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Stay Off Google – Looking Up Health Issues and Symptoms Can Make Your Anxiety Worse

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In 2017, I started to notice everyday situations would worry me more than usual. I did not understand what changed with my personality. Of course, I would worry about everyday things before 2017, but I started to over-worry. For instance, due to stress caused by attending the funeral programme at school, I started having intestinal issues. I was told I had irritable bowel syndrome. I did not correlate the two, so I started to worry that I had a serious medical issue going on. My mind goes to the worse possible scenario, like colon cancer.

This has been a habit of mine since 2017 and has not stopped. If I make a mistake at work, even minor, I worry I will be written up. Then I worry about making that mistake over and over. This worry causes me to lose sleep, disrupts my appetite, and makes me lose focus. This worry really is unfounded, but with anxiety, I cannot help it. If I have plans to go out at night with a friend, and I have a concern on my mind, I will cancel because I am so pre-occupied with this mistake.

Currently, my daughter has a kidney stone I believe due to drinking soda and dehydration. We resolved the diet issue and I know once she passes it, most likely, she will be fine. But my mind goes to the ‘what-ifs’ like what if she gets another one? What if she deals with these stones for the rest of her life and gets kidney disease? I constantly go online and search for different articles about kidney stones, their size, symptoms and complications. My habit of searching for diseases and issues online is so bad, it is a running joke in our house.

After this happened a few times, I knew I needed help. I made an appointment with my primary doctor and explained what was going on and she prescribed me the generic form of Xanax and diagnosed me with generalised anxiety disorder. The Xanax helps, but I still over-worry. Obviously, after three years of being diagnosed, I need to figure out the cause of my anxiety and a solution. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several types of anxiety disorders with various causes and complications.

With generalised anxiety disorder, the causes can be traumatic events from life experiences or traits that we are born with. Anxiety can also be caused by various medical problems like heart disease or diabetes. I believe mine is caused by life experiences. I do not have any traumatic experiences, but I do not have any of the diseases listed. It is important if you have or think you have anxiety, you need to get checked out by your doctor. Do not ignore it. The complications from anxiety disorders can be concerning. You can become depressed, start to misuse substances, have trouble sleeping, have problems focusing on school or work, and most serious, you can become suicidal.

Since I am still trying to resolve my anxiety, I started searching online for ways to help control it. While medication can help, there are natural ways to help too. According to WebMD, you can try walking for 10 minutes or working out for 45 minutes, preferably outdoors. If you exercise at least three times a week, you can feel less anxious. Try gardening. This activity can help release mood-boosting chemicals that may help relieve your anxiety.

Have you tried meditation? I have not, but I have been told this can help alleviate anxiety by focusing on your breathing, which in turn, clears your mind. The thought of acupuncture does not appeal to me, but this is also a more natural way to help. When you get acupuncture, fine needles are inserted into certain points on your body. I am sure the thought of needles may scare some people off, but if it can help, why not give it a try.

There are many other natural ways to combat anxiety, so investigate it. Just know, many people deal with this disorder. It is not your fault and it is nothing to be ashamed of. I hope to find a solution to my anxiety so I can worry less, be more focused and sleep better. If I can offer one tip, stay off Google. Looking up health issues and symptoms can make your anxiety worse.

Karen Kelly suffers from generalised anxiety disorder and social anxiety, and have for several years now.

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