So tonight I contracted Ebola from a Vegetable from Zimbabwe. This comes 5 hours after I accidentally ate a plastic fork tine that has since ruptured my internal organs. By some marvel the ruptured internal organs have rectified themselves and now I am in the stages of battling an Ebola infection. Last night I got struck down by another episode of appendicitis, either wizards surgically removed it from my body last night or I am a walking self healing marvel.
Thats just 24 hours for me, 3 life threatening illnesses. So, what did I learn? Well I was thinking today about anxiety and how people come on here, write their own fears down and become totally irrational and then proceed to visit other peoples threads and tell them how irrational they are being. It is quite a beautiful irony and I am very much apart of it. Last night when I was battling appendicitis I contacted my girlfriend for reassurance and she said something I hadnt considered. She told me that "I was getting better at them, that in my panic attacks the logical part slowly fights its way back in and assumes control. Where as before I was just a wreck pleading to be brought to the nearest Emergency Room". Perhaps it is experience that has given me the wisdom to convince myself it is a panic attack but I actually think it is something alot more simple.
I think, it is purely down to the fact that I have been resisting urges to google and run for medical help. Dont get me wrong, I have still gone to the Doctor when a new symptom appears and I think I am doomed but, it has never once made me feel better. It has frustrated me and made me think that my Doctor is a clueless idiot who doesnt know what he is talking about. Where as if I dont google symptoms and I dont run to a Doctor, I am no longer giving my symptoms power. I am no longer giving them weight as an emergency. Yes sometimes I will get a stabbing pain somewhere like in my head and I will think "Oh crap! Brain Aneurysm. Im done", but I just remind myself its most likely just a headache, it will pass. Where as, if instead I Google it and find out I have symptoms that in my head relate to a Brain Aneurysm, suddenly the pain has the weight of a truck behind it and it is barrelling through everything. By Googling symptoms you are giving weight to your anxiety and your fears.
Another thing, when I swallowed the plastic fork thing, I of course Googled it. I found 100s of stories about people who have done the same. Yes littered among them were 1 or 2 bad cases where surgery was required but overall it was people making light of the fact that it happened. This made me feel weird. First there were some bad stories but there were so many light hearted ones where people just seemed like they were being absolute idiots for even worrying about this. I was one of those idiots. I was the kind of person that Googled swallowing a plastic pointy thing smaller than 1 cent coin. I was an idiot. In hindsight the thought of such a tiny piece of plastic fork tearing through my intestinal (ever tried to stab yourself with a plastic fork? Imagine the force that it would take to puncture your skin?) wall and causing me to bleed out and die. Then I became more aware of people on here and their fears. How I can rationally analyse their fears and anxieties and post a logical response that can usually be summarised as "You're fine". No wonder Doctors dont take me seriously, I wouldnt even take me seriously with half the stuff I come out with. Trying to imagine what others would say about your symptoms can help you rationalise them. Or what you would say to someone else with your symptoms.
Finally, Ebola thought me this one. Back when I was about 8 I had a chronic fear of Weil's Disease. Weil's Disease comes from rats and causes liver failure and death in a matter of hours. So this terrified me to the point where I created alot of unhealthy habits about being overly healthy. I would wash my hands to be point where they would become cracked and red and bleed constantly. This went on until I was about 13 or 14 and even to this day I get bouts of anxiety when I am out around where rats could have been. So when I contracted Ebola from that vegetable (I may joke about it but I am genuinely still worried I might have Ebola) it reminded me alot of the fears I had as a child. Anyway I succumbed to the fear, I broke and I Googled. I Googled as much as I could. Flight Distances, Travel times, Ebola survival time outside a host, Locations in countries of infections, Nationalities of those infected. But I was getting increasingly frustrated that I could not find anything to do with African food exports. This is the first time this has ever happened to me. I couldnt find information that confirmed my doom. I actually started to become frenzied.
I couldnt understand why there was nothing there. It was infinitely frustrating that I had no answer. Even now I am not sure what happened, I wonder if I have reached a point where I am sort of addicted to feeling doomed and without confirmation I couldnt get my fix? But I was missing something very vital and important. The reason I couldnt find anything was because it didnt exist. It was unheard of and understandably absolutely no one was worried about it. It wasnt that there was a minute risk, there literally was nothing, there was no risk. If there is nothing there to see, it is probably literally nothing. My mind seemed incapable (still does) of accepting that there is nothing. It seems to be trying to create something by constructing absurd chance encounters that I seem to be trying to grasp onto. The same feeling I have often had coming out of Doctors when they told me there was nothing wrong with me "that it was just anxiety".
Our minds are powerful. As quickly as we can create these fears and anxieties we can easily beat them back down. The key to it is just not feeding the fear, you can feed your fear but you cant feed the logic that has to contain the irrationality and once that irrationality gets loose there is no way of getting it back in. Honestly, how many of us have ever felt our symptoms improve after googling them? None? How many of us have had our symptoms get worse after googling them? Probably all of us. I guess all 3 lessons can be summed up into one piece of advice that keeps getting said on here; "Dont Google!!"
So I am making a list of all the diseases and illnesses I have overcome so I can come back and look and read them and laugh at myself for being so ridiculous. Now I just wait for the day when I can come back and read this post and laugh about how it took me so long just to realise Google only feeds the beast, Doctor visits only weaken his cage and not accepting the clear black and white facts just let him loose.