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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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

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You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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7 Ways To Calm Your Mind, Body, And Soul During An Anxiety Attack

It is OK not to be OK.

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Everyone gets anxiety attacks whether you will admit it or not. Seven little things that help me find my inner peace are ones I feel everyone should be aware of.

1. Try the "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" grounding exercise.

Answer these five questions out loud for sensory awareness:

What are five things you can see?

What are four things you can feel?

What are three things you can hear?

What are two things you can smell?

What is one thing you love about yourself?

2. Try out this breathing .GIF.

Breathe In Help GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

3. Listen to a song that reduces your anxiety.

4. Use some lavender oil.

Rub it on your temples.

Put some on your wrists.

Inhale.

*Calming.*

5. Tense up your muscles (and then relax).

This may sound counter-intuitive, but just give it a try:

Start tensing at your toes and move up through your body — legs, abdomen, arms, neck, and jaw. Hold it for four counts. Then, relax your muscles. Feel the tension melt out of you.

6. Download an app on your phone.

There are my top apps for helping with anxiety (and they are FREE):

"Recolor" (a coloring book app).

"Wordscapes" (like a crossword puzzle).

"PicrossLUNA" (kind of a play-off of sudoku).

"Words With Friends 2" (just like Scrabble).

7. Reach into your freezer and grab an ice cube.

Just one of many distraction methods.

Reach into the freezer and grab an ice cube or an ice pack.

Hold it firmly in your hand.

Place it on your toes.

The idea is to distract your mind from anything else.

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