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Teaching them

One of my brothers lives with my father. He has always lived with my parents, though I have no idea why he decided to do so. He’s fifty-three and was born profoundly deaf due to my mother getting German Measles when she was pregnant with him. He’s been wearing hearing aides since he was a baby, and my parents made sure he went to a regular public school so he could learn to live with hearing people. The school system he was enrolled in offered individual assistance for him so he didn’t fall behind in his classes. He’s lived a pretty normal life, went to college, worked retail jobs, got his degree, and has been working in the government for many many years. He maintains relationships with lots of friends–hearing and deaf–and participates in all kinds of activities. He helps arrange and run racquetball tournaments for both deaf leagues and hearing leagues. He travels, stays in hotels alone, drives daily to work, works among his colleagues, goes to a gym, sees his doctors…etc etc. He’s a pretty smart person, though sometimes his communication skills lag a bit. Most people deal with it pretty well, and so does he.

But he’s never had a romantic relationship that we’re aware of, though he has tons of friends. He’s never wanted to go away for any long period of time, never wanted to move out, and often relied on my mother to do things for him. Things he could do–though they might take some extra effort from him–but for whatever reason he chose not to do them. My mother did the things for him out of love, I’m sure. My brother helped (and still helps) take care of their current house and the property it sits on. He would cook occasionally and would stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things when my mother asked. He’s terrible at cleaning, but he takes good care of their dog. Now that Mom is gone, he handles the majority of the bills at the house, does all the taxes for him and my father, and he helps my father with most of the technology in the house.

There are times that he lets things slide that normally my mother would have handled. He and my father, living together like bachelors in their house now, often overlook things because they don’t want to deal with them. I have tried very hard to stay out of my mother’s role, because I do not want to be her. I don’t want to follow them around and make sure things get done, or be called upon when they don’t want to handle things. When things fall by the wayside, they scramble to handle them but it seems to be okay the majority of the time. One of the last issues I have struggled to step out of is their dog. I hate to see their dog suffer because they aren’t staying on top of things, or because they aren’t paying her enough attention. She was really my mother’s dog, her companion and her shadow, especially during Mom’s cancer. My father doesn’t pay the dog too much mind, and his memory is pretty shitty. I often worry that he lets her out into the yard and then forgets about her. It has only happened once or twice since my mother’s death, and neither time did she suffer too much discomfort before I discovered the lapse. Fortunately, their dog barks hysterically if she wants to get back in the house, so there have been times when I hear her barking and I call my dad to remind him she’s outside.

We are all heading to the wedding next weekend. It’s being held less than 30 minutes from our home(s), but it’s an evening wedding. It starts right before dinnertime and we need to be there early enough to get parking and walk to the venue. That means our dogs will all need to have someone come in to feed them and let them out after dinner. Hub and I have been talking about this for weeks, and we finally interviewed a couple of dog-sitters from Rover.com. We’ve used dog-sitters before, but we didn’t really like their service as they were ONLY drop-in and they would only promise to stop in on the dogs in a two hour window. So we interviewed a couple of people and found someone who will come in and stay with our dogs for the whole evening. They have a pretty active evening routine (including dinner), so we figured we’d pay the person to stay the whole evening. It’s not terribly expensive and we’re over-protective owners, so we went ahead and hired someone.

I said nothing to my brother or my father about their dog. They’re grown men, they take care of their dog, they knew the wedding was coming up for six months. If they were concerned about their dog, they should have done something. And I didn’t want to put my nose into their life and ask or suggest they make arrangements. It sounds petty, but I don’t want to be their mother or their wife. GROWN ADULTS.

Hub and I decided to have the dog-sitter come in once before the wedding so the dogs would have a chance to get to know the sitter. We hired her for a drop-in visit (30 minutes) to let the dogs out and play with them while we were out for a longer-than-normal dinner with my family. We all drove together to the restaurant, so when we got home, the sitter was still at our house (dinner didn’t take as long as we expected). Immediately my brother wanted to know who was at our house when he saw the car parked in front of our garage. So I told him we were trying out a dog-sitter in advance of the wedding. He sort of frowned and started to ask me questions, but I only said we’d met her a few weeks prior and then we went home.

