DAILY REFLECTIONS July 4 IDENTIFYING FEAR: “The chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear…” When I feel uncomfortable, irritated, or depressed, I look for fear. This “evil and corroding thread” is the root of my distress: Fear of failure; fear of others’ opinions; fear of harm, and many other fears. I have found a Higher Power who does not want me to live in fear and, as a result, the experience of my spiritual program is freedom and joy. I am no longer willing to live with the multitude of character defects that characterized my life before today. This is my vehicle to freedom from these defects: I pray for help in identifying the fear underneath the defect, and then I ask God to relieve me of that fear. This method works for me without fail and is one of the great miracles of my life.
Just lately, I’m an emotional basket case. Fearful. I cry at the drop of a hat. In fact, I’m tearing up now. Like terminal PMS, only not the bitchy kind. (There’s that silver lining.) I figure I have emotional fallout from being so sick, like PTSD.
The lingering physical reminders only encourage this PTSD:
My hair is still falling out in bundles. This pile is from this today’s shower. It’s like that every morning, and it falls out all day long. I pick it off my clothes and out of my food. Yesterday, the maid swept up such a huge pile of my hair out of the living room, she brought it in to show me, it was that impressive. Why am I not bald?
Meanwhile, I’m still having to pluck whiskers off my chin, cheeks and boobs. This is just so wrong.
My voice is the pits: cracking, hoarse, squeaky, zero power. I have to admit, I’m discouraged about this. I’m figuring God won’t take away two things at once: my voice and my hair. I’ll give him the hair, but I want to be able to do theatre and sing with the radio and yell at the boys. I know you can’t bargain with God, but I may give it a go. What have I got to lose? Besides, I know he likes me.
I’ve had a persistent, hacking smoker’s cough since I got home, but that is so much better. For awhile, I didn’t want to go anywhere because I coughed all the time, pretty uncontrollably. It’s not a lung thing, it’s a throat thing: The Tickle That Wouldn’t Quit. I live on Hall’s and Vick’s Vapor Rub – that stuff is GREAT! But, the cough is now a fraction of what it was. I went to a theatre event tonight and hardly coughed at all. This is a huge relief.
And lastly, the most disturbing fallout: I’m suffering a loss of confidence in my body’s ability to see me through the next 50 years. I’ve always been ridiculously healthy: we take boatloads of vitamins, eat well. I ran 6 miles a day for years, taught aerobics for years, yoga, bodybuilding, stretch, meditation. I was going to live to a ripe old age, like Granny Boo. But suddenly I’m harboring an irrational fear of getting sick again. God forbid, I should feel anything unusual on the left upper part of my body (the pneumonia was in the left lung) – I totally freak out. It’s downright creepy. Fortunately, it’s starting to piss me off. I hate being at the effect of something.
It’s how I quit smoking. One day, I got completely annoyed that cigarettes and matches ran my life. I couldn’t go anywhere without thinking about whether or not I had both items or the money and means to get them. Argh. What a waste of time.
I know that all this, too, shall pass. I’ve only been out of the hospital a little over 10 weeks. I am happy to be here, content with my lot, love my husband and boys and chickens and dog. Still skinny. Yay. This is just documentation, something for me and Oprah to talk about. She loves this kinda stuff. So, on with the show:
This freak almost-dying thing changed me. “Duh,” you are saying. But it caught me by surprise. It’s not a change I can put my finger on. I don’t act different, talk different, or dress different. I don’t think different, that I can tell. I feel different. Deep down grateful and appreciative. But more than that. It’s like, there’s a layer of energy gone from my person, an anxious layer. A buzz that is quiet now. Not that I’m calm. That’ll happen when I’m 100% dead. Maybe calmer. Even though I have anxiety about my hair and my voice and my loss of confidence, that is momentary, really, items on a list. They aren’t at my core like this new feeling. Sorry I had to almost die, terrify my family and spend all the lunch money to get to it. I guess God thinks I’m really, really stubborn. Wonder where he got that idea?
Everything else is as it was. I’m doing yoga to build my strength, meditating every morning, hanging out with friends, watching movies with Hal. It’s waaaay quiet around here right now: the boys are visiting friends in the states for a month. Hal and I are Alone.
I know what you are thinking: “Woo-hoo!” That’s what everyone thinks when I tell them the boys are away. They all wink and roll their eyes, tilt their heads, shake ’em knowingly. Honestly, people’s minds go right to the gutter. Ok, so maybe there’s a little more of that going on. Who knew old people could still have so much fun naked? Naked, bald and squeaky. Yeah, that paints a pretty picture, eh?
Hi Sally – so glad you are getting better, bit by bit. I had the voice issue after surgery – I finally mentioned it to my doctor after a month! I sure wish I’d said something sooner. He said I had to “rest” it or it could become chronic. Google for more, but basically, *NO* talking or *anything* for at least a month! I frankly couldn’t do it. I did some, but… It helped, but my voice still conks out now and then, and it’s been a year and a half. So, rest it if you can.
Also, you’re smack on about the post X trauma. People so often think they should be “better” after only a few weeks. But really, it takes more than 6 months to recover from even a non-life-threatening experience. Give yourself plenty of time, and plenty of “me” time. And hair will grow back.
Although it *is* amazing how much your self-esteem takes a beating by these “little” things. B-complex and Biotin…
Take is slow and try not to worry too much. You are a good person and goodness is coming your way. Take your vitamins and rest. Let go and make yourself your most important priority. Keep up the good work and it will all come back soon…………..
