I’m sure you – like everyone else – can be found Googling your symptoms when you think something is wrong.
Today, all the information we need is at our fingertips which is a fantastic resource to have. Before the internet, I personally don’t remember actively making a library visit to find out how long my eye should itch for before consulting a doctor. I would just ask the doctor.
Now, it’s easy to just play Doctor on the comfort of your own sofa. What this means is that you are given access to information that you never used to; offering a whole other level of insight – and almost power – that can sometimes be to the detriment of your own mental health.
There’s the classic joke of going on WebMD and the answer to all of your symptoms will almost always be the big C. It’s great that we can make a joke of it to acknowledge that that is not always the correct answer. When you find yourself looking for an answer that is almost always the worst-case scenario – what can that do to your mental wellbeing?
What is not touched on as much is the idea that you can google your mental symptoms…and diagnose yourself.
I cannot speak for your physical health, but your mental health is a delicate, unique, and precious thing that should be considered with care and tact.
Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself (not Google) before you find yourself down the Google rabbit hole:
1. What are your symptoms?
What are you really feeling?
Not ‘I think I have this…’ take a moment to sit with your thoughts and feelings to get down to the bare basic symptom that you are experiencing.
If you feel uneasy and you want to Google your symptoms, or for instance, ‘What does a panic attack feel like? First, really pay attention to that uneasiness. Where are you feeling it? – Head? Skin? Stomach?
2. Forgetting wanting a diagnosis – your mental health can be backtracked to moments before.
What has your day looked like so far?
It’s all well and good wanting to know point-blank if you have anxiety – but how you are feeling all comes down to what you were doing, and what you are doing now. You don’t need a specific name of what you have to do this.
Your mental health signals come down to a feeling of disempowerment. This can relate back to any negative feeling or issue you have. Once you backtrack the source, you can start to find a pattern within your life.
3. Target and Action it.
If someone has pissed you off today or you have been very busy, do something about it. Take a small step to help yourself and confront where that uneasy feeling lies.
What these questions will do is have you focus on your own mental health before that reflex kicks in where you ask the internet what is wrong with you.
Once you have answered these 3 questions, ask yourself how you are feeling. More often than not, you have gotten to the heart of the issue and you can adjust your life and your circumstances in order to not feel that way again.
It is important to understand mental health issues, their symptoms and what to look for, but focus on yourself at that moment first, and once you are looking from the outside in, you can do the research without fear being the main motivator.