Bad days and families

dancingFamilies are wonderful and terrible things. When we are connected to others life is not always smooth. I am a fixer. I always want to solve problems, smooth over disagreements and mend hurt feelings. I said I want to. That doesn’t mean that I always can and sometimes even trying can make things worse.

This past week I did just that. I had a personal melt down. It upset my husband who upset other parts of our family. For a change it started with me. I am consumed with guilt and pain for having an emotional crisis and setting off fireworks.  The truth is life happens.

My age puts me at the top of the pyramid. I realized that after the loss of my father, mother and all older family. When you get to be the oldest generation you are stuck with results of that position.

I have noticed that at times my family members show signs of expecting my husband and I to sink into senility. I can sense the anxiety about future plans forming in their heads. What will happen to mom and dad?

It’s funny and sometimes upsetting to be where we are. My melt down had nothing to do with this but I think that changing family roles is another change to add to my list. Maybe it just all fused into one bomb. I know that I will be pariah for a while and have made abject apologies to those I upset. Life goes on.

shiney day

Each day is precious. Don’t let the bad days color all the rest. We all make mistakes and will have to take responsibility for our actions and then move one.

The sun will rise tomorrow, God willing, and so will I.

Depleted and hot

Heat-Stroke-First-Aid-300x225Today I went out and tackled some more vines in my azaleas. Good thing to do? right? NO. Since the temperature was around 98 and the humidity matched it heat stroke was a possibility. I did go out early but that was little help. Working for a while in a sunny area I realized that I need to move to shade. As soaked with sweat as I was I looked as if I had jumped in the creek in front of our house. Since I had no death wish I moved to the other side of the house where shade prevailed and here is where I dipped into dementia.

There was a camellia bush that was in my plans to prune since it was at least 10 feet tall and looking spindly. It was in the shade. This job would take one thing off my to-do list so I started in. It never occurred to me that cutting/pruning the bush was a monumental task and being obsessive there was no way I would quit until it was done.

fatigueAfter hauling the remains to the street to be picked up by the county I raced to a cold shower and remained in that blissful place until I cooled down. I felt better but the thing I hadn’t considered was the amount of time I had spent outdoors in the heat. Exhaustion was on its way. I almost slept through dinner…a pizza which my wonderful husband picked up…and am now barely awake.

Sometime in the recent past I wrote about choosing the right amount of work to do. How the right amount makes us feel great and too much makes us  drained of our physical and mental resources. Well…I  am there. Tomorrow is a designated rest day!

good decisions

Remember, we do need to work to accomplish tasks that help us to feel successful but too much will make us weary and enervated. Choose wisely!

Where has the family gone?

My oldest daughter called this morning on her way to work. She works at a major Children’s Hospital as a nurse case manager. She see some of the most critical and heart wrenching cases. In the past she worked at another unit that was an adolescent med-psych unit so she has experience with psych.

suicide

Today she was distressed that a short while ago her bosses son overdosed and died. They don’t know if it was suicide or an accident. Then she learned that a friend’s child committed suicide. This morning she was distressed that she is seeing so many cases of young adults and teens in crisis. Like the rest of us she has no idea why this is happening but is terrible concerned about the culture that is creating mental distress in the young.

It seems that both of these cases were a total surprise and not the result of known mental health issues. Of course she realizes that the problem could have been there unrecognized but in these two cases it seems not.

Recently several blogs that I read have talked about the current TV series 13 Reasons. The blogs have been very negative about the value of this program and its influence. I have not watched it….I watched a brief piece and the premise turned me off so I quit. The blogs seem to feel that this show has a bad influence on young people and the blogs were written by people close to the age.

good family

There are so many problems with the structure of the family today that it is easy for me to see why children are stressed. In some cases the children run the family and the adults take second place. When this happens children don’t feel safe. There is no strong adult influence. Parents must be parents.

In other cases the family is so busy with outside activities that there is no family time. They don’t eat together or take time to talk and share. Children need structure and down time with their family to feel connected.

Like my daughter I am equally concerned about the pattern we are seeing in children and young adults. I pray that some change will come about that re-centers the family group and gives children security and grounding.

Raising children to become anxious and prone to violence and suicide is a plague upon our society.

Too much?

too much“You did the best you could” words that we say or think often. Sometimes we struggle to keep going. Sometimes we don’t know what to do. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed and completely lost. So we fall back on doing the best we can. Later we question ourselves. Was it enough? Did we really do our best?

Maybe things didn’t turn out the way we thought they should. Maybe we end up feeling guilty. Maybe we question ourselves. We think we didn’t try hard enough, have enough expertise, plan well enough. We just wanted to take care of everything.

