How Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Influences My Anxiety


Have you ever had those times when you weren’t nervous about something… and then the fact that you weren’t nervous, in turn, made you nervous? Welcome to the world with a chronic condition. I have been living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and anxiety my entire life but it wasn’t until recently that I realized these two were connected.

But it makes sense! Someone else looks at a water park and thinks how many hours of watery fun it would be, I look at it and picture how many joints I would dislocate from going down one slide. Someone else looks at a hiking trail as a nice relaxing escape into nature, I see myself rolling my ankle on the first rock on the path. Even a simple 10-minute walk has its risks. It is because of this awareness that I’ve noticed this makes its mark on my mental health.

 

Unfortunately, many times the fear of what “could be” or what “could happen” outweighs the possible positive experience. But to be honest, that 10 percent of the bad experience happening isn’t worth the risk.

Overdoing it can take my body days or even weeks to recover. There’s so many things I can’t control about my body but if there is something I have a choice about, you can bet I’m going to make it.

What someone else may not understand is the fact that every single thing I do in my life is calculated. That walk to the fridge is calculated. Getting the mail down our driveway (it’s a long driveway) is calculated. You may be able to literally “run to the store” to grab milk, but I can’t. If I’m having a sore day, I have to make the decision to have dry cereal that day. Every little thing has its risks which “normal” people don’t realize. I, of course, realize this when I raise my hand in the universal “thank you” motion while driving and my shoulder subluxes.

All in all, my condition affects my mental health on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean I let it have control. I can’t ignore it, but it doesn’t get to drive, so to speak. So don’t get discouraged! Just listen to your body and it should return the favor for you.

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Thinkstock photo via ARTQU.

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