Friday, 18 September 2009

Free Floating Anxiety

Only four more chemos to go now.

When this all started I was overwhelmed with anxiety. “What is going to happen to me?” “How will I cope on my own?” “What will I do for money?” “Will Nick leave me if my hair all falls out?”

And, as you have read, what has happened has happened. There have been good days and dark days but I’m still here, my family and friends are still with me, Nick is still hanging in there and the world keeps on turning.

Over the years I have learned that all resentment is in the past and all fear is in the future. Right now everything is just fine.

Well, that’s the theory. It takes me a great deal of introspection and using techniques like meditation, gratitude lists, yoga and positive thinking to keep myself cognisant of right now and not spending all my time dwelling in the past and the future.

Like I said, I now have four more weeks of chemotherapy, then a month break and then three weeks of radiotherapy. In other words, I’m halfway through my treatment. So now I’ve started tormenting myself with a new set of anxieties. “How am I going to get my life back together?” “Will I ever work again?” ”How will I repay all the money I’ve borrowed?” “What if the cancer comes back?” “Will Nick and I have grown too far apart after not having seen one another for seven months?” Before I know it I find myself old and alone, surrounded by piles of unread newspapers, opening a tin of cat-food for dinner.

I take some deep breaths.* The crazy voice in my head insists that, because I don’t know what is going to happen in the future it will inevitably be the worst possible scenario. I think it through. So I want to know what is going to happen tomorrow. And I want to know what is going to happen next month. And I want to know what is going to happen in three months time. If I follow that through to it’s logical conclusion then I will need to know what is going to happen every day for the rest of my life in order to feel secure.

That’s just nuts.

* Here is a simple technique that you can do anywhere. Cross your hands over the centre of your chest, between your breasts. Breathe slowly and regularly in and out through your nose. Close your eyes and imagine the breath filling your heart. Just take a few minutes until you feel a gentle smile creep across your face.


Anonymous said...

made me laugh out loud...and my crazy what's going to happen voice got the hump and left.