Feeling sad.

I have to put some of my feelings out the door before bed. Maybe it will help me sleep.

Maybe.

My cousin was shot and killed last night. Someone reported a single vehicle car crash within an apartment complex. When police arrived they found a woman in the vehicle with a gunshot wound. She later died at the hospital. They don’t know who did it or why as of yet. Knowing my cousin it was likely drug related. Also she was “bat-shit crazy” as it were. I do not doubt she went out and did something crazy to get herself killed. Not to defame the dead but it’s just being honest at this point. My heart goes out to her mother most of all. No parent should ever have to bury their child.

I find myself struggling with this whole thing. I had not spoke to Mary in years. She actually was the one who broke contact with me. We never reconciled. I feel terribly guilty about that. But at the same time maybe I’m glad. It would be such a greater devastation to have been close with her and then be left to mourn her death.

Is it bad for me to feel somewhat glad or relieved that we drifted apart so that I would feel less pain at this point? I find myself feeling this way more frequently about people. I don’t want to feel the pain of loss so I try not to get so close that it would really put me down if someone dies.

Sigh…… I don’t know. Tomorrow I will probably come in here and really blog the hell out of my feelings.

I get by with a little help from my friends.

The usual. Panic. Anxiety. Worry. It snowballs into a massive and unimaginable beast in just a short time. One thought leads to a worry avalanche. “What if I have this disease or that disorder?” I blogged on the Bell’s Palsy I had back in May of 2011 some time ago. The worry of a relapse plagues me often as well as the worry that it could be something more. I saw a neurologist back when the Bell’s hit and he felt that it was simply Bell’s Palsy and nothing more. Yet I choose to worry.

Choose. To. Worry.

Worry is a choice.

 

Yesterday an online friend pointed out that “It either will or won’t happen regardless of  how much you worry.” That may not be an exact quote, but you still get the idea. She made that comment and it set my mind going back to better places. No matter if or how much we worry what ever we worry about either will or won’t happen. So then why on earth would worry be the choice? If anything the stress of worry can make anyone sick, or at least make us believe that we are. Yet we choose this. Worry seems to be almost an indulgence. Why is worry so irresistible? Why isn’t feeling happy, peaceful and at ease just as irresistible  as debilitating, mind numbing, body wrecking worry, fear and panic? If we can fantasize and wallow in worry and what terrible things could happen then why not put that energy into fantasizing about all the wonderful things that could happen?  The bills will all be paid and money will no longer be a point of stress, our health will be perfect, our relationships free of conflict.

NOPE.

We just HAVE to worry about a cheating spouse, being poor and broke beyond repair, being sick and with one foot in the grave. Gotta get that gray hair right? Let’s worry until we end up with stress related illness. Because THAT must be so much better than health and happiness. I stand in awe of human beings. We are the most self destructive creatures this planet has to offer. And we CHOOSE to be that way. Even people who seem positive and life affirming are somehow destroying themselves.

I have been known to meditate and think positive thoughts. I used to make this a habit. It didn’t last for some reason. Somewhere along my way I fell back into these old habits of worry and panic. Perhaps it was laziness. Maybe I was complacent. Feeling better can create complacency.  I began meditation as a means of getting my panic and anxiety under control. I feel I accomplished that but I did not work to hold on to that change. Change is worked toward and we forget that we must work to maintain the change.

I find it funny how my source of worry and panic has changed over time. When I was in my teens I worried about natural disasters. If a tornado watch or thunderstorm watch came across the news it was a crazy time for me. I would experience major anxiety. I would pace the floor and watch the clock until the watch or warning had passed, keep an eagle eye on the weather map or news broadcast. I could not rest until the idea that there was a danger had passed. I would worry more about external events rather than my health or something happening to me physically. I also had panic attacks unrelated to any external source. Just random, out of the blue panic. Thinking I was about to die, my mouth so dry my lips were stuck to my teeth, shortness of breath, shaking, sweating etc….  Now my anxiety, worry and panic are always health related. The weather does not phase me, the idea of an outbreak of disease does not worry me. I worry about developing some illness or disease. Heart disease or impending heart failure one day and worry about some debilitating neurological failure the next. A worry about going blind for the month of October, a worry about a brain tumor in December. Little things trigger these worry marathons. Even with a clean medical report I still keep up the worry. It can be very difficult not to allow a little thought to snowball into something horrid. It is a discipline because once a little trickle of worry comes down it’s easy to forget all resolve to conquer this beast. All wisdom and logic disappear.

It is time to change this. Because I NEED to and because I CAN. I must now CHOOSE not to worry. Not to panic. I have to CHOOSE to be peaceful and happy and healthy. This is my choice.

