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Author Topic: Why do we do this to ourselves? Are we too empathetic?  (Read 140 times)

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Offline Gomubukai

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Why do we do this to ourselves? Are we too empathetic?
« on: January 21, 2014, 04:03:54 AM »
Why is it that when we read about a disease or see something about one somewhere we think we have it?

I've been particularly stressed this week and I heard about an outbreak of measles at work. For a moment I thought the headache id had for a while was because of that rather than being stressed, under tight deadlines and missing lunch.

I then was going through my feed of funny videos and there was one in there about all the tweets a young woman had put online before and while she found out she had a brain tumour. The tweets were so, so sad and then I was worried for a few moments about having the same thing.

I've been having memory troubles for a while now - I don't know if the way I experience memory is normal as everything seems to fade very quickly and feels like it happened to someone else.

 But I assume the thorough testing I've had at the ophthalmologist recently (for something unrelated) would have picked something up. The field of vision test in particular is supposed to be good for finding questionable results to do with the brain and neurological conditions.

I wonder if that is part of our problem... Are we health anxiety folk TOO empathetic? We don't have any trouble putting ourselves into other people's shoes and sometimes that ability to see things from another persons perspective is too REAL. We imagine what we would feel like if that were to happen to us. And our empathy notes us in the butt.

At the moment all I can think about is the girl who looked about my age finding out she had three months to live. It makes me feel helpless and so, so sad.

What does everyone think? Do we care about people too much and tend to put ourselves in their situations too easily?
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Offline patmob

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Re: Why do we do this to ourselves? Are we too empathetic?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2014, 06:05:36 AM »
Misery love company.  Seeing other people with diseases makes our minds jump up and say "SEE!  SEE!  I HAVE THOSE SYMPTOMS TOO!!  I HAVE THAT DISEASE ALSO!!"  Its like reassurance for our worst fears.
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