Category Archives: Anxiety

My health gobbled my life part ??

Only child contemplates health and stats

I figure that since January 1 this year I have wasted at least three weeks dealing with unwelcome health issues. Not three weeks at a time but if I tallied up all the time. From dental extractions to complications from them, my ongoing disgestive disorder and its complications (malnutrition and vitamin and mineral deficiencies that cause other problems), eye problems, sinus problems, etc., etc.

You can get the picture.

So, instead of just complaining I thought I would do a little research on health statistics for seniors and well, all adults. One source, the CDC puts the percentage of seniors (65 and over who aren’t living in seniors’stitutions) in poor health as 21 per cent. When it gets into specifics, such as hypertension those figures escalate. The page has several links for more health info about seniors.

For all of us, no matter how old we are, stress plays a big factor. And if you take stress into another level – what is causing the stress, you can not only rack up why you are getting sick (physically or mentally) you can get in a loop because being sick causes more stress. And all that steals from your valuable time, steals from your enjoyment of life.

I’m not providing any answers today – that is for another post or posts. Today, I’m just providing some links to information, particularly with statistics. They say misery loves company. I say “misery NEEDS company”.

Here are a few more links.

Symptoms of Stress statistics here

What’s stressing the stressed? See Stats Canada info here

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Anxiety, Health, Life Balance, Life demands, Only child, Worrying

Only Child debunks attitude factor with seniors’ stress

Sitting in my garden relaxes me

Sitting in my garden relaxes me

It’s ALL in your attitude, we seniors are told about how we handle the stress in our lives. My emphasis on the word “ALL”. Attitude may have something to do with it, but not “all.” And some of the research on attitude and seniors’ stress is somewhat questionable.

Take the study from North Carolina State University, for example. Sure the research shows that seniors who have a positive attitude about aging can handle stress better. Read this article about the study

One big factor from this study stands out. THE NUMBER OF SENIORS INVOLVED IN THIS STUDY.  Are you ready for this? Forty-three. That’s 43. That sure covers a lot of seniors and wide spread over demographics. Come on researchers, get real. Even professional pollsters use over 1000, if not close to 2000 people. While not near perfect in numbers it is much higher than the paltry 43.

I question the widespread validity of a study that uses only 43 people.

There are certainly many other factors in seniors’ lives besides their attitudes towards aging. Here are a few factors, given at random:

  1. The health of the senior – not just cancer, heart disease or diabetes, and loss of or diminished sight, hearing and/or mobility, Health includes mental health. If you don’t consider depression and/or high anxiety (with our without intolerance to uncertainly – disclaimer here – I have this  – see this previous blog post), it doesn’t paint a realistic picture. Also, often physical illnesses can cause depression and anxiety.
  2. What is happening in a senior’s life?
  3. What has happened previously over many years in the senior’s life?
  4. Is the senior financially secure (as much as anyone can be these days) or living near or below the poverty line?
  5. Does the senior live alone?
  6. Where does the senior live – in their home (house, condo, apartment) or in a long-term care facility?
  7. Does the senior have supportive family and/or friends?
  8. Does the senior have some passion/some interest in life – something that gets them going every day?
  9. The senior’s innate personality – i.e., some people are hard-wired to be positive and some the opposite.
  10.  We must not forget the Pollyanna effect. You know, the “everything is great and wonderful in life” and ignoring the bad that does happen (and I know “bad” can be subjective). Remember the 1960 Disney movie “Pollyanna” starring Hayley Mills? She played Pollyanna and gave a good take on it. However, in the movie Pollyanna, a 12-year-old-child, fell from a tree when sneaking out at night. From that she became crippled.

Maybe the best way to get through the senior years is to be realistic. If something upsets you, acknowledge this and maybe you need to do something about it. I find that helps me. What I am still learning is to pick my battles. You can’t fight everything.

And have some passion/some interest (or two or three or more – mine are writing, helping other writers, acting in comedy skits, gardening, reading, TV, cooking and walking, socializing with close family and friends, and apparently the weather). Try to find a balance between being alone and socializing. Lighten up a bit sometimes. For example, so far in one month I’ve had to have two molars (different locations) extracted. For my first “meal” with my son who was at the first  dental appointment and drove me home, I heated up solid food for him and said, “We can eat as soon as I heat up my gruel (chicken broth).” Confide your problems to someone you are close to, but not someone who is judgemental or orders you around. And if necessary, see a therapist, even if only for a short time to get over the hurdle. Eat healthy, get some exercise, get enough sleep and try not to do too much.

