How I Cured My Anxiety With a Google Search (Kind Of)

This week I came down with a nasty case of low-grade anxiety. Gloomy skies, intermittent rain, and a stack of bills and wedding invitations came together to make a perfect storm in my world. On Wednesday I awoke with that familiar pressure pulsing in my chest, egging me on, saying “I’m right here, I’m still here, Never leaving, ever!” with each beat of my heart. I classified this as a low-grade bout of anxiety – and set out to tackle this demon and return to normal as quickly as possible.

I dressed, made my lunch, and went to work. Talking to a girlfriend about how I was feeling, I wanted to find and send her an image that sufficiently expressed everything I was experiencing. I went to Google and typed “low grade anxiety” in the search bar. Some images that populated were exactly what I would have expected; cheesy stock photos of people crying or hanging out in the fetal position. Others though, I found to be strange and sweet; “Where did YOU come from, little thumbnail? How are you anxious?” Here’s a breakdown of my findings and here’s how I cured myself (kind of).

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Results from a Google image search for “low grade anxiety”.

Woman, Sick in Bed
Perfect example of that low-grade fever analogy. Woman wearing what appears to be scrubs (or maybe two layers of shirts or a dickey or something), with a thermometer in her mouth (Seriously? No one takes their temperature this way anymore, an obvious stock photo), the back of her hand meeting her forehead (classic body language for “ah! I am miserable!”)

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Skeletal Remains of Depressed Person who Died on the Pot

You know, at first glance I totally scrolled over this provocative image. WHAT IS THIS? I imagine it’s a depressed person who was so depressed that he couldn’t get off the pot and died there (and then his clothes were eaten by moths). It made me laugh and also made me think of that really creepy scene at the end of Indiana Jones and The Goblet of Fire… oh no, that’s not right, it’s the Last Crusade, and that really awful Nazi dude drinks out of the wrong goblet and melts away before your very eyes. Anxiety definitely not cured, but quite possibly made worse with this one.

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Children Playing Football with Vintage Protective Gear
Okay, now what does this have to do with anxiety? This image surfaced several times in my search. How it’s connected, I do not know, but it made me laugh every time I saw it.

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Maple Donuts
This image of donuts caught my eye because HOW COULD IT NOT? Those donuts look warm and light and sugary and that maple glaze is mouthwatering… Nothing to feel anxious about here.

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Ancient Cave Drawing of Bison
Did ancient peoples suffer from anxiety? Probably a little, common worries include: “Where will I find my next meal?; My partner was mauled by a mountain lion, how will I navigate the wild on my own?; “Global warming is affecting the migration patterns of bison and has a negative effect on sea levels. Nevertheless, I will leave my mark on this cave and let it tell my story.”

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Old Man From the Futurama Gets Real
Well THIS is sad. Not how I feel at all. This doesn’t feel like “low grade anxiety” this feels BLEAK. I want to reach out and give this wrinkled yellow man a hug because things are not this bad.

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Beautiful Woman Crying (Face Obscured) or I’m Fine
First thoughts – Oh my goodness this is soooo cheesy! Beautiful model-babe stands in the street wiping away her tears and is then covered up with the words “Im Fine.” No she’s not fine, but you know what, I am. I’m not crying.don’t feel like crying. I have a few things stressing me out, but it’s only temporary.

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While it wasn’t a cure-all solution, this little search reminded me that I am okay. I am not pathetic or desperate or a stock photo. Although my feelings and stresses are real, I just need to take a few breaths and remember I am not a skeleton, I am just Fine.

Editor’s Note: This post is a submission from HAILSTORM, whom you can find on Instagram at @hayleysdyer. Email if you are interested in contributing.

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