Two days later–this is now ten days before the wedding–my brother sends me a message via googletalk to ask me how the dog-sitter had worked out. I said she was good, the dogs seemed to like her (but they like everyone!), so we were set for the wedding. His next question was, “Can she handle three dogs?” Because he hadn’t made any arrangements and he figured he would just leave his dog at my house and so he’d be all set without having to do anything! Again, I felt petty, but I don’t want him thinking that he’ll just let us always handle things and he’ll tag on. I told him that it wasn’t appropriate for our sitter to take care of his dog when she hadn’t met the dog. This was exactly why we had interviewed people in our house to see them with our dogs, and then did a trial-run before the wedding. Also, his dog is not the easiest to handle, especially when she’s in OUR house versus their house. And I told him all of that. I said he needed to find his own sitter, who would come to his house and take care of his dog. So he said there was no time left (TEN DAYS), and so he’d just have to come home early from the wedding to take care of his dog. Guilt and manipulation…because he hadn’t bothered to do the responsible thing for his dog and his plans. Six  months they’ve known about the exact time and date for the wedding.

I felt badly. I had guilt so built up that I didn’t sleep that night thinking about it. I knew he was mad at me, but I didn’t want to teach him that if he didn’t do what he was supposed to, I would clean up after him. I didn’t want him to think that he could let things slide because he figured I would step in. Teaching people how to treat you is important, and I was teaching him to treat me like his sister, not his mother.

TWO DAYS LATER he asked me to help him get a dog-sitter. I had already given him the Rover.com website, so I didn’t understand why he needed my help. He opened the app on his iPad and through every step he asked for my input. HE’S A COMPUTER PERSON. He’s been in IT in the government for probably 25 years…why the hell did he need me to stand over him to help him with an app that I’ve NEVER EVEN USED. Hub and I were using the Rover.com website, not the app, so I’d never seen the app before. *sigh* We contacted several people, set up two for interviews, then he wanted me to be there at the interviews. As it turns out, the first person who came the very next night was the person he hired because the second person flaked out on us.

So he’s got his dog-sitter. We’ve got our dog-sitter. I persist in teaching him and my father that I am not their mother or wife, and that I am not going to step in and take care of things for them. I persist in reminding myself that I am teaching them to be independent human beings, capable of handling their lives. Obviously, if they seriously need me, I am there for them. But these simple, every-day things? They need to learn to handle their business like adults. And if they don’t handle their business, they are going to have to deal with their consequences.

Still, I feel petty and mean. And guilty. And I resent my brother’s attempt at manipulating and guilting me into doing what he wanted. The sooner he learns that he needs to handle things on his own, the better our sibling relationship will be. I hope.

In preparation for the wedding, I am getting my hair color fixed on Tuesday. I have my fingers crossed it goes well, because I’m not sure I could get it fixed again in between now and the wedding. I also have PT for my impinged (and frozen!) shoulder along with a neurology appointment this week.

And then I see a psychic medium on Friday. Should be an interesting experience and I’m not entirely sure I believe in them. I hope to report back on all the goings-on next week.

 
 

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Jet plane, night 3, day 4

Yesterday’s blather.

My brother (#2 with the cray-cray ex) called me last evening to see how I was doing. I was kind of surprised but pleased, because I didn’t expect it from him. My father has been checking on me by phone, too.

I did okay last night, though I stayed up late again. I didn’t have any snake nightmares that I remember, but I was so damn exhausted when I turned off the lights and TV that I probably didn’t have the energy to dream. I was up on time to feed the dogs this morning and take them out. No sign of the snake, but I didn’t hang around looking for it either!

After that, I went back to bed, hoping that I could waste some hours by sleeping. I dozed on and off for a couple of hours, but Butthead decided I needed to get my ass out of bed (bark bark bark bark bark bark), so I gave up. Today was the slowest and least active day of the four. I didn’t cook anything or bake anything or clean anything. I ate soup for lunch and leftover takeout food for dinner. And I had gelato as a snack this afternoon because I wanted it.

The snake repellent showed up via Amazon one day delivery. I immediately took it out and sprinkled the smelly crap all over the garden and bushes up against the house. I think the smell kind of freaked out Butthead, but that doesn’t take much. I have no clue if it’ll work, but I guess it makes me feel slightly better to try doing something.

