Could it be Magic? (Carry on Tuesday)

Happiness

Happiness (Photo credit: baejaar)

An Easier Life

Nobody ever said life was going to be easy. In our young innocence we just assume it is because we know no different; our families have protected us from life’s troubles. That, my dear, can only last a short time, you do know that right?

It’s been a rough couple of months, actually it’s been rough for a long time now. As we grow older we look back on our lives, I do not envy the youth of today. No, I really don’t. Growing older does not have many perks. We all handle it differently. There are cheery and optimistic people with me in the nursing home and some say clichés like “You’re as young as you feel.” Frankly I think that’s a crock…”

There are people like me who are over sensitive to other people’s suffering and pain. I feel other people’s pain, it becomes a part of me, I’ve been that way since I’ve been a child, I can’t undo who I am or try not to care. It doesn’t work. I sincerely wish it would. It would cause me so much less pain. I don’t blame anyone but myself but I always thought caring about others was a good thing, no? Well, not for me, you see.

I’ve accepted, after many years, that people are very different, though growing up I thought everyone felt the way I did so when caring wasn’t reciprocated, I was often hurt. As a child how would you know that all people act differently?  Who else could I learn from if not from myself? Life changed that, many years later in my life, not quickly enough but eventually I learned and adjusted, but it never felt natural to me.You deal with whatever happens to you and sometimes you still deflate like a withering balloon starting from a room’s happy ceiling and twirling slower and slower until all the life that has been kept it in the balloon deflates and now it’s just a tiny lump of pink  lying embarrassingly at your feet, defeated and dead.

Many things have happened in the world lately, things that I thought I would never see in my older years. Things I didn’t want to see: the horror of September 11th, the killing of children and adults in Newtowne, Connecticut and this week, the joyful runners of the Boston Marathon and onlookers killed senselessly. I spent almost half of my life in Boston, the good years, the young, innocent years when Hank and I got married. There was a joy known only to newlyweds, many more days clothed in bright yellow happiness than the darkness of fear. There was nothing to worry about back then; could it have been just magic? Maybe, it was the utter happiness, cloud of love and youth, having no responsibilities and living in a simpler, easier time.

There were no bomb threats or terrorist attacks back then, now our children and grandchildren live in constant fear and uncertainty. I’m glad Hank isn’t alive to see all of this.  The Boston Marathon this past week put people back, straight back to 9/11, this terror spares no one, no place, no time. How hard, how scary it to live actively in today’s world. I fear for my children and my grandchildren. I have lived a long, life, and for that alone, I am happy to be old. If I died tonight there would be no regrets.  Sitting in my room, rocking in my chair, smiling at the pretty white flowers, visits from my children and grandchildren, sleeping and a good meal is all I ask for and all that I want. I don’t envy the youth of today, in fact, I feel quite sad for them.

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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.