A Serious Problem

Caveat: This blog talks about the partners addiction and suicide.

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Recently our family has watched a (for me) distant member continue to self destruct. From early on in his life he has been addicted. I suspect alcohol at first but quickly drugs. He has been to rehab many times and now in his twenties he was in a serious accident with his transportation. A short while before this he was hospitalized for an overdose. In the hospital following this latest incident it seems he has expressed that he couldn’t cope any longer.

I can imagine that to have spent most of your life battling addiction, always needing drugs, in and out of rehab unsuccessfully, it would be difficult to see anything in your future except continued pain. I can understand the desire to end it all.

Several blogs have talked about that kind of hopelessness. It is devastating to feel that there is nothing that you can do to stop the circle of pain. Most of the blogs that talk about this have suffered from mental health issues and many have found help with medications, therapy and coping skills. Unfortunately, I know several families who have suffered with the problem as it relates to addiction and wish there were more successful help for sufferers. Some people are helped by rehab but there are those for whom rehab is not enough. It has made me suspect that for these people there are underlying problems, possibly mental health issues, that have never been identified and addressed.

touched by pain

It makes me suspect these victims have spent their lives self-medicating their unaddressed mental health problem with drugs and/or alcohol. I hope that as we look more carefully into the people who are suffering with this that more help can be found.

We are a whole not parts

It has been two weeks since I was so sick with IBSD. I have been so well in general that the episode completely blind-sided me. Now I am experiencing the hangover. Since these particular episodes always occur between 9 and 10 in the evening I get anxious each night around that time.

The irony is that this kind of episode only crops up, at the most, once a year. It will take weeks for it to fade from my mind and then I will be fine.

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It is so amazing what we can do to ourselves. I am fine physically but my mind clings to the latest event. So what to do? I have increased my prayer and quiet time, continued my regular routine and let that event become a memory that will fade. Learning and using coping skills is such a critical piece to our health and wholeness. We must remember that we were created as whole beings….not separate parts. Everything that we do affects our entire being.

One of the problems with out medical systems today is that we are not see this way but as different parts managed by different physicians. Not only do they not see beyond their specialty but they seldom communicate with each other.

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We must learn to be our own advocates. Even if a physician ignores or puts you down for your concerns and conclusions about your care remember who sees the end result. Don’t ever be afraid to speak your mind and if you have someone who can’t accept that change to someone else. Never let a caregiver dismiss you. Each of us is just a important as the person caring for us. Never forget it.

What ifs

what ifs

It is so easy to fall into thinking that we can control outcomes in life. When things don’t work the way we want we start with the “What ifs.” If I had only finished something at work faster, if I had only been nicer, if I had turned left instead of right. Depending on the situation we can blame ourselves for what happened. We can also blame someone or something else. One way leaves us feeling guilty and the other way exonerates us but leaves us angry and wanting to lay blame on someone.

responsibleThere is also the problem of responsibility. Some families have solved their children’s mistakes so many times that the child has no sense of responsibility for their actions. They have not suffered any consequences. Unfortunately, we need to be held accountable early on in life or when something happens that can’t be fixed then the result can be devastating.

 

Life is unpredictable. When we are truly at fault we need to take responsibility but we can’t take on guilt for the vagaries of the world. Knowing the difference between these two is a critical life skill.

When situations arise take a hard look and sift through what happened. Learn to use some perspective and don’t take on things that are uncontrollable. Don’t lose yourself in the “what ifs.”

Frail humans

Today I hauled some of things I have cleaned out to the car. It was mostly art supplies that I will give to a local place that offers art opportunities for children. it is so nice to be able to help with things that have stood useless in my closet.

unfinished-business-in-the-form-of-projects-that-might-robert-updegraff-103-50-72While cleaning I also found knitting projects that I haven’t finished. I now have them in order and I will begin finishing  them. It is sad for me to realize that I have done that. It makes me wonder how many unfinished things I have left in my life. Not projects like knitting but relationships or important people. Are there those out there that I hurt in some way by not following up with them?

I hope that I have not left too much undone. At the moment I don’t remember anyone but life can take strange twists and turns. I send my plea for forgiveness out to the cosmos. I am sure that I also have been left undone by some but my forgiveness is sent out also. We can’t go through life without encountering others and sometimes mistakes are made.  Knowing that we are all frail humans and not perfect can bring peace.

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We can’t grasp the infinite

venus-of-willendorfI was thinking today about how our image of God (if you have one) colors who we are and how we think. If anthropology tells us correctly the images of God dug up from very old civilizations were mostly feminine. Women with bulbous breasts and often pregnant. The idea that women created life brought about ideas of their sacredness.

I don’t know that I have ever read any study that gives a step by step progression of how and why that image changed. Might be fun to look that up but I suspect it had to do with the shift from a hunter-gatherer society to a less mobile farming one. As civilization progressed roles continued to be defined and somehow the God as woman shifted. In many cultures there were multiple Gods connected with the perception that Gods controlled the vagaries of the earth and could be appealed to to bring good outcomes.

As God, melded into a single entity in several cultures that entity was primarily male. Our Christian beginnings, linked to the Jewish culture, were firmly entrenched in a male image.

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All this being said how does this affect how we think? If we see a male, patriarchal God we will expect a male dominated society. Our society has had this aspect for quite a long time. If we believe in a God we have to learn to see God as more. God as feminine, God as neutral, God as gay, transgender or whatever allows us to feel connected with the divine. This idea can be offensive to some but the point is we connect with a God who is like us for right or wrong. That is why some people have had a difficult time with images of god. The image we have definitely colors our thinking. It is time we espouse a very broad image. After all, we can’t possibly grasp the infinite. Don’t put God in a box.

Hit over the head

hit over the headMy grandmother used to say that sometimes God will knock you down to make you think. Sometimes we have to be hit over the head to see the obvious. With alcoholics or those addicted to drugs it is often reaching what is considered the bottom that wakes them to reality.

Just rolling along each day we can get into a routine that pushes aside any idea that something may be wrong. We are like ostriches hiding our heads in the sand. It takes a major event to change things.

In the 1980’s I was working hard and paying little attention to my health. My IBSD was so out of control that I ended up with ulcerative colitis. I spent the next three weeks in the hospital getting my health and my life back under control. I had plenty of time to think about how I ended up in that condition. I learned a valuable lesson.

pay attentionPay attention to what is going on both in your life and with you health. Putting off see a physician or mental health professional is not an option. Pull your head out of the sand and take stock of reality. I can save you being hit over the head by God.

Too much!

Today my husband and I traveled to Mayo Clinic for a follow-up. As we traveled I notice the number of storage facilities we passed. What is wrong with us? We have so much stuff that it is big business to store it away. Surely this is the height of the ridiculous.

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As a society we hoard. There are many stories about hoarders lately and most of us don’t have a house so full that we can’t walk through it. However, maybe we would if we didn’t have it stored away in a facility.

If the “stuff” is not wanted then we need to take it to the Salvation Army. They have the highest rating for actually helping instead of paying CEO’s. There may be people who need it.

I have recently been trying to clean out and pare down. I have way too much in my house. Quite a bit can be classified as trash and should be thrown or recycled. Some of it is going in boxes to take to help others. It is amazing what we can accumulate.

Seeing all of this reminds me that not only is my home in overload but that I can be too. What am I holding on to that I need to let go? So while I am searching through stuff I will also be opening doors in my mind to sweep out what is cluttering my mind.

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