Cruising
Joe in Hospital

“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems”
―Epictetus

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The other day, I opened an envelope from Covered California, informing me that it was time to reinstate our family’s Medi Cal benefits. There was no accompanying forms, so I panicked (just a little bit), assuming I’d missed the date (like last year.) Of course I lashed myself with negative talk, those old tapes garbled with time but still audible from the depths. “Really?  Again?  You are so unorganized. Always will be.”

I knew from last year that it was easier to find a live human to help me out, so I went to the social security offices yesterday with my letter.  Fortunately the case is open till the end of the month but the agent there asked me for a bunch of forms I hadn’t seen for awhile. Anxiety started up again: “I’m not sure where they are! Will I find them in time? I am so unorganized. Always will be.”

She also told me I’d have to show my tax return for last year before the end of the month. Now if there is anything that has thrown a non-linear thinker like me into a cold sweat consistently each spring, its the knowledge that I have to do my tax forms. I get all tight and twisted over complicated paperwork that feels like its set up to trick me into writing the wrong amount. I get nervous that I haven’t worked out my business spending appropriately. For any number of reasons…this just makes me nervous. And its never like I have any money to really show for it, but that can makes me feel ashamed sometimes as well!

Isn’t it funny how I can manage life in and out of hospitals and nursing homes, in near-death experiences, while spinning domestic plates, and yet some weird part of my brain that holds on to shame and anxiety in this area can stop me in my tracks?

Thankfully Vernon’s dialysis was covered again today, so I was able to take the morning off. I made a big cafetière of coffee and started a (growing) list of to-dos—and to-finds. Of course I ran circles around myself, checking off the less stressful things first: phoning down W-2s, printing of packing labels I’d been putting off. I made an appointment with the my accountant, who can’t see me till next month…but its’ worth noting that this is the first time I’ve made a tax filing appointment as early as March in my life, let alone making it in February.

It was time to search for the documents I’d been asked to show. The mocking came again and stopped me. “Why can’t you start searching for them like a regular person. Come on, it’s the main thing on the list today—what’s with the procrastination?”

I actually stood in the middle of my living room and prayed: “God, ok, I know I have a lot of doubts right now. But at this moment, the biggest one is in myself. I really need help in these little things because to me they are very big things.  This is an under-developed weak spot…it’s been there for a long time. But you’ve got me this far. Can you get me a bit further?”

I shuffled through my filing boxes, happy to find SOME of what I was looking for, but not everything. I took a break before the thoughts got me down. Julia called. I told her about my anxiety. She mentioned a few places she had helped me put things. I’d forgotten about two of them. I checked and found everything right where I’d left them, safe as can be.

And so…anxiety attack thwarted and I’m back in the game, though not without slight emotional fatigue. Turns out I am organized. Who knew? (And when I’m not, I have friends to help me!) I’m ahead on my taxes and I’m on top of all my documents.  This time, I think I’ve actually changed for the better! I’d call that as close to a miracle as anything I’ve seen for awhile.

 

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Cruising
Joe in Hospital