At the end of last year, when COVID-19 vaccines were made available to the public, I swore I was not having any. I heard so many horrendous stories about the severe side effects and it scared me. I am one of those people who never volunteer to be first in the queue, and I was not going to change that. Better wait a few years until everything felt safe.
But when work invited me to register for the vaccine, I had a dilemma. I could refuse, but that would mean letting the team down. Reluctant to have a flu jab, for years I turned to natural medicine to fight off the symptoms. Could I do the same for COVID? I did not want to stand out as a sore thumb nor be the recipient of their disapproval.
Decisions, decisions . . .
I chose to support my team and went beyond that. Not only did I book a COVID vaccine but also my very first flu jab. If I was going for one, I may as well go for the whole shebang. Was it a daredevil stunt or just stupidity to have both jabs barely spaced out? I considered I could tackle any challenge coming my way.
I went for the flu jab first, confident that all would be well as thousands before found it to be safe and effective. The result was a mild reaction consisting of a bruised arm and body ache, nothing that a painkiller would not cure.
Ten days later, it was time for the COVID vaccine. This was no simple flu jab. I listened to scaremongers talk about side effects and blood clots. Irrational thoughts spun a cycle inside my brain. I became afraid and worked myself up to a frenzy. I prepared for the inevitable by stocking up on groceries and doing all my chores and errands in advance, took a few days off work and cancelled meetings. Without thinking I was ready to feel miserable and relished to be a victim.
While I embarked on the fear route, a little voice of doubt kept nagging me. Like a persistent fly, I would try to swat it away, but it kept coming back more defiant than ever. I gave in and surrendered to the images that I created in my mind like a reel of old film unfolding in front of my eyes.
The Pfizer vaccine did not sting at all but the importance that I gave to the side effects propelled me into painful physical reality. I ended up creating what I believed. I got what I wanted. I woke up the next day, with a fever and a throbbing headache. My sore arm felt heavy. When I tried to walk, I felt weak and exhausted. I thought I was dying. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating, but my body felt like it was going through a storm. Ahh, I should be mindful of what I wish for.
I wanted to feel sorry for myself and plunge into a downward spiral. But if I were to have my second dose, I needed to stop my mind dictating how I should feel. I needed to be in control. The challenge was to change my thoughts and create a new belief, ditch any plans. I decided to veer from the path I needed to follow and embraced uncertainty.
Accept what it is, let go of what was, have faith in what will be.
I approached the second phase with acceptance. I let go of my ego and stopped giving importance to other people’s views. I had a choice, and it was up to me to act upon it. Instead of going safe, I went wild. I kicked healthy eating out of the window and indulged in rich food. If I was going to suffer, then it was better surrounded by chocolates and cupcakes. My anxiety vanished.
By not caring of what may happen, I let go of any resistance and turned my actions into positive thoughts and beliefs. I became comfortable with the knowledge that whatever the outcome, it would not last for ever. To my surprise I sailed through without any side effects. I was vaccinated and felt good. Mind over matter.
Shutting down the annoying voice that questioned my decisions was the key to stop focussing on the negative. Instead of resisting, I went with the flow. Lesson learnt.