Uncertainty (& Mountain Lions)

This week has pissed me off. My BP is high (155/107 last reading, if you’re interested) which is not a good sign. It’s higher than the last time I was admitted to hospital. Except I don’t feel as ill like I did last time, I mostly feel fine, so there’s not a lot of point going to hospital. Something’s going on illness wise, I just don’t know what it is (virus?). So I’m ‘stress dosing by numbers’ and kind of making it up as I go along with the help of a nurse friend. So I’m pissed off because my body is having some kind of internal argument, won’t indicate to me what the deal is so I can do something properly about it, but equally I don’t want to accidentally give myself an adrenal crisis. So I feel like I’m doing a bit of a dance with a mountain lion which may decide to eat me or could walk away and look for something more tasty. Yesterday I was confident I got my dosing right at lunchtime and by teatime I needed help sitting up to get my jumper off, needed supervision and was incapable of working out myself what medication I needed to take to rectify it. The lion tried to eat me but I temporarily fought it away with a big stick. Although it ate part of my stick in the process.

I read this a while ago but it seems particularly relevant this week with my illness which doesn’t make me feel ill but requires me to stress dose:

The only certain thing in life is that life is uncertain.

Plan all you want, it doesn’t mean it’ll happen. And if you know me, you’ll know I love plans and being in control, so it’s a scary prospect! If you think about it, everything in life is uncertain, even the good things. Except, as humans, we assume that the things which happen to us which are positive are somehow planned and therefore expected life milestones. But really, falling in love, having children and succeeding in careers are just as uncertain as losing a family member suddenly, becoming ill or getting divorced. Your partner could be a mad axe murderer or you might never meet anyone, you might be infertile or your company could go bust. When things are going well in life we take credit for our amazing choices and decisions, and when we hit hard points we say it came out of the blue and it was unexpected. But actually, both the positives and negatives that we experience or face are uncertain.

Some people face more uncertainty than others. My uncertainty comes on a daily basis, things change pretty quickly because of the nature of my condition. Most people don’t have to think ‘if I do that will it kill me?‘ as routine. And, because my body literally does the opposite of what its meant to and confuses doctors, the future is even more uncertain. Which is very frustrating, l’m not going to lie. I could get a stomach bug and that could kill me because I have a volatile condition. But equally I could get run over by a bus while crossing the road which could happen to anyone.

The difference between me and other people is that I know that everything is uncertain, even the positive things other people ‘plan’ for. I haven’t accepted it yet because I’m still finding it irritating, but I’m trying. I know the mountain lions are circling in the woods near my clearing where I’m camping, but I’m equipping myself with big sticks, lighting a fire and arming a shotgun (side note, my husband will find that funny since I really would be useless with a gun!). If I don’t need my weapons because the uncertain things turn out to be positive, great, but if not, I’m equipped. There’s a balance to be found though: too much planning and you become one of those people who have a bunker in the basement designed to withstand a nuclear war, whereas all you might need is a big stick.

Situations change. Plans fall through. Tragedies happen. Equally, people win the lottery or survive catastrophic accidents. Both are uncertainties, but we spend a lot of time subconsciously reassuring ourselves that we’re somehow immune from bad uncertain things and looking at other people’s lives and thinking ‘at least that didn’t happen to me‘. And then if and when things do happen, it comes as a big shock. The mountain lions come, but rather than being equipped to deal with them, lots of people feel like they’re hanging off a cliff edge while also trying to beat the lion off with a stick.

I don’t know why I’ve specifically picked mountain lions over normal lions, by the way. I was uncertain about what analogy I would use when I started writing, but it’s an uncertainty that doesn’t bother me. No stick, fire or gun required. Why’s it so hard to not be bothered about other unknown things then?

I can’t hide behind the positive uncertain things and claim I’m making plans like everyone else does because everything’s too uncertain. Lots of people my age are having babies and are making positive plans about their future with the assumption that they’ll be able to get pregnant and be great parents, but, actually, that’s also uncertain: some super healthy people can’t conceive for no reason or people get to 36 weeks pregnant and their babies die.

Clearly my weapons against the mountain lions are metaphorical, as are the lions, but what I am doing is equipping myself to think differently. In actual fact, my (and everyone else’s) entire life has been uncertain up until now and it will continue to be uncertain. Some people comfort themselves with meticulous planning or things like religion, trying to live a pre-destined path. But things still change and they still have to go back to their plans and revise them or ask their God to help them find a new path.

Good or bad everything is uncertain. There are lots of lions floating around in the woods scaring me with their growls, but I know they’re there and I’m hoping that I can maybe train them to be friendly when they eventually arrive. They’re just big cats right? And if not, I’ll continue beating them off with my fire and big stick.

Image: Mom Junction Free Colouring Pages

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