Urgency and Perspective
What determines the need for urgent attention or action is subjective, but does perception cloud the real need or is it driven by desire or anxiety? How do we determine how urgent the medical need is? Fears, either real or imagined, ramp up the perception and reaction we will have physiologically.
How do we know what’s urgent?
Something I should make clear is that, in my own belief if you believe something is urgent, it is. I would never presume to know what you are experiencing unless you share it with me. And even in that context, who can know with any absolute accuracy what that experience is for you or any other person.
This is problematic in a range of ways when we are dealing with chronic illness or any other illness or injury. Sure we can be asked to give an indication of pain level on a scale like 1-10, but that does not necessarily meet every need or work as the best assessment tool. That’s enough about pain for now. Clearly, there are times when there should be no question about the need for immediate medical attention, and if you have any doubts or you are unsure, reach out for help immediately.
Fear and anxiety can often be linked
My old nemesis and maybe yours – anxiety was the cause of many of my own perceptions about urgency. But that is not to say that all urgency is fear-driven. The trips to the emergency room were real, and so was the belief I had, even if the resulting diagnosis was not. These were terrifying experiences and I have come to know that it was not an experience unique to me by a long shot. I am not ashamed, not one bit, because I do not equate fear/anxiety or mental health with shame. It is like we know in the hep C community, a stigma or a belief founded in long-held myth and ignorance about the issues.
Not all fears are equal, and as a result of existing anxiety, whether mild or severe. Fear is a powerful motivator and is a natural response to injury or trauma over time. It is no accident that we experience chemical changes when we are in a fearful state. Our body reacts in a physical way, and so say the experts in this field that it is a fight or flight response. Have you experienced this? Of course you have. Regardless of any anxiety issues you may have. I can recall some scary moments that had nothing to do with health or wellness, except maybe my future health as in injury or worse. Climbing mountains, skiing or other semi-dangerous activities. For me the worst fears and most urgent situations were as a result of being diagnosed with hep C, truly they were.
A cure is possible
Not at all unfamiliar to most readers, I am sure. In recent years I have witnessed the introduction of highly effective treatments that can cure almost every kind of hep C, as in all genotypes and even most with any drug resistance. Amazing changes indeed and a great leap forward as we can all agree.
One other thing I have witnessed is an increased level of urgency felt by people about getting treatment, in contrast to the years before these new drug therapies. I have no real idea why, given how much easier they are to tolerate and the shorter and more effective treatment outcomes-as in cure. Maybe there is a fear that they will run out of these drugs, but I doubt that is really the reason. Regardless of the reason, I understand how our perceptions can often drive our feelings and our choices. As someone once said “perception is reality”.