Memories and emotions

Where families are involved life can treacherous. Sometimes the most innocent remark can be twisted into a major conflict. I suspect this is because there is history and much emotion involved. Often the negative reaction has nothing to do with what is going on at the moment. It is rooted somewhere in the past where the emotions are stuck.

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I have never forgotten that our emotions are tied to so many things. A piece of music from our past can have us experiencing the emotions we felt at the time. These past connections can emerge at the worst moments and skew our perception of the current experience.

Many of us have been taken straight back to our past feelings by a song, a scent, a person, or a scene. We don’t realize what is happening and our responses are not appropriate to the moment. This is doubly true for those we spent a lot of time with growing up. We are creations of our environment as well as our genes.

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It takes real strength to look inside and connect with the past so that we can disconnect ourselves from it. Most of us don’t want to relive the negative things that formed out emotional responses. It make take talking with a counselor to root out those emotions and at least understand them. Hopefully doing so will allow us to reconnect with those we have turned away from. Maybe not. Some we may not want to but there can be some that can heal connections that will change our hearts.

We are a whole being

For years the common thinking among physicians was that anxiety and depression caused digestive symptoms such as IBS, constipation, diarrhea and possibly even Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. Now the pendulum is falling the other way. the Brain/Gut connection is becoming more important in treating people with such problems. I have long realized that my IBSD causes anxiety and if bad enough depression. I am glad that treating the whole person is becoming part of how medicine thinks.

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We are definitely complex beings and anything that affects us physically or mentally cannot be separated out into one or the other. Physicians have divided up into specialties and seem to focus on that area. It is understandable as medicine has become so complex. You can’t know everything about everything. We need a different specialty the “wholeness doctor” who tries to put the pieces together. I know that there are now DO’s and other categories of people who look more at the whole person but we need more of it.

I hope that in the future we have those physicians who take the information from all of the specialists and put it all together. This is what Internists would like to do but getting the reports and information from other doctors is like pulling teeth. This has to be worked out also.

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We are not parts stuck together but a whole just waiting to be understood.

 

Joy and sorrow

This morning our church celebrated the life of St. Francis as our church is named for him. It was a joyful day much needed after the last few days. We ended the service by singing a fun song called “all God’s critters got a voice in the choir?”

The young father in my prayers died last night. I will offer what solace and help that I can.

We do have the joy with the sorrow. The two are inextricably connected. Without one we don’t truly experience the other. How can one understand joy if one has not felt the impact of deep sorrow.

This wonderful quote from Henri Nouwen sums it up beautifully

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Life is full of both and we must live it out.

Perspective

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It seems that sad things come in groups. As I said in my last post a young man has gone into Hospice leaving a wife and two children. Today we got the news that one of our friends has had a reurrence of a brain tumor that has remained small and idle. It is now growing rapidly and although not malignant will still be a serious problem. We don’t know yet how it will be handled and what the prognosis will be. The last surgery for it left considerable physical deficits.

Another friend’s daughter was in a serious auto accident. Someone crossed the middle line and hit her head on. The good news it that her injuries can heal in time. Her son, who was also in the car is fine. So in the bad there is good.

It is time for some good news and happy outcomes. Hearing these sort of stories certainly brings our own problems down to size. The frustration about the mess in my home is minor by comparison.

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Hearing the tragedies around us can adjust out perspective in an instant. Tragedies around the world matter but they seem worse when close to home happening to those we know.

It is time to stop and count my blessings.

Challenges

Each day is different. Each day brings it own challenges and its own rewards. We just have to be ready to take one moment at a time. We have ups and downs…times when we feel lost…times when we are sure that we won’t manage. Somehow, we can pull up our socks and get through.

personal challenges

These last few weeks have been a challenge for me but I continue to move on. I will not give up and let it drag me down. I know it will be a few more weeks before I can put things back to rights and find all the things I can’t put my hands on right now.

Things do arise that test our patience and our ability to cope. Each time we learn something new about ourselves. It may be something good or something we didn’t want to know. Nevertheless it is critical to learn, accept and move on.

