Most of the time living alone can be pretty amazing. I can eat whenever and whatever I want, there's no one to disturb my sleep at night and any mess that's made is my own. But every once in a while something happens that makes me wonder, why, in my singleness, I chose not to have roommates.
I am a self-confessed hypochondriac. I've had enough medical issues in my life and a strong enough connection to my body to know when something is wrong. However, I automatically have a tendency to assume the worst, like a five alarm fire that inevitably ends up with me in the emergency room. (Why do all questionable emergencies have to happen around 10pm when all the urgent care centers are closing?)
In just one of these types of scenarios on a recent Friday night, I realized that I was having a potential mild allergic reaction to almonds. "No problem", I thought. I did the rational adult thing and took an antihistamine, telling myself everything would be fine. Meanwhile in my head I was panicking about the potential of having a new nut allergy and remembering a time what my grandmother had an anaphylactic allergic reaction (that is not an image you soon forget).
Even so I tried to remain calm and distract myself by doing the dishes and coloring, which are my own forms of therapeutic meditation.
Awhile later, right around the 10pm witching hour, I wasn't feeling much better and was even questioning if things were starting to get a little bit worse: metallic taste in my mouth, swollen glands, thick-feeling tongue.
Soon enough my body was uncontrollably shaking, my digestive system was overactive and it was all I could do to close my eyes and try to take one deep breath after the other.
I started googling emergency rooms secretly wishing my dog would turn into a human and give me his opinion on my predicament. I had brief moments of being able to calm myself and in those brief spaces berated myself for letting my anxiety get the best of me.
Finally, I knew what I had to do. Despite my shame of knowing I might sound completely crazy, I put a request in through my insurance company's free service to have a doctor call me. (God bless them for this). He called within minutes and I semi-calmly relayed the facts to him. When he didn't immediately tell me to run to the ER, I felt my shaking body begin to relax and my throat soften. I peppered him with 1001 questions to ensure I knew what to look for if things got worse and truly believe I wasn't going to die overnight, figuring if I had him on the phone I might as well embrace my "crazy".
We hung up and I took a deep breath. For tonight, my yoga was allowing myself to be vulnerable and ask for help. Practicing ahimsa and being gentle with myself was knowing I just needed someone to talk me off the ledge. And that's ok.