Can you feel it? You're just not sure how you feel? Your nerves are atwitter and your stomach is unsettled. You can't sit still for very long and your concentration is gone.
I think this is a malady that we all have. This disorder we share is a result of the unsettled time in which we are living.
The other night, I was watching a young pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays pitching in the ninth inning with the score tied. He was wiping the sweat out of his eyes while he was shaking off signals. I wanted to yell, "Just throw the ball."
I had empathy for him because it seems like we, too, are in the bottom of the ninth and we don't know what the score is.
We are in the height of hurricane season. I watched the path of Ike on my computer from the time it was named until it was sitting over the Midwest. In the first path, the storm was going to hit our side of the state. As time went on and the size and direction of the storm was more certain all you could feel was relief and sorrow.
The pictures of the devastation and the human toll is staggering. The saddest stories may be of those who moved to Texas after Katrina. They thought they were safe, but now are homeless again from Ike. We send money to the agencies that are giving aid and we feel it is not enough. Mother Nature can be very cruel.
Our unsettled feelings come from the turmoil on Wall Street. How much money do we have in the Treasury? The promises of politicians to not raise taxes sound very hollow when billions of dollars are being used to prop up failing companies. When the officials who should know what they are talking about tell us we are in trouble, why wouldn't you lose your appetite?
Here we are in the heart of an election campaign. Over and over again, pundits say, "This is the most important election of our time." We are bombarded with polls, truth-o-meters and television ads that make you cringe.
I try to keep informed by listening to NPR (National Public Radio), CNBC, CSPAN, FOX, and MSNBC. I read my newspaper starting with the comics and ending with the editorial page. I read what I can on the computer and I search for answers on Web sites like Snopes.com.
If you don't feel on edge when you pull up to a gas station or go through a grocery checkout lane I want to know what medications you are taking. How do we cope? Are we headed for a national breakdown? We each have to find a way that helps us muddle through.
I have found something that works for me and I will share. I have stacks of reading materials. The first stack consists of positive materials and my favorite is Guideposts inspirational stories. The next thing I reach for is Readers Digest to read the humor sections. Finally, I reach for my third stack and it is a pile of cookbooks.
I can take a taste trip to Italy, Greece, or the deep South of the U.S. I can look at pictures of perfect cakes and delightful delicacies. I am transported to calm and restored to mental health after some inspiration, humor and good food stories.
All without gaining a pound.
Mary Partington lives in New Port Richey