And Miles to Go Before I Sleep

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I really don’t. I swear last week I was going schizophrenic.

I kept hearing voices in my head saying things, but I couldn’t hear what. Then, suddenly they stopped talking to me; I don’t know what’s worse. At least when they were talking I new that must be what I had, schizophrenia, but now they’ve stopped it could be anything. I heard about this doctor in America, Alabama, who was treating a patient who thought he was being controlled by the devil or something. I think in the end they tried an exorcism.

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Maybe that’s what I need.Maybe I should fly out to Alabama right now and request an exorcism. Not that I think the voices were from the devil and not that their even still talking to me, but it might help. That’s just my luck; even the voices inside my own head won’t talk to me. They’re giving me the silent treatment, just like everyone else. At first I thought it was because they thought I had been contaminated by Bilharzia. It’s a disease caused by parasites called Schistosomes. I tried to tell them that the colour of my skin was caused by anaemia and had nothing to do with schistosomes, but I don’t think they believed me.

It’s stupid really, I couldn’t have Bilharzia. You don’t get it in Surry and the furthest abroad I’ve ever been is Fife. Scotland counts as abroad.

For starters you can fly there, I didn’t of course, the air ventilation systems on planes aren’t safe, if someone’s got a cold, chicken-pocks or even chronic constipation you can catch it faster then you can say Methicillin Resistance Staphylococcus Aureus. No I drove there, which was stressful enough as it is. It is recommended that you pull over every two or three hours to stretch your legs, just to make sure you don’t get Deep Vein Thrombosis.I stopped every half an hour, to be on the safe side. This did however cause a few problems as I found that the services stations weren’t always conveniently situated which in turn caused a minor incident with a lorry driver. Oh well, better to be safe then sorry matron always used to tell us.

Fife was an interesting holiday, one I don’t think I’ll be repeating anytime soon. I’d called the B and B I was staying in a week in advance to inform them that I was Anaphylactic and couldn’t be within one meter of a peanut, even the smell of a mere crumb could set me off.They told me that it was fine and that they would notify the other guests to accommodate my needs. So imagine my shock when I came down for breakfast one morning to find a big bag of chocolate covered pea nuts just sitting on the table, staring at me. Not knowing what to do I ran from the contaminated room to reception, where I tried, through much heavy-breathing and panting, to inform the rather shocked receptionist what had just happened, telling her to call for an ambulance immediately.I sat their waiting; I could feel my throat closing up, my life flashing before my eyes, what if they didn’t get there in time? As I was bundled into the ambulance, I remember the last thing I saw, the inscription written across the ambulance doors, ‘maintaining the quality of life, in Fife’.

I woke up, or so the doctors told me two hours later. It had turned out that my great ordeal had been for nothing, the bag which I thought contained my death warrant, actually contained harmlessly innocent chocolate raisins. I’d learned my lesion; don’t go abroad, too many mixed cultural messages!I know what you’re thinking; you’re probably shouting it as you read this, ‘Hypochondriac! ‘ but I’m not I swear. That’s what the doctors in Scotland thought; they gave me a leaflet about it. It’s what the physiatrist my mum made me see when I was fourteen thought as well. Well they’re wrong and so are you. I’m not a hypochondriac, I’m just careful, there’s nothing wrong with being careful.

I know we all make up our own little stories, in our heads, to justify our eccentricities, our foibles. The things we do. But this isn’t one of them.I mean, did you know that, approximately 600 people in Britain are seriously harmed due to incidents concerning irons, and that you are more likely to get a harmful electric shock in you own home, then you are to get hit by lighting! See, it’s the unexpected; I’m just prepared that’s all.

There’s nothing wrong with being well equipped for an emergency. Besides I count myself high risk on account of the fact that I am rather short and weedy no matter how much I eat. I bet he’s telling you he’s not a hypochondriac, don’t believe him, he is.

He’s been trying to convince me he’s not since he was thirteen. I think his Nan and the man that runs the health food shop are the only people who believe him. His Nan believes him because she’s deaf and slightly blind so she can’t really see him or judge him and the heath food men, well he’s living in a perplexed state of denial as well so I’m not even sure if he counts. Mind you I guess he (the health food man) must find a kind of harmony and serenity from the fact that he knows a likeminded individual who, like him, sees the inevitable dangers in our society.I’m sure that if we let the hypochondriacs of this world into government then we would end up with a ban on driving and they’d probably try and pass an order stating that all persons should be enveloped in bubble wrap at all times.

I don’t know what it is about hypochondriacs. It can’t just be about ‘being careful’. There must be some part of them that, on some unconscious level, enjoys the drama and attention they get from being the first person to show symptoms of bird flue. The sad thing is that if it is the attention they’re after; they will inevitably end up losing it.As for the drama well where’s the drama in being the first person to suffer an allergic reaction from Hundreds and Thousands if no one takes you seriously. In the end even the NHS, that’s there for everyone, will exclude them.

They are the living breathing descendants of the boy who cried wolf. He thinks all his friends have stopped seeing him because they think he’s contaminated. Of course this isn’t the case. You try hanging around with someone who’s opening conversation gambit is ‘I’ve noticed a hair growing out of the wart on my back’, were do you go from there.Try and change the subject and it seems rude, but carry on down this road and you’re in great danger of being shown this unsightly protuberance. Then, even when you do manage to slip away you are left with a scaring image as you ponder weather it is possible to shave the straying hair without leaving a bloody stump in its place. Even his soul mates, his fellow hypochondriacs become disillusioned and leave him in their constant efforts to outdo his ‘disease fascism’.

You can’t escape infection and illness, just like you can’t escape growing up.Bacteria have been around since the dawn of time and no amount of anti bacterial scrub will change that. I don’t know whether hypochondria is the fear of disease or whether it is the anticipation of it. I guess it’s sort of like walking into a dark wood and watching it fill up with snow, not being able to tell were the first flake will fall and in time, not being able to tell were one path ends and the other begins. Just like losing the ability to differentiate between the reality of a situation and the gaps your mind falsely fills, whether they be a mile long or an inch short.Not knowing your own sanity is the title of the first chapter in the book of lunacy.

Now, I’ll bring you back to the first point our ‘friend’ raised. Schizophrenia, how can you tell the different opinions of ones mind? “We all make up our own little stories, in our heads, to justify our eccentricities, our foibles. The things we do. ” Thought tracking from one part of the brain will indefinitely resonate with another, but what if it doesn’t, what if the two parts are in constant conflict like the grinding together of two ice sheets, battling since the mere age of thirteen, how is one who is trapped inside their own mind able to be free?