Whose Life Is It, Anyway?

Did you ever wonder if you were really living your own life? I don’t mean that in a shallow sense like the kids, the job, blah blah never leaves you enough time for yourself – I actually mean it in a more literal way. Like someone you love suddenly dies or has a terrible accident – and you become so distressed that you practically will yourself into becoming them. That you so don’t want that person to leave your life you begin to lead their life for them, rather than your own?

I know, WC, where the hell do you come up with this stuff? Hard to say but it has nevertheless been on my mind lately. As most of you know there has been lots of crazy action around me the last few months and it seemed to start when my friend Kelly had an accident that should have killed her but which she was too stubborn to die from. When I learned the news I actually felt myself do a funny little thing – not one of those out of body experiences but it was as though I was driving east and suddenly I picked up the car and turned it west and drove that way. And it stopped feeling like my car too.

Obviously in extreme situations, we will react with stress and our stress manifests in different ways. In my case it seemed almost a personality transplant had taken place. I often found myself thinking I didn’t recognize myself and was confused by my own actions, my own thoughts, my viewpoints. Though I suppose some part of me remained or I wouldn’t have questioned anything, I still felt obsessed, possessed and not truly under my own will.

Suddenly things just happened to me, rather than my making things happen. Odd, that. Not like me. I would get irrationally upset about things that never bothered me before. Saw danger where there really was none yet it all seemed very real. In fact, for a while, I couldn’t drive without the image of someone slamming into me. I thought incessantly about Kelly’s children and family – natural you might think because of the situation – but it wasn’t the thought so much as the viewpoint of the thought – as if I were thinking for Kelly.

And suddenly many other things seemed to go to shit in my life as well. Inexplicably. As though it were now my turn to ride first class on the shit tour. Blow ups with friends, room mates, my dog acting weird, clients not paying me – yeah it was shoveling faster than I could shovel it out. With me, just shaking my head and asking WTF?

Though there came a point that we realized Kelly was going to make it and we could let out a collective breath, it didn’t return me to myself, so to speak. I still felt weird, odd, strange. Not me. So instead of ignoring it which I’d been doing and hadn’t changed a thing I made myself think about it, examine it, turned it into a science project if you will and I realized something very interesting. That I’d done this before – the first time when grandfather died, then my brother, then my father (that was a real tough one) and now Kelly. It gave me pause to see a pattern like that. I was tempted to just say, ‘well, that’s natural, that’s normal, we all go through loss and stress and so on.’ But I really couldn’t buy that for me. I am a strong person with a very strong personality and strong will – I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t some decision on my part involved in it. I don’t necessarily rational decision but decision nonetheless. And when I really looked at it I could spot the decisions – see them, almost hear myself think them. And it goes something like this, “I’m not going to fucking let them die, no matter what.” Spooky, huh? I thought so.

And so the pattern began and has lived on – some dumb part of me believing that through sheer will I can somehow continue another person’s life by being them or acting like them, carrying on for them. With no mind to my own life and all the many things that I need, want, have. Well, I’m here to tell you folks, it can’t be done. It really can’t. I can only truly live my own life, as can anyone else and that’s how it should be.

It’s a relief in a way to realize it – so much guilt I now don’t have to own, so much worry, so much grief. I can empathize, I can understand and I can grieve but it’s not my job to continue for them. And so I can just tend to the job of being myself and living my own life. Which is hard enough, eh?

So, any of you ever feel that way or is this one of those posts that you wonder if I’m smoking crack or something?

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21 thoughts on “Whose Life Is It, Anyway?

  1. No, don’t think you’ve been smoking crack. That made perfect sense to me. Stress can make us do some weird ass shit and think in strange circular reasoning that we’d not normally entertain.

    LOL Bettina, well that makes two of us. Thanks – yes, stress can do some very weird ass things, can’t it?
    Annie

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  2. No, not smoking crack. Brown grass from yesterday? *chuckle* No, seriously, I have been very fortunate that I have never had to deal with the serious illness or death of a close loved one. However, if one of my children became seriously ill I think I would become consumed with preventing it from happening. Not sure if it would take the form you that you are talking about, but something equally as all consuming. In the end, no matter what the situation, it’s all about acceptance, I guess.