I’m still working on the latter two.

My $5.00 worth anyway.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Aloneness, Anxiety, Family and Friends, Health Seniors, Only child, Seniors

Only Child’s health ate her life

Only child contemplates luck and health

Only child contemplates luck and health

Do you every wonder if  the happenings in your life are linked? Especially if the same or similar situations keep happening one right after the other. And you have no control over them.

Take my health issues and other bad luck, (please take them. I’m fed up with them). Now, it is another dental problem – the “twin” molar on the left bottom side has reached a similar situation. Over the weekend the problem reared its ugly tooth. Yesterday I had an emergency appointment with my regular dentist and his diagnosis confirmed my suspicions – the long-present cavity (with  several years’ filling) had moved to the nerve. Today, I phoned the oral surgeon’s office to make an appointment. Between the surgeon being off for the next week, his sparse schedule at the office (he has another office and I believe teaches at a university), and what I need to keep in my schedule, my appointment is not until February 27.

It is starting out as a repeat of last month’s nonsense. Like last month’s dental crisis, the surgery is  scheduled for the last Monday of the month. And like last time I will again miss the monthly meeting of my Literature Group at the Toronto Heliconian Club.

This similar situation string of events doesn’t stop here. Remember my watches going on the fritz? First the longtime one went kaput and it wasn’t just the battery; the cheap freebie backup watch did need a battery change. But as soon as that was done, the thin vinyl strap broke.

So I had to buy a new watch. I managed to get one similar to the good old one – at 25 percent off the regular price. Three days later – just after the first dental surgery I removed the new watch to show my son, and the metal expanding strap broke. Martin checked it out and said it was a defective band. I have since exchanged it at the store, but you can bet I keep more than a good eye on the band when it is on and when it is off.

Considering the similar patterns – dental and watches going on the fritz – and their simultaneous occurrences, I don’t think all this is coincidence. I see it as more bad luck being shoved my way  in waves. And you can bet I’ve been raising my fist to the sky a lot. Hey, I need some exercise.

Seriously, considering all the other crap shoved not just my way, but most people’s in these beginnings of 2017 (just look at all the snow on Canada’s west and east coasts, for example), I’m beginning to believe the first six weeks of 2017 are worse than the first six months of 2016. And anyone I talked to considered 2016 to be a bad year and they couldn’t wait for the new year.

Well, as I’ve said before it appears to be “out of the frying pan and into the fire.” Just who is controlling the fire is up for grabs. I have my own ideas, which I may share in a later post.

For now, it is worry worry worry, being vigilant and taking Motrin as needed for pain (which hopefully both  will continue only very sporadically) and the natural supplement Valerian to calm down and also to sleep.

Two days ago I weighed myself and discovered I’ve lost 5 pounds since last weighing myself – a few days before the first dental surgery. I’m below the normal weight for my height and build. It is a combination of stress and being forced to eat less. Any more weight loss and I could look like a skeleton. And Halloween is eight months away.

I still have other health issues lining up – annual eye testing (overdue by one month and counting) with the optometrist, plus the quarterly appointment with the ophthalmologist long ago scheduled for late March. These are important as I have to keep an eye on (pun intended) my eyes or I could go blind in my left eye. Plus the ongoing IBS, sinus problems, etc. etc.

If all this (and more) keeps up, I may have to consider pulling a James Darren.

And I don’t want to do that.

For now I’ll do more fist-shaking at the sky.

And write, write, write.

And read, read, read

And watch TV (and not just the weather network, but mystery programs).

Escapism is the key word here.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Anxiety, Dental Surgery, Extreme Weather, Health, Life demands

Only Child on dental matters

 What you don't want the dentist to use on for extraction


What you don’t want the dentist to use for extractions

My late dad once spent two hours in the dental chair getting one tooth pulled. My mom was so incensed, she transferred the three of us to another dentist. But it was going from the frying pan into the fire. The new dentist was more than scary. Think of the 1976 movie Marathon Man where the late Sir Lawrence Oliver plays a dentist who torments patient Dustin Hoffman. Our family’s new dentist didn’t hurt physically. But he looked scary and his talk was scary. I remember him telling me that I would lose all my teeth at an early age.

