I try to keep my posts general about chronic illness, but since October is Dysautonomia Awareness Month, I have to “make some noise for turquoise.” Dysautonomia is an umbrella term that describes a variety of conditions. While each condition manifests itself in unique ways, the one thing everyone with dysautonomia has in common is that our autonomic nervous system malfunctions, which basically means we struggle with the functions our body is suppose to handle “automatically.”
My specific brand of dysautonomia is called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS. This syndrome is primarily characterized by an increase in heart rate of 30 beats per minute or more upon standing (or an increase that exceeds 120 bpm). Having a racing heart is uncomfortable in and of itself, but of course, the symptoms don’t stop there, and it is often misdiagnosed or categorized as “just anxiety.”
The TV show The Doctors did a segment on POTS this week. It told the story of a woman with POTS who was called a “faker” due to her illness being invisible. I hear stories like this all the time, which is heartbreaking. Luckily, my close family and friends are extremely supportive, and most have seen my illness during its not-so-invisible moments.
I encourage you to watch the segment here, and if you want even more information about POTS or dysautonomia, check out Dysautonomia International. And, don’t forget to don your turquoise this month to support dysautonomia awareness — or in my case, teal.*
* Two years ago, a friend of my mine texted me and asked me what color represented dysautonomia. In my brain fog state, I matter of factly replied, “Teal!” About a month later, I received a package in the mail that included a super-cute teal scarf. The moment I saw it, I died laughing because I realized immediately that I must have typed “teal” when I meant to type “turquoise.” Close enough. I still love my teal scarf because it is pretty and represents such a kind, compassionate gesture on behalf of a wonderful friend. Plus, I love being reminded of times when brain fog is funny.