We are a whole being

For years the common thinking among physicians was that anxiety and depression caused digestive symptoms such as IBS, constipation, diarrhea and possibly even Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. Now the pendulum is falling the other way. the Brain/Gut connection is becoming more important in treating people with such problems. I have long realized that my IBSD causes anxiety and if bad enough depression. I am glad that treating the whole person is becoming part of how medicine thinks.

gut-brain-relationship-600x300

We are definitely complex beings and anything that affects us physically or mentally cannot be separated out into one or the other. Physicians have divided up into specialties and seem to focus on that area. It is understandable as medicine has become so complex. You can’t know everything about everything. We need a different specialty the “wholeness doctor” who tries to put the pieces together. I know that there are now DO’s and other categories of people who look more at the whole person but we need more of it.

I hope that in the future we have those physicians who take the information from all of the specialists and put it all together. This is what Internists would like to do but getting the reports and information from other doctors is like pulling teeth. This has to be worked out also.

the-whole-is-greater

 

 

We are not parts stuck together but a whole just waiting to be understood.

 

Advocate for yourself

If we are blessed we gain wisdom as we age. Sometimes those we encounter tap into that wisdom and are (hopefully) helped by it. I have been an extrovert my whole life and am always willing to share. (Sometimes both the person I share with and I wish it had never happened.) Wisdom is best imparted when asked for.

Consider-the-Source

I have talked often on this blog about how much it means for us to share our experiences with each other. Professionals are important but sometimes good advice comes from those whose experiences are similar to ours. All advice must be weighed against our own experiences and our insight into ourselves. Don’t ever be afraid to speak up for yourself when in the presence of “professionals” who may or may not really understand. You are allowed to ask questions and take some time to consider. You are your best advocate.

When working in pediatrics I listened carefully to the mothers who came to us. Sometimes others don’t listen carefully enough and may miss important clues that make a big difference. Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists hear so much that sometimes they can leap to the wrong conclusions. Don’t let them rush. (especially doctors) Make sure you have the time you need. If that doesn’t work for them find someone else.

advocate

You are important. Your thoughts and feelings are important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Life is a team sport

find people

Life is a team sport. The idea of a sports “team” is that they all work together toward a goal. No one player is foremost. Without the others the game would be lost. I know that sometimes there are players who seem better than the others but that person could not go out on the field alone. Each one is important to the outcome.

Some games are not for team players….I’m thinking of tennis (mostly alone) and golf (also mostly alone). This is the place where the individual shines. They do shine at the game but I suspect that it took a team to get them there. They didn’t do it alone.

For most of us life requires a team. We need other people in our lives. Without it life is barren. I once saw a documentary about a chaplain to those on death row. The interviewer asked if he believed in the death penalty. He said no. He was then asked what he would suggest instead. He answered that he would sentence them to life in solitary confinement. For most of us this would be worse than death. Total insanity would likely be the result. We really need human contact.

For some people human contact is difficult. Social anxiety can make being with others difficult. For some, being so needy that wanting acceptance from everyone can make life unmanageable. ( a different kind of social anxiety) However, contact of some kind is crucial to our well being. For those people social media is a blessing especially if it offers a safe place to interact with others. Hopefully this contact will help move them toward enabling a face to face interaction.

When I thought about this I realized that there were people in the past who recognized like minded others through books, letters, and limited contact and who used the written word to communicate with each other. Many formed a bond and later connected in a more intimate setting. So even in the past communication in a non threatening way was possible. Now it is faster and easier.

you-cant-do-it-alone-quote-500x422

Never stop seeking out those who can enhance your life and offer a safe environment for exchanging thoughts and feelings. Life is a team sport. We can’t do it alone.

Anger held close hurts only us

 

holding grudgesI am finally coming to the end of being the administrator of my best friend’s will. She died 2 1/2 years ago. You do not want to die in the county she lived in. This was a simple will but the judge there made it a nightmare to get through.

Mr friend’s life was not easy. She had two boys and much later on a girl who was born with major heart defects. Life was never the same after that. It is so easy to concentrate on the sick child and not be able to manage the others. She and her husband struggled and some events caused one son to be sent away. The other developed an unforgiving mode and when hurt (which has happened several times…badly) is unable to let go of resentment and anger.

The saddest part of all is that the two men are unable to even be in the same room. The anger goes too deep and has been there too long. It hurts me to see this as one of them has no one else.

let go of itHolding on to anger and being unable to forgive does not hurt the person we are upset with. It only hurts us. Anger eats away at our insides and prevents us from being the person we could become.Not being able to forgive affects us emotionally and physically. Not only does it make us miserable but it changes us into a person unable to accept relationships easily if at all. My attempts to express reasonable alternatives has landed on deaf ears.

I pray for these two and hope that something will change over time.

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.

We-re-communal-animals-If-we-re-by-ourselves

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.

We want what we can’t have

Today I feel written out. My brain is just sitting and doing nothing. I think having been at home and not getting out I am feeling dull. I have binge watched some TV programs, cleaned out some drawers, and sat looking at the marsh. We had a thunderstorm and I love watching storms.

Generally I am down and need to do something to pull myself up. My husband has been easy to care for, helpful when he can and pleasant but being in is getting to me. I have asked myself what I was doing before and I really don’t know that it was anything spectacular. I don’t know that I was out that much it just may be the feeling that I can’t.

grass

It’s funny how our minds work. We always want to do what we can’t have. If I had to be out every day I would be fussing about not getting to stay home. So I will stay in as long as necessary and get out when things settle down. After all, there is nothing else to do and why complain about it.

