In the beginning, I am certain the anxiety was a result of the pain and fatigue. I was struggling to get answers and a formal diagnosis. At the same time, I was still trying to hold down a full-time job. It’s no surprise I was anxious. With medical bills mounting, my health was severely affecting our financial situation. The financial stress was further adding to my anxiety.
To add to the difficulty, my relationships were changing. Family and friends were having a hard time understanding what I was experiencing and why I couldn’t make or keep plans. My husband and I were newlyweds. My health crisis put an extreme strain on our marriage, especially in the beginning. In addition, my relationship with myself was different — I wasn’t even sure who I was anymore.
But sarcoidosis became my “new normal,” as people say. Life eventually started to take on a calmer pace, but the anxiety hasn’t left. Living with sarcoidosis keeps me in a constant state of anxiety. Here’s why:
- Unlike so many individuals my age, my overall health is constantly on my mind. Even if I feel fairly well today, what will tomorrow bring? What’s in store for my future, both immediate and distant?
- Relationships and the ability to socialize are still problematic. It’s a challenge to make plans of any type. Yet, being unable to see the people who are important to me is a torment, too.
- I worry about finances. Given my ongoing medical bills and the inability to work a full-time job, our financial situation is always a concern to me.
- I long to maintain a semblance of routine in my life, but it’s often difficult. On a good day, I rush to get as much done as I possibly can. I have a tendency to not know when to stop, however, which can cause a setback.
Unfortunately, medication hasn’t worked for me. Natural remedies, such as magnesium, leave me sleepy, so I continue to work around my sarcoidosis-induced anxiety on a daily basis.
As a result, I have instituted the M&Ms of self-care to attempt to beat the anxiety. They include:
- Move: Walk, play with the dog, or do yoga.
- Make contact: Call a friend, write an email or a letter, attend a group gathering, or meet a friend.
- Meditate: Or at least try.
- Make something: Engage in a form of creative expression (mixed-media art, knitting, and jewelry-making are a few of my favorites), or prepare a meal or a dessert.
- Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle: This includes getting adequate sleep.
I’m not sure whether anxiety will always be part of managing my sarcoidosis. Perhaps one day it will go away. Some days, I’m more successful at coping than others, but I refuse to give up.
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.