Thursday, May 15, 2014

Transitional Thoughts

Post Soundtrack:  Tectonic Shift by Delerium

I have discovered something called Patients For A Moment that I am going to try and participate in.  This month's topic is:  How do you cope with transitions?

I have been dwelling on the idea of transitions for several days now, and have found myself oddly baffled by the idea.  It isn't that I don't understand the word, nor is it that I do not grasp the idea.  After a round with a 24 hour flu, and preparing for my next rheumy appointment tomorrow, I think I have finally settled on why I find it so difficult to write about transitions in my life, and why I can't figure out how to express myself about them.

Perhaps it is because I am so new to my diagnosis, but to me, every day is a transition.  Granted, there are bigger ones than the average, everyday stuff, but that's just it... they are simply bigger rather than different.  I suppose my biggest transition lately was the diagnosis itself.  Having my suspicions proven true was more transition than I cared to have, to be honest.  However, even the normal daily challenge of figuring out whether I can go to the store, or to my son's orchestra concert, or just to the mailbox, are more than I care to handle too.  It seems like most of my transitions lately have been rather unpleasant.

But that still doesn't really answer the question, does it?  For all my wrangling at the idea, I have managed to avoid the question itself.  This is probably because the answer is as unpredictable as the transitions themselves.  Let me explain a little further.

I have always been an emotional person.  I empathize easily with other people.  I generally find it very easy to express how I feel at any given moment.  Because of this, I had always figured I would be an emotional  volcano if anything major ever went wrong.  Nine years ago today, I found out just exactly how I would respond in a crisis.  Our house caught fire while we were gone to church services.  We came home to fire trucks and one very ruined home.

My first frantic thought was how I had to get my son away from there, out of sight of our burned house, away from the potential emotional trauma.  Thereafter I settled into a detached frame of mind.  I dealt with what needed dealing with, and felt baffled and irritated by the strongly emotional reactions of my friends, who wept for my loss.  At the time I didn't notice how cold I was inside.  Later on I figured it was due to shock.  I had to remind myself it was okay to cry, that it was alright to be upset.  I had walled it all away, tried to keep it separate from myself.  This reaction surprised me.

I've learned since that this is apparently how I handle things that are too big for me to functionally handle.  After I was told by my rheumy two months ago that it was indeed Lupus, I expected to explode.  I expected a hysterical bout of tears.  It never came.  I wept a few shocked tears on the way home, and a few more would leak out over the next few days, but beyond that, nothing.

It is possible this careful calmness is good for me, as it leaves me free to deal with the changing situation.  It allows me to deal with things one small item at a time.  It's been a process, and still is.  How does one adjust mentally and emotionally to something so vastly life-altering and ever-changing?  There is no rhythm to fall into, no routine to get used to, no solid new state of life to pace myself with.  It adds a whole new layer of unpredictability to life that is one great, giant transition.

Now if only I could feel as calm about the little transitions, and less aggravated by their randomness!

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