When I was diagnosed with AS I forgot how to trust my body. I have always been a healthy person with very few physical limitations. All of a sudden I had found out that my body was attacking itself and slowly deteriorating- and I hadn’t realized.
Finding out about a medical condition that will impact you for the rest of your life can really shake you. I thought I was ok, and that I was staying positive and optimistic. I went to the urgent care clinic the week I was diagnosed because of extreme chest pains. It turns out I was having a panic attack.
I had never dealt with anxiety before, and all of a sudden it wasn’t just my AS that made me anxious. Things that I had never had to think twice about (big crowds, traveling, public speaking) all of a sudden made me anxious.
I had no idea how to deal with this new anxiety. I cried, I hid at home, and I let it totally control my life. Eventually I decided enough was enough and to go see a therapist.
BEST DECISION I EVER MADE
I learned that a big jolt to your system, like finding out major medical news, can trigger things like anxiety. Prior to AS I had trusted my body. I am someone who never gets sick, has never broken a bone, and who has never been limited by my body. Now I felt like I couldn’t trust my body anymore. It had surprised me with this AS, how else might it surprise me? I became anxious about being anxious.
I am learning ways to cope with the feelings of anxiety. It hasn’t gone away, and I’m not sure it ever will. People might think that chronic illness is only physical, but the mental implications can be just as difficult.
I’m still working on managing both AS and anxiety, but it gets easier everyday. If you think you might benefit from talking to a therapist, but are hesitant to make the jump, I highly recommend it. 🙂