An Open Letter To WebMD

An Open Letter To WebMD

Thank you for convincing me I'm dying.

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I just want to start this by saying I am a hypochondriac. Whenever I feel the slightest pain in my body, I assume the worst, which makes WebMD much more dangerous for me. No matter what I am going through, WebMD makes sure that I panic ten times more than I originally was.

The other night I had really bad lower stomach pains. I had no clue what was wrong with me, so I announced to my roommate I was going on WebMD. She groaned and told me not to start with that. She already knew my routine of overreacting. But I ignored her and typed my symptoms into the app. The results ranged from life-threatening to just PMS. And I, of course, assumed I was dying. But after drinking water, my pain went away, making me realize I just had a bad cramp. Typical.

Last year I was always convincing myself I was having a heart attack in the middle of the night. Turns out I was just having panic attacks. And thinking that I was having a heart attack would lead to an even bigger panic attack. Without fail, I would type my symptoms into WebMD and it would tell me I should call 911. As everything listed for the condition I was in was life threatening except for anxiety, I discovered that I just had anxiety.

But anyway, enough about me. This is about WebMD.

Dear WebMD,

Thank you for always making me fear for my life, for making me overreact and send myself into a panic attack. Thank you for never actually diagnosing me (although I should be smart enough to go to the actual doctor). Not only are you the worst for when I am feeling the worst, but you took away your best feature. I can no longer click on the part of my body that I feel symptoms in and have it help me explain how I feel. That was the most convenient thing about you, and now I can barely find the words to describe what I am feeling, making it even harder to try and diagnosis myself.

You are literally the most problematic thing in my life, yet I do not know how to give you up. You make me frustrated and even more sick than when I started.

I do not know who thought it would be a good idea to give people a tool to try and self-diagnosis, but here we are. I hope that someday we can find a way to live in harmony, but for now I think I am going to have to take my roommate's advice and part ways with you, as I cannot continue to live my life thinking I have the black plague.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Not Only Does Lack Of Sleep Make You Cranky, But It Also Affects Your Relationships

In fact, the lack of sleep affects your ability to fully engage in healthy and long-lasting relationships.

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When I'm sleep deprived, I feel like the world is almost coming to an end. I'm the most cranky and irritable when I experience a lack of sleep. I'm sure many of you can relate to this and the struggles of it. It is one of the worst feelings to have because most of your actions get affected by it.

Sleep is an essential component in our lives because it provides us with the energy and resilience required to tackle memories and obstacles during the day. Usually, people who are sleep deprived will end up forgetting to complete simple tasks such as putting salt while cooking or picking something up from the patio. The inability to forget to do simple tasks stems from the lack of sleep experienced by many young adults like me.

As college students, we tend to underestimate the paramount importance of getting that target "8 hours" of sleep. Feeling sleepy while at a lecture is the eye-catching symptom for most sleep-deprived students and it is something that happens to me. In the same manner, sleep is closely tied to your relationships as well.

Recent studies have highlighted the fact that the amount of sleep you get does indeed affect your relationships. In fact, the lack of sleep affects your ability to fully engage in healthy and long-lasting relationships. You will most likely end up not reciprocating to what your significant other expects from you and that will end up straining the relationship even more. For instance, imagine if your S.O. wants to speak to you about something extremely important i.e. a life-changing decision. If you or your S.O. are sleep deprived, the conversation will go nowhere and chances are both of you will end up fighting.

Hence, sleep is crucial for the longevity of relationships as well as for your mental peace. Establishing a common bedtime is key towards developing a more closer bond with each other. In addition, mutual respect for each other's sleep patterns and work schedules plays a huge role in strengthening a couple's relationship. If both partners are able to balance their respective schedules, then they will still be able to spend some quality time together. Keep in mind, the cliché "8 hours" of sleep is extremely vital for a well-rested mind and body! You will end up becoming more productive throughout the day if you are not sleep deprived.

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