I’ve just lived the worst two or three months of my life. I believe I am on a good track of improvement, but some days still I’m not so sure.
It wasn’t the flu, although it felt quite like it. Intense, immense body ache, foggy brain, and constant need for a nap. Soooo tired.
Of course, all lab work says I’m “well within normal”.
Really? Me? Normal?
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Did you know that right now, in Seattle, even for people with money, getting great mental health care is not easy? The doctors are not available. “No new patients right now.” “She can see you, but her first appointment opening is in seven weeks.”
See, I tried. I was so tired and so sore, and I became so blue-gray and grim, that I actually asked for help. That’s something I just don’t do (the reasons for which deserve another essay all to themselves). But somehow I had the fortitude to keep asking until someone said, “Yes, I can help you with this.”
Earlier today I was talking with a friend about how I hadn’t felt I could really tell my friends about what had been going on for me. And there were two things at play here. One, it’s America, rightâˆ’we don’t show our weaknesses. And two, so many of my friends are in pretty dire straits themselvesâˆ’I didn’t want to be their “last straw”.
I think that we are living in super difficult times right now. (No duh.) But seriously. We look at what is going on around us and feel the weight. It’s like there’s something prominently amiss that’s perfectly suited to fuel anyone’s anxiety. The classics: war, famine, drought, genocide. But also oil spills, earthquakes, unemployment, SARS, food contaminationâˆ’stuff that is quite real and not some fear that’s been manufactured to keep us distracted.
And I don’t know about you, but even if my life was peachy keen right now, 75% or more of my friends and family are in rough times, many are just barely holding on.
My BFF’s life is crazy. In the last four years or so her life has been burdened with all the worst of what can happen to family members. Heart attack. Death from old age. Death from old age. Suicide. Guillian BarrÃ©. Foreclosure. Unplanned pregnancy. Foreclosure. Heart attack. Death from old age. Unplanned pregnancy. Suicide. (Yes, the repeats are true.) And because these things are happening to her family members, they zap her, and her most important support network. Meanwhile, she’s working to keep four children and a husband fed, alive, and happy.
So many of us are running around just barely holding on. And we’re not talking about it. Which skews perspective. The silence gives the impression that other people’s lives are okay. We compare ourselves unfavorably.
We also feel the rift in the energy of the worldâˆ’all around us things are coming undoneâˆ’in a quiet, invisible way, and that invisibility exacerbates our feelings of confusion and anxiety.
I can’t think of anyone I know who isn’t living with the stress of warp speed, even the folks with theÂ simple lives are balancing inhuman loads.
We really have to give ourselves, and each other, a break.