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Making the Choice to Step Back When It's Necessary for Your Health

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College was always my plan.

Graduate high school, go to the college of my dreams and find a major I’m passionate about.

I’ve accomplished all three of those things… But now I have to step back and take a medical leave of absence for the spring semester of my freshman year.

I should have seen it coming.

I should have listened to my parents and doctors the first time they brought up the idea after I was diagnosed with mono earlier in the fall. I should have looked at myself in the mirror and seen the circles under my eyes. I should have seen the fatigue written across my face in red marker. I should have realized that every time I fainted, my body was screaming for help. I should have made the decision as soon as it was offered as an option.

Instead I ignored the warning signs and continued to try and push through the pain, fainting and fatigue I dealt with every day. I tried to pretend to be the perfect student I’d always dreamed of being – a dream I should’ve given up on when I had to drop out of AP US History due to my health.

The pretending only made me sicker, until my only option was to head home and try to control the body that has been spiraling out of control since the start of school.

girl meeting puppies in training to be service dogs

I put my parents, friends, doctors, but most importantly myself through unnecessary stress and anxiety over an issue I couldn’t control and for that I am sorry.

Even when you don’t want to do something because it feels like giving in and giving up, do it. For the sake of your health – both mental and physical – do it. Don’t let the fear of imperfection ruin your health and happiness.

It is OK to ask for help.

It is OK to admit you’re scared.

It is OK to not be OK.

You only get one body, one life. Take care of it.

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Originally published: December 26, 2017
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