What are some problems you couldn't really pinpoint until they got fixed?
November 24, 2010 12:57 AM   Subscribe

What are some problems you couldn't really pinpoint until they got fixed?

Before I got my first pair of glasses, I didn't think my eyesight was that bad. Once my eye doctor put those lenses on me, however, I was practically knocked off my feet: how could I not have noticed something that severe?

This phenomenon has happened to me a few times in my life; I've noticed a few main causes:

- The problem sneaks up on you gradually so it never crosses your conscious threshold (like the proverbial frog in boiling water).
- The problem is perceptible, but only in a vague, hard-to-pinpoint way. For example, for a while my apartment felt vaguely uncomfortable, but I never thought to check the humidity level (which turned out to be double what it should be).
- You notice the problem, but assume everyone else has it equally severely, so you tolerate it.

I want to open my eyes to the other things people commonly don't realize could be much better until they pinpoint and fix them, both for my own sake and out of general curiosity. What are some examples you've come across?
posted by lunchbox to Grab Bag (68 answers total) 73 users marked this as a favorite
I used to experience frequent depression, frustration, stress, rage and physical pain after spending all day working with computers.

I got rid of the physical pain by paying more attention to ergonomics. Making sure the screens are high enough (top of viewing area should be at eye level) got rid of the back pain, and making sure they're centred rather than ten degrees off to one side got rid of the neck and shoulder pain.

The emotional pain has subsided to negligible levels since I switched all my home computers, my mother's computer, many of those belonging to my customers, and the main ones I work with at work from Windows to Linux (some Ubuntu, some Debian). After a day fighting with cranky Windows workstations at the school, I use my Linux boxes to help me relax.
posted by flabdablet at 1:19 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

Glasses for me too. But a big one that recently got fixed was mild dandruff and excessive shaving rash. If I didn't shave for a couple of days, my face would be all red when I did, then be really dry the next day. It turned out to be seborrheic dermatitis that I'd been carrying around for ten years, and had just assumed was a fact of life.
posted by Ahab at 1:20 AM on November 24, 2010

Allergies. I hadn't realized I was sneezing for a reason, and once I mentioned it to a doctor and he put me on Claritin (pre-OTC days), and it blew me away how much different my life became.
posted by holterbarbour at 1:21 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

Along the lines of the eyeglasses, I have had asthma for probably ten years, and wasn't diagnosed until last year. My husband is the one that pointed out not being able to breathe actually wasn't normal, and I should probably ask my doctor about that. After they gave me the albuterol treatment in the doctor's office the first time I was like "Holy crap! You mean normal people walk around taking in big lungfuls of air like this all the time whenever they want to?!?"
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 1:23 AM on November 24, 2010 [6 favorites]

Bad posture and its effect on breathing, digestion, and complexion.

I got a new desk chair that is tall enough to support my long neck and for the first time in probably forever I actually can breathe, don't have tummy aches as often, and some rosy cheeks. It's bizarre how contorted one can get in a crummy chair.
posted by patronuscharms at 1:29 AM on November 24, 2010

I read the articles about studies of how people today are continually plugged-in and switched-on, without any down-time. I probably even read that on a laptop in the bathroom.
I got a cell-phone. Then a smart-phone. I was busy to begin with, but now there is not a moment in the day when I have to be bored or waiting mindlessly for something to finish. Wherever I am, I can be reading/learning/playing/watching/streaming/communicating/flirting/whatever.

But something was increasingly amiss. I was kind of finding out the hard way that the studies are right; we need downtime. I started creating time where there was nothing for me to do except... let my mind wander, think about things, or not, process, imagine, invent, whatever.
It made a surprisingly big change.
I still have to force it on myself, because my inclination is to be doing stuff, but I've found some healthy slow-down time-outs that are easy to make habits are shower/bathroom, going to bed early, commuting (unless you're the driver), stuff like that.

