Frequent migraines. Feeling weak and ice cold most of the time. Severe insomnia. Significant, and sudden, weight gain. Constant pain. Multiple miscarriages, and the emotional baggage that comes with each one. Ongoing exhaustion so bad I could barely drag myself out of bed for months.
That was just a small sampling of my own personal hell for a few years. These health issues had the potential to ruin my writing career and cost me my business. But I didn't let them. And in many cases, you don't have to let health problems hold your writing career back either. You can cope. And you can overcome.
What Went Wrong?
Why I became ill doesn't really matter at this point. But long story short, it was a result of extreme levels of stress. Not every day stress. Not work and family stress. Not "oh woe is me, I had a lousy day" stress. We're talking the fear-for-your-safety-on-a-near-constant-basis kind of stress.
I also had a lousy doctor at the time who refused to listen and threw drugs at the problem without bothering to run basic tests first (and it's not easy to find another of these docs in my area without at least an eight-month wait). Eventually I had the tests ordered privately and run by another doctor.
The basic gist is that the stress hormones in my body had reached such a high level that they were binding to, and overwhelming, receptors for another hormone. That meant my body thought it had enough of that other hormone and didn't make any more of it. That led to a serious hormone imbalance that led to most of the problems mentioned above.
Really. That was it. Years of absolute hell, and it was something a simple blood test could have uncovered had I not simply trusted my doctor's calls at the time.
Taking My Health Into My Own Hands
Fortunately, once I knew what was wrong, there was a lot I could do to try to fix things on my own (I wasn't particularly trusting of doctors at that point). So I became much more proactive about getting things back on track.
It took about a year, but I'm happy to say everything's good again. Everything is as it should be. No more fertility issues. No more feeling weak all the time. No more pain. No more routine exhaustion.
Last November, it was like someone came along and flipped a switch in me. My energy came back. I started to feel like myself again. And much to my amazement, my body started dropping weight like crazy. I'm down about 50 pounds since then, though plenty more to lose. I've done nothing different to encourage that (and even increased calories last month to try to slow the weight loss down a bit).
That, in turn, has been giving me even more energy. Plus, major bonus, I'm finally getting my legs back -- one of the few things I really loved about my body before this. So that's both motivational on the physical front and also a bit of a general confidence boost. I bring that up because confidence is something Princess Jones and I will talk about more in an upcoming podcast episode (which we've already recorded as episode 19; she's hilarious; make sure you catch it).
From the start of these issues until I was well again, I still had a business to run. And, believe me, there were times I thought about calling it quits. But I found ways to plow through.
My hope is by sharing my story and some of the things I did to keep my writing business afloat during the worst of this nightmare, some of you might pick up ideas to help you professionally persevere during your own battles with chronic health conditions.
That said, everyone's health concerns are different, and these won't apply to everyone. Please, please, please consult with a doctor (better than mine hopefully) before making any drastic changes, and get the help you need.
Let's start by talking about preparing yourself before these kinds of health problems present themselves.
Your Ideal Situation: Preparation
Over the years, especially when this site still existed as All Freelance Writing, I'd frequently hear freelance writers complain about the lack of paid sick time. And here's what I'd tell them -- you do get paid sick time. Your freelance writing rates are supposed to cover everything a traditional job would cover. That includes benefits like health insurance and paid sick leave.
In an ideal situation, you'll account for sick time when you set your fees, just like you should be accounting for vacation time and any paid holidays you want your yearly earnings to cover. You set money aside from client payments to cover that number of days. And when you need to take sick time, you use those funds instead of trying to cram in client work while you're ill.
If you aren't sure where to start, try my freelance writing rate calculator. It'll help you figure out if you're charging enough to cover these kinds of benefits (click the link near the top of the calculator to use the "advanced mode").
This is all well and good if you need to take a sick day every now and then. But it isn't always enough when it comes to chronic health issues. In my case, for example, I took three full months off of work during the worst period when I literally couldn't get out of bed most days. In these situations, there are a couple of other ways you can prepare yourself:
- Make sure you account for plenty of vacation time, and tap into those hours if you need an extended break.
- Set aside an emergency fund early -- enough to cover several months to a year of your regular living and business expenses. This way you can live off savings if you need to take several weeks or months away from work.
