Impending Doom

You know that feeling you used to get when you were a student and had a project hanging over your head?   It was always in the back of your mind; whether the due date was in three months or three days.  It sat there, festering; the prospect of SOMETHING needing to be done; gnawing away at you even when you weren’t consciously thinking about it.  That ever-present, oppressive, weight-on-your-shoulders, impending doom sort of feeling.

I have that feeling now.  In fact, I’ve had it for years.  I first became aware of it when my mother was dying, so I attributed it to that.  But it didn’t go away after she died.  Now my father is dying.  Maybe it will finally go away after he dies.  I hope so, because the weight of it (whatever IT is) is overwhelming.
To be perfectly honest, I have considered the possibility I may be on the verge of having a nervous breakdown.  While I had intended to keep this revelation a secret, it suddenly dawned on me 99% of the population is on the verge of having a nervous breakdown right along with me.  There must be millions of people who are hanging by a thread; millions of people whose parents are dying; millions of people who are scared; millions of people who are wondering how they’re going to survive the next 30 years; millions of people who lie awake at night worrying about their children’s future.

I’m tired of feeling sad.  I’m tired of being afraid.  I’m tired of thinking about life’s bleak outlook.  Just when it gets to the point of being all-consuming, I step back and take a breath.  I am not willing to succumb to this.  I’m not willing to sink into the abyss of depression – I’ve been there and I have no intention of going back.  I've been able to avoid it for the past five years partly because I am (some might say, perversely) comforted by the knowledge that I'm not alone – no one likes the thought of teetering on the brink in solitude – and partly because I think I've hit upon the solution.  (One which doesn't require therapy or medication.)  It is an astonishingly simple solution, but I have found it to be remarkably effective:
Yep.  That’s it.  Don’t think about it.

I’ve come to the conclusion the only difference between people who are able to keep living their lives and those who become paralyzed at the prospect, is the fine art of denial.  It is denial which keeps me sane.  If I don’t ruminate about it, it won’t suck me in and destroy me.  There's something to be said for those blissfully ignorant souls who look at life through rose-colored glasses and naively think everything's going to work out.  I take back all the nasty things I said about them.

I will deal with whatever today brings me.  I’ll concentrate on what Dad needs and I’ll concentrate on what my son needs.  I have a job to do.  I will do my very best for them and no matter what happens, I will not be reduced to wallowing in a puddle of useless emotion.  I will not give in to sleepless nights worrying about the future and above all, I will not lose myself.  I simply won't think about it.  Denial?  Definitely. Self-preservation?  Unquestionably.

There's something vaguely familiar about all this, and it just occurred to me what it is:
             "Oh, fiddle-de-dee," said Scarlett through her tears.  "I can't think about
              that right now.  If I do, I'll go crazy.  I'll think about that tomorrow.  After
              all, tomorrow is another day."  
This doesn't bode well, does it.   My memory may be a bit hazy, but I think the last we saw of Scarlett, her house burned down, her mother died, her father lost his mind, she no longer had a husband, and she was weeping on a staircase in a dress made out of draperies.

Hmm...  There's something vaguely familiar about all that, too.  Oh well.  At least I've never worn a dress made out of draperies.  

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