The New York Times recently called on filmmaker, actor, and writer Woody Allen to share his thoughts on hypochondria. They wanted a look inside the head of someone always afraid of illness at the smallest sign of a symptom. Here’s an excerpt:
But what’s this obsession with personal vulnerability? When I panic over symptoms that require no more than an aspirin or a little calamine lotion, what is it I’m really frightened of? My best guess is dying. I have always had an animal fear of death, a fate I rank second only to having to sit through a rock concert. My wife tries to be consoling about mortality and assures me that death is a natural part of life, and that we all die sooner or later. Oddly this news, whispered into my ear at 3 a.m., causes me to leap screaming from the bed, snap on every light in the house and play my recording of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” at top volume till the sun comes up.
I sometimes imagine that death might be more tolerable if I passed away in my sleep, although the reality is, no form of dying is acceptable to me with the possible exception of being kicked to death by a pair of scantily clad cocktail waitresses.
Read the full article at The New York Times.
Allen’s conclusion that hypochondria stems from a fear of death is an interesting one, and not often explored in everyday conversation. What do you think? Do you know a hypochondriac, or, as Allen calls himself, an “alarmist”? Do you think these overreactions are due to a fear of death?
Image by Katy Warner (Creative Commons)