Next step: I should go to the eye doctor!
posted by -harlequin- at 1:33 AM on November 24, 2010 [14 favorites]

Glasses for me as well. Also, I was having some pain in my arm and numbness in my right pinky. I thought it was carpal tunnel syndrome. It wasn't until I was in physical therapy after my car accident last year that they said "it sounds like cubital tunnel - like carpal but in your elbow" that I realized the source of my troubles was in my elbow. Seriously, I'd never really noticed the discomfort in my elbow before that.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:34 AM on November 24, 2010

I think this previous askme could definitely be mined for examples.
posted by orme at 1:40 AM on November 24, 2010

Discolored teeth. They weren't noticeably yellow to begin with, but I smile so much more when they're movie star white. It's quite incredible, actually.
posted by halogen at 1:58 AM on November 24, 2010

I have a very recent example in my life (although I can also totally identify with the OP's example of getting glasses for the first time): Our 15-year-old refrigerator completely conked out last week, with no warning. We cleaned the coils, cleaned the motor, etc., and hoped for the best, but it became obvious that it was a goner. When we went ahead and bought a new one we were shocked (shocked, I say!) at how cold and refreshing our milk and soda suddenly tasted. Apparently the old fridge had been slowly going bad for a long time and we just never noticed it because we got accustomed to it.
posted by amyms at 2:01 AM on November 24, 2010

Low vitamin D will fuck you up in a dozen subtle ways without you noticing it, and is incredibly easily-fixed with supplementation. I'd started to wonder why I was aching and easily bewildered by complex tasks, but hadn't really chalked it up to anything except stress and poor sleep... and then, yeah, bloodwork proved that it really was a medical issue.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:11 AM on November 24, 2010 [12 favorites]

My lower back was completely munted for years but I didn't realise that I wasn't actually THAT clumsy until I got physio. Suddenly I'm standing on one leg like a ninja wondering how I got so bad.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:28 AM on November 24, 2010

I've been told many times that CRT televisions' picture quality decays so gradually that you don't notice until you replace them -- even with a new CRT, not even a digital TV, and you're blown away with the picture quality.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:14 AM on November 24, 2010

MY constant headaches. Then one day i ate a salad with raw onions and the headache happened instantly.

I looked it up on the net and i foudn out. I am allergic to raw onions and garlic. My headaches mask themselves as sinus headaches and usually only go away by themselves.

Its something that doctors will say cant be.
posted by majortom1981 at 3:50 AM on November 24, 2010

I didn't realize my relationship was unhealthy until I got out of it and discovered that there are, in fact, other people in the world.
posted by karminai at 4:01 AM on November 24, 2010 [12 favorites]

Getting strange pains, like sharp stabbing sensations under the right shoulder blade. Got them three times in six months. The fourth time kept going and going until I finally, finally went to the hospital at 4 AM, scared of what it was.


They took them out the same day (surgeon had a cancellation and could take me) and it was fine.
posted by mephron at 4:08 AM on November 24, 2010

That is exactly what happened when I went on antidepressants. The change was immediate and almost mind-blowing.

It also tends to happen to some extent whenever I upgrade something I use regularly. Getting properly fitted for running shoes? Huge change. Getting fitted for a bra? Same. (And getting a good sports bra for running in combined the magic of those two and then some.) I recently bought a couple pairs of jeans that actually fit my sorta weird figure and what do you know, I love jeans again. Good knitting needles, my yoga towel, multi-bladed razors, I could go on.

I also get a mini-version of this most times I exercise. Moving around nearly always improves my mood significantly, and sometimes I don't notice I needed the boost until afterward. Going outside on a nice day has a similar effect.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:26 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I was a kid I walked around with crippling foot pain for about six months. Because it got gradually worse I never really noticed it, I just assumed wincing every second step was something you did as you grew up.

Doctor spotted it, realised it was an ingrown wart and had it out in seconds with liquid nitrogen. I practically danced out of the GP surgery.