    Yeah Panther, that brown grass sure do make some good smoke. πŸ˜‰

    You are fortunate if you’ve never lost a very close loved one – I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, it is devestating. I think it is just the pure overwhelm of it – the knowledge (deep down) that you really are helpless to change the situation for the most part – like trying to stop time or something. Can’t be done. No matter how much you want it. Acceptance, I think yes. At least acceptance of our limitations in such situations, to be sure.

    Annie

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  3. Questions are the answer, and I love a good one.

    This was a good one, got my attention. The funny thing about a good question is they force answers. Even if it’s subconsciously.

    Keep asking good questions.

    Hello and welcome. No worries about me asking questions – I cannot seem to help myself there. Yes, they can force answers – or bring them to birth – sometimes it’s a long time coming, though.

    WC

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  4. I am still having trouble accepting my son is a heroin addict. I sometimes just don’t understand why he won’t live the life I think he should live. Which is crazy for me to think that way yet I do it anyway. He is going to be home in the next few days. I look forward to seeing him yet at the same time I dread it. I lost my Dad 8 years and almost 9 months ago. His birthday is in 6 days. I feel he should still be alive. But in the end I know I will get through this. I always do, somehow. This was a really good post Annie.

    Hugs and Jugs
    Joanie

    Oh Joanie, you and I are so alike in so many ways. Yes, if only people would think like we do, eh? Wouldn’t that make life easier? LOL. Your son, I think, will someday come to grips and it hard to watch on the sidelines but you cannot make a person change until they want to. Yes, you will get through it because you are a very strong lady and have a good grip on your sense of the absurd and humorous. Like you, I think my dad should still be alive too – if life were fair, he would be.

    hugs & jugs,
    Annie

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  5. Hi Annie,

    Another thought provoking post! Oh how I have missed them!

    Stress? What stress? You talking bout me? LOL!

    Girl, you don’t want to know some of the crazies stress can make this ole girl do, think & be. With that said, I think you are probably pretty normal..if that can be defined today.

    The thing you have done is question, analyze and found why..are you a Phychologist in disguise here? Maybe more of us should question why we act out as we do..but then I have Annie to make me think.

    You are one amazing Chick!
    Thanks for your thought provoking post!

    Love and lots of hugs

    Hey Ange,
    Golly I sure don’t see enough of your smiling face around here. How are you, honey?

    I guess we all have our own brand of stress/crazies – maybe it’s just what do with it or how we handle it? No, no psychologist here – thank you very much. I don’t know if we should question, I only know that I do and always have – it’s how I roll, you know?

    You posting anything lately? I’ll be by to check soon.

    Love and hugs,
    Annie

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  6. Oh, drat. Had a long comment in progress, hit a wrong key, and lost it. Just as well. It was all about me.

    Do we girls ever get over the loss of our dads? Mine died 8 years ago and I still cry if I think about him for more than a minute. What is acceptance, anyway? As for moving on, I no longer even pretend to know what that is. How, where, and what is “moving on,” anyway?

    Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

    I don’t know if we girls do – my dad and I were very close, partly I think to make up for the fact that my mother and I were like oil and water but mostly because we very much alike. So, yeah getting over that, if one ever can has been very hard for me. Moving on, got me.

    Annie

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  7. This happened to me when I found out my father had been killed. Even though I hadn’t seen the man in ten years, it was like… personality transplant… yes. That works.

    So no, I don’t think you’re crazy.

    Then again, I’ve been often accused of smoking crack. πŸ˜‰

    Hi Amy and welcome,
    It’s a very odd experience isn’t it? Truly one of oddest of my life. I feel for you.

    LOL – well if you’re anything like me, you get your highs naturally – seriously diet coke pretty much handles it for me. πŸ˜‰
    WC

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  8. Very interesting realization that you have had. It is great to be aware. Never heard of anyone else having this experience, however like you said, this has happened a few times before and you didn’t give it too much thought. This may be more common than we think. Hmmmm.

