A Perspective Shift

In a recent article, I wrote about how my diagnosis of myopic macular degeneration cured my chronic negativity. Macular degeneration has affected my life in so many ways... sometimes in difficult ways, but sometimes in great ways. Now I’d like to talk to you about how my diagnosis almost instantly cured another significant joy thief in my life: extreme germaphobia.

Perspective shift

A life-changing perspective shift I’ve encountered recently is the difference between my difficult ‘things’ doing things TO my life and my difficult ‘things’ doing things FOR my life. You see, after many years of practice, I no longer allow my macular degeneration to do negative things TO me.

I only allow it to do things FOR me. If something doesn’t help me grow into my best self, then I have no time for it.

This may sound really difficult or even impossible, but honestly, it isn’t if you have the right perspective. I am 38 years old and am experiencing permanent vision loss. I simply do not have time to waste on anything that steals my joy.

Hard days are inevitable

Does this mean that I don’t have hard days or moments of extreme fear or worry? Absolutely not. It just means that I am constantly working toward my best self by only allowing those difficult feelings to stay long enough to teach me something.

This time, I learned that there are more important things in life than worrying about germs. Things like being present in each moment you're in, and noticing all of the beautiful and admirable moments that truly surround us each day.

My extreme germaphobia

Macular degeneration has almost completely eliminated my extreme germaphobia. You read that correctly. I was diagnosed with myopic macular degeneration and almost instantaneously stopped caring about germs.

When I was younger, I had extreme, debilitating germaphobia. I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere without being in fear of getting sick. I’d lose sleep at night worrying about it and try any strange thing to help keep myself and my kids germ-free.

Finding thanks in the struggle

Looking back on my extreme germaphobia, I also have to be thankful for with it did FOR my life. Now, as we are living through a pandemic, I have a lot of knowledge about germs, viruses, bacteria, and how to keep safe.

And, as incredible and unbelievable as it is to me... for the most part, I'm not too worried about the pandemic. I use my knowledge to do what I can, and I allow it to be enough.

Joy thieves

My germaphobia was the ultimate joy thief in my life. Oh, you want to go to this pool party and have fun, but you're worried about what's lurking in the water? Or, you can't even relax at a movie theater because, ew these nasty seats!

I couldn’t really ever enjoy anything or let myself just ‘be’ in any situation because my fear of germs was always lingering in the back of my mind and trying to take over all of my experiences.

I research, it's what I do

I’ve researched them a ton... as I have researched macular degeneration and anything else that takes up a lot of heavy space in my life. I fully understand the science behind germs.

I am intelligent enough to know that germs are a normal part of life and that some are even good. I'm aware... My brain has always known that, I just couldn't get it through to my anxiety.

Poof, gone!

There’s something about an even more difficult medical diagnosis than germaphobia... one that highlights experiencing permanent central vision blindness that forces you to reevaluate your life.

Am I right? When you wonder just how much time you have left to see all the things in the world you want to see, other seemingly difficult things just stop carrying so much weight. And that's really all there is to it for me.

So, I must again say thank you to macular degeneration for all that you do FOR my life.

In all things, find gratitude,

Andrea Junge

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