For those of you in a two-income household, you might be able to get away with a smaller emergency fund to tap into if your partner's income will cover routine expenses on its own. Just don't neglect preparing for the worst because you expect someone else to take on the burden. That puts you both at risk if anything were to happen to their job while you're taking time to recover.
I've been in both situations -- living alone during my first seven years of full-time self-employment and living with a spouse during the last several years. And I can tell you that, in either circumstance, a little preparation goes a long way towards preserving your business and everyone's sanity.
What to do When You're Not Prepared
What if you become chronically ill and you aren't prepared financially to take time off to recover? Or what if your health issues can't be resolved in a matter of months or even years, and you'll have to run your business alongside dealing with them on a more permanent basis?
I mentioned earlier that I took off work for three months during the worst of this. I tried the resting thing, hoping it would help. But honestly, in my case, it didn't. There was nothing different between Month Three and Month Four (when I forced myself to get back to work full-time) other than motivation and sheer stubbornness on my part.
Something just "clicked" one day. And frankly, I pushed through because I don't like to lose, and I didn't want to let the situation beat me down anymore. So I did something about it.
For me that meant:
Downing Extraordinary Amounts of Coffee
What I Did
I pretty much lived on caffeine. Remember, to this point I could barely stay awake and get out of bed. It was the only thing keeping me conscious at times. I barely even remember those first couple of weeks transitioning back to a "normal" work schedule; I might as well have been a zombie. Two pots of a coffee a day wasn't unusual. Sometimes it was more, especially if I had to be out (though I tried to avoid driving given my state).
There was usually some tea mixed in as well. Even caffeine pills on my worst days. I'm very lucky that I don't get caffeine withdrawal symptoms when I go off it. If I did, I imagine that would have been an entirely different brand of hell.
What You Can Do
I certainly don't recommend following in my footsteps. I was desperate at the time and making a pretty radical change (that behavior didn't last too long thankfully). But if you need a pick-me-up to help you get past the exhaustion of being sick, go ahead and have something, unless the caffeine will affect your condition.
My poison of choice was strong black coffee. If I were doing it over again, I might go a bit easier on myself by focusing more on tea.
Here's something important to keep in mind: drink plenty of water if you're relying on caffeine. My biggest mistake for the first week or so was not getting enough water, so all the coffee left me rather dehydrated and feeling worse in other ways. Once I started downing a good two liters of water each day (on top of the coffee and tea -- yeah, I know that's a lot to drink in a day), I functioned like a near-normal person again. It really matters.
Not into coffee, or you try to avoid caffeine? Do anything that will get your energy up, even for just a little while. Sometimes all you need is the energy to get started, and you can push forward from there.
Take a walk. Belt out some tunes. Hop in the shower. Eat something that perks you up (citrus does it for me). Even use aromatherapy (pine-scented candles are a personal favorite -- my office perpetually smells like Christmas -- but go with whatever works for you).
Cutting as Much Stress Out of My Work as I Could
What I Did
These health issues were one reason my personality and approach became much tamer on my blogs for a while. By avoiding too much controversy and not going after bullshit artists like I normally would, I was able to cut back on the stress of my job, even though that meant I didn't really feel like me for a while.
Don't expect that tame approach moving forward. If you knew me in my NakedPR / All Freelance Writing days, you know what to expect; if you're newer here, you might want to buckle up.
I also scaled back my workload to cut even more stress. While I still ran my top blogs and several "quiet blogs" (the smaller niche ones I run in the background without most people realizing), I let other projects go.
I let my picture book manuscripts sit on the shelf instead of moving forward with illustrations or shopping them around (I'll get back to them in time). I dropped clients who were any sort of headache and took on more work from clients I already had great relationships with. And I let a few small sites go if they weren't meeting the goals I'd set for them or if they took too much time for the return I saw.
In other words, I accepted that I couldn't do everything if I wanted the business to survive and thrive under those circumstances.
What You Can Do
Look for ways you can minimize stress in your day-to-day work. Try operating on a stricter schedule and account for breaks, meditation, a power nap, or a walk during the day -- anything that helps you unwind.
If you're trying to do too much when you're well, it'll really be too much when you're battling health problems. If you have projects you can let go, consider it, even if it's only a temporary break.
If you're a freelancer, consider subcontracting some of your work if necessary. Who knows? You might find that you enjoy that middleman role and stick with it when you're well again.
