Shredding My Past Regrets
I bought a paper shredder and I love it. You should see this thing work. It is wonderful how it shreds our junk mail into tiny indistinguishable pieces of confetti so small they can never be pieced together. It is remarkably efficient, mostly quiet and it can destroy up to 10 pages of paper at once. The manufacturer promises I will no longer have to open the mountain of junk mail I receive in order to dispose of it. I am thrilled with this machine. It is so fascinating how it gets rid of the past and present so easily. Am I done with a project? Shred it. Paid the bills and have all that trash left over? Shred it. Expired credit cards, no problem shred it. I have tried to find something that it struggles with and so far, it has a perfect track record of shredding everything I have slid into its grasp.
Shredding more than paper
I need something like this to shred some of those feelings and failings that I have accumulated over the years. My therapist says I need to find ways to dwell in the here and now and forward. But just the same, I tell her that I have so many past shortcomings, and even some success I need to dispose of that makes it difficult to move on down the road.
Regrets, failings and shortcomings seem to be part of living. At age 61, I have many regrets, but that is the privilege of age. I think 10-year-old Rick surely had far less baggage than the 61-year-old version. Thus proving in my case (I think most people agree with this) that regrets grow along with age.
My therapist suggests one way to move on is to use a device like my new paper shredder to systematically and symbolically place pieces of paper in that carry the name of some of the old stuff that no longer serves me. Her symbolic shredding of the past may be just what I need to go forward. But then I wonder, what if the good stuff gets caught in the shredder as well? Or suppose I shred prior thoughts, feeling and emotions and then I still have them? Does that make them ghost memories/emotions? Will I be haunted by terrible ghost emotions? Can I even shred ghost emotions? If I did and they still showed up would that be a haunting. I can see someone tell about me as I pass along the street. Oh yes there goes Rick, he shredded the old stuff in his life that was holding him back and now is haunted by that stuff and they are even angrier because he tried to get rid of them.
The emotional toll of RA
I know that is all a little bit of silliness. But what is not silly is the very real emotional toll that RD takes on those of us who struggle with the condition. A search of literature revealed this statement in a Meta study published in 2018 “Psychiatric comorbidities, such as depression and anxiety, are very common in persons with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)”1. “Depression is highly prevalent in RA and associated with poorer RA outcomes. This suggests that optimal care of RA patients may include the detection and management of depression.”2 With such a prevalence of depression it is important that we actively seek out our own ways of battling this monster.
I have yet to put my cares of past regrets in the paper shredder. But I might soon. After all, what do I have to lose? Oh, I know the price of paper is high, but really, I can likely afford a case or two, or one hundred.
When was your last flare?