Category Archives: Stress

Reading memoir and other books good COVID-19 distraction

Memoirs are supposed to be big sellers now. Especially true in these COVID-19 times. We are stuck at home under STAY HOME regulations, so we read (and watch TV too). Sure, we are watching and reading the latest news on the virus. But for our sanity we need some escapism. So we read mysteries and memoir.

I write both (and read both) so maybe have some insight on this, from a personal point of view. I am not a medical professional and don’t profess to be one.

The beauty of memoir is it is a genre that deals with past events – even if only recent past. Memoirs are written by celebrities and by some of us who aren’t really famous. When you read a memoir, you are transferred to something in the past. The story may not be the happiest, but it is not now; it is not COVID-19. It is a distraction and, in my opinion,, a good one. And I’m not saying that because I write and have published memoir. Studies have been done on this and articles written on this. Here are a few links to check out. Some were written before COVID-19.

This one goes into the benefits of reading. If you scroll down far enough you will find the Section on Stress Reduction

This one references some studies, what we expect from a Psychology Today article.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/talking-about-men/201905/can-reading-books-improve-your-mental-health

This one is specific to COVID -19. I like the message in large print right at the beginning. “Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are.” – Mason Cooley.

https://mhpl.shortgrass.ca/blog/reading-save-your-sanity

My recently published book, The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir, is set in the 1950s and 1960s (the grey ages as I call them), mostly in Toronto, but some scenes in southwestern Ontario, Detroit, Michigan, and New York City. Although the main focus is my relationship with my dad and his cancer, there is a lot of humour (not with the cancer) with my family – including cousins and aunts and uncles and my school days. I am a firm believer in finding the humour in situations where possible, but at the same time being serious about serious matters.

Here is a brief blurb about The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir.

“Your dad has cancer.” Ten-year-old Sharon hears these words. Not from her parents. They lied. Set mainly in 1950s and 1960s Toronto, this  is Sharon’s story before and after Daddy’s dirty little secret surfaces. Before, she is Princess to her elderly father’s King. He protects her, a shy only child, from best friend, The Bully. Sharon also deals with a bullying nun at school. She distracts herself playing baseball and piano, riding the rails with Mom and railway timekeeper Daddy, and visiting eccentric Detroit and rural Ontario relatives. After learning the truth, Sharon withdraws from Daddy. At 13, she teaches Mom to play the piano. Then Daddy gets sick again, and again…and dies.

Sharon A. Crawford’s memoir is a powerful, sometimes humorous, account of a young girl’s lessons learned from difficult teachers – bullying, betrayal, and cancer.

More about The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir is on its blog page connected to my author blogs. This page also gives you links to where my memoir is available should you be interested.

Comments about the content of this post and/or my memoir are welcome. I do reply except to spam.

Cheers.

Sharon, aka Only Child Writes

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Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Sharon A. Crawford, Stress, The Enemies Within Us - a Memoir

Only Child says overwhelm causes forgetfulness

The look of Only Child in overwhelm

For just over a week I lived in overwhelm. I knew I had too much on my plate and started a “program” featuring the three D’s – do, delay and dump. The idea was to decide what was  most important in my life, what wasn’t important, and what was stealing my time. And as I found out stealing my mind. The number of items that disappeared in my personal black hole increased. Some have surfaced; some have not. It reminds me a bit of when my mother, when in her late 50’s she took bacon instead of steak out of the freezer for our supper. I, then in my late teens discovered the mistake long before the meat had thawed. Not exactly losing or misplacing items, but close.

My mother was having a hard time dealing with living life without my dad who had died a few years earlier and her escalating arthritis. So she had loss, grief and health. Money was not an issue

My misplaced items signify more and some are different. For example, I wanted to wear a specific sleeveless black T-shirt which I had owned for many years. But I couldn’t find where it should be or where it shouldn’t be and I looked several times both in artificiahav

Nada.

Yet I was 99 per cent sure I hadn’t at any time put it in the used clothing for the Diabetes Association bag. Ever.

Something strange was going on here.

It wasn’t until I returned home after a shopping expedition to buy a replacement T-shirt ( and didn’t find anything suitable) that I found the missing T-shirt. I was still furious about it being yet another item gone missing that I meticulously checked all the places again. And I found it in one of the places where it should be, i.e., the drawer where I put items that I’ve worn once or twice but they still don’t need to be washed.