Also, after 20 years of poor sleep due to not recurring tonsilitis and sleep apnea caused by my permanently enlarged tonsils, I had my first full night of sleep about four years ago. I have no idea how I functioned on so little sleep. I keep a picture of myself in my wallet from my first graduate job (which combined long hours with my sleep apnea, yay!) which I use to remind myself a) not to get a job like that again and b) to see the doctor regularly. Seriously, I look like a zombie in that picture.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:36 AM on November 24, 2010

My previously poor eating habits left me sluggish (and of course overweight.) Focusing on eating healthy and eating less makes me feel better.
posted by Anima Mundi at 5:03 AM on November 24, 2010

Related to the glasses - wearing contacts too much. I'd gotten used to getting out of the shower every morning and putting them in, taking them out just before bed each night. Went to the eye doctor for a regular checkup and she asked if I'd been having headaches and noticed how bloodshot my eyes were. Come to think of it, yes! Turns out I'd been depriving my eyes of oxygen, changing the shape of my cornea, and a whole host of other issues. Now that I'm back in glasses and on a fairly limited contact schedule, I feel so much better, but didn't really notice feeling bad in the first place.
posted by librarianamy at 5:18 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is kind of a design thing, but for years I put up with the slight irritation of sometimes forgetting to plug in the toaster or kettle before switching it on (or plugging it in and not turning it on at the wall) and then only realising when I tried to figure out half an hour later why I had no toast/hot water.
Then I visited someone who had a toaster that would not let you depress the switch unless it was plugged in and connected to the power. Such a simple design tweak that made things so much better. Blew my mind.
posted by lollusc at 5:20 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I didn't realize I had a constant low level anxiety until the week I got off the Nuvaring. Birth control can cause effects that creep up so gradually.
posted by heatherann at 5:32 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

Starting to eat in a more low carb way was a revelation for me. First of all, the disappearance of the constant need to be eating something, especially something sugary. I remember thinking, wow, is this the way normal people feel, without constant cravings? Secondly, I'd had a problem with gas for as long as I could remember and had more or less unconsciously accepted it. Removed starches and sugars from my diet made the bloatedness (and bouts of flatulence) I'd been experiencing disappear overnight. Finally I had had little dark patches of skin on my elbows, knees and butt -- I now that that was probably acanthosis nigricans, a symptom of insulin resistance. They went away after a few months of eliminating starches and sugars from my diet.
posted by peacheater at 5:48 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

This is kind of a design thing, but for years I put up with the slight irritation of sometimes forgetting to plug in the toaster or kettle before switching it on (or plugging it in and not turning it on at the wall)

Why would your toaster not be plugged in all the time?
posted by Netzapper at 5:59 AM on November 24, 2010

Along the lines of heatherann's experience, when I stopped taking hormonal birth control last year, I realized that the general malaise I'd had for the last 20 years was gone. It's very strange to me now that I thought that being tired all the time and vaguely depressed was normal.
posted by dogmom at 6:08 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

When I was a kid I drank a lot of milk like most American kids. I also got stomach aches very very often. It took me until I was in my mid-twenties to put the two together.
posted by mareli at 6:17 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Why would your toaster not be plugged in all the time?

Space constraints, I assume, due to countertop space and/or available outlets. My toaster stays in my cupboard when unused for this reason.
posted by calcetina at 6:23 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Regular exercise. I am now less clumsy than I used to be. Plus, a of of the little aches and pains I used have, have subsided.
(And Nthing glasses. OMG THE TREES HAVE LEAVES!!!)
posted by pointystick at 6:37 AM on November 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

Allergies. I hadn't realized I was sneezing for a reason, and once I mentioned it to a doctor and he put me on Claritin (pre-OTC days), and it blew me away how much different my life became.

