, a crutch. But crutches exist for a reason—to help you walk when you’re injured.

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Feeling Naïve About My Health for the First Time in a While

I often feel like an expert in being chronically ill. I know how to look up doctors on my insurance company’s website. I know to ask if they cover me just in case when I make an appointment. I know to ask if the tests are covered as well when they suggest something. I know how many physicals and dental check-ups I get a year and I know what out of network versus in network means. I know how to get reimbursed for out of pocket expenses. I know what an FSA is. I know I can ask my pharmacist if the medications I take could have dangerous interactions.

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