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Don’t Google that: The embarrassingly honest adventures of a hypochondriac

Last week I had liver failure, apparently


Last week, according to Google, I developed at least three terminal illnesses. After waking up with a vaguely puffy eye, the Google suggestion that it was probably linked to liver failure led to numerous frantic conversations with family members, asking if they too had experienced this puffy eye phenomena. Ignoring the neglected essay clamouring from my desk, I immediately rushed to the pharmacy, determined to buy eye drops before I went blind. All the whilst downing water in a last ditch attempt to save my liver from the damage caused by £3 wine.

£10 worth of eye drops later, there was more fluid in my nose than my eye because apparently I can’t aim for shit. In the end, emotionally exhausted, I just had a nap.

Don’t worry. In the end it turns out I was just tired.

Yet this hypochondriacal freakout – resulting in two highly irritated parents (whose Netflix binge had been interrupted to reluctantly play GP), and a wrongfully accused boyfriend (who was of course the first suspect in the mystery of my puffy eye)- to the great chagrin of both parties, is not an isolated incidence.

I have always been a bit of a hypochondriac. Since being in Cambridge however, the paranoia about illness has gotten *slightly worse*.

We all joke about it, about how we don’t have the time to be ill. You stay in bed for a day and are haunted by the ghost of unfinished work for the rest of term. Your first thought when you get a cold is not "oh dear, maybe my body is a bit run down", but instead "oh god I can’t get ill because how will I stay on top of work."

By the end of last term most of my friendship group had formed intimate relationships with their coughs. They accompanied us to every movie night, every formal dinner, and even made an appearance when we went out clubbing. Coughs are, apparently, very sociable things.

Of all the things we worry about before coming to uni, managing our own health is usually quite low down on the list. We spent hours wondering whether we’ll make friends, whether our supervisors will hate us or whether the 'no frying' in the gyp rule is really as strict as the introductory booklet makes it seem.

One of the main things that many of us take for granted at home is the immediacy and availability of reassurance. That one person you can go to to examine the oddly shaped mole on your back, and who’ll happily tell you, when you’re being a little bit paranoid, that Google was wrong, and you’ll live to see another day.

So next time you have a runny nose, or larger than average eye bags, or any symptoms that can be logically explained away, do yourself a favour, and don't google that.

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