Preoccupied with My Health
For the last several weeks I’ve been preoccupied with my health. Especially with the results of several blood tests. I’ve been anxious and fearful about various diseases, dreading a kind of darkness that hovers just off-stage, waiting to make its inappropriate entrance.
I’ve felt this way for years, even though I’ve been blessed with relatively good health—IBS, eyeglasses and hay fever excepted. But no big diseases or disabilities have shut me down or kept me socially isolated.
So why this high anxiety? I seem to believe it’s time for me to run out of ‘good luck.’ I’m not a hypochondriac. Yet the older I get, the more I seem to expect that any moment now, disaster will strike.
As indeed it can. It’s a myth to think that back then I wasn’t susceptible to this kind of thing. Actually, youth and middle age provided me with a cover, a convenient way of being in denial.
Yet what’s true now has always been true. No one is exempt from having bad things happen. The only thing different today would be the odds of that happening.
Though I don’t want to be preoccupied with end-of-life anxiety, I seem to be leaning in that direction. This steals my joy. It makes me lethargic. Increasingly, it makes me aware that D won’t live forever.
So where does this streak of foreboding come from? In some ways it feels like an old friend. It also feels sick. Not sick unto death. Just sick with anxiety about a thousand small and large things that might happen to me or my family members.
I can’t think of one good reason to dwell on unanswerable questions such as these. They alienate me from the present. Drain energy from other things I might enjoy doing.
Right now I want to take a little rest. So I will. I don’t know what will happen after that. Or whether I’ll have anything to post tomorrow.
I wrote the words above two weeks ago, on July 24, not intending to post them. However, in the meantime I’ve read more about highly sensitive persons, of which I am one.
Instead of calling myself a worrywart, I might more accurately describe myself as keenly aware of the way things work together. This includes the way things might play out in the future, based on intuition and my experience of the present and the past.
I don’t choose to think like this. It just happens. Scenarios pop into my mind.
Perhaps in my childhood this was a survival tool that sometimes helped me stay out of trouble. As an adult it has often kept me from making false or unrealistic assumptions about the future. Not a bad thing.
Yet the truth is simple: I don’t know what the future holds. All I can do is focus on where I need to be right now, and what I need to be doing or not doing right now. Which is why taking that little rest and admitting I didn’t know whether I’d have anything to post the next day was a good sign.
How do you deal with anxiety about your future?
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 August 2015
Cartoon image from gramaonhealth.com
Photo of Smudge: DAFraser, Jan 2015