I work at women’s health website.
Working at one is a little like taking psychology classes in college: Every single thing you read or edit that day makes you think Oh my gosh, I have this. … I’m dying.
In college psychology, it was usually social anxiety disorder, minor symptoms of manic depression, compulsive organizational disorder, or some combination thereof. (We were only 19, of course, but we always overreacted.)
But now, at Lifescript, several decades later, I’m opening my browser every morning to review the web site, scrolling through all the information in my e-newsletters, and scouring the health news on the Internet to see the latest and greatest on everything from vaccines to recalls. And now I’m realizing that maybe I didn’t outgrow it. Because now I’m doing it all again, only now I’m not worried about having social anxiety disorder (… er … much…), but about dodging H1N1, preventing diabetes, detecting osteoporosis, keeping my joints healthy, detecting cancer, and warding off Alzheimers. … I know more about RA, OAB, ADHD, IBS, skin cancer, and sleep disorders than I ever thought I’d want to know. I now feel the need to make sure I have enough Vitamin D, omega 3s, potassium, antioxidants, goji berries (???), acai berries (???), good fats, and sleep. … I want to make sure I’m not wearing clothes I’m too old for, coming into contact with Lyme disease, buying produce that has been recalled, eating too much sugar, or letting germs lurk in my food (or on my steering wheel, or in my air-conditioning vents). …
(I’m telling you, people, it’s reeeeally nerve-wracking working there. …)
The biggest irony, though, is that this year I’ve felt the unhealthiest ever. I’ve been to the ER, doctor and urgent care more times this year than I have since my kids were born, with a variety of weird symptoms, both small and large. It just feels so frustrating, because I know the things I need to do, but I can’t seem to stop my stomach troubles, or keep my body from reacting to various allergens, or keep my ankle from twisting, or even lose weight. And I think that’s why this year’s birthday was harder to handle. It’s just really making me feel old.
But this weekend has been a good two days, so I’m hoping I’m on an upswing.
How about you? Did you hit a “health slide” at 40? Care to commiserate?