By Mary Beth Meyer
18 Aug

My Struggle with FOMO is a Real Thing

Friday, August 18, 2017

FOMO—fear of missing out. I think it’s a real feeling and an even bigger one for people with a congenital heart defect.

As I’m not too far away from closing out my 20s, I haven’t gotten the chance to have my own apartment, be settled in my career, or even really have a social life (yes, that means dating). The last five years, I have gone through two open heart surgeries, four months of recovery, endless doctors’ appointments (not even just for cardiac related), multiple physical therapy sessions, a few jobs here and there, graduate classes, and many many many times where I have had to say no to events due to my health.

Yes, I struggle with FOMO. Big. Time.

A month after graduating from college, my defect was discovered through a murmur and needed to be addressed rather quickly. So, the years that seem to be what some people call “independent” were for me the exact opposite. Rightfully so, came the fear of missing out on being a young adult and the independence, adventure and opportunity that comes with it.

At the age of almost 29, I honestly thought my life would be so different. I truly thought I would have been married and pregnant with my third child by now, but life throws us many curveballs. One of those curveballs is a pricey one too. Having a congenital heart defect has been draining on my finances as well. In fact, one of the main reasons being independent has been such a struggle is due to ongoing medical bills.

Since my diagnosis, I have judged myself over the fact that I still live with my parents and depend on them for almost everything. To be honest, I was so afraid of not being taken seriously or even worse, being viewed as lazy. I was embarrassed and angry all the time. Turns out, I needed to judge myself and feel the need to miss out. It was in those times that I found the grace to keep living with a new purpose and desire, rather than embarrassment or anger.

Although I most likely will always struggle with fear of missing out, I feel abundantly blessed and thankful of how my life is actually turning out. I get to spend more time with my parents and siblings still living at home. While some days are easier than others, I can choose to look at it two ways: One way will give me a bitter attitude and one will give me the grace and gratitude to keep moving forward. I’ve been choosing the latter of the two and have seen the graces pour out.

But, FOMO can be a real thing when it comes a lifelong condition. Stop judging yourself for something you have no control over. I wish someone told me that years ago. It’s so true how we can be so quick to judge ourselves, but in the end, it doesn’t matter.

I want to end this post with encouraging words. I have heard this multiple times over my lifetime, but it wasn’t until a recent situation that it prevented major depression form happening. For that, I am truly thankful.

“Accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

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