If you're a blogger, consider cutting your posting frequency until you're feeling better.
Getting as Much Help as Possible
What I Did
Fortunately, a cousin wasn't working full-time when I was dealing with these health issues, so she not only helped with some of my usual work around the property (imagine the fall leaf clean-up when you live in the woods), but she also let me hire her to write posts for some of my smaller blogs.
I even subcontracted work to her from one of my regular clients which kept everyone happy (he was aware of the subcontracting up front, and I took on more of an editor role for those projects).
What You Can Do
Like I mentioned earlier, consider subcontracting work if possible. If you have enough extra money set aside, consider bringing on help for non-client work too, like blog maintenance, marketing, or updating your own site.
Depending on how much you need to scale back, you might also be able to find a colleague to help. For example, if you know you'll need to cut back for a few months and then you should be well again, see if there's a colleague who can temporarily take on a few clients, manage your day-to-day blog management like approving comments, or help with other small tasks.
Find a way to pay them back of course, even if it's just an IOU when they need a hand with their own workload. Even lining up a couple of guest posts on your blog can help you maintain visibility while you rest. And that's an easy favor to repay later.
Getting Plenty of Rest
What I Did
This was probably the most important thing I did when first trying to get myself back on track. It might sound strange -- not getting enough rest -- given that I could barely get out of bed at the time. But no matter how often I was down, I just wasn't getting quality sleep.
To help change that, I meditated, did yoga, took power naps, used music -- anything I could do to sleep, rest, and relax. (Meditation, sleep hypnosis, and basic nature sound apps were a huge help -- my favorite being Relax Melodies).
Admittedly, I still have insomnia issues sometimes, though these days it's more about excitement over a project and wanting to put in extra time. Given that I'm working on fiction so much more right now, I try to be more flexible with my schedule so I don't waste any creative surges when they hit. So my wonky schedule can actually be a bit of a blessing. When blogging and freelancing are the bigger focus, I keep a much stricter schedule.
These days when I have a rough night but want to sleep, I can pop a melatonin supplement and be out in 30 minutes. I try not to do that regularly, but it works wonders for me. Unfortunately that wasn't an option while trying to get pregnant at the time I was dealing with all of this, which is why I had to rely on other methods.
What You Can Do
I'm not recommending you start taking supplements. Try those other ideas first -- music, yoga, meditation, etc. Figure out what works well for you.
Also, try to stay away from screens for about an hour before you plan to go to bed. That was a tip from Lori Widmer that's helped when I remember to do it. The white and blue light from screens can affect your natural melatonin levels and negatively affect your sleep.
Another thing to consider is getting on a more regular sleep schedule if possible. And work in naps if you need extra rest because of whatever health issues you're facing.
These things might sound simple to those who are currently healthy. But when you're dealing with ongoing health issues that drain you both physically and mentally, even simple things can become a chore. So see your doctor. Take time if you need it. And focus on the little things you can handle until you regain control.
Those little things can have a huge impact on your ability to work and maintain your writing career while you cope or recover.
Have you had to work through chronic health conditions? What helped (or helps) you get through each day? Share your stories and tips in the blog comments.
28 thoughts on “How I Prevented a Chronic Health Condition From Ruining My Writing Career”
Thankfully, I haven’t had any long-term issues to deal with. But my sister, a freelance graphic designer, has been dealing pretty well with outsourcing some things (and making sure her clients all knew the subcontractor’s work had to meet her approval) after breaking her knee five weeks ago. She’s not quite back to full-time yet, but should be soon.
Insomnia is her biggest hurdle now. The other day she said it’s driving her crazy that she can’t fall asleep at night, and when she finally does she oversleeps in the morning and it takes longer to get her day going. Of course, it’s not really oversleeping unless she’s getting more than a full night’s sleep, but she doesn’t see it that way.
I hope your sister’s recovery is speedy and uneventful. 🙂
Is your sister having trouble falling asleep in general, or is it pain-related? I can’t imagine it’s comfortable to sleep with a broken knee. Hopefully her doctor can give her something to help (whether that’s medication or simple advice).
