Thursday, November 4, 2010
Why not me?
Even five years ago this UTI would have frustrated and scared me. But I know I’ve had a very good recovery so far, and that these things happen - when you take immunosuppressants, you get infections. I have other helpful knowledge; having had many UTIs over the years, I know antibiotics kick them out. But if I look back at the person I once was, any medical threat sent me into a very anxious state.
This relates to something I contemplated last week - my dislike of a really low mood. I was alternating days low, fine, low, fine, and by “low” I mean absolutely flat and anhedonic, not able to take a walk in the sun, though I knew it would do me good. Just trying to pass time, knowing that things change and I could start to feel better any time, at 6 pm, or next morning. What I really didn’t like about the low moods was the tendency to pessimistic and cynical thoughts. It reminded me unpleasantly of my father’s attitude.
The Witness in my mind knew the moodswings were predictable, as massive amounts of steroids slowly left my system. Witness looked up endorphins and serotonin, which I was clearly lacking just then. I couldn’t go jogging, and carbohydrates and chocolate weren’t working. I didn’t know any other way to kick-start the neurotransmitters of feeling good. So I called and made an appointment with one of the OSU resident shrinks, who would know whether I should have a medication. That was last Friday.
Meanwhile, I was able to actually sat upright and meditate properly with the candle and incense I love. During meditation my mind went to the issue of low moods, how I wished I could accept them without all these mental reactions like I hate feeling like this, this book doesn’t interest me either, everything on Netflix is stupid, I haven’t had one speck of joy today, I just want this day to end. The Witness watched my mind do that, and we went back to my breath.
Then from my right brain, God bless it, came an image - of a becalmed sea. Flat, smooth, motionless. There was a little sailboat on it. The verbal mind came in with the thought, If that boat doesn’t want to go anywhere, no problem. It’s the desire to get somewhere that creates unhappiness. I love my right brain. It has been a friend to me in ways like this.
This seemed to qualify as another realization that emphasizing our desires just makes us unhappy.
By the time I saw the doctor Wednesday morning I had had a series of just-fine days, no more lows, but was now being troubled by insomnia. Another predictable event. As a woman I met when I was in radiation therapy for cancer many years ago said, "Why not me?" It took me years to understand what she meant - that there's no reason she, or I, should be exempt from sickness, aging, and death. And no reason to stop enjoying life when they hit.
postscript: With a new prescription for Ambien, I slept well last night. What a difference that makes!
[image: Spirit of Mystery, becalmed, by Pete Goss]