I had pollen allergies, which I knew what they were were because they were seasonal. But I didn't realize I was allergic to cat hair until I moved out of the apartment I was living in which came with a roommate that had a cat.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:39 AM on November 24, 2010

Sleeping! I had been waking up 2-3 times a night since high school. I had no idea how negative of an effect this was having on me until I started swimming 2-3 times a week, which wore me out to the point that I would fall asleep when my head hit the pillow and wake up eight hours later. It was a revelation.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 7:06 AM on November 24, 2010

Low thyroid. Over several years I had become depressed, had no energy, was cold all the time. I didn't notice it, but my hair had started falling out. Got a new job, had a job physical and the PA told me I had a nodule on my thyroid, and asked me if I knew that. I was so stupid I didn't even know where my thyroid was, it could have been in my ass for all I knew, but he told me to go to my regular doctor and have it checked.

So I did. I was seriously hypothyroid, and got the medicine, took it. It blew me away the change I felt. It was like moving from black and white to color. I was really ecstatic for a while. And actually I still am very happy about it. I am not depressed, have energy, my hair grew back, life is good.
posted by chocolatetiara at 7:11 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Depression is definitely one big one. Especially the types with less severe symptoms- if one has all the hallmarks of major depressive disorder, it's hard to mistake. But the subtle effects of the atypical kinds, or dysthemia, build up very slowly. And like an addiction, the disease tries to convince you that it's normal. (Actually, this is true of a lot of disorders and syndromes.)

Automotive troubles are another one. (This is why pilots have checklists, because it is easier to notice a deviation from normal than a deviation from the last time.)

Computers suffer the opposite- we can often think a computer is slower, just because we get so used to its speed that we start anticipating its reactions and those moments feel like slowness.


Why would your toaster not be plugged in all the time?

In addition, it's just the culture in some families. It starts with a "oh my god, unplug everything or it will catch fire" kind of person. After a couple of generations, everyone is just an unplugger with no idea why this isn't normal.

wearing contacts too much.

That shouldn't happen. Modern contact lens materials are oxygen permeable. More likely is that you were allergic to something in the lens care regime, or the lenses weren't fitted properly. They have different sizes and roundnesses.

I, for example, am sensitive to the stuff they pack fresh lenses in. Have to rinse it off or my eyes drives me nuts all day.

Also, the kinds of soap you use makes a difference. If you use a moisturizing or antibacterial soap, that leaves a residue on your fingers, which you transfer to your lenses when you put them in. Even the fuzz from a towel can wreak havoc.

(I had the same problem.)
posted by gjc at 7:16 AM on November 24, 2010

I was suffering from what I thought were sinus headaches. Decongestants didn't seem to do anything (other than get my name on a government list somewhere for too many purchases of pseudoephedrine) and Advil had no effect whatsoever. I went to an ENT and they couldn't find anything wrong. After sending me for a scan of my head we were discussing what our next steps were. I opened my mouth for yet another exam and my jaw popped, loudly. It wasn't sinus problems, it was TMJ.

She sent me to my dentist, who fitted me for a mouth guard to where when I sleep to cut down on grinding my teeth. Within days, I was feeling better. My jaw still pops, but the pain in my face is gone.
posted by tommasz at 7:27 AM on November 24, 2010

Getting a bra fitted. I wondered why my chest bounced when other people's didn't, but the bra looked OK, and when I tried a few on that size seemed to do fine. Then I learned a) people don't buy bras like clothing, ie. trying on a few and picking the one that kind of looks best b) I was three cupsizes bigger than I thought I was. No discomfort, better shape, better-looking mammaries.

Also, being a packrat. For years I thought some people had a lot of stuff, and some people did not, and I was in the former category. Getting rid of physical baggage has made a difference.

Also, feeling crappy about my clothes until a colleague saw me in a swimming costume and told me that he thought I was much bigger than I was - 'you tend to squeeze into T-shirts too tight and wear baggy jeans and neither works.' I thought about it and he was right. I've had a big cull of tops and switched them for longer, more grown-up garments and I feel a lot better.