I’ve more than once sat in tears saying, “How do people do this?” since returning to regular work after a few years of illness. My problems are chronic now so I know I need to build a life that I can handle at good times and bad. I’m working towards a more flexible freelance schedule, but these are some great tips. Thanks for sharing and I hope things are looking up for you 🙂
Things are so much better now Katy. Thank you. 🙂
As much as I prefer a more rigid schedule for my work, flexibility was important in helping me push through. You’ll have good days and bad days (and heck, good moments and bad moments). When you’re able to be flexible and make the most of the good times, it can be a huge help. I hope your good times outnumber the bad. 🙂
Jenn, thank you for being so honest in sharing the story of your health issues, and I’m very glad you finally got to the root cause of your issues and are much better.
It’s important to get different opinions about health issues whenever possible. Different doctors have different ways of diagnosing patients, and, as you found out, some are just better than others.
It was a shame. She was a very nice woman. She seemed to care early on. But she just didn’t listen. She had preconceived notions about what was wrong and decided to treat based on that (and the meds she put me on to supposedly prevent other miscarriages — it didn’t — actually made me worse in the long run). Unfortunately it’s very tough to get in to see these specialists near me, so it wasn’t a simple case of making an appointment to get a second opinion.
The thing is, this wasn’t the first time I’ve had doctors misdiagnose when I knew what was wrong (I know my body extremely well). In my early 20s, I broke my foot in 5 places (this was after breaking my other ankle in 5 places playing soccer when I was a teenager — I’m apparently an overachiever even in that department!). I knew it was broken. I knew how it felt. I heard the telltale pop when it happened. But the breaks were small and not terribly obvious on x-rays. It was diagnosed as a sprain of some kind (never heard of spraining the top of your foot), and I was sent on my way. That misdiagnosis caused even more problems because they had me walking on it again long before I should have been. Went to another doctor and they could see the bone build-up from it trying to heal and finally treated me correctly. Soured my image of doctors though — again, they don’t listen. In that case, he should have run a second set of x-rays much sooner to look for that healing (he’d been told it was feeling much worse rather than better), but he didn’t.
And those are only two examples. I also spent the night of my 21st birthday not out at a bar like a normal person, but in the hospital with my throat swelling shut from a terrible case of mono, because my doctor there misdiagnosed what was wrong (same doctor who over-prescribed antibiotics to the point where very few do anything for me anymore). So I’ve never had much luck with doctors. I seem to be much healthier when I avoid them and stick to more natural options (not that avoid them entirely — I deal with routine check-ups and testing of course, and not that I recommend that for others). Maybe it’s just doctors in PA, but I always seem to find duds.
Look out world, the healthy Jenn is back. 😉 I am soooo happy you are feeling more like your old self again, Jenn.
Having spent a good portion of my life in the healthcare industry, I’ve seen far too many cases of misdiagnosis (or perhaps more accurately – no diagnosis)causing so much grief for individuals. And often stress is at the root of it but dismissed as something everyone feels. I’ve often said I am convinced stress would have killed me if I kept on in my corporate career.
If this hell you’ve been through has shown you anything, it’s how incredibly strong you are. And for that, I am grateful, and hope those days are behind you for good. Welcome back, my friend.
You know that means trouble, don’t you Cathy? 😉
And thank you. You, Lori, and Yo made pushing through a lot of this far more bearable than you could possibly know.
Thank you for writing this post. I’ve been frightened to submit due to not rejection, but due to being imperfect and not as gifted as the next writer. Your post is encouraging.
Thanks for sharing this very important topic Jenn. I’m sure many will find it helpful.
Too often stress is overlooked as a potential health threat, or its importance is downplayed. But it’s a very real problem that should not be ignored.
That being said, I’m sorry you had to go through this. I’m glad you’ve found a way to address it. 🙂
Thanks Laura. 🙂
It’s pretty crazy what stress can do to you. I never would have believed it before all of this. Everyday stress doesn’t do more than drain me a bit. But this was unfortunately a result of something more extreme. I just wish it was something doctors even considered — mine knew all about what was going on and just dismissed it. In hindsight though, that was my biggest issue — not leaving that doctor soon enough.
Ah Jenn… you’re such a trooper and a real gift to the writers in this world.
One of the blessings in my life is a pretty sound body… another was years without health insurance which let me to take more responsibility and to discover so-called alternative meds. While not everyone agrees, I’ve had great luck, mostly because I listen to my body and my intuition.
Now I have health insurance and they put up with what I’m sure they consider my alternative whims… but at least on doc has actually written down my positive experience with herbs and such for bp, migraine and a bit of weight loss.
