Today was beautiful here. We have been having typical March weather…one day cold the next really warm. Today was just right. In spite of the weather the azaleas have been beautiful. We have several varieties in our yard and they don’t always bloom at same time. This year they are all blooming at once.
There is nothing more beautiful than nature. Spending time outside will refresh the soul. Just sitting in the sunshine can make life seem better. Time under the trees quietly thinking helps reduce anxiety and depression. When you can take some quality time with nature.
Caveat: This blog talks about the partners addiction and suicide.
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.
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.
outside the flag whips in the wind
bleak and grey the skies loom overhead
the tide in the river fights to retreat
but the wind pushes up waves to impede
my view causes me to shudder
as if the wind can slide into the room
and bring its chill within
cold, cold, its mood is bleak
cold, cold my mood in response
mirroring the withering view
waiting, the kind sun to return
and bring its joy to lift my soul
© Suzanne Boyd 2018
The last few weeks have been busy and stressful. I would imagine that this is true for many people as they get ready for the holidays. This time of year can weigh us down. In addition, it has rained here for the last week. When I wake in the morning it is dark and dreary. I have to turn on lights to function. I am ready for some sun. The sun did come out this afternoon and it will dry up some of the giant puddles where the ground has just had enough.
Most of the time I like rain. I love the sound of it and the smell on the grass but when it is constant it is enough! The winter has enough darkness. We don’t need darkness caused by clouds and rain but we have to believe there is better to come.
Not having light can be depressing but the light is coming. If you are Christian then it is coming with the birth of Christ. If you are not then the winter solstice is on its way and days will be lengthening. The light will return, the season will change and life will go on. Hope can abound.
One of the most important things to accept and understand is that each of us is loved. I am not talking about the love of another person but the love that surrounds us. For me, there is a love that pervades the universe. We learn to accept that each of us is unique and as such never to be again. Our time on earth is a gift. We have to make choices about how we use that gift. We didn’t seek that gift. It was given freely and without expectation of some sort of return.
If we can accept that we are loved then we have love to give away to others. Not just people but also to the earth that we inhabit. There are times when we don’t feel any love directed toward us. We feel alone, alienated, and abandoned. We must learn to pull away from this idea. Regardless of how unimportant or unnoticed we feel we must accept the fact that we matter.
To me this feeling of being left out, ostracized and without meaning is insidious and can trap us in depression. Sometimes it is hard to believe that love surrounds us. You can see it as God, or whatever form you accept but it is there.
When you are in a bad place and can’t see your way remember the love and know that you can reach out and find a way out of the darkness. There is always a way.
Today has been a little hangover from the stress of IBSD yesterday. I am better but have not totally let go of the anxiety. It is incredible how it can get a hold on you and not want to let go. It truly takes positive action on my part to continue to push it away. Sometimes I think how silly it is to let anxiety take control when there truly is nothing to be anxious about. We surely can make our own distress. Unfortunately, it is not under my control. I keep working at it and it is better than it was in the past.
Life will always be up and down. That’s just the way it is. It’s how we handle it that counts. In spite of struggles we have to keep fighting! Giving up is not an option as none of us wants to live that way. Life is such a gift. We can’t miss it.
Recently I read an article that led me to explore another coping skill for managing stress. One of the things I have noticed about dealing with stress, anxiety and depression is the more we are able to step away in our minds helps. The ability to almost have an out of body experience allows us to look at things differently. We disassociate ourselves from the distress and are able to see it as outside of ourselves.
We seem to do it (when we can) without really understanding that it is what we are doing. I think if we can understand this process, and actually use it, more control is possible. I can imagine saying to myself “now just stand away…let this other person struggle you are separated from it.” I don’t see it as a true out of body experience but just the disconnecting of our mind from the immediate issue.
It does seem to have a relationship with things like taking a deep breath, or lowering your chi. I do think it goes one step further. Breathing can help to get us to that state. Take a deep breath and imagine yourself standing apart from all the problems. See your other self and let the feelings that are there be away from you.
This may all sound a little out there but I am adding this coping skill and will report on how well it works for me.
This morning I had to get up in the dark. My husband had an appointment for surgery to change out his pacemaker. I do not like to get up in the dark. My husband has and expression for getting up in the dark. He says it is “0 dark 30.” I do not do early. I am attached to sunlight. In the summer I can get up early because the sun is up.
The days are growing shorter (not cooler here) and anything before seven is dark. I get up after seven. The joys of being retired.
When we lived in upstate New York I discovered that I was depressed during the winter and realized that I have SAD. Now I know that I am dependent on light for well being. Fortunately I live where the winters are not so long and I can manage the winter. However, it would be nice if we could get some cooler weather. The 90’s are getting old.
I know a number of people suffer with this problem and that it can make winters miserable. In the north I spent a lot of time in a glassed in sun porch that got lots of light during the day. I think this is what saved me.
It is difficult to look forward when the days are getting shorter if you have this problem. It makes it hard to enjoy some of the holidays that come up during this season. I hope that you can find ways to get the light you need whether from artificial lights or whatever you find that helps. It does help to get some sun when you can.
I hope fall and winter are kind to us all.
Life can be difficult at times. It may not be one big thing but many little ones that push you over the edge. In fact for me that is usually the case. If there is a big crisis I seem to do well until it is over…then I crash. Many little things nibbling away at just push you closer and closer to the precipice. You don’t notice it is happening until it is too late.
We want to be strong and able to handle the things that life brings but sometimes it is just not possible. When this happens I have to take a step back and realize that I am over the edge. It’s time to back away from the things that I can and handle only the most important. Sometimes I struggle to prioritize and don’t know which balls in the air to let fall. Sometimes some fall while I am not looking. It can’t be helped. None of us are Wonder Woman or Superman. We just aren’t.
I spent much of my life trying to be all things to all people and the stress took it’s toll in anxiety, depression and physical symptoms. We have to learn that we are vulnerable too.
The sad part is that when you spend your time saving everyone you become expected to do it and sometimes you receive no thanks or appreciation. When you stop it is a tremendous shock and you may have some upset people.
We have to set boundaries. I think our struggle with self worth is part of the reason we fall into this trap. The more secure we are with ourselves and our own self respect the more we can choose wisely. Logical decisions about what we can do are critical.
You are important. You are just as important as anyone else. You deserve to have pride, dignity and self regard. Don’t throw yourself away.
I have been struggling since I developed a cold prior to my husband’s surgery. The events leading up to the surgery (for over a year) stretched my coping like a taut rubber band. I think that is why I caught a cold. My immune system was low. The combination of the cold and the travel for his surgery pushed me over the edge. The cold is better and his recovery is continuing at home.
However, as usual when things are improving I didn’t. I am fighting the dregs of the cold and a major flare up of IBSD which brings on anxiety. I am continuing to fight both with stress reduction and medication. I am trying to rest as much as possible since I am completely exhausted. All of this means not a great few days.
Somehow I am holding on to the knowledge that this too will pass and once again “all will be well.” My strength to resist all of this will return and I will be able to move on. I am so thankful that we are both retired and don’t have to be anywhere on a daily basis. So there are gifts in the midst of this.
Today’s blessing: We both have time to heal.