Still Feeling like Crap?

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.

 

 

 

 

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