That dentist finally died. But I would like to tell his spirit that I’m in my late 60s and still have more than 95 per cent of my own teeth. I did just have one removed a week ago and the oral surgeon who removed it said “you haven’t had any teeth removed for a number of years.” He was right – over 30 years ago – those pesky wisdom teeth and one molar.

This oral surgeon was just the opposite to Dr. Scary – gentle, kind and friendly in his talk and helpful. And the actual tooth removal took – are you ready for this? – five minutes. Most time spent in the chair was waiting for the freezing to take effect. And today, freezing isn’t heavy (as in weight) but still leaves that area of your mouth feeling no pain.

I learned a few other lessons from connecting with this oral surgeon. Lessons that could be applied elsewhere in life.

If at first you don’t get what you need, be persistent. The first oral surgeon recommended by my regular dentist turned out to be questionable – the practice at the same address had three different names and it was debatable just who was actually there and when. The receptionist was rude. So, my son stepped in, phoned his dentist’s office and got the name and contact info of oral surgeon I went to.

Sometimes what you expect doesn’t happen – But a caveat here – this can go both ways. For me, all the worrying (based on past dental experiences and yes, I had one hour in the chair with a regular dentist trying to pull a wisdom tooth and having to go right away to a specialist – that was one of the aforementioned wisdom teeth. At that point I lived in Aurora, so my dentist was no longer Dr. Scary, just Dr. Incompetent.)

Be thankful for your family members who actually help you – my son also met me at the oral surgeon’s, paid for the surgery (I had paid for the consultation visit), drove me to the drug store afterwards, then home and stayed until early evening to make sure I was okay. On the flip side – not with my son, but for all of us – watch out for family members who don’t care.

Follow post-operative instructions and if you get stuck, ask for help. I got detailed printed instructions and also chatted with the oral surgeon about them. But not everything goes smoothly. With me the bleeding didn’t seem to stop, although it was never heavy. But I went through a lot of gauge in the first four days, so made a follow-up appointment. The oral surgeon said it was healing nicely and at this point to ditch the gauze as it was getting in the way of the healing to finish. That was a relief – not just that everything was okay, but that I could stop using the gauze. Anyone who has ever tried to eat with a pack of gauze in your mouth will understand what I’m referring to about here.

So, did I learn to stop worrying about things?

No!

There is too much crap in life shoved at us to deal with and if you become like Ms. Pollyanna, you could be in trouble.

So, I go back to the Brownie motto when I was a child – be prepared.

And if that includes worrying, so be it. At least it gets you doing something about it.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

What Dr. Scary reminds me of

What Dr. Scary reminds me of

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Anxiety, Dental Surgery, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Only child, Worrying

Only Child on Luck and the like

Only child contemplates luck

Only child contemplates luck

Do some people have more good luck than bad? Do others have more bad luck than good?

I believe that is true and unfortunately I am one of the latter, at least as my life the past few years has shown. And before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I am definitely not the only one in this over-sized boat.

How do I figure this? If I go through my daily list of what I am thankful for and what I’m not (and the list varies from day-to-day depending on what is happening or happened recently), I find that the bad things take over a larger percentage than the good. Some of the good (like my writing and my garden and my son – in no particular order here) are big. But so is much of the bad.

Bad can be anything from being old, poor, not being healthy to being injured to death of close family and friends, to being alone. The list can be endless. A lot of the bad that happens to people is what comes under the heading of “unexpected things that go wrong.” These usually steal your time, your psyche, your life.

And yes, there is research, there are studies on good and bad luck. I don’t agree with all of it, such as maintaining a positive attitude 100 per cent of the time. That does not stop bad things from happening to people. Neither does a strong belief in God and that he will help if we pray to him. I (and I’m sure others) have proven that one incorrect. The studies don’t go into this latter aspect.

One thing I have learned from life, especially from my friends,  is those seniors who have a life partner do much better in life. Sure,  bad things happen to them, too – nobody is immune from that. But, they have a partner so have help, moral support. They are not dealing alone with the crap in life.

So what are some of the other things that these studies show?

