I’m going to go out on a limb (pun intended) and talk about anxiety. No, don’t run away, it won’t be too much crazy talk. In fact I’ve been trying to make it a more rational subject in my own mind in order to understand it and, hopefully, not get pulled off course so much.
I’m sitting here with an ice-pack on my eye trying to bring the swelling down after having had a biopsy taken from my lower lid yesterday. I’ve had a discoloration under my eye for years now but it has been steadily growing in the last year and the doctors want to make sure it’s nothing nasty or even pre-nasty.
My reaction to anxiety, or any kind of discomfort both physical and emotional, is to sleep. I’ve been sleeping a lot this past week. The idea of someone coming at my eye with a sharp implement was causing me to want to go to some other dimension for a while, preferably one with nice movies to watch. Fairy tales and love stories were welcome. At the same time I was, once again, feeling guilty for having such a dramatic anxiety-ridden reaction to something that really didn’t warrant it, it was just a little piece of skin, the doctor is really good, the biopsy will be negative…yadda yadda yadda.
I got to the doctor’s office and told her assistant that I was nervous. She hastened to assure me that there was nothing to worry about, the doctor did these procedures every day. I admit, in my anxiety, I was a little sharp with her when I said “Yes, but I don’t”. She seemed taken aback. I think she thought that my anxiety only stemmed from whether the doctor was proficient at slicing and dicing. I found this interesting because this was the least of my worries. I had complete confidence in the doctor. She had done a really good job on a small procedure for a friend of mine so I knew she was good. No, my worries had to do with sensory things, pain and discomfort. I am kind of a pain wimp. Wait. Actually, I am okay with pain (stoicism rocks.) I am a wimp when it comes to the potential for pain. Anticipation of pain and discomfort sends me into a tizzy. So my anxiety was more about the realities of the procedure. What was it going to be like? What was my role? Will I be able to close my eyes and not see what was going on? (It turns out that you don’t have to keep your eye open but it is difficult to close it …I spent a lot of time staring at the bright light overhead.)
I survived the ten minutes of having someone cut a piece of skin off my body but not without saying other abrupt, ridiculously stupid and awkward things to the doctor. I am not at my social best when someone pokes me with a needle. I left wishing I could apologize for sounding like an idiot. I’m sure they get that a lot and I have to remind myself that this was not a social situation where I was trying to impress someone with my stellar personality.
After the visit I sat in my car and marveled at the fact that even though I have lived with anxiety for, well, forever, I can still be in denial about it. I thought that after I was done I would be fine, my eye would be fine and I would go merrily on with my day with no reprisals. HA! I sat in the car and shivered and turned the heat up. I felt like crying but didn’t want to get my eye wet. This is where sisters often come in handy. A call to each of them, a cup of tea and a chocolate croissant from Starbucks and I was in better shape. Not great, but better. (Note to self…bring teddy bear, blanket and a cup of tea to the next procedure.)
I got home, had dinner and ran up against another moment of denial: “Once it’s over I’m going to sleep sooooo well”. Um, no. I forgot the après-procedure anxiety about sleeping on a body part that has been injured and has stitches. I worried all night about turning onto my left side and opening the suture up all over the pillow. Great. Now I’m anxious, sleep deprived AND I look like someone punched me in the eye with a shard of glass.
As procedures go, and I have had my share of uncomfortable/weird ones, this was really minor. I have a feeling that today, with its swelling and crusty stuff, is the most uncomfortable and awkward day, soon I won’t even remember where the cut was. But for right now, when I live my life going from one anxiety to another (yes, there is another waiting in the wings…a visit to my dad…whooppeeeeeee!) I have difficulty letting go of or ignoring it. I am cursed with a sensitive nature, a predilection towards self-awareness (to an extreme), a creative imagination, and a fight or flight program that is somewhat flawed (an understatement). Put all of these together and it can make certain days really tough.
I actually had another post in mind when I started this but the words went in a different direction. I think I will save it for another day. I’m tired and hungry and my eyelids keep sticking together…time for some dinner and…yeah…a nap!!!