THE BLOG
11/15/2013 11:57 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Are You in Denial?

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So, let me tell you a story about this past week. I've worked in health care for 27 years and have told many people to seek medical assistance and evaluation for chest pain. Over the past few days I had been experiencing some symptoms myself. I had an odd heart "flutter" one day, some shortness of breath one day, and some dizziness another. My husband said, "Maybe it's time to go to the doctor," but I, like those who I had spoken with over the years, was "in denial." I had no intention of going to a hospital or a doctor to be told that there was nothing wrong with me and be embarrassed.

Sometimes we all know better, right?

In this case, today, I finally did get checked out and have a follow-up with a cardiologist shortly. I decided it was better to be safe than sorry.

But, then I started thinking. How often are we in denial? Maybe we choose to ignore something has to do with our health, or maybe it has to do with a life situation. Hate your job but suck it up and go in to be "tortured" each day? Maybe you're in denial. Have a family member that is causing you pain in some way? Have you addressed it or are you ignoring it? Maybe you are in denial. Budget tight and getting overwhelmed with bills coming in the mail with no way to pay? Are you addressing the situation or ignoring it? Maybe you're in denial.

It's most interesting to me how one situation we may experience can be applied to so many other situations or things that happen in our lives.

What to do? The first thing is to recognize that there is a situation that may need to be addressed. That is, perhaps, the biggest step. Once you identify something, whether it has to do with your health, happiness, financial situation or work life balance (by the way, these are the items that make up the Time to Play philosophy), you can weigh your options. This is a most important step as there are ALWAYS options, although they might not seem evident. When reviewing, you will realize that some options are feasible, some options have potential, and some options would never be considered. Look at all the options you have and evaluate each one. Perhaps you can narrow the options down to one that would be the best to implement for the situation at hand. Then it is time to implement it.

Really. Not kidding.

It's great to come up with ideas on how to make changes, but without actually taking action, they are just that -- ideas.

Do you want a better quality of life? Take action. It might be hard the first time you make a change, but life is a learning experience. Each time we take action, and take control of our circumstances, it gets a little easier.

As far as my heart arrhythmia, I'm sure all will check out fine. But, if I didn't address my symptoms, I would have three possibilities that could happen. One would be that I would continue to worry that something was wrong; it's not easy to determine if there is a real cardiac event occurring in a woman without medical evaluation. The second outcome might be that everything would be fine and the symptoms would go away. We don't even want to discuss the third potential outcome.

It's most important to remember anything is possible and that it may be in our power to make a change to prevent a potentially undesirable situation from becoming worse.

Are you in denial? Look inside and see. The decision to evaluate your options and move from denial to action may be a good one, like mine was.