Okay, so you're suffering from some hypochondria. You didn't stumble upon this website by chance. One sunny (or rainy, I'm no weather-ologist) day you had a headache or a twitch and got that "big no no" impulse to google. You gave in, 'ya done messed up. You find some benign causes in the links that google churns up, but which is at the top, which one do you click on? The benign cause? Nah! What fun is that? You didn't google because you were afraid of a head cold, you googled because you already feared something more drastic could be the cause. So, of course, you did it. You clicked on the link to _____ disease that is fatal or severely disabling because it was more intriguing, you were more afraid of this one.
So, you fell down the well. At this point you've self diagnosed. You're in a fit of panic. You've read all of the symptoms and now you have them. You're monitoring every little thing that your body is doing. Every ache, every twitch, buzz, or tingle. With the coming of each of these sensations your fear grows. Now you're convinced you have ____ disease. How could it not be?
Now... Take a breath... Hold off the writing of your will, the last wishes and goodbyes to the people closest to you. Because while you do have a disorder, it's not the one you've diagnosed yourself with. You. Have. Health Anxiety. Do yourself a favor, if you're going to google anything, google the list of 100 physical symptoms anxiety can cause. You probably have 1 or 20 of those. I know I do.
After you've read that list, new rule. NO GOOGLING EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE. Be disciplined in this promise to yourself, for every time you google, you set yourself back. Every symptom you read and worry about, is another symptom you will suddenly have. The mind is a powerful thing. Perhaps you've heard that women who believe they're pregnant strongly enough, can actually cause their abdomen to swell up visibly as though they were pregnant! Just a testament to how strong the brain really is. "People tend to see what they're looking for". This is especially true for us.
My reason for writing this post is to save those who are not in so deep at this point. Do not fall into the cycle, it is the most viscous cycle I have ever known. Take the steps to stop it in it's tracks before it ever gets moving.
Today, my anxiety has reached levels I've never before experienced. It has overtaken me without relent for the last 3 months consecutively. I was previously the kid who spent time in class stressing about how I will pass my algebra exam, or whether or not I'd rather visit Australia before or after college. I'm 16, I used to spend Monday through Thursday planning what I would do with my weekends, go race my motocross bike? Go to a party? Now, I stay home and obsess over everything my body is doing. I never put my iPhone down because I'm either on here or some medical website. This level of anxiety can be reduced I know, but don't let yours reach this point in the first place, for it is more agonizing than any pain from a broken bone I have ever experienced (and I've broken a lot of them trust me, I'm a racer).
Learn cognitive behavioral techniques, I've heard nothing but praise for them. Talk to a therapist they can help you. If needed, ask your Dr. about taking an anti-depressant. But do NOT google your symptoms or research the diseases you fear. Be disciplined. Health anxiety is all based on misguided information and irrational fears. Put these to bed, and when you do your anxiety will reduce.
For those of you who read my posts about my own fears, I'm posting this to help others, not because I'm the almighty sage of controlling health anxiety, I'm far from that. I've yet to learn to control it, but I have learned to recognize it. And that's a big step.
I hope this post helps some of you, it was something I felt I needed to share. Now if only I could follow my own advice.