Not Everything Is Solvable

When it comes to my asthma, I want as much information as I can get. Print out of my PFTs, no matter how stellar? You bet.  Allergy tests to figure out what could be triggering my asthma? You know it, even if they didn’t tell me much, that still tells me something. Humidity measurements I can check with a few taps? A definite requirement in my weather app of choice. I want as much information as I can have fairly seamlessly integrate into my life so I can figure out how to manage my asthma the best as I possibly can while balancing that out with the other stuff in my life that I want to do.

Solving the mysteries of my asthma? It’s something that helps me, that I should do, but it is not necessarily something I want to do. I’d much rather be like, eating cupcakes. But over the years, I’ve come to realize—and accept, to an extent—that not everything is solvable.

There are times that my asthma will get worse and I will not know why. And I won’t be able to nail anything really concrete down. Sometimes triggers exist that we may not even know that we have, or don’t even know that we’ve encountered. While most asthma symptoms seem to start right away after exposure to a trigger, some allergic reactions can take as long as two hours to start.1 Since the allergic reactions seen in asthma can often be fairly mild (think about allergic rhinitis or “hay fever” for example), they may take awhile to set in or become bothersome. Other things you may simply not realize—for a long time—that they trigger your asthma. It can be nearly impossible at times to pin down the source causing an asthma flare-up. Other times, you simply can’t escape an asthma trigger—especially when they are in your own body, like stress induced asthma, or hormone induced asthma—and have to deal with the after-effects.

It can be frustrating, of course, when you can’t determine what is making your asthma worse. However, stressing out about it is not going to help you feel better. Relax and remind yourself that you need to deal with your symptoms now—and just chill!—and if you’re still frustrated the next day, you can try to figure it out when you feel better. Chances are, though, once your breathing has improved you probably won’t care as much to continue thinking about asthma, and will instead just go along with your week like you intended… And that is totally okay.

We have to all take a step back sometimes. It would be nice to understand every quirk and intricacy of our lungs and our asthma, but that’s not necessarily going to happen—and, if you try too hard, you’ll just run your brain in circles trying to figure it out, which isn’t going to do you much good, either in terms of your lungs or your mental health. Step back, let it go. You’re not Sherlock Homes or Nancy Drew, and you don’t have to solve every mystery in front of you… Be inquisitive while realizing that not everything is solvable, and that is okay!

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