When People Assume Everything's OK Because Medical Issues Are 'Behind Us'


“Well, isn’t it great that all of that is behind everyone now?”

An innocent comment — and pretty logical, too — when I mentioned this week is the five year anniversary of one of our most major medical issues.

“But it’s not behind me. It’s always right in front of me and behind me. That experience changed me so deeply I am not the same person I was the day before and I’m not sure I am the person I am meant to be yet either.

Headache.

Shivers — feeling cold even in the summer.

Rapid breathing — can’t catch your breathe.

Crying.

Shakes.

Inability to focus or complete a task.

Need for quiet.

Aggravated by even simple requests.

Exhaustion but can’t sleep.

Fear of letting the emotions out.

That’s what it feels like when the anxiety attacks. Sometimes there is a warning and I can adjust to keep it at bay — to keep it from overtaking my carefully guarded self.

It won this week.

Five years ago, I almost lost The Hubby. It was a simple surgery gone bad. It was terrifying. It was hours and hours and hours of unknown outcomes and trusting doctors I didn’t know to save him. If you want to know what was happening at this exact time five years ago, I can still tell you. I can tell you what I was wearing. I re-read that blog post I wrote — and all exactly accurate. What I never wrote was the surgeon telling me she didn’t know if he would survive. That for a couple hours in the middle of the night no one could say the outcome would be a good one for him. It didn’t tell you about the hours I sat in that room, listening to the machines beeping asking for a miracle.

Yes, I understand it is over and that the outcome was the best — Hubby came home and recovered. Doctors even now remark they are amazed he survived what he did. I know all that. I acknowledge all that and I am so so so grateful for it. All of that is very logical.

Anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder don’t care so much about logic. They are always there, lurking in the background for me. I manage those feelings pretty well — I think — by simply making sure they don’t get the best of me. I smile when I want to scream, I take a deep breath when I want to crumble and cry. And I just keep moving forward, one step at a time, when the overwhelming waves of worry and fear and sadness try to take over.

Life goes on and other things need my attention — my children need my love, my job needs my creativity and my husband needs his wife. We are OK. We are all here. Together. That is what matters.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us a story about a time you encountered a commonly held misconception about your disability, disease, or mental illness. How did you react, and what do you want to tell people who hold this misconception? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


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