You can win the war in the mind

WAR-IN-THE-MINDHaving 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.

Meher-Baba-Quote-The-best-way-to-cleanse-the-heart-and-prepare-forThere 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.

happiness is foundDon’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.

Addiction and mental health

addiction1There 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.

mentla illnessFor 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.

 

Fight anxiety!

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.

anxiety person

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.

help for anxiety

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.

Bible verses

 

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!

Remembering with tears

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.

Happy-Memorial-Day-2018

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.

duty

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.

vietnam

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.

I will not go gently

My good friend’s husband is still ill. He has been in the hospital for four weeks. He has not been able to be out of bed the whole time. There are many things that have gone on with the hospital stay that I won’t bring up here but the bottom line is that the initial problem has not been able to be fixed and he is not as well as he was going in.

Chronicles-15-7Last night my husband asked the question: “Do you think that because of his age they are not really trying hard to fix this?” I didn’t really have an answer but I do wonder if that plays a part in this scenario.

As we grow older I know that society can be dismissive….ignoring older people and treating them as “less than.” In an earlier blog I touched on this subject and included a poem about old men that highlighted this problem. The poem was written a long time ago and I am not sure that the problem has gotten any better. Why should we be cast aside….thrown away like an old cell phone that’s software is out of date? We have much to offer and I will continue until death comes to lift me away.

Shakespeare-Quotes-1200x776-750x485I refused to be dismissed. I refuse to go gently. Below are the words of Dylan Thomas in this poem for his father.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That
Good Night

 

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

New day, new creation!

wallowToday is a new day. Today I pulled up my socks and decided to stop wallowing. Today I took some steps to move forward and it feels so good. I made some appointments that I need to do and made the decision to get on with it.

Doing this made me feel better. Now the idea is to keep it up. My experience shows me that I will have down days when I don’t want to keep moving. My prayer life has been perfunctory and an obligation except for the last prayer of the night from the New Zealand Prayer Book which is:

 

Lord, it is night.

The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.

The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.

The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.

This prayer brings me peace and prepares me for sleep.  Now I need to find a way to make this same kind of connection during the day. I will do this by setting aside a time for prayer and meditation in the morning before the day gets in my way.

Prayer is so important. No matter what God you believe in prayer is the connection. You may just call it something else but it will involve silence and freeing your mind to acceptance, to wait upon God. We always need to expand our prayer life and learn to experience God. This is different from talking to God. This is immersing yourself in the creator and letting all else go. This is not easy and like anything good requires work and consistency. I plan to do the work. Pray for me!

I am angry

anger-clipart-16Today I am angry. I am angry at all the people who want to blame just guns for the shooting in Florida. To blame guns is the easy way out. They think it can be fixed by just taking away the guns. They are so wrong. The gun is the end not the beginning of the problem.

Before the person goes to get the gun there is something wrong. Something wrong……because why would they want or need a gun unless something was wrong? Anger or hurt or pain has built up inside until it had to have an outlet. They see no other way. They see no path to shed all of that unless they hurt others. The emotion inside is too strong.

To fix the guns is the easy path. To find what has caused the hurt and pain is the difficult problem.

This is a much bigger problem with no easy answers. It is linked to so many things. Societal breakdown, over-stressed parents, broken homes, lack of mental health availability in our health systems. I am sure I cannot think of it all.

We are a country in crisis. We are a people in pain. It is hurtful that one in four people have anxiety and depression. It is hurtful that  six and seven year old children are being diagnosed with mental health issues. At least we can be grateful that we are finding some early but it is the tip of the iceberg. When we find issues can we find treatment? Can we afford it?

do_somethingI am angry and I will find a way to express my anger to those in power. They may not listen and probably won’t because they will follow the easy path but I will make it known however I can!