Palsy face. The gift that keeps on giving.

It’s been several years since my round with Bell’s Palsy. I did not make a full recovery. My hearing was permanently affected. I now have hyperacusis. My face does strange things sometimes. Some movements are a little off, my right eye looks considerably smaller than my left.

It isn’t without it’s mind games also. Now every twitch, twinge, tingle or pain or ache sends me into a worry spiral. Is it the return of the palsy? Then I do it to myself. I think it hurts, twitches etc… therefore it hurts, twitches etc… It never turns into anything because at some point I forget top obsess over it and it fades from my attention.

I have spent the past few days in this spiral. I know how it has always turned out, but yet I still worry I won’t be so blessed this go round. Maybe that twinge or ache will be the return of the palsy. I can’t eat, I stay preoccupied, I feel anxious and edgy, snappish and rude. I feel like my search for people with this same worry spiral are rare. I would love to find a few people who go through this also. It would be very therapeutic to discuss this and support others in the process. The search goes on….

Christmas day panic.

Not the kind you recall when faced with the pressures of buying and baking and cooking and cleaning and running around and spreading yourself thinner than poor man’s butter. I mean the “Other” kind. The panic attack that you didn’t see coming. The one that stems from some thought that you would never dream would snowball into a 30 minute panic for no good reason.

I don’t have panic attacks like I used to, thank God. But I still have them sometimes. My husband took the kids to park for a post Christmas dinner playtime. I was here alone and there it was. Staring me in the face like snarling bear.

These attacks always leave me feeling spent. Spent and lonely, and needy. Like I need to emotionally close with someone so I don’t feel so alone yet there is no one who can/will provide that type of closeness on a regular day let alone when I really need it. So I call the TBN prayer line. I do this nearly every time I have a panic attack. I feel that even though it is a stranger on the phone praying with me that just the voice of that person is soothing. The fact that they are there, even though they may rather not be. Tonight I am certain that was the case. I called and a fairly agitated woman was there. She did not have the usual gentle and friendly voice I usually hear. It was cold and sounded like the voice of a woman who likely had been forced to work on Christmas. Perhaps she was thinking of spending time with her family and there she was stuck praying for strangers. I tried ending the call when it became apparent that she was not happy to be answering the phone.

Normally they answer the phone with something like, “Thank you for calling TBN how may I pray for you today?” They ask your name, state, what channel you watch TBN on. Then they pray with what feels like sincerity and love.

Not. To. Day.

She sounded flat and impatient. “TBN…”

Me: “Ummmm…. is this the prayer line……?”

Her: (short and curt and a heavy sigh) “Yes. How can I help you.”

Me: “Well I’m calling for prayer….”

Her: (SIGH) OKAY. What for.

Me: (sensing her irritation and feeling like crap for bugging her while she was at work) “Oh… you know never mind. I think I’ll just hang up now.”

Her: “No! No, just tell me what ever it is.”

I tell her about the panic. she asks what caused it. I say I don’t know sometimes it just hits me. She insists there HAS to be a reason it doesn’t just happen for no reason. I am left stammering and stuttering trying to search for an explanation for my Christmas day panic that is now her problem. Then she laughed at me. And finally proceeded with about the most half hearted and irritated sounding prayer I have ever heard in all my days. As she prayed she said something about “what ever evil was touching me…. maybe witchcraft…” I nearly died. I really was so appalled at the prayer itself I could barely believe what I was hearing. At the end of the prayer there was no “Amen” or “Thank you Jesus” or anything. Just silence. It was like she decided she was done and saw no need to let me know. I remained silent for about 30 seconds and finally broke the quiet with an “Amen” of my own. She said,”Thank you for calling TBN and have a blessed evening.” I thanked her for working on Christmas and wished her a Merry Christmas and a blessed evening also. She hung up with nothing else.

I never have done this in history but when I got off the phone with the TBN prayer gal I prayed for her. Thoroughly.

It was very obvious she was in a state of agitation and I really felt like she must have been suffering in some way. Was it a headache? Was she sick? Tired? PMSing? Going through cancer? A divorce? Financial problems? It has to be something, And in addition to whatever it may be she is there hearing the fear, worry, concern etc.. of everyone on the other end of the phone. I can imagine it is difficult to keep a smiling voice at some point. It’s easy to forget that people who have the job of helping others, no matter how, are human also and maybe they need help sometimes. They are humans who also feel fear, anger, sadness, worry, concern, stress, anxiety, panic, confusion, hopelessness. Maybe she was feeling some combination of very human emotions and didn’t even realize how she came across. Maybe she realized afterward and felt really bad about it. And yeah. She should leave her baggage at the door when she comes to work, the fact that she didn’t or couldn’t speaks volumes. It must have been pretty bad that she not only brought it to work but allowed it to leak out into prayer with people.

