While I celebrated, I endured fears about my physical and mental health

As my 30th birthday approached, I found myself grappling with a whirlwind of emotions. Unlike my husband, Jared, who greeted his own 30th with gratitude for another year of life, I was consumed by crippling anxiety.

The looming pressures of being a mother and caregiver — Jared has hemophilia and a seizure disorder — weighed heavily on my mind. The fear of my imperfect finances, coupled with the specter of my own potential illness, were also behind this spiral of worry and its physical symptoms.

Despite my efforts to celebrate — dinner with Jared and my daughter, a fun karaoke night with friends, and a quirky birthday decorations and treats — I remained anxious.

Contrasting life perspectives

Living with Jared’s conditions has made chronic illness my familiar companion. Still, over the years, he’s fallen into a convenient rhythm in treating his hemophilia B, and his seizures, while occasionally scary, manifest in a predictable way and are relatively simple to deal with. Epilepsy has caused him to have some terrifying accidents, such as cutting his arm with broken glass and burning his finger, but he’s always emerged alive and kicking from such events.

On the other hand, my experiences with my mother’s lymphoma have left me haunted by the fear of my own possible illness. Thinking about the gravity of my family responsibilities has made me contemplate the “what ifs.” As I approached my birthday, I couldn’t shake the fear of my loved ones having to experience what I went through with my mother.

When Jared turned 30 last year, his perspective was different. He approached the day and age as another opportunity to relish new experiences. When I asked him about that, he said he’s always lived with a heightened awareness of his mortality and therefore appreciates the value of living life to the fullest and focusing on quality of life over quantity of years. That’s why he’s always dedicated himself to making the best of each day — even if it sometimes means pushing past his limits to achieve something he wants.

It’s a perspective I admire and wish to emulate. Yet to do so, I must let go of my anxiety and take a proactive stance to facing and quelling my fears.

Quelling fears through balance

While I understand that fate is beyond my control, I’m committed to doing everything in my power to safeguard my health and well-being, so I can continue to be the best mom and carer I can be.

To accomplish that, I’ve decided to get a decaying tooth removed and some lab tests done, and I’ve scheduled some checkups to stay on top of my health. I’m also seeing my therapist soon in hopes that it will help me further deal with my anxiety.

At the same time, I’m trying to stay aware of the dangers of descending into hypochondria. It’s important for me, or anyone, to find a balance between tending to physical health while preserving mental well-being. Taking proactive steps to care for ourselves is essential, but it’s equally crucial to maintain perspective and not let fear overshadow our lives.

Life is meant to be lived and savored, after all.

 

Source: hemophilianewstoday.com, Alliah Czarielle

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