Shitty Night

Pardon my French but I had a major shitty night last night. I couldn’t fall asleep till after midnight and woke up at the lovely hour of 3am. Guess what, I forgot everything. I forgot every anxiety self help tip I ever learned, and just tossed and turned and felt agitated like I was coming out of my own skin. Today I am exhausted. 

I have to drive my parents into Manhattan on Tuesday morning for my Dad’s yearly cystoscopy (it’s a camera the doctor puts in his bladder to see if any cancer has grown back).

We make the treck in yearly and it’s always stressful. To be fair, we have been nothing but completely blessed. It’s like we won the lottery because after having his very large tumor removed 5 years ago, my father hasn’t had one recurrence. And bladder cancer is one that grows back easily.

But my parents worry a lot. They both lost their mothers to cancer at not old ages- My mom was only 25 and I was just a baby when her mother passed away from ovarian cancer. And I was 12 when my other Grandma (my Dad’s mom) died looking like a holocaust survivor from stomach cancer. I watched her as she took her last breath in the hospital room and saw my Grandfather hugging her and crying so heartbroken. You don’t easily forget things like that.

So to tell you they (and me) are scared of cancer is putting it lightly.

I know intellectually we will be fine. No matter what, even if he has a recurrence, it will be manageable. A life ending bladder tumor takes longer to grow than a year. Also, his surgeon is excellent (his name is Dr. Guido Dalbagni) and we have utmost faith and trust in him.

It’s funny how I (the worst driver in the family, and one who has suffered from severe highway anxiety in the past) ended up being the driver. My brother and sister don’t live anywhere near NYC so of course it is up to me. My Dad, who is normally calm and an excellent driver is too freaked and is just in the zone for a few weeks around his appointment. He I’m sure has some post traumatic stress from his surgeries and bcg treatments and whatnot.

My mom is anxious herself and could never do the drive. She is elderly too.

Because of the heaviness and history that surrounds this annual doctor appointment, it always messes with my sleep a few days ahead of time.

One thing for sure, I am taking a my Valerian Root supplement tonight and tomorrow night too. There is no way in hell I will let myself be sleep deprived for this appointment.

My mood was weird this morning when I was at the gym, I still felt unsettled and a bit anxious from not sleeping well or enough.

I was going on the elliptical machine very gently.  Just enough to move my joints and get my endorphins going. The tvs were all blaring infomercials and political crap. Nothing good there.

Of course I was listening to something to help me. I listened to a Joel Osteen podcast. God how I love that man and his uplifting messages.

And I looked out into the gym and saw all the people doing their thing. I saw one really cute 20 something boy. He was lifting weights and he just looked so adorable and handsome. He looked so innocent and full of life. I just wished so much that he had a good and happy life. I said a little metta prayer for him:

“May you be happy…

May you be free from suffering…

May you have ease of well being.. .

May you be at peace.”

Next thing I knew, I was looking about and blessing all the other people with this prayer: the young, the old, men, women. I just saw us all as innocent people all just trying to do something nice for ourselves. Exercising to feel good. Trying to take care of our health.

My heart was so filled with love I could feel myself welling up with tears.

I got home and balled my eyes out.

It was weird but beautiful. Somehow my anxiety melted and turned to compassion and love.

I’ll take it.

I wish you peace,

Jill G.

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10 Responses to Shitty Night

  1. Terra says:

    Hang in there! Adopt the attitude, whatever happens it’s okay…. I listen to cds from the guy from Belgium that uses this approach….it helps me every time. This statement is not anxiety provoking. Your parents are probably so proud you are always there to help them. Give yourself a pat on the back…you deserve it!

  2. JillG says:

    Terra, you’re absolutely right. Whatever happens, it *will* be ok. I know this absolutely. That’s the correct attitude to have. Thank you for your kind comment.

  3. Monica says:

    Love this!!! I have driving anxiety too. I also have everything anxiety. I could be great one minute and the next feel like I can’t breath or swallow…like my throat is closing. What in the world is that?! I’ve also had my youngest sick for 2days…so I’m totally sleep deprived! Sleep messes with everything . Thank for your encouraging words and prayers!

    • JillG says:

      Hi Monica,

      You have little ones, therefore your hormones are probably doing a number on you. I remember those days all too well. They are wonderful, and yet anxiety can make it very hard at times. I’m sorry your youngest has been sick and you’ve not been sleeping. It certainly does make everything feel horrible. I hope you get the rest you need soon!

      As far as driving, you have to keep doing it. If you avoid it, or make a story about it in your head, anxiety can result. If you can still drive, even while feeling a level of anxiety, good for you. You are not giving into fear.