I went to visit my father (which I’ve done every day over these past four days) and spent a little time chatting with him. I talked to Hub a few times, but he’s been busy site-seeing and hanging out with his father and sister. Soon he’ll be on the plane heading home…and I couldn’t be happier. I hope the flight is swift and easy and he can rest as he wings his way home.

Took the dogs out at 10pm and saw no snakes. That was good news. Of course, I let them pee and hurried them back into the house. When Hub is home, he allows Le Moo to lounge on the patio for a while at 10ish, but I wasn’t letting her get away with that. Especially with the potential for snake-lurking.

I’ve got half a book to read, so once it’s done I’ll turn out the lights and try to sleep for a couple of hours. I have my alarm set to get up in the morning and to call my father to wake him. He’ll drive to the airport with me to pick up Hub, since I don’t like to drive the interstate to get to the airport. I mean, I could do it, but I don’t like to and my father likes to help when he can.

I’ll feed the mutts before we head out in the morning, so once Hub gets home he’ll be able to crash and try to get some rest and hopefully ward off too much jet lag. I can’t wait for this night to be over.

Thanks for sticking with me, ya’ll. I really blogged this week so I can remind myself that I was able to do this if I ever have to look back. But honestly, it did help to know you all were rooting for me, too!

Onward with night 4. It leads to a homecoming.

 

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Jet plane, night 1 day 2

Day 1 recap.

Last night could have been worse, I guess. I stayed up later than usual–about 1am–but by then I was so tired from being up at 3am and on the going mostly since then that I was able to doze off for a couple of hours at 1. Then I slept fitfully after that, waking up just before my alarm time to feed the dogs. I hit snooze and laid in bed a bit longer…until Butthead woke up and went over to Hub’s side of the bed and began poking at the comforter. I had to try to explain to her that he wasn’t there (did she think he snuck in overnight sometime and she didn’t notice??), but she didn’t seem convinced. It took me a few minutes to get her to follow me downstairs so I could feed her and Le Moo breakfast. After their breakfast and a trip outside, I went back upstairs to bed and dozed for another hour or so.

Today I pretty much distracted myself by chopping and sauteeing a ton of mushrooms to add to my soup when I nuke it for lunch. Then I ate lunch and read a book. I found a Gidget marathon on television, which I pretty much left on all day and only turned off about ten minutes ago and only because it ENDED. At some point after lunch I tried to make my (in)famous peanut butter cookies for the brother who installed my floodlight cam, but I used low fat peanut butter (at his request) instead of regular peanut butter and the cookies came out flat. I have no idea what the issue was, but my brother said they still tasted good, they were just flat instead of puffy. When I took the bags of cookies over to my father’s house for my brother, I stayed for a while to talk about some stuff with Dad. Then we took pictures of some junk he wanted to try to sell on Craigslist (I hate CL) and I came home and listed them. Then I sent some curse-filled email responses to some spammers who responded almost immediately to one of the listings. So that was fun.

Then I read another book and half-watched/half-listened to more episodes of Gidget until it was time for dinner. Fed the dogs, outed the dogs, cleaned up after the dogs’ outing, then made myself some dinner. Half leftovers, half food I cooked myself. While I was eating, my brother sent me a text with a picture of a teeny tiny baby deer that was curled up next to his house. He spotted it while he was mowing and was concerned it was injured.

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By the time Dad and Brother went inside to find a phone number for animal control and then returned outside, the little booger had disappeared. I suspect it was hiding there in the “tall” grass waiting until the riding mower stopped and the stupid people disappeared. We have a pretty big herd of deer living in our back property, so I assume this little baby got separated and was waiting for mama to return for it.

At this point, I’m tucked in upstairs after taking the dogs out a couple of more times during the evening. The hall lights are on, the bedroom door is locked, the dogs have finally settled in. I’m pretty sure both dogs are confused as to where Hub is, but no matter how much I explain they just give me the same look. Right now I’m tired and in some pain from all the extra activity, but I’m managing.

I’ve heard from Hub a couple of times today. He didn’t sleep well last night–he never does away from home–and his schedule today with his father seemed…odd. They “ran errands” and did a little bit of touristy site-seeing of some beaches. His father was SO hyped to have Hub out there to visit, but they don’t seem to be doing much. And Hub is counting the days to getting back home more than I am. Tomorrow evening is the wedding, so they won’t be doing much else other than that.

