interview with professional
35 Times People Thought They Were Terribly Ill But Turned Out To Be Completely Fine (Interview With Professional)
It’s incredibly easy to freak out about your health. A slight cough. A tiny bump. A strange rash. Even feeling slightly off-key. All of these things can force even grownups to panic. Even more so if they start googling their symptoms.
35 Times People Thought They Were Terribly Ill But Turned Out To Be Completely Fine (Interview With Professional)
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It’s incredibly easy to freak out about your health. A slight cough. A tiny bump. A strange rash. Even feeling slightly off-key. All of these things can force even grownups (or was that especially grownups?) to panic. Even more so if they start googling their symptoms.

When Twitter user Mark shared his personal embarrassment after he went to the ER when his leg turned blue from his jeans, others joined in with their own medical freak-out stories. We’ve collected some of the best, so scroll down, upvote your faves, and read on for Bored Panda's in-depth interview with a psychologist. And be sure to share your own moments of panicking about your health in the comments.

After you’re done reading through this post (which, hopefully, helped you calm down), have a read through our article about one mom’s post going viral after she explained the importance of having your sick kids stay at home. Oh, and check out our post about the most absurd patient stories.

While the internet is wonderful (it’s full of pictures of cats and dogs, after all), it’s not a very nice place for hypochondriacs—people who excessively worry about their health. It’s incredibly easy to read too much into your symptoms and make mountains out of molehills.

Most of us have fallen prey to this at least once or twice in our lives, even if we’re not hypochondriacs. Human beings tend to look at the worst in most situations, so when we see that our symptoms may be caused by cancer, we immediately fear the worst.

This leads to lots of stress, sleepless nights, promises to be better people and trying to make amends. Then we head on over to the doctor, they tell us that we’ve got a slight cold or something utterly benign. We finally relax and forget our promises to be better people. Until the next time that we open up Web MD that is.

Bored Panda reached out to M.V., a psychologist working in the healthcare system in Lithuania, to hear her professional opinion about hypochondria and why some people tend to panic when checking what their symptoms might mean online.

"First of all, when people read about symptoms on the internet, they exhibit 2 fallacies: they personalize the information they get and they draw conclusions too quickly."

She continued and explained exactly what she meant about personalization. "Firstly, when a person feels pain and other unpleasant sensations and doesn't know what causes them, they feel anxious. That's why they try to find a logical explanation for what's happening and how they can feel better."

"That's why they become open to any and all information. When they read information online, their anxiety won't let them rationally evaluate the situation. They become suggestive. You can see that in how some of the symptoms manifest only after reading them."

The psychologist then told Bored Panda about the problem with making hurried conclusions. "When a person applies an illness' symptoms to themselves, they tend to make hurried conclusions and either accept or reject the fact that they have a particular illness. Often, after personalization comes confirmation when one's imagination creates a dreary scenario of how the supposed illness will progress. This further encourages people to read about that specific illness and its harm to the human body."

"When someone hoards information about an illness, they also imagine what it will be like living with the illness. Most often, the person imagines losing their health and starts feeling very strong negative emotions. That leads to a fear of death which even further reduces their ability to rationally evaluate their condition."

She added: "It's likely that destructive emotions only accelerate how quickly the person shows symptoms. The person feels bad and might even feel worse until their understanding of the illness is denied in an objective manner (i.e. consulting a doctor or having tests done)."

The psychologist told Bored Panda about the proper way to deal with panic upon reading too many terrifying descriptions of what your symptoms might mean. "First of all, you should evaluate the reasons for your symptoms and monitor how you feel until you meet with your doctor. You also ought to critically assess all of the health-related information you get from your surroundings (including your family members and friends) and the internet."

"You should also avoid coming to hurried conclusions on the basis of just your symptoms since similar symptoms could point to very different health problems. Also, remember that diagnoses should only be made based on test results conducted by doctors."

Ironically, Web MD agrees with the conclusion that the internet exacerbates hypochondria. Talk about being self-aware! “Hypochondriacs researching an illness used to have to scour books and ask doctors for information. Now a universe of information is available with a few mouse clicks.”

According to Dr. Brian Fallon, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, hypochondria costs billions of dollars each year in unnecessary medical tests and treatments.

Meanwhile, Dr. Arthur Barsky from Harvard Medical School states that hypochondriacs aren’t pretending to get attention. “They’re absolutely not fakers or malingerers. They really feel the distress they're talking about. It's just that their feelings don't have an obvious medical basis."

"What hypochondriacs have trouble accepting is that normal, healthy people have symptoms," Barsky explained. That means that hypochondriacs are super-aware of bodily sensations that most of us either live with or ignore. So what an upset stomach or a headache is to most of us, to a hypochondriac, they’re signs of cancer.

