|Home | About | Donate/Volunteer | Contact | Jobs| Early Schizophrenia Screening Test||
A brief entry this morning before I go to PT for my shoulder. I just started a second website featuring my artwork and jewelry, which is now up for donation and sale, and also simply for viewing. If anyone is interested, follow this link (and let me know of any problems.)
I don't have much time to write this morning but I did want to make a few notes about a dilemma, though not much of one since I don't have a great deal of choice in the matter, that presents itself today, a day that is predicted to reach 98° F with a heat index of >105° F.
Joe's mother, Betty, wants to visit Joe today, and so, because she can't get anyone else to drive her and she is at 89 unable to drive herself, J has offered to pick her up and bring her to the hospital, then drive her home after the visit. But she wants me to come with her for the company...J, doing this on a working day, instead of her usual jobs, gets paid for this, mind you, as is only fair, though we are using my car and my gasoline since she is only getting $100 for the entire day and gas would cost $40 for two round trips at a minimum...
Did I forget to tell you that one trip, one way, is an hour and twenty minutes? Aye, there's the rub, because not only does J want me to come with her on the way out, but after I run interference for Joe with his mother (he won't be alone with her, considers her ministrations abusive, when in fact she is 89 and only trying to care for him) then she wants me to make the return journey with her back to Betty's apartment, so she won't have to deal with Betty alone.
Now I have to tell you the one thing about J, whom I otherwise really enjoy and appreciate, I find exhausting is her constant yanging about her health or her sister's health or something that she is thinking about that she obsesses about or that is on her mind that she simply cannot not talk about...If I say I do not want to talk, then she switches on the radio so I can't even read. If I want to sleep- if I am falling asleep against my will (in the front seat of course, since I could never leave her and crawl in the backseat to really sleep) she might tell me to go ahead and get a cat nap, but she'll just go on talking and talking as if I weren't trying desperately not to hear her. Oh, I sound like such a shrew, and really J is very dear and so kind to me. She takes such care to see that I am okay when things aren't going well, and worries about me when I am upset or when, for instance, I had that kidney thing two weeks ago...It's just that I am so upset about this upcoming trip...I really do not mind J's talking usually, she's okay. And when I've had it, I tell her! She's not so dense she doesn't get it. She can't help her voice or the anxiety that propels her constant talking...
But today she gets to rest in the lounge for an hour or so while Betty visits Joe and I run massive interference between the two of them...Not getting any rest or respite myself, not having had ANY since 8 am...THEN I have to get back in the broiling car and drive back, or be driven (I cannot drive farther than 3 miles myself without falling asleep at the wheel) to Betty's apartment an hour and 20 minutes away, listening to J and/or Betty the entire way. Finally, once Betty is dropped off, I will ignore J's desires for me to stay up in front but simply crawl into back and sleep for the drive home, I don't care what she wants...
But I dread the entire day. I dread it as I used to dread simply getting up in the morning. I won't even have any time to eat...I only eat at home mostly, or if necessary a little bit in a restaurant, but usually bringing most of the food home to eat when alone. Today I have to get through till who knows when, in 98° heat, without even a chance to be by myself to recuperate in any fashion. My temper has already been fraying big time these days...
Speaking of which, I dunno why that is. I do know that I have been scream-startling BIG time to lightning, and to light knocks on the door, which has always been a sign of Lyme disease poorly treated. The fact that I have been blowing up at Karen, and even at J this past week bothers me. I feel myself short-fused, and usually I am not (though Karen may disagree, with almost everyone else I am even tempered for the most part, except this past week...). It worries me. Am I in for a flare-up of the Lyme? How would I know? Well, aside from psychiatric symptoms, which seem in check at the moment...I do not like this simmering just beneath the surface, an angry tension that has no basis for it except that it is there. It's a feeling and is its own reason for existing...As Dr O says, The feeling is primary...
Anyhow, I will write again soon, hopefully tonight, to report how things went, but for now I am just venting, trying to quell some anticipatory anxiety, indeed the profound dread I feel about the coming day. THere are few things I fear more than exhaustion, than having to plough through feelings of utter fatigue and sleepiness and un-doneness...and to KNOW that I will feel this way by the end of this afternoon is just too much for me to bear.
But it has to be done. I don't know what else I can do about it. I could ask J to drive me home before she drives Betty home. She was supposed to do that, promised she would last week. But I'd feel so selfish doing so knowing I was adding yet another half hour onto J's day of driving. but it doesn't feel fair that she gets to use MY car, MY gas, get paid to do it, and also get me to accompany her to Betty's and back when it will exhaust me and it is all in a day's work for her. SHe just has no idea how much this is going to cost me...
