Facebook is killing us

facebook is killing us

Facebook is killing us. What was originally created to be a convenient method for people to stay in touch with family and friends [without actually having to talk to them] has, in many respects, taken a drastic turn for concern and is actually becoming a detriment to our society.  Not only is it troubling that younger generations in particular may develop a misleading perception of what real human communication is, but our physical health is sure to be scathed by long hours spent in front of the computer (or TV or game console) without any pause for exercise or relief. Our minds are pushed to the limit, bombarded by distraction after distraction and even when we are sleeping, we often find it difficult to rest.  In the United States alone, obesity and diabetes – and deaths as a result of heart attack and stroke – are on the rise now more than ever and I believe it is in part due to our inactive lifestyle and inability to unplug. We won’t do it, we can’t do it. We are addicted to the constant flood of information inundating our news feed by the second.

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But, even more than all of these things, Facebook in particular is dangerous to our health because we do use it as a primary source of communication. And like the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-believing Google, we usually turn to the internet for help before anywhere else. You know what I am talking about – how many times have you turned to Facebook for a cure to the common cold, advice on how to treat a sprained ankle or thoughts as to what ailment may be plaguing you? I see it all the time and I am guilty of it myself. So many times I see someone posting a question on Facebook – that I then find myself answering – when I am really thinking, “You probably need to see a doctor.”

So, why don’t we [see a doctor]? Facebook is free, it’s quick and it’s the surest way to get attention when you’re feeling bad and need it the most, right? There has come a time when we all need a little encouragement from a friend or family member saying, “Hang in there, that happened to me and I’m fine” or “I’m so sorry you’re feeling that way.” (Remember, we can’t pick up the phone and call)

What I find disturbing is when Facebook and the vast array of online resources becomes our only means of communication with the outside world. When we base our health on what Facebook says when we should be calling 9-1-1 is not okay, for anyone and it is in fact, why Facebook is killing us. For example, I am a member of many online support groups (and there is nothing wrong with a good support group by any means) and it is bewildering to me that so many people who have previously experienced a DVT or PE turn to the support groups for answers before contacting their doctors. This is compounded by the frequent posts beginning with things like “I NEED HELP, SOMETHING IS WRONG” and the person goes on to describe swelling, tenderness and trouble standing or walking on their legs. To my knowledge, Facebook cannot yet dial 9-1-1. When faced with a PE, death can occur within moments of symptoms and there is no time to waste on Facebook.

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It bothers me particularly in regards to these groups because I feel like one should know better. There, I said it. When I experienced my DVT and PE, I had no idea what was happening to me. I did not know the signs and symptoms of blood clots and I didn’t check Facebook to see if I should be concerned – I just wasn’t. I called my Dad who called the doctor who called me and ordered me to the ER – almost too late by my own accord, I might add (even without the help of Facebook).

My point in writing this is that if you are experiencing signs or symptoms of a DVT or PE, or even if you just don’t feel good, please contact your doctor before anything else like consulting Facebook. And if your doctor can’t see you, please don’t hesitate to go to the ER or Urgent Care. We have all been given a second chance at life and it concerns me that so many of us continue to play with fire. I know no one wants to go back to the hospital – myself included – but if I ever experience something like I did the night of my PE, you will find me there in a heartbeat, full knowing that it could be my last.

All of this said I do think it is also helpful to be a part of online support groups and there is nothing wrong with going in and posting your experiences or asking questions after the crisis is over. I don’t even think I am opposed to a back-of-the-ambulance post (which, yes, I have seen) as long as you are taking care of yourself first and foremost. But, please, don’t wait to get to the doctor.

I have found some wonderfully supportive, intelligent, helpful, encouraging support groups through Facebook (which you can see HERE) – just don’t let me find you there when your life may very well depend on it.

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Share your story. Do you or have you turned to Facebook for help before calling your doctor? Does it concern you when others do so or do you notice? Do you think Facebook is killing us?

There is hope for healing and you are not alone,

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