Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Being Brave

One of the things you hear a lot about people with chronic diseases is how strong it makes them. That used to drive me nuts. "I'm only strong because I don't have a choice!" I'd think. "I want to be a wimp like everyone else!" But at two years in, I've discovered that there's a different side to all this.

It's not that I'm so strong. It's just that I've faced a lot of things that scare me, and I survived. That makes it easier to face your other fears. I've spent at least 10 hours in the dentist's chair this year. It's something I've needed to do for years, but I just kept avoiding it. On Friday I had a wisdom tooth removed. And you know what? None of it was a big deal. The extraction didn't even hurt. I wish I'd done it years ago.

Strangely, things that never used to bother me are the things that bring me the most anxiety these days. Before I got sick, I never had a problem leaving the house. I was always out somewhere- at the movies, meeting a friend for a meal, at the bookstore or just grocery shopping. Now leaving the house is an event. I plan carefully where I'm going, and half the time I put it off at the last minute.

So I guess I just appear strong because I no longer fear the things that healthy people do. Needles? No big. Medical tests? Bring it. The dentist? Been there, done that. But I still struggle. I still have fears. It's just that the things I fear are things that most healthy people take for granted. I think the lesson for me- for everyone- is to push through those fears and do it anyway. So far, nothing has been as bad as I thought it would be. Lately I've even started appearing in a bathing suit in public. After that, what else is there to be afraid of?

1 comment:

  1. It's like Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

    "Do one thing every day that scares you."

    She was a shy woman who was terrified of public speaking. And yet, that's the thing she is most remembered for during her husband's tenure in office, and later after his death.


Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it!