    Hi Mark,
    It may well be that it has happened commonly among other people, with the exception of a new who just mentioned it to me I’ve never known anyone else to experience – one of the reasons, I wrote this post because I thought if someone else had perhaps they’d feel better knowing they weren’t alone in the dilemma. Know what I mean?
    Annie

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  9. no not smoking crack … glad you were able to see this part of yourself… i have watched far too many people i love die and yet am still amazed at the patterns that develop in myself when these things happen. sigh. there is no right or wrong when it comes to how we deal with it all i think. hugs!

    Hey Sweet Dar,
    Good to see you. No, there aren’t any right or wrong patterns I don’t suppose – but this one really knocked me over when I realized it. And it was freeing, actually, very much so and somehow has brought me some peace. Which is a good thing, yes?

    Hugs to you too,
    Annie

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  10. Hi Lovely Annie,

    You smoking crack darling. Ouch ! I hope I don’t take on your pain to get you through it, you know I love you and its what I do. Smiling.

    Oh ! What to say. This is a great post for me Annie. I know exctly what your talking about here.Stress and losses just recently have got me to acting wierd man. Like I wasn’t Diane.

    I was acting and behaving and thinking like a woman I know. I feel that I kinda became her, illnes, we had a similar illness but mine wasn’t as serious.The only understanding I can get to about that is that she maybe needed my strength. I don’t know. I was giving her my strength anyway. It drained me.

    Oh ! Let me read this again. This is one of them there real thought rendering posts.You talk about so much here that I understand,

    ~~~~ β€œI’m not going to fucking let them die, no matter what.”~~~~~~~ aww!!

    ((((((Annie))))))
    I remember your fathers birthday, it was the day my mother died. You told me.I need to read this again. You have helped me with this writing. I don’t feel as wierd now. Hehe!! Thank you.

    Yer !! Whos life is it anyway.
    One Love.

    Big love to Kelly.

    Hello Wonderful Di,
    No, I’m not smoking crack, sweetie, that was a poor attempt at a joke.

    Yes, I see you do know what I mean and it rather disconcerting, isn’t it? Beyond weird but you can’t quite believe you’re doing it either, can you?

    Yeah, I remember that too, Di, that your mom died on my dad’s birthday. Yeah…

    Kelly appreciates your big love, she really does – keep it up please, she still has such a long way to go.

    Love
    Annie

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  11. Hehe!! I liked your joke.

    BIG LOVE kept up for Kelly.

    (((((( XX Kelly & Annie XX )))))))

    Yes very disconcerting – Yes beyond wierd.

    ~~~~I still felt obsessed, possessed and not truly under my own will~~~~ I’ve felt the words you use here in a big way. It is a bit spooky eh ! when it happens.

    Thank you for sharing this with us Annie, shit man I always feel like I’m in an AA or NA meeting when I use the word share and say thank you. Hehe!! But you did share this and I’m am thankful – so what can I say.

    Smiles & Closeness. Thank you
    Di & Love

    Well Di, you don’t have to say anything dear – I’m happy to share whatever pops into my head – which sometimes is good and sometimes not so much. It’s good in a way though, to know other people have been in the weird place, eh?

    Love
    Annie

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  12. WC, I’m 57 now and I’ve lost my mom, dad, two brothers and can’t find another and that leaves one brother in my family I can talk to. And to top all that off, I’m the oldest of the five boys born to my mom and dad. I’ve suffered panic attacks, depression and have found myself wondering what my lot in this world is. I’ve found the friends I had are all gone by one interesting situation or another. Some died, some barely managed to miss prison terms. I can go on, but you get the picture. So I didn’t say that for anything else but to say. You’re not alone in questioning who you are. You’re not crazy, smoking crack or anything of these things. I’m just beginning to get things back together, so it does get better with time.

    Well thanks LS I appreciate that, very much.
    WC

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  13. I’ve had “odd” experiences in time of stress/sadness/death. I think of them as almost out of body experiences myself. It’s like it can’t really be happening but it is, and my body keeps doing what it is supposed to, my mind is trying too, but it is somewhere else completely. I often turn into a babbling fool, and it is as if my brain is trying to function normally, and also trying to process what is going on. I know I’m definitely not rational at all. It’s an out of control feeling that I don’t like. Eventually it calms down, but it’s unsettling for a long time.

