I’m been realizing lately how much environmental and situational variables can affect not only my physical health but also my mental and emotional well being. The last few months, I’ve been noticing, too, that when my physical health is suffering and when I’m tired that this can quickly lead to moodiness and instability in terms of my mental and physical health. And, because most people don’t understand this, I’ve found that it’s much better for my health overall to spend a lot of time alone rather than deal with people who only worsen my overall health. It’s not any fun to be moody and exhausted all of the time, and my moodiness can lead to interpersonal issues. But I can’t fully control my moods when I am flat out exhausted– no one can.
We live in an area where fireworks are allowed. While it is beautiful to watch the fireworks going off all around us, it also causes the air quality to plummet. I have asthma and am sensitive to chemicals, so for me this is not fun. Plus, the fireworks do trigger my PTSD somewhat and amp up my sensory issues. Last night, I felt so sick after over a day of fireworks in our neighborhood (they started on the 3rd) that I wasn’t able to fall asleep until 3:30. And, yesterday I was tired too because of the smoke and was really too moody to enjoy the holiday because of it. I ended up picking fights with David all day, which I hate doing. He’s understanding of it, though, because he knows how much my health issues affect me. Someone today too told me that fireworks can affect thyroid functioning and flare Chronic Active Epstein Barr. So, of course I was moody and all out of it. When a person’s thyroid is off and they are sick, it affects him or her both physically and mentally/emotionally.
Then I looked back at last summer and realized that what likely led to my mental health breakdown that fall was the fact that there were wildfires that caused me to feel sick and get very little sleep for longer than I could tolerate. Just to be clear, too, I have always needed more sleep than most people in order to function, so it doesn’t take too many days of me having a lack of sleep, or a lack of rest, to completely shut down in pretty much every way. This is why I can seem harsh with people who do not respect my boundaries, because much of the time it affects my sleep and my ability to rest, which can lead to a total breakdown. And, if someone repeatedly wakes me up in the morning despite my or other people’s warnings that this will affect my health, I quickly don’t like and tolerate that person, even if they are claiming that they just don’t understand why it affects me so much. Now, too, that I’ve been diagnosed with Chronic Active Epstein Barr and found out that this condition can be fatal if I do not or cannot take care of myself, I really have decided that I cannot tolerate or be around people who do not listen to and/or respect me when it comes to my need to take care of myself. This isn’t just a matter of staying sane, or the fact that I don’t like suffering as much as I do when I’m really sick; at this point, it is a matter of survival for me. Same goes for anyone or any situation which causes undue amounts of stress for me, because stress also worsens Chronic Active Epstein Barr. I really would love to live a long life despite this condition, and am doing everything that I can to make this happen. And if this means, say, not hanging out with certain family members or friends, or even barring people from my house, then that is what will have to happen.
In a way, having a condition that can be fatal is forcing me to really evaluate what I need to do to make sure that I am living a healthy life. This means making sacrifices. I don’t always get to do what I want to do because of this condition. And, sometimes I have to take big steps in life even when I’m not “ready” to or don’t want to do it. I feel like, even before I knew that I had this, that the severity of my health conditions has put me in a place where I really have to put myself first, and in a lot of ways that has accelerated my healing process.
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