I’ve got another book here with me and I’ve got the nightly news on TV. I might rent or catch a movie on TV after the news until I’m too tired to stay awake anymore. Last night I caught the tail end/hour of YaYa Sisiterhood because I couldn’t find anything else. Tonight…well who knows? Tomorrow I go to see my massage therapist in the morning, but I’m getting a RELAXING massage instead of trigger point. Something to look forward to.

Day 2 completed, night 1 completed. I’m almost halfway through. I can do this.

Tomorrow’s low-down.

 
 

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Jet plane, day 1

We dropped Hub off this morning at 4:15am for his flight. After I got home and let the dogs out, I instant messaged with Hub until he boarded the plane at 5:45. By then I’d already fed the dogs and gotten back into bed. I dozed for a few hours, then got up and went about my day. For the most part I felt like Hub was at work and I allowed myself to just be that way. I’ve almost read two books and I pretty much had movies on the TV all day, although mostly they were movies I’d already seen. I had Mama Mia! on the TV maybe three times at random points through the movie, because I like singing those songs and they passed the time more easily. Hairspray was on at least once, too.

I’ve done okay for most of the day. Unfortunately, around 9:30pm tonight, Butthead freaked out and had her tail tucked under and was barking hysterically while backing her way into the bedroom where I was reading and watching TV. I went out into the hallway and checked all the rooms up here (she refused to follow me and instead ran down the stairs), but I have no idea what her major malfunction was. I took them out in the darkness, but luckily it was a little rainy, so both dogs ran out and peed and ran right back to the door to go in. So we kind of settled into the bedroom at that point and after some treats and wandering around, they both have settled in. I suspect they are also exhausted from starting their day at 3am.

I’ve talked to Hub twice on the phone and a few more times on instant messenger. He seems to be okay but the last we talked about an hour ago, he was sounding just exhausted. I hope he’s going to sack out soon, even though it’s pretty early in the evening out there. He said he kept moving his legs around on the plane, even though first class wasn’t as roomy as he’d hoped, and that he felt okay when he deboarded. Is that a word? Deboarded? What else do they call it? Anyway, he says he felt okay and when I talked to him later he said he was feeling okay just tired from the long day.

I was happy to hear from my SIL by phone (I couldn’t figure out the damn facetime thing through FB’s messenger) after she opened my gift to her for her wedding. I crocheted her a blanket that turned out to be about queen size (the pic below is spread out on a king size guest bed) in these amazing colors that made me think of her. Hub’s father said she has walls in her house painted in yellow and orange, so I found this awesome yarn and went to town. Took me several months (and a lot of pain) to get the blanket done, but apparently she loved it a lot. Made me feel like the work was worth it.

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I saw my father earlier when I took the dogs out this afternoon and he reminded me that I could stay at his house overnight or whatever. I said I was going to try to stay home, but if I had any issue I would just hike over there with the dogs and stay there. Around 8:30pm tonight he called to see how I was doing and how my day had gone. Then he reminded me that if I had any trouble I should just let myself into his house no matter what time it was. Then he gave me his late-night schedule so I would know how late he would be awake, but then he told me again to just come over whenever I need to.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to sleep tonight or not. I still have some reading left in my second book of the day and a youtube video to watch for a channel I subscribe to. I dunno…I’m locked in the bedroom with the dogs and I’m sure I’m safe (even though I’m kind of worried that I locked the bedroom door and if someone needs to get in here to rescue me for some reason the locked door will be an issue), but it’s still weird. I kind of hope I’ll be tired enough to fall asleep at some point.

I had my regular soup for lunch and leftover takeout for dinner, so eating wasn’t a major issue today. I have more takeout again for tomorrow night’s dinner if I want it, and I (pressure) cooked up a fresh pot of my lunch-soup this morning so I have enough for the rest of the week. It’s boring, but I eat soup most days of the week for lunch because it means I don’t have to think about it. I dump it in a bowl, add some sauteed mushrooms, and nuke it…easy-peasy no thinking. Also, the soup is bean soup, so it’s pretty healthy…protein and fiber and veggies and carbs, all-in-one.

That’s pretty much it for today. One down, three more to go.

Next installment…

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2017 in anxiety, Butthead, control, dad, dogs, fear, food, hub, love, sleep, stress, time, tired

 

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He’s leaving on a jet plane

Fortunately, I know when he’ll be back again.