I’m sure all the fuss about finding that T-shirt has something to do with wearing something I am familiar with, especially when you consider the chaotic unpredictable world we live in.

A few other items still remain lost in inner space. One is corn cushions for the soles of my “bad” feet. I know I bought two packages at the Rexall store – two because that is the only drugstore that seems to carry the padded ones and I don’t live close to a Rexall Drug Store. I paid for two and I know that the two packages came home and that I put them in the drawer where I keep all my bad feet paraphernalia. That burns up more than my feet because it costs me, as does all the health crap I have to buy or get done for my health. But that’s a topic for another blog post.

The funniest one is when my son was helping me remotely with transferring library books in e-pub once downloaded from my computer to my Kobo. Yes, I had the Kobo all right. But I couldn’t find the short cable that connects the Kobo to my computer. I told my son that I had the charger (I finally ordered one that you can plug in your Kobo to recharge it without turning on your computer) and the cable in it, but couldn’t find the cable for the Kobo to connect it to the computer. All this while I was frantically checking through desk drawers.

“That is the cable,” my son said. At least he didn’t laugh.

I knew the cause right away for forgetting that the charger did not come with a cable.

All the while my son and I were doing the computer remote fixing, I felt like I was coasting – almost like my voice, my body and my mind were separated.

And that is the way I had been feeling for a week and a half before trying to get too many things done to meet too many deadlines, and deal with weather and possible water in the basement and one of my many health issues acting up.

Immediately after Martin and I got off the phone I started to tidy up some of my office – my desktop and the few files needed to be put away.

That only brought on more forgetfulness, misplacement of items, and anger and frustration. I couldn’t seem to find the bills I knew I had paid at the beginning of the month. Finally found them in my Problems to be Solved folder. They  weren’t the problem – they had been paid. But I discovered in my bills to be paid was an unpaid phone and Internet bill for this month.

I am never late paying that bill but the utility company moving the date due up five days didn’t help with my memory.

The problem was twofold – I had too much on my plate to do so didn’t do some of the things I regularly do – i.e. keep a budget up to date including keeping track of bills that need to be paid and paying them on time. Of course I paid the bill online right away and through my account let the utility know I had just paid it and where, so I have a numbered receipt now.

But when I did that and when I looked at my now tidy corner of the office where I work, I felt better.

Next day, which was yesterday – Monday, I still started out sluggish and feeling overwhelmed. But I was determined to plow through as much of my “to do” list for the day as I could. When I did and saw what I had accomplished, I felt even better.

Maybe taking the time to do some gardening and going for a short walk had something to do with it.

But there are still things to rein in – like email. I have to get off some of these meet-up things I’ll never go to and some of the writing groups and other interest-related stuff that just takes up my time. I need to delete some of what I do (and one I thought I had came back today and I have to deal with it. This is one where the people in charge weren’t clear about what had to be done and I’m not the only one confused here).

And then there is all the crap I have to do for my health and when I have to do it. Yes, I’m reining in that too. Doing what I have to but where I can, when I can. Not dropping everything else to spend a lot of time doing this and that. If I forget to do something for my health once, so be it.

It is like I told my friend Maggie when I finally had time to call her early Sunday evening. “I don’t even have time to call my friends.” Now, that’s sad and unacceptable.

So is not getting enough sleep at night. But the last two nights I’ve had no problem falling asleep. It’s just that I wake up two to three hours before the alarm goes off and have trouble getting  back to sleep. Or don’t get back to sleep.

The weird thing is that happened Sunday night into too early Monday morning. And Monday – yesterday – is the day I got some of my equilibrium returned. Go figure.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

How Only Child wants to be and feel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Burnout, Health, Life Balance, Life demands, Memory loss, Stress, Time management, Uncategorized

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

 

 

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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

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

Bad luck comes in fours, good luck in threes

Only child ponders luck and health

Only child ponders luck and health

Both good luck and bad luck are said to come in groups of three. I find that is true of good luck. However, in my personal experience and what I see happening “out there,” four is the word for bad luck.

