So while I usually suffer from health anxiety, I definitely see the parallels between that and my current fixation on the condition of my house, which is why I'm posting about it here.

I live in a 120-year-old Colonial in Pennsylvania. We bought it five years ago. The basement is unfinished, stone and mortar with a parge coat. I do not go down there unless I absolutely have to - it's gross. It's dirty, there are tons of spiders, etc. Within the last 2 or so years, I've noticed that when I do go down there, there are collections of dust and a sandy material on the wood steps and base of the walls. After doing some research, I've learned that this is old mortar from between the stones drying out and crumbling, along with the parge coat flaking off and needing to be replaced. Not a big deal - a mason can do it. It's not super cheap, but it seems to be a simple job, and once it's done it will last 50-60 years, which means I'll never have to worry about it again.

But when searching online for local stone masons to do the work, I started running into more and more websites talking about foundation damage, and ended up going down a rabbit hole that has led me to an obsession with the idea that the house's foundation is crumbling beneath us and is going to need exorbitantly expensive repairs or even replacement. It's just like what happens when I'm in an HA spiral. There are minor "symptoms" - lots of hairline cracks in the plaster walls and ceilings, doors slightly out of alignment in their frames, two spots in the basement wall that seep moisture during heavy or extended periods of rain...things which, on their own, probably wouldn't concern me and may even have always been there, but combined have convinced me I'll shortly be selling organs on the black market to pay to fix it all. Every step I take feels like I'm about to fall through the floor, and I've become completely convinced when I look at the corners of the walls, ceilings and floors that everything is uneven and sinking.

The basement walls, while ugly, do not appear to be bowing or suffering any other kind of structural damage aside from the crumbling mortar, and we don't have trouble shutting windows or doors or anything (except one old wooden door, between the living room and the enclosed porch, that swells when it's humid). Also, when we bought the house we got a certain kind of loan (FHA, for those in the States) that requires a more careful inspection which includes a look at the foundation. We were told at the time that the foundation was in good shape and the minor cracks throughout the house were cosmetic and a result of normal house settling over the years. Even though I see (what I think are) a lot of new cracks, it's unlikely that in five years of continued habitation the foundation would have deteriorated to a point where it needs complete replacement, but that's where my head is at the moment. Like in an HA episode, when we fear the doctor missed something, I worry that the inspector did. We have a guy coming to take a look at it today and I'm so scared that he's going to tell me it's a goner. Thanks to the pandemic my husband hasn't worked since March and though I'm still employed, my job is paying the bills and we don't have any extra to spare - let alone tens of thousands of dollars.

I'm hoping with everything I have that this turns out to be just like every HA episode I've ever had - more of an "it's allergies, not a brain tumor" kind of thing. Allergies being the easily-replaced crumbling mortar, brain tumor being the complete deterioration of the foundation. Honestly I almost miss worrying about my health - at least insurance would pay for that!