Comments (45)
I feel the lesson here should be: wash your clothes before wearing them the first time :D haha
Quite amused to see how quickly people run to hospitals. But still better than running too late
I'm a pretty paranoid person to be honest but some of these baffle me. Why is that so many people wouldn't try WASHING their hand/foot/leg first just in case? My first response to purple on my foot would be "hmm my body part is not usually this color, lets see if something got on it...nope not washing off? Ok maybe now we need to contact the doctor."
Nicholas Yu
One time my (now ex) wife woke me up in a panic because she was about 8 months pregnant and couldn't see her stomach below her belly button. She swore a bug was biting her stomach. I pulled up her night shirt expecting to kill something...only to find a tip of a Doritos tortilla corn chip was caught in the fold of her shirt and was jabbing into her skin every time she rolled onto it. I'm laughing now as I type this....
My mother took me to the doctor as a teenager because every single morning I woke up with half of my face bright red and it took hours to fade. She was convinced I had lupus or something. They ran some tests could find nothing wrong with me and scheduled me to see a specialist. I went home absolutely exhausted and fell asleep on the couch and when I woke up, same bright red marks on my face. Then my older brother pointed out that I sleep with my face in my upper arm. Sure enough, my sleeping position combined with my pale Irish complexion was the issue. Mom almost made go see the specialist anyway because she was so embarrassed about the HUGE deal she made of it.
we thought I had testicular cancer as one of my testicles was quite enlarged. Doctor sent me off for an ultrasound and blood tests. Didn't have testicular cancer but I did have prostate cancer
Laura Gillette
Once thought I was coughing up blood, then remembered I had been drinking fruit punch not long before. I had gone to the nurse and everything and she actually said coughing up a little blood when you've been coughing a lot is not even that big of a deal. But it wasn't even blood it was me being a drama queen.
Krazy Kanuck
It was great being a kid in the 70's 80's and 90's when you actually had to be bleeding, before your parents would freak out and rush you to ER..
Missy Barton
The first time I had strep throat, I was absolutely convinced that I, a 5th grade virgin non-drug user, had AIDS. Why? We'd just finished that section in health class.
I once woke after a bachelorette party night of heavy drinking convinced I had been assaulted because of the bruises all over my chest, stomach and thighs. Turns out I spilled red wine all over me and did a crap job of cleaning it up. I dragged my still-tipsy self into the shower, had some hair-of-the-dog, and all was right in the world again.
I once was freaking out because I had abdominal pain quite a bit. Turns out I was just really constipated--probably due to the side effects of my medication. Another time, I feared I had gingivitis because my gums were bleeding and hurt. Nope, just my wisdom teeth trying to come in.
Jill Pulcifer
This reminds me of when my eldest, now 17, was just a few weeks old. I was feeding her and noticed she had a funny little crease on one of her fingers. I thought it was kinda odd but knowing nothing about babies and not much about regular humans as I was only 19, I brushed it off. Fast forward a few days and the finger started to get a little colder and kinda off colored, me being a brand new mother panicked and called her physician. The kindly nurse on the other end instructed me to examine that "crease" very closely, turns out she had one of my hairs wrapped around her finger. I have never felt so stupid in all my life, or so guilty, poor thing had it for days.
Kira Leseman
My mom told me when I was a kid my dad was worried that he might have "butt cancer" because he has a deep pain in his butt and lower back. This was in the 80's so he didn't have internet and he just assumed it was that because what else could it be. He was worried but refused to go to the dr for like 3 months. Finally he went after the pain couldn't be ignored anymore and found out that sitting on his wallet every day was causing the pain so he switched to a front pocket wallet and the pain disappeared. This is the same man who accidentally put a icepick though his hand all the way to the hilt and had me yank it out and promise, "don't tell your mother." While making a bandage with duct tape and those blue shop towels. And of course it got infected and I got in trouble along with him for keeping it secret from mom. Lol oh dad, you goober.
Was at my neurologist one day and took of my socks and shoes for him to test my arch reflexes. He was shocked and very worried when he saw my toenails has a blueish tint to them. He thought I had a strange toe fungus, and I could tell he didn't want to go anywhere my feet. I had to assured him my feet were clean and explain the blue toenails were permanently stained blue until they grew out from the blue toenail polish I had worn every day for the last couple of years. He was very relieved (and a little fascinated lol)
Tiffiny Seemann
I thought I lost my arm once. I needed to take my pain meds the night before and when I woke up I was still out of it and freaked out because I couldn’t feel my arm. At all!!! Like it was gone! I eventually realized it was just dead asleep and still there. I then proceeded to pick up and drop my arm a few times before I got the worst pins and needles feeling I’ve ever had.