This past week I spent the whole hour with Dr O talking about my fears concerning global warming, looming social chaos and the environmental catastrophe I felt was soon to overtake all of human civilization. Not only did I rail against our stupidity in overpopulating the earth, despite loud and vociferous warnings (remember calls for ZPG - zero population growth) in the 70s or 80s and our feckless overuse and wasting of earth's resources, including fossil fuels, but I likewise accused her of being unwilling to help me "opt out when the time came."
"And when will that be?" she asked. "Sometime soon?"
"I don't know, I don't know. But it could be within the next few years, the way the world is progressing towards disaster. If the permafrost continues to thaw and the antarctic to melt..."
"What? What do you anticipate will happen?"
"Well, seas will rise, maybe 100, 200 feet. Florida will disappear. All the coastline will be drowned. All of Connecticut will go, certainly the Connecticut valley, which means me. I'm right next to the Connecticut River...and I'm so afraid of drowning. I am afraid of the Big Wave..."
"You've always been afraid of drowning. It is your biggest fear--"
I became tearful at the thought that all of civilization, all those children born in innocence and hope would also perish in what I believed would be a sudden and devastating tidal wave as the Southern ice cap slid into the sea and sea level precipitously and catastrophically rose on the crest of an enormous tsunami...
Well, today I was roundly but gently disabused of this wrong-headed notion. Thank heavens! My good friend, Leila, to whom I also confided my grief for the species as well as my personal fear of death, managed to penetrate the gloom and doom. A Buddhist by temperament and conviction, and longtime meditator, Leila lives with the understanding that everything changes and that nothing is permanent, everything becomes something else and it is all of it good and natural and "the way things are." She has an attitude of acceptance about this that I truly admire but cannot yet share, though I find I depend on her belief to shore me up sometimes...One good thing about Leila as well is that she is a National park ranger and naturalist and self-taught cosmology and physics enthusiast who knows, well, all sorts of things about the paleo-history of the human race that I do not. So she was able to assure me that humans have survived many different climate changes. We may yet endure, she told me, even if all of us do not. Also, and even better for my immediate frame of mind, she reminded me of certain physics principles that contradict my dire predictions of an enormous tsunami wiping out the US coastal populations and indeed coasts around the world.
First of all, the Antarctic ice cap would never abruptly "slip off into the ocean" and even if it did, the ice would float. Floating ice does not displace water and therefore it would not cause sea levels to rise. Only the slow melting of the floating ice cap would do that, which would take a fair amount of time, leaving giving us some warning and a lag time in which to migrate inland...in what Leila believes is only an absolute worse case, even impossible, scenario. Mostly she told me I was succumbing to Hollywood's disaster-flick mindset and scare tactics. She reminded me that I have a choice to live in the present and enjoy life or live in the fear of the future and tear myself apart.
All of which makes me try to remember that we do not know what will happen, but it likely will not be the sudden world wide catastrophic cataclysm predicted in movieland. In any event, I can live my life in fear and trembling, or go about living it as I really want to: with the joy that I am in recovery and finally able to do the sorts of things I am now able to do, enjoy the friends I am finally free to make, look forward to the future I can still allow myself to hope for. Nothing is certain but that nothing is certain - neither disaster nor bliss. And I can accept that what is to come will come, and that every molecule that makes me and makes up the planet is stardust, borrowed from the universe. And it all eventually goes back to being stardust in the great revolving dance of becoming and of un-becoming.
But of course, I will not remember this for good. No, knowing me I will forget this as often as I recall it, and probably will sink again into the slough of despond once more, feeling that it is hopeless to dream and act and hope because "tomorrow we die" and it is useless to go on as if there is even a tomorrow. But I do know there is a way out of that hopeless way of thinking, I just need to remember how to trigger the healing response, the helpful non destructive thoughts...If nothing else, I need to remember to ask Leila to remind me how to change my thinking again. It would be better by far if I could self-generate such healing thinking, but so be it for now.
Someday, (if there is a someday...oops, you see what I mean?) I may have that sort of indestructible backbone assurance that disaster is not just around the corner. But right now personal disaster is not all that distant a memory, falling apart in the blink of an eye is not that impossible a thought to me for me to disbelieve the notion that civilization could not be wiped out in just such an instant. But if I can go a year, two years , three or five or six without a breakdown, then perhaps I will have a better sense of stability both personal and planetary, and come to trust that some things can, well, be trusted to stay more or less the same.
The climate will change, as we now know for certain, but the earth will remain more or less the earth, though its surface may appear different due to climate differences. The planet will go on, with or without us, and so will life of some sort...Meanwhile, when I grow sad to think that "we" must end, that geologic time is occuring in the blink of an eye, I will turn to those who can set me straight, change my pessimistic brain, lead me onto another path. I'll link hands with someone who takes me where it doesn't hurt so much, someone who sees the future as half full. I will learn to see through a clear lens rather than darkly through one unpolarized and de-colored, the one called fear.