I therefore conclude that at least some people are looking, consciously or not, not to rule OUT serious disease, but to confirm the legitimacy of their fear.
Great post, G:)
Confirmation bias is rampant in HA.
The segment I pulled from your post is incredily dead on. In an effort to make ourselves not feel 'crazy', so to speak, or so we don't feel like we should, most definitely,
be controlling our actions and habits, we 'legitimize' these actions and habits by 'confirming' our fears. It is much harder to 'confirm' our fears without proving to ourselves that our actions and habits are protecting us and the well-being of our families.. This 'proof' is found on the internet...."SEE, loose stools ARE a sign of colon cancer!". "I better start (or keep) looking closely at all my bowel movements every single time - I better start (or keep) checking my toilet paper every single time. I probably should have a colonoscopy...maybe my Doc will order one for me if I tell him about my loose stools and cramping. I just need to know that I'm not dying before my time...I would miss out on SOOO much if I die too young. My kids would be a mess, too! I had a colonoscopy a few yers ago, but maybe something has grown inside me since then. I'm beginning to freak out here! I think I'll look and see how many people die of colon cancer between the ages of 27-35. OMG! - 94 people died in their 20's! Let me check about my left side pain, too...maybe that is a sign a colon cancer? I can't seem to shake off that pain and it is making me worried. If it doesn't go away, I'll have to go to the Doc, again...he said I was overall pretty darn healthy when I went two months ago, but maybe it really IS cancer and it is starting to spread a bit. My WBC was a little high last blood work, I think....the Doc said it was probably because I had a cold around then. But, Docs and testing miss stuff all the time....maybe they missed something in me and it IS cancer and I'll be one those 'rare cases' that I read about on the computer. Gosh, why is this happening TO ME - I do not wanna die...I'm NOT READY....I'm scared! Let me google, 'survival rates of colon cancer if it is caught early enough'....maybe I will catch mine early enough so I don't leave behind my loving family. OMG, I just can't die!!! My side is hurting more now...this isn't right - something IS wrong! Something is wrong!", etc.
This type thinking takes maybe 30 seconds and it is powerful and pervasive. And, it can drive us into our bad actions and habits. The actions and habits that are counterproductive to us seeking out much LASTING peace. By embracing these habits, we are cementing ('legitimizing') our fears. And, we are getting locked in tighter to our fear cycles. We have to break fear cycles - somehow / someway. Eventually, we have to fully accept that it is anxiety driving our actions and take appropriate measures to help ourselves (and there IS appropriate help and self-help). Medical intervention is NOT appropriate help for a mental health challenge. Googling our own health concerns is NOT appropriate for health anxiety / anxiety disorder(s). AND....AND...AND...AND...this is such a BIG AND....AND, these things will NEVER (never, never, never) be a part of a longterm healing path for anxiety. At some point this, hopefully, begins to hit home....that you (me, each of us) were NOT the ONE person who could continue to embrace counterproductive habits and actions and keep moving well down a healing path. Though I thought I was gonna be THAT one, way back when, it wasn't me either. And, it won't be you - I promise. HA stuff repeats itself over and over and over....we can really learn from other peeps experiences (our own, too) and from the overall history of HA, if we just could begin to push through feeling our case was all that different. Overwhelmingly, it is not, at its core. "It feels sooooo damn real, though!"
Peace and Feel Well:)