Although I think it is not right, the latter makes sense. The word “four” has four letters. I know three doesn’t have three letters; but good luck seems to be so evasive, so hit and miss, so what do you expect?

On a personal level, I’ve noticed for years that whatever category of bad that is happening, it always seems to come in fours. If it is house problems, I get four at a time. (Note: by at a time, I don’t necessarily mean one right after, as in the same day, but withing a week or two).

My latest group of the bad four is in the health area. I have four major health issued to deal with – all at once apparently. Some of them have many tentacles and some people may consider each tentacle a different health issue, which would make the bad even worse.

I have been trying to juggle around all  these health problems. After the latter half of last year trying to deal with all health problems as they hit  me, I decided that was too much. So, I am trying to deal with one a month.

The health issues and medical professionals have other ideas. But I’m trying to stay my ground.

January was supposed to be get my bad eyesight tested – the annual. February is supposed to be the last dental appointment in the string of appointments for the fallout from last December’s dental emergency. March was supposed to be allergy testing.

Well, the eye exam and the optometrist just screwed that one up. But I am trying to stick to my resolutions here. I found that dealing with too many health issues at a time raises my anxiety level beyond high and sends my mind into a frenzy. Friday at the eye exam I got into a discussion with the optometrist – first he wanted to know why I didn’t come back last year for another check so he could send me to a specialist for some pressure in my left eye.

Huh? I wanted to wait until I got my new glasses and then afterwards I got busy with other important stuff and just forgot. However, if he or his receptionist had bothered to phone me and remind me – even a couple of months later, I might have made an appointment with him – as long as it was before late June when all hell broke loose with the big sinus/ear health problem.

When he asked me on Friday, then I remembered – but he had said nothing at the previous annual eye exam about sending me to a specialist. It was only maybe eye drops. Now he wanted me to go this week to the specialist.

I informed him I had a book to finish to publisher’s deadline by the end of this month. Because of the multiple health issues the last half of last year, I lost some writing time on the book. (I had given him a short litany of all the health issues. His reply? “Yikes.”) He kept pushing. So I asked him, “can’t you prescribe the eye drops.” (Yes, optometrists can prescribe medication). He had no answer.

I said I could go in March but needed to see a calendar. Had to look at his wall calendar as I had left my small calendar at home. So, there we were rhyming off dates in March when I could go. He phoned the specialist I had seen before but got a recording – closed until Monday. So, he left a voice mail message.

His secretary called yesterday morning. She had a booking for March 8 but asked me if I could come in yesterday. Well, no. I didn’t say why.

It wasn’t just rewriting the novel. One of my other big four medical issues had just returned – the sinus/gland issue. And it seems to be affecting my fourth issue – digestive system problems.

Sheesh. Somebody out there or up there doesn’t like me.

Since Friday, I had also remembered that I have to go to the dentist this month.  Book and dentist are enough for this month. Doing too much just makes me sicker, more anxious, and more cranky. And we all know that is just a “great” recipe for life (said sarcastically).

So, who knows when I’ll get to book allergy tests, let alone have the tests.

That should be my first priority because I suspect they are a big factor in the sinus, etc. issues.

But because bad fallout can happen (and has happened) from medical visits, doing the multiple thing is too scary.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again with an addition. Getting old is no fun. And more and more from not just my experience, but from what I see in my friends and elsewhere, quality of life may be more important than quantity. I have seen too many people who live to a “ripe old age” with so many health issues, what’s the point? Yes, there are exceptions and those are the ones enjoying life still – probably because they have the good quality.

And on a personal level, both my parents died at a “young” age – Dad at 66, and Mom at 63 – both had serious illnesses and were compromised in living because of them. Dad died of brain cancer and Mom of a brain aneurysm caused by a fall because of her arthritis.

Food for thought anyway. What do you think?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Anxiety, Balance, Good and Bad Luck, Health, Health Seniors, Life Balance, Life demands, Only child, Prioritizing, Stress

Only Child has a ton of problems

Only child ponders too many problems

Only child ponders too many problems

Just got back last night from holidays visiting my cousins in various places in southern Ontario. Visit was relaxing and enjoyable but trouble began when trying to get home.

I like travelling by train. It is in my blood as my late father worked for the railway as a time-keeper. Since he died, railway travel has changed in many ways including the company created to run rail passenger service in Canada. VIA rail has not been exactly good to me.

