Okay, so it’s actually Henderson, but it made a good headline..
I am terrified of skin cancer, absolutely terrified of it. My family grew up here in the Henderson area, so we were always outside in the sun and as a result, both of my parents developed skin cancer when I was 11. It was enough to scare me into protecting myself while out in the sun. When they died from skin cancer 5 years and 6 years later, it sent me into a panic. Now I am 22 and I am still afraid of cancer but I am also afraid my fear will eventually mean I am alone for the rest of my life. I wear hats and long sleeves when going outside and always make sure I have tons of sunscreen and my sunglasses on, even when it’s cloudy (most people don’t know it but UV rays still come through the clouds on non-sunny days). On sunny days I get sweaty and am miserable whenever it’s hot here (which is often), so I don’t stay outside much, which means I am usually left out of outdoor activities or I am the one alone inside at the BBQ.
How do I manage to protect myself and still find a way to be social? The loneliness is killing me inside while the UV is killing everyone outside.
It seems as though you have developed a phobia of sorts. You’ve let a fear become irrational and overpowering and it’s controlling your life. Just remember though, we are not defined by our fears-we are always in control. Yes, sunlight is bad and some would say that there is no safe level of sunlight for human skin. However, many would also agree that drinking from plastic bottles are bad, breathing air pollution is bad, and even getting a shot is bad. “Bad” is all around us, and if we go through our lives fearing everything that is bad, we’ll never have a chance to enjoy it.
I think you should seek some therapy to overcome this phobia and start living your life. You can still feel free to wear your sunscreen and protective clothing, but there are ways to do this and still only receive a moderate dose of sunshine. Hopefully a therapist can get you back on your feet again. If you’re looking for a head start, remember that everything is always best enjoyed in moderation…including sunlight.