What's Worry p0rn, you ask? Well, let me give you a scenario. You notice a rash on your daughter's belly, so you start googling rashes and pictures of rashes. So far so good, right? BUT . . .one click leads to another and before you know it, two hours has passed and you are reading an obscure forum complaining about the side effects of a medicine your child "might" need if it turns out she has whatever obscure disease you have self-diagnosed her with. Meanwhile, your house is trashed and your children have been stuffing themselves on chocolate chips because you were "too busy" to make them a snack. That, my friends, is Worry p0rn. And I used to be an addict. In fact, my husband is the one who coined the term.
Want another example? Remember back when Swine Flu was all the rage? I was obsessed. I spent hours on forums debating the swine flu vaccine. I checked Google Flu Trends multiple times a day (a pretty cool site, BTW . . . if you are not compulsive about it). I spent hours scouring the internet for swine flu updates and statistics. Worry p0rn at it's finest. And, the good news is all this worry and effort totally protected my family. Oh wait. Not really. It didn't do a single bit of good. In fact, I lost hours of time with my husband and children because I couldn't stop looking for that "one more site" that would have the answers.
I'm hoping some of you can relate to this. If not, you can all have a good laugh at my epic Paranoid-SAHMness. On the off chance that you do relate, here is what helped me. I started journaling and honestly noticing whether my worry p0rn was helpful. It literally never was. I never once felt better or reassured. Looking up topics always led to more things to worry about. Even if the first 10 websites I found said everything was okay, I would keep looking until I found the one with the worst case scenario. I feel anxious just thinking about it.
Finally my husband convinced me to stop cold turkey (he may or may not have threatened to cancel our internet). It wasn't easy. At first, not "researching" every little thing on the web made me feel like I was putting my children at risk. Like it would be my fault if something bad happened because I didn't scour the web hard enough. But over time, it got easier.
|i love xkcd|
I still fall off the wagon sometimes but for the most part I am worry p0rn free. In fact, this year I bought my kids sunscreen without checking its score on EWG first. A major accomplishment.
Okay, fine. I gave in and checked it a few days later but that was after I had already used the sunscreen. So I am still counting it as progress.