I also know that we aren’t all alike. Melatonin has never helped me with sleep… 😉
Thanks Anne. 🙂
I know people who have a hard time waking up again when they take melatonin. So definitely not for everyone!
Like you, I’m pretty big into alternative treatments. I’ve always been a big fan of herbal remedies, but it became pretty important in college. I used to get constant respiratory infections — strep, bronchitis, etc. It was awful. I mentioned in my comment to John here that a doc screwed up by over-prescribing antibiotics for me. This is when that happened (and why they misdiagnosed the mono until I ended up in the hospital — didn’t have the telltale exhaustion).
It got to the point where even heavy duty antibiotics wouldn’t do anything to help me. I was talking to my boss there (I worked for one of the campus offices), a professor from the Biology department overheard us talking about it after I’d been ill yet again. She’s the one who recommended I try oil of oregano. It’s been an absolute miracle for me. I’ve only had one respiratory infection (strep) in the 14 years or so since graduating because the moment I feel something coming on, I take it. Same with colds. I think I’ve had a whopping two of them, and very short ones. My old ones used to last for weeks, and they were frequent. The only times I’ve gotten sick like that since college are when I either forgot to take the stuff quick enough or once when my bottle was expired and I couldn’t get out for more right away.
My mom was a complete skeptic. She came down with something and I convinced her to give it a try while she was visiting. She was completely better the next day. Now she’s a convert. I’ve noticed I always seem to catch something when I visit the kids (nieces and nephew), so now it’s become a part of my post-visit ritual. Have to take the oregano. 🙂
I have a few others I fall back on, but that’s my big one — anti-viral, antibiotic, anti-fungal — it carries quite the punch. I’d love to know what you do for migraines Anne. I avoid taking pain killers if at all possible, The best remedy I have for that is oddly hot cocoa. Eating chocolate doesn’t do it either — has to be hot cocoa for some reason. That and a reflexology trick that immediately stops the pain (as long as I hold the point — between the thumb and first finger). Would love to pick up other options in case I get another bad round of them. 🙂
Hugs back at ya lady. 🙂
Jennifer, thanks for being open about your health situation and how they could have seriously impacted your business. And oh my god, your doctor sounds horrific!
In any case, I’m glad you were able to overcome this uphill challenge and I hope your plain-spoken words and wisdom will benefit any other writer in your shoes.
Happy all worked out for you!
Thank you very much Jay. 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing this, Jenn. Sorry you had to go through that and glad you’re back! Getting the right doctor is a crapshoot, isn’t it? I had some issues in the past with being dismissed when I knew something was wrong. I’m a firm believer in starting with non-invasive, natural approaches whenever possible, and definitely in shopping around for the right kind of care.
Thanks Sharon. I’m 100% with you!
Wow, what a tale! I’m glad you were able to work through all that stress and health stuff and that you were still able to keep your business going like that. It’s tough being a sole proprietor, and you gave the same kind of advice I do as it pertains to making sure one charges enough and puts some away for just in case purposes.
As for doctors… even though I work in health care, I’ve found talking to some physicians can be challenging. They think they know it all and don’t like being confronted in any way. Lucky for me, since I’m the money guy they have to listen to me. 🙂 But when it comes to the medical stuff… let’s just say I’ve had some interesting debates with them on that front as well.
Good for you for taking charge of your health like that!
Thanks Mitch. I’ve had similar experiences with doctors. They’re certainly not all bad. But I’ve met my fair share who seem to love talking down to patients. I’m in the market for a new GP now, and I’m a bit hesitant to choose one. Not many in this area, I live right in the middle of two health systems which complicates things, and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be here anyway. I really don’t want to have to go through this process again before too long. So I’ll probably just see my old one if I need to in the meantime (about an hour away, but worth it to save the headache I suppose).
I truly don’t know how you survived it, nor how you continued to run a successful business. There was just too much for you to deal with, Jenn. But I’m glad you’re on your way back. You look great, you sound great…. couldn’t be happier for you!
I don’t either sometimes. And I know you know the worst parts of it that I didn’t even go into here (some of the physical side simply falls in the TMI category LOL). It was one of the worst times of my life, and something I hope I never have to repeat.
