I’m Starting to Realize That I Can’t Control Everything
I’ve recognized that I have a huge problem.
I recently had an appointment with my new cardiologist’s nurse practitioner. A few weeks prior, I’d had an echocardiogram to determine how my pulmonary sarcoidosis is affecting my cardiovascular system. The results were pretty good considering the condition of my lungs.
The nurse and I chatted about a few things, like how I’m doing on my medication and how my breathing has been. I told her that all seems to be going well, and I’ve been tolerating the medication. I prefer a holistic approach to treatment, but I understand that pharmaceuticals play an important role. I’m happy that all of my doctors will consider alternative therapies for me when possible.
As I answered her questions, we engaged in casual chitchat. It’s easy for me to lead a conversation because I want to know more about the person I’m talking with. As the nurse and I talked, I mentioned how much stress I deal with daily. She seemed genuinely concerned and asked about the issues I face. Although it’s out of character for me, I started to really open up about some of my challenges.
I told her that I’m still adjusting to living with sarcoidosis, and my breathing issues make me fearful. Having to stop working has taken a toll on my well-being, and I need to make some personal lifestyle changes.
I didn’t realize at the time how much I was venting, but it felt good to talk with a third party who understood my plight and listened without judgment.
At one point, I paused briefly, and the nurse asked if I was feeling OK. I smiled and nodded yes.
She asked, “Are you sure?”
I started laughing and said, “I think found the answer to my problem.”
With a puzzled look, she asked, “What was the problem and what’s the solution?”
The problem was me. I realized that some of my stress and frustration stem from believing I can control things that are out of my control. Following are several examples.
It bothers me when people ask me for advice, and then do the exact opposite. Why ask my advice if you already have a plan? This often happens with my kids, who turn instead to friends with less experience or the internet for solutions.
Although I sometimes expect people to respond to my thoughts or advice in a certain way, that doesn’t mean that I want them to do so out of pity. I don’t pity this fool!
In my mind, I can’t win. But when I take a good look at this dilemma, why would I want the added responsibility that control brings? It only causes me more anxiety, stress, and breathlessness. I have to do what’s best for me now.
Whatever someone thinks about me is their business, not mine. It’s what I think about myself that makes all the difference. I can’t control another person’s decisions. If I know better, I have to do better.
I can’t control sarcoidosis, either. I can only control my behaviors and responses. Sometimes I can’t control my facial expressions, but that’s another story.
It’s hard to live with chronic illness when you’re expecting cotton candy and happy unicorns. But letting go of expectations makes it easier and reduces stress.
What stands out most in life with sarcoidosis is when people unexpectedly take the time to do something nice. I first learned that lesson from the Dale Carnegie course I took in the 1980s, which has remained a treasured resource throughout my career.
Since the pandemic began, I’ve felt like I’ve been living in a fishbowl looking out at the world. I’m sure many others can relate. COVID-19 has helped me recognize that we can’t control everything. We simply have to adjust to the circumstances.
Now, as some health regulations are being relaxed, it’s time for me to pick up the pieces and move forward. Instead of trying to control the pandemic, I’ll make it work for me. My smile will replace my mask. I’ll sit outside and enjoy the sun, a cocktail, and my barbecue smokers. I’ll talk to strangers and try to begin a normal routine. These are things I can control.
Hopefully, people will see that I’m regaining a sense of normalcy — and maybe they won’t be afraid to join in.
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.