April 2016 Archive

Me too. Just a little. Can’t seem to shut up the infernal noise in my head. I may not know all the answers yet but, fellow housewives, I do know the problem:

How to dampen the overtly negative thoughts? Or the less than helpful narrative that is the jukebox of the mind. Mine runs along the lines of: “Are we having fun yet”? Following this thought, I feel really tired as I’ve got a day of work in front of me. Mostly housework. And then I ¬†sabotage my thinking further by checking social media; “Look at everybody¬†else having fun and being successful or having a party. Wankers”! Then I feel vaguely dissatisfied and sapped of all motivation to breathe, basically.

Let alone throw myself joyfully into cleaning toilets.

You may have the combo deal. As the working parent with work and home life and more arenas for your thinking to take a dive. Bad commute. Bad manager. “Everyone else is getting ahead faster. Wankers”!

It’s all the same. Worrying about shit you can’t change. Or if you can, any change is glacial.

The thinking is capricious at best even if I’ve started ahead of the game. Even if I have woken up of a morning not feeling like shit; I’ll be sitting feeling seven shades of happy not feeling crappy, drinking my tea and all ¬†of a sudden with absolutely NO warning, and right out of the blue, a thought might pop into my head and knock me off course. ¬†For example: “What if I’ve got: [insert incredibly rare and fast moving and invariably fatal disease like cancer and Alzheimer’s rolled together.]

I’m¬†a hypochondriac. I was convinced I had leprosy by the age of eight. Moles drive me crazy.

Where does this come from?! From whence does our thinking originate? There is no foundation to worry. I have no reason to suspect anything is physically awry. This is where I have to employ a sense of perspective. And put my thoughts into proportion. I have to change the narrative to get my head back in the game.

I reflect that I have these irrational worries despite having just passed the ten year anniversary of having  cheated death. 

Ten years ago, I survived a massive stroke that looked like it was going to finish me off. The sequence of events was as follows:

Me. I’m pregnant and at home with a toddler, I get a massive headache one weekend afternoon. Basically I then vomit on myself and pass out while hubby calls 911. In New Zealand it’s 111. (We also drive on the other side of the road. Our pies are made out of meat rather than being made from sweet shit unlike in the States where they are stuffed ¬†full of pumpkin, nuts and cranberries. Squirrel fare. Meat pies are¬†secret of our sporting triumphs, particularly our success in fielding the greatest rugby team in the world:

OMG. yum.

The pies are good too.

I guess that makes  meat pies a national dessert?

It’s all good. (Builds muscle)

Anyhoo. An ambulance arrives and I’m kept breathing¬†by the paramedics while the ambo guns it with the lights and sirens. At the ER a cat scan confirms I am suffering a ¬†intracranial hemorrhage or, a stroke. The fast response team had me at a GCS3 on the Glasgow Coma Scale.

BTW, the scale goes from nine down to 3 then drops off to “Dead”.

Not a lot of hope.

The neurosurgeon tells my husband in the waiting room that he and his team were going in but the chances of me coming out were slim or f*ck all. ¬†I know right? I could have been one of those sob stories the MSM like to plaster all over the front pages and pass off as news. Being eighteen weeks pregnant, the potential for newsworthy tragedy was huge. ¬†At least these days. A decade ago when actual journalism was more commonplace than pages of sob stories taken from social media, it wouldn’t have registered. You just got hard and got on with it.

So. Everybody is delighted that I don’t die in the process of having my skull opened and blood and brain tissue removed. I wake up nine hours later not a vegetable and I’m informed I’ve had a stroke. At this point I discover I have¬†lost all movement and feeling on my left. But I have essentially come back from the brink.

So if I were sitting at a poker tale with Death. I’d be all like: “Death you suck . I win, you lose. Na nah nah nah nah!”

Death looks smug: ” You just wait!”

If I take a different perspective and catch and then change my negative thoughts, every day is a gift. None of us know what is around the corner. I’ve been given an extra decade and counting¬†but the same things that troubled me back then still affect my thinking these days. If I let them.

Acceptance and maintaining perspective are the keys to  taking control of your thinking.

Before I had a stroke I used to take for granted my sense of being in the world. I used to assume I couldn’t change my thinking. The jukebox of the mind was only escapable briefly when lost in a moment. Or booze or food.

A little bit of brain damage changes ones perspective on this matter. For the period of time immediately following the stroke,¬†I used to accept that feeling really, really uncomfortable was normal. I would hang on by my fingernails to get through every day. The narrative in my head and my sense of being wasn’t just negative, it was both detached and flat out cuckoo! Mostly it was invisible to other folks who would say “I never would have guessed (I had a stroke)!” Because I wasn’t hanging off the ceiling and I could conduct conversations and make the appropriate responses. But I actually was hanging off the ceiling. In my mind.
You can’t have a trauma to the brain and not have some dark days. My days weren’t dark insomuch as completely, utterly detached:

Enlightenment’s Evil Twin.

