A Leave of Absence
Its been a long time, since my last post. I'm truly grateful for all the people asking when I was going to post a new blog, I didn't realize how many people actually like my crazy thoughts, so I'm going to make an attempt to break the silence and forgive me but I'm shooting for average on this one. Seven weeks ago I had hernia surgery and had two weeks off from work, anything physical really. What I expected after surgery was a couple days of rest and then I was free to be creative for two solid weeks. Before I go on with my story I want to say that before my surgery I had a lot of people tell me what to expect, I had a lot of personal "When I had my surgery" stories. I used a lot of these stories as a sort of timeline for when I would be able to get back to my normal life and as much as I like to harass the medical world I'm going to tell you the best advice I got and it was from my doctor. I stopped in after two weeks to get some papers filled out and she happened to be in the office. I told her I was still pretty sore, from all the peoples stories I should have been back to normal anywhere from two days to two weeks, I think people forget the truth sometimes but I'm not judging. For me I was still alternating pain medication every two hours just to function. I can't remember the exact number but she said in a very matter of fact way that your body heals about a millimeter a day and that I had a three inch incision plus a patch, and I will quote this because I remember ":It will take every bit of 6 weeks and probably longer". I know age probably plays a part but I guess the only conclusion I can come up with is that I have surrounded myself with super humans when it comes to healing. My personal experience, seven weeks later, sitting is still very uncomfortable and after eight hours of work I'm sore and would love a nap.
My plan for my time off after surgery was to kind of get back to a lot of the practices that I've been really neglecting lately. I've slowly gotten back into a lot of bad habits, basically everything. I fell right back into that rat race mentality that I was trying to get away from. I built a pergola/meditation area in my back yard with a fire pit in the middle and as of the writing of this blog still haven't used it for meditation. We had my birthday party there and it was a great time but my thought while building it was a place to drink my morning coffee before work. We are almost into July and my garden isn't technically planted, there are a few things but no where near where I wanted to be. The weather has had a lot to do with it but i could have had it finished by now. My big plans of spring fishing are also gone now that its summer so everything that I've been saying I'm going to make more time for this year....well, lets talk about anxiety...
I'm not claiming to be an expert or have any kind of professional training on the subject but I do know what its like to be doing something and for no reason at all have trouble breathing and your chest tighten up and feel like there is something you forgot and if you can't remember your entire world will collapse. I've had panic attacks that have felt exactly like that and if you haven't, regardless of any book or training you can not possibly understand so please just be a good listener and don't try to offer advice like "you just need to suck it up' or "it isn't real" . I will admit that my situations are very minor, I've talked to people that can't leave the house because it gets so bad and I would someday like to be able to offer some kind of advice for those people that works, but for now I'm trying to get a grip on my own episodes. There are triggers for me and probably most people, one of mine is crowds. The phrase "you can feel the energy in the room" is very real to everyone but there are people that are hyper sensitive to that energy. I work in a shop with less than ten people and if two of them are in a bad mood its a trigger for me and I can start to feel the anxiety pretty fast. My coping for that is to work in a separate area with headphones on. There are times I can be in a crowded bar and have a great time because everyone there is happy, my birthday party was very low key everyone was having a good time and it was one of the best parties I've ever had. Again, you can choose to believe it or not but for the person having the anxiety attack this is very serious and there is no "sucking it up". Avoiding crowds, as much as that sounds like utopia to me, isn't always an option so what works for me is first try to control my breathing, this is a very common meditation trick because if you focus totally on breathing your aren't paying attention to the thousands of talking people around you. Usually after a little bit I feel like I have a little bit of control again I've gotten to the point where I can imagine a remote in my head and I just hit the "mute" button and everything goes quiet. This doesn't always work and there are times that I get very agitated and I have to leave.
Another one of my triggers is having too much to do, or in my head feeling like I have too much to do. This is another one that is impossible to understand if you don't have it. I can look outside right now and think of at least ten things I "need" to do. I enjoy taking care of my yard in the summer time, gardening is my meditation but the problem is that I can be out doing one thing and then I see that I need to pull some weeds so in my head I think as soon as I do the first thing I'll come back and do that, and on the way back to do that I think of something else and forget to do the first thing and eventually it triggers a panic attack and nothing gets done. The typical fix I hear is "you don't really need to do anything, you just think you do" That is a very easy thing for someone to say that doesn't have the same problem but I assure you that doesn't make it less real to me. The last couple months I spent with my mom I realized where it comes from and talking to different people I think its actually a pretty common thing to have but for me it can trigger a full blown panic attack. The old guy I work with told me what he does and it actually seems like a really good idea. He said he has a list of everything he wants to get done that day and as he finishes them in order he checks them off. I'm going to try to go outside with a notebook and coffee in the mornings and make that list and give it a try.
I mentioned in the last post about shadow work and healing. I think for me a lot of it starts with getting it out in the open and then trying to find a solution to cope with the issue, my blog puts it out for millions of people to see so I think that's a good first step. I think there are a lot of people more willing to talk about things now and I think that helps, but finding people that share your issues that you can talk to is still as far as I've found not as common as it needs to be. Again I apologize but a degree does not mean you understand, most want to put you on medicines that are literally toxic and that is not a solution. If you have similar anxieties, I'm always willing to listen and please if you have coping mechanisms I would love to hear what you do to live your happy hippie life.