Another Bummer... WHATIF
by Amy Austin on August 11, 2007
While I'm at it, I might as well post on the same topic that prompted me to start this blog... weird dreams. And in this particular case, *bad* dreams... about family.
I thought about posting this here the other morning (Wednesday), when it occurred (as I was staying home to catch up on lost sleep...), but I sometimes feel a bit shy (believe it or not!) about sharing this sort of personal stuff... I did when I started it, and it's probably why there's only 2 old posts up until now.
Anyway... the dream was about my grandmother (who, I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before, is an ex-smoker of the diehard variety... literally, as it was emphysema that forced her into cessation, and it's emphysema/COPD that is slowly bringing about her end) and my immediate family. In the dream, Meemaw had died several days earlier, and I found out by way of casual conversation with my parents! I mean, they had already attended her funeral and everything!!! I was infuriated by their apparent lack of concern for my feelings and for the also-apparent dead lines of communication between us.
I know that it was the subconscious knowledge that my grandmother is in a state of gradually accelerating deterioration and my accompanying mental back-burner concern (not to mention guilt, for not calling more frequently or being able to visit) combined with my family's chronic condition of being "too busy to stay in touch" (9 times out of 10, I am the one to initiate contact with them... and usually only at a rate of once every 2-3 months at that), but I was so upset by it that when I called her later that night, I started to cry (to myself) and really felt like it might just be the last time I would ever talk to her! What a horrible feeling.
It just goes hand-in-hand with the mental state I'm in these days, though... worrying about things to a level that I didn't used to... getting bent over the (seemingly) most minor of incidents (like one of the dogs getting sick on the rug... or eating the *second* couch belonging to the landlord (one I already replaced once!)...) -- I really feel "crazy" sometimes. A whole lot lately, actually. And yes, I've been in therapy (and on meds) for some time now. And one of the funny things about that to me is this...
Some of the things I think about now would never even have occurred to me if if weren't for going to the psych doctors! Here's a Shel Silverstein poem that came on a handout about maintaining better sleep hygiene (mine is notoriously bad) that sums up what I'm saying here pretty well. (It seems to me that "Uncle Shelby" was something of a basket case himself... and I think it's pretty funny how this seems to lend itself well to being a success in the world of "children's literature". Not terribly surprising, though, when one considers how much "adult" material is behind the success of people like Lewis Carroll... Dr. Seuss... and I just read that Shel actually wrote "A Boy Named Sue" for Johnny Cash! But I digress...) Anyway, here's the ultimate "worry" poem:
Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!
- Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic
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