Once my jaw went nuts on me. That strongest of all muscles put its back into clenching all night long, and I awakened to skull-crunching pain one morning. Yes, I grind my teeth, been doing it for years, protecting my teeth with a mouth guard nightly. The guard protects my teeth, but my muscles can’t be restrained.
Whew! I mean, it really hurt, and I didn’t last but a day or two before calling the dentist and being notably more assertive than usual in securing an appointment. He gave me a muscle relaxant, but I think it would have taken twenty times the dose he prescribed to get rid of the pain.
So what was that all about? Why did my jaw-clenching, teeth-grinding ramp up out of control? I did know I was stressed out. My father’s Alzheimer’s caused him to fall more and more frequently, and each call from his care-facility sent me into flight or fight mode. Things with the kids worried me more than ever and had been getting worse for months. My first novel was in the publication process and I did not know what the heck was going on, missing tasks, flubbing opportunities for promotion, feeling baffled. Those were the biggies, but they’d been biggies and baddies for some time.
I went about abating the pain, deploying methods varied and goofy. I microwaved a wet washcloth and pressed it against my jaw over and over. I rubbed each side continually. I ate only oatmeal, pudding, soup and mashed potatoes, and didn’t talk much. I got cranial-sacral, facial and reflexology massages and hung out more than I wanted to in hot tubs. I visualized, meditated, did Tai Chi, visited a vortex and stared at awesome nature. I got it under control! To realize, of course, that I’d cracked a tooth and needed a crown.
But that was nothing. I wasn’t wracked with pain. And I began to understand the tiny, massive difference between earlier pressures and the ones got my jaws clamping tightly while I slept. The difference was that I had some pressures that I couldn’t talk about. They were confidential. I could tell people things were stressful but I could tell only one or two people WHY they were stressful.
So I couldn’t talk about them. But I didn’t write about the issues much either. I kind of held myself in this unnaturally reticent position.
That does not work for me. I will have to do it sometimes because some things are just private and that’s all. But I have to find a way to release and process or I will be made by my knowing unconscious to feel the effects, one way or another, and feel them good.
One thing I was supposed to have been doing was getting a blog going. Even though I couldn’t have shared what was going on, I could have shared something. I believe that would have helped me.
So you see, I have to do this, like it or not. I’ve been doing it all my life, from my first diary when I was 9, to notes passed between classes in junior high, letters in college, and all the talking talking talking that helps me be happy. I have to release the ideas and feelings I have.
I will be releasing here ideas and thoughts. I read books and then I have ideas about them. I see plays and get riled up, or art exhibits. Or I have an interaction that activates me. (By “activate” I mean, “gives me insomnia”.) Books, art, music, justice, nature, love, people. Food. Pets. Parenting. Alzheimer’s. Working out. These are things I think about most days. Television. Movies. Facebook. What’s wrong with me? How to fight depression.
So I have to do this, like it or not, and I hope you’ll like it sometimes. I’ve liked writing this right now. I think I’ll go ahead and assume that something good will come out of my writing a blog, and that something good will also come, I do hope, from your reading it.
Here we go!