The Eye Exam


It always amazes me what can set me off or make me a nervous crazy wreck. For the most part I’ve been doing well, busy with projects and continuing to ruminate on the book. But today I had a weird experience. I had an eye exam (hence I am four feet away from the monitor). This is really a pretty benign experience, but it left me a complete basket case. I was nervous, figity, fearful, and felt that the world was closing in on me. How is it that such a simple thing as an eye exam can set this off?

Last week I had a similar experience with a hospital call. It was routine as far as hospital calls go. The Sacrament, some hymns, the Gospel of healing to a hurting so. It’s all good. But it left me spent far more than I would expect from one hospital call. I was highly agitated afterwards, and it drove me bonkers.

Why is it that such simple things can be so very hard and take so long to recover from?

-DMR

8 thoughts on “The Eye Exam”

  1. I just saw a post a few days ago by Clayton Cramer, who is especially interested in the topic of schizophrenia; I believe his brother suffers from it. He linked to an article which says that the brains of creative people may be less capable of ignoring incoming stimuli, and that this might be linked to mental illness. Perhaps what seems simple really isn’t so simple?

  2. I just saw a post a few days ago by Clayton Cramer, who is especially interested in the topic of schizophrenia; I believe his brother suffers from it. He linked to an article which says that the brains of creative people may be less capable of ignoring incoming stimuli, and that this might be linked to mental illness. Perhaps what seems simple really isn’t so simple?

  3. The “Signs” post you posted earlier might contain some of your answers.

    You felt what you felt during the eye exam. Did you feel off at all beforehand? Maybe you were already headed toward feeling like that.

    Also the hospital situation. Well, that does have an overlap with the eye exam in terms of medical dimensions. What’s the underlying thing that makes medical places so anxiety-ridden? There may be something very rational behind this. Inconvenient and vexing, yes. But rational, too.

  4. The “Signs” post you posted earlier might contain some of your answers.

    You felt what you felt during the eye exam. Did you feel off at all beforehand? Maybe you were already headed toward feeling like that.

    Also the hospital situation. Well, that does have an overlap with the eye exam in terms of medical dimensions. What’s the underlying thing that makes medical places so anxiety-ridden? There may be something very rational behind this. Inconvenient and vexing, yes. But rational, too.

  5. After posting the last comment, I ran into the following on BBC3:

    The Essay

    This woman is a successful artist, but had a sense of stuckness that sounds a lot like what you experienced in your car. Not sure if anything here will be of immediate help. But to read a common description might lessen the sense that only you go through this.

    For me, I don’t struggle much with depression per se. But in younger years, something like OCD was an issue. And I get milder cases of “stuckness.” Not that I am frozen and can’t do anything. But I can often not do particular things I think I should do. This is much more like generic procrastination than catatonia. But there seems to be a spectrum between the two that most people have not been given the vocabulary to describe.

  6. After posting the last comment, I ran into the following on BBC3:

    The Essay

    This woman is a successful artist, but had a sense of stuckness that sounds a lot like what you experienced in your car. Not sure if anything here will be of immediate help. But to read a common description might lessen the sense that only you go through this.

    For me, I don’t struggle much with depression per se. But in younger years, something like OCD was an issue. And I get milder cases of “stuckness.” Not that I am frozen and can’t do anything. But I can often not do particular things I think I should do. This is much more like generic procrastination than catatonia. But there seems to be a spectrum between the two that most people have not been given the vocabulary to describe.

  7. I just now happened to run across your blog, so this comment is very late, and I have not read your archives to see if you have already touched on what I’m going to say.

    Here is how I deal in a practical way with ongoing struggles with anxiety and depression—make a habit of walking at least 45 minutes, outdoors, every single day. The exercise releases endorphins in the brain. I can actually feel it happen…..its like a lightening takes place in my mind, but it takes about 45 minutes of walking before it kicks in.

    I can empathize with your drained feelings after interacting with people, as during your hospital and shut-in visits. You may not realize how much of yourself you are giving to those dear folks. Don’t berate yourself for the way you are…..allow yourself to renew and refill, by solitude, walking, rest, and prayer. You can head off incoming depressive episodes that way. Be ever vigilant and aware of your mood and your thought patterns.

    In my world at least, a depressive Lutheran is a rarity, and few, if any, fellow churchgoers have the slightest inkling of understanding.
    So learn to take good care of yourself, so you can survive in your people-oriented vocation.

  8. I just now happened to run across your blog, so this comment is very late, and I have not read your archives to see if you have already touched on what I’m going to say.

    Here is how I deal in a practical way with ongoing struggles with anxiety and depression—make a habit of walking at least 45 minutes, outdoors, every single day. The exercise releases endorphins in the brain. I can actually feel it happen…..its like a lightening takes place in my mind, but it takes about 45 minutes of walking before it kicks in.

    I can empathize with your drained feelings after interacting with people, as during your hospital and shut-in visits. You may not realize how much of yourself you are giving to those dear folks. Don’t berate yourself for the way you are…..allow yourself to renew and refill, by solitude, walking, rest, and prayer. You can head off incoming depressive episodes that way. Be ever vigilant and aware of your mood and your thought patterns.

    In my world at least, a depressive Lutheran is a rarity, and few, if any, fellow churchgoers have the slightest inkling of understanding.
    So learn to take good care of yourself, so you can survive in your people-oriented vocation.

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