But right now, that doesn’t really help. Tomorrow morning we’ll be driving Hub to the airport at 4am so he can catch a 6am flight to California for his sister’s wedding. And then I’ll come home and it’ll be me here with the dogs.

I had my appointment with T today and we talked all about this. I’ve got my plans made for the four days and four nights he’ll be gone, which include A LOT OF BOOKS from the library and a massage scheduled for Tuesday. Plus, I figure I’ll be renting lots of movies either from amazon prime or our on-demand cable television. And if things get bad enough, I’ll go spend time at my father’s house with the dogs. Not sure I want to sleep there because taking the dogs and all their paraphernalia will be a pain in the ass. Additionally, T reminded me to text her if I need to talk to her. I suspect I’ll be reading a lot of books to waste the time, both day and night, and napping on and off during all hours. Mostly I’ll be scheduling myself around dogs’ schedules for food and trips outside…and then trying to nap when they are sleeping.

Also, to prepare, we bought a security camera floodlight thing, that alerts me if there’s movement outside the door…and I can open the app and see live video of what’s going on (and it records the video if I miss the alert). It also turns on the floodlights with movement at night, along with low-light live (and recorded) video. So, at least I have that extra bit of security for myself.

Part of what I talked to T about is the fact that I don’t really know how to be without Hub anymore. I know how to be alone when he’s here (or at work), but I don’t know how to be alone when he’s not HERE. I’ve known him for longer than I’ve NOT known him. It’s been years since we’ve had any major separation (4 since his parents’ accident where he was gone for 3 days unexpectedly, but closer to 8 years for anything longer than those couple of days), and at that point I had my parents helping me while I stayed at their house…and we had Sweet Pea, who was easy as pie to take care of. Now I have this big house and I have Butthead, who requires a lot of energy and close watch. And I don’t have my mom nearby to hang out with when I get lonely, sad, or scared.

Another part of my concern is that Hub has health issues. He has diabetes (with minor leg and feet circulation problems), high blood pressures, and has a history of supra-ventricular tachycardia. I mostly am worried about him getting a blood clot in his leg from the traveling in the airplane…and even worse I’m worried that he won’t realize there’s something wrong. Or he’ll think whatever it is that is wrong isn’t a big deal and he’ll ignore it and not get to a doctor. Or that he’ll ignore it and get on the plane to come home and make it worse. The possible thought of losing him–especially considering how hard it’s been to lose my mother–is really overwhelming. I’ve been trying really hard NOT to impose my fears on him. The only thing I suggested is that he try to keep moving his feet and legs around on the plane just because of his circulation issues…and that’s all I said.

The probability of him having any kind of major problem is pretty low. The probability of me having any kind of major problem is pretty low. I have to just keep reminding myself that we’ll get through this. A week from now it will be over and we’ll be back to normal programming.

Until then, I am trying not to judge how I am handling things. I’m going to do my best to do my best, and then whatever happens happens.

(day one post)

 

 

 

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Purpose and control

I was watching television and a character said he became a doctor because it was always his way to try to control things. Being a doctor made him feel he was in control of his life and his patients’ lives.

I was sitting there watching and it was like one of those AHA! moments. I started wondering if my fiction writing (which I’d been doing since I was a pre-teen) was my way of controlling things in my life. Or finding a way to have control in a world where I really had no control, especially when I first became sick…which is when I started intensely on my writing career and when I was first published.

When I talked about this with T, it also made sense as to why I haven’t been able to write very much in the last few years. I’ve worked so hard to release my idea of controlling everything, and so my default way of writing–and seeing my writing–is no longer the same. T said she could see exactly what I was dealing with, and she felt the discovery was a very interesting and insightful one. I’m not sure how I will be able to write again, but T thinks I’ll find a way. I certainly don’t want to go backward in order to find my ability to write again, but as I am now, I feel like my solace in writing is gone. I used to be able to disappear into my books and create lives and worlds where everything was the way I wanted it to be. But now, where I see that control really is an illusion–even though I’m still working on that in my own life–I’m not sure how to create stories the way I used to.

At the moment, I even feel like I’m struggling to get my ideas across in this post. I feel jumbled and like the words I want are not here. It’s sad and disappointing right now. The thing that I always went to feels like it’s well and truly gone. I mean, I know I haven’t worked on any of my books in recent years, nor have I really started anything new of note, but I guess I thought it would still be there to save me.

