The alluring peril of self-diagnosis.

You’ve been researching again on the Internet, haven’t you?

I can’t help it. I’m not sure how to make the metaphor work, but the Internet is either a black hole or the black hole’s event horizon. Whatever makes it so the Internet is the place where once you cross into it, you have no hope of returning. Where light goes to die.

Where light goes to die? You have no idea how black holes work, do you?

No, but I know that spaghettification is a thing, and that the Italian in me is masochistically pleased with that term.

The Italian in you is pleased with the phenomenon of matter being simultaneously condensed and stretched into oblivion?

Yes. And?

You’re a black hole.

Thanks?

Back to your latest absurd attempt at self-diagnosis…

Right. So over the summer, rather than just get a stool test to reveal whatever was going on in my gut, I first self-diagnosed through cursory Internet searches. This led to an obsessive, no-doubt dangerous treatment plan that was cruelly restrictive. Later, when I gave in and paid for the stool test, it turned out I was right in my diagnosis, which wasn’t really all that comforting.

Because you had to endure the diet again?

Well, at least at that point in restarting the diet, there was real evidence to back up its necessity, instead of just my intuitive stab in the dark. It was frustrating because…well what good did the stool test do if it showed me that my self-diagnosis was right? It was a dangerous message to receive. I wanted to be proven wrong so I could avoid such foolish behavior in the future.

So you researching your symptoms again is a result of you being proven right?

I don’t entirely trust the test results, or maybe I don’t entirely trust my doctor’s interpretation of the results. Because my symptoms remain all over the place, and my body impossible to read, I’m anxious that I’m experiencing a far deeper problem than candida overgrowth. Or that the candida is spilling into some other issue.

Like…go ahead, state what you discovered.

Parkinson’s.

Because you admire Muhammed Ali and Michael J. Fox? Because you feel betrayed by a life that’s been too full of love and wonder, too free of conflict and tragedy?

No, because when I discovered my hand tremor over a decade ago, it’s remained a distinct possibility.

Are you attracted to its glamor?

Glamor? It’s a neurodegenerative disease (yes?). What’s glamorous about that?

It gives you a story. An identity. People get defined by sickness. It makes them “somebody.”

I don’t want that.

Liar.

Really? You think I want to suffer?

Don’t you? Wouldn’t that make you more artistic and creative and real?

More real?

Yeah. Face it. Your life is surreal; you’ve floated through existence with amused delight, never quite grounded by any legitimate concerns or troubles.

And I’m sick of that?

Or at least baffled by your privileged enchantment.

Privileged enchantment? My life is enchanted?

It’s cushy.

Fine. So what’s your point.

Be careful of the tale you’re weaving around you. Your brain is silly. Don’t give it a bias of disease. Because you just might fall into your own emerging story. Fill your brain with just the right information, and you might psych yourself into an issue you don’t really want to reckon with.

I can will myself into physical decay?

You don’t need to. You’re constantly decaying. Don’t hasten the process. Change the way you think about your gut. You’re viewing it as some problem to be solved, or at least labelled. How about trying not to be so preoccupied with what’s going on in there? By turning so much negative energy toward your gut, you’re only making things worse. 

So I should love my gut.

Love your gut. Your gut is you, not some outsider that needs to be vanquished. Stop chasing pain.

But what if I do have Parkinson’s?

What if you don’t? What’s the difference? 

Knowing what I’m dealing with?

You know what you’re dealing with: YOU. 

I don’t want to deal with me.

No one wants to deal with themselves, which is perfect, because you shouldn’t try to DEAL with yourself. Like Justin Bieber said, but without his context or tone, “you should go and love yourself.”

As long as you love me.

Is it too late now to say sorry?

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