I was almost 21 years-old the first time I went to the Urgent Care for testing. I was sure that I had a deadly virus, leukemia, or some other horrible disease. There was no doubt in my mind the end was near! The doctor walked in and looked at me, looked at his chart, and then back up at me again. At first he may have been admiring my sweet Spud’s McKenzie tank-top, and perfectly crafted mullet, but then there was that look…the look I would see maybe 100 times over the next 30 years.
Sitting in front of him was possibly one of the healthiest looking humans he’d seen in weeks. At that time I could run a mile under 5 minutes, and a half-marathon before most people got out of bed. My blood pressure was perfect and my resting heart rate was 41, but I was sure I had a horrible if not deadly disease. After humoring me with a checkup and blood work he suggested counseling for what he thought was likely an obsessive compulsive disorder or straight up hypochondriasis.
During my lifetime many have said to me, “I just don’t understand it” as they would want to me to explain what it is like to struggle with anxiety or the fear of getting a disease. Well ladies and gentlemen, I don’t think I’ll have to explain it again. As I walked through Walmart tonight practicing social distancing I realized I was the only one who appeared calm. Others had a look of fear, some barely made eye contact, and one woman nearly took a shower under the Purell dispenser. I don’t appear calm just because I have 6 thermometers at home that I use interchangeably in case one is faulty…no I’m calm because this is my life. I was taking my temperature daily way before it was cool! Many of you are getting a glimpse into the world of those of us who fear the worst every single day of our lives!
So what is my point? For most of my life I have worried about the worst possible scenarios when it comes to an illness or even a symptom. And my guess is that many of you are doing that with this virus, and so I want you to take a deep breath (only when alone or at least 3/4 of a mile from anyone else). If we listen to our leaders and medical professionals we will get through this together. I wasted too many days of my life living in fear by picturing and visualizing the worst possible outcomes. Remember, 98% of the things we worry about don’t happen. We will get through this together, or as my 85 year-old mother likes to remind me, “This too will pass.”
I love you & happy social distancing,