It sounds dramatic, but really my writing did save me when I got sick. There were days I never made it out of bed except to go to the bathroom, and yet those were the days where I wrote my books. Those were the most productive days of my writing career. Through pain and vertigo and fatigue…I wrote my books. I wrote deep into the night, hours and hours at a time, and slept through until noon. I would eat lunch and then go back to my writing. It kept me sane, it gave me a life to live when I couldn’t live my own life. My hands would cramp, my arms would ache (I wrote my books in longhand), my neck would hurt…but I kept writing. That was the first time I ever wrote a full-length book, and it was the first time I persisted in finding a publisher for that book.

And here I am, in need of that solace, and unable to find it.

I’m not the same person I was, no question about it. I just don’t know how to be the person I am and still have the purpose I had then.

 

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Liar liar brain on fire

I’ve been struggling with my health anxiety for over a week. As per usual, it’s pretty centered around my heart. I’ve made an appointment to see my cardiologist, but the online scheduler only had an appointment for NEXT Monday. I’m going to call in the morning to see if they have anything sooner, whether it’s a cancellation or what. If they can’t fit me in sooner, I might also check with my regular doctor–but getting in to see them is pretty difficult these days.

I keep trying to tell myself that if I’m still alive after this week of potential heart pain, then it’s likely just anxiety plaguing me and not a “real” issue. It’s my anxiety lying to me. My left arm hurts, my back hurts, my jaw hurts, I feel slightly off-balance, I’m nauseated. All those things could mean a heart issue…and all those things could be just my daily life. I can’t get around my lying anxiety brain to figure it out. I’m both hot and cold, sometimes feeling sweaty when there’s no sweat there. Right now my palms are warm and feel like they’re sticking to my laptop, but my feet are freezing cold and clammy.

I’ve had a pain in my lower right back today. I always have pain in my back, but this feels different. Is it real or anxiety? I hate that I can’t tell. I don’t understand how I’m supposed to know what is real and what isn’t. I don’t know when to seek emergency treatment and when not to. I don’t want to spend my life in the emergency waiting room…our local ER is terrible and our trips tend to last no less than 6-12 hours there. Most of that in the waiting room trying to get a bed to be seen (usually by a dismissive physician or physician’s assistant).

I’ve been depressed and not acting normal, not moving around much, not eating well, not drinking my water. I know this is all contributing to the fact that everything hurts me, but I can’t seem to get around it. I’m sitting poorly, also contributing to my pain. I’m not sleeping, some of which from pain, some because of the fear of having a heart attack.

I can’t even tell you how many good-bye letters I’ve written. In my previous house, I used to have them scattered around in weird places. Mostly hand-written in the dark of night when I was sure I wouldn’t make it through the night. Sometimes I write them on my computer and drop them into weird folders. Am I the only one? Does anyone else do this? I so wanted to write one the other night because it was that bad. I didn’t do it. I wanted to wake Hub and tell him good-bye, just in case. I wanted to do it before he went to sleep. I write the notes because I don’t want to frighten my wonderful husband…I can’t stand keeping him awake when he’s the one getting up early every morning to take care of the dogs and then go to work to support both of us.

I was sitting here earlier, just waiting for the time to go by. And I started wondering WHY I was hoping for the time to go by more quickly. I know I want to get up first thing and make calls to the doctor, but really, what is that going to solve? I’m not likely to get an appointment right away, so I’m still stuck in this anxiety limbo.

As I type, I’m restless. My jaw is hurting again. My back. My arm. I want to sob, but crying only makes me feel worse. I want to curl into a ball, but it hurts too much. I want to lie down and go to sleep but I’m afraid. I heard once that there are more heart attacks in the early morning hours, so I’m afraid to go to sleep because I’m afraid to have a heart attack overnight or in the early morning hours. For some reason my brain thinks that if I’m awake, I won’t have a heart attack. Or maybe I think if I’m awake, I’ll be able to get help if I start having a heart attack. Probably the latter.

This sucks so much. I hate this health anxiety. I hate that this is one of the few things that I’ve not been able to conquer. Sometimes I do so well, but other times I’m just so suffocated by it.

 

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