On Tuesday, I wrote about my recent panic attack. I just wanted to mention some things about that before delving into the whole death thang that I wanted to talk about today.
I had mentioned that the attack snuck up on me as I was calmly eating my salad. Well, there is something that is pretty consistent with panic sufferers – we are masters at practicing avoidance. And for everyone it is different and at varying degrees. For some, if they have an attack in a grocery store (which seems to be a big trigger for some people) – they may avoid going back to that store or any store until they absolutely have to. If they have an attack on an airplane – chances are they will avoid flying for a while if they are able.
My attacks happened all of the time and usually at home. So I really couldn’t avoid that. But I did notice tonight that for the past two nights – I actually avoided eating my nightly salad. I have to laugh because that sounds SO. STUPID. Once I realized it, I made myself a tasty salad and lived through it.
Anyway, brains are weird.
I also mentioned in that blog that my attack escalated when I got paranoid about having a pulmonary embolism. I haven’t really been able to rid the thought for the past couple days – but I have been much more rational about it. I had a sharp fleeting pain in my chest and my back while at the store today. Some fear developed – but I talked myself out of it and carried on.
But tonight I saw THIS article. A 26 year old man who had been on the show Catfish died recently from…a pulmonary embolism due to a DVT. Which is exactly what I could not get out of my head for the past few days. Just weird and icky and sad.
So this death thing. How in thee hell am I going to get over this once and for all so that I can really start to LIVE my life with genuine quality? I have been trying to lick it for many years now to no avail. Several different shrinks…many different medications. A lot of books and introspection. Nothing is really helping. Shit, man. How do I get over my messed up mind??
I read THIS article yesterday and it really touched home with me. He mentions practicing Buddhism. This has been mentioned to me in the past. I mean, their philosophy is to live in the present, right? So fearing death wouldn’t be allowed. Can I rake some sand and finally be free? Honestly though, this sounds wonderful and I have to wonder…where does one start? Will I REALLY be able to change my thought processes after nearly 40 years simply by engaging in this belief system? It would take some major deprogramming.
Most people I know never really even think about death. They do not seem at all concerned with whether or not there is an afterlife. I know some people who absolutely believe we just die and that is that. Dead. Lights off. No soul, no survival of consciousness. How can this not depress the piss out of them?! I know others who strongly believe that there is an afterlife and we see our long gone loved ones or perhaps reincarnate.
My 9 year old has told me very matter-of-factly that this is what happens:
You go to heaven for one month and then become a baby. Heaven is a huge huge huge mansion with a million rooms. You do not remember your life so you do not reunite with anyone. After those 30 days you pick new parents and are born again. I asked her, “Well isn’t it kind of sad that you can’t see you family and pets again?” Her reply (as she shrugged indifferently), “Yea, it’s sad. That’s why dying is sad. It’s just the life cycle, mom.” She was clearly not bothered by this in the least. And who the hell was I to squash the peace she seems to have adopted with this dreary theory?
There are several components to dying that are encompassed in my ever-present fear.
Dying suddenly. Most people, if they worry at all, are concerned about having a terrible disease and dying in a long drawn out painful way. I tend to focus on the dangers that just snatch you – heart attacks, blood clots, stroke, etc. Sometimes I worry about accidents too. There are instances when I am walking down the basement stairs and I imagine falling to my death and Cassidy coming home to find me lying there. These are the kinds of things that enter into my brain with no invitation whatsoever! WTF??!!
Leaving Cassidy. As I have said, my fear did not develop so intensely until I had her. The thought of not being in her life is so painful. The idea of her having to go through losing me, equally so. This kid really has turned me into a crazy lady. I just love her way too much.
Afterlife. This is a biggie. I was not raised in any religion or any particular belief. And to this day, I do not have any kind of faith whatsoever. I do like to believe in SOMEthing. I am not religious…but I lean toward the spiritual side. I have seen John Edward live twice and that dude has me pretty damn convinced (go ahead, laugh, I don’t care). I have seen and heard of things happening that seem too real to be coincidence. And I have read a bagillion stories about near death experiences. They are so truly amazing and really do bring me some peace much of the time. And someone close to me has had an experience personally.
The thought of nothingness is torture to me. I don’t really know why, but it is. For some screwball, obsessive reason…I need to know that there is a survival of consciousness. And the fact that I will never KNOW that really pisses me the hell off. It’s probably all really a control thing, no? The one aspect in life I have absolutely no chance of controlling is the one thing my mind chooses on which to transfix.
So yea, death sucks. But what sucks even more is my refusal to accept it and move on with my LIFE. Don’t get me wrong. I am not laying here in a puddle of my own piss and tears. I am living a life and loving most of it. I just want to learn how to make it more full and peaceful.