WebMD recommends panicking and reading breaks.

Placing myself on a self-imposed reading ban has always been out of the question. I loved books too much to do that. Even when I swamped with work and exams, I would make sure I shared a few minutes with fictional characters. And it’s not just books either, I also love reading blogs. One of my favourite activities during the day is browsing through my Reader and picking out the posts that seemed interesting to me. However, for the past week or so I’ve avoided both.

It started with the headaches. I spend at least 10 hours of my day sitting before a computer screen, working, browsing the internet, talking to friends, then I spend at least an hour per day reading, sometimes even when I’m dead tired and yearning to go to bed. Ten days ago my head started pounding persistently. I ignored the pain at first, tried to tame it with a couple of pills, but it continued. I went to bed and woke up in the morning and the headache was still there. Then my vision became a bit blurry and oh boy did I panic. A visit to my nearest WebMD made me absolutely positive I had brain cancer, and I spent a couple of days drowning in depression and trying to figure out how much time I had left.

Not really my finest hour, I’ll grant you that.

I refused to read anymore because every time the typed words swam before my eyes, my head would start to pound and I would start to panic all over again. I limited my personal time on the computer to the bare minimum, and avoided all editing and writing work. My parents attributed this to exhaustion and stress, and suggested I get an eye check, so I hastened to make an appointment. Sure enough, the check up revealed that I would need to wear prescription glasses, and now here I am, feeling distinctly weird in my new glasses but able to see better.

My headache is still there (getting better though!), but I was told it would take a few days before the pressure eased off. So for the time being I’m just playing catch up with the blogosphere and hoping that I will not need to make a new appointment with a different kind of doctor. Maybe tomorrow I’ll muster up enough courage to open up a book. Lord knows I have too many to-read books to develop a fear of reading now!

Have you ever tried to diagnose yourself online? Forcibly pried the books away from your hands? Do you think I was being silly?

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20 thoughts on “WebMD recommends panicking and reading breaks.

  1. Ha ha, I have never tried to diagnose myself online for those very reasons because I know so many people that have done it to themselves. I’m sorry to hear that you got yourself in a panic, the internet can be crueelllll man!
    Funnily enough I had a similar issue, I kept getting headaches when reading books and I was getting worried I might need glasses and also royally pissed off because, hey, I love reading! In the end though I realised it was because I was grinding my jaw/teeth. Don’t worry, you will be back to reading in no time. πŸ˜€

    • The internet can be VERY cruel. It’s uncanny how all the symptoms always seem to fall under the deadliest of diseases!
      Grinding teeth can do that to you! I suppose it happens unconsciously when you’re reading a particularly tense part of the book, haha.

      • Yeah it was totally unconscious, it was only when someone noticed me doing it and told me! Did you get to pick out some really funky glasses? πŸ˜›

        • Actually, since I’m mostly going to be wearing them while reading/working only, I went with something relatively simple! It still feels weird having them on though.

  2. Oh, Zen, I feel for you, but I’m stifling a laugh, too. My husband thinks every new thing that goes wrong with him is cancer. He looks just like the bunny on the right. I’m in the same boat as you, but I don’t get the headaches. Eye strain, I need glasses, and after hours of reading, the words are blurry. I’m using a pair of magnifying glasses for paperwork, but I really need to drag myself off to the eye doctor. I hope your headaches go away soon!

    • Haha, I got it from my dad. He’s paranoid about everything, and thinks every thing is cancer too. πŸ˜‰ Yes, you should go see the eye doctor, and then you can buy yourself a nice pair of glasses! πŸ˜€ I hope so too, Maddie, I really do. =[

  3. I sometimes get that annoying won’t go away headache when I’ve been reading too much too. I find good lighting is incredibly helpful. I also have noticed that sometimes the headache is because I’ve sat too long in a bad position (with my head bent over a book) :). Knowing what the problem is helps, but sometimes a break is the only thing that will let it get better.

    • I do bend over the book most of the time! That might be it. I’m hoping that the glasses will fix it, and I have found the break to be helpful, yes. πŸ˜€

  4. Good grief, Zen – you had me worried there for a moment! LOL – sorry to giggle but online diagnosis will always lead to someone telling you you have cancer. My poor darling, I really hope the glasses help and you’re back to your old self very soon πŸ˜€

  5. You know… when I always say “Take care of yourself”, I don’t mean literally take care of yourself. Doctors go to school for some reason or another. πŸ˜‰

  6. Whitney Rains says:

    I once convinced myself I had stomach cancer for about 10 minutes late one night. I really just had heartburn, so I understand. πŸ™‚

    I’ve had to pry myself away from work because of migraines and carpel tunnel. My carpel tunnel was so bad for a while I could barely hold a pen to write. It sucked, but I had been overdoing it with the long hours. Sometimes we all just need a break for a while . . . except from reading. There’s always time for reading. πŸ˜‰

    • Yay, I’m not the only one! haha

      Aww, that sounds bad. =[ Yeah, the long hours can do that to you and I’ve learned that the hard way. And I’m now back to reading full-time. πŸ˜‰

  7. insearchofdifferent says:

    Similar less dramatic thing happened to me, but with being prescribed reading glasses. Hope you feel better!

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