Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and Allergies
Undoubtedly, most of us who deal with allergies and other chronic health conditions deal with some fear of missing out (FOMO).
Unsurprisingly, we can't exactly live an altogether "normal" life because we have to avoid allergens. In addition to all the "normal" things one must do daily, we must also manage our symptoms constantly. We certainly strive to have some sense of normalcy and continue to live despite our itchy noses, difficulty breathing, rashes, and even the risk of a severe allergic reaction. However, a lot of times, we can't.
Isolation and fear of missing out
After being bedridden for 6 years, going through topical steroid withdrawal, and dealing with other health conditions, feeling isolated is still a struggle for me at times. Seeing friends posting on social media while they're going out and having new adventures can be quite triggering for me. While most people are out living their lives, I'm stuck in my house. It always seems to be something, whether because of a skin flare-up or allergies.
Every year, I feel frustrated around spring and summer as I typically have a skin flare-up in addition to allergies, meaning I can't do much during these times. I can't go swimming, hiking, or do much of anything that requires me to be outdoors. This creates an immense feeling of FOMO for me. I always feel like I'm missing out on everyone else's fun, and it's hugely frustrating and disappointing.
FOMO is an everyday struggle
I've had to work hard on this throughout the years and continue to. I've had to process those feelings of loneliness, missing out, and hopelessness. Mostly, I've gotten used to it and don't take it personally anymore.
However, I still struggle with that feeling of disconnection and loneliness. I often wish my environmental allergies didn't keep me from doing activities with others. And I certainly wish I could eat whatever I want, whenever I want. Even when I can go out with friends, navigating social outings with allergies is often tricky. I have to pre-plan everything more than the average person and ensure I am prepared.
How I came to a resolution for FOMO
I have done therapy, hypnotherapy, life coaching, and other healing modalities to continue working on feelings of isolation and healing my FOMO. Through this deep inner work, I've realized that even FOMO is just an illusion.
This is not to say that fear of missing out isn't valid and genuine when it does occur. It doesn't mean we need to ignore it. But I believe we put too much weight on FOMO, and social media certainly doesn't help. There is always an element of comparison there, and let's be honest: most people only show the highlight reels of their life on social media.
Acceptance is key
Resolving FOMO has mostly come down to a new sense of faith I've cultivated through dealing with allergies and other chronic illnesses.
I believe everything that is meant for us will not miss us. I don't think we are ever "missing out" on what's truly meant for us. Just because we are not living the same life as others, and what I consider "normal" may be different from others, it doesn't mean I'm not still living or missing out on anything. Even in chaos and disorder, there is always some order as well.
It's taken a lot of time and work for me to honestly believe this and reach a state of acceptance. But now, I genuinely believe I am always exactly where I need to be and am supposed to be - even when it is difficult to see.
Have you ever had to change holiday plans due to you or your loved ones allergies?