Snow in March

Things are somewhat difficult and somewhat good, all in a mix, and that sums up life a lot of the time doesn’t it? I woke up this morning to new snow everywhere (bad as it’s March for heaven’s sake). But it started melting and I do have new patterny rubber boots to wear, so puddles are no longer a problem (good).

I have been getting along better with all kinds of people, which totally surprises me. For instance, I had another dental appointment Friday. The dentist is a flashbacks trigger for me, unfortunately, so I am scared of going, but must go of course. I always take a xanax (the wonder drug), for one thing to help me, but also to calm some of my startle and gag reactions so the appointment goes more smoothly. Up till now, I’d assumed the dentist didn’t like me…A few appointments ago, I’d ended up crying in the damn dentist chair, after they’d tried so many times to take a difficult x-ray and I’d gagged and gagged and they couldn’t get it….I’m difficult.

This time, me feeling relaxed by the drug, the dentist and I exchanged a little talk about the rain, then I asked her how she was spending her time off, as she’d started working only two days a week. Bingo. She told me this heartfelt story about how she was finding it difficult to fill her time, that her husband was wanting her to take the time as she’d had some friends that had passed away, but she loved her work…It was very interesting. And she was interested in telling me all this.

Then, when she left the room, the dental assistant started telling me her story, how she was a nurse in China, how difficult it was to get qualifications accepted in Canada, etc etc. It was also interesting to me. But also, it just seemed they didn’t hold my being difficult against me, but wanted to chat with me. It was a really good feeling and made the appointment less stressful than usual.

I don’t know if the therapy I’ve been doing is the cause, but my relationships with people in general have become a degree or several degrees warmer. And we haven’t talked about this at all in an actual session.

That’s the good.

The bad is how I’ve been feeling when by myself. Um…bad. One thing that’s happened is that I become very very anxious now when I’m home by myself. That’s new. I’m used to working alone and spending lots of time alone. Now all of a sudden, that’s when I’m hit by fear.

This morning that happened to me. First I thought I’d distract myself by watching a chick flick (While you were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock). I kind of enjoyed the mindless movie while at the same time still feeling all this fear and getting nauseous. I thought I’d get out of the house, so took some gravol and went to the cafe to read the paper.

When I was among people, things calmed down and I felt OK. Then I came home, and the fear came right back.

I think there are flashbacky feelings there underneath the fear, so I lay in bed for a while trying to feel whatever it was. That did calm the fear, but I ended up feeling really like crap. Feeling those feelings is just the worst thing. Or is the fear worse?

If this anxiety happens when I need to work, I’ll need to medicate or get nothing done.

Tomorrow I go for therapy so I will talk about the fear. I always hope I’ll hear the answer – do this that or the other, and you will be fine. It’s never like that though. Probably I’ll have to talk about things I don’t wish to talk about and feel things I don’t wish to feel. I’m definitely going to try and feel while I’m in the session.

Ron is going away for March break, so I’ll miss a session after that. I wish he was staying. I wish I didn’t feel dependent.

Good and bad as promised.

  1. Ellen, praying your anxiety and flashback lessen. Appreciate your blog and your encouraging comments you leave me.

  2. gniz said:

    Hi Ellen. I would say the anxiety and stuff coming to the surface is good and your choosing to try and feel it is good. I'm not certain this is accurate, but it's what I've experienced and been told by my teacher about such things.Imagine that your body holds onto stress and tension if you don't find outlets. Now imagine that for years and years, you have learned to hold in and repress stress and tension, so it continues to pile up inside.Can you now imagine how intense that stress and tension will feel after so long?My experience is that unless I work on a daily and hourly basis to relax and feel tension and let it dissipate, it piles up inside. Eventually it forces its way out as an anxiety attack of some sort–or anger, or some other negative emotion.You are finally starting to learn to release this intense pressure, but there's a lot of old stuff there that needs to make its way out. Stuffing it back down will never work, as far as I've experienced it.The only way out is through, and thankfully you're doing the hard work to get through!

  3. Ellen said:

    @ JBR – Thanks, I appreciate your kind supportive words JBR. @ gniz – That makes a lot of sense Aaron. I'm surprised how therapy and zen seem to have quite a bit in common. Sometimes it seems that meditation is asking for detachment, kind of rising above feelings, but the way you explain it, it's actually about feeling and releasing stuff. That's encouraging to hear about. I'm glad you think this is a good process. Thanks for telling me about this.

  4. gniz said:

    Hi Ellen, I hear you about how Zen and eastern religions sometimes appear to be telling us to be detached or "above it all." I think it's such a common thing to use it for, even amongst experienced practitioners.But in my view no good comes from that sort of meditation. Meditating isn't about being anything other than what I am and feeling that and trying to relax into this moment and this experience. Or that's my interpretation of it, in the style I use. My style really doesn't equate to zen or anything.My meditation is quirky and was taught to me by a very odd dude in California who has almost no tradition. But i've found it works for me. Everyone finds what works for them.So i'm glad some of my words of support have helped even a little. You're working so hard, it makes me happy to think that perhaps I've helped you feel a little less alone from time to time.Keep on trucking Ellen, things really are getting better and you should be very proud of that work.

  5. Nechtan said:

    Hi Ellen,I'm glad there has been good. I get the same way alone and I think its lack of distraction- too much time to internalise. I find it hard to get into anything on the TV unless I can calm, books are usually my only refuge. Personally I find distraction by whatever means is needed to lower anxiety before you can deal with things. I can definitely sympathise there from experience.I always get the impression from your posts that you will get there. You know what you want and go about seeking out the best way to do that. I feel it will all come together. It would be unfair not to. To get past the dentist phobia and be out working are massive things when under the pull of anxiety so please remind yourself of that because we have a tendancy not to dwell on the positives.Snow in March. That brought back a nice memory for me. My first trip abroad, to Spain, with the school. Getting on a bus and looking out the window at the snow around with dreams of a hot climate waiting. Unusual in March even for Scotland. All the best Nechtan

  6. Ellen said:

    @ gniz – I have a book – the Mindful Way Through Depression, that talks about meditating like that too. You notice feelings, and allow them to be there, but don't start thinking about them if possible…then they arise and pass away naturally. The way you explain things reminds me of that. You do make me feel less alone Aaron 🙂 Sometimes your comment is the one response and it cheers me up a lot. @ Nechtan – I'm a big fan of distraction too…I don't understand people who don't read books or watch TV/ movies. I have a friend like that and she says she doesn't need the distraction, but I definitely do also. Thanks for the encouragement. I may be doing better than I think.Nice memory of snow in March. I love that about Europe – you can be in another country so fast. And by bus! From Toronto you have to fly a long time to get anywhere other than the US. take care

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