I charge twenty dollars for five page essays and forty dollars for seven and up.
But seriously, Mike left an important comment that I want to address with a full post because it poses some interesting questions that others might want to address as well.
Here’s the crux of his comment:
I am writing an essay on how Hypochondria has progressed due to the Advantages of the Internet, what is your take on this, understanding the notions of ease of accessibility, stigmatization of hypochondria and the Internet as a source of media.
Being twenty-two, my hypochondria and the internet have always gone hand-in-hand. I can’t personally touch on the topic of pre-internet hypochondria, but maybe Barbora or Trish can provide some insight into that area. For me, the internet has been a major problem because the symptoms of thousands of diseases are always at my fingertips. Every twinge sends me bolting to the computer. Sharp pain in the hip? Cancerous bone tumor. Numbness in the limbs? Multiple sclerosis. I often set out searching with one set of symptoms and leave with a completely new set; WebMD is a dangerous place.
As far as the stigma goes, it definitely exists. I’m still a closet hypochondriac after seven years of suffering. The blog is my outlet, but in my personal life, only my boyfriend knows my dirty little secret. So in this aspect, the internet has been a positive. Not only does it provide an outlet, but it connects me with other individuals who have and are experiencing the same feelings. Hopefully, it will be this connectedness that leads to hypochondriacs coming out of the closet, which in turn will lead to destigmatization.
As a source of media, the internet allows for extreme irresponsibility. The flow of information is enormous, but there are no safe guards to keep it out of the hands of amateurs. However, that is precisely what makes it a superior medium, it allows amateurs to seek and organize information without a gatekeeper. It’s a double edged sword!
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