One of my favorite sayings is “Man plans and God laughs.” Except when it happens to me. Like right now. The timing isn’t lost on me though. We’re already in the season of reflection and new beginnings with Easter, Passover and Spring. Time for the new little buds to come up from underground and stretch their delicate tendrils towards the sky. Instead, mine were plowed down, reminding me of how often I had to pull the weeds last year.
Back story: In 2009 I lost my hearing in my right ear to a “benign” tumor, which was successfully removed in 2014. Then I used to joke about being a psychologist who could only hear with one ear–which honestly works pretty well. Then last Sunday, I noticed I was having trouble hearing with the good one which sent me into a tailspin (from which I am still recovering) but coping much better than I thought and I want to share with you why.
Coping or Collapsing: I know it’s hard to believe you have choice in what happens next and that’s the lesson for today. Monday after seeing my doctor, I fell apart and decided I was doomed. I would never hear again. That’s how sneaky our auto-pilot is. Those reoccurring catastrophic thoughts that become so unruly and convincing especially under severe and prolonged stress (think COVID). However, because they feel strong, a nuclear bomb of automatic negative thoughts, we surrender our rational mind to our emotional, stress-ridden, fear mongering brain. The good news is you can do something about it.
What I’m doing: So I got out my light saber and prepared to do battle, knowing that distracting myself is the only mindfulness skill that works for me in an emergency. I cleaned my bedroom closet, my six-drawer dresser, decluttered boxes of stuff and re-organized and decluttered 4 bookcases. It helps that I’m on Prednisone 60mg to sustain my manic fervor. A while later I started feeling calmer. I controlled what I could and let go of what I couldn’t. I took the rest of the week off and made plans to see family and friends which comforts me. I did some yoga, took a lavender and lemon scented bath and washed and blowdried my hair because it’s stress-relieving I can still here that sound. Mostly I’m hanging in there and keeping my head above water.
Visit drdianesanford.com for resources and guided instructions on what you can do to keep from falling into the pit of despair. Together, we can learn to Stress Less and Live Better.
And in the meantime…read Rachel Sanford, LCSW’s bio here and check out her blog post from last month here. Rachel is following in my footsteps and started practicing with me in January 2022 after obtaining her license in clinical social work in June 2021. She has the rare quality of being a bright and technically skilled therapist who is empathetic, intuitive, caring, respectful and compassionate. She is truly an “old soul” and I am her very proud mom!
Wishing you a happy Passover, Easter, Ramadan or other holidays you might be celebrating this Spring!