In my continued attempts to keep up the impression I lead a functional adult life, I am beginning to worry about my health, as we are obliged to do once we reach a certain age. It seems to be a grown up thing to do, kind of like purchasing breakdown cover, having alcohol in the house that isn't necessarily for immediate consumption and spending significant amounts of money on stuff like couches rather than stuff like fortnights in Vegas.
I don’t tend to be very good at these kinds of things (which I believe are known as "sensible choices") and I would happily sit on a cardboard box for the rest of time in return for two weeks in Vegas. I'm always the person who finds themselves in the panic of another nameless crisis, shooting some holier-than-thou individual a frenzied, infuriated look in reply to unhelpful questions like, "Don’t you have insurance?" and, "Didn't you back-up?". But worrying about a non-existent health issue fabricated from paranoia and creativity, then self-diagnosing a spectrum of diseases using Google? Step aside, I've got this.
After suffering a bout of severe headaches, I recently even took the step of visiting the doctor. For me, going to the doctor is a lot like confession. I usually turn up with a minimum list of five ailments of varying severity, after reaching a point where I have no choice but to attend thanks to some "friend" who has threatened to stop dishing out the sympathy I crave and expect. So anyway, back to the headaches. As a child, I once saw an episode of ‘Casualty’ where a bee had flown into a woman’s ear and was buzzing about inside her head. Needless to say, this has been a fear of mine ever since, and after the great 'fly-in-my-eye' debacle of '94, I'm not taking any more chances with airborne insects.
In a room full of people I suppose I would now have to pause for the snorting retorts of anyone with the slightest grasp of biology, science or sense, who would claim a bee buzzing about in your head is impossible. But here, alone in my blog world and in the absence of anyone challenging me with irritations like logic and fact, I'll say it loud and clear - I DON’T BELIEVE YOU.
Anyway, off I trotted to the doctors, reluctant, but naturally worried about the bee. I sat nervously in the waiting room, trying to avoid the relentless gaze of a motionless child who had been plopped into a giant plastic boat and apparently abandoned. After edgily toe tapping my way through 'Jump' by The Pointer Sisters and 'What a Feeling' from 'Flashdance', my name was called and I was released from the bizarre world of inappropriate background music and the mental clutches of my staring adversary.
Three minutes later I shuffled back out into humanity, satisfied the doctor seemed confident I didn't have a bee in my head. He offered the explanation I may have been in a period of "flux" in my life and sometimes our mental stresses can manifest themselves as physical symptoms. I needed to relax.
Now, this is a problem for me. I've tried meditation before and lets just say it wasn't a roaring success. I have also previously been told by a very lovely, calm and positive lady that my body is literally "rejecting Deeksha".
After this revelation, I went on to try a few different versions of meditation and relaxation and discovered my main problems were:
1 - It takes an extremely stressful amount of concentration to stay still and silent for an hour.
2 - The hilarious physical awkwardness of a small, hot room full of adults, sitting uncomfortably close to each other on plastic school chairs. Adults sitting on tiny plastic school chairs are undeniably amusing, but unfortunately not conducive to reaching an elevated level of calm and focus.
3 - And this is really the clincher - the impossible amount of energy it takes to not centre every ounce of your attention on who is responsible for the moaning stomach.
"Is it the guy on the left? No wait...it’s closer...oh God...is it me?! This is horrific. Please don't be me. Oh God I think it is. Shutup-shutup-shutup..."
The whole experience is so distressing you literally can't even tell whether that gargantuan roar is coming from the belly of yourself or someone else. The whole room has just become one massive acidic stomach pit with the odd mobile phone beep thrown in for good measure.
After internally obsessing about this for approximately a lifetime, you are suddenly lifted from your meditative nightmare to face the world again. You slink from the room a tenner lighter, looking defiantly at people with eyes that say "that was totally your stomach making that noise."
All I left with was an intensified headache and an irrepressible desire to get drunk because, not only are you stressed, but you're now stressed about the fact your body is physically and mentally rejecting calmness or concentration of any sort. And this was kind of your last hope.
Last time I tried this, I made the immediate executive decision to quit meditation and take up kick boxing. This proved much more satisfying, although I did knock my kneecap out of place. That was two years ago. However, I am planning on ringing to make that physio appointment in the verrrrryyyy near future. I guess it's the lesser of two evils. At least I know there's not a bee buzzing about inside it....