I went to the emergency room last night, on the advice of my kidney doctor, who wanted me to have a chest x-ray and see if my swollen calves were a symptom of Congestive Heart Failure. I told the nurses, and I told the doctor, that when I stay in the hospital I get sicker. Fortunately, the doc listened, and I was home by 8pm. The incident put me in mind of a time when I was in the hospital often, with chest pain, and (I think now,) panic attacks. Not to say that I wasn’t sick, because I was — but the way I looked at the hospital was very different.
This is in 2004-2008, and thank the cosmos, it is behind me now. I used to hope that I would be admitted from the ER, because that would mean someone believed I was really sick, and in need of attention. Time after time, I trotted off to the hospital, or went in the ambulance, or Mom drove me to the ER — in the winter of 2004-2005, I’d guess I was hospitalized at least three days out of every seven, and that is a conservative estimate.
So, why did I have that attention/affirmation/complete loss of willingness or ability to take care of myself? I am honestly not sure. I have been that way since young childhood — maybe nobody believed I hurt when I stubbed my toe, or something. Anyway, I never, until the last couple of years, felt that I would be believed when matters of my health were concerned. I think, as a result, I became much more aggressive about getting into the hospital. I am not proud of this, but it’s time for truth.
My fear of not being taken seriously has appeared in many different areas of my life. I think that is one of the reasons behind my perfectionism, as well. Always extremes: either I was always successful, or always very needy. Both of these feelings stemmed from the terrible depression that started when my diabetes was diagnosed.
I recently spoke with someone who has known me for a very long time. That person did not believe (here we go again,) that the feelings I am remembering and wrestling with are true. I do not understand how someone else can say whether or not my memories are true — they may be wacky, but they are my memories about how I felt. This person pointed out how successful I was in school, and Rainbow Girls, and band; as though being successful equals being happy, which it does not!!
From this, I assume that I wouldn’t be believed about not being believed, and resenting that. Or maybe not, but still, what a balled-up mess!! Others’ opinions really don’t matter the way I used to feel they did, but still, for someone,who has watched me flounder most of my life,to say those memories aren’t the truth, isn’t the truth. Does that make any sense?
Back to the hospital. There I was, spending a lot of time in a hospital bed, and doing nothing to prevent the further deterioration of my entire coronary system. I got to the point that I thought I might be better off just to stay there. Wrong.
In 2005, I fell, and hurt my knee quite seriously. I had morphine in the house, for chest pain. One night I took three of them, and I ended up in the ER, with Naloxone in my system and still in pain. When I was recovered enough to know what I was talking about, Mom told me she had arranged for me to spend a week at a local nursing home, while I was recovering. I was so beaten down by my own circumstances at that point that I agreed, and I further agreed to look into assisted living when I was ready to leave the nursing home. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!
Spending time in that nursing home made me realize that I did not want to surrender the freedom of my own place, or give up my car, or have some stupid candy-striper try to put a bath towel around my neck for a bib, every time I ate. I was horrified, and decided that I’d best get my poop in a group, and start taking care of myself. None of that crap for me!!
Although my depression continued, and worsened, over the next few years, I nevertheless turned some corner. I went to my old boss, and asked to go back to work part-time; he welcomed me back, and showed enormous patience when I got more and more depressed. I count that decision as the real beginning of my recovery. I sat in this apartment for two years before I went back to work; getting up, showering, dressing, and going to work were and still are vital steps toward feeling better about myself.
I am different now because I believe, (among many other ideals, faiths, and instructions,) in the Law of Attraction, as outlined by Abraham Hicks. Briefly, like calls to like; if I experience sadness, and concentrate on that sadness, I will open the way for more sadness in my life. Conversely, if I am happy, I will draw more happiness into my life. I spoke briefly, in a guest post on Zazenlife, about choosing Happiness. As I said there, I chose happiness easily, but the work leading up to the choice took time and effort.
So, a time existed when I was in the hospital or trying to be otherwise cared for. No longer. In spite of the incident described above, I am now comfortable just being who I am, and how I am, without that terrible need for affirmation. Seems that choice waited all my life for me to understand.