When we have HA one of the first ports of call is often Dr. Google. I've tried hard to avoid googling, but recently I've been weak and given in on several occasions. It has not ended well. My husband was livid and asked me about why I did it:
Think back to one instance that you've googled a symptom and it's come back with a reassuring result. (me: um... never)
So why do you do it? (me: because I need reassurance that my symptoms aren't fatal)
And you get that? (me: no)
So what happens? (me: I find all sorts of fatal and bad conditions and it worries me more)
So if you touch a hot oven and it burns you, do you touch it again? (me: no)
So why google when all it does is hurt you? (me: no answer)
So why do we do it? Does google know more than our doctor does? (well maybe some, I've had a few rum doctors), but in general no it does not. I think, if I'm honest, in my case it's partly a form of control. My health is something outside of my control, I have no influence over it at all apart from exercise and diet, so looking up my symptoms and making a diagnosis is a way of taking a small measure of control over my perceived illness. I can then go to the doctor and basically 'know' what I have so I know if he's on the right track or not. But of course it's not that simple, as many have said, Dr. Google is not reliable and did not come top of his medical class and my interpretation of results I find can be faulty. Yet it's easier to believe Dr. Google than my own GP or specialist.
Another reason I google is for instant reassurance. You can't always get in to see the doctor, or it might be late at night or whatever the reason, and suddenly I NEED TO KNOW WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME NOW!!! So I'll look up my symptoms in the hopes it'll say 'it's nothing don't worry about it, you're fine.' But it rarely does - you'd think I'd have learned that by now.
Another reason is that I don't trust my doctor's diagnosis and want to double check it by looking up my symptoms on the net. This also rarely ends well, as often my symptoms can also be indicative of rare and fatal disorders, that my GP, of course, will know I don't have from his years of experience, but there it is in black and white on my screen, telling me 'YOU'RE GOING TO DIE' I have reasons to find it hard to trust my doctor, both myself and my family have had bad experiences with doctors who have misdiagnosed serious things in the past which does make it much harder to trust any doctors. But for some reason I seem to trust Dr. Google, no matter how wild or shocking his misdiagnoses.
All of this leads me to the conclusion that I have to stop googling, and I have to stop it now. At the very least it's doing me no good at all, and in all probability is actually causing me mental harm and making it much more difficult for me to tackle my health anxiety. It's such a hard thing to do, as it's almost a compulsion now, to look up things, to try and get that illusive reassurance, but I know I have to stop. Google has burned me more times than I care to remember yet I still keep touching that hot oven. It's time to stop. So from today I'm going to try real hard to kick the habit and to all of you who have taken the time to read this, please try to follow my example as no good ever came of trusting in Dr. Google, it's about time he was struck off.