Thoughtful Thursday: Scared

December 6, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday

Welcome to the December Intelligentsia.

#38: Elana from Elana’s Musings
#31: Lost in Translation from We Say IVF, They Say FIV
#30: Strongblonde from Strong Blonde
#20: St. Elsewhere
#18: Lori from Write Mind Open Heart
#16: Photogrl from Not the Path I Chose
#15: Cat
#13: Sara from Aryanhwy
#2: Mina from Kmina’s Blog

Thoughtful ThursdayThe Prompt-ly listserv has been discussing a recent article about Munchausen by Internet and people who make up drama such as severe health problems to receive support online.

I missed out on the discussion because I have been dealing with my own severe health problems. Which I didn’t tell anyone online about (except for one Intelligentsia member whom I saw in person last week). Everyone else in my online life, not even a peep. Whatever those people have that makes them want to make up medical crises, I seem to have the exact opposite.

I won’t get into details now as we’re still not sure exactly what’s going on — for the third time in my life, I am once again a medical mystery — but I am out of the woods and somewhat on the mend.

My life wasn’t actually in danger, but there were a couple of days when the doctors, and therefore I, thought it might be. And, as calm as I always am and as hard as I am to rile up, fucking fuck was I scared. The fear was compounded by the hours spent alone with nothing to do, as the medical issues rendered me unable to sleep, unable to get up, unable to use my hands for the most basic tasks like reading or going online, unable to do anything except sit in a chair all night and worry.

I have felt plenty of other strong emotions in life, but I’m not wired for anxiety. Some people, like DH’s mother, live their lives being worried and scared every day. Not me.

The last time I was truly scared was the almost-worst day of my life.

Aside from those two incidents, I can’t remember a time in my life when I was really, truly frightened. Deep to my core petrified.

I hope I never have cause to feel that afraid again. It fucking sucks.

When was the last time that you were really, truly scared? How often has that happened?

13 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Scared”

  1. Sara Says:

    Hmm.

    I don’t know that I’ve ever been truly terrified. If I have, it wasn’t strong enough to cause a lasting memory.

    I have, however, recently experienced that new kind of terror that comes from being a parent. Gwen was crawling up the stairs, as she currently loves to do, and I was walking up behind her, laptop on one hand, tea in the other, and then she lost her balance and fell and I had no hands free to catch her. Luckily, I managed to dump the tea (and not spill all that much), and then grab her after she slid only a few steps, while not completely destroying the laptop. Still, that was a heart-in-the-mouth moment unlike any I’d had before.

  2. St. Elsewhere Says:

    Well, I keep experiencing a range of emotions, and fear is one of them. But like you, I don’t like to keep it like a rock on my head and walk around.

    Before anything else, I am truly hoping that you are okay. I have no idea what is up with you, but I hope the medical mystery thing comes out a dud this time.

    I shared one of my worst ever experiences on that TT post you have linked up to. Another memorable scare came about last December, when human error at the hospital I was regular at, led ‘us’ to suspect that things were on a tail-spin with the baby. It was an awful day, and I ended up crying and yelling at the sonologist, and he got so taken aback, that he ended up offering me his handkerchief. (that last post on ‘worst’ was three years back? Wow!)

    Things have happened since then…things that have taken me high or low, but it is not a every day deal.

    Wishing you health.

  3. staciet Says:

    Glad that you are out of the woods and on the mend. Medical mystery are not two words anyone wants tied to them, that’s for sure. (((Hugs)))

    Most frightening time of my life was definitely when the boys were born and the probably six months after. I lived in a constant state of fear. It was truly a difficult time. So glad that we have moved passed that time now!

    Much love to you.

  4. Mina Says:

    I was hoping that you werebusy with the many happy events occuring during this time of year, and that nothing bad was happening. But I am surely glad to hear you are “on the mend” from the medical mysteries, which sound truly frightful.

    The last time I was truly scared was when I talked to my dad and realised just how much his illness had advanced and how irresponsible he was. He is truly a ticking bomb, a tragedy unfolding, and I cannot stop it. I hope that I am never that kind of burden to my children.

  5. Elana Kahn Says:

    I’ve had panic attacks on and off for many years, so it’s really hard to tell what is “true fear” and what is “panic attack fear that comes from nowhere”. I was afraid the other day because one of the light fixtures in my house stopped working and I didn’t know if it was on or off (since it has two switches), and I was beyond terrified that it would short out and burn my house down…to the point that I had a horrific nightmare about it. As the electrician is now on the way to my house I can calm a bit. ;-) But was that a rational fear or irrational panic attack one? I don’t rightly know…I guess it was a little bit of both.

