Sunday, February 23, 2014

Hyde and Freak

Who is this guy?

He looks like me. He sounds like me, lives in the same place and works at the same office as I do. But he sure is one furious son-of-a-bitch.

Too bad he won’t go away.

I’m finally recovering from yet another nasty virus that has been hanging around my neck for three tortuous weeks.

Between the horrendous weather and my poor physical condition the second month of 2014 has been so bad I've renamed it "Fuck-You-Already."

It’s the usual scenario: my body temperature drops, my stomach rumbles like a dormant volcano coming to life and my energy sinks into the negative numbers.

This is part of the chronic fatigue problem that I’ve been having for many years now and I thought I was getting better at controlling my emotions, but apparently not.

I started off fairly calmly, taking a few days off from work to rest and watch a lot of bad TV. I was feeling better by Week Two and told myself that I was over the worst of it.

But I went into Week Three still feeling hideous and the anger took over. I couldn’t stay calm. Negativity flooded through my brain with the usual ridiculous, self-destructive ideas: why does this always happen to me? I’m never going get well. I’ve going to different doctors, taking all kinds of vitamins and nothing has helped.

What's even more frustrating is that two of the best things for depression is exercising and socializing. And thanks to this misery I can't do either. I get so upset I feel like ripping the pages from a calendar to mark off all the time I've lost.

Last week I dragged myself over to Manhattan with my sister so we could take our auntie out for her birthday. While we wandered through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, my mind was churning out buckets of venom.

I had to stop at one point and mentally grab myself by the lapels for a rigorous reality check.

Where are you?

In the Met.

Physically, yes. But your thoughts are neck deep in a swamp full of hate.

Crashing Through the Snow

On President’s Day I staggered up to my chiropractor’s office, so filled with rage that the heat from my thoughts could have melted the mounds of snow that still covered the sidewalks.

My trip to the local laundry was even worse as I struggled to get my shopping cart through the ice and muck.

I hit one snag too many, lost my temper, and roughly plowed forward—only to find out later that I had broken one of the cart's plastic wheels. And I just bought this damn thing a short time ago.

I had been improving with the anger management but illness knocks me flat. It seems that my coping skills are effective except when I need them the most.

I am addicted to rage. I look for ways to get angry the way a junkie desperately hunts down a fix.

I don’t like saying that, but the first step in breaking free of any addiction is admitting that you have one.

There will always be plenty of things around to piss me off—from episodes in my past to what might or might not happen in the future.

One of the things I would like to do is separate my sense of self-worth from my physical health. Hating myself for being sick isn’t going to make me any healthier. It’ll only delay the healing process.

I’ve scheduled an appointment with a nutritionist in a couple of weeks and I just signed up for an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program at the Interdepenence Project in Manhattan. It starts next month and I’m hoping it can make a difference in how I look at the world.

And I've adopted a new viewpoint that I call DNA, which alternately stands for "Dynamic New Attitude" or "Don't Need Anger."

My shopping cart rolls roughly now, thanks to my last tantrum, but it still moves along. And so am I.


Ron said...

Rob, before I left my comment I clicked over on the link for the Interdepenence Project, and read about the 8-week course and it sounds awesome! And I think the price is awesome too, considering it's an EIGHT week course and each class is 2 1/2 hours long.

I think the body and mind are interconnected because it seems that when we're physically sick, the mind feels the same way. So I'm sure you're feeling a lot of that anger due to being sick.

"I don’t like saying that, but the first step in breaking free of any addiction is admitting that you have one."

I applaud you for having the courage to say that because you're right, admitting it is breaking free. And I think anger can be addictive because when we get angry, there is a rush of adrenaline that goes through us that feels intoxicating because it feels powerful. But at the same time, debilitating because we feel drained.

For me, my anger often stems from not speaking up when I should speak up, so then I get angry for NOT speaking up, so then I get angrier. I'm leaning now to say what I feel when I feel it, so I don't need to get to the angry stage.

Anyway, have a great week, buddy. And the best to you with this class!

Rob K said...

Yes, Ron, you're SO right! That adrenaline rush feels powerful, but it's false.

It's actually robbing us of our power, just like heroin will rob a junkie of any power.

And I know the anger that stems from NOT speaking up all too well. The rage just turns in on ourselves and does even more damage.

I'm really psyched for this course. And I'm glad you checked out the IDP site.

Thanks for stopping by, buddy, I really appreciate your thoughts on this.

Take care!

Bijoux said...

I'm always surprised at how being sick can affect one so emotionally and mentally. Like Ron said, everything is connected. I hope you begin to feel better. A little sunshine would freakin help, wouldn't it?

Rob K said...

Thanks, Bijoux, that's very kind of you.

Sunshine and warmer weather would be greatly freakin appreciated!

Take care!

v said...

hey rob, i'm so sorry to read all of this but glad to know you have taken steps to get clarity and help. being sick sucks. chronic pain sucks. i just start crying myself and i feel like i have chronic fatigue. pain definitely makes one tired. talking about it does help. if you ever feel like venting, ranting, please email me. i do understand a bit of what you're going through. take care and i look forward to follow ups with how the classes went.

Rob K said...

Oh, Val, that is so kind of you! Please feel free to email when you're feeling down, too.

Chronic pain and sickness are never easy, but having someone to talk to makes all the difference in the world.

I'll let you know how the classes go.

Take care!

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Jay of The Depp Effect said...

Oh, gosh, I feel for you, Rob! And I recognise what you're talking about. I think it's something that's fairly common in people with any kind of chronic debilitating illness - with me it's the fibromyalgia, of course. It makes me weak, it makes me tired, and it makes me hurt; day after day after day, and during the night, too. I get sick and tired (what a lovely apposite phrase that is!) of getting into bed aching, and finding no relief in lying down. Ah well, I'm sure you don't need to hear all my troubles when you have enough of your own to be going along with!

Rage is, I think, a very understandable response. I've been there and done that, but I've had to address that one for the sake of my blood pressure. Those who don't get angry tend to get depressed. Some of us do both in turns. Don't try to deny it, acknowledge it and move on despite it. That's my tuppence-worth for today!

Rob K said...

Oh, Jay, your tuppence-worth is priceless!

Denial is definitely the wrong way to go, so I'm acknowledging my troubles and moving on from there.

I am so sorry to hear of your health problems, but I thank you for sharing them with me. Please feel to tell me about your troubles any time you feel the need!

Take care and here's hoping we both feel better soon!

v said...

okay i most certainly will.

Rob K said...