I went to bed with something unsettling on my mind. So, I awoke before the crack of dawn. Preoccupied with how my inability to make peace with my quandary impacted on my night’s rest, I felt compelled to relieve my angsts.
After grabbing some coffee, I thought about people who are able to control their minds and persevere in spite of arduous circumstances and yet my dilemma affected my sleep. I marveled at the strength and courage of people who take control over their thoughts and theories. Then, I mulled over some philosophies I grew up with that have somewhat impacted my views – phrases like “Don’t speak it into existence” Don’t tell a bad dream before 11 a.m., or lightheartedly joking about “willing good fortune to yourself.” I also thought about the myths entrenched in me since my youth and those that I have recounted to my children, that I have allowed to take control over my thoughts and dictate particular behaviors.
To this day, my youngest will not step on cracks in the sidewalk; I eat black eyed peas on every New Year’s Day, I cross my legs and spit or do the sign of the cross when I see a black cat, and I know that somebody is going to really piss me off or upset me if my left eye continuously jumps. The power that mythologies and anxieties extract from my sensible mind can be intense. Too nervous or afraid – knowing that those old myths are just bracing for a moment of silence to leap to the forefront of my mind and impart fallacies. In order to not be consumed by the possibility of imminent doom, I surrender to eccentricities for armor.
Last week, I went to the doctor for my annual physical. To most people, it’s no big deal. To me going to the doctor makes me anxious because of a previous near death experience. That experience coupled with other traumatic experiences have prejudiced my thinking and amplified my anxieties when visiting the doctor.
All of these crazy thoughts kept running through my mind – past traumatic events regarding family and friends making me nervous; future – what ifs that may never come to fruition. I am healthy but yet I have panic attacks afraid that what has happened to some of the people that I love will happen to me. How do I get a grip on these thoughts and just focus on the present. I tell myself to calm down and relax – take sensible control of my mind.
How do people who are publicly humiliated, even demoralized develop a level of comfort to command specific outcomes. For example, when they are in the presence of people, they act as though nothing has happened. They appear confident, strong, and respecting and you respond accordingly. You may whisper behind their backs but in their presence, they are in charge of your reactions towards them. What kind of thoughts and processes are necessary to grasp those enormous fears and dictate that outcome from others.
How did my brother, who was at our family reunion enjoying the festivities a week before he entered into the hospital and received a terminal diagnosis, appear so composed? As I reflected on our conversations during my overnight visits, I questioned how he managed to laugh, joke, and maintain a protective big brotherly attitude during his final days on this earth. I often wondered why he was not mad, upset or even depressed. I deliberated over the courage and strength it must take to console your mind when you have less than a month to live.
The nurse and I conversed throughout the prep for the EKG. Unbeknownst to me, she was actually performing the EKG test as she led me to believe that she was still prepping – stating how my oily skin posed issues. Then she said, got it! I inquired – Got what? She said your EKG test. I shouted “you tricked me!” She stated that she had to because my mind would have been all over the place with anxiety.
Prior to my doctor’s arrival, I had already braced myself for another abnormal EKG reading as was the case for the last two years. My doctor arrived and reviewed my tests. She looks at my EKG and said it looked good. I questioned her assessment or maybe I just misheard. I asked her specifically about that test. She restated that everything looked good. My EKG was normal.