Just a Little Pathetic

The last post here at the Crisis seemed to leave a few people feeling, oh, a bit blue. I thought the theme of surviving, even in a precarious way, was fairly – well, if not uplifting then hopefully not a full downer.

This post, I’m afraid, promises no sunnier days.

And it’s not like there have been specific changes for the worst these past six weeks-and-counting, since Divorce Day. Although…since I cannot see inside my body, there may have been. And those changes may have predated the dissolution by quite some time. I just don’t know. No one does. But not having cold, hard facts at hand has never stopped me from spiraling down into a cesspool of fear and anxiety about things I have no control over. Nope, not once. So why should this be different?

Without getting too specific: I have a chronic health issue. It is mostly checked. It has gotten worse the last few months. The medicine the doc gave me has not helped. This usually irritating-but-largely benign affliction can be the harbinger of a precancerous condition. I, of course, can already imagine rogue cells running amok.

Wouldn’t that just be the perfect capper to a perfect year.

Oh, Burgan, you say. You are so silly. A. you probably don’t have cancer or even the precancerous condition. And B. if you do, you will take care of it.

Yes, but with what? The lousy health insurance I just signed up for, which of course does not cover preexisting conditions? Even going for the scope to see exactly where I stand; how many thousands will I be forking over for that out of my pocket?

Sundays, as I told a friend recently, have long been my days for anxiety, even before the New Crisis. (Mondays are reserved for depression and suicidal thoughts, but don’t worry, they are just thoughts). Today’s exaggerated concerns over health and money and just wondering where the hell I am going with my life hit as I did my laundry. As I stood above the dryer folding underwear, internally adding to my laundry list (haha) of woes, I had this thought: I am facing all this crap alone. And it hurts. It hurts more than the usual isolation of a weekday alone at the computer followed by a solitary dinner and a night by myself reading. It pains more than the weekend loneliness, when all my friends are busy or I’ve recently tapped out their companionship. It was existential aloneness framed by the fear of death, and a loneliness of the heart that comes from having no one to hug when a wave of panic and fear and stabbing emotional pain wash over you as you crouch over the dryer, fighting back tears.

I tried calling a few friends, the ones whose numbers I could recall in that angst-filled moment. No answer. No answer. No answer. The tears came. I finally, desperately, called my mother; now, reaching for that lifesaver has not always proven to be the best tack in past moments like these. But this time, it was ok. This time I felt comforted. The tears ceased.

And when I hung up, and contemplated how moments like these show how far I am off the Buddhist path, how just so pathetic a 50-year-old (for only two more days…) divorced, neurotic man can be, I tried to give myself some perspective. I remembered a tale I had been told just the day before. A true tale, of course.

A young woman, just 20, loves to wear her stylish heels as she walks with friends down the streets of New Haven, looking for that next trendy place for dinner, a place to go to have fun and be seen. The laughs come despite her health history – a successful battle against leukemia some years before. The sunny spirit arises despite today‘s struggle, against stage 4 bladder cancer, a result, most likely, of some of the same drugs used to kill the first cancer. The young woman with the stylish shoes and endearing smile has just left Connecticut, seeking experimental treatment elsewhere.

Stage 4.

20 years old.

So, no, dear readers, my intent is not to bum you out again. The story is really meant for me, to remind of the very real challenges others face every day, not mere chimeras of anxiety made real only by a too-active, self-pitying mind. And to illustrate for me the strength others find in the face of those concrete reminders of how uncontrollable and daunting life can be. Maybe I should save the tears for an actual emergency, a true crisis, hmm?

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~ by mburgan on March 13, 2011.

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