Thursday, March 26, 2009

Denial

I am really good at denial.  It works for me.  Or maybe it's just my gut instinct telling me when I should take action and/or worry and when I shouldn't.  I do have a sort of sixth sense.

Denial/instinct has come in handy for me on many occasions.  In 2006, my husband came down with a diagnosis of pneumonia.  As things went on and he didn't get better, further tests showed a mass in his lung.  We were being prepared for a lung cancer diagnosis and he was scheduled to have part of his lung removed and biopsied.  Lots of plans were being made, including checking into all of our insurances, medical care, etc. etc.  We talked to our kids about his surgery but did not discuss the cancer aspect.  However, there were other times discussions came up and my only response was "we don't need to talk about that right now."  Was it denial?  Maybe.  But I also repeatedly said that this whole fiasco wasn't adding up.  There were some things that just didn't make sense and until that surgeon walked up to me and said MG's biopsy was positive for cancer, I wasn't going to believe it.  This approach allowed me to sleep at night.  It kept me from crashing and burning.  There were just some things along the medical timeline that didn't make any sense.  And I know disease does not often make sense and doesn't follow rules, but I just refused to believe it until I had to.  There were only two times that I was not able to use this approach, one was when Big E asked if "dad was going to die."  Thankfully, I was able to control myself until he was not in the room.

Other forms of denial have been kicked into action as needed.  During complications with one of my pregnancies, during my two brain surgeries, during an illness with Big E that had him in the hospital with a potentially fatal illness.  Denial as a form of self preservation.  And thankfully, all of these situations have turned out well for us.  The mass turned out to be a rare fungal infection in my husband's lungs.  Big E's illness ended up being some weird virus that was attacking his body, and more seriously, his blood, and passed after several weeks.  My complicated pregnancy resulted in a perfectly healthy, full term baby boy, CJ.

And though I don't consider myself a worrier, thanks to this ability to deny until forced with a situation that can no longer be denied, sometimes things happen that cannot be denied any longer.  I am a strong person.  I can handle quite a bit.  And I do handle it when faced with issues that have to be dealt with.  But for those things that I cannot get out of my head?  I have Lexapro for that.  To ease my anxieties, to overcome the verbal and visual tape that runs through my thoughts repeatedly, to help fight off the helplessness I feel about not being able to save the world. 

So I am not sure what this entry even sums up.  Denial?  Instinct?  Inane blabbering that adds up to one chaotic blog post?  Really, it's something I have been thinking about, even if not coherently.  Denial, instinct of knowing when things will turn out ok and how I handle it when life comes crashing down around me. 

What do you do to get through the rough and scary times?

(PS - all is well here.  There is nothing major going on directly in my life that provoked this post.  There is a lot in the news though and also in bloggy land that has had me thinking.  Maybe it's time to toss the paper into the recycling bin and turn off the computer for a while!)

9 comments:

  1. I'm with you, denial is a good prescription for survival, but still tend to dither back and forth, as a certain amount of (unpleasant)actual reality, unfortunately exists, that is life in general, no matter the economy. Not listening to the media, and all the doom and gloom, definitely helps keeps the nagging (and worrying) thoughts from popping into your head. Surround yourself with those you love, do the things you enjoy, stop and smell the roses!

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  2. Jo, I do switch off the news, and filter via the Internet which news items I do watch...

    I avoid newspaper headlines if they are particularly distressing to me too. I occasionally rant at the TV if there's someone on there I don't agree with, or if they're a merchant of doom!

    I count the good things that are happening around me - It's very important for me not to lose sight of what really counts in life...rather than the trivial things we can obsess over, if that makes any sense.

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  3. I am big in denial too, but I know from experience if I don't deal, the worry or anxiety manifests itself in many ways!

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  4. I think denial is a survival instinct. I refused to believe my preemie daughter had a 50/50 chance of survival, that IF she was born alive she would have all kids of complications and health problems. Because of that denial.. She was born alive with no complications or health problems.

    If you worry about every little thing in life that s out of your control, you can't focus on the things that ARE in your control.

    This was a very good reminder post. Life is too short

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  5. Maybe I need to learn to be a denier, instead of a worrier, which is what I am. I also need to look into some chemical assistance!

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  6. When things get rough, I often buy things. The tougher my problems are, the more expensive the thing I buy. It's kinda sick, I guess. And in a way, I suppose it's a form of denial, too.

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  7. I'm with Mary Ellen - I'm the worrier. My Hubs, he's the denier, then the realist when the poop really hits the fan.

    We make an awesome pair. So far, so good.

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  8. I think it's instinct...when my first child was born 6 weeks premature, hurried off to NICU & was born with fingers missing on one of her hands, I somehow didn't have any major worry or fear. Maybe that was instinct. Or just being young & caught up in things happening so damn fast and out of my control I didn't have the time to process and grasp what was going on. I didn't freak and I didn't worry at all. And you know what, everything was A-OK.

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  9. i adore denial. and i do it quite well. i can stick my head WAY in the sand, until something or somebody comes along and jerks it out... then i am left disoriented and squinting at the light.

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