Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Slowing Down

So the doctors think that my problem is anxiety. Chronic anxiety taking a major toll on my body. That is what I get for pushing "it" all aside and pressing on. And without going into a big victim fest about all the toils of my life, I can pretty much sum it up in one sentence: My mom has Alzheimer's. There, done.

I was told just yesterday, by a friend, that maybe I should start taking some of my own advice. I laughed, but deep down I knew that this person was right. What happened to to the smart woman who learned how to deal with her own stress? She got too busy and probably a little too scared to stop and deal with it.

Scared? Yes, it is scary to sometimes to deal with emotion. You have to truly let yourself feel that emotion, totally and completely. And if that means I am sad, that would inevitably lead to crying...at least with me. Tears would flow in abundance. And that was something I just did not have time for. It was inconvenient with whatever was going on in the rest of my life. I have kids to take care of, bills to pay, people to train, a house to clean, groceries to get, and whatever else came up each day. I was stressed to the max and didn't even know it. So my mom's stress on top of everyday stress, just became too much.

I believe that the stress mostly all has to do with my Mom. Losing her to Alzheimer's. Seeing someone else have a close tender moment with their mom and me knowing that I can't, and won't, have that type of connection with her anymore. Or seeing or hearing someone be so mad at their mom about something and me, thinking in my head, "At least you have a Mom that you can be mad at, even for a brief moment." Because, trust me, I get mad these days, but never at her. I get mad at "the situation."

"The situation" has many facets to it. There is the fact that she had to get this disease. The historical "Why her?!" and then it turns in to the "Why us?!" and then the "Why me?!" I used to say that the fact that I am the main person in town that cares for her, although she is at a nursing home now, was the main reason. I am the everyday contact, and that has taken a major toll on me. My poor sister, who lives across the country has her own emotions and guilt to deal with. I honestly don't think that one of us has it any easier. And to be honest, there are many days that I wish it would just all stop.

I wish that I could take a remote button and pause that part of my life, just for a while. The entire part that deals with my mom--the worrying, the caretaking, the guilt, the anger, the sadness, the incessant questions of, "How is your mom doing?" I just want to make it stop, just for some time to catch up. Time to process those feelings and be done with them. To be able to enjoy life, just one day without the worry and stress that comes along with my Mom right now. My dream would be to press that pause button, get on a plane, and fly to a warm beach. Then enjoy that beach and vacation for about a week. Soak in the sun, smell the salt air. No schedule. Good food. Good drinks. And not one thought about how my mom is doing, adjusting, being taken care of, feeling guilty that I am not there, that her laundry would have to wait, is she eating enough... Then come home, hit the button to unease, and go on and deal with life.


A girl can dream, right? In all seriousness, I really do need to listen to my own advice. The "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time" kind of advice. Because I can only do so much and obviously my body can only handle so much.

The other day I watched a video on TED about slowing down. This video explained the importance of not being in a rush all of the time. The benefits are tremendous and I, in fact, know this. I know that when I take my time getting things done, I actually get more accomplished than when I am running around in a frenzy trying to get tasks completed.

So, somehow I need to hit that pause button and slow down a bit more. I need to once again truly experience each day, each moment that is thrown at me, no matter what it is. I will cry, scream, smile, laugh...whatever the moment entails.

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