It is difficult to face each day thinking that whatever chronic problem you have will never change. Yet, there are people who do and live fully each day. Their “fully” may not look like yours and mine but for them it is enough.
How do we learn to live in the “enough?” I do wonder. Could I do it? I don’t know and I have to say I don’t want to find out. Maybe the stressors that have been present in my life would have swamped someone else. Maybe each of us can best manage our own problems. I have mentioned before that at a conference the leader asked everyone to write their biggest and most pressing problem on a sheet of paper. Those were passed forward and put in a jar. She then asked if anyone would like to come and draw one out and take it on. There were no takers.
Our expectations of life can be so extravagant and unreasonable. I know that those who grew up in problem homes may not have seen things that way but many of us did. We want everything to go exactly the way we want. We don’t look for life to knock us down. When I grew up with IBSD I thought it was normal. In those days people didn’t talk about it. For that reason I just accepted it and moved on with my life. Fortunately, I had some breathers between episodes so I coped pretty well. I just battled through when it caused anxiety and depression. I guess in some ways ignorance was bliss.
I know so many people who are living with issues that seem insurmountable to me. I think I would be crushed by them but they are living each day. On Word Press I read someone who has ALS and writes about his faith and love for his family. I used to visit a lady who had lived her whole life with Cerebral Palsy, in an electric wheel chair. Part of it was spent in a nursing home as a young adult. (imagine having to live with only the elderly for company in your youth) She was able to live in an apartment after changes were made in disability coverage. She was always cheerful and grateful for her life.
It is people like them who help us to see that life is about choices. Will I choose to live a life of “poor me” or one that is grateful for each day no matter how difficult. We are entitled to get down but not to stay there. We have to learn to continue learning, being grateful for life, coping and growing.
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.
I love C.S. Lewis. I have read a great deal of what he has written. He has written so much beside the Chronicles of Narnia. Recently, when we were without power I re-read his other fiction series beginning with “Out of the Silent Planet.”
I could quote him every day but I want to focus on this one.
We all have a past. It may have been wonderful or it may be have been awful but it is the past. We can’t change it but we can let it go. Even if we are struggling the struggle will pay off. We are like the swan who looks so wonderful as she glides along and is paddling furiously under the water. Each thing that we do, every moment that we glide ahead takes us one step further even if we are paddling frantically.
We can change only the moment we are in. That’s as far as we can go. We need to not obsess about tomorrow but just manage this day, this hour, this minute. It’s all we have.
We can change the ending. Believe it!
Having had this almost week long drop into anxiety I had an interesting thought. I realized that when I am there I am living in my mind. I realized that’s what we are doing when we land in OCD, depression, anxiety or any other crisis. We are not living outside but inside. Our mind is in control. It is the thing that is in charge. It doesn’t want us to move away from the grasp it has on our thoughts. We have to wrench the power away from it and move outside and be in control.
Day to day living consists of being present in the moments of our lives. Being aware of the life around us. Being able to see the grass and the sky and the trees and truly experience them. The mind is an amazing thing. It can be with us as we see the beauty around us. It can also create an environment where we dwell in the muddled and off kilter thoughts that plague us.
There are so many tools available to us to move away from those thoughts and sometimes we have to move from one to another until we find the thing that works and manage to escape.
Don’t ever give up. As we grow we learn to avoid the triggers and keep an even keel. Yes, we can have a relapse but we usually have better control and coping skills. Life is good. Don’t let the bad rule and have you miss out on the good things. There is always a way back.
There are so many things that people were blamed for in the past that we now realize are an illness. Addiction is one. When we talk about addiction we immediately think about alcohol or drugs. Recently I have wondered if these addictions begin as an attempt to assuage anxiety and or depression. It is one way to medicate these problems. I also think that many people have no idea why they feel the way they do and taking a drink or an illegal drug seems to be the answer. It solves the problem for the moment and the only trouble is that it adds another dimension to the picture.
I have wondered how many people who seek help for addiction will finally discover that there is an underlying issue to be considered. I know little about rehab programs for addiction and don’t know if they address this or not. Obviously, if someone has been masking a mental issue removing the drugs/alcohol may only bring the primary problem to the fore and if it is not dealt with there is little hope that the person can stay sober.
The more we learn about our mental health and the problems related to it the more we learn how linked they are to each other and to related problems. I hope that as we continue the research we can remove the blame and belittling of those of anyone struggling with these issues.
For too long both those with addictions and those with mental health issues have been second class citizens. As we learn more we are discovering that a much larger percentage of the world’s population suffers with some mental health problem. I think that the number will grow as more are recognized. We are definitely not alone. Much has been hidden for a long time with people unwilling to share.
For this reason we must continue to highlight these issues, call for more research and remove and stigmas. It must change.
Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained. –———Arthur Somers Roche
Unfortunately this is very true. When anxiety raises its ugly head everything else just disappears. Notice that the quote says “if encouraged.” Yes, we can encourage it by giving in to it.
When it comes I am unable to focus on anything…can’t read, can’t move, can’t find comfort. It is a terrible feeling. What even makes it worse is that the fear of more anxiety adds to the anxiety.
Life is worth living. Anxiety can take the feeling that I am living away. It is like falling down a deep hole with no bottom. You just keep falling thinking all the while about hitting bottom.
This is no way to live. We have to find ways to push anxiety aside and move into the world. It is so much easier to give up but then what is there? No matter how hard it is working to move away from anxiety and depression is critical.
I have learned over the years that literally moving my body helps. Getting up, getting dressed, combing my hair and making myself ready to go out makes a difference. Even if the anxiety goes with me I am better. If it is not possible to be with people then walking outdoors is a good choice. If there are friends who understand then seek their company. For me, friends help.
Whatever we do we must not give up. This can be worked through and a life worth living can be discovered. Don’t ever give up!
This is Memorial Day in the US. Many people do not know that this day of remembrance was begun by former slaves honoring the dead Union soldiers in Charleston, South Carolina. This is a day for remembering those who made the final sacrifice.
My husband is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point. We married after graduation and spent 20 years moving from post to post. West Point instills in it’s graduates a phenomenal love of country and a desire to be the best person you can be. My husband has lived out that code his entire life.
Two years of that time were spent in Viet Nam with a brief tour in the states in between. He led a Company of soldiers and spent the first year almost entirely in the jungle. His men faced danger every day. The jungle was so hot that they literally rotted through their uniforms and new ones had to be delivered by helicopter each week. They never knew each day if they would be just struggling through the heavy jungle growth or fighting for their lives. Each night’s rest could be interrupted by gunfire and fear. He fought during the Tet Offensive and cannot talk about that time.
His men loved him and after he returned home I received a letter in the mail with money collected from the company for us to enjoy meals out. He was the only commander who walked away from that company. The others died.
Each day I thank God that he returned home, not only in one piece, but also able to endure the memories. He has been to the Viet Nam wall in Washington, DC once and will never go again. It is too painful
Just thinking about the men who fought with him and the classmates of his who died in that war brings tears to my eyes and his. Neither of us can listen to taps played at military funerals. May God grant peace to all those who served in that war and all others. Those who lived and those who died. They blessed our lives.