Fear Thesaurus Entry: One’s Genetics

From Writers Helping Writers:

To varying degrees, every person takes steps to stay healthy because no one wants the discomfort and inconvenience of being sick or injured. But not all maladies are created equal. Imagine a character with a genetic predisposition towards a debilitating physical or mental condition. Not knowing if it’s going to crop up for them, or when it will show itself…that uncertainty and fear can create a host of issues that impact the character’s thoughts and how they approach life and the future.

What It Looks Like

  • Frequently visiting the doctor
  • Requesting tests and bloodwork to look for earmarks of the condition
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Avoiding potential triggers (alcohol, being in the sun, etc.)
  • Heavily researching the condition
  • Conducting genetic testing to see if the character is at risk
  • Taking vitamins and supplements
  • Quizzing family members about their health
  • Doing frequent self-checks for symptoms associated with the condition
  • Participating in research studies
  • Deciding not to have children
  • Hypochondriac tendencies; believing the condition is presenting when it isn’t
  • Difficulty developing long-term relationships (because the character doesn’t want people around when/if their health deteriorates)
  • Being uncomfortable around people who have the condition
  • Participating in fundraisers to find cures for the condition
  • Avoiding doctors and testing
  • Ignoring any symptoms of the condition
  • Becoming irritated or angry when the subject is brought up
  • Hiding signs that the condition is developing
  • Pretending things aren’t as bad as they are
  • Not making long-term plans for the future

Common Internal Struggles

  • The character feeling like their body or mind has betrayed them
  • Being plagued with visions of what the condition will do to the character
  • Constantly worrying that the condition is starting
  • Worrying about what will happen to the people in the character’s care if the condition develops
  • Wanting to start a family but being too afraid of passing the condition to them
  • Being afraid of the future and what it might bring
  • Wrestling with depression
  • Being angry at God

. . . .

Hindrances and Disruptions to the Character’s Life

  • Overspending on genetic testing, supplements, experimental treatments, etc.
  • Being unable to enjoy the present because the character is so worried about the future
  • Not preparing adequately for the future (because the character doesn’t see the point)
  • Making life decisions (about marriage, having kids, the pursuit of a dream) based on the condition presenting itself though there is no guarantee that it will
  • Taking drastic measures to ensure the condition doesn’t develop (such as having a hysterectomy to prevent ovarian cancer, though there is no guarantee it will happen for the character)

Link to the rest at Writers Helping Writers