Overcoming the Apathy That’s Brought On by My Sarcoidosis
For the past few days, I’ve been trying to figure out when I started to feel incomplete. I don’t mean that I feel useless, but at what point did I start feeling inadequate to accomplish anything? It may sound a bit sketchy, but there is a relationship between sarcoidosis and apathy.
I think the seed was planted when I suffered my first spontaneous pneumothorax (collapsed lung), and that plant was nurtured after my second. I remember after each event, I felt like I was going to be different (and not in a good way). That was correct: I’m different, in fact very different, from what I was.
After spending weeks and months in the hospital, the plant began to grow and spread. And the more the plant grew and spread, the less I wanted to do. As the plant blossomed, more and more of me started checking out. I was becoming what I didn’t want to become: a lone ram among a flock of sheep.
Over the past few years, I’ve missed out on a lot of things that could’ve contributed to my healing and sense of worth. I don’t know about anyone else, but when you’re living with a chronic illness, it’s easy to be consumed with thoughts of finality. Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve become the unwelcome lexicon you live by.
And here we are.
Now we have to put some of the pieces together again to get back that sense of self-worth. Easier said than done.
I recently had several doctor appointments, and for the most part, all went well with various testing and follow-up consults. During one of my visits, I was introduced to a doctor whom I hit it off with. We had a great visit together, and I felt good about meeting with him. During the visit, though, I learned that he was leaving the team assigned to me.
I was a bit taken aback, but life happens. I wished him well in his future endeavors and thanked him for being a great support person for me.
A few days ago I received a letter in the mail from a pulmonologist on my team. Yup, you guessed it — he’s leaving too. I’ve had a great relationship with this doctor for a few years, so needless to say, the news was more than a shock.
My wife could tell that something was bothering me, so I told her the news. Like me, she expressed her concerns, but we both felt comfortable continuing to work with the rest of my medical team. I’ve been with them for over 10 years, so it wouldn’t make sense to start over by finding someone else who can tolerate my nonsense.
I started thinking about all of this shuffling and moving around me. What am I not doing? How come I’m not making moves? After I thought about it, I concluded that I was the reason I’m not making moves or advancing in life. I’m feeling like I’m asking myself for permission to move on.
Before I developed my health issues, I never asked if I was good enough to achieve anything. Since my health issues, I find myself wondering if I’m good enough to still achieve some goals.
It all comes down to doing something. You have to do something. You have to keep moving.
The reality is that as long as I’m doing something productive, I’m doing everything I can to be productive. Whether it’s working in a job I love or pursuing dreams of self-fulfillment, as long as I’m producing something, I’m achieving something. It’s called a feeling of worth.
When you think about it, asking yourself for permission is actually challenging your abilities. Accept the challenge up front, and the results may impress you.
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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.