Once upon a time, I decided I would try to be outdoorsy. Okay, bear with me, I realize this post has “hospital” in the title and I promise we will get there, but let me first set the scene.
I love the beauty of nature. I love.. to LOOK at it. I don’t necessarily enjoy being in it, but in 2015, I decided I would challenge myself to do things I hadn’t done before, and that involved being one with the earth or some bullshit. I started spending a lot more time outdoors, hiking, and even.. camping. I will admit it was definitely more like glamping, but you get the picture.
My first camping trip in probably… I don’t know, maybe 15 years? was a definite success. We made s’mores, we hiked the Appalachian Approach trail, I had about 23482482 steps on my fitness tracker, the weather was chilly but nice, the scenery was beautiful.
Fast forward 10 days later, and I don’t even know my name.
So, for those of you who aren’t aware, ticks and other pesky creatures are apparently active year round in southern states, like the one I live in. I had apparently been bitten by one of these critters and won the grand prize of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Haven’t heard of it? Google… but here are the basics. I had brain swelling, a very high fever, and a pretty nasty rash that landed me in the hospital for 10 days. The doctors probably would have kept me longer if I hadn’t actually tried to Uber out of there.
Luckily, after about 3 months of building my strength back up, I was left relatively unscathed, other than a nasty case of what I really consider PTSD, and a big increase in anxiety. The troublesome part is, as someone who has always struggled with anxiety (and diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder), this added stress did not help. I began having panic attacks, and bordered on being a hypochondriac… any little thing that felt “off” would send me into a full blown conundrum about how I was probably dying. This may sound crazy to many of you, but when you’re a pretty healthy person who almost dies unexpectedly from something so random, it’s hard for your brain not to go there. Especially when you’re already battling the Anxiety Monster on the reg.
The moral of this story: live your life. Do what you want, because you really never know what may happen. I still struggle every day with anxiety, but I am working on ways to embrace who I am and live for me. I’m trying to keep the people who were there for me when no one else was close, and appreciate what I have, because not everyone is lucky enough to have those things. Also, wear bug spray people!!