The truth is that most of the time we do the best that we can with the information we have at the moment. Later more information is forthcoming and it seems we could have done something else and we begin the decent into questioning, ruminating and obsessing.

the best you couldThis is the trap we fall into. Life is not perfect. Decisions that we make can not always be perfect but we expect it of ourselves. We have to adjust our expectations of ourselves. Expectations can kills us. We see failure where there is none. We push ourselves too hard. Again, life is not perfect. Things may not be okay at the moment but we can go on. We can tale each day as it comes. We can trust that we tried our best and that is all we can do.

Have you learned coping skills?

Some days are good and some not so good. I am fighting IBS again. This always brings on anxiety. I always seem to do this after things are settling down. I am one of those people who rises to the crisis, works to help, sees it resolve and then falls apart. I guess it’s not a bad way to be as it does allow me to work through problems before I crash. I just wish no crash would come at all.

no change is fatalWe live an up an down life. At least I know some of us do. Things aren’t perfect. The ability to work through the imperfect is critical to our well being. That kind of strength is what helps us to survive.

Change is inevitable like death and taxes. The change may be as small as rain instead of sunshine but it is change. As we grow we need to learn coping skills. Without them we are set for a major fall. I am sure that all loving parents would wish that there would be no major upheavals in the lives of their children. No failures. But that is not reality.

Too often we want to save them. Cushion them from their mistakes and make the problems go away. Unfortunately, this is the wrong path. If we don’t learn coping skills when we are young then we have no experience when things go wrong. I have known parents who covered every mistake made by their children. As the children reached their teens the mistakes became bigger and harder to deal with. Some mistakes even ended with the teen going to jail.

coping skillsWe must learn how to cope early and keep on learning our entire life. Each bump in the road teaches us how to handle the next. We learn how to take detours and keep on going. We may suffer in the process but we survive and can use our knowledge to help the next person on the road.

Family?

breadToday I made bread. I often do but today I started thinking about the making of bread. You start with simple ingredients. Flour, yeast, milk or water, salt, butter or oil, sugar or honey. Lots of other ingredient choices…too many to name. You can make any kind of bread you want but one thing is always there……the smell. When the bread is baking the smell begins. You take it out to cool and the smell envelopes the house…..no not house…HOME! That smell….enchantment….home.

For me there are some things that really make anywhere I am a home. The best is good things cooking whether I am the cook or not. The smells speak of love and caring. The hope that a family will be there. That people will sit around a table. They will talk and share the day. They will connect.

family meal

The sad part is that this doesn’t happen as much anymore. Families are so busy. Everyone running in a different direction. No time to be family. No time to listen to each other… to learn about the day. No time to share.

Unfortunately, families need this time. Without it each concentrates on their own lives. They don’t connect….there isn’t time. No wonder children are growing up feeling            un-anchored.

The other piece of the puzzle is that it seems that the emphasis of the family is on the individual children. Not on the family as a whole. The parents are not the bond that holds it all together. There is no time to spend on the marriage….that relationship that is central to it all. Without that the family disintegrates. We end up with no marriage and children who see themselves as the center of the universe…entitled to be.

meme-pleases

Entitled children grow up to be entitled adults who are totally focused on themselves. This is not the way to live. How can we make this better?

The latest drug fad

hallucinogenic-morning-glory-seeds-are-readily-available-at-garden-stores-and-nurseries-for-aroundYesterday I read an article about the newest drug craze. People are buying flower seed and using them as drugs. Apparently some seed have an ingredient that is similar to LSD. I guess it is far enough away from the 60’s for them to not remember how those drugs work. LSD was a big deal in the 60’s. Timothy Leary was the guru who encouraged people to try the drug.  He wanted everyone to “take a trip” and experience altered reality. For some people it did what was advertised. For others it produced a “bad trip” and not only did people do things like try to fly off of buildings but some kept experiencing “trips” for years after using the drug once.

I have never wanted to be out of control. That may just be an issue for me but I had no desire to try mind altering drugs. Native Americans and primitive peoples have used various plants to reach an altered state. However, I don’t think they have done it for fun but as a religious experience.

I am sad that there is such a culture of drug use. There is a big problem with opiods. Some of the drugs that we use for anxiety and depression are being abused by those who don’t have any problems. It worries me that so many people need to escape their lives by altering their brains.

healthyI don’t know if the problem is any worse than it has been in the past. Maybe we have shifted from emphasis on drugs like morphine and invented new ways to dose our bodies. Whatever is the problem, abusing out bodies is not what life is about. I have no idea how to help but I wish I could.