When I reserved my “tickets” by phone they emailed me the boarding passes and a link to subscribe to their alert system for updates to my email. I don’t have a cell phone, so text wouldn’t work for me.

No problems on the train going to Waterloo, but the return trip from Grimsby turned into another nightmare (I have had issues coming home by train before in other years). I got my alert about half an hour before train time. The alert said train was arriving in Grimsby on time. So I shut down my laptop.

At the station my cousin who drove me there and I waited and waited for ages. There was no wi-fi in the area – she checked with her smart phone. So no point turning on my laptop and checking my email. She phoned her husband and had him check it out. He texted her back with a message that he had signed her up for the VIA text alert for this train (coming all the way from New York City early yesterday morning). She got two alerts of late times for it to arrive in Grimsby and before there in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

It finally arrived one hour and 15 minutes late. I was so upset that I fell at the top of the narrow metal stairs where you board the train. True, I had bags and my laptop in its padded case (well, I was travelling) but the VIA employee didn’t help me with the suitcases. They stand at the bottom so it is kind of backwards to take your bag up the stairs. I didn’t hurt myself and it appears all my belongings were okay.

But I was very angry and I screamed, but said “I don’t need medical aid – this train has been delayed enough.”

Then someone helped me carrying my bags to an empty seat.

Once settled and the steward came to check my boarding pass, I asked what caused the delay. He said something vague about at the US/Canadian border. I clarified that it was the Canadian border police, but he wouldn’t say what – just a vague answer that it can depend on the official at the border. He did say (in answer to my question) that it didn’t happen often.

The young woman across the aisle had heard all this and she came over. She said she got on at St. Catharines, Ontario (stop before me), the station there was closed and there was just a robotic announcement that there was a delay but no time given. The Grimsby station is just one of those tiny enclosed shelters that seats a dozen or so people, often not even open. It looks like a pop-up retail place.

The young lady went back to talk to the steward. She returned and told me there was a problem at the border – one family when talking to the border police (who come on the train) said they couldn’t find the husband on the train. There was a bit of a language problem (obviously not French as VIA rail employees are bilingual English/French – Canada’s two official language). Apparently the “missing fellow” had gone to another coach and had been processed by the border police okay. Finally the border police found him – we figured by taking a family member through all the cars until they found them.

The young lady and I agreed that the whole family causing the problem, in particular the man, should have been tossed out of the train and not allowed to stay in Canada for causing all those problems.

As the train arrived in Toronto (one hour and 15 minutes late), the arrival announcement was made and again (they did this last year too) they gave the farthest away place to get a taxi. VIA still doesn’t know that taxis line up right outside the west front door of Union Station.

VIA didn’t cause the problem; but they don’t handle all their notifications so passengers can find out.

Heads are going to roll here – when I have time to do something about it – at the very least send a complaint about VIA rail procedure – notifications and closed stations in particular.

But I have another problem – when I turned on my laptop and desktop computers this morning the Internet wasn’t connecting and then it came and went. Could get into my email program on both computers, though – so far. Called Bell Canada (my ISP) and they did some checking at their end. They think it is a cable at my end and are sending a technician who is supposed to be here today between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. He better show up and fix it. I have work to do and some of it requires being online and some requires phone calls which I had planned to do this morning. I also have to run errands to get some groceries.

I think that God might have it in for me – he didn’t cause any of these problems – but he didn’t listen to me when I asked that everything be working right with the train service home and my Internet service. At least I got home okay – finally. Now God has to make sure this Internet Cable problem get fixed pronto today without complications and it must stay fixed.

All these unwanted problems raise my stress level which affects my precarious physical health.

My garden is still lovely, though.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Alphabet list, Anger, Anxiety, God, Holiday Travel, Life demands, Only child, Problems, Railways, Stress, Train Stations, VIA Rail

Only Child on confusion and uncertainty

Garden front of houseI hate confusion and uncertainty. One seems to breed the other. Both lead to worry and anxiety and that is not good for your health.

When I was a little girl I had a re-occurring dream. I would lie on my tummy in my bed and be aware of falling asleep and seeing inside all of the house. What I saw was fire and sometimes floods and Mom, Dad and I trying to collect what we could of our belongings and get out. I always woke up before so never knew how it all ended.

