Specul(um)ation

27 Feb

I was treading water all afternoon.

This morning I had the joy of a full physical and “well woman” check-up. I usually don’t get too worked up about stuff like this, although I admit that getting intimate with a speculum isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. As it turns out, the doc wants me to have an ultrasound to follow up on some of his observations. He says he’s not anxious, but thinks it’s a good idea to have a closer look.

So I left not feeling particularly anxious, other than hoping I don’t have a repeat of my last ultrasound experience, and keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t have to wait too long for the appointment. Because too much time to speculate is not likely to be helpful. But I’m trying not to think about it.

Then this afternoon I learned that yet another fellow-mom is pregnant. It’s a bizarre truth that my subconscious is able to process information so quickly that I can feel unbridled joy for a friend who is pregnant for the first time, yet immediately feel the sting of unfairness when I find out the same happy news from someone who has a child the same age as Jade. I don’t even have to think about it to feel like I am somehow being left behind. (Clearly there is no thinking involved at all; totally visceral, totally irrational.) Sadly, I’ve had this experience 3 times in the last 5 days.

That was enough to send me into a whirlpool of emotion for the afternoon, desperately trying not to get sucked into the vortex of “What if the weight I’ve lost since New Year’s is abnormal even though I’ve been eating less and exercising more?” And the maelstrom of “What if I’ve been tired because something is really wrong, not just because I’m not going to bed early enough?” And the cataract of “Is it bad news that I’ve had so many colds in the last year?”

While my job is starting to get very interesting these days, I’m just not passionate enough about it for it to block out these invasive and completely self-destructive thoughts. But since coming home (despite its chaotic state) and cooking supper (a lovely homey ritual) then having a short nap (I’m never at my emotional best when I’m tired) and then going out to a music workshop (creative stimulation!), well, I feel like a new woman.

The word “speculate” comes from the Latin root specere “to look” and speculari “to spy out, examine”. It can mean pondering a subject, but it can also mean “to assume a business risk in hope of gain”. Or, in other words, to gamble.

I can take a lesson from this and conclude that too much thinking equals gambling with my mental health.  Actually I already knew that.  But playing with the words is so much more distracting, and I really don’t feel like treading water for another few days.

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