Every waking moment was an exercise in acceptance and maintaining perspective. I could explain to people that I couldn’t recognize familiar faces but I couldn’t explain to anyone that I couldn’t recognize emotions. For months, the only feeling I had was¬†deja vu and it was with me from dawn to dusk.

Days went on and my mind settled down. I went back to good old stinking, normal thinking. My thinking and instincts gave me my sense of being rather than the inverse where I was experiencing a state of not-being. I’d experienced a complete loss of ego perhaps.

I attribute my recovery both to the natural healing powers of the brain that are so much more extraordinary than are given credit for and there only being room in my mind for acceptance and mindful perspective.

Recently it occurred to me that if I can travel the path from detachment to reality then I could do the reverse at will. Remain detached and travel through life.

Which is when the story really gets interesting.

Actually it doesn’t. I’m a housewife. Life is predictable. Housework and when I can, I grab time for these kitchen sink musings.

 

 

 

 

Discuss and share:

Become enlightened.
Get the newsletter:

Recognizing that feeling Crap is normal right from the moment your feet hit the floor and that also a lot of other humans also suffer from the Human Condition and we’re all in the same Situation of: [“Oh Shit. It appears, I’m a thinking, feeling being. I have a limited amount of knowledge of my surroundings. In the meantime I’ll be the best higher level Chimp I can be while I wait until someone figures out what’s beyond the blue ceiling” and “Must do best to avoid pain”!] {!} is important to mastering the art of contentment. (That sentence was possibly too long)

Because then you can 1: put your level of distress into proportion. And 2: By practicing feeling good, even though you feel like excrement you can then master the zen-like air of appearing to have it all together in front of all the other Chimps in your life even if you haven’t got it together because you’re [polishing off nightly; a tub of ice-cream, bottle of wine, an entire series of Breaking Bad; insert coping mechanism of choice that bollocks up your sleep cycle.]

Whenever you find yourself a little antsy, instead of meditating, just practice ‘not feeling like shit’ which is completely possible. It is entirely possible to not feel like shit in most situations, excepting of course when you’re too sick to eat or poop. Not being able to successfully poop registers on the highest personal level of hell.

And excepting in times of War. War sucks. Collective cultural hell. Free choice, huh? Was God like ” hmmm. Do I go for Thor, as a keeper or, for Free Choice? “No”! That mad f*cker Thor is effective but possibly might not be best example in this case. These apes are too warlike. <God scratches chin> “I know, I’ll go for a combo deal. Free Choice and Jesus to set a good example. They’ll work it out eventually”. <Takes a bow>

I attained level two or greater, ¬†‘Not feeling Crap’, recently by deciding to only worry one day in three. As per that whole “live in today”, mindful movement crap spearheaded by the Squirrel Monk¬†¬†Eckhart Tolle. Don’t you just love how he’s melded mindfulness with higher level ¬†cuteness and lonesomeness; and he also reminds me of the comforting feeling I get when I look at a Squirrel. Not too mention his meme is now everywhere. Just like Squirrels are.

Anyhoo. Our family went on a trip to New Zealand through Feb and March. I know right? How did we get let out of the school district for so long? That my friends is a whole another story. Watch this space.

We flew from SFO on a Saturday. We landed on Monday morning. I’d forgotten how astonishingly beautiful New Zealand is but that is not the point. I realised pretty quickly the mental benefits of jumping forward a day. All my problems I’d left behind in yesterday or Sunday in the States. They’d not catch up with me. And I was able to not worry about any matters from home. Well apart from when I received a text one day at 5am NZ time from my housekeeper saying she’d locked herself in the mudroom with the keys in the kitchen. S’kay. She’s pretty resourceful and got herself out.

Likewise when we returned. I’d left all our baggage of the previous month in the past. Our luggage made it though. Which is unreal considering we were on and off planes eight times in thirty days. We crossed ten time zones all up. Jet lag is a bitch. But I now make it a practice of trying to defer any worries to yesterday by putting it in my mental ‘Tomorrow’ and not worrying about it.

Enlightened Housewife. Ladling out the advice and speaking my mind since 2012. When I emigrated to America and had to fit in. Before that I was a pussy.

Enlightened Housewife.
Ladling out the advice and speaking my mind since 2012. When I emigrated to America and had to fit in.
Before that I was a pussy.

We all only have today. Theoretically we’ve got yesterday and tomorrow but that is too much shit for anyone’s plate. I mean. I mean three days of Feeling Bad? Do yourself a favor and drop two days off by not not worrying about what happened yesterday and what might happen tomorrow. If you can.

If you can’t: Icecream.

Big tub.

 

Discuss and share: