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I Said It Was Just Allergies

Written By: Lauren Howard

I said it was just allergies.

It was this cough that wouldn’t go away.

Even when it was better, it was still lingering so that when I breathed too deeply or drank too quickly, it would come up again.

It sounded like I had a five-pack-a-day smoking habit. I have never smoked a day in my life.

It made it hard to drink water because my throat would just kind of close in the middle, and I would start coughing again.

It was always a little bit there.

I pounded allergy medication, which helped marginally. I drank bottles of water trying to control it.

I was so busy not taking care of myself, that I let it go much longer than it should have. Much longer by actual years.

I was in the middle of a bad episode when I walked away from my job. The two were unrelated, or so I thought. Even in the final conversations, I had to stop for yet another spasm.

“Sorry. I should stop smoking.” I joked. Even with everything crumbling around me, I made jokes at my own expense.

I didn’t take myself or what my body was trying to tell me seriously.

Unceremoniously, my job was over. I was unemployed by choice. I walked away without a ton of notice. It was a shock to the system. Literally.

The first several days were hard. Impossibly so. I questioned my decision. I questioned my judgment. I questioned my contributions. I questioned how things happened the way they did. I questioned why I let it go for so long if this was going to be the outcome.

And then my then 4-year-old said it: “Mom, you’re better!”
Uh, I’m what?
“You’re not coughing.”

She was right. I wasn’t. I took a deep breath. No cough.

I tried to remember the last time that I had a coughing fit.

I couldn’t. It definitely wasn’t recent.

I was, both metaphorically and actually, able to breathe again.

Was I less stressed? Not really. The stress of figuring out what’s next and not beating myself up was pretty strong for a while.

But it was different. I was in control of it. I had my whole brain back.

When I say my mental space was killing me, it’s only kind of an exaggeration. My body was screaming for a change that my brain kept talking my way out of.

My excuses literally took my breath away.

Don’t be me. Listen to your body. It tells you what you need to know.

Image by Mel Elías via Unsplash.


Founder & CEO at elletwo


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