Whatever it was or is I sincerely hope and pray for that woman. I don’t think she ever even gave me her name now that I think about it. So I don’t know her name but God certainly does. He also knows her need. I think I will continue lifting her up in prayer for a few days. I feel that she needs that. Peace and love be with her always.

Anxiety and panic. Friend or foe?

I will never EVER forget my first all out panic attack. You know the one where you suddenly and inexplicably are aware that you are about to just drop dead. The dry mouth, racing heart, shortness of breath, mental torture. I mean, I had always been anxious, but never had experienced an actual, bonafide panic attack. I was around the age of 16-17 years old. I would have these attacks from that day forward. And I eventually would learn to somewhat control them.

One thing these attacks and constant worry has done for me is make me realize (finally) that they are certainly much ado about nothing. I have used this solid and proven fact time and time again to get myself back on the wagon and sometimes even prevent anxiety and panic.

What about the days where I am swept out into an ocean of fear, worry, anxiety and panic? Days where I have to really reach and struggle to remain bearable to those around me while  inside I feel like I am unraveling faster than I can knit myself back together? Days where I can’t even choke down a bite of food because the anxiety and recurring panic attacks have such a tight grip on me that I can’t begin to wriggle free? These are days which feel like they never end. They leave me searching heart, mind and soul, they leave me searching the internet for reassurance, they leave me searching the Bible and seeking comfort from the Lord.

On these days I feel alone and sad. There is a bit of a need after these attacks, especially the ones that hang around all day. They leave me feeling lonely, rejected, depressed, bitter and spent. They magnify my husbands neglect. I cannot approach that man for a hug because he rejects me and acts as though I am inconveniencing him. I can’t talk to him because he does not care and wears it on his sleeve. There is no comfort to be found in this person who is “supposed to be” the one I can count on above all others. I always wish I had a friend to talk to but why burden people again, who don’t care all that much. How many times I have spent several hours talking a friend out of suicide, or just listening because they needed a friend, been there to loan money, give advice, love, acceptance etc….. ? How many times has any one of these people been all I have been to them when I needed that gift returned? Never. Not once. Ever.

I don’t do things for others because I want to in debt them to me.I sincerely want my friends to be okay, to be happy, to have their needs met, to live and enjoy life and know that no matter what they are not alone in the world. It would be wonderful if I could have someone do that for me, but they are not obligated. It hurts that I am so easily sought out in times of need yet so easily ignored when I am the one doing the seeking. I never confront anyone, I never hold it over their head. I never say, “I always help you so why can’t you help me?” I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to me. I don’t want anyone to feel guilty that I have extended myself to them while they have not done the same for me.But also I feel that in the past when I did have that rare person In whom I tried seeking solace I was shot down. That’s worse than never talking about it at all really. It is better not to try than to be rejected. Always.

So the after panic feelings are just as intense as the panic and there is no slack for days after actually. I walk around feeling spent from the panic and in need of warm hugs, a gentle voice, a kind word, and comfort. Seek and ye shall find they say. I don’t feel as though I can seek, and I fear if I do I shall surely not find. The feelings of desolation, isolation, abandonment, solitude, and hopelessness keep rolling along. I have depression outside and apart from my panic and anxiety also. But those times have a different feel since that cannot be directly attached to any specific event. Not that I have a way of venting about that either…. so I guess that part doesn’t mean much. I have this blog which no one reads….. so there is no danger of being judged here. I have that going for me at the very least…… sigh…..

Meanwhile I have an occasional exchange here on the internet with a person who provides exactly what I need to remember and practice. I love these people because they are out here dropping little tid-bits and  nudging a person toward a better place. Sometimes it’s the people we don’t really know who help us the most and vice versa. Something about the internet …. people are either very highly judgmental or very highly loving and caring in ways they are not toward people in their face-to-face lives. I find that to be true for me at times. I appreciate these kind, helpful, and comforting comments from internet friends. It’s very easy to post from a place where all of your friends are no one you know. You can drop off some small remark about how you feel that day and here come the people you don’t really know offering what they can to lift your up when you feel torn down. Interesting how that goes. How these small exchanges can mean so much and go such a very long way. The fact that people stop and take a moment to wish another well means something. While I may not be pouring my heart out in some short post about feeling panic and anxiety It’s out there anyway. It helps. I hope I can always be a help or nudge people toward feeling better also.

