During the latter half of 2014, whenever I told my friends what I was up to (in the sense that I was working towards something or looking forward to something), all of them, online or face to face, told me the same thing:
Take care [of yourself].
Of course, it was easy to say, “Sure!” or “Of course I will, you know me!” True to the latter statement, I never realized how my friends who care enough to tell me to “take care” have truly gotten to know me in the length of time that I have known them. I also never realized how much I had come to take that statement for granted — it was part of the standard parting spiel after all.
During the last six months, I have dealt with stress pertaining to work (which hounded me on a daily basis, not counting the occasional related annoyances and heartaches), relationships (family and otherwise), and various special occasions. Looking at that sentence now, they seem so few; but the minutiae felt like they were a gazillion — and I stressed over each and every one of them.
I can only be thankful that during that time, I didn’t fall sick. I took enough mental health days to mentally “detox” as it were, but I’m not going to lie about the fact that I’ve fallen off wagon on healthy and very essential health habits. I had also failed to realize that stress is a real thing, and it can be quite destructive.
After the last main event of 2014 (for me, that is), my body just practically collapsed. I found myself with fever, chills, asthma-like cough, a bad congestion, migraines, and a seemingly permanent feeling of bloatedness. I self-medicated for the duration of the holiday season, only gunning at the symptoms, but getting nowhere near complete recovery. Once the year turned around however, I hauled my butt to a doctor.
I almost felt quite offended at the clinic receptionist when she referred me to an ENT specialist. In my mind, I needed internal medicine or a pulmonologist. Thing is, the ENT eventually proved a good point: I forget that my nose is the organ that is permanently open to the elements. No sooner, I was proven wrong: barely a week of proper medication and nose spray treatment (SIGH) had passed, my congestion and migraines were gone. I cheerily told him, “Oh, so I can go to a pulmonologist now to treat my cough!”
Again, I was wrong: my cough was not due to a respiratory infection, but was due to laryngopharyngeal (LPR) reflux which is caused by — ta da! — STRESS.
Treatment is going well so far: I have my medication, and a strict diet to follow along with reestablishing basic health habits: eating on time, getting enough and regular sleep, drinking lots of water, and basically not worrying (too much). A visit to the dentist added salt to the wound: since I have reflux, my saliva is more acidic than normal, thus increasing my risk for cavities (thankfully I don’t have any since I brush my teeth well, at the least!), and I have come to grind my teeth (as shown by my blunting molars). Not to mention that my vocal chords are abused because of my coughing, so it would take a lot of vocal rest after recovery before I can properly sing again.
I am looking at three months of treatment. I can complain all I like, but that is short compared to the amount abuse I’ve put myself under in the last year. Thankfully, I have a week or so to rest, recover, and reestablish said healthy habits before I throw myself into work again. Forming a Bible study habit every morning (yes, I try to wake up in the morning like, 8~9am without an alarm) is helping a lot in my recovery. Can’t go wrong with verses that go:
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (…) do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
— Matthew 6:27,34 (NIV)
Now, my point here is: you don’t know how important the basics are until your body decides to turn against you. So, really —
Take care of yourself.