I go through an annual bout with allergies--three or four weeks in the spring when pollen causes my sinuses and nasal passages to do all sorts of crazy things, mostly having to do with sneezing and creating immense quantities of fluids with which I can fill tissue after tissue. These are the days when I almost never get a full night's sleep, for I wake up two or three times either sneezing or so congested that I almost can't breathe. The medicine that worked so well the first year now works fairly well, as I think I've been building up an immunity to it--I still wake up very often and end up walking around like a zombie the next day.
When all is said and done, though, I'm pretty grateful
that this is the extent of my poor health on an annual
basis--when I think of all that I could be going through
with a different health problem, my problems are very minor
in comparison, and I have to be thankful to be afflicted
with simply a reaction to pollen.
I've started to look at this affliction a bit differently, though, and I'm not sure why. I've been
aware for years that my allergies are caused by my body
trying to fend off an "intruder" that's completely
harmless: pollen. My body is sneezing and
watering and draining and itching because it wants to get
rid of something that it doesn't need to get rid of.
What a waste of energy and fluids that is!
I've tried to imagine what it would be like to get my
body not to fight off the pollen--to just let it be when it
enters my system. All of the symptoms then, in theory,
would disappear, and I would no longer have allergic reactions.
But that's only if I can accomplish allowing my body to
accept the "intruder" and not try to fight it
off. The allergy medications merely stop the call to
battle by blocking the histamines, from my
understanding--it's suppressing a reaction that's trying to
happen, causing another battle inside of me, and it does get
me pretty tired.
I've realized that this has been a trait of
mine that goes far beyond pollen and allergies--I've always
tried to push away anything that appears to be a threat,
trying to keep myself "safe." It seems to be
a rather normal human tendency, but I go a bit further
because of some other things that have gone on in my life,
and I know for a fact that I've rejected some things and
people in my life that could have helped me to grow, to
mature, and to learn--all because my first perception was
that these things posed a threat to me.
My allergies mirror a very important aspect of who I've
been for many years, and I'm pretty convinced that the only
way I can get rid of my allergies is to get rid of this
harmful aspect of myself. It's okay to want to protect
myself, but I also reject the good and the harmless when I
try too hard. That's what my body's doing--it's trying
too hard to protect itself, and making me miserable because
it's trying to reject some simple pollen.
These days, whenever the symptoms start up, I try
to tell myself to relax and to let the pollen alone--there's
no need to reject it. I'm trying hard to extend that
approach to other things in life, also, that I perceive as a
threat. So far, I don't see any big changes, but I'm
pretty sure that the more at peace I get with the perceived
threats in my life, the more at peace my allergies will
be. Even if I don't succeed in lessening the severity
of my allergies, at least I'll be working at something very
important--acceptance of life and the different aspects of
Most of the things we face in life are as harmless as
pollen, but we spend a lot of effort and go through a lot of
agony trying to keep them away, anyway. I've realized
by looking at my allergies in a new way that I want to be
more open and more accepting, and that I don't want to spend
so much time rejecting things in a futile effort to keep
myself safe from something that I don't even need protection