This uncertainty and confusion has carried right through my life. Yes, there have been floods – big and small in the basement of the house I now live in. Perhaps that has something to do with my morbid fascination with the weather. But I think a lot of it has to do with self-preservation. When a threat hits me I go into the fight or flight mode. We know what that does to us, as usually it isn’t some predator (human or animal) after us, although in our bad bad world, it sometimes is. We are usually confronted with a big problem. It could be financial, house-related (besides fire and floods), family and health.

Health is the big one, because this fight or flight mode will get the adrenalin pumping up and raise the cortisol level in our bodies.

Not good.

I am the first to admit that I am a big worry wart. But I come by it honestly, firmly believing I inherited it from my parents, particularly my mother. Mom could win the prize for Worry Wart incarnate. I’m not blaming her, just stating a fact.

This past summer has been extremely bad for health and house problems for me, as well as getting my holidays organized (the three big bad H’s?). Outside factors (read people and situations) are at least 90 percent to blame. Because of a couple of other medical conditions I have a compromised immune system and prolonged and/or heavy worrying effects your immune system. Off and on all summer I’ve been battling sinusitis which spreads into my neck and face glands. It would start improving and be on the road to gone, when poof – it is back again in intensity.

Each time that happens I can link it with some big stress situation caused by somebody or something outside me and my resultant worrying.

Lesson? Several come to mind. I need more sleep (sleep heals) and less stress.

So, I am now swearing on my laptop (I’m not religious, remember, so no Bibles) that I will have less stress in my life. And anyone who causes me stress and grief better watch out.

No, I’m not going to wield the proverbial axe. I’m picking my battles carefully. Sometimes I will go the consumer advocacy route because chances are if I’m experiencing bad rude service, for example, so are others. Other times I’ll just curse the person responsible. And yes, that latter makes me feel better inside.

I am also saying no to requests to do extra jobs and the like. Yesterday I just said “no” to one of those and that was the right thing to do for me now.

And I will continue to spend time in my garden, not just weeding (but naming weeds after the stressors as I yank them out helps) but also sitting out in my garden. Been doing more of that lately. Also writing – nothing like getting the creative juices working to soothe the soul – and transport you into another world. And finding time to meditate and doing so – maybe while in the garden.

How do you deal with stress? Or do you?

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Hostas late spring/early summer

Hostas late spring/early summer

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Filed under Anxiety, Dad, Gardening and depression, Gardening health benefits, Life Balance, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Only child, Problems, Stress, Uncertainty, Weather, Worrying, Writing

Only Child on trust

Only Child and her son Martin -  one of the few people she can trust

Only Child and her son Martin – one of the few people she can trust

Who do you trust? Do you trust anyone? Why and why not?

Over the years I have learned that trust is worse than fleeting. I used to be this naïve person who had trust, even if it was in the form of praying for things to be all right.

Not anymore. I can count on my fingers the people I can trust. As for organizations (religious, utilities, and otherwise – hell no). It used to be I could get up in the morning and feel safe, feel that it would be a good day.

Not anymore. Always I have a hassle and/or problem hanging over from a previous day. And more are always lurking unexpectedly around the corner. This unending list includes the weather, utility problems, house repairs (impending, some done but not done properly – read Nigel Applewaite and the bad job he did four years ago on waterproofing the outside of my house – he didn’t dig deep enough and I shouldn’t have trusted him), health issues, family, computers, finances, etc. – not necessarily in order of importance.

The bottom line is I have learned from my experiences to be wary of who and what I trust. I try not to take anything for granted because you can bet once I do I get screwed somehow, somewhere.

What is the answer?

For me, it is trusting myself, doing and going it alone as much as I can, keeping in mind I can reach out to the under 10 people I can trust.

And oh yeah, dishing out repercussions to the culprits who mess up my life – but picking and choosing which ones and letting others go.

Not letting go will be one of the latest – Bell Canada’s screw-up for the static on my phone. They emailed me about doing a survey on their service about this – the technician hasn’t shown up yet. To add insult to injury the email did not contain a link to the actual survey. But it did contain the name of the customer service VP. She’s getting s*** once a technician has actually been here.