Being diagnosed with bipolar II after years of being thought 'merely' mild depressive. For years I had no idea why the tablets weren't working and why at certain times of the year I'd get incredibly depressed for no reason. After being given the diagnosis and the right medication, things just clicked into place, and it wasn't my fault or my weakness anymore.
posted by mippy at 7:47 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Over the past few years, the lock on my front door had become more and more difficult to deal with; I'd eventually managed to get into this habit of shaking/wriggling my key so that I (and only I) could lock the door.

Then one day I put a few drops of 3 in 1 oil in it, and now it slides in and out like butter.
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:09 AM on November 24, 2010

My marriage. Obviously it was bad enough for me to leave but I didn't realize that it was so bad and in so many ways. Actually I wasn't even 100% sure when I left that that was what was wrong. Five years later I can still feel the relief (it was a 25 year relationship).
posted by sianifach at 8:24 AM on November 24, 2010

The manual shift in my old car was (apprently) getting progressively tougher to shift, but it happened so gradually that I didn't notice. The mechanic who did the yearly service on the car noticed, though.

Sticking around in a crappy job and getting unhappier and unhappier. The day I left was a revelation.

Trying to fix things around the house without having the right tools. Sure, you can get the job done, but Holy Crap, what a difference when you have the proper tools to do the job!!

Getting a mechanical toothbrush after years of frigging around with the old-fashioned kind. I went from getting repeated lectures from my dentist to clean bills of health.
posted by LN at 8:28 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wore contacts for 10 years before anybody ever mentioned that there was an alternative to multi-purpose solution. I got switched to a hydrogen peroxide system when I had a problem, and found out that it wasn't "normal" to be able to tell my contacts were out because my eyeballs/eyelids felt kind of rough or scratchy. Now they feel like nothing all the time and it's amaaazing.
posted by zizania at 8:32 AM on November 24, 2010

I had no idea that I was chronically dehydrated until I regularly started drinking lots of water. My energy level and my mood increased dramatically. I can definitely tell when I'm starting to get dehydrated again because I get really lethargic and grumpy.
posted by calcetina at 8:39 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

I thought my level of period pain was normal and that all other menstruating women on the planet were better at managing the pain than me. Seventeen years of it until I got a diagnosis of very severe endometriosis after a laparoscopy to see why I wasn't getting pregnant.
posted by honey-barbara at 8:57 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I found out I was lactose intolerant totally by accident when camping and away from dairy products for a week. Young me just assumed constant gas pain and cramps was just what happens to everyone.
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I didn't realize that I had earwax (ugh!) building up until I couldn't hear out of my left ear. Went to the doc, got everything cleared out (ugh!!). When I sat down in my car to leave the parking lot, I grabbed at my seat belt to put it on. As I did, I heard a click that sounded like the hammer of a gun clicking. I turned to my left to discover that my seat belt clicked from the shoulder harness...I had just never heard it before. I was pretty unnerved and embarrassed.
posted by zerobyproxy at 9:02 AM on November 24, 2010 [4 favorites]

My nose got gradually hyper-sensitive to dust, etc, about ten years ago. After a few years of gradual change, waking up with a runny nose and sneezing four times in a row seemed completely normal, and I actually had to ask a friend if it was. (Then, I spent a few years thinking it was due to dust mite allergy, which turned out to be false. Finally, I got some sort of nasal spray that fixed it).
posted by martinrebas at 9:28 AM on November 24, 2010

Fructose intolerance. When high fructose corn syrup was introduced into the American food system, I started getting severe gastrointestinal distress* and hypoglycemia after eating just about anything. (I was still young and didn't know how to cook and relied on processed/pre-made stuff a lot.)

After 10 years of doctors being totally baffled by my symptoms, one doc finally hit on it and told me to cut all sugars - yup, even fruit - from my diet. Within three-days I was symptom-free and able to lead a normal life again.

