You’ve traveled this far

Fall is here! It’s my favorite time of year yet I feel like I haven’t really been enjoying it that much. Why not? A sudden “episode” of anxiety has seemingly come out of nowhere and hit me like a truck running over my head at 80 mph. Well, okay I guess that analogy isn’t that great because if a truck really ran over my head I would be dead right now and I’m obviously alive. But this anxiety has been really debilitating and I haven’t been living life as I should because of it. I suppose realizing that my dreaded birthday is coming up is what triggered the anxiety attack. I started thinking about my age and where I am in life and what I’ve done and more about what I haven’t done (marriage, kids, grad school, career, my art, moving abroad again, etc). And that’s been really worrying and upsetting me. I know I’ve been beating myself up, unfairly, and way too harshly. But despite my efforts to be rational and chilled-out about things, the same obsessive worries and fears and regrets keep going round in circles in my head. But I think that once I start to really make progress and improvements in at least one area of my life, these feelings will get better and go away. God, I hope so. Regret is such a miserable, self-loathsome, sickening feeling. I’ve struggled enough with it already over the years and I thought I had finally let go of some things until this latest crippling bout of it. I know regret is extremely counter-productive because you can’t go back and change things. Looking back, dwelling, getting sentimental and nostalgic to the point of extreme sadness – this has always been a problem of mine since I was a kid, really. How do you stop thinking this way? If anybody has any good tips, please feel free to share them. I’m so tired of it.

Anyway, in other good news, I just started a new photography blog – I’m really happy with how it’s looking so far. Hopefully as I add more posts it will start to look more professional and will help me land some jobs or something. But despite using it as a job tool, I’ve just been having a lot of fun working on it.

Regarding RA stuff, my troublesome ankle is a lot worse again over the last week – swelling, painful. Why? I have no idea. The thought of going back on prednisone again is a depressing one and I’m fighting hard to not give in to it. I also just received a letter in the mail last week from the Mayo Clinic saying that an appointment has opened up with the orthopedic foot/ankle doctor I’ve been trying to get in to see since August. Bad news, I have to wait until December 13th for the appointment. December is cutting it awfully close to when my health insurance goes back to being crap as of January 1st. I am grateful that I actually got an appointment though. This doctor is kind of my last hope at trying to figure out what’s really going on with my ankle and to hopefully find a way to fix it. Otherwise I’ll have to start looking outside of Minnesota and realistically I can’t do that because my health insurance only covers me in the state (which is ridiculous).

Well anyway. Before I sign off, here is a poem I really like and recently discovered by Dorianne Laux. You’ve walked those streets a thousand times and still you end up here….

Yes, indeed.

Self-portrait, October 2012

By Dorianne Laux

Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you read
to the end just to find out who killed the cook, not
the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark,
in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication, not
the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,
the one you beat to the punchline, the door or the one
who left you in your red dress and shoes, the ones
that crimped your toes, don’t regret those.
Not the nights you called god names and cursed
your mother, sunk like a dog in the living room couch,
chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.
You were meant to inhale those smoky nights
over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings
across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed
coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches.
You’ve walked those streets a thousand times and still
you end up here. Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.
You’ve traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the window.
Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied of expectation.
Relax. Don’t bother remembering any of it. Let’s stop here,
under the lit sign on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.

(Check out the poem featured on Brain Pickings’ site: “Antilamentation: A Poetic Antidote to Regret by Maria Popova”)

6 thoughts on “You’ve traveled this far

  1. Dear Angela, don’t lose hope. Many years ago I was working with children with AIDS in Thailand. There was no medication and seeing this beautiful children die was the most heartbreaking experience of all my life. But 4 years after I began to work in the project, the government founded free medication . Many of the kids are alive today and enjoying a great life. I am sure than in a few years there will be the equivalent for rheumatoid arthritis ( I suffer it myself since the last year ) . So hold on ! The meds are coming and I am sure you will have a very creative and rich life, by what I can see in your blog !

  2. I don’t know how to say this without sounding nuts but I feel you must be a kindred spirit of mine. I overanalyze everything and constantly punish myself for things I should have done better, differently, or not at all… I found out I have RA earlier this year and I feel like it has beaten me into a bloody mess. And the worst part has been that I can no longer push myself far beyond reasonable limits to accomplish what I feel I must. But then that becomes the silver lining of this abhorrent disease. I have to slow down, have to rest my body, have to control stress and in doing all these things we learn to accept ourselves along the way. It’s not easy or immediate, but slowly we learn to appreciate what we can do.

