Fear of fear itself

Fear can paralyze. Fear can discourage. Fear can devastate. Fear can destroy. Seventy-five years ago Franklin Roosevelt told a shaken nation that all we have to fear is fear itself. I’ve often considered those words and thought What? We have so many things to fear, and perhaps now more than any time in recent memory.

First are our own personal fears stemming from our unique experiences, often called PTSD.  Wakened at night by a strange sound, I am paralyzed by fear, remembering an attack by an late night intruder years ago. It’s irrational because in the room with me is a dog and a husband who will come to my defense with barks, growls and if necessary, a gun. Still I’m struck dumb, heart pounding.

Another personal fear for me is fear of another stroke. What if it’s the BIG ONE?  What if I’m no longer able to walk or to talk? Will life be worth living?

Agoraphobia makes affected persons home-bound, sometimes for years. Fear of flying can severely curtail ones travel. Fear of germs can make the sufferer AND those around him miserable.

Other fears are near universal — fear of public speaking, fear of failure at our most cherished dream (writing, music, comedy, professional sport) and of course, fear of death.

What if we ignored those fears and just went ahead and did our best at whatever we love doing?  What if we didn’t worry about “doing it right” or what others might think?

Imagine our world if the great innovators and leaders had let fear of failure stop them: Thomas Edison, Madam Curie, the Wright Brothers, Nicola Tesla, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and thousands more. Imagine a world made a little better if we, free of fear, contribute our best to our own tiny corner of the world.





Suddenly Paralyzed but Grateful Part III

Stunned by the decision to release me from the hospital undiagnosed, weak and still mostly paralyzed on the right side from the waist down, we scrambled to get prepared. The hospital staff came through with a basic walker and needed supplies and we were on our own.

I’ll spare you the sordid details. Mark helped pry me in and out of bed and chairs, my sleep was still interrupted by mustle spasms, I learned to shuffle along shoving the primitive walker with wheels that didn’t swivel and bit by bit some feeling returned to my leg.

Meanwhile I was Googling mustle twitches, nerve regeneration, sudden paralysis, all the unanswered questions. The Hospitalist said the MRI showed some arthritis  in the spine, but how could that cause instant paralysis? My first thought had been that the sharp pain in my calf could have a been a clot that moved and pusuing that idea brought me to Spinal Infarction or Stroke, a rare occurance that could cause paralysis.

I took that printout when I saw my primary physician on October 11, hesitant to show it to him. Doctors must hate it when patients diagnose themselves! Just as I pulled it out of my purse, he said, “I think you’ve had a spinal cord infarction.”

I refrained from hugging him. Anyone who has had a serious malady undiagnosed will understand my relief.

Three weeks after the event, I AM WALKING! My right foot is still mostly useless, though I can lift my toes which helps when pulling socks on. Tasks which used to be effortless, like working the washing machine controls or lifting the coffee pot are difficult and I have an annoying tremor in my right hand, but I’ve ordered weights and started exercises to help with that.

My gratitude is boundless. I am recovering and even if I never get back all feeling and strength I am grateful. I imagine being born without a limb or with a severe disability. I think of a friend who years ago, scaling a fence to retrieve a soft ball for his kids, suffered a spinal cord injury that left him a paraplegic, or another friend whose right side has been paralyzed since a stroke fifteen years ago, leaving him unable to speak.

I think of the old adage, “I complained because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

I no longer fret because Amazon won’t publish reviews I know have been submitted; in fact I haven’t checked my sales for a month. When life-changing events happen, priorities have a way of sorting themselves out.


When is modest too modest?

After starting this blog in April, just today I added the page “My Books.” I mentioned them several times, but somehow it seemed pushy to advertise them. Ignoring advice from many sources that I should toot my “published!” horn as loudly as possible on as many social media platforms as possible, I demurred and delayed.

But didn’t you start this blog because you had published a book, you might ask. The answer is yes, but more than that, I envisioned it as possibly helpful to other writers/would-be indie publishers. I cow pathed into some personal experience blogs, copied a vignette from my memoir, asked some philosophical questions and just generally lost focus.

I may be back in focus now. Or not.

Did you hear me screaming?

I spent over an hour yesterday summarizing the blogs I’ve written on memoir writing. Then when I tried to publish, a red banner said publishing was not happening. Over and over until 1 A.M. I tried without success. I left the computer on with a note for DH to click “publish” when he got up (hours earlier than I do). No luck.

I contacted help and a patient helper and I spoke different languages to each other. She suggested I save when there was no “save” button. She asked if there was black on the page and I replied yes, the type. She wanted me to go to another page when it clearly said I would lose content if I did. She finally gave up and said I should clear all caches and cookies. Eventually the only solution seemed to be to shut the computer down and start over. Which of course erased my post!

In Community help blogs I found dozens of similar complaints from as far back as ten years, many unresolved. So at least I’m not alone in my frustration.

Let’s see if this will post.