*As in, could not leave the house for days at a time. As in, totally disrupted my life.
posted by chez shoes at 9:29 AM on November 24, 2010

High blood pressure. I went to the doctor with a batch of low-level symptoms like a headache that never quite left, drowsiness, and lethargy. I left with a prescription for lisinopril. I thought it was related to the migraines I've gotten since I was a kid; turns out it was a lot more serious than that.
posted by catlet at 9:52 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Every year my family went to the coast for school holidays and every year there were red bites all over my legs and sometimes I saw odd bugs around my bed. I had no idea they were bed bugs until I read about them as an adult - ick, ew and argh!
posted by meepmeow at 10:03 AM on November 24, 2010

As I explain more here, I had no idea I am basically lactose intolerant. Celiacs and its many mysterious symptoms are even worse for people who don't know they have it.
posted by slidell at 10:59 AM on November 24, 2010

I'm having trouble phrasing this to fit the problem-solution format. I guess because it's not one specific problem, but understanding modern feminism (as a male) snuck up on me in this way.
posted by cmoj at 11:23 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also because it's not "fixed."
posted by cmoj at 11:24 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

After scratching my itchy scalp for probably a year or two, my dermatologist finally recommended dandruff shampoo. That was a real eye opener.

Finally realized that my problems with breathing while working out where not normal. I now take an inhaler before each workout and my panting is definitely down somewhat. Running is still the most challenging activity for me. I'd been laboring at breathing during workouts for about 20 years before it was pointed out to me that it wasn't normal.
posted by rglass at 12:04 PM on November 24, 2010

Switching from using steak knives (cheap knockoffs) and packaged knives (like the ones that come with forks, spoons etc.) to prepare meals, and moving to a proper 8" chromium "damascus"-style steel knife w/ sharpening rod.

I have never been so shocked at how much smoother food prep is with a proper knife.
posted by Khazk at 12:11 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Iron deficiency anemia. I did not realize just how fatigued and run-down I had been feeling until after beginning supplementation, when I suddenly had more energy and pep.
posted by fancyoats at 1:03 PM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

posted by The corpse in the library at 3:49 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding zerobyproxy's experience with earwax build-up. Some people build up earwax more than others and working in a call center or just being on the phone most of the day can exacerbate the problem. I go annually now, but the first time the doc suctioned out the earwax, like zerobyproxy, I was almost alarmed at the loud unfamiliar totally normal sounds around me. I felt like I could hear my hair grow! I was the Bionic Woman for a few days....nahnahnahnahnahhhh...
Amazing. An ear-opening experience.
posted by Jezebella at 4:41 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Headaches after riding my bike in the desert heat were solved by drinking water + electrolytes. Just water doesn't work for me. It took a bike tour through the midsummer heat of Arizona for me to figure that one out.
posted by aniola at 6:12 PM on November 24, 2010

(Actually, that bike tour was when I figured out that electrolytes help water be thirst-quenching. It was a couple years later when I figured out about the headache thing. Both were still that aha-problem-solved moment.)
posted by aniola at 6:15 PM on November 24, 2010

Low sex-drive due to birth control. I went on the pill at 18 and for the next eight years, thought I just wasn't very interested in sex - somehow that seemed normal. Within a week of going off the pill, it was a whole new world!
posted by jenmakes at 6:43 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seborrhoeic dermatitis. I thought I just was scratching around my nose and ears and hairline because of the cold winter wind or because I was using the wrong moisturizer or because who knows. I put up with it for nearly 10 years (d'oh) before I went to a dermatologist who diagnosed me. Man, it's nice to not have to deal with that anymore!
posted by pinetree at 7:50 PM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

After being diagnosed with hyperglycaemia I cut back on the refined carbohydrates in an effort to avoid eating my way into full blown diabetes. Far as I'm concerned you can take the carbs from my cold dead hands so its not anywhere near being a Ketogenic diet, just eating substantially less of the refined stuff. It turned out they played a huge role in the chronic daily headache I had that lasted more than 10 years and, the chronic migraines I get.

And, ditto on iron deficiency anaemia, after being on the pills for awhile I had so much energy I didn't know what to do with it all.
posted by squeak at 8:12 PM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

frequently having mini "blackouts" when I stood up too fast were normal

Wait... It's not? I don't actually faint, but I get that all the time and thought it was totally normal. Pretty sure my blood pressure is normal, but maybe I should get it checked again...
posted by Sara C. at 10:19 PM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

SaraC, this happens to me as well. And while crossing the road. I was told by my GP just to put my head between my legs when it happens, which wasn't very helpful.
posted by mippy at 3:37 AM on November 25, 2010

Taking your significant other for granted.

- The problem sneaks up on you gradually so it never crosses your conscious threshold (like the proverbial frog in boiling water).


- The problem is perceptible, but only in a vague, hard-to-pinpoint way. For example, for a while my apartment felt vaguely uncomfortable, but I never thought to check the humidity level (which turned out to be double what it should be).


- You notice the problem, but assume everyone else has it equally severely, so you tolerate it.

Yes again.
posted by Acey at 4:54 AM on November 25, 2010

Sexual repression and feminist discontent growing up. Never knew exactly what it was that was emotionally stunting me. Got out of the shame and religious guilt cycle and can finally breathe, and I was very surprised to discover it affects all parts of my life and mood and disposition, not just in the bedroom. A gay friend of mine alluded to this a few times in passing, how sexual repression can fuck you up in ways you don't expect--it can affect how well you can focus and excel at your job, for example, or how you relate emotionally to people non-sexually too.
posted by ifjuly at 7:47 AM on November 25, 2010

And in the vein of the Vitamin D thing, Seasonal Affective Disorder too--I didn't make the connection until way too late (mental health problems, diagnosable) that come November to March I become full of a sense of hopelessness. Also, moving away from a place where it is dark and rainy and overcast 90% of the time made a huge difference in my emotional well-being. Once I was conscious and mindful of this, I was able to nip it in the bud and make a point to remind myself every fall.
posted by ifjuly at 10:09 AM on November 25, 2010

Why would your toaster not be plugged in all the time?

Consumer Reports recommends that you unplug your small appliances (such as toasters) because they can sometimes turn themselves on and cause a fire. I didn't know that until I worked there and did a survey on safety behaviors a couple of years ago and that happened to be one on the list. Since then, I always unplug my toaster when I'm not using it. Perhaps a little paranoid, but as they say, better safe than sorry.
posted by Fuego at 6:22 PM on November 25, 2010

Anxiety and depression, like others said, is one of those things that gets worse and worse before you realize something is wrong. When I started talking to a therapist about my shit and started taking an SSRI, I realized that leaving the house did not have to be a 30 to 40 minute ordeal, vomiting before entering unfamiliar social situations wasn't normal and the ongoing cacophony in my brain was neither healthy nor productive. I also saw that I was, in fact, a decent, lovable person. I started taking better care of myself (eating better, exercising) as a result.

There are other things, sure, but figuring out the source of my anxiety and resulting depression and how to deal with both of them has made my life about ten million times better; it had a total trickle down effect. I had no idea how paralyzed I was. Granted, it's an ongoing process to maintain but it is worth it.
posted by godshomemovies at 7:32 PM on November 25, 2010

My muffler. I drove alone all the time with the radio on. It wasn't until I gave someone else a ride that I realized that the radio was turned up almost all the way and muffler had a hole in it.
posted by mimo at 11:08 AM on November 26, 2010

Mineral build up on a shower head. We just cleaned ours on speculation that it needed it. The water jets were needle-sharp and painful on our private parts.
After soaking in vinegar to remove the mineral build up, the jet holes opened back up and provided the pleasant gentle rain effect that the shower head had when we first installed it.
posted by No Shmoobles at 7:54 AM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

« Older evaluating online payroll services   |   Please help a British guy celebrate Thanksgiving... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.