    So, no, I don’t think you’re smokin’ crack. Because what does that say about me? LOL!

    Hey Mrs. V
    Yeah, babbling fool – I know what you mean. And it really does take a while for things to settle down

    Well, no one would think you were smoking crack – I’m pretty sure of that. No way. πŸ˜†
    Annie

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  14. I kind of know what you mean and not sure that I have reacted exactly the same but I have certainly felt powerless when friends and family are suffering and I can’t do anything other than just be there for support. I would like to take their suffering away and I can’t. I hate that. I have a lot of difficulty with that kind of acceptance.

    When my grandmother died I went into denial for about a day and I just couldn’t cope with the fact that she had gone. That was really hard. I am lucky that both my parents are still alive, so I haven’t had to deal with that.

    I have had an out of body experience though – I watched myself have a car accident. That was really freaky. I don’t really want to do that again.

    Hey Gem,
    It is the utter rejection of the reality I think that drives us into these odds states of mind, I think. I’m so glad you still have both your parents with you – that’s good. I’ve had a couple of out of body trips myself – very disorienting – repeat performance? No, thank you.

    Hugs,
    Annie

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  15. I’m the Great Disconnector. In a crisis, I turn into a robot and just get things done. Then I have a complete and utter meltdown and then I withdraw into AlexWorld where everything might not be rosy (and in fact can be quite dark), but it’s all of my creation and know that and there I stay until someone drags me kicking and screaming back into the RealWorld.

    Hey Sweet Boy,
    I had to laugh about “AlexWorld” as I have a similar place called “AnnieUniverse” which can be quite the amusement park ride. Yes, thank God there are people who will drag us back to reality, eh?

    Hugs,
    Annie

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  16. Who’s life is it anyway.

    I loved that title.You know thiking about it I’ve had a few experiences of what your describing here Annie. I love what Gem said about accepting powerlessness when friends and relatives are ill.

    Yes Death and stress do funny things to you. Did to me. Death stress and returning to active addiction turned me totaly wierd. I found I was re-feeling and re living my mothers death so much with certain situations. Cancer was a contributing factor. Grieving both parents has been huge for me. Both died in the space of 6 months three years ago with cancer. Grief can do all kinds of wierd and wonderful stuff to you.

    I had to ask one of my best friends to read my writing and see if I was still Diane. Wierd.

    I loved the title as I find I can quiet easily fall into the trap of living other peoples lives especially on the computer, feeling others peoples pain and owening it for your own. Its all be a bit strange for me going through it all.My membership to the fellowship of NA drove me crazy to as we can so easily take on others peoples persons and charachter traits.

    Hold on let me scroll up I read something that so touched me and I thought Wow !!

    You said
    It’s a relief in a way to realize it – so much guilt I now don’t have to own, so much worry, so much grief. I can empathize, I can understand and I can grieve but it’s not my job to continue for them. And so I can just tend to the job of being myself and living my own life. Which is hard enough, eh?

    Such a relief. Thank you wonderful Annie
    Loving you
    Di

    Hi sweet Di,
    I’m glad this post has had some positive impact on you. That you have found some comfort in it. That does my heart very good. Especially today.

    Love
    Annie

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  17. hehe !!

    Mrs V smoking crack, Hehe!! To funny

    Love, love love, keep sharing it
    Love
    Di X

    heheheheheh!!!!

    LOL – that would be funny, wouldn’t it?

    love
    Annie

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  18. Glad I could provide you all with a giggle. πŸ˜‰

    Well you know, Mrs. V., you do sometimes say the funniest things. Must be all those little kids you hang out with. πŸ˜‰
    Annie

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  19. Hi Annie,

    It’s always the gestalt speaking, unless I mention otherwise. Not identifying the speaker would be rude πŸ˜‰

    the Grit

    Oh, Gestalt…I don’t think I’ve met him, unless…is he the one with the big waxed up moutache? πŸ˜‰
    Annie

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