Convo With Myself, A (Changeable) Libra

I’m the first one to admit that I have often overlooked that I have options in life because I have been crippled with nervousness or anxiety. (Well, sometimes I have but not always.) Just recently, out of nowhere, the thought that I DO have a choice popped into my head.

(Apparently, this new thought has happened many times before) And, of course, I have written about this choice again and again.(Ad nauseum.)  I will try over and over until I get it right.(It’s not looking too good.)

It’s the toughest lesson for me to learn.( Really? I hadn’t picked up on that yet?)  I know it in a cerebral way it’s just not reaching my body.( oh please, what utter garbage, it hasn’t reached anything, anytime, anywhere.) Let’s face it, take the damn healthy drug.(Was there ever another option that worked?)

This may not be shocking to many but for me, it was an awakening.( yes, again for the umpteenth time.) Circumstances will change that we will have NO control over, that’s a given. How you look at those changes( I could seriously slap myself)

and how you react are things you can (hopefully) control. (slapping harder.)

After endless years of worrying, obsessively worrying, about the future past or present  it came to me in one clear moment,( I really doubt my sanity sometimes) out of the blue, (again) when I was not even thinking about it, that I can choose my reaction (sometimes, probably while medicated) how I look at my reactions given the same situation.

It’s true, I can choose to make something a tragedy or an opportunity, deal with it,  get hysterical or just let it sit for a while. (an amazing amount of bulls–t right here.)

I think meditation (last time I tried I could only do two minutes before I got antsy) and yoga ( during the class) and being aware of my breath has helped me, I try, (emphasis on TRY)  before I panic, to take a few, long, deep breaths. Inhaling slowly, ( now THAT really would relax me, oh just kidding) settling my brain, forcing it to neutral even if it is only for one minute has helped me (this part is true).

Believe me, I’m not saying it will never happen again,( ha, ha, ha) I may slip back into my old sloppy, slovenly ways sometime ( now) when I am deeply overwhelmed (as in half an hour ago) but at least now I know I have the capacity to make a choice, (once in a while) that it is up to me. I am not a victim, I am in charge of my life. (Yes, I should definitely be in charge, and NOT a victim -nice try) A trait known to many but unknown to the same amount of people, the worriers of the world, the anxious, the timid, the frightened.( I’m here, in the left hand corner with my peeps.) I can change my reactions or my ability to perceive the news( As if…) It’s not always easy, I’m the first one to agree with that but we do have potential to try. (Yes, we do have the potential …)

I take a class once a week called”chair yoga” which I absolutely love. It keeps me centered, it gives my body some exercise and gives me something to look forward to every week. Picture something relaxing to you if you need an image, anything that you think is relaxing or beautiful is perfect. It can be of your newborn baby, cheese cake with luscious strawberries on top, flowers, the ocean, anything you love that is peaceful and that brings you happiness:

English: A slice of Strawberry Cheesecake from...

Trust me, if I can do it, ANYBODY can…and

don’t judge me or anybody else…we are in this together.

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Fibro Frights And Fatal Fantasies

 

anxiety

Image by FlickrJunkie via Flickr

 

I messed up and didn’t realize that the PFAM’s ( Patients For A Moment) blog carnival deadline was by midnight tonight. The subject was fear. I’m wondering if deep inside I just didn’t feel up to writing, competing, finishing or if I was dissassocating myself from the project. I was going to talk about the web of anxiety and how it feels when it starts to swell in my stomach. It always starts in my stomach beginning with a slight twinge, quickly advancing to panic and anxiety. My arms and legs feel tingly and somehow not connected to my body, I am alternately hot and cold or both together.

The first time that queasy sensation started was the summer before my freshmen year at college.  I was eating dinner with my family in a fancy Italian restaurant in Queens, NY.  I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t speak, it was the first time I had ever felt anxious and I remember calling it “cold dread.” How could I explain this new, horrible feeling when I had never experienced it before? How do you name something you do not know?

Those fearful sensations in my body became like a close cousin to me. We lived as if we were conjoined; I could not separate reality from frightful fantasies. It was something that I have learned to live with and deal with.  I started with a tiny germ of truth and blew it up out of proportion. There was no stopping my obsessive worrying, nothing helped: warm milk, hot baths, reading a book, distraction.  I remember a time when I was sitting in the trolley in Boston and thought what I had whispered to my friend was overheard by someone else and I became overwhelmed and frightened. What if? What if? It became a wakeful nightmare for me.  I did a lot of catastrophizing back then and even now, once in a while, it still tries to creep into my brain. I need to forcefully push it away, as if an intruder was about to enter and I had to slam the door hard, with brute force.  Sometimes that is enough, sometimes it isn’t.

My cousin’s stomach ache could be pancreatic cancer,  my sister’s low throaty voice could mean she was manic, my narrow-angled glaucoma could make me blind in a second.  I worked with a hot-headed, explosive employee that I thought, for sure, would bring a gun to a grievance meeting and shoot us all. I remember strategically seating myself closest to the door, just in case. I lived in a world of tragedy, of horrendous outcomes, death, madness, cancer, stroke, coma, terrorist attacks, murder, mayhem and more. “Health and welfare” is what I worry about as I tried to succinctly wrap it up like an adorned Christmas present, perfect silver wrapping with a tight red bow.

The truth of the matter is that now we DO live in a fearful world and something COULD happen.  Fear perpetuates fear and even while  I am writing this down I feel the first fingers of anxiety like a gray mouse with darting eyes. I take deep cleansing breathes. I ask myself questions: “what are the odds of that happening?” The media doesn’t help: “Don’t go to public places when you are traveling in Europe” What? Of course we would go to public  places if we were in Europe. Is too much information just too much?  I refuse to watch the news on TV before I go to sleep.  The only thing we can do is try to push the worry aside and live as normally as we can; even if it takes enormous strength and effort. Carpe Diem as they said at Boston College where I worked: Seize The Day, as best as you can.