I was born anxious, but I'm coping with coronavirus – here's why | Adrian Chiles

As a teenager I had chronic hypochondria. Yet in the face of a global pandemic I am surprisingly calm. Maybe it’s because we are all in this together

I have noticed something odd about my anxiety at this time: I am not as anxious as I should be. I have been anxious for as long as I can remember: man, boy, child, baby and, for all I know, foetus. It just seems to be in my nature. I have a physical manifestation of it in the shape of a long furrow right across the middle of my brow. If I pull the skin on my forehead right back to stretch away this crevice, a white streak appears in its place. For this troubled trench is so deep that no sunlight finds a way to its depths.

When I was a kid, I worried about everything. I worried whether my friends liked me, whether girls liked me and, most of all, whether West Brom would win their next game. I worried about my grandparents dying and my parents dying. And, logically enough, by the time I got to my teens I started to worry about dying myself. This manifested itself in chronic hypochondria. I was convinced I had pretty much everything at some time or other, but the main focus of my concern was my testicles. To be fair, I had nearly lost them when I was 11 in a bicycle crash at my nan’s house on the day of the 1978 cup final, but that’s another story.

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