Disorder

The work on our bathroom continues. Today we had the insurance adjuster as areas below the shower seat and the floor were soaked. There must have been a break in the tile that we couldn’t see. We don’t know what they will do but anything will be a help.

DisorientedLogoThere is something disorienting about living somewhere in your house that you never stayed constantly in. It is a strange feeling. I didn’t ever think about it being off putting but it is. I don’t know why. It just feels wrong.

I really can’t think of the word to describe how it feels. The word that comes closest is disordered. According to the dictionary it is:  disrupting the healthy or normal functioning of.  Our closets are between our bedroom and the bathroom and the bedroom is covered with plastic and unusable. To get clothes I have to wander into the disaster zone and find what I want. I keep moving things to the bedroom I am using. Who knows what will be there when we get done.

coping-skills-2I am spending time out of the house, mediating when I can and generally using coping skills to stay myself. I didn’t expect something that is a happy circumstance to be disorienting. Oh well. Live and learn. As a nurse I know that even good stress is stress (eustress) and can get to you. I think that having to delay a week because of the hurricane didn’t help.

They are moving on with the work and I hope they are done soon.

Demolish the wall

Sometimes we build walls around ourselves to stay safe. We wall out anything that hurts us…whether physical or mental. An extreme example of how the walls work is the patient written about called Sybil. Dividing yourself into separate people puts up walls between the root person to help her. Another example is Howard Hughes who physically walled himself in.

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Our various forms of mental illness can be walls. Ways that we have adjusted to the world in order to survive. The illnesses seem negative but at some time they may have been essential. (this may not include some types of illness)

The walls are hard to pull down. They are worse than masks. Masks seem more temporary but the walls have been built with bricks and mortar. Our anxiety can cause us to retreat from the world. We only seem safe if we stay under the covers on our beds.

When we are suffering it is very difficult to pull down the walls and move out of our comfort zone. When I am anxious I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I curl into a fetal position mentally and physically. I have erected a wall around myself.

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I have been working on the things that help me to remove the wall one stone, one piece of mortar, at a time. Meditation, remembering to breathe, focusing my mind, distraction are all things that help. With persistence these tools help me to keep the wall from growing and even begin to keep sections down. Progress is happening which gives me impetus to keep on keeping on.

Don’t give up. That wall can be knocked down a little at a time. Just keep on!

Neutral is hard

How can things go so awry? How can life get so out of hand? In mediations I see the mistakes that people make. Sometimes they have to do with relationships. Sometimes they are about money. Sometimes it is a mixture of both.

business conflict resolution conceptThe hardest part about being a mediator is wanting to fix it and that is not allowed. It is part of the legal court system and we must remain neutral and not give any kind of advice. Once there was a case where the only thing dividing the two people was $10.00. It would have been simpler to give the person the money rather than try to get them to meet in the middle.

As of yet I have not been trained to do Domestic cases which deal with divorce and child custody. I can see the real emotional issues attached to that. I am not sure if I want to do that.

If you have a family with multiple children I think you have spent a great deal of time mediating.  I learned early on to let one person pick two brownies and the other choose first from the two. Much time was spent finding exact pieces. I have always loved this cartoon from a long time ago.

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How will we cope?

Life can be so demanding. The things that happen not only to us but to others can be devastating. I have friends who have suffered with long term problems that are just there day in and day out. I honestly don’t know how some people manage to keep going.

coping long term

The friends that I know who are struggling still greet me with a smile and a sense that things are ok. I don’t see the stress that I know is under the smile. They are not putting a smiling face on as a false mask. Occasionally they will share the devastation that is part of their lives but they don’t allow it be in charge. I so admire that ability.

positive attitudeAttitude is everything. The ability to assess life and accentuate the positive is a gift and one that I hope I would have in their circumstances. We can be bombed by the things that happen to us but we have to learn to adjust out attitude. Life is for living not for bemoaning. We are entitled to spend some time asking ourselves “why me?” We need time adjusting to a new life but when that is done hopefully we can be like my friends, and no matter the tragedy, have some time for smiles.