Friday, October 19, 2007

Paranoia creeps

The trouble with having your fears proved right at some point in the past is that it ends up feeding your natural paranoia until it becomes all consuming.

This is true of health worries and more.

I had lunch recently with someone I know through work, who used to be a state nurse before she traded it in for a university place followed by a lifetime of advertising (she is officially the nicest person in advertising I know - maybe all advertisers should be made to do good work before joining the ego train and this world would be a better place, but I digress).

Anyway she compared it to the paranoia she would feel when her children were young. They had a rash - it could be meningitis. They had a cough - it was leukemia. The slightest ailment led her down the path of the "it's a one in a million chance but it could be.... (insert life threatening disease here)". For her, it was an intellectual paranoia. For me, it's more emotional. Any health issue takes me right back to the day of diagnosis with breast cancer and sends me spinning into freefall again. I'm not sure it will ever go away but maybe, just maybe, it will subside or I'll learn to be more flippant about it.

And as life is getting back to normal I find myself getting paranoid about other things. Whether to sign up to a 2 year mortgage or a 3 year mortgage leads me to questions about the future and my plans. Ideas for a photographic project and exhibition are welcomed by everyone I float them on but I'm left wondering whether I should focus on me and us first. Get back on track with the lives we had before this happened. I R & I had some great plans and they were hopelessly derailed. Now that we're emerging from the rubble we need to put some new ones in place. But what? And where? There are so many things left undone and in limbo since I got ill that we're now going through the sometimes painful process of trying to reassemble everything, reassessing what we want to do, and when we want to do it.

And in the meantime I am ridiculously insecure, seeking reassurance at every point, forcing compliments and pleasantries from people in the vain attempt at bolstering my self-esteem. And then the compliment rings hollow and I get paranoid about being paranoid (how's that for a self-fulfilling road to disaster?).

I miss, as one of my employers once tactfully described it, "being untroubled by self-doubt". Other people called it cocky, but I don't care. It got me through life without being wracked by worry.

So, off I cycle now to one last zap.

It's over.

But it's not yet done.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Stock said...

Africa - there's always Africa. It's still there waiting for you.