It began with an itch, that I unconsciously rubbed. By the time I got home, both my eyes were nearly swollen shut and the “itch” had become a full blown march across my raw eyes.
Histamines from the grass, verdant and lush from recent rain, had tipped me into a full blown allergic reaction.
The rest of the day was spent trying to undo the damage to my eyes and bring my allergy under control. Lying on my back with wet paper towel pressed to my eye sockets, I pondered the problem. I’m not a person to go to the hospital, particularly the emergency department on a Saturday morning. Instead I determined to die quietly here on the couch, in peace.
By then I had taken 4 antihistamine tablets, and they barely seemed to be making a dint in the overwhelming discomfort to my eyes and throat.
When I sat up to walk to the kitchen, I squinted glumly out over the sea of waving green grass around the house and surrounding paddocks. “I really can’t do this every day until the next drought” I felt the same panic an acrophobic might feel contemplating going outside. Then I realised that if I didn’t go outside and exercise, then the alternative was a very pent up human being, and one that my husband might quietly smother with a pillow, if I didn’t at least make the attempt.
I also recalled how, as a child, I had suffered terribly with seasonal hay fever and never had medication for it. In spring, particularly after winter rain, it would start in the eyes, roll into my throat and the sneezing and watering of mucous membranes, endless blowing of nose would begin. It wouldn’t let up until we were in the car, hundreds of kilometres from home and away from whatever seed my system found so repulsive. I couldn’t prevent the onset of reaction back then, but rather knew to have lots of hankies on hand.
Half our reaction to anything is our fear about the reaction. With that out of the way, the reaction itself is controllable.
It’s currently two days later and between an essential oil spray that I made, and the antihistamine tablets, I have my allergy at a manageable level. My eyes still look like I’ve been on a 24 hour sad movie crying jag but I can see out of them. With sunglasses on I can venture out into the public without immediately raising rumours of some devastation befalling me.
Walking along this morning, tears of allergic reaction rolling down my cheeks, trying to stay mindful so that I didn’t rub them, I realised what a great metaphor my current situation was, for how we tend to react to the world in general.
I’ve given up on the news. I skim read the newspaper on my phone each morning just in case there is something I should know about Covid 19 rules changes but that’s it. The media is sensationalised to the point of being either hysterical or monotonously boring to absorb. It works in a way that must be always seen to be neck deep in drama in order to get people to watch it. That doesn’t mean we have to play along and let it infect us though. Think about the news from six months ago – is that not still important? Can you even recall it? Life moves on, whether there is someone to commentate or not.
I don’t have any social media apart from Twitter, which I don’t really use, or WordPress, which I don’t count as social media but rather a connection point to other writers, adventurers and poets. Because of this, I have no idea what anyone else is doing and I rather like it that way.
It’s still not easy to avoid all outside drama. Trouble and strife still appear regularly at my door and knock loudly to be let in. Some mornings I capitulate and they run through my space with muddy feet and shouting. In short order, I realise what I have done and open the back door, sending them out and slamming it behind them.
As much as we buffer and refuse to partake, we can’t take a quick pill for an allergy to the seeming endless everyday madness of this world. I wish we could, because there are so many people suffering from mental health problems, including extreme anxiety and depression, as a result of their reaction.
Instead we have to do the interior work. We are our own antihistamine, we have the mechanisms for cure built into our minds. We are problem and solution, affliction and remedy rolled into one. Like that little kid that I was, I take out my hankie and soldier on. No medication required, just a little peace and quiet.
Now excuse me, I have to go and sneeze.