Everyone matters

everyone mattersEveryone matters. It is so easy to dismiss people as not being worth our notice. I have frequently visited nursing homes with many patients in wheelchairs sitting the hall. I have noticed that most people pass them by without comment. It is as if they don’t exist. How terrible to be relegated to such a position. I have always made it a point to speak to each resident and smile. Most of them are so happy to have someone reach out to them and I receive lots of smiles in return.

I live in the South of the United States and there is a big difference just walking the streets of the town I live in. People routinely smile and speak as they pass on the street. The city has a large Art college with lots of students and it is easy to tell that some of them are startled when passers by speak. You can see them wondering whether to respond. I am not sure that this is routine in all southern cities but it is in many that I have visited. It is nice to acknowledge people and have them respond.

kindnessHowever many people do not speak to those who are obviously homeless. They choose to not acknowledge their existence. So even in a place where people routinely greet another person they still attach a stigma to those less fortunate. I do continue to speak to them and usually get a smile in return.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to feel as if you don’t exist. I know that has happened to many who suffer from mental illness. They certainly know what it feels like to be deliberately ignored.

I hope that we can learn to see each person as a human being deserving of being recognized. I wonder how thing would change if this were so.

Finding meaning

What Gives You Meaning Concept

I read the daily articles from Richard Rohr who is a wonderful source of inspiration for me. Today he quoted the works of Viktor Frankl who was a respected psychiatrist. Frankl talked about how most of us seek for meaning at some point in our lives. I know this has been true for me.

I have found myself at several points asking “what is it all about?”

Frankl posited three possible sources for meaning: in work, in love and in courage. He talks about the possibility of being able to do work that has some meaning. There are jobs where this seems obvious….doctors, nurses, social workers. (there are lots more) In other jobs meaning may not be so easy to find. I am sure that those of us writing blogs have found some meaning in the response we receive and the assurance that we are helping others. This is very affirming.

The second idea…love…also seems fairly clear. Hopefully our love reaches out to others. It allows us to help others in our everyday lives. Again this allows for meaningful affirmation.

The third idea….courage…means being courageous in difficult times. This certainly includes times of suffering. He says that suffering by itself has little meaning. The meaning comes from how we respond to it. We have the ability to use our suffering to be an example to others. Our response can encourage others who are facing the same kinds of challenges.

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It seems to me that many of the bloggers I read can find affirmation that their lives have meaning as so many blogs help others. The community members need to see that this work can bring meaning to their lives. You are important!

Listening

people-dont-always-need-advice-sometimes-all-they-really-need-is-a-hand-to-hold-an-ear-to-listen-and-a-heart-to-understand-quote-1 (1)Understanding. A word that means so much. I think that each of us longs to be understood. I know that I do. Each of us is an individual. We have our own past, our own values, and our own lives. Many of us have issues with mental health. This makes it harder for people to “get it.”

The other problem is that most people (including us) don’t really listen. If we take the time to stop and really hear what someone is saying it makes all the difference. No one can be understood if they are not listened to.

working-on-listening-skills

Maybe that is why we do feel that we are heard on Word Press. If someone is reading what we have written no one is interrupting. When we are talking with someone that may not happen. Too often we spend time deciding what we will say next instead of hearing the other person. Maybe if we really listened then it will encourage someone else to really listen.

Talking is over rated. Listening is the key.

“If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.”

sad charlie brown

Do you ever feel as if life is out to get you? I have felt that way lately. Superstitions abound about this….things come in threes, if you have too much good then bad is coming. Sometimes it is a self fulfilling prophecy.  When a lot of things keep happening you start to feel vulnerable.  You are having lots of bad luck. It starts reminding me of an old country/western song that says “if it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.”

Ever since this knee surgery process was begun it has felt that way. The big good is that the surgery was successful. It seems that everything else surrounding it has been complicated and stress causing. I feel like “chicken little” running around saying “the sky is falling.”

When Hurricane Michael hit the Florida coast I felt such empathy for the people devastated by it. We only got the outside fringes as it went up the middle of Georgia and other states. We had some wind and rain. Very few areas lost power. Unfortunately, two houses away from us there is a vacant lot and some very dangerous trees. One fell across the power lines and we were without power for about 18 hours. This is nothing compared to what others are going through but it just seemed that the bad luck genie was striking again.

I have been pretty free of IBS issues for a while but of course this kicked the whole thing up again. Some medicine has helped but made me tired and cranky. I just want this to stop. I seem to be complaining when lots of people are so worse off. It makes me feel guilty.

emotional reactionSometimes it is so hard to control our emotional reaction to events. They hit and our minds and bodies respond before we can slam on the brakes. I can see more work on my part tending my coping skills.

