Anesthesia for My Feelings

July 29, 2016

I am unsure how to introduce this blog post in just an opening statement, so I’ll jump right in. I want to share some advice.


I had surgery on Tuesday, nothing too severe. It only took three hours in the operating room and an overnight hospital stay. Since Tuesday, my only responsibility has been to take care of myself and heal. Doesn’t sound too bad, right?


Despite it being a routine surgery and having a great doctor, it still caused me to lose sleep last week; I questioned whether or not I was brave enough to go through with it. 


For me, an important part of my anxiety is picking and choosing my battles. I’m actively learning the difference between worthy and unworthy stressors. When you decide something is worthy of your stress, that's when my advice comes in. 


This past November, I flew to Florida with my boyfriend to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Flying is something that triggers my anxiety, but I decided that the trip was worth it and I just needed to adjust my thinking.


I was starting to get nervous a few days before and Nick reminded me that the plane tickets were already purchased and it would be a great break. The flight would happen no matter what, but I could control how I dealt with it. He said that I should think of flying in terms of small tasks that I could put a check mark next to. Focusing on each individual task felt a million times more manageable, so I put Nick’s advice to practice again this week for my surgery. 


The steps for my surgery:

  1. Drive to the hospital.

  2. Fill out my remaining paperwork.

  3. Take the medicine they give me.

  4. Wait in the pre-op room.

  5. Get the IV put in.

  6. Get wheeled into the operating room.

  7. Etc.


I felt so proud when the anesthesia wore off and I woke up to a completed checklist. I may have gotten teary in the pre-op room and told my mom that I was scared, but I did it. 


Last night, I told Nick that his advice helped put things in perspective for me and that I think it could be helpful for others to know. I wrote a few drafts of this post trying to figure out how to explain why it’s so helpful for me to break stressors down into little achievements.


All I can really say is that stressful events like flying or surgery are not things that happen in our everyday lives, so we tend to forget how we dealt with the last big stressor. This has been the best way of going about any daunting situation I face and I’m hoping others will find it just as useful. 


I should really go take a nap now since I’m still recovering. 


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