In the midst of some of the big lifestyle changes I’ve been making, managing my health properly has been a big motivating factor. My mom died at 51. She smoked for 35 years, was overweight, and pretty much categorically refused to go to the doctor under any circumstances.
My mom’s attitude towards problems was often to stick her head in the sand and hope they went away. As a result, she was always worried. Most of the things she worried about didn’t happen. The few that did happen, she didn’t actually do anything to avoid–she just worried about till they caught her flat-footed. I don’t want to do that.
I went to the doctor twice in the last two weeks, and I wasn’t even sick. I went to the doctor twice in the last two weeks because I’m not sick. Want to know what I found out?
That I’m not sick.
I don’t have high or low blood pressure, high or low blood sugar (a relief after Chris’ diabetes diagnosis a year ago). My overall cholesterol and triglycerides are in a healthy range. My “good” cholesterol is a little low, as is my B12. I’m generally managing my depression well with good lifestyle habits and without medication (my liver says “YAY!” to this).
So basically, I need to exercise more (which I’ve already started) and remember to take my B-complex more consistently.
This is all good news. What’s even better is the low level of anxiety I didn’t even realize I was carrying around about my health is gone. I was silently, almost unconsciously worrying about my health all the time. It was like the weird buzzing noise a ceiling fan makes that has been around so long, you don’t even notice it’s there till someone applies some WD-40 (or cleans the 4 pounds of dust off it, not that I would know anything about that…) You only really notice the noise when it stops.
If you really boiled it down, my biggest struggle over the last year or two has been distilling signal from noise in my life.
One part of that is getting clear on your real priorities and values, so you can recognize signal when you hear it and see it. I have some issues with cultural and social pressure clouding my honest priorities and values. I’m working on that, on being more honest and authentic both with myself, and with a trusted community of friends. Also, I’m a person in the midst of transformation, and will be my whole life. So my priorities and values will always be a moving target, to some degree.
Feelings can be “noise.” Worry can be noise. Or it can be a warning, the little yellow light on your dashboard telling you there’s something that needs your attention.
When I bury or ignore those feelings, they become meaningless static, increasing the noise level and making it harder for me to find any signal.
When I investigate the feeling, follow through on the yellow light, and do what needs doing, it goes away, and I have greater clarity.