I hate a messy. dirty house but have not felt like cleaning and the mess just makes me feel worse. I need organization and I have to work hard on that right away. I can’t even call someone to give my house a one-time clean as I need to pick up first. It is really bad when what you need to do is clean before someone else can clean.

I know this will all resolve and I am ready for that. I will put on my big girl pants and get to work and I know things will be better. I know that bad luck is not the only kind I have. God will make sure of that.

 

We were born communal

We all need someone to talk to. We all need someone who actually hears us. It may not be the people we love but we need someone. We were not created to go through life alone.

We are communal people. The earliest humans survived because they lived together. We are no different. One of the worst tortures that a human can go through is to be confined alone in a room for a long period. Most people would lose their minds.

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It is sometimes difficult to find that person who will really hear us when we share our lives. Too often people are thinking of themselves and not really listening. Often we are sharing with someone who truly cares but wants to fix everything. Most of the time we don’t expect or even want ideas for fixes. All we really want is to be heard. The trouble is most people don’t understand that.

This is the reason that so many people need to talk with a psychologist or psychiatrist. They should be the ones who really listen. (at least if they are any good) If we don’t have someone to share with then they are certainly a help. At least they shouldn’t be judgmental or share confidences.

In the last year I have also found that this community on Word Press is a good place to share and be heard. We are understood the best when someone else has had similar experiences. In this community there is understanding and affirmation. Sometimes it is hard to find that kind of understanding elsewhere.

you are not alone

 

Wherever you find it seek someone who will listen and hear you. Even if they can only seek to share your feeling it is a help. If you don’t have anyone to talk with face to face you can find understanding here.

There is understanding out there

love-you-my-dear-friend-52650-15419Today a dear friend brought us a meal and stayed to eat it with us. It was a wonderful gift. Not just the meal but her presence. Friends are such a blessing. Since we are more or less trapped in the house it is wonderful to see a loving face.

Those of us who have people to turn to when we are deep in a hole can save our lives. I am so blessed to have those people in my life. It is a terrible thing to be alone. I do mean completely alone with no one to turn to.

people-dont-always-need-advice-sometimes-all-they-really-need-is-a-hand-to-hold-an-ear-to-listen-and-a-heart-to-understand-quote-1So often, with mental illness, there is no one who understands. Even the therapists we turn to for help. There are some who have suffered the pain that we feel and understand. It is important to find someone like that. Some therapists, even though they have not experienced it, have enough empathy to join with us in the emotion. A empathetic therapist is a gift. That it is why it is so important to find the right one.

My current isolation is trying but important to me. To be able to help in my husband’s healing lets me give back some of the love he has given me. I know that soon we will find that “new normal” we’ve been working toward.

age is a work of artWhen I was young I thought that aging was almost a worry free process. I don’t know how I could have thought that! I must have been really naive. Aging brings tremendous challenges but also wonderful gifts. You may be able to see the fulfillment of your dreams for you children and the amazing people they have become. I am not talking about monetary gain or major status but just seeing them as loving and caring adults.

God’s grace has been with me and will continue to be no matter what!

Today’s blessing: my children

 

What holds you up?

I am tired, sad and struggling. I can’t seem to shake the tiredness left over from my cold and the stress of traveling and my husband’s surgery. I have a strange habit of not reacting physically to something when it is happening but it always hits when things are getting better. I guess I should have expected this.

holds you upI have mentioned before that I am blessed to have four dear friends. I know that it is rare to have four and thank God for it. They hold me up when I am down. At the moment two of them are having problems to deal with. Things that maybe can be solved and maybe not. I feel so much grief for what they have been and are going through. If only I could help more or take away some of the pain. Sometimes the only thing we can do is be present but it doesn’t feel like enough.

For the last month I have had to cope with the things in my own life and it has taken me away from being present more than I wanted. I hope that things shift soon and become more manageable.

I don’t know that any of us could possibly have coped without having a deep faith in a loving God. When things seem impossible leaning on God is my only recourse. Somehow I can sense his presence in the midst of all the chaos.  My friends feel the same and we all have the prayers of many to uphold us. At times is is possible to actually feel that support and love.

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I know there are people who don’t have this belief and that is their decision. I wold find it lonely and fearful without it. I hope that everyone has something that they can hold on to in the midst of life’s trials. May you find that thing that gives you peace and strength to hold on.