The Dark Side


Cyberchondria. Have you heard of this?

If you know what webMD is, your probably suffering from it.

Cyberchondria is a term that describes the neurosis that ensues when the average person attempts a self-diagnosis via google or other online sources. Usually the veritable freak out following one’s leisurely stroll through the online realms of possibility is largely unfounded.

Like that time when you had two birthday dinners because your friends wanted to take you out for a cheesecake factory gorge-a-thon but then your mom called you over for a special home cooked meal and you couldn’t say no because its your mom and she made all your favorite things. So it’s 1 am and your chest is cramping and the tightness seems to radiate up your neck and around your back creeping up your shoulders and you’re starting to feel like you’re going to throw up, just maybe, and the pain seems to get more intense no matter how still you sit. Moaning as you crawl across the floor to your computer as if tonight just may be the last night of your life and you might just curl up and die right there. You’re waiting as the browser finally loads your google results and you feel a sudden crushing in your core as your head starts to spin. Heart Attack! Angina! Aortic Dissection! Pleurisy! Pericarditis! Oh God! You click on the first link and all the symptoms seem to describe exactly what you’re feeling and now you really, you just know its the beginning of the end. Lo’ and behold you wake up the next morning, miraculously alive and well, catastrophe averted until the next time you eat a weeks’ worth of meals in the span of 6 hours.

Ahem, anyway. These, uh, neurotic excesses kind of take over me from time to time – – especially with regards to my lady parts. I guess its because the gynecologist is the only doctor I see on a regular basis. Fortunately, I’m rarely under the weather (*knock on wood*) and so the only real opportunities for ‘them to find something’ are at my yearly exams. And I’m telling you, even though they’ve never confirmed my frantic suspicions, I’m always an anxious wreck before hand.

A few years back I was convinced I had endometriosis because I’d been getting weird, unexplained pains in my lower left side toward the front a bit. Anyway, I’d done my google-ing and was just gearing up for the bad news. When it never came I was faced with a dilemma: do I bask in the good news and trust my medical professional or do I ask specifically about what I fear is my affliction? Is this where the law of attraction comes in? If my doctor doesn’t speak its name can I just will it away? I asked. And I was not happy with the response. “Hmm. Well, that is serious but also rather unusual.” Ok. Um, so…

Here I am once again. Awaiting my yearly results. Feeling all emotional and detached and sentimental as if this may be the year I find out I have cancer or something. In the meantime I’m making some ridiculously amazing marshmallow dream bars and loading up on Colbert and Conan reruns. Yes, I declare, laughter is the tonic!