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BII Symptom: Anxiety

Oh anxiety. She's a tricky bitch. Every human on the face of this planet has had anxiety in some form or another. Some of us debilitatingly so. I had always been an anxious person. As far back as I can remember, I was always worried that any little thing I did could upset someone or something. I hated telling people no and avoided it at every cost because I might hurt their feelings.

But then I got sick. I realized that just because you say no to someone, it doesn't mean that it is malicious or meant to hurt them. I realized that some things I had spent so much energy on was wasted. Things I got terribly anxious over, didn't really matter in the long run. I'm not going to pretend that I'm suddenly perfect either, though. It is a practice, and I'm working on

it every day. I go through an ebb and flow of moments where I stand my ground and moments where I say "yes" when I want to say "no."But I'm learning and improving and that's all I can do. After my cancer diagnosis, I felt like so many things became clear to me. There were so many things I was able to let go of. It was, honestly, one of the most amazing times in my life. Of course, it was also one of the most challenging times in my life as well, but life is funny like that.

Then things began to change again. Life is never stagnant. But things weren't changing in a positive way like I had hoped. Sure, there were some really good things that have happened along the way, and I've learned so much more over the last several years. But internally, things felt like they were slowly backsliding. I was determined to figure it all out.

After a massive blood clot was found in my neck in 2016 (after suffering from symptoms and being misdiagnosed with sinus issues for 10 months), I had a slew of new things I had to recover from. I just assumed the issues I was having were from everything my body had been through, or my diet was as clean as it had been, or I wasn't exercising regularly anymore....

One of the biggest things that started out as a soft hum and slowly grew into a loud, bass pumping maniac was anxiety. So, I'm not going to pretend like I have all the answers to the woes of anxiety. Let's be honest, I'm no expert on the matter, and I certainly am not going to judge anyone for any of their own issues. Who am I to do that anyway? I did my best to manage my growing anxiety the best I could, mostly silently, but I'm sure some people in my close circle noticed something.

It got to a point where I didn't want to go out of my house, I didn't want to talk to anyone more than I had to (and even then...), I didn't want to post on my social media accounts or write in my blog, I didn't want to do yoga anymore, I didn't want to clean my house or keep anything organized, and forget meeting new people. All of these things are things I care about, usually. I honestly didn't realize how bad it was until it started to get better, to be honest.

And it didn't get better until recently. I learned about breast implant illness (BII) and knew immediately in my gut that my implants had to come out. But anxiety wasn't something I ever thought was actually caused by my implants. I was skeptical, at first, that my implants would be impacting me that negatively in anyway, anyhow. I mean, I was told by 2 surgeons and an oncologist that they were perfectly safe and any risk was low. I don't know why it took me so long to look into this further. I'm pretty skeptical about most things and like to do my own digging around before I make giant decisions. Maybe it was because I was already facing so much and so many decisions with breast cancer that I longed for something to be as normal as possible? Getting new boobs seemed exciting at the time! So I didn't give it much attention? I don't know. I can only speculate now, and it doesn't change what has already happened. And I probably wouldn't be who I am or anything without my past experiences. So I don't regret anything that has happened up to this point. It has only brought to the person I am today.

Anyway, I saw anxiety on the long lists of symptoms that can be found on any BII social

media page or article found online. I remember staring at it long and hard one time and thinking, "If I remove these things, I won't be surprised if my anxiety doesn't go away. How could it?" But guess what? It was almost immediate. I was surprised. I thought it was probably the narcotics, to be completely honest (do pain meds even help with that? I dunno.), but I stopped the pain meds and I still feel relief from the anxiety. Like, I have some pretty crazy shit going on in my life right now and I still feel pretty good, anxiety-wise.

I'm dying to get out into the world again. Recovery has been a slow process, as it usually is, but if I've learned anything important over the last several years it's that giving your body time and listening to it is key to healing. Cannonballing back into things only sets you back further later.

Yesterday, I got on my mat for the first time in ages. I'm fortunate enough to have my own space in my home dedicated to yoga, writing, and meditating, but I haven't used it in months. I mean, I go in there to clean the floor and open/close the blinds, but that's it. I was avoiding it. It made me anxious to go in there. But yesterday, I lit a candle and some sage,

gently stretched, and did a little yoga. I cried a little. I snuggled my puppies when they came in and laid right next to me on my mat. I meditated. I got out my planner and planned my week. It was lovely to feel myself coming alive again. It was lovely to feel like I'm home in my body again.

I will never judge someone for getting implants for whatever reason they have, but I wouldn't recommend them either. They were destroying my life, and I didn't even see how badly until they were out.


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