Panic & Perspective

Do you ever have those moments when you notice something different happening in your body, and suddenly push the health panic button, ready to assume the worst? Maybe it’s just me.

On a recent weekday morning, I was driving to work in a bit of a hurry. Not unusual. I’m usually in a hurry to leave work. I’m rarely in a hurry to get there. Anyway, something caught my eye. Pun intended.

I noticed an unusual level of glare and clarity of focus in one eye. It startled me. The vision in my left eye was oddly sharper and clearer than my right. And the glare made me squint.

This was not normal, and I began to panic. Just a bit. But still, I went down the rabbit hole of concern. I confess that quickness to fear potential health problems has become more natural as I age.

What could this mean, besides a visit to the eye doctor? We all know it is always better to see the expert before diagnosing ourselves, but we worry in the meantime. So helpful. Not helpful.

I continued to worry and wonder what was happening. But I renewed my vow NOT to check online. That always fuels the panic fire in health concerns, since online information can often misdirect in a negative way.

Take a breath. Breathe.

I continued on the route to work, consumed by “what if” thoughts, of course, and the downhill spiral of wondering if it could be something serious. I knew there was nothing I could do in the moment. I tried to relax. Or at least distract myself.

Take a breath. Breathe.

Soon I arrived at work, parked the car, gathered my things, and opened the car door to exit. Worry still rented space in my head, as my husband would say.

Take a breath. Breathe deep. I can call the eye doctor when I get to my desk.

I removed my sunglasses and turned to walk in the building.

Suddenly, a sense of calm moved through my little soul, and I burst into laughter. All worry fled the scene. One of the lenses had popped out of my sunglasses, and I had not noticed. No wonder I had more glare and clarity in one eye without explanation at the time! That immediate sense of relief was awesome, but the little lesson that came with it was even better.

I smiled all the way in to my desk, shaking my head at the simplicity of the explanation, after all my wasted worry and the dread brewing about the “oh, no!” of the unknown.

My eyes were fine. But I was too close to the problem to see it clearly. A good reminder to take a deep breath, and press pause on the panic. This little lesson was a good reminder to wait, move away from the situation, and get some perspective.

Isn’t it true that sometimes we are too close to the problem to see (again, pun intended – forgive me!) what’s really happening, to view the situation with perspective? And a little distance can often help. That truth was glaring to me in the moment. And I continued to laugh for a while. I will remember to keep perspective in problems that come. And to fix my sunglasses.

Have a good week! And stay charming, friends!

P.S. I want to acknowledge some health panics do lead to a serious diagnosis. I want to honor that difficult journey for folks, too. This one just turned out lighthearted, for which I am grateful.

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