Anybody Else a Tad Stressed By Recent News & Events? by Jean Marie Keenan-Johnston

My own recent life has been MORE than stressful!  The last month of summer alone was filled with more than I’d like to have dealt with…ER visit upon ER visit upon ER visit!  First we had what had to be our fourth animal hospital visit with our oldest cat who was diagnosed with cancer late last winter and yet keeps having other health problems, completely unrelated, that have put him in the animal hospital but still weren’t bad enough to take him from us.  Waiting for the ax to fall is tough…it’s like living with a ticking time bomb.  But when you add all these extra animal hospital visits that have you keep asking yourself, “Is this it?  Has the time now come?” it makes the situation a lot tougher.  We had barely gotten over that scare when a routine doctor appointment with my mother’s primary physician landed HER in the ER, followed by a week-long hospital stay.  She’s now been home for a bit recovering slowly, but recovering nonetheless.  She left that hospital needing a lot more assistance from us, her children, than she needed before she went in.  

But that’s not it!  Even before my mother was discharged I found myself driving to St. Christopher’s ER with my younger daughter one evening a few hours after she was put to bed.  She had complaints of stomach pain so bad that she was either crying inconsolably or near tears.  Watching my baby have an IV put in, laying there on IV fluids, fighting to stay awake because she was probably afraid of what other “surprises” could be in store for her…it took a lot of strength to be a strong mama for her, a strength I didn’t know I still had in me after being through so much recently with my mom and my cat.  Instead of being happy when my daughter was discharged, I left feeling very stressed and uneasy.  They weren’t able to give us much reassurance because they couldn’t give us any diagnoses that were 100% certain.  Instead we found ourselves at the pediatrician with the same mystery symptoms a few days later.  Luckily it looks like her body is calming down, but every time she complains her belly hurts, I get nervous we might be starting all over again.  I went through so many hospital visits with my older daughter, stays at St. Christopher’s that came like clockwork with every respiratory infection that arrived, each one longer than the previous admission, I wasn’t ready to go through that with my younger daughter now too.  

With all this going on, plus the start of school, the normal fibromyalgia challenges, trying to help my husband deal with the start of a new school year while managing with his bad back, it’s easy to see why I’d be stressed out of my mind.  But my question is this…with all the messed up happenings in the world these past weeks, is it any wonder how I’ve maintained ANY sanity up til now?  I try not to be a paranoid, phobic, neurotic mother, but missing airliners???  Journalists who have been missing now being murdered???  Posts on Facebook (thank God from satirical sites or else I’d really panic considering how badly I function during the winter months!) about how horrendously awful this coming winter is going to be???  Added worries about asthma showing its ugly face again after we’ve already done such a good job controlling it all thanks to this virus that’s been crossing multiple state lines.  And if that isn’t enough to put the fear of pandemic in you, you can worry dreadfully that Ebola will strike.  Local events – burglaries, shootings, car-jackings – all within minutes of my home leading me to wonder “What is going ON AROUND HERE?!?”  

Am I the only one who’s praying for a lottery win so I can move my family and me to a private island far away from the chaotic events in the rest of the world?  My little sister says she’s not going to lose sleep over things that are out of her control.  I’m not necessarily losing sleep over all the events in the news these days, but I’m getting back to the feeling I had for many years…a STRONG desire to avoid watching the news!  Deep inside I don’t know how to be a mom who wants the best for her children, to live safe, happy lives, and NOT worry about all these recent horrible worries of the world.

I definitely don’t want to give myself the reputation of being somebody who’s afraid to leave her house for fear of the whole world being outside my door ready to come and get me.  I don’t want to feel like I need to live like a hermit to keep my girls and me safe.  I don’t want to lose sleep over all these concerns that may or may not show up at my door step.  And I definitely don’t want to turn my little angels into five and six-year-old little neurotics, little clones of their worrisome mother, giving them a direct path to ulcers before their teenage years.  I’ve just realized these past few months that there seems to be an AWFUL LOT of negative events popping up for people to deal with, at times feeling like it’s a lot more in the news than usual, and I’ve occasionally wondered if I’m alone in my fears or if other parents find themselves wondering as well if we need to be ready for something big coming around the corner.  

This post has actually been three weeks in the making.  I’ve had some writer’s block to deal with as well as a few nights I tried to work on it only to doze off with the laptop in my lap.  I’m happy to report that as I finish it tonight, I’m feeling a little bit more at ease.  Maybe it’s me learning to manage my stress a little better?  Maybe it’s my lack of watching the news on T.V. for the past week?  Either way, like any other stressors we encounter, these fears are surely going to come to the forefront of my mind and then when newer matters need my brain power they’ll fade back into the background to sit and wait for my attention again when the next sensational news story presents itself.  I know without anyone’s response that I’m not alone, not that it helps to say or think that.  I’ll just end on this note…it would be nice if the media had a very LONG boring dry spell for a few months so I could calm my nerves for more than a few days and go back to worrying about skinned knees and school assignments.