5 Tevet, 5773
I hope you'll appreciate that I choose to let the survivors of the Sandy Hook School massacre do their grieving privately. I prefer not to post news photos of bereft people nor debates about gun control laws here. People deserve and need respect for their private lives. They do not owe us invasions into their personal lives.
Today I'm going to address normative life and how to deal with some of its headaches. Take a breath, sip a tea if you wish, and let's read on together.
No matter where you live in the world, there seems to be one thing that the military and the medical world have in common: The "Hurry up and Wait" scenario. It can be quite upsetting.
A friend recently remarked online "EXHAUSTED! I just spent the entire day at [name of the hospital]. Saw the nurse. Then the anesthesiologist. Then a doctor. Then the nurse again. And in between I waited...and waited...and waited. Managed all conversations in Hebrew with a humongous amount of effort and focus and active listening. It is EXHAUSTING. Got home, and threw together a 3 bean meat chili. It is now on the stove, simmering. OY!"
I responded to her message with "Sounds like the military's 'Hurry up and wait' scenario. The emotional toll on patients is significant. I'm sorry that the medical world doesn't address it. I'd like to see informative videos in the seating/waiting area. I used to volunteer with other people in a chemo ward, providing amusement in the form of conversations, magazines, crafts, board games, music and more. Pity that this is so rare. I hope your sense of humor will let you know how to prepare for round 2. Bring some paper books and/or book and music CDs along for the trip."
It's definitely a downer to sit in a medical site wondering what will happen next and what could possibly speed along progress as you feel your blood pressure rising the whole time. And if anger doesn't mess up your mind, boredom sure can!
... Skeptical that you can feel happy? Consider this reality. I've mentioned babies a few times in my text. The reason is this: we are born cheerful. We feel secure, interested in our lives and surroundings. We eventually realize that our thoughts and actions are effective. Happiness is our natural state. It is when other people or circumstances hurt us and we make mistaken conclusions or choose to hold grudges that we fill up, maybe overflow with, feelings of insecurity, boredom, irrelevance, and/or depression. The solution is intellectual and emotional. We need to choose to our focus, to stay with it, and to develop the tenacity to return to states of gratitude, acceptance, and happiness. GOD gave us the tools so it could happen. We have the ability to control how we think and feel!
Here's your homework assignment... Set priorities. You're the first priority... in regard to your... health...
Worry doesn't banish troubles; it destroys inner strength!
I realized that I needed to figure out how to live until the tumor was taken out of me, and how to live with the after-effects of surgery. At best, I was in for some exhaustion, physical weakness, and pain. At worst, therapists in a rehabilitation facility would teach me how to live with physical or intellectual deficits.
At times I had to pretend I was in a positive mood. I was so depressed I thought I would die of heartache. So I took upbeat action to restore my stressed-out mind. I also kept in mind those who wanted me to survive.
In Hebrew (I am an Israeli) we say Acharei Hapeulot Nimshachim Halevavot. Our hearts are drawn after our actions. We tend to think we need to first feel and understand something and then our behavior will change. The Torah tells us that this is not true. At Mount Sinai, the Jewish Nation declared "Naaseh V’Nishma" - we will do and we will understand. The Torah is all about actions because HaShem (GOD) knows that the best way for us to change our feelings is to change our behavior. This is true of all humanity. So if you are not in a good mood and you want to be in one - Go right ahead and FAKE IT!
When you feel up to looking at your departed depression, or need to shuck it off your mind again with a new perspective, here's a light-hearted thought: Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
Remember what I shared with you about moods? Emotions rise and fall like ocean waves. They have a life of their own. It takes practice to gain and to keep control of our inner turmoil."
Okay, I hope you're in a better frame of mind now. If you want to laugh at the frustrations of being in volved with the medical world a bit, and to put more of your priorities in order, click on The Doctor Will Scare You Now.
Buy the E-book or print edition today for a better look at your medical life! Click on the words EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge.
Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity.
Face Your Future with Optimism.
Get your grin back, too.