Stephan Makri, PhD. from the City University of London,  says, ““I think that luck means different things to different people—some people use it as synonym for serendipity,” he says. “But others were clear that the two were different—luck was totally out of our control and there’s nothing we can do to influence it.”  By the way the article also quotes Dr. Yanlong Sun,  professor of microbial pathogenesis and immunology, Texas A&M College of Medicine, “As both a scientist and a person, I do believe in luck, that it is something I cannot manipulate or operate on.” The article also  quotes Richard Wiseman, psychology professor, the University of Hertfordshire, England, who has done several studies on luck. Wiseman says from one study “unlucky people seemed to demonstrate more anxiety.

Which begs the question? Are peope  unlucky because they are anxious? O are they anxious because they are unlucky?

Read the article on all this: “The Science of Luck” by Alexandra Osola, from Popular Science here.

What is some of the bad luck coming my way lately?

Computer problems, which I may or may have not fixed.

Two watches on the fritz at once. It better just be a new battery needed for each. With the big health issue I’m facing (see below), I don’t have extra cash for anymore expensive extra expenses. Also I need to keep track of my time, even though the powers that be may not be doing so.

Things going missing somewhere in my house. Disclaimer: I am not a hoarder and with what I do have I’ve been systematically sorting through and purging.

Ongoing health issues – the latest the biggie – the tooth extraction which comes up next Monday. I previously posted about the difficulty of  finding a good oral surgeon. But what is scary about all this is I haven’t had a tooth extraction for over 30 years and back then the situations didn’t go well. Mind you they were wisdom teeth (and that’s a misnomer for sure. Somebody goofed here in “creating” us). Also I have a lot of other health issues (which the surgeon is aware of – I did have to fill out a form and did have a consultation with him) including a compromised immune system. And then there is weather – it’s winter and if we get snow right after (like overnight after and the day after), guess who will be shoveling that white crap? The fellow who used to shovel my snow the past seven years didn’t show up this year. I tried to get someone else, but no luck.

And there is that word “luck” again. Hey, luck is a four-letter word, so what did I expect?

Dark days indeed. No wonder I often don’t get around to opening the blinds in the basement.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Aloneness, Anxiety, Balance, God, Good and Bad Luck, Health, Help and Support, Prayer, Seniors

Only Child on anxiety and intolerance of uncertainty

Only Child 's garden - temporary refuge from problems

Only Child ‘s garden – temporary refuge from problems

Life is full of uncertainty. But when the uncertainty turns into too many plurals running together or right after each other, it is too much. And we become anxious.

That seems to be so much lately. “Lately” being relative – it could refer to the last few weeks, months, and even years.

Considering all the crap that is happening in our world on a macro basis, when we get down to each of us individually, the micro basis is also high. And I think it has skyrocketed a lot since we entered the new millennium. I’m not saying life was smooth sailing before 2000 but it wasn’t as strenuous – even technology was reasonable. For example, we had computers; we had word-pr0cessing programs (eliminating typewriter use – and take it from a former journalist and secretary, typewriters were a slow frustrating pain to use), we had e-mail and we had the beginning of high speed Internet.

But we weren’t obsessed with constantly being online, constantly being connected with everyone and having  little or no privacy.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like some of this millennium’s technology – for example Skype, blogs, the expanded Internet with it seemingly unlimited  information. I particularly like the health info (keeping in mind there is bogus stuff as well as accurate info on the Internet), restaurants for location and menus, public transit info up to date and trip planners, etc..

But I don’t like it all in my face. I don’t like all the problems that technology generates and heck I don’t like some of the technology to even use. I really don’t need all the widgets and gadgets on a fridge. My stove’s oven is set up digitally as is the clock, but the burners still are turned on by hand. My stereo system is digital and some of that I like – except for figuring how to get and save different stations.

This technology is only a part of what fuels people’s anxiety. Everything is rush-rush and too-much to do. Add in someone, like me, who is anxious to begin with and you can have a recipe for anxiety disaster.

But a core issue for many people might be a medical condition called intolerance of uncertainty. Think about those three words and what they mean. “Intolerance” (besides the racial and ethnic intolerance) means  “exceptional sensitivity” (Merriam-Webster online). “Uncertainty” “something that is doubtful or unknown”. Put the two meanings together and someone with intolerance of uncertainty is  someone very sensitive to the uncertain things in life. And life is about uncertainty. And in these times that uncertainty racks up at an extremely high level. So people find ways to try and deal with this.

