On Getting Sick and Wasted Time

Junior year of high school, the time when my anxiety and depression was at its worst, was a lost year to me. Simply surviving took so much of my time and energy, I didn’t have anything left to put into living. I watched myself fall behind in extracurriculars, let friends drift away, and miss experiences that I’m never going to get back. Ever since then, I tend to get really stressed if I feel I’m wasting time or wasting an opportunity. I don’t want to lose any more of my life to idleness.

I had a conversation with my therapist about this a couple days ago–I was complaining about how sad and anxious not having plans the previous Friday night made me, because it felt like this was just one more moment of life I was missing out on. In response, she said something along the lines of “there’s no way for you to get Friday night back, just like there’s no way to get that year of high school back. It happened, and wishing it could be different is only going to make you unhappy. Since you can’t change it, you need to move on and focus what you can do to make sure the future turns out the way you want it to.”

And at the time, I kind of brushed it off. This is a new therapist for me and I’m still not sure if I really like her advice. But then, yesterday, I got sent to the hospital.

So what happened was, I got some sort of stomach flu that ended up affecting me way more than it had other people. Meaning, I lost a lot of fluid, then my blood pressure dropped like crazy, and I was on the verge of passing out before I finally decided that it was time to call an ambulance (I don’t have a car, and it’s not like I could have driven anyway). Once I got to the hospital, they hooked me up to an IV and I started feeling better. But due to delays, testing mix ups, and the fact that they wanted to monitor me for a bit, I was kept there for about 12 hours.

So all in all, 6 hours in bed sick + 12 hours in the hospital + 15 hours of sleep once I got home  =  around 33 hours of time I “wasted” this weekend.

Yet when I woke up this afternoon, I wasn’t upset about it at all. I was just thankful. Thankful that it hadn’t been worse. Thankful I had only given up a day and a half of my life to get back on my feet. Thankful that I had a support system in place to help me catch up on the work I’d fallen behind on. Yes, I had lost time, but I knew I could now move forward and everything would be fine.

I need to start thinking about Junior year, and “lost time” generally, that way. No resentment, no regrets, just acceptance and moving on. Unfortunate things will happen to me throughout my life: I’ll get sick, or miss my chance at something important, or make a bad choice. But dwelling on it isn’t going to help things get better.

All I can do now is keep looking forward.


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