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Living in the Moment of Anxiety and Fear

Fear can be a debilitating weakness or an incredible motivator. Each person has it in their power to choose which pathway they let their fear take. I don’t often let fear, emotion, or stress get in my way - I feel it, I acknowledged it, I push through it.

As I write this I’m sitting in the hospital on a stretcher in the pre-op waiting room. The familiar sounds of a hospital surround me - which hospital is irrelevant, the similarities between them all are uncanny - the whirring of the circulation systems, the beeping of machines, the hustle and bustle of hospital staff starting their day. The lights are always so bright it’s almost offensive, stark white walls meet the blue accent wall they use to try to make the room more calming. Somehow making their effort completely obvious and not quite achieving their goal anyway. The smell I think is what gets most people. The sterile environment and your nose can’t help but twitch from the harsh overlay of antiseptics. I don’t notice the smell anymore unless I search it out, it’s like coming home for me. Not a welcome homecoming, but familiar nonetheless. The constant stream of people in and out of my room makes it difficult to focus for very long. The frequent interruptions between my sporadic and anxiety filled thoughts cause me much dissension.

I’m wearing a hospital gown, it always seems more real after I change into one. I can feel the breeze it allows through the opening down my back. The cool air sets off goosebumps, then the rough fabric drags against them with every movement. My heart is trying to speed up, but I won’t let a fear of what has happened in my past determine my emotions today. My fear of the pain that I had after this surgery one year ago will not show on my face, no one will hear it in my voice.. however, that doesn’t make it any less real for me. Questions and fears try to creep into my focus, making themselves prominent and overbearing in my mind. I force them back. I push them down. I am not strong, I’m weak with a good poker face.

I can feel the adrenaline pumping in my blood, my stomach churning, my heart beating. My stomach turns over, I tell myself it’s because I’m not allowed to eat but I’m lying to myself. I know it’s more than that. It’s the fear of what has happened, fear that is irrelevant for today.

The sterile environment is obsessive, gleaming stainless steel trays, prepackaged everything. They are getting my iv hooked up so I can get some meds to relax before wheeling me into the operating room. I have a hard time accepting meds for anxiety as I feel working through it on my own makes me stronger. Your mind is a muscle that needs to be worked just like the rest. If you take the time to exercise it, it will grow stronger, but if you give in to your fears and walk away or take a pill to stop them, you will begin to rely on the fact that you don’t have to endure. You will be weaker the next time, looking for a way out instead of fighting those fears back on your own.

**After I had my IV accessed the meds were given and I was wheeled off before I had time to write more. I wrote a follow up the next day that I will post shortly.

#chronicillness #cysticfibrosis #anxiety #stress #fear

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