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Thread: Breaking the Google addiction

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    114

    Breaking the Google addiction

    Hi all,

    I had my rock bottom moment yesterday and although I've been telling myself for years to stop Googling anything health related, now I've realised my mental and physical health depend on it.

    I've had health anxiety since 2005 and Google compulsively. It's not unusual for me to be worrying about several diseases and medical issues at a time or on a loop throughout the day. I can't remember a day in the past 15 years where I wasn't worrying about something. In fact, when I stop worrying, I panic a bit and end up noticing something new.

    In this thread I'll be sharing my thought patterns and behaviours as I break this bad habit and create a new one.

    I hope it helps you if you're struggling with health anxiety.
    Last edited by carriewriting; 14-06-20 at 02:43.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    114

    Re: Breaking the Google addiction

    I've got two big medical tests coming up this week and need to make an appointment for something else that may be serious. This morning I noticed some anxious thoughts about one of the tests.

    SITUATION: Making a cup of tea

    THOUGHTS

    "What if test X shows something serious?"
    "Will I read the report before I go to the GP?"
    "Probably not a good idea because then I'll just want to Google,"
    "I'll tell them not to email me the report, that way I won't be tempted,"
    "But then I won't know what the result is until Thursday,"
    "I'll search X test on NMP and read all the stories about people who had negative results. That'll make me feel better,"
    "What if my GP calls and says to bring someone to the appointment. That'll mean it's something really bad,"
    "Who will I bring? I don't have anyone to take or look after me,"
    "Okay, time to shut down this scary thinking."

    ACTION

    - Sit at my desk and close my eyes.
    - Take a few deep breaths.
    - Acknowledge the fear.
    - Recognise that these are just scary thoughts. I am not psychic.
    - Something good or bad could result from the test.
    - All other tests don't point to anything serious.
    - This test is just a final check that all is well because I have a really good and thorough GP who I can trust.

    Counter some of the negative thoughts:
    - What if the tests show something serious? What will be will be and then there'll be a plan and support.
    - Will I read the report before I go to the GP? No. I will wait 3 days until I see my GP and yes that might mean I get a shock when I see her if things are bad, but if there's something in the report I will struggle not to Google it.
    - What if my GP calls and says to bring someone? Then I'll take someone.
    - I'll search NMP for good news stories. No I won't. That's another form of Googling.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    10,682

    Re: Breaking the Google addiction

    Your GP will need to know about your HA. Being "thorough" should mean only ordering tests based on clinical need.

    Would it be helpful to stick to this thread for your thoughts as opposed to trawling through NMP for reassurance posts..As you say..this is another form of Googling?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    114

    Re: Breaking the Google addiction

    Yes, that's my plan Pulisa. To stay away from the main HA board and just post here, plus read the positive posts.

    My GP is very aware of my HA. I've been with her for 10 years. In the past year we've been talking a lot about my health anxiety and how to manage it in different ways. We had a good system going before COVID where I had an appointment every 6 weeks and during that time I made a list of things that were worrying me. It helped a lot because I'd write it down and then tell myself "If I'm still worrying when I see the GP, I'll talk to her about it." 50% of the time I wouldn't be, but she'd patiently listen while I went through whatever was on the list and decide if there was anything that needed looking at. Hopefully we can get back to that soon.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    10,682

    Re: Breaking the Google addiction

    She sounds very supportive, Carrie and is obviously prepared to help you with your HA.

    In my opinion you've made the right decision about staying off the HA board. You need to get through your tests and not be triggered by anyone else's symptoms which won't apply to you and your particular case.

    Good luck for your tests and my advice would be to wait for your doctor to tell you the results. You won't be able to interpret the results without the dubious "services" of Dr Google and we all know what happens then...!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    1,492

    Re: Breaking the Google addiction

    HA is such a beast isn’t it? A really debilitating mental illness. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make you - and me - free from its grip. But you give me hope. You have insight and that is a powerful weapon. It also sounds like you have a very supportive GP. Do you also have real life support- friends or family?
    Keep talking on here Carrie..... you are on the right track and you are fighting this.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    1,492

    Re: Breaking the Google addiction

    Ps apologies to you Pulisa for my use of the phrase “magic wand”. Ooooooops

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    114

    Re: Breaking the Google addiction

    Thanks JoJo. I don't have any family I can talk to and I tend not to talk to my friends about it. I find it really helpful to post on NMP where people "get it", but I've learned the hard way that I need to regulate how I do that. All the best to you too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    114

    Re: Breaking the Google addiction

    I had my brain MRI today and told the receptionist not to send me the results. The MRI itself was fine. I just closed my eyes and did some meditation. The technician said they might need to do it with contrast depending on what was seen, but that wasn't needed.

    There was a moment while I was in the machine that I decided I needed to let go of my fear. I told myself that when I came out of the machine, my fear would be gone and whatever happens to me from this point forward will be okay. It might be different, and there might be pain and suffering for me and my kids, but it will be okay.

    If I get a life limiting illness sometime in the next 50 years, I'll be able to get my kids help and support, put things in place for them and leave behind good memories. This is at the root of my health anxiety - my kids. I don't want them to have to worry about me being sick or dying. You don't always get a choice though.

    A few years ago a mum at school died with no warning. I think of her often because she's buried right near my mother. She had 3 boys who she adored and one is the same age as my son. Last week I took my son to get his driver's licence and thought how lucky I was to be doing that when she didn't get the chance. No matter what medical thing might happen to me for the rest of my life, I know she'd have chosen that rather than leaving her boys so suddenly.

    I'm not saying I won't be a mess on Thursday morning when I go to get the results from my GP, but at the moment I'm feeling calm and as long as that lasts, I'll take it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    4,855

    Re: Breaking the Google addiction

    You're doing brilliantly, Carrie! I wish I could be as brave as you.
    __________________
    ************************************************** ********
    Sometimes, it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness. - Terry Pratchett

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