Saturday, October 6, 2012

Aubrey Understands

I was reading a magazine interview with Aubrey Plaza (a young Hollywood actress) the other day, when I was stunned to find a quote from her that expressed exactly how I've been feeling ever since my acromegaly diagnosis. Aubrey had a stroke at age 20, and she's been dealing with underlying anxiety ever since:
"The most frustrating thing about it was I don't why it happened, and there's where a lot of my anxiety came from. Once you know why something happened to you, you can rationalize it like, 'If I do this, I won't get sick' but if you don't know exactly why, at all times you're thinking, At any moment I could die, because when it did happen, it was totally out of nowhere. That's the scariest part." 
There are so few people that truly understand what being diagnosed with acromegaly (or surviving a stroke at age 20) is like. I constantly wonder what might have triggered my tumor, like if there was some kind of chemical or environmental exposure. Everywhere I go, I observe potential threats to my health, which leaves me feeling vulnerable and constantly on the defensive. Sometimes people think I'm just being quirky and they'll laugh and think it's cute, and sometimes people just think I'm being a paranoid pain-in-the a**. Either way, it's a real problem for me because I get really stressed out and then I start worrying that stress is what caused my tumor- and then I really start spiraling from there. I'll get really irrational, like start wondering if having acromegaly is some kind of punishment for other mistakes I've made in my life.

I've been doing on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a little yoga here and there (That's what Aubrey says she does to help deal!), trying to walk and exercise more, eat well, sleep well, get massages, spend time with my dog, etc etc, and all of that has really helped me deal with the anxiety. Writing (like on this blog) has helped me too. Having a community has also been really important (see links to support groups on the sidebar to the right) too. So I have a question for you all: what are YOU doing to manage stress and anxiety?


Starbucks Addict said...

I used to stress and be anxious about what caused my Acromegaly. I think I've mostly come to terms with it, and hopefully one day I'll stumble upon the reason. As far as managing anxiety/stress, I'd try medication but I always get side effects. I've learned to pay attention and listen to my body more, learn my triggers and try to avoid them ahead of time. I avoid crowds, certain individuals that stress me (I've completely cut some friendships), shopping at certain times, driving long distance, amusement parks, small children (just screaming/cranky ones), etc. I really work on communicating my feelings, and learning what bothers me. I've learned to manage pretty well, but some days none of my techniques seem to matter! Unfortunately this means I also avoid some things I love. Good luck managing the anxiety!

Anonymous said...

bwahahahah, the only difference is that:

1. She's hot as hell + hollywood actress: meaning she's living dat dere life on easy mode, with everyone supporting her and bending over to be her servant

2. You are acromegalic, that means you are deformed, except some rare cases of male good looking athletes with symmetrical features and high testosterone. People are going to be afraid of interacting with you and avoid you.

polarchip said...

Hi Anon,

It's dangerous to assume that people that people in Hollywood who are successful and rich have lives free from suffering. Look at Robin Williams- he had it all yet suffered from depression that ultimately led to his suicide.

It's also wrong to assume that just because of a physical deformity people will shy away from you (PS not all people with acromegaly have obvious physical changes). In fact, here's two examples of people who are different and have inspired millions of others with their inner beauty:

Jennifer Bricker:

Nicholas James Vujicic:

The acromegaly community has been one of the most compassionate, accepting, and supportive group of people I have ever encountered.

To Anon and all the other people who assume that looks are everything, I hope you can one day see your own inner beauty.