What is your blankie

Today has been a good day. Physical therapy for my husband went well and he is just tired. I continue to be tired but seem to be recovering.

FH6KWHIt is so easy when you don’t feel well to get down in the dumps and let everything bother you. It’s also easy to know that’s the problem and still not be able to get past it. One thing I have learned in my life is that a messy house means a messed up me. for some reason neatness matters. I am not OCD about it and you can’t eat off my floors but I do feel better when things are in place.

I never could be a hoarder. I do have too much stuff and need to pare down but I can’t imagine living like that. Unfortunately it is another mental disorder that most people don’t understand. Those things somehow connect the person with fulfillment and safety. Do you ever wonder if there are things that do the same thing for you?

We traveled for 20 years in the Army and I learned that I can be at home anywhere and pretty quickly. I can’t think of any specific object that means home to me but it is somehow connected with things being put away. It is like a child’s “blankie.” If you could see my house now you would wonder how that could be. Maybe that is part of my current stress. My office is a wreck and that’s where I spend a lot of time.

cbhappy

I think that each of us has something that helps us to feel comfortable and peaceful. Do you know what does it for you?

Today’s blessing: beautiful weather

Are we disposable?

Yesterday I wrote about too much stuff and today I am following that thought with this one. Have we truly become a disposable society?

Many places are working to become more earth friendly and recycle some of the waste we create. But we are not there yet. Too often when something grows old we just throw it away.

wasteful13

When I was a child anything that was broken was taken to be repaired. It was considered too valuable to be just thrown out. Now we not only have too much but also don’t fix things. I know that the racing pace of technology makes keeping old phones, computers etc. impractical and no one wants them. That is where we are.

I do have a concern about where we can be headed and in some cases where we already are. How disposable are people? As a nurse my 20 years visiting the elderly made me lament their current life. So many of them were in nursing homes with no sense of purpose in life. You walk down the halls and they are just sitting in wheelchairs all alone. Many people who walk by do not even acknowledge their existence or see them as too senile to speak to them. This disturbed me greatly. I always spoke and offered a smile or a handshake. They were so grateful to be seen.

Are we putting them away out of sight? Are they disposable? Does their current life have any value?

disposable

Somehow we have to find a better way. Nursing homes are trying to offer programs for stimulation but it is too little too late. We have to begin understanding that we are living longer and, hopefully, in good health. But sometimes we have run out of resources to pay to be in a better place, have better health options, and better care. Sometimes we are struck by illness that leaves us less than ourselves. What to do?

The earth is overcrowded now and we are living longer. Will we start recycling our elderly as food like in Soylent Green?

Up and Down

leunig-up-and-down-lifeThe past week has been up and down. My friend who lost her husband has had some good news….although it hard to have good news after a death. Before his death she planned to move them both to an independent living facility. There was a two year wait that suddenly disappeared and she got called Tuesday that there was space for her. This is an amazing coincidence. Two weeks after her husband’s death and she gets to move to a good place.

This, too me, is the kind of coincidence that I call a miracle. I know! Lots of people don’t believe in miracles but I happen to. We just have to open our eyes to see it. This was the up part.

The down part is that I am struggling again with IBS. A while back I took a new medicine that got me so much better but only lasts a while. It cannot be taken too often so for now I will struggle with my previous normal. My daily schedule will again depend on how my body is functioning. Annoying but I can do it. Of course anxiety was triggered again but I am also dealing with that with lots of ideas from all those who suffer with the same issues. It will all work out in the long run.

life-is-always-up-and-down-so-why-are-you-8796618God did not promise us an easy time but he did promise to hold us up when things are a problem. He has been doing that. If it is one thing that I have learned over the years it is to not stop your life for anxiety. Stopping living just makes it worse. For me, being with people off and on and sharing with friends and writing makes a great deal of difference.

Don’t ever put yourself away in that dark place and just let the world go by. It never helps. Keep pushing, keep trying and keep trusting God.

 

 

When we don’t know how to help

thumb_i-stopped-waiting-for-the-light-at-the-end-of-20625406Today for the first time in forever I feel a sense of accomplishment. I only have one more day of major work to get the vines out of the azaleas. There actually is a light at the end of the tunnel. Then I can get back to routine house and yard work. Seems appropriate since it is now August.

Some of my stressors have eased. My friend, whose husband died, is coping and I will keep close as she grieves. My friend, whose husband in hospitalized, is hanging on but the stress of this long term up and down has stretched her to her limit. Long term anxiety with no let up causes so many physical problems. Staying at an adrenaline high is not good for our body and after the stress is reduced it is a long time recouping. I worry about her and her own health.

She has little time for the things that can hold us together: time out, meditation, time with friends, a break day, or something fun. She is devoted to her husband and spends each morning at the hospital. By the time she leaves to go home (usually around 1 pm) she is exhausted and just wants to rest.

It would not be surprising to experience symptoms of PTSD when faced with unceasing stress. Each of us has struggled with anxiety and know the toll it can take.

i-get-by-with-a-little-help-from-my-friends-5263475

I have tried to find things to help. We invite her to lunch often as she is too tired at night but she is usually tired and just wants to go home. I speak with her every day and have offered to take her place at the hospital. I would like to think of something to help break the monotony of her life and find something to help. I plan to take some art supplies to her as she likes to paint and draw.

If anyone has any suggestions please pass them on.