    But here’s a funny one for you… Technically I have a phobia of flying, but I was so excited about going to London for ColdCon that I honestly wasn’t particularly scared about the flight itself! I usually have panic attacks for days before a flight, and even though I felt a little nervous it was more about the convention itself than about the flying bit. I took a sleeping pill on my flight going there so that I could sleep, but not because I was frightened, because honestly I wasn’t. I was sitting in my seat without the least bit of fear. Sure there was a few minutes of turbulence that put me on edge, but honestly it was only a few minutes during a 6 hour flight…and that was one of those irrational panic attack moments. I have a flight in just over 2 weeks to go to Missouri, and once again I’m super excited about going and not really scared of the flight – most likely because I had such super flights to and from London. Am I totally over my fear of flying? No…since I know if there’s any turbulence I will be gripping the seat like nothing else and saying my prayers. Why does turbulence on an airplane terrify me whereas a little shaking on an elevator or subway car or bus does not? Probably because it’s so high up in the air and I have a fear of falling from heights.

  6. a Says:

    I too am not wired for anxiety. I don’t think I ever really felt fear until after my daughter was born – I feel uneasy sometimes, but for the most part, I analyze the situation, determine the likelihood of dire consequences, deal with that prediction, and then deal with the situation. However, I can think of two incidents in the last six years where I was unable to analyze or deal with the situations. Most recently, which was, I think, last year, my husband was leaving for work. By this, I mean he was flying off to Afghanistan for a 6 week stint. When we dropped him off at the airport, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I would never see him again. I don’t know where that came from, and it was fortunately not an accurate prediction. However, that one was nothing compared to the post-partum anxiety attack I had when my daughter was about 3 months old.

    My husband and I used to work together, and a coworker of ours died (he was quite young, and had a rather aggressive cancer). His wake and funeral were held the same night. For some reason, although he lived in a rather serene town, the services were held in a different town. This particular town has a nation-wide reputation for crime and violence. Anyway, my husband, daughter, and I went to the wake. My husband decided to take our daughter home before the funeral service, and I was going to stay and then get a ride from coworkers. Once he left the building, I started freaking out (silently) because I became convinced that he was going to get shot and the baby would get stolen or harmed. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head for the entire service. The thing that makes this particularly irrational is that I work for the state police, and the entire block where the church was located was surrounded by cops – state and local from all over the area. Nothing was going to happen on that street that night.

    Glad to hear you’re on the mend, though. I hope you stop being a medical mystery!

  7. strongblonde Says:

    girl! i wish you would have mentioned something. or that i could have helped in some way!!! at any rate, i’m so glad that you’re out of the woods. if you have questions that you want to talk about or if you want me to let you know what the deal would be in my neck of the woods, i’m happy to share.

    i’m someone who tends to get anxious about a lot of things. mostly things that are out of my control. i’ve gotten much better through the years. the funny thing? when i got my cancer diagnosis? i was able to totally separate myself from the whole thing and really think of it clinically. i didn’t get upset. it was just a matter of fact: i had cancer and would be starting chemo. i would need surgery again. it didn’t really upset me. it just….was.

    i remember being scared twice in the last few years: 1) when we were at our 20ish week visit with the MFM and they found something wrong with T’s heart. well….more like his whole thoracic cavity. it started a whole slew of additional testing and we went to all kinds of visits and had to talk about “what if”. i was super scared that i wouldn’t be able to deal with some of the stuff that we had to prepare for. 2) i remember being scared when my water broke. i wasn’t scared really when i was admitted to the hospital. i felt like i could be “safe” there. but when my water broke? i knew that things couldn’t be stopped and that i would be delivering. i kept saying, “it’s too early, it’s too early!!” i was really REALLY felt scared.


  8. We both know you are not easily scared. So I can see why the last couple of weeks have been really, really hard and scary. Plus, you have more at stake now than before (though it might not have seemed possible back then).

    I was plunged into fear between October 5 and October 24. It had to do with a child who lived near us who disappeared, and the horror that proceeded to unfold. I was surprised how much it changed my worldview and the way in which I/we moved through our lives.

    I wish for you continued healing. And a functional linen closet.

  9. Kate Says:

    Sweetie, Oh my. I am so glad you are on the mend, but there is real horror in that kind of fear, and I am so very sorry to hear you’ve been struggling. That sounds so incredibly scary, fear begetting fear.

    I am an olympic level avoider. I could win the gold and then some. So I avoid avoid avoid avoid avoid, then end up mid-fear overwhelmed when I finally get to it.

    But anxiety? Yeah, anxiety and I are old bedfellows. Not the panic kind, but the low level dread/worry/concern, usually about being out of my league, disappointing someone, or fucking up, not usually (thankfully) about my health.

  10. Cat Says:

    I’m so glad you’re out of the woods! And hope the doctors can figure out what’s going on so you stay that way.

    As for being terrified, now that I have kids I’m pretty much terrified every time there’s a tornado warning. This past summer there weren’t any, but we had several in the summer of 2011. I didn’t used to even go in the basement for a tornado warning (that’s when one has actually been sighted in the vicinity, as opposed to a “tornado watch” when the conditions are favorable for a tornado to form), which is what you’re supposed to do, and stay there for the duration of the warning. Now I sprint there with the kids. I even kept a pack & play, diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes down there and made sure the flashlights and sleeping bags (to throw over the kids in the p&p) were within reach.

