There are times when the world seems to be spinning in one direction and everything in my life is going completely opposite. It comes out of nowhere and usually hits with an overwhelming feeling of loss. The feeling can be so intense it turns to nausea and, well, with a feeding tube and trach it can become quite ugly so I do everything I can to settle things down, however, I am left with what I call “the pit”.”
I hate feeling “the pit” – come to think of it I hate being in the pits, biting on a pit, shaving …well, you get the point. Seems I hate anything to do with a pit but especially is that true when it comes to that gnawing emptiness that hits me in the stomach.
When such times hit all I want to do is run – as fast and as far as possible. Of course, being paralyzed makes that somewhat of a difficulty so I do the only thing I can … something totally and typically Peppy because it’s completely opposite from what I’m wanting to do – I shut down until a numbness settles over my emotions.
I have always anesthetized my emotions, slipping into a comfortably numb mode, whenever having feelings I don’t want to deal with or am scared to acknowledge. In fact, that is where I have been these past few months – only this time I would say it was more like being uncomfortably numb. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if not for the frustration I felt from staring into the glare of my computer screen – the blinking of the cursor seemed to turn into a taunt every time I hit the delete button.
Looking at the computer screen … the very b-l-a-n-k computer screen … then down at my motionless fingers resting on the keyboard the wastefulness of it all hit me – the waste of time, emotional energy, crikey, of energy period, and when put together it adds up to a whole bunch of wasting life.
So much to say and, yet, I can’t find the words … nothing, nada, z-e-r-o. When I am in that numb mode it is almost as though my thoughts become suspended in my head. Every so often I string together a few words to form a sentence and begin to think I am finally starting to feel again only to lose the momentum and have the sentence split apart, the words falling back into a jumble in my head. Suspended thoughts, suspended feelings equals suspended life.
Numb. Comfortable for awhile but now quite uncomfortable. In fact, it seems that I have passed the numb point and tipped over into emotional lock down. I guess one good thing to come out of all this is it has shown me there really isn’t anything gained from running away from feelings – or, for that matter, from anything in life that I am too afraid to acknowledge, admit or accept.
Ah, there it is, that innocuous sounding word – accept. The word that can set my life on spin cycle – the word that I have been trying to ignore throughout all these years of dealing with Lou Gehrig’s disease. As strange as it may sound, I think I have been equating acceptance with giving up … the illness winning.
What’s odd and perhaps a bit surprising, at least to me, is how the diagnosis of breast cancer has been the un-doing of me. It was shortly after having the mastectomy that a numbness set in, though, at the time I looked at it as quite comfortable. I guess my lack of feeling was proof that I was okay with it all – at least that is how it works in Peppy’s world. Well, I should say that is how it worked in my world because I am no longer comfortable with numbing my feelings as a way of dealing with anything I don’t like in life.
To feel, to think, to think about the way we feel or feel the way we think … okay, okay, just checking to see if you were skimming or reading, however, there is something to that first sentence and, at least for me, it all seems to boil down to facing whatever life throws at us by embracing it, owning it. Actually, I am now of the opinion that is it especially imperative to take ownership of the feelings that initially repel us. Why? Because of the control they exert over thoughts, perception, demeanor. The things we think we are avoiding tend to be the very things that continue to weigh in on our outlook, our mood.
Now there is a resiliency to my mood – I mean, whatever is going on throughout the day and, however I may initially react, it is only a matter of minutes before my mood recalibrates back to what is typical for me …hmmm, which, I think my family would agree, is pretty positive, optimistic, and generally always looking for a reason to laugh. Of course, my sisters, CJ and JB, could probably add a few of their own adjectives but, hey, this is my blog – when they have a blog they can say anything they want about me … though it probably wouldn’t be true. Hey CJ and JB, I’m winking.
There are so many things I wish I would have figured out years ago. Yeah, yeah, hindsight is 20/20 – however, writing off personal responsibility with some cliché and a shrug of the shoulders is basically saying “Oh well, nothing I can do now.”
But there is something I can do. I can use my past to help me change the way I deal with things now. I can work on facing the feelings that normally send me running into hiding and, instead, acknowledge them, admit how I am feeling …. now when it comes to the acceptance of things, well, that’s a tough one…. hmmm, two out of three ain’t bad.