This was supposed to be my morning to sleep in as long as I didn’t get any animal emergencies. I can’t sleep. I awake at 5:45am with negative thoughts circling my head. I can’t shake them. I give up on sleep and start the day. Getting up is like pressing the reset button. It allows my mind to re-boot. I leave the bad thoughts on my pillow.
When your negative thoughts circle you, I picture a scared animal being hunted by a wolf pack. The bad thoughts are the wolves and you are the prey. You are surrounded and you try to fight them off one at a time. But they keep coming. Your wolves are lean and hungry, fearless and desperate. They will do anything to force you to make a mistake. They circle you … waiting. Wearing you down to the point of exhaustion. Periodically, one wolf will make an advance and scare you so much you wish they would just get it over with and finish you off.
I feel like I’m the outsider who attempts to scare them off. I succeed in frightening some away, but I can’t get rid of them all. They keep coming. Now I am feeling surrounded by them too.
While thinking about this, I realize that distraction is what you need. Talking about your fears doesn’t seem to help. Trying to get you to think rationally about your fears doesn’t help. Maybe if you could be distracted from your fears … you could leave your fears somewhere else like I do.
I devise a plan to get you distracted from your fears. Hopefully you will get lots of phone calls and a few visits today. It will make your day pass easier. Hollis dropped by the house on the way to Halifax to visit you. As a fellow stroke survivor, he can identify with some of the feelings that you have. That should make for a good start to your day.
I try calling though out the day … lots of no answers and some busy signals. I was called into the animal hospital a few times but all easy to fix things … thankfully. I felt useful and skilled … two adjectives I haven’t felt on a weekend for a long time ... it was a nice feeling.
I went over to Juanita’s and found the children still in pajamas! My Mum is away this weekend and Juanita and Wayne have undertaken the task of soundproofing her bedroom. It was at the painting stage. I helped Juanita paint and clean Mum’s apartment. I felt somewhat useful although a little less skilled but that didn’t matter because I got to listen to CBC Radio Sunday Edition!
I haven’t listened to the radio for almost exactly six months. I love listening to CBC, especially on Sundays. Painting and listening to debates about Catholic Church in England and the role of God in sports. It transformed me to a different time in my life when I could garden or do boring mundane housework for hours on end while listening to CBC … I almost felt normal for an hour or so.
I tried to call again … busy. It turns out that your Mum, Steve and Fran called. When I did get through you sounded a little better then yesterday. You ask about the children. You felt badly that they were so upset with yesterday’s visit. “Maybe I shouldn’t spend time with them. I don’t want to hurt them … I wasn’t a father to them – too much crying.” You said.
You fear that the stroke took away your ability to be a good father … another hungry wolf fear.
You felt low earlier today. So low that you wanted to smoke. You wanted to smoke so badly that you actually asked another patient for a cigarette! Crazy as it sounds …God was looking out for you though. It turns out that the fellow patient had just decided to quit one hour before you asked her. She had no cigarettes. She had started a drug that helps curb the urge to smoke. “I can’t catch a break or get an stiff upper lip.” You said.
To follow my new plan to distract you from your misery, I read to you an email from the ultra-marathoner, Sue. She sent more encouraging words. I read the email to you. You reply very matter-of-fact like “That’s great! I want to get some training tips from her. If I can’t run fast then I’m going to run for a long time.” You were serious and sincere. I am amazed at how quickly you can swing from one state to another. Even at this sport it’s hard to keep up with you.