More anon, like maybe next week’s post on Bell Canada – the ding-a-ling company.

 

Tomorrow is Canada Day July 1. Enjoy it – despite yet more rain and possible thunderstorms.

And for my American followers, Happy July 4 coming up this Saturday.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Anxiety, finances, Health, Life demands, Only child, Problems, Rain, Snafus, Stress, Trust, Weather, Worrying

Only Child on friend’s unsolicited advice

Only child contemplates living life her way

Only child contemplates living life her way

Should friends impose their advice on what you should do? Unsolicited advice. If you ask for their advice, that’s another story.

Over the weekend a friend of many years phoned me and began to tell me how to run my life and then had the nerve to criticize how I do it.

“Lois” as I’ll call her, decided she had information about a “cure” for my long time digestive disorder. She went into a long spiel about her dental hygienist who saw this medical practitioner who had her change her diet, that it wasn’t all just eating fibre, and…

But I’m coming to the sick part shortly. I didn’t just sit here and let her go on without saying something.

“It’s not diet with me. I’ve changed my diet a lot. It’s stress. I need to relax.  On the Doors Open weekend last month I went to a Buddhist Centre on Crawford Street – not sure if that name is an omen. It was so peaceful and I intend to go back. It’s just been so busy lately.”

I did ask her for the doctor’s name and if he was covered by OHIP. She gave me his name and I did write it down. (Since then I ripped up the piece of paper and threw it in the recycling bin). Yes, he is covered by OHIP, she said. But I couldn’t find him listed in the Ontario Physicians and Surgeons  registry online.

“Does he rely on drugs?” I asked.

He didn’t, but what Lois said that he did to her dental hygienist is sickening.

“She had surgery and he froze part of her intestines.”

Triple yuck! I don’t even want to imagine any side-effects or damage to the intestines.

The conversation continued with Lois saying something about how anti-depressants have helped her.

Was that a hint about how she sees me?

So, I jumped in with, “I’m not depressed (haven’t been for years) but go to the other side – anger.”

“You have a lot of anger in you,” said Lois.

“Yes, but it is all for good reasons. Sometimes I use my anger to do something about my problems.”

She didn’t say any more about that but when I got into what I want to do with my life and what I want to stop doing, she struck again.

Me: “I’ve been spending a lot of time promoting my books.”

Lois: “You won’t make any money that way.”

Me: “Well I enjoy doing that and want to refocus some of my business on doing some of that for authors. Maybe make some money that way. I’m kicking a lot of things and people out of my life.”

I’m beginning to wonder if she should be added to that list. I did wish her a happy birthday as that is coming up later this week, and mentioned that I couldn’t afford to take her out to dinner for her birthday. What I didn’t say was that I had planned to invite her here for dinner, which I would cook. No way now.

Operative word is “had.” She doesn’t deserve that. I’ve wished her a happy birthday and that’s it.

She’s on hold until at least the fall.

Late last night it occurred to me why her derogatory comment on promoting my writing. I am happy about what I do in my writing life (except maybe the straight editing manuscript part. I still like evaluating manuscripts. But that’s fodder for another post). I’m sensing she is not happy with her lot in life. Without going into details about her career, let’s just say she has been doing the same thing for at least 30 years. All lateral.

At least with my writing, I develop and change what I do, learn and improve and also help other authors.

But I don’t tell them what to do about their health and other personal problems. If they ask for suggestions, maybe.

And I have other friends who are not writers and I don’t get this “get a life” attitude. They are respectful and accepting of what I do as I try to be about what they do.

The truth is we are all individuals with individual life paths and it is up to us to decide where we want to go with our life.

So, Lois, take that in your pipe and smoke it.

Oops. Forgot, you quit smoking a few years back. And while I’m glad you did, I never told you to do so.

What do you think about friends who try to run your life? Do they have the right to do so with unsolicited advice?

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Anger, Consideration, Digestive disorder, Friends, Health, Help and Support, Helping Others, Life demands, Only child, Problems, Stress, Uncategorized

Only Child ponders wisdom of longevity

Sharon office 2014-04-19As we boomers escalate towards older and old age, what may help us live longer becomes a big concern. But is it all worth it?