Sally, the hair fallout is normal after medical trama. Really it is. It is temporary and will grow back. Good to have you no matter what. We love you and are glad your posting.
Later stages of life, for most of us, are mostly about loss and, hopefully, about how to deal with loss. The probability is that the more we have and the longer we live, the more losses we suffer; loss of friends, loss of family, loss of health, and perhaps loss of other possessions. Eventually we suffer the Biggest Loss of all.
In the meantime, it seems to me that the pragmatic thing to do is to adjust, appreciate and do what we can to keep on breathing. I am sure this advice is as obvious to you as it is to me. I write it because doing so reminds me to keep things prioritized. I need constant reminding of this.
Hi Julie – thanks for the words of encouragement. I’m taking 50mg B complex everyday, 800mcg folic acid, 1K B12, 5K Biotin along with everything else. I’m a mega-vit girl. I always feel better when I take my vits. Stop talking… is that possible? Better with the boys gone, but I can’t shut up. Trying…
Thanks, Deb and Ginnee!!!
And thank you for the reminder, James. One of the things I love about blogging and writing is that it is so therapeutic. I discover so much about myself, what’s important, other people AS I write. It’s not like I know stuff before: I just start writing and the pertinent stuff “reveals” itself. Yes: Adjust, Appreciate, Keep Breathing. Very good advice. (And probably a good bumper sticker… I’ll try it out, lol!)
Sally,you might want to have your hormone levels checked.
I’ve been on bio-HRT for years, and have a brand new spit test kit right here! I read that this might be a contributor. Thank you.
Sending you a big, tight, reassuring hug!!!!
Hey, Jen, I can feel it!
As you know you are right about the Post Trauma issue It is like trying to react to an abnormal situation in a normal manner. (or something like that) Your body went through so much you need to give it time to feel good and get back the energy. I have no doubt you will get your mojo back. How is that for a word from the past? As far as losing your hair, been there done that as they say. No easy answer on that but it will grow back!Don’t look! Maybe we can a hair weave at the same time. Just a thought. Please just take care of yourself we expect you to be around for a loooooooong time. So just take it easy.
Thich Nhat Hanh has some great books on meditation and dealing with our ultimate fear; annihilation. May be a good time to revisit The Power of Now as well, I just cant read that book enough and I’ve read a lot of “stuff”.
I suffered a trauma that led to a real healthy bout of severe (cant leave the house, came out of a clear blue sky) panic attacks. Most stuff did not work, docs wanted me on meds(I refused except for some xanax for occasional use when things got mucho bad). Silent meditation, going into the fear head on and really coming to the realization that I had nothing to fear from “thoughts” got me on the path to wellness. It took a few years with a couple of BIG setbacks just when I thought I was good. But I learned so much via the journey and ultimately became a much better human being and I wasn’t so bad to begin with. I spent my early years as a vaisnava monk, so was pretty schooled in the spiritual department(or at least I thought I was.)
It’s really so simple, that’s why we miss it and its all inside us with lots of signposts pointing us in the right direction. Sounds like you are on your way, hope you feel better soon and FDR was right, “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself” and when we understand the empty nature of fear, thoughts we can really live.
(Don’t tell Hal I quoted FDR 🙂
Hi Randi, I am looking forward to the mojo return! Thank you.
Don’t worry, keith, your secret is safe with me! Thanks for the book reminders. I don’t have a copy of the Power of Now – I left it behind in the move, but I will get one here.
Been trying to get through “eat, Pray, Love”, my better half keeps telling me it gets better in “India”…
Boy you should write a book which will turn into a best seller and then a blockbuster film=You’re RICH!!!
Yes, Keith, working on that!!! Wouldn’t that be nice?
I just stumbled on your blog (there are no accidents, right?) and was drawn to your current story and sense of humor about it all. My husband was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s and we’re learning all kinds of lessons about surrendering to the unknown (oh, and giving up the illusion that we can make plans…). I loved your quotations about fear. It’s my daily companion, and I’m trying to learn to live with him, like him or not.
My husband and I are also daydreaming about leaving central Texas for Costa Rica one day, and I’ve enjoying hearing about your mixed feelings for “home” and Costa Rica. Ambivalence I can trust, “hype” and rose-colored glasses I cannot. I’m glad to know that you can love your life there in CR and also have longings for Key West. That’s my usual stance.
You have a good heart. Yes, trauma has happened, but healing is happening. Keep the faith!
Thank you, Nancy. Yes, keeping the faith!!!
Cesar Millan has taught me about facing fears and living in the present with my dogs. Nothing like a near death experience to show you what really matters in life.
Eat, Pray, Love,,,,, we’re living it.
Hi…just stumbled onto your blog from a Yahoo group post.
Enjoyed reading through the posts, but I had to comment on this one.
As a southerner, raised in Georgia and currently living in a yurt in the North Georgia Mountains, where I will die unless I get a wild hair and sell out and move to CR, I am a Lewis Grizzard fan…your improper use of the word “naked” makes that obvious.
According to the Gospel of Lewis Grizzard, R.I.P., naked is when you have no clothes on. Nekkid is when you have no clothes on and have something in mind.
Kids gone for a month? I submit you should have used the term nekkid…and good for y’all…old farts need love too.
Thank you for the correction, Bob. I should definitely have said nekkid!!!