And thank you! I dropped another dress size since writing this, so things are still going extremely well. One of these days I’ll put some more serious effort into boosting that recovery even faster and get my legs (and my lungs) back in gear so I can get back to hiking. I’ve missed that terribly, but I think some of my old climbs might kill me now. LOL
This is the second post I’ve ever read here, and the second post I fully relate to.
I was diagnosed with cancer on Christmas Eve, 2012, and the subsequent treatment destroyed my health. Today, I’m in remission from cancer, but I have some other issues that will never go away. I think I’m as well as I will ever be.
For the past year, I’ve made sure to get 90 minutes of cardio exercise 28 days out of every 30. From that, my health and energy are noticeably improved. But my body says being in shape is not enough, so I need to find ways to accommodate myself.
One of the reasons I’m freelancing is because I’m not well enough to work at an office. Fortunately, I love what I’m doing. The joy of being able to work has a major impact on my health, as stress did in the past. (My oncologist didn’t disagree when I suggested my cancer may have resulted from a decade of hating my job every day.) But I have to be very careful. If I push myself too much, I’ll be in bed for three days.
Yesterday I had two articles due, and it was so hard to cope because I’d already worked 10 days without a break. I couldn’t plan it differently, though, because this particular client always needs things last-minute. The money they pay makes it worthwhile, but I look forward to moving on to even better-paying clients. I know my health is much more important over the long term.
I’ll find a balance soon enough. In the meantime, I truly appreciate the advice in your post.
You know, I’ve been wondering lately if it’s worthwhile to continue sharing these kinds of personal stories on my blogs. But every time I hear from someone like you, it reminds me why I decided to do that — to give visitors something to relate to and remind them that they’re not alone. We all go through crazy times — good and bad — and we can get past them or make the most of them and do great things. So thank you for the reminder. I appreciate you and your willingness to share your story.
I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. But I’m thrilled that you’re in remission. And I’m glad that freelance writing is not only giving you something to focus on, but that it also turned out to be something you love. 🙂
I won’t even begin to try to give you advice on coping with the day-to-day. But I will give you advice on that client — either have a heart-to-heart with them about scheduling (meaning put your foot down about your availability and required notice for projects), or replace them. It sounds like you’re already hoping to do the latter when you can.
If you don’t mind my asking (and feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to share but not publicly), approximately how much is this client paying you per article? And do you have a certain specialty you’re focusing on? I ask because I might be able to share some leads or tips on better options depending on where this client falls in those areas. Or I might be able to point you to other relevant market segments that you aren’t pursuing yet. Let me know if I can help. 🙂
Nice article and I feel sorry for you that you have passed from those critical stage but still you are here righting articles for us sharing your experience. Thank you for sharing. I will share with my mates who have their relatives having problems similar to you.
This is a good article for me. I have had a recent flair up of arthritis. The psoriatic kind, meaning some of my skin is pretty painful too. It’s been pretty dormant till now. Working as a freelancer goes well with my condition though. 🙂
I know this is a late reply but I just found this post from a link in your body shaming article.
I experienced the same thing last year and it’s ongoing. I have spent a lot of money going from doctor to doctor to try and find one that would listen to me and get me the right tests and on the right medications. I’m finally on the right path.
I thought I was alone in this until I came across your post. Thank you for being so honest and for sharing your experience. And I’m so glad you found relief! This helps me to understand more about what’s going on and it inspires me to keep fighting to get better.
I’m pretty sure I’m on the right medications and supplements now (they seem to be working) and I’m working on trying to get enough rest each night. I’m also incorporating 3-10min breathing meditations into my day and keeping track of sleep, meds, moods, meditations, and exercise in my daily journal.
I’m sorry you’re going through similar, but I’m happy to hear you’re feeling better on your current treatment plan. 🙂
There’s really no excuse for the poor care so many of us get from doctors. A few minutes of actually listening to their patients would go a long way.
Tracking and supplements were so important in my case. I’m glad they’re helping you stay on top of things too. 🙂 Meditation too. For me, it was all triggered by a problem with my stress hormones basically hijacking another hormone’s receptors. So all I’d hear from friends and family was to “try to relax.” They’d give me super helpful advice to try yoga and meditation and deep breathing… While they were trying to be helpful, it was anything but, especially given that I’d been doing those things pretty regularly since I was 19. I can’t say it did much to help me get better. But it did keep me from strangling those folks telling me to just relax! 😉
Hang in there. You’ll get through it. 🙂