Memories of Grandpa

On Thursday night, Noel and I were watching a special episode of Gold Rush where the young miner Parker Schnabel was dealing with the decline of his grandfather John Schnabel.  The final shots showed John celebrating his 96th birthday in a hospital in California after an operation to attempt to restore blood flow to his leg.  John died a month later, peacefully, in his sleep.

The finer details aren’t totally important, but the relationship between John and his grandson Parker, on film at least, reminded me very much of my relationship with my Grandpa, who was born in the same year as John and suffered from prostate cancer the same as John, but only lived to 83 and a half, compared to John’s 96 years.

You could see that John felt the sun rose and set in Parker, and Parker didn’t seem too terribly reserved in showing his love for his grandfather.  My Grandpa had always encouraged us to show our emotions, that it was okay to hug, to cry, to laugh, to tell people what they meant to you.  And I think this helped make me a more caring, empathetic person.

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Reducing Anxiety Through “Staying Present”

In my last post I spoke about my recovery from depersonalization and what a difficult journey that has been. One of the problems I have — and this was diagnosed years ago as well — is my mind often is full of random information, so whereas you may see a rose and think, “Wow, that’s a beautiful rose”, my mind starts going through different random thought-pathways like, “What type of rose is that?” and “If the wind were to blow really hard all the sudden, what would happen to that rose?” and “How difficult would it be to grow that rose at home?” and then those thoughts take on several thought-pathways of their own, and soon, my mind is super-busy processing a million different thoughts.  The thoughts unfold like a flower blooming.

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Recovering from Depersonalization

Recovery from illness is difficult, especially a major one.  I have dealt with recovery before: from broken bones, from  earthquake injuries, from depression, from inflammatory disorders, from a mystery virus that caused me physical exhaustion and mental anguish.  But somehow, this recovery from depersonalization is different.

I hadn’t really noticed it much in the last few months since I became mostly free from this somewhat rare yet very disturbing disorder that robs a person of access to the feelings his emotional responses create, but I’m more disturbed now.  Feeling happy? As the feeling goes along its merry little way, an analytical section of me hijacks the afterglow of the feeling, scanning every second, demanding to know what triggered the happiness, why it faded, how long it took to fizzle out, and, finally, the fear of wondering: will it ever come back? Will the happiness ever return for longer than a few seconds?  And the double-edged sword of a question: will I always be this numb from now on or will I return to normal ever?

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A Toast for Cousin Greg