A Few Words...

What is written here is my opinion and personal experience only. I am not qualified to give advice - medical, legal, or otherwise. Please be responsible and do your own research regarding treatments, diets, doctors, and alternative therapies.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog Day

Since it's February 2nd, I thought today would be the perfect day to explain how having Meniere's disease is a lot like Groundhog Day - the movie.  If you've never seen it, here's the description over at Rotten Tomatoes:

Bill Murray plays Phil, a TV weatherman working for a local station in Pennsylvania but convinced that national news stardom is in his grasp. Phil displays a charm and wit on camera that evaporates the moment the red light goes off; he is bitter, appallingly self-centered, and treats his co-workers with contempt, especially his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliot). On February 2, 1992, Phil, Rita, and Larry are sent on an assignment that Phil especially loathes: the annual Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, PA, where the citizens await the appearance of Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who will supposedly determine the length of winter by his ability to see his own shadow. Phil is eager to beat a hasty retreat, but when a freak snowstorm strands him in Punxsutawney, he wakes up the next morning with the strangest sense of déjà vu: he seems to be living the same day over again. The next morning it happens again, and then again. Soon, no matter what he does, he's stuck in February 2, 1992; not imprisonment nor attempted suicide nor kidnapping the groundhog gets him out of the loop. But the more Phil relives the same day, the more he's forced to look at other people's lives, and something unusual happens: he begins to care about others. He starts to respect people, he tries to save the life of a homeless man, and he discovers that he's falling in love with Rita and therefore wants to be someone that she could love in return.

Comparison #1: Even when we're not feeling well, we have moments where we feel we must put on a happy face and act cheerful, just like Phil when the camera starts rolling, if only for a few moments at a time.  Maybe if we do, the gods will shine down on us and reward our effort in some way.  At the very least, maybe it will make us appear a little less like the grumpy jerks we feel like we've become.  Feeling off-balance, unable to understand what people are saying to us, and being a stick in the mud of everyone else's fun when you're down with vertigo can add up to leaving us feeling bitter, appallingly self-centered, and treating our co-workers (or family and friends) with contempt.

Comparison #2: As we wake up each day, we look to our symptoms to hopefully predict what kind of day we will have.  Will it be six more weeks of winter or will we be given a reprieve with an early spring?  Like Phil, we can feel snowed in, stranded someplace we desperately want to escape.  When we discover we can't escape, we try to imprison, slay, and kidnap the Beast to break the cycle we are stuck in.

While we might beat it back from time to time, the little critter remains insidious and persistent.  Despite going weeks at a time feeling pretty normal and feeling like I have a handle on my emotions, that I will be able to cope better next time, even one bad day of feeling off-balance and brain foggy puts me right back to square one, emotionally.  Every time.  Exactly the way Phil feels when he wakes up each morning with deja vu.  The kicker is that no one around him (us) has any idea that the same scenario keeps playing out, over and over.  And over.  And over...  Everyone around us just goes on with their lives as if nothing is wrong.

Comparison #3: After awhile, despite the repetition of events that we just wish would cease once and for all, we must relent and face our reality.  We will have good days, we will have bad days, and everyone around us will seem oblivious to our internal Groundhog Day.  But once we embrace these facts, we can start to see little opportunities to feed our souls through the lives of those around us whose realities are thankfully different.  We can begin to see that they are our rocks, our anchors.  In turn, we can give whatever we can to them in return, however insignificant it might seem in comparison to what we'd like to be able to give.  We can still love our family and friends and find ways to express that.  And most importantly, we can rediscover that we are still lovable, by others and ourselves, despite our less than desirable disposition.  I truly believe that embracing our limitations sets us free to go on living the best, most productive lives possible.

As you can imagine, Bill Murray and Chris Elliot are hysterical in Groundhog Day and it has a warm-fuzzy ending.  Too bad our experience of living our own personal Groundhog Day isn't nearly as funny (though you can find humor in it sometimes), but we can still find warm-fuzzies if we open our eyes and hearts to them.

No comments:

Post a Comment