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.
I 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.
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.
The last 3 or 4 months I felt as is my life was on hold. It now feels different to have my husband’s surgery behind us and move forward. In some ways I have put my life on hold. I haven’t done any mediations or scheduled any appointments. Now I want to get back to my life. There will be healing time and check ups but that can be managed.
It has been strange to plan little for myself and I miss it. I look forward to what I call “a new normal.” I have discovered that life is never consistently normal. We can go along for a while and this something changes our plans and our perspective. I have decided to call this “new normal’ and not expect to get back to the old one.
Life is constantly changing. That is one thing we can be sure of. The trick is to learn how to deal with the changes. Also it is important to know that nothing will always stay the same. When we are young we hope for change—growing up and getting to do the adult things. When we have been adults for long enough we realize that it may not be what we imagined.
As children we don’t understand that with adulthood comes increased responsibility. We are the ones who have to make decisions about life altering things and we don’t always choose the easy path. It was a lot of fun when we weren’t the responsible one.
Change is one of the stressors that can set off anxiety and depression and we do have to learn ways to manage it. Some people love change but I am not one of them. It can be hard to let go of a calm and peaceful time and move through something that is not much fun. For me, acceptance that change is inevitable is the first step and then to imagine weathering my way through the storm. Finding any good that is in the change helps and picturing what life will be like on the other side. When change hits us suddenly it is harder to get through. If we expect it we can think our way ahead and do better.
Change is a challenge we can win!
It looks as if we are coming to the end of a long journey. My husband knew his knee needed help August a year ago. He saw an orthopedist who scheduled surgery for January…quite a wait. The road to this surgery was rocky. As a nurse I think the physician did not want to do this surgery since for the next four months he came up with one hurdle after another. Feeling this was not the right path we cancelled and made an appointment with the Mayo Clinic. We had to wait until June for an appointment but since then things have gone smoothly and his surgery will be next Tuesday.
This has been a long journey for us both. The knee fix is complex and we are definitely at the right place. We have both had to endure stress, frustration and a worsening of my husband’s pain.
The year also posed some family crises and other stressful times. The good news is that, God willing, we are heading to some healing.
The other good news is that in spite of all the things this year put in front of me I got through it. There have been some times of anxiety and physical symptoms but each one was conquered and I was able to move on. Writing helped and I find that it is an outlet for the things that come up day to day. It will continue to be my place for reflection and ideas. It is a joy to have others read and respond.
Now I will face the next week with the hope that all will go well. Then we can begin the process of picking up the pieces and moving forward.
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.
This has been a difficult week for me. I have been anxious and not feeling well. Nothing major just the usual dumps. The waiting to have my husband’s surgery done has taken its toll on me. I just can’t seem to get back to my groove.
For most of the week I have been at home by myself and that is never good for me. I am an extrovert with some introvert tendencies and though I need time alone too much can let me ruminate and that is never good. That is what has happened. Thursday we traveled to the Mayo Clinic for his pre-surgery tests and returned last night. Today I have been home and I am glad I will be out tomorrow.
It is amazing how quickly whatever bothers us can jump up and grab us. It seems to be lurking in the shadows just waiting for us to walk by. I know this can be shaken off but it is a struggle. Not writing for two days didn’t help either. Being able to express my feelings this way helps me to get a better grip.
I have been a lifetime with anxiety but it has not won. There are so many times that I have pushed it aside and just moved on. This is just another chance to do that. Each day offers a new opportunity to conquer my demons and push them back into the shadows. Tomorrow is a new day and I am ready to move on.
I was remembering this song by the Kingston Trio from my college days.. 1960’s.
They’re rioting in Africa
They’re starving in Spain
There’s hurricanes in Florida
And Texas needs rain
The whole world is festering with unhappy souls
The french hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles
Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch
And I don’t like anybody very much!!
But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud
For man’s been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud
And we know for certain that some lovely day
Someone will set the spark off
And we will all be blown away!!
They’re rioting in Africa
There’s strife in Iran
What nature doesn’t so to us
Will be done by our fellow man
The sad part about this song is that is it still true. The line: The whole world is festering with unhappy souls, especially strikes me. It is so sad that song was written over 50 years ago and nothing has changed. I guess at the time I really thought that the world would be a better place but it’s possible that it is worse.
It does seem logical that with the enormous population growth and the availability of information at our fingertips we would either draw closer together or further apart. Maybe both things are happening. (if you can hold two opposite things at once)
If only our accessibility to the world would grant us better understanding. If the population continues to grow at this rate we will have to learn to live together or die out. My daughter lived in Japan for a while and experienced the way that people living in such juxtaposition to each other have learned to manage by their awareness of personal space and their ability to center down into themselves among others.
We have to learn new ways to love and accept each other. Life depends on it.
I read most of the daily meditations from Richard Rohr. He talks a lot about contemplation or meditation. Those of us in the Western world don’t have a long history with meditation as a practice. We believe in action and our actions can be good but we don’t understand just letting ourselves reach for something beyond.
However, he feels that those who have lived lives with much struggle are better at reaching out for God/other. Anxiety, OCD, Bipolar, and depression are just some of the things that made us the way we are. The struggles have caused us to be more introspective and insightful as we meditate. Mental health issues make you question your thinking and wonder about how your mind functions.
The downside is that sometimes we are unable to quiet our minds long enough to reach any kind of meditative state. Learning to reach inside calmly and peacefully may not be possible at times.
Functioning with mental health problems does create an amazing strength and large toolbox of coping mechanisms. Know that your strength is the gift that the struggle brings and let yourself know how unique and powerful your journey has made you.