Day 12: The Fear of Never Feeling Healthy
Photo Credit: Alex Proimos via Compfight
In this 30-days to Mastering Your Fears Series, The Skool of Life and The Fear Project are collaborating to blow the doors off our most primal emotion. Today my substitute teacher is April Bowles Olin
For this guest post, I planned to write about my fear of mediocrity. I did NOT plan to write about the fear that dominates my thoughts every night as I lie in bed.
I did not plan to reveal the one thing that makes my skin crawl with vulnerability. The one thing that I haven’t divulged to anyone other than my closest family members. The one thing that makes me feel tiny, less feminine, and definitely less successful.
But, if I’m honest with myself and with you, this is my consuming fear.
The concern that claws at my mind regularly these days is the fear that I’ll never feel healthy again. That I’ll never run another mile. That I’ll never roll out of my beautiful sleigh bed feeling rested. That I’ll never live another day without needing handfuls of pills.
I’m afraid that my life will be dictated by medications and doctor appointments. I’m scared that my friends will grow tired of hearing, “I can’t today. I don’t feel good,” and quit inviting me to tailgates, movies, and dinners.
Let me give you some backstory.
One and a half years ago, I had surgery to remove my tonsils. I devoured solid food the day after and felt pretty damn good. Later that week, I caught my husband’s cold and developed pneumonia, and I haven’t felt completely healthy since.
A few months after the continual congestion and cough, someone rammed into the back of my car while I was sitting at a red stoplight. It wasn’t a big deal. Both cars were fine, and both me and the other driver felt fine.
Little did I know that within a couple weeks I’d experience back problems and suffer from constant headaches. X-rays unveiled that my neck had curved in the wrong direction causing strain on all the nerves surrounding that area, and all of my doctors agreed that it happened during the not-so-inconsequential fender bender.
I would have done nearly anything to decrease those intense headaches, and I tried some crazy things like getting the inside of my jaw massaged. Talk about uncomfortable. No amount of teeth brushing would get rid of the taste of rubber gloves.
Receiving treatment from a chiropractor three times a week relieved a lot of my pain. I went from constant headaches to one or two headaches a week.
During this time, I focused on treating the headaches, because it was the most debilitating issue, but I continued to suffer from congestion, coughing, and fatigue.
Most days, I feel like I have a bad cold. On the other days, I feel like I’m dying. It hurts to breathe, my body aches all over, I spike a fever, and fatigue overwhelms me. I’ve seen my primary care physician more times than I care to count and I’ve consulted with specialists. Just in the past month, I’ve had fifteen vials of blood drawn for tests. Doctors have checked my urine and completed a mono test.
The good news is that my vitamin levels are great. My plant-based diet is the only thing that’s working for me. The bad news is everything else is inconclusive.
I keep hearing, “All the results look normal, but this obviously isn’t normal. A thirty-year-old should not feel the way you do.”
I lie in bed at night wondering if I’ll ever figure it out or if my life will always consist of chronic pain and fatigue.
I haven’t exercised in four months and I miss it as if it’s my best friend that moved across the country and won’t return my calls. It breaks my heart to have to wait at home curled up on the couch while my husband walks our three sweet dogs. I want to move my body, but my body groans with misery.
I used to wake up early to enjoy green juice and breakfast with my husband before he left for work. I haven’t done that in months, either.
I barely enjoyed this past Christmas even though it’s my favorite holiday. Preparing for it sucked up all my energy, leaving me depleted while family opened presents, joked with each other, sipped mimosas, and munched on delicious goodies.
I’m exhausted. But, I’m not ready to give up. I’m more terrified that I’ll never feel healthy again than I am to illuminate the problem.
My doctors have tossed around a few scary diagnoses, and I’m ready for battle—whatever it takes. I don’t care how many specialists I have to see or how many times I must succumb to painful tests. I’m brimming with worry, but I’m determined.
If you regularly read my blog, you probably don’t know any of this. I don’t talk about it, because I don’t want pity. I don’t want to be thought of as less than. I don’t want people to stop asking me to participate in things like this blog series. I don’t want to be known as the “sick girl.” All of those things fill me with fear.
April Bowles-Olin is a licensed therapist turned business maven. She’s the founder of Blacksburg Belle and co-founder of Connecting the Gaps. Her mission is to help creative entrepreneurs construct the businesses of their dreams around the lifestyles they crave.
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