Experts suggest ways to correct habits that keep us from resting well
Verified by Psychology Today
Hopefully you're in the middle of a fairly good week. Mine has gone the other way...but I've found that's chronic disease (which makes us feel like chronic complainers). I don't like to even be asked how I'm doing...I try to deflect attention back to the kind person asking, although there are fewer of them all the time. (Illness, loss.) I've been overwhelmed with too many people in my life and shockingly, at this stage, too few. Both can cause stress.
I didn't read about your cancer experience until a short time ago. (I apologize for what I put in my last post.) You're right, it's very much like having a chronic illness and patience is something that I, an impatient person years ago, have learned to master. Actually there's just a whole lot to worry about in whichever direction we turn. I've been on meds for anxiety and panic attacks for a few years and I have to say, despite how I dislike going on them, I had no idea how much stress I was under and for how long it had chased me. Immense help and I encourage anyone who's having constant anxiety (ask those around you how you seem and don't "load" the question. We need honesty). Anxiety's bad enough, panic attacks are a nightmare. Meditation finally began to not be enough and they were bad enough that I didn't just think of suicide, I was obsessed with completing the act. I now understand the thought process that can make it occur.
To help, I watch the news once a day only on PBS. I find it just presents it without so much of the circus that surrounds many other channels. That has helped immensely as our world is so huge now and there's always bad news from somewhere. I also read the comics...each day, watch funny movies (where are they compared to the others?), and do anything to distract myself. Fortunately my husband and I like the same programs. British, including places like New Zealand, Australia...really anything that's interesting, most have subtitles. We traveled a lot when younger (thankfully!) but there are many countries we haven't seen and it's always a pleasure to see one in a movie. We also go to bed early and watch shows until 10:00 p.m. Rod sleeps, I read until I drift off. You aren't alone in that, Toni. We don't nap, but there are days when I have no choice but to at least rest on an ice pack on my back.
I'm sure you're younger than I am, but it seems that we reach a stage (isn't that also what life is...different stages?). Each takes some adjustment and at the age I am, we've reached perhaps the most difficult one. As you pointed out, there are so many questions and no one knows how we'll make our exit. It can be scary.
Like you and others have mentioned, there are concerns about how life will be in hospitals, nursing homes (ugh!) and how meds will be distributed. Will changes occur and will we have absolutely no say over them? Ah, so many things are, in the end, out of our hands and those of our families. Our parents somehow went through the same end of life processes (unless fatal heart attack, stroke, accident), and now we're in the same line...beginning, middle or end. There are many things we'll never have answers for. I guess we just always thought we would.
I believe that things are presented in a negative way for many medical diagnoses because of our culture of trying to blame someone, or some institution for things that may happen to us. As a result, we live with more fear than necessary because the least bit of negativity is mentioned.
Menopause also changed my life and at least it's spoken of today. Again that's "my" life, not someone else's. All of us can respond to the same event in many ways. The Internet changed our lives permanently with far too much information that can vary from site to site. It can be helpful and then make us afraid - all in the same hour. And yes, confusion can cause upset and scrambled thinking. (Anxiety?)
I don't know anyone unaffected by osteopenia/osteoporosis at our ages. I still don't know how to handle it, but it's waiting.
I would like to mention dental problems. Due to my many nerve problems I can never tell if I have sinus pressure, ear pressure, neuropathic pain from shingles or a dental problem. I had what seemed like a swelling around my mouth with some pain. I simply couldn't figure out what it was. Awakened one morning to find out that I had severe sweeling from my mouth to under my eye.
As it turned out, I had two dental abcesses and lost three teeth. I was surprised as I'd only gone for check-ups, fillings, root canals, whatever had to be done. I had a choice of spending $8-10,000 for implants or could wear a bridge. I chose the bridge, but I'm still annoyed that my body let me down in such a manner. So many things give us dry mouths and in turn, cavities. I can't eat after 4-5:00 p.m., drink lots of water and take vitamins and supplments. Growing older causes the jaw to shrink and dental problems can occur. I was careful about my mouth but now I'm very aware of everything about it. It's quite exhausting for me to sit in the chair for an hour, but I really want to hold the teeth I have. At least them...please?
I keep falling asleep, writing and then nodding off again. Sorry. This is too long and probably doesn't say anything anyway. I apologize. Have a good evening with some one or something special. Feel comforted, each of you.
My life has been enriched in unexpected ways due to chronic pain and illness.
Here are my most-read pieces from each year I've written for Psychology Today.
Is Your Self-Talk Harming or Helping You?
Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today.