    Thanks for this post and the poem, all things I really needed to hear tonight.

    1. Hi Kryssie,

      Thanks for your comment and for reading my blog! Ha ha you don’t sound too nuts, don’t worry. I’m sorry to hear about your RA diagnosis. But you’re right, we have to slow down and rest and not beat ourselves up about doing that. It’s weird. I was an overachiever in high school, but then after I got RA, I turned into the biggest procrastinator. Well, I had some issues with that too, before the RA. But RA made it a million times worse. And continues to do so. It’s one of the many things I’m trying to work on. But yeah, RA definitely doesn’t help if you’re already a neurotic, over-sensitive worrier (I am). I keep trying to tell myself though that there is a reason for everything – even this awful disease and the effect it’s had on my life. I hope that you can find a way to feel better soon! I also like your blog. I checked it out…I couldn’t figure out how to “follow” you on there though. Derrr…must look again.

      Thanks again for writing & take care,

      1. Angela,

        I’m beginning to think RA is a disease of the Type A overachievers! More and more people that I talk to in my online groups have all the classic signs of being high performers. Maybe our immune systems think they are overachievers as well!! LOL

        I absolutely understand where you’re coming from (see today’s blog post). On the right sidebar, there’s a subscribe button if you want the RSS feed (this is how I read your blog in my google reader app). Below that is follow by email and at the very bottom of the right sidebar is the google friend connect button. I just started the blog so I don’t have anyone on google friend yet.

        Thanks for commenting back :) It’s nice to meet another RA overachiever… it’s definitely harder on those of us so used to pushing ourselves to and beyond the limit.


  3. I am a 45 year old male. I was diagnosed with R.A. about 6 years ago. This disease has changed my life. When it started, I knew little of what to expect and how this disease would progress. I started reading about it but since the symptoms, etc. didn’t match my condition at that time, I relaxed and had a false sense of relief. I assumed it must be a mild form and that I will be fine.

    However my body started to feel the full power of R.A. after about a year and I started consuming a cocktail of allopathic medication. My body started to crumble – pain, inflammation in all possible joints, lack of strength, mental fatigue, confusion about the future and a total surrender to the disease. I also lost a successful business and that hurt me mentally and financially.

    The allopathic medication proved to be of little help and was almost (I was able to move with great difficulty) bedridden for about 18 months.

    This is when I decided to fight. I had to. The doctors were not able to give me a satisfactory recovery plan. I decided to try alternate routes to recovery. First with Ayurveda and then with Homeopathy. This new combination helped me. My body started to respond and this fuelled my quest for more alternate medical therapies.

    Today I use combination of Ayurvedic & Homeopathic medicines, I do Accunpucture, Yoga & Urine Therapy besides exercises to strengthen my body. It’s been more than a year since I stopped allopatic medication and now depend solely on natural remedies. Besides natural medicines, I also stick to diet that’s suitable to my body.

    My ESR (sedimentation rate) which was 130 has come down to 30 & CRP which was 80 is now 11 in about a years time.

    I believe that our body is capable of healing itself but sometimes we just have to provide the right stimulus for healing. If the stimulus is nature based (non chemical) the impact maybe slow but definitely long lasting and without any side effects.

    I have benefited from natural remedies and hope this information is useful to people with problems similar to mine. Also if anyone does benefit, please pay it forward and educate others.

  4. I don’t know, I’m not a Type A overachiever at all. I am a relaxed on the spot scheduler of what takes priority. I guess that’s because I have 4 teenagers now and rolling with the punches. Crazy life. I am so busy and trying not to be. I’m simply like you both because busy moms are forced to be overachievers. LOL

    I was just diagnosed yesterday after feeling bad for about 5 yrs. I LOVED the doc. She really listened to my situation and feel she will help me find a way to live this way. Kryssie, I’m going to join your blog too. I really feel I need support and friendship at this point. I’m 43 and feel like I’m 80yrs old. ;( Thanks for writing. Angela, I have a 17 yr old daughter who was born with only one hand. If I start to feel sorry for myself I watch her plow through life in her positive I-can-do-everything attitude and it helps. Her name is Angela. :)


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