What are you afraid of? That’s a powerful question to begin a blog with, but without a powerful statement I think many of us might be afraid to address the question of fear. I want you to stop and think, really think, about your fears. I don’t mean the normal fears that we all have. The fears about spiders, snakes, drowning, biting ice cream, or things like that. I mean the deep seated fears that keep us awake at night. The fears we are unwilling to talk about. The fears we don’t want others to see. Don’t tell me you don’t have any because I don’t believe that. We all have fears, and if you have a chronic illness, you more than likely have additional fears. Fears about your disease. Fears about your treatment. Fears about your life. Humor me on this next part. Stop and think about your fears now. Think hard and long and then tell yourself if you are afraid your disease will become active, or are you afraid of the times that it isn’t? Strange question? Yes, it is. But the question has validity. Many of us are simply afraid of change. If we are sick for a long period of time we learn to live that way and moving to a healthier state means change. The same thing happens for someone who is well and then goes into a flare. You move from being comfortable into a new state. A state you aren’t familiar with. Can we really be afraid of being healthy? Yes. Do we sometimes sabotage our own healing and healthy life out of fear? Some of us do. Think about this. Why would a patient ignore their physician’s instructions? Why would a patient not take medicine that will help them? Why would a patient not go to physical therapy when their physician believes it will help them? Why do all of us not eat healthier? I have lived with pain everyday for so many years that on the rare occasion that I wake up free of pain I find myself wonder what’s wrong. People might read that statement and think I’m crazy. I’m not. It’s just that pain is my normal. We are taught to think about the things that aren’t normal. For me, being without pain is not normal. I can’t say I fear being without the pain, but perhaps I fear what it may mean. Just like I fear anything that may mean a change in my disease state. You probably have similar feelings but never stopped to think about them or examine them. Are you afraid to tell your doctor all of your symptoms or everything that seems to be a symptom? By doing so are you hurting yourself? Are you afraid to take your medicine because someone told you that you take too much medicine? Are you afraid to try something new even though your current routine isn’t helping? Are you afraid to do things, or even try to do them because you haven’t done them in awhile? Are you afraid to do them even when you feel like you can? Why are we afraid? Where did this fear come from? And more importantly, how can we conquer the fear? I am not a psychologist, or psychiatrist, or any sort of mental health counselor. I am just one lupus patient trying to help other lupus patients. For me, to conquer the fear I first have to know and admit that it exists. I have to examine where the fear is coming from. I have to search to see if the fear existed before the lupus, or is it a result of the lupus and what I have endured because of this disease. I have to be able to see what is on the other side of the fear if I want to overcome it. Perhaps I need to talk to someone about my fear. This person can be a mental health counselor, a trusted friend, or another lupus patient. Sometimes just speaking the words opens a clear path for moving past the fear. When I have the answer to these questions, then I will take the power away from the fear and it will exist no longer. From the life and mind of: Wanda M. Argersinger © 2013 Wanda M. Argersinger, The Lupus Support Network, Inc.

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