I work alone, but surrounded (virtually) by a close group of colleagues who are also my good friends. These brilliant people are all just a google chat or skype message away, and we frequently call on each other to bounce off ideas or clarify points; More often than not our conversations slip seamlessly from work to life.
This morning was a great example of this, when a conversation resulted in the development of the phrase: Full Circle Crazy. Of which I am the definition.
It started because it was suggested to me that I might complain just a teeny, tiny bit too much about my health. In my head, my immediate reaction to this was, “How could that be? I only say one-quarter of my complaints out loud! In comparison to my inner turmoil I am a literal ray of sunshine!!”
Upon further reflection (which just means I was sitting here at my desk waiting for a meeting to start and avoiding real work in the meantime), I decided that perhaps I did, indeed, complain about my near death experiences too much. A simple google search (“Am I crazy if I feel like I have every single illness in the universe?”) revealed that, yes, I might be crazy. Or more accurately: a hypochondriac who feels real symptoms and actual pain. Apparently the exact term for this is: Somatization Disorder.
In the words of Jennifer Lawrence during her appearance on David Letterman (yes, I have all her quotes memorized), “What does that mean? Whatever it is, I have it!”
Additional google searches (“How can I shut down my crazy health obsession before my family disowns me?”) revealed a British author with a rather intelligent and honest article on what it’s like to feel like you are intermittently dying and also Superman. She suggested a self-help e-book, which I googled just to see if it was free. Obviously I don’t need to read it. (cough, cough)
The e-book, it turns out, was very short and had lots of bullet points or what the professional web writer in me would term, “optimization,” to lure me in and keep me skimming through the material, while also providing some valuable advice. Unfortunately for me, one the largest suggestions was this: Avoid reading, researching, or talking about medical conditions.
So, um, basically: quit half my job. (To be fair, I’ve never had a panic attack after writing one of those home stories in Kentucky Homes and Gardens)
This led me to Skype to see which one of my super supportive, but also crazy (sorry friends, we’re all in this together, High School Musical style) colleagues, would be online and interested in an in-depth discussion on the article and its implications for healthcare content strategists (which is our fancy professional title). And THAT led to a helpful discussion with Laura, where we determined that I might be crazy, but I am the very best kind of crazy (the entertaining kind) and at least I am not boring.
The resulting diagram in my head looks something like this:
Research/Discuss/Write about medical conditions ==> Self diagnose medical condition/Stew about imminent death ==> Decide to tell someone so they can plan for life after my demise ==> Based on feedback, decide that I’m just crazy ==> Distract myself: research/discuss/write about fiction instead ==> Act like a superhero ==> Remember medical writing deadline ==> Research/Discuss/Write about medical conditions
The simple solution would seem to be giving up my medical writing altogether. But there are two reasons I won’t do that: 1) I was already crazy before I started writing hospital blogs and 2) writing fiction appears to be non-profit at the moment, while writing medical content is making serious bank.
After all my diagramming and self-reflection, I was feeling confident and ready to conquer my 10 am meeting with one of the world’s top researchers in thymus gland cancer. If there’s one thing I know I don’t have, it’s thymus cancer. The doctor ended up being a really great interview–super informative and friendly, explaining about this rare form of cancer, which incidentally only affects about 1000 people in the United States each year. He went through the treatment options, the clinical trials offered, and of course we discussed the symptoms and how it’s usually diagnosed.
So yeah, I totally have thymus cancer now. At least until lunchtime, when I can distract myself.