Lifestyle looms large as a positive factor. Studies show that if we eat healthy, exercise enough, don’t smoke, get enough sleep, avoid/manage stress, we can extend our life. Sounds good? Right?

Not exactly. As with everything in living I have learned the hard way that there are mitigating circumstances. We might be able to control the no smoking, but the others? And why didn’t I include exercise in what we can control? Because many people have diseases, injuries that get in the way of enough exercise to help them.

What about eating healthy? We can do this until the cows come home, but as we age, our bodies don’t absorb nutrients as well. Then there are the medical conditions, such as IBS, that make nutrient absorption even less.

Getting enough sleep is a big issue with us older folk. I’ve covered this in detail before, but in a nutshell as we get older we find it more difficult to get the 7 to 8 hours sleep we need.

Then there is stress – that is the biggie. Stress will directly or indirectly reduce life spans. How many heart attacks are caused by stress? How much sleep is lost because of stress?

Stress is a catchall phrase. Actually there are stressors which cause the stress and stress which includes our reaction to the stressor attacking us. Experts talk about managing stress but I wonder if they are referring to the stressors or our reaction or both?

I have learned that you cannot manage most stressors. Or should that be “control” stressors. My experience (and that of many people I know or read about) is that a large percentage of stressors come from what I call “outside.” That is, we don’t cause these stressors to well, happen to us. And despite what I have blogged about before, God is not responsible for a lot of our stress. Human stupidity and technological problems (for want of a better word) are.

Let me give a few examples. If I dawdle around and don’t take care to be ready to leave on time for somewhere, so leave late and worry about arriving late, I’m causing the stressor. If I run into transit problems, that’s not my fault. No matter what time I leave I can hit transit delays. However, if I get myself ready so I leave early enough to allow for transit snafus, I can control the stressor/stress to a certain degree.

Errors in utility bills, life insurance premiums, computer problems, continual missed garbage pickup (all of which I have experienced) are examples of human stupidity and/or technological problems causing stressors/stress.

Then there is the cancer cause. A recent John Hopkins School of Medicine study shows that only one third of cancers are caused by environmental issues and genetic factors. The other two thirds, the study shows, are caused by what they call “bad luck.” I call it the “God factor.”

According to the study, that can explain why some people who never smoke get lung cancer and some people who smoke a lot never get cancer. (See the article at http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/twothirds-of-cancer-cases-caused-by-bad-luck-johns-hopkins-medicine-study-20150102-12gs7g.html or info on the John Hopkins Medicine website http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/bad_luck_of_random_mutations_plays_predominant_role_in_cancer_study_shows)

That’s scary. All the lifestyle changes to healthy won’t keep cancer way. I’m not saying to drink regularly until you pass out or smoke five packs of cigarettes a day and forget about exercising. I’m saying to live a healthy life but never take diet, exercise, sleep, etc. as lucky charms to keep cancer at bay. Won’t work.

Personally I believe that if we could keep much of the stressors and resulting stress out of our lives we .could live happier more content lives. Not easy when most stress comes from outside.

We can try to work around this stress. We can look at our over-busy lives and see what we can delete, delay or ignore. Be selective in what stressful situations you are going to tackle and what you can ignore or better yet, delete from your life. For example, last fall I evicted the horrible boarder living here. When someone pushes me on the subway (providing it is not towards the ledge), perhaps I can ignore that. The other stuff, the real crap in my life coming at me, I’m trying to deal with it one thing at a time, based on urgency and emergency – if possible. The rest go on hold, if only for a few days.

And the hell with what the people causing the stressors think about it.

It’s not easy. And I’m not sure I want to live into my 90s or even 80s – unless you are like actress Betty White. She just celebrated her 93rd and is going strong.

How many seniors are like that?

Not me and I’m still in my mid-60s and dealing with 10 health issues – those that I know of.

Maybe the answer is to try to live your life as fully as you can now.

I’m just saying.

What do you say? Comments please.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Anxiety, Baby boomers, cancer, Computer problems, Delay tactics, God, Health, Health Seniors, Life Balance, life spans, Malabsorption, Old Age, Only child, Prioritizing, Problem solving, Problems, Seniors, Sharon A. Crawford, Sleep and Seniors, Sleep deprivation, Stress, Uncategorized