    One night I actually thought we were going to get hit by a tornado. I have lived my entire 35 years in the Midwest and have been through dozens of tornado warnings, but that’s the only time I actually thought we were going to get hit by one. It was awful. More awful would have been to actually get hit, of course, but I was terrified nonetheless. How was I going to save all three kids? Especially with DH videotaping it out the back door? Would he get downstairs in time? What would happen to us if he didn’t? What would happen to the kids if something happened to me while I was trying to protect them? Or after?

    For 45 minutes thunder rumbled constantly outside – it literally never stopped the whole time – and the lightning was flashing so fast it looked like a strobe light, also for the entire time. I hope to live at least another 35 years without witnessing that again!

    I was also terrified in the OR when the kids were delivered, but that was mostly because I was strapped down and so much was happening TO me while I couldn’t do anything for myself. I wasn’t afraid of bodily harm for any of us, since I knew the babies had been delivered safely.


  11. First of all, I’m glad you’re on the mend. It sounds like a case for Dr House! I feel bad for not sending you an email two weeks ago to ask if you were OK when the weekly TT post didn’t show up in my reader…

    My scariest moment to date is from when we just moved to France. We had brought our car from the US and someone at the Dutch consulate had told us that until we had a French license plate, we should have a USA sticker on our car. So we bought one and put it next to the IL license plate. The container with all our belongings (including the car) had just arrived and we were driving in the city on our way to the blue and yellow store to buy some more stuff when another car passed us with two young guys (of N-African origin) yelling, giving us the finger and throwing something at our car (which we believed was a stone). At the next stop light we took a picture of their license plate and then DH got out of the car (I begged him not to, but he didn’t listen) and went to talk to the guys. When the light turned green, the other car started moving again. DH had his hand on the roof railing and instead of letting go (he later told me and the police that they were already going too fast for that) hung on to the car, yelling at the driver to stop. I sat petrified in the passenger seat of our car, looking at the other car with DH hanging on to it getting out of my sight because of the curving road. I was sure that the next time I would see DH he would be dead. We had had some difficult and stressful times before (infertility, stress at work followed by international move) in which I sometimes questioned our relationship, but at that moment I knew that I never wanted to lose him!

    It took me a few moments to get to my senses and get behind the wheel. About 300 m further I found DH on the side of the road, with torn jeans, damaged shoes, scraped knees and elbows, but alive! The other car had of course taken off. Not many people around us were sympathetic, but luckily there was a women who’d seen me in shock in the car, so she stopped, called the police, and stayed with us until they had arrived. Then we first went to the hospital to check DH out (nothing serious), and then on to the police station to file a report (a good exercise for our French!). In the meantime they had brought the driver and his friend in. We later went to court, case was only against the driver as the friend, who was much more aggressive and obviously the instigator (DH had told me that when he had talked to them the driver was super scared), was not behind the wheel. The driver was accused of violence with arms (the arms being the car), lost his drivers license for 6 months or a year, I don’t remember. We were asked if we wanted to file a civil suit but we let it go – too much hatred already – when DH said that to the judge, he replied something like “well, the last time France and Holland were in conflict was a very long time ago”, upon which the guy’s stupid lawyer said “well, wasn’t that WWII?” so the judge slapped back with “no, we were on the same side!” Comic relief…


  12. I’m so happy you’re feeling better, and sympathizing about being a medical mystery. I hate mystery outside a book or television show, and it’s insanely tough to deal with the not knowing.

    It’s funny, because as I’ve written about a lot on my blog, I have anxiety issues that flare up during hard times, but I’ve never been truly scared for my life.

    Before he met me, my husband fell from a great height and broke a lot of important stuff (I’m talking years of recovery). But he once told me about waking up for a moment before the ambulance came, and feeling completely calm, “Like this is it. I’m dying,” and fully accepting it.

    Now he’s very even keel. He only gets anxious about our daughter — but who isn’t anxious about their kid(s)?

    Anyway, I’m sending you lots of good thoughts and b/c I’m such a Californian now, good vibes. I hope the doctors figure it out soon. You’re wonderful and we can’t have you out here all scared, now can we?

  13. Photogrl Says:

    I revisted your original post and saw that the most scared I ever was when I went into surgery for my ectopic pregnancy in 2006.

    That is still one of the two times in my life I’ve been terrified.

    The other was the day I gave birth to the twins.

    Miss O. had been a true emergency, crash c-section. I was was not awake when she was born. When I woke up from the delivery, I had to ask what my baby was…we were Team Green ;)

    So, I had a totally irrational fear that my planned section with the twins would be a repeat performance of my 1st delivery. To the point that I had a hard time breathing when I was walking to the OR.

    I hate to hear that you’re struggling with a medical mystery. Huge hugs and good thoughts going out to you!


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