Why are companies using so much non-colourfast dyed fabric? ? I've only ever had this problem with clothes made in the last 10-15 years.
Babies and small kids have to be checked here. Took my son there. He got the wad of paper test. He picked it up w his left hand, but did nothing w his right hand. Months later same thing. She was overly concerned. This was not good. He had to be tested at the hospital. Pffffff. Went there. He got tests. He's left handed. Goodness and she kept telling me that I didn't handle him well. I should stimulate his right side more.
Biljana Malesevic
Once thought I had deep thrombosis in hand because it was dark blue. Later found out, my dark blue shopping bag releases its color. A lot! And once I brought my daugter when she was a baby to ER because she didn't move all day. It turned out, it was too hot summer and she decided to "hybernate" on heat. One AC later, she was up and fine.
I went to the doc once, who got me in immediately to see the neurologist. I had vision problems, my right leg kept not working, I had headaches, my eyes hurt, and I can't remember what else. Nurologist asked me questions rapid-fire. Leg: I was sitting funny every day at work and foot was always slightly numb. Vision: Migraine aura. Eye pain: See above. I can't remember what else. It was a comedy of unreleated stuff all adding up to horrific brain tumor to the GP.
Monty Glue
I had a kidney stone and the doctor gave me meds to dilate my plumbing to let the stone pass. Told me if it failed to pass I could lose my kidney. The next day I go to pee and nearly fell in. My urine was dark green and I was sure my kidney had died. Later the doctor told me the meds would turn my waste green. Thanks for the warning doc. NOT!
I was having lunch with friends at an outdoor cafe on the hottest day of July. I was sweating like a pig and my entire left arm was numb. I'm having a heart attack, I have all the signs. The waiter gave me an aspirin and my friends took me to the ER, which was just a block away. In the ER they hook me up to the machines and it shows nothing, nothing but a normal heart. Turns out I had injured my shoulder and didn't know it. That's what was causing the numbness. I was so embarrassed and the ER folks said "never second guess, you did the right thing".
None of my clothes never stained my body, they never released color other than when being washed. That is completely new to me. Idk the type of clothing those ppl are buying, but I'd suggest changing brands. I'd freak out and return my clothes, not paying for faulty dyeing.
deanna woods
Freaked out for an entire weekend because I thought I was having like a brain aneurysm or something. When I went to the doctor on Monday, it turns out that I had gotten my first ever sinus infection and didn't know what it felt like. I think my mother had told me this all weekend by the way. Freaked out because I had red bowel and thought I was bleeding or something. Remembered I had been drinking red Hawaiian Punch.
My parents took (fully vaccinated) baby me to the hospital for measles. Turned out I was just extremely allergic to my nickel pajama buttons
Krazy Kanuck
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Ruth Beaty
My husband and I and our two oldest kids (when they were toddlers) had a thing for grape Kool-Aid one summer. I noticed thier diapers had really green poop and mine wasn't much better! Scared me silly for awhile before I remembered the grape color back then was enhanced with green dye, lol. We stopped drinking it so much after that but it was definitely funny. Way before WebMD, or even computers for that matter.
Pretty Pangolin
These are great! And hopefully reassured some readers.
I convinced myself I had skin cancer once because of a bright red mark on my thigh that wouldn't go away. Thankfully my doctor worked out that my old laptop had a vent on the bottom so when I used it too long, it vented all the hot air right onto that spot on my leg, essentially giving me the equivalent of a sunburn.
One morning while having coffee with my hub he kept asking me if I was all right. He kept looking weird at me and asking if I was feeling well or was I too hot. After a while I got frustrated and told him I was fine and why he kept asking, and he said I had a weird red colour. When I looked at myself properly I saw it too, so I rushed to the bathroom and took all my clothes off. I found it weird because only my arms, legs and a bit of belly had that colour. When I looked at him, he was the same. Then we realised it was from our new sheets.... worst part is that they stained our mattress too, so now it looks like a crime scene
Blue Cicada
Back in the 40s my great grandparents took their son (grandpa) to the prestigious Cleveland clinic for diagnosis. His urine initially looked normal, but turned dark once exposed to the air. It left dark brown or gray/black deposits in his cloth diapers. His condition? Alkaptonuria. It is usually not diagnosed until adulthood. Sadly, it leads to destruction of the cartilage in the body, resulting in excruciating chronic pain in all the joints. For my grandfather, the pain began in his 40s. He lived with it for 55 years after that. Find out more here:
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