The AA Donor Taboo We Should Break

It’s tough to be productive in our daily lives when anxiety and worry are dominating our thoughts, and if you or someone you love lives with aplastic anemia (AA), then it’s easy to understand the consistent feelings of concern.

Aplastic anemia is a condition that occurs when the body stops producing enough new blood cells.

Aplastic anemia leaves a person feeling fatigued and with a higher risk of infections and uncontrolled bleeding. A rare and serious condition, aplastic anemia can develop at any age.

Aplastic anemia may occur suddenly, or it can occur slowly and get worse over a long period of time. Treatment for aplastic anemia may include medications, blood transfusions or a stem cell transplant, also known as a bone marrow transplant.

Worrying can be helpful when it spurs us to take action and solve a problem. It can be a motivating factor in becoming a relative donor for a family member living with aplastic anemia. There’s a trap donors need to avoid, however. When you love someone and want to help them more than anything, you might feel like a failure if things don’t work out the way you’d hoped. You may also get caught in a spiral of worrying about things you can’t do a single thing about.

So, what happens when we become preoccupied with “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios?

insane insomnia AA
Worrying about things that are out of your control, can keep you up at night. [Source: giphy.com]
My guess is we enter the “worry-wart zone,” and it’s a problem. Unrelenting doubts and fears can be paralyzing. They can sap our emotional energy, send our anxiety levels soaring, and interfere with our daily lives.

Over the years, I’ve learned that giving emotional and mental energy to things outside of my control is a waste of time.

When faced with a difficulty, problem, or concern, my default was too often to start worrying and become overly anxious. We cannot control many things; such as the weather, the stock market, and, most importantly, other people and their destiny.

We have a much greater ability, however, of controlling our own choices and behaviors.

So, yes—help others and be a relative donor. An amazing gift, indeed. But, if anxiety or guilt creep in, then consider this:

We should focus our energies on changing what we can change and accepting what we can’t. Easier said than done; I know. But, it’s worth a shot.


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