My doctor found a lump in my neck that isn't going away and today I have a CT scan of it. This is when I would normally call someone and ask them for prayers. But since I am completely certain that that would be ridiculous, I am not sure what to "do." Think happy thoughts? Ignore it? Hope? I went for a massage to calm down and she put "hope" essential oil on me. Like it was going to infuse hope. I don't really believe that. I guess what you do is look into yourself for the hope and centeredness you need to face a scary thing. I do find strength in the people I love.
What do I do instead of pray?
I think you answered your own question quite well. You find support in your friends and loved ones. Just as you said, you find the ability to cope from people you love and from within.
And that's what you've always done. Prayer was just the illusion you had of getting help from elsewhere when, since prayer never worked, it was always just your loved ones and what's inside you that enabled you to cope.
I sincerely hope the lump ends up being nothing to be concerned about! Please take care.
I asked myself this question awhile ago when I had to spend some time in the hospital and I realized this: when I was religious (or at least somewhat religious) many years ago, and went to god for help, the results were no different than now. It's not like the results have changed now that I am an atheist, and when I realized that I realized that the person/people who really helped me through things was me and my friends and family.
It was one of the most self empowering moments of my life, and also one of the most humbling.
Realize the value of your own will, and the value of those close to you. I can't think of a better way to make it through even the worst situations.
Keep a level, rational and reasonable head.. What works, is modern medicine, i could say, let's hope for the best, but the lab results will tell. and from the description you gave, it is likely something of little significance. Well, i was hoping to give encouraging advice, Modern medicine is pretty well advanced, and it can cure and treat successfully a great many ailments :-) The best you can do, is not to panic, wait for the diagnostics, and undertake the prescribed treatment and medication.
We are all biological creatures, and medical issues do happen. Knowing that prayer does not work or will not help kinda sucks, but it is what it is. Psychologically you have to move forward with whatever news comes out of the scan. Nobody enjoys getting bad news and having a supportive group of friends is probably as good a therapy as anything. My advise would be to go out and spend some time with friends. Find an activity that helps get your mind off things and know that you will do whatever is medically needed to continue moving forward. Use that Atheist faith you have in science as the rock you need to know you will be OK. No matter what the diagnoses is you live in an extraordinary time where you have access to tremendous treatment options for all kinds of things. For you I hope the scan comes back with no findings and this will all be just a blur in a few weeks.
Just have to remember, when a cancer patient is cured, it wasn't the prayers that cured her. It was the team of medical specialists and her family supporting her. Those are the things to truly have faith in.
Praying is really just talking to yourself. It seams to help me sometimes or at least makes me feel better. Besides I always give my self the best advice and I'm an excellent problem solver.
Years ago I crashed my dirt bike in the middle of the desert. I was alone and I couldn't start my bike. The sand was so soft my leg would sink past my calf with every step. I started to panic and I caught myself starting to pray and told my self "Fuck that! no god is going to help me now". I calmed my self down and calculated my actions step by step. I carefully inspected my bike and made sure nothing was wrong and then figured out the best way to mount my bike and the best stance to get a good kick on the start. I talked to my self in the third person the whole time till I got my bike started and was able to make it back to camp.
Go to your loved ones for support and if you find yourself alone I don't see why you shouldn't talk to yourself.
A few years ago a movie came out called Touching the Void about a climber who broke is leg near the peak of a mountain in the Andes, and then was separated from his fellow climber. His buddy thought he was dead and climbed down alone.
The climber with the broken leg was an atheist and discussed his beliefs during this documentary. He ultimately survived and was able to share his story because he didn't lie there wallowing in self-pity and praying for rescue. He decided to break the problem of getting down into much smaller problems, like how do I get from here to that point about 100 feet away?
Absolutely riveting. Your story of crashing your dirt bike in the desert brought this to mind.
Touching the void is available in eleven parts on youtube. Part 1 here.
I'm downloading the movie now. From what you describe my situation was similar.(not that my bumps and bruises were as bad as a broken leg)
If you're going to have hope (and I would), I'd put it in the degree your doctor has and the experience he or she has. Doctors can be trusted to know what to do and to do what's best. When you ask one for help, they help as best they can. When one asks god for help, nothing happens. You can do well for yourself by putting your faith in science.
I've been dealing with a neurological problem for about six months, now. In January a doctor gave me a diagnosis of motor neuron disease, which is often fatal in relatively short order. The diagnosis turned out to be wrong, I found out this week. But, I had to wait for two months for this second opinion. In the mean time, I continued to go to work and go about my daily life, and not get too carried away with worry by focusing on the things over which I have control.
I still don't know what I'm dealing with. I should find out in about 10 days. Hopefully, it's something not so serious.
Ultimately, we all have to accept that which is beyond our control. I encourage you to keep that in mind.
I never even thought of any of this with my first crises. I lead a fairly uneventful life, my first real crises came about 5 years after I came to the conclusion that I do not believe. My brother had died and the only thing on my mind was making sure everyone else was OK and that things were in order. I was 20 at the time, and it felt like my family was falling apart, and all I was doing was running around answering questions, making phone calls, and ensuring that we had a decent supply of tissues and a somewhat stable shoulder to cry on.
Stay positive though, hun. Being happy, on a psychological level, has a positive effect on over all health. So seek out fun, happy things, and don't stress too much (I know hard with a lump.)