 

Arguing on the internet. Or An apology to my patience.

I often wonder yet I full well know, why do people become their most unbearable selves on the internet? Yes, it is because they may hide behind the veil of a screen and never have to directly take in the feelings and expressions and humanity of the person they are jabbing. But why? Why does the shield that is a screen bring so many to being so bad? If there are people who use this protective technological mask for evil are there any who use it for good? To compliment and lift others up as opposed to knocking them down?

 

Could I become that person? I try not to engage with the hostile and argumentative but I admit to moments of weakness. I have grown stronger in walking away and leaving the person to keep at it in my absence.  This is one of my biggest goals. To just not respond in the first place.

I may have no clue what drives any specific person, but I do know enough about people to know that anyone could be battling anything in life. What person is dealing with a recent medical diagnosis that has them reeling and shaking in their shoes? What person is mourning the loss of a loved one? Who just caught their spouse cheating or found out they were being used and that the trust they placed in someone special had been trampled?  Who grew up the same way I did and is just now learning how to be bearable in the first place? What secret struggles and personal conflicts go on is never known yet we can speculate. Or at least we should. Perhaps that seemingly arrogant and condescending person has something terrible going on underneath. But then again maybe they are just a jerk because it is who they truly are. Does that mean I should accommodate them in a scathing back and forth trying to best them in a game of school yard insults, put downs, and criticism? If I walk away they get satisfaction of having the last word but I also get the satisfaction of having conquered myself. If I stay and argue it only becomes a battle of egos and leaves the door open for others to join the fray.

Why is it so hard to just leave these people to their madness and get on with out allowing them to become a black cloud blocking my sunshine? I don’t care much about being right, or about getting the final word. I find I take issue with someone who seems to jump out at me and scold me when it certainly is not their place. As if the offending person thinks they are an authority over internet strangers and they must put others in check or their day is not complete. We can never change other people, and nothing we say matters once the sun goes down. Yet we argue. As if our words will matter. What ever we say slowly fades as other arguments, issues, and dramas arise. New opportunities for fresh attacks and internet arguments spring up like dandelions in the crack in your dive way. We all know you can’t get rid of dandelions. Not without some sort of poison to kill them with anyway. And even that won’t stop them from popping up elsewhere. You could pave your front yard and they will find their way up through cracks and crevices you didn’t even know were there.

I feel that in addition to apologizing to internet strangers I should apologize to myself. For allowing the madness and hostility to seep in and affect the way I interact with people in general.

 

Looking deeper.

I am trying to unravel the mysteries of me.

What makes me tick? How far have the roots of all my character flaws burrowed?

My intolerance of other people, my superficial view of others, my cynical nature, my need to get rid of people who seem to try and get close to me.

I could name at least 100 flaws.

Funny though, it seems people put things out there at just the right time. Almost as if God himself has instructed the universe to bring certain people and things to help me understand or to bring my attention to what needs work. I find myself seeing and hearing an awful lot which makes me pause and raise an eye brow.

 

How does a person change in the first place. Aside from the obvious “just do it”?  It’s not always easy to “just” change. If we don’t understand ourselves or how we affect others change will certainly not be meaningful or real. I don’t want to “just” change things I say or do, I want to change my mindset, my thoughts, my opinions and feelings. My view of others and situations so that when I speak or act it is true and not simply a superficial effort. I have made this effort a very conscious one lately.

For example, the grocery cashier was having this long conversation with the woman she was ringing up. Going on about the tradition of hiding a pickle decoration in the Christmas tree and who ever finds it gets a special present. This conversation was causing her to take much longer to just ring the person up and move on to the rest of us. Now normally I look at that and roll my eyes, heave a sigh and look around for another register. I wear my impatience like a feather in my hat. My feelings of annoyance like warts on a toad. This day I felt myself coming to that and I chose to look at this conversation and instead of judging and snarling I smiled. I smiled and thought, “That woman sure does look happy talking about this fun thing she just heard of. I hope she enjoys Christmas with her family.” My feelings softened, and my heart grew three sizes that day. I yanked that sled off of the mountainside and rushed back down to Whoville to give back all the presents.

In refraining from a reaction in favor of a response I was able to halt that moment of irritation. It is all these little things that we allow to get under the skin that edge us towards a chronic attitude problem. I am tired of having a chip on my shoulder. I don’t want to be irritated, annoyed or feel like everyone in the world must surely be on a mission to get under my skin or to keep me standing in line as long as possible. If I can take a single instance each day to exercise my best self then surely I will get stronger when it comes to fighting off a bad attitude. This is what I’m striving for at the very least. Surely other people out there are striving for the same?