Hypochondria: Is a walnut a peanut?

Obviously not, is what you´re thinking. Don´t talk daft. I’m perfectly aware that a walnut is not a peanut. But Is it that black and white? Is there any chance it could be? Could my body mistake it for a peanut? Is there any chance they could have served me a peanut by accident? Is there a possibility it was transported in a box containing peanuts? Do walnuts also contain allergens? Is a walnut even worse than a peanut? My monkey brain always convinces me it’s a monkey nut.

You’ve probably realized by now that I’m allergic to peanuts. Negative. Only once in my entire life have I ever had a reaction to nuts, and even then, I’m not sure beyond reasonable doubt whether it was a peanut or even due to the nut content itself. I was having a sleepover at a friend´s house. There wasn’t any choice for breakfast, it was some supermarket´s own brand of Crunchy-nut Cornflakes or bread and look for it. After a few painfully slow, revolting mouthfuls, my right cheek swelled up to the size of a tennis ball. Devastatingly, my friend´s mum was a nurse, she advised my friend to keep an eye out for any swelling around my neck or breathing difficulties. For the next hour all I thought about was my imminent death and the focus of my school assembly the following day. In the end I went home, ate 2 slices of beans and cheese on toast and made a miraculous recovery. I´m still not certain it was peanuts, but I hate them so much anyway I might as well be allergic to them. More recently, I ate a breakfast cereal bar which had peanuts in by accident. I immediately phoned the doctors preparing myself for anaphylactic shock. Between 10 minutes and 5 hours later, the doctor phoned me back and confirmed there was no chance I was allergic to peanuts. So not only am I not allergic to peanuts, but anytime I come across them or any other type of nut, I panic. Peanuts are everywhere. If I eat one 7 times will I become allergic? (that cereal bar was probably the 6th knowing my luck.) Can it be developed? Is it nature or nurture?

Ever since I learnt what the word meant I’ve been a hypochondriac. A slight belly ache is enough to have me imagining my funeral. Whenever I get ill, I’m adamant its rare and incurable. Every headache is a brain tumor, every stomach ache is a deadly virus or peptic ulcer, every arm or chest pain is a heart attack, every ball ache is testicular cancer, every mole is skin cancer and every graze or cut has been infected with something deadly. As I have googled so many potential medical emergencies, I now know all the tell-tale signs, I spot them early doors. E.g. Every time I smell burning, it’s not the pizza in the oven, it’s a heart-attack. I’ve suffered numerous brain tumors, heart attacks, a variety of cancers, as well as diabetes 1, 2 and 3… That’s only the physical illnesses. Countless times I’ve been on the verge of: psychosis, losing my mind forever, blacking out and coming back as someone else, from unlearning how to speak, not knowing who I am or where I am, and not knowing or remembering anyone; I’ve had bi-polar, PTSD (post-peanut, I’m certain that’s what the “P” stands for), schizophrenia, early-onset Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease, I’ve been through the wars.

In reality, I have suffered with all and none of the above. My counselor thinks I have an anxiety disorder; I’m certain I have a peanut allergy.


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