      As for the everything anxiety, I most definitely used to have that. One of my many symptoms also had to do with the feeling of not getting enough air. Here is a post I wrote about it that will help you: http://panicfreeme.com/3605/breathing-anxiety-tips/

      Sending you best wishes & blessings! x

  4. Eric says:

    I seem to be feeling that way all the time. While I don’t suffer from any particular anxiety issues like driving, crowds, and what not it’s just a funk. One that comes of its own volition. Today was going just fine and then it wasn’t for no particular reason. It’s quite disheartening and just getting worse and worse these days. Just want to feel normal again it’s getting old. Always reminds me of the opening line from Pink Floyd’s “one of my turns”

    ” Day after day, love turns grey
    Like the skin of a dying man
    Night after night, we pretend it’s all right
    But I have grown older and
    You have grown colder and
    Nothing is very much fun any more.

    And I can feel one of my turns coming on.
    I feel cold as razor blade
    Tight as a tourniquet
    Dry as a funeral drum,

    • JillG says:

      Eric,
      I do know how you feel. When I was younger, I remember having that song in my head quite often. I felt it was written for me somehow. My whole life was soundtracks of songs. I remember listening to my hard rock incessantly, letting the music draw me in and take me over to some extent. Even when it wasn’t playing, it was still in my head.

      I think for me it was trying to come to terms with being adult and sober in the world. A world that felt very serious and bleak. I was in a town I didn’t like with small kids and socially isolated. My husband was still drinking alcoholically so there was no feeling of comfort in the marriage. It was a scary time- I was frightened of all the responsibility. I never imagined I’d feel this way as a grown up homeowner, wife and mother. I felt like I was still dealing with the world like an adolescent.

      What helped me in that time of my life was to take control of how I felt. I knew I couldn’t just continue the way I was and expect things to get better. Things don’t get better by chance. So I remember I started going to Al-Anon. It helped me connect with others who also felt different and lost in this world.

      What also helped with the funk for me was getting off media. At that time, because I didn’t know what else to do, I filled up long hours with tv. It was not a good way to live.

      Looking back, I wish someone would have taught me about mindfulness back then. How sitting in stillness can bring us back to ourselves. How we lose touch with ourselves in this world because we are living completely in our minds. The mind spins thoughts of negativity all day long. With mindfulness, you learn to watch these thoughts without letting them take you over and become you. And with a little practice, life becomes lighter, you feel free, settled. You get inner peace. It is the complete opposite of mind funk.

      Sorry to ramble. But I want to let you know I heard you and can relate. I wish well my friend. May you find your peace.

  5. Kathy M. says:

    Hi Jill,
    First give yourself a huge high five for being the one to do the driving. I know from your previous posts, this was not easy and completely average to feel a ton of anxiety to drive into the city. A few weeks ago, I had to be a passenger going into the Bronx and while we were stuck in traffic on the Cross Bronx Expressway, I swear I felt like I was in an MRI machine. I am not driving at the moment because of my attacks. You’re still doing it and you’ve got the right attitude. Don’t stop.
    After everything you’ve been through lately, you’re being too hard on yourself. I’m proud of you. You’re helping your parents instead of the other way around! Jill give yourself credit, you’re still functioning! Half of time no one knows the inner struggle we go thru every day. Remember it’s now how you feel, it’s how you function. The fact that you still get out on your own, is better than winning the lottery, and no one can take that away from you. Even when don’t feel perfect, but you still go thru with your discomfort and do a task that is easy for the average Joe but hard for you, you did it!
    As far as sleep goes, remember Nicholas Tesla on average, only got 2 hours of sleep and did ton of experiments that worked and changed many things. Even with less sleep, we can accomplish a lot. Good Job Jill. Keep it up.

    • JillG says:

      Oh no Kathy, that experience on the Cross Bronx Expressway sounds like **hell**. I want to commend you for making my day when you yourself are suffering right now and not even driving! Your comment lifted me up so much! So thank you for that!

      That saying “It’s not now you feel it’s how you function” is 100% accurate. I know this first hand because I’ve been forcing myself to press on despite anxiety for a decade. And the blessing is that once you face your fear it goes away. It is one of the great paradoxes of life. I’m sure you know this very well yourself.

      And what about you? I will keep it up, but are you going to just not drive? Is that temporary or just for now? Have you tried any programs to help yourself like http://www.drivingpeace.com/? I have reviewed and can recommend it. If you do mindfulness, you can get there yourself with practice, the program is tailored around that.

      Thank you for your wonderful comment and I wish you much success in the driving department!

  6. Kathy M. says:

    Had fix my reply. It’s not how you feel It’s how you function.

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