It kind of looked like TV static – similar to the visual noise you may see when you stand up too quickly. Except, I didn’t stand up too quickly. I was just sitting down. It came out of nowhere. It was late. I was tired. I ignored it.
Two months later, it hadn’t disappeared. In fact, it had been getting progressively worse. I saw my regular doctor about it. She had no idea what it is. She told me to see my eye doctor. I called him. He was on vacation.
Finally, last Tuesday, I was able to see him after almost three months of this strange eyeball disturbance. It was now in my right eye as well.
Of course, I thought the worst. I was convinced I had some sort of rare eye cancer, or maybe even a brain tumour (though to be honest, this thought is ALWAYS in the back of my mind…even now)
So, a panicked Lauren was taken to the eye doctor by a very patient Jeff at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
“I’m dying,” I said.
“No you’re not,” Jeff said.
“You don’t know that,” I said.
“Neither do you.”
So, we get to the eye doctor. Now, I have literally known my eye doctor my entire life. I have been going to him since I was a toddler. He knows me well. He knows how to deal with me. Thankfully.
I tell him about the weird visual thing, and that I’ve also been having some pain and dryness in my eyes when I wake up in the morning. First things first, we clear up that issue: I have dry eyes.
“Oh good, so that’s it? Just dry eyes” I say. I feel relieved.
“Well…I’m a bit worried about that “static” you described.”
Worried. He’s worried. He’s worried about me. Now I’m worried. I’m beyond worried.
“We’re going to have to do some tests to rule out anything serious.”
The first test was simple. He put some orange dye in my eyes to see my tears more clearly. It didn’t hurt. It didn’t feel like anything. Though I still had a panic attack, of course.
The next test however, was a big deal. I have been having a lot of issues with my eyes, right. So, they burn and sting a lot. I’m used to that. But this next test was like having fire dropped into my eyes. The purpose of this test was to dilate my pupils so my doctor could see more clearly into my eyes. I didn’t cry though. And at this point, I wasn’t even panicking anymore.
So, after 15 minutes, my pupils were like gigantic. You couldn’t even see the brown in my eyes anymore. My eye doctor took me into a dark room and shined bright lights into my eyes for what seemed like hours.
“Are you nervous?” He said.
“Yeah,” I replied.
“Well, I’m offended!” He said. “I’ve known you for your entire life, and you still don’t trust me?”
“I trust you!” I said. “I’m just worried there’s something seriously wrong with me.”
“Well,” He said with a small grin on his face. “That’s your problem.”
Apparently, a whole lotta stress and anxiety can cause eye problems. Who knew? At this point, I was feeling a bit light headed from all the anxiety. Plus, anything to do with my eyes seriously grosses me out so the thought of all those drops in my eyes was getting to me.
Anyway, he told me that stress and anxiety can cause a strain on…something in your eyes and basically cause…something to happen which then does….something else and viola, your eyes are now messed up. Basically I just have to moisturize my eyes and calm down.
This really made me think, though.
If my eyes are messed up because of my constant worrying, what else am I destroying in my body? When I was a kid, I didn’t feel any lasting effects of my anxiety. Now, at almost 24, the years and years of constant anxiety and panic are finally catching up to me. And that is terrifying.
It almost makes me want to have a panic attack.
And that is also terrifying!
So I learned that I really do need to get my anxiety under control. Because it’s starting to not only affect my emotional health…but also my physical health. And that’s not cool at all.