Friday, February 02, 2007

Hypertension 34: Emotional Balance

One of the toughest parts of taking some prescription meds is knowing what you are really doing. Who you really are. What impact you are really having on the people around you.

I always used to think I was calm and collected. It took years to realize I was not all that calm, not so collected. In fact, I eventually came to realize I am downright intense. And when I am in tents, it usually rains. And when it rains, it pours. Maybe that's why I'm in tents, to avoid the rain. One thing leads to another.

Okay, although I'm writing this, I'm avoiding it.

I expect I've always had a tough time seeing myself as everyone around me does. Yes, when I got angry I would know it. Usually. Mostly. Well, not always. But I would always recognize it afterwards. And apologize.

In particular, it has always been hard to know when I am being too pushy, too intense (when people stay in tents in the park, they are assaulted by bears, which I find unbearable, often because when you are in a tent you're bare). I get 'enthusiastic' and push an issue. But maybe that was just my cultural upbringing. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, after all.

My parents loved to argue. They were Communists, actually--idealists from the Golden Age of the Worker. Workers had every right to expect a Golden Age, but all they really got was Golden Arches. As idealistic commies, argument was their lifeblood, a way of exercising their religion.

So I enjoy a good argument. And that has not always gone down well in Canada. People here are very polite. Someone who argues is...of concern. Aggression here is not appreciated.

But it was a lot worse--hindsight tells me--after I started taking prescription medications for Hypertension. Perhaps it was exacerbated by a feeling of weakness, dizziness, difficulty in concentrating. Who knows?

At the time, it all seemed normal enough. But looking back, I was irritable almost all the time. Though I thought I was taking everything in my stride, in fact I took almost nothing in my stride (unless by that I mean walking all over it, stomping on it, and then kicking it a little).

And: combine drug-induced irritability with fear to really goose up the anger factor. Fear. Fear about whether I would croak from a heart attack, get paralyzed by a stroke. Fear about losing my eyesight.

It is hard to know what's going on with an underbelly of fear. It's not like the underbelly is an overbelly.

It was like washing with sandpaper, rubbing me raw.

And without having a clue about what was really going on. Always thinking I was being reasonable, that everyone else was not getting it. Reality never kicking in--at least, not until later.

This is not an excuse, just an explanation. I take full responsibility...even though it was the medications, of course, the meds!!

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