So what a week, huh?
I’ve got to be honest, a few years ago, I would have thought all of this was pretty funny. The single, no-kids, no wife, no responsibilities, “don’t give a fuck,” Manny in his early 30’s, would have kicked back and thought, “strap in and let’s watch it all burn! MUAH HA HA HA!”
I never got sick or ever went to the doctor… why should I care about healthcare? Hell, spent most of my life without healthcare. Don’t need it.
Never really made much money. Who cares about tax breaks? Doesn’t affect me.
Then, on February 28, 2014… Cheryl’s brain decided to explode and everything changed. My entire life changed. I now had a person that I needed to take care of. A person to protect. I could no longer float through life, as they say in the movie About a Boy, as an island.
The face of mortality sunk in and it was frightening.
Most of my anexity and stress for the past couple of years has been over the things I never cared about. I needed to get Cheryl healthcare as she had none. I had to get MYSELF healthcare because I was overweight, smoked, had high blood pressure and was a candidate for diabetes.
Not that I wanted to die, of course, but now I had a reason to live and a reason to live LONGER.
I got Cheryl healthcare. I got myself healthcare. I stopped smoking, lost 50 pounds and got my blood pressure to a pitch perfect number. Yet, to be fair, my aniexty didn’t go down. Money was (and is) still an issue. It’s one thing to float through life taking care of yourself. When you’re in your 20’s and 30’s you can live with very little. It doesn’t take much to clothe, feed yourself and still have money to go out on the weekends.
That completely changes when you have a person to take care of. A person with needs that outweigh your own! Obviously, most of you already know this…but it was a first for me to carry these feelings around.
Fast forward to the election and the days after…
To put it simply, I was full of a heightened level of stress and anxiety. The candidate that was elected, put into jeopardy the things I struggled to get to ensure that, not only Cheryl could survive, but she could continue to live some sort of life. To make sure she had a roof over her head. To make sure she could eat and see a doctor when she needed to. To make sure I could continue to take care of myself.
Unfortunately, worrying about this stuff is only half of the equation. We haven’t even talked about the crippling fear that was put in to me. To put it bluntly: I’m scared people.
I get that this might sound a little crazy, but… you see, I paid attention in history class and dabbled in a slew of World War II research for a couple of scripts I’ve written and there are two things that I know
1) history repeats itself, and…
2) history is repeating itself.
On Friday, after the initial worry and anexiety wore off, I was struck with a crippling depression. The only reason I left bed was to feed Cheryl and go to the bathroom. I couldn’t eat, could barely sleep.
Every time I closed my eyes, I kept imaging the image of walking alone on the beaches of Long Beach. Then! All of a sudden! A giant flash of light appeared over the ocean and I barely had time to scream “Cheryl!” and shed a tear before I was gone.
You know that dream sequence in T2: Judgement Day where Sarah Connor imagines the end of the world while at a playground? Yeah. That. Every time I closed my eyes. It was awful.
It wasn’t just me, by the way. At one point, at 2:30 in the morning, Cheryl screamed out two words in her sleep: “Trump” and “War.” Freaked the fuck out of me. Not only because she shocked me awake, but also because it seemed she was having the same dreams too.
Now, maybe it won’t come to that, but again…if you read about the uprise of powers in Germany in World War II, the politics, the hate, the things that led to Hitler’s power…well, let’s just say there are too many eerie similarities and that scares the fuck out of me.
That “kid” from a couple of years ago? He doesn’t want to watch the world burn anymore. He now has someone to take care of. He has a family. He can’t be an island anymore.
Hopefully, all of these emotions will be totally ridiculous. Maybe half the country is overreacting to the Trump Presidency. But when you’re a caregiver, you have to think about these things.
At least I do. I have to have a plan and right now… I don’t think any of us have a plan for the future.
And that’s scary.