And that's a good thing. (And a nod to Austen lovers!)
When I was in grad school, a couple female friends and I were kvetching at table outside the department one day. (Our department was near a coffee/food area, and the tables were between the two, so we spent a good bit of time at those tables.) We were talking about menopause, or ovarian cysts, or endometriosis, or some other very specific female complaint. We'd been talking a while, when one of the young, rather dashing male junior faculty members asked to join the table. So he did, and someone continued describing some symptoms she'd had with whatever female problem.
And the male faculty member said completely innocently, "I think I have that!" And we all burst out laughing and explained that he couldn't. He was a bit of a hypochondriac, but self-aware and quite wonderful, and so he laughed along with great relief at not having whatever organs were required for the problem.
I was thinking about that faculty member as I graded this batch of writing class research papers. My students write about a question they're really interested in, after a great deal of brainstorming about questions, and then research to find the answer. In a way, I suppose, it gives me some insight into what's on their minds.
What's on my students' minds in any given semester often relates to health problems: is alcoholism genetically inherited? What causes diabetes? What happens with [internal parasite of your choosing] infestation? What is [think of a scary disease, now think of a couple more] and will I get it if my [brother, aunt, grandparent, etc.] has it? What happens when you tear your rotator cuff?
I'm pretty resistant to hypochondria, probably because I'm luckily healthy, but there's one this semester that's sort of got my skin crawling, because I'm thinking, ermm, I could totally get that... (/shudder)
I need to finish up this set and get on with the next!