Some people get angry a lot (me); some turn into hoarders. See this study about uncertainty and hoarding. The premise is if you hoard a lot of things – furniture, food, etc. you feel you are protecting yourself from problems that might arise. But that doesn’t really work because we don’t know what these problems are – we can take guesses from weather reports, and warnings of computer viruses, software snafus and the like and a host of other things. But none of this safe-guards us from what’s out there coming at us

Praying doesn’t really help; I’ve tried it asking for this and that not to happen (and I don’t even cover more than the basics) for myself and those close to me. I preface it with expressing my gratitude for what is going right (sometimes a short list) for that day. I don’t think a Pollyanna attitude will do either. Remember Pollyanna (the Disney movie from 1960 staring Hayley Mills) fell from a tree and was crippled.

Of course, much less problems for each of us to deal with would be the best answer. Not going to happen in this life, in this world. So I use three tactics. My main focus is getting rid of/solving the damn problem(s). While problems keep hanging around and charging, in I use another device – distractions. I read, write, spend time in my garden (winter will kill the latter; one reason I hate winter with a passion), spend time with friends, watch TV. Sleep used to be a good distraction but now with insomnia I don’t sleep long enough and wake up in spurts and my mind grabs onto the latest big worry or worries. I’ll go more into the sleep end in a future post.

And my third tactic. I yell a lot. I get angry. Not 24/7 though. I have my lighter moments. But yelling and anger keeps me going to solve the problems. So, relatives and friends who wonder why I’m angry a lot. That’s one reason why.

Here are a few more links to check out about intolerance to uncertainty and anxiety.

Intolerance of Uncertainty: A Common Factor in the Treatment of Emotional Disorders

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3712497/

While I don’t agree with the article’s calling the person’s beliefs “negative” per se, I like their take on using worrying as a way to get through this and get to solving the problem(s). My mother, the Queen of Worry Warts may have had a good idea after all.

And here’s a link to a study on I General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11225502

How do you deal with anxiety and uncertainty?

Comments, please.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Anger, Anxiety, Gratitude, Health, Life Balance, Life demands, Only child, Prayer, Problems, Stress, Worrying

Only Child on dreading the day

Dreading the day or night? That can be a sign of having an anxiety disorder. High anxiety has followed me through most of my life from the early teens. It is my black dog and no matter what I do or don’t do, it hovers and often strikes. The difference may be just that some of the anxieties have changed since I turned senior.Sharon CLB mid 1990s

Well, it turns out that up to 15% and counting of seniors suffer from anxiety. Medical experts, research and the like didn’t cotton on to that for some time and instead focused more on seniors’ physical ailments, dementia and depression. See information from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Now they are taking note.

That 15% figure comes from the NCBI  PubMed. And they are saying that a lot of us seniors with anxiety disorders got them first earlier in life (with some exceptions such as acrophobia). Research is also finding that the anxiety is chronic. They got that one right. I have a few other ideas of my own here. For example, today many seniors, especially women, live alone, so don’t have someone to support them emotionally. Not that all duos are supportive, but often you get some opposites in there, someone who will listen and offer some suggestions, hopefully in a non-judgemental, friendly way.

And I can hear the “pie in the sky” and “when cows come home on roller skates” skeptics reverberating in the background. I know that the above supportive scenario is the ideal situation rather than the norm. And I don’t know what the solution or solutions are to decrease this menace. Certainly less big problems popping up so often in people’s lives would help. And I’m not going to even go into how confusing, complicated and over-busy our world is today. Just think too much technology, to many things to -do and of course dealing with our weather around the world. Enough said about that here.

I will be looking into some more information on anxiety in older adults with some ideas on possible help (I don’t say solutions; the only solution may be to get the hell out of Dodge, but we will all be doing that at sometime. High anxiety can  make that happen sooner as it can lead to heart attacks, strokes and cognitive disorders. It’s that last one that bothers me.)

For now I would like your comments on anxiety – and it doesn’t matter if you are a senior or not. Anxiety really doesn’t belong to any age.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Anxiety, Health, Health Seniors, Help and Support, Life demands, Living alone, Only child, Seniors, Stress, Worrying