Coping With Loss – Chapter 16 : Health

I have never been one to care much about my own health. After being bestowed a phobia I never asked for and its accompanying anxiety, the desire to be healthy never crossed my mind. It was like a fleeting dream, a world where I could eat properly, exercise regularly and sleep soundly. When faced with a loss due in part to a disease, it has a way of making you more conscious of your health.

I’ve never had a job that allowed me to afford or provided me healthcare. It was mostly due in part to working part-time jobs with underwhelming pay. After I was dropped from my mother’s health coverage, I was nagged into getting a state provided health plan. I rarely use it, and mostly find going to the doctors to be more of a bother than actually being sick. After becoming eighteen I can easily count the amount of times I visited a doctor, and only once was it because I actually needed help.

When I was younger, I visited the doctor somewhat frequently in a futile attempt to figure out why I was suddenly averse to eating food. Unsurprisingly the results were lackluster, with most just recommending me to take antacid or anti-depressants. Without much effort, doctors would simply ask me what was wrong, and upon explaining to them I was afraid of vomiting, would simply shut down and just recommend me to a therapist. In time I started to loathe doctors, people who had the technology and knowledge to possibly diagnose a problem simply resort to pushing the work off to someone else.

I tried therapy for years, taking anti-depressants and talking about my feelings. I even attempted to do so a year ago, again leading to no results. There is this assumption from family members that the problems I experienced in my past were the root cause of the phobia. That somehow my mind created this problem to protect itself from an external crisis I mentally couldn’t deal with. To me this was all garbage. I remembered my past, and while it wasn’t the greatest, there are no logical correlations that would tie an event in my life to a resulting phobia of vomiting. Regardless, I still tried letting a mental wellness doctor attempt to figure out my problems.

As time passed I tried various things to help myself. Maybe eating small amounts all day would give me more energy and expand my stomach. Cutting out all soda and junk food might benefit me over time. Without having proper knowledge of what ailment you have, there is not much one can do to fix the problem. In the end, my mother was a big factor in keeping me motivated to pushing myself. She always felt that there would be some sort of solution for me someday. That blind hope gave me the drive to keep trying, even when my body got worse.

Once she was diagnosed with cancer, I started to worry about what that entailed. I knew that she had suffered previously with cancer, but never put much thought into it. As an adult, I worried that I too might be prone to the same problem as her. Could my body have a higher risk of developing cancer? Could I have some sort of cancer and just be unaware? How would one get diagnosed? Then I realized that I had no real means to help myself regardless. I had only a state provided medical plan, the same that my mother had, who at one point attempted to kick her off once she began getting treatment for cancer. How could I possibly get the necessary tests run when someone who was going through the disease had trouble just getting treatment?

I spent a lot of time milling it over, trying to figure out some way to use a poorly built system to my advantage. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I could come up with. I could explain my situation to a doctor and omit the whole anxiety and phobia issue. The two problems I experience could simply vanish if the underline problem ceased to exist, so why bother mentioning something that can’t be fixed physically anyway? Is that really a proper method necessary to receive care? Lying to a doctor so they will give you the time of day in order to fix a problem that has been crippling me since childhood? I’d argue it is. At the same time, I could leave empty-handed yet again. There might just be no real physical issue I can blame for my continued decline in health. Maybe I just pulled the short straw in life and am forever forced to slowly wither away until I die, all because a biological anomaly in my brain decided to mistake vomiting with a life or death situation.

I hate not knowing the answer, but I also hate that the possibility that there is no answer at all. How can someone become motivated to live healthy if his or her body can’t even function properly enough to carry itself day to day? Why struggle to have a better quality of life, if that quality is insignificantly better than the quality it is now? I don’t want to continue feeling terrible everyday, but I also don’t see the benefit in pushing myself to feel just as terrible everyday with the bonus of firmer stools or clearer urine. Maintaining your health is an exhausting task, but unless you will receive some real benefits from it, there is no reason to go the extra mile.

I have started to look into seeing a Gastroenterologist. If the problem is feeling nauseated when I eat, then what isn’t to say my stomach isn’t just improperly functioning? I will know more in the coming days, but until then, I still continue to think about what sort of risks I might be adverse to. Are there issues with my body I don’t know about? Do I have a higher chance to contract anything given my family history? There are always anxious thoughts about my health going through my mind, but at the same time, if I become ill, there isn’t much I can do about it besides hopping I can receive proper care when the time comes.