Is It Just Me?
By Dianne Baskin
For a brief moment or so it seemed my life seemed to be spinning out of control. This was my version of a meltdown the likes I had never experienced before. Maybe you have had this experience and if not the best advice I can offer is turn in the direction of the spin. That is something you learned in driver education when you hit a patch of ice or your driving wheel seems to have a mind of its own and is not on cruise control. It’s like memorizing the lyrics of some popular song. “Turn in the direction of the spin.” For those of you who have never had the experience this can be a difficult feat because it requires flexibility and change. If you really think about the concept of control you begin to realize it is internal and not an external phenomena. There is no set formula that can bring a sense of calm to the experience. Pharmaceuticals are often useless. A part of me knows that only I can control my thoughts, actions, and activities while a higher force is really the ‘One’ in control. My answer was to become still, pull the covers over my head and meditate in the middle of the mess. If you have never spent time with yourself this can be a daunting experience. It will bring light to a dark situation.
My mess included writer’s block and a bunch of other little quirky things that seemed out of proportion to their significance. Actively resisting the quick fix to the situation only encouraged my doubts about my ability to ever write something of substance and relevance. I cannot recall a time in my life that this state of inertia was so pervasive. Quite frankly I had ignored all the warning signs by overloading my plate, scheduling too many activities in short time frames, making too many commitments, immersing myself in problem solving for others, and neglecting me time. At some point I began to think I had given away so much of me there was little left to salvage. That is when I turned off the phone, lowered the volume on CNN, stop reading the mail daily and only glanced at the newspaper headlines. If you did not know, this was a real sacrifice for a television addict and news junkie.
Only then did I discover that the weariness and drudgery of the winter was contributing to the strange feelings I could not explain. I once frequented the shores of any island other than stony this time of year which made navigating the vortex a doable event for dozens of years. The need to become still and meditate gave me a way to stop the spinning. I had the answer all along. That is when I began searching for sunlight. Yes the beauty of nature within the sun.
This proved to be the best medicine I could have without a prescription. I ran to the window as the sun was rising and bathed my spirit in the rays of sunshine each day until the spinning stopped. Some days it was really hard to find any sunlight so I sought artificial light. Once my psyche found some peace by bathing in the sunlight I took it one step at a time. I cleared my plate. At first there was the guilt associated with all the people I had made promised to do something with. I knew that there were people counting on me to do something, be somewhere, or fix whatever they thought was broken in their world. This was my aha moment. Realizing I was not Olivia Pope, the fictional television character, who can fix anything except herself was an awesome discovery. Did you hear me breathe a huge sigh of relief? Slowly peeling away the layers was my second activity. Here is where some people would insert the idea of exercising as a way to address the spinning. I will not deceive you with such a lofty thought. It did enter my mind, however I need to keep it real. My elbow got a lot of exercise lifting beautiful glasses filled with refreshing bubbles and strawberries. It may not be your cup of tea however, it certainly helped to provide me clarity. Breathe, pant, pause, and repeat the process until you recognize yourself. Learned this at an overly priced spa in another state.
I thought only private summers could make you dive off the deep. Got news for you the meltdown kicks a private summer to the Jersey shore and back. The longer I live the better I understand the complexity of the aging process. A meltdown does not necessarily offer you a good look. One morning as I was passing a mirror I looked in it and startled myself. I put the phone back on the hook and called my masseuse. Nothing like stimulating the body and releasing the toxins. Follow this with steam and a stint in a whirlpool and you can be assured of avoiding a trip to a mental health facility.
You may relax in the knowledge that Obama Care did not cover the cost of the experience nor did my PPO. Now that my priorities are in reasonable order I am up and running again at a pace that makes sense for me.