In true our seams aren’t straight fashion, I’m gonna lay it all out on the line.

This blog is delayed (much like many things in our lives right now) because I haven’t been sure what to say. It seems like there’s so many more words floating about on internet platforms than ever before. (which is saying a lot because it’s always a pretty crazy place)

What could I possibly have to say that would make a dent in the chaos? Honestly, nothing. But in a time that feels like a disorderly free-for-all, I’ve found myself sitting in a field with the wildflowers and my dog and I’ve come to the conclusion that all I have to offer up is vulnerability. So here I go, talking about all of the things that I’ve never really openly talked about.

After my mom died I was diagnosed with a chronic illness called IIH. It’s rare but to sum it up, my body was creating too much spinal fluid which then collected between my brain and my skull causing pressure on my brain and my eyes. They aren’t sure what causes it, but it is thought to effect about 1 in every 100,000. The details of that first year are an entirely different and very long story, but my main concern was that I would lose my vision, which is a very real worry for people with this condition. A few months in I was having indescribable headaches that lasted weeks and months at a time, vision blackouts, and had begun to lose my peripheral vision. My anxiety had risen to a new level of panic that I had never experienced before.

Luckily for me, about a year after diagnosis my symptoms began to diminish and my vision returned to normal. My anxiety lessened, but I started noticing that my general worries and anxieties I had always struggled with had shifted to a new target. HEALTH. I know that the IIH could come back, but I also find myself worried about my health and the health of all my loved ones much more than ever before.

I worried I’d lose my vision, that I’d have a brain aneurysm like my mom, that someone I loved would die in a car crash or from a silent disease. It has spanned many ridiculous worries over the past few years, and I find myself neck deep in WebMD articles and medical journals I don’t even really understand over even the slightest of symptoms. Sometimes when I get stressed I over wash my hands to the point that my knuckles get dry and cracked. It seems silly, but it’s the reality I often find myself in, even if I laugh about it later.

In the wake of the coronavirus, I have found myself at a crossroads of panic and peace. I don’t mean to speak for everyone, but I think many of you could admit that you’re both worried but hopeful. I refuse to take this lightly, but I’m also not stocking up on toilet paper. I’m enjoying my spring break and my extra few days off. I’m resting and making memories, and yes, I’m washing my hands repeatedly, even though they’re already cracked and dry.

In the midst of all the people pretending that they know it all, I’ll admit that every article I’ve read hasn’t made me any more sure about what’s to come, but my mind is continuously brought back to the first verse of it is well…

When peace like a river, attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, though has taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul.
In peace, in sorrow, in turmoil.. it is well.

In the spirit of vulnerability, I’ll admit that my relationship with god is lackluster at most and I’ve struggled to find peace these past few years, but no matter where I’m at, my mind is always brought back to those words. Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say it is well, it is well with my soul. In this crazy time in the world, in the anxious times in our lives, in personal growth and finding peace, in the face of coronavirus, and the many deaths, sicknesses, and tragedies we face everyday… I know that it is well.

Fight worry with love
Fight fear with vulnerability
Fight weakness with unity

Sending you Love & Lysol,

Montine

One thought on “Fight fear with vulnerability

  1. Mary Massey says:

    Wow, didn’t know you were diagnosed with IIH. My daughter was diagnosed at 15 ( she’s 33 now). She’s had 3 surgeries and in regard to her IIH, she’s doing well. It’s a scary ride and I’m so happy you are doing well now, too. I’m also happy you are sharing your journey through grief with the world. God is using you in a powerful way. He is faithful. Love your family so much.

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