The internet has turned me into a hypochondriac.
The internet has relieved my anxiety more than it's fueled it.
My hypochondria began around age 8, when I thought a ganglion cyst on my wrist was cancer, and I worked myself into a hysteria about it.
Even before that, I had terrible anxiety, but it usually focused on my family members becoming ill and dying, not on me
It probably has to do with the fact that I'm the one healthy child in my family- I have two severely handicapped siblings. I'm not sure why this would cause me to become a hypochondriac, but it did, for some reason.
At age eleven, I became convinced that a slightly raised mole on my upper arm was skin cancer. I picked at it until it was a big gross sore. Then I told my dad that I thought it was skin cancer, and I guess I was convincing enough that he took me to the doctor. The doctor said it wasn't skin cancer, of course.
It's gone on like that ever since. Every week, I have a new type of "cancer".
It should be noted that nobody
in my family has ever
had any type of cancer. Not even my grandparents.
This doesn't reassure me: it just makes me think we're due for some.
Anyway, since I discovered the internet, I've been able to rule out
a lot of worrisome symptoms that would've driven me to hysteria before the internet was available. With the internet, I've also found a lot of alternate (and less serious) causes for some of my symptoms, so I no longer think that every symptom I have invariably points to some sort of cancer.
And last, I'm able to look up statistics and see how rare cancer really is, especially in younger people. This helps give me a bit of perspective.
I'm not special. I don't expect to win the lottery. So why should I expect to get a cancer that affects only 8 in 100,000 people my age?
See what I mean?
But, yeah... I'd say the internet has definitely helped me more than it's hurt.