Sunday, July 18, 2010


It's said that in order to escape chronic worrying and find consistent happiness, one must be able to accept that there is an amount of uncertainty in everything.


That's fine if you still have a feeling of immortality. I remember that feeling. Nothing bad had ever happened to you or the ones you love, so you feel as though (in a solipsistic way) you're immune to life's inevitable pitfalls. At that point, I was able to accept uncertainty. Embrace it, in fact, for it usually meant that something surprisingly wonderful might come along.

Chronic anxiety and worry stems from the idea that your 'worst case scenario' will occur. It is so highly unlikely that it is never, in any case, worth the amount of worrying put in. My problem is: my worst case scenario (the only scenario I could imagine that would truly pull the rug out from beneath my feet) did occur -- and it was when I least suspected it.

I suppose I've been classically conditioned now to believe that the worst will occur. I'm absolutely aware of where that belief comes from, and I try my best to think rationally - but that does not stop the fear. My next worst case scenario would be to be diagnosed with a fatal and incurable illness, and it doesn't help that grief produces some pretty frightening symptoms.

I've had nausea, diarrhea, extreme and chronic fatigue, infections, a weakened immune system, increased hunger, decreased hunger, increased thirst, headaches -- even heart palpitations (in the middle of class, too; that was scary as hell). For the last 5 months I've had a consistent pain and tingling in my arms, legs, hands and the back of my neck. I'd like to believe that it's also due to the grief, but as my luck has been going, it's more likely to be a brain tumour. So I've seen doctor after doctor after nurse after specialist, I've had a CT and a ton of neurological tests, and an MRI booked for next month. One by one, each test comes back with perfectly normal results. I should be happy. This should spell relief to me - it must be, in the end, psychosomatic stress. All I can think, though, is that it just means it's a rare, obscure, and fatal ailment that only the MRI will be robust enough to pick up.

And you know what? If I could call my mom and tell her how scary this has all been, her reassuring words would probably be all that I'd need to feel normal again. I even tried that once. Some woman who had been assigned my mom's old cell number picked up. "Hello? Hello? ...Hello?" And I just sat there, silent, and absolutely bewildered that it wasn't in fact my mom who picked up, though she'd been dead for months.

So, instead, I guess I'm going to keep thinking every ache or twitch will be the one that will kill me.


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