I have been struggling since I developed a cold prior to my husband’s surgery. The events leading up to the surgery (for over a year) stretched my coping like a taut rubber band. I think that is why I caught a cold. My immune system was low. The combination of the cold and the travel for his surgery pushed me over the edge. The cold is better and his recovery is continuing at home.
However, as usual when things are improving I didn’t. I am fighting the dregs of the cold and a major flare up of IBSD which brings on anxiety. I am continuing to fight both with stress reduction and medication. I am trying to rest as much as possible since I am completely exhausted. All of this means not a great few days.
Somehow I am holding on to the knowledge that this too will pass and once again “all will be well.” My strength to resist all of this will return and I will be able to move on. I am so thankful that we are both retired and don’t have to be anywhere on a daily basis. So there are gifts in the midst of this.
Today has been quiet and a little depressing. I am so attached to getting out and seeing people so staying home is a challenge. Sure, there are so many thing I could be doing…laundry, house cleaning, etc. but who want to do that?
I am still fighting a stuffy head and hangover from the cold and just am not totally myself yet. I have talked about how change affects us and even though this is not for long it is unsettling. I have cabin fever.
I am comfortable at home and need my down time but an overdose can get to me. This is one of the good and bad things about knowing yourself well. I know that I need to get out but can’t. I know that there are things I could do to feel better but I don’t want to do them. This is one of the conundrums that we can get ourselves into.
Breaking free from this pattern is a challenge but I will have to find my oomph and do it. Otherwise I will just continue to fall into the doldrums. Not a good plan.
Sooo…later today I will meditate, do some laundry and get to feeling productive. This will set me on the right path for the next few days. Getting going is the hard part about getting going!
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.
The 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.
God 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.
Someone said recently “old wounds never heal.” I so disagree with that statement. In medicine, there are wounds that are difficult to heal. Some may take a great deal of time and attention. With work they will heal.
I think that the wounds we encounter in life do heal. At least if we let them. It is possible to keep picking at a wound and re-opening it. We may not want to turn loose of that hurt. It is possible to keep it going forever. However, what good does this do us? Just having the wound is painful and offers the possibility of infection. Infection is when the hurt digs down inside of us and causes, not only mental pain, but also physical symptoms. Deliberately holding on to wounds hurts no one but ourselves.
So what happens to wounds? They heal. There may be a scar to show that something happened to us but it may not even be noticeable. It may stay there forever but most of the time we will not even notice it. The healed scar may also help us to see the things that we have overcome. It can give us courage to face the next thing that appears. We can also use our scars to prove to others that healing is possible and give them hope.
Don’t keep wounds open. Let them heal and move on.
Today a friend and I were talking about how all sorts of bowel disorders are linked to anxiety and depression. I have always wondered which came first….the chicken or the egg. Did the bowel problems cause the anxiety or vice versa. There is no way to know.
In the last week I had a major IBSD episode. At least I think it was. The trouble is when you are afflicted with this and have a long and awful episode it easily could be the flu. Associating an episode like that with IBSD is automatic instead of examining the sequence of events and realizing that it had the potential to be something else. In the meantime anxiety appeared and clouded the issue even more.
Now I truly believe that it was the flu. It is unfortunate that anyone with a mental issue can take an event that might have another explanation and attribute it to their problem.
Somehow we have to learn to look at events in our lives with a clear eye and a logical mind. No matter what the decision is we will be in a better place to begin with. Again it is the thinking mind that gets us into trouble. Most people will tell us that it is “mind over matter” but they have never experienced overwhelming anxiety, depression or any other symptoms. It’s easy to offer quick solutions when you have never been there.
People who suffer with any form of mental health problems are in a good place to help others. Connecting with people who truly understand can give others perspective and hope. That is why this blogging community is so important. We all need hope and seeing that others have survived and thrived is the best lesson of all.
Thank you to everyone who is willing to share and help others see the daylight at the end of the tunnel and learn that it actually isn’t another train but a real light.
I have been thinking about the first step. The first step is the hardest one. Actually moving forward. Acknowledging that there is a reason to do something. The major part of this is accepting reality. We have to take an honest look and see the truth. People always talk about an alcoholic hitting bottom and realizing that there is a problem. AA works on the principle that the person states “I am an alcoholic.” They have to accept reality.
Too often when we can see our own issues we also see ourselves as “less than.” Society has had a part in this. If we have any weakness we are not as complete as other people. For too long people who have addiction problems or mental health problems have been relegated to the fringes of society. It makes us very reluctant to expose ourselves to the rest of the world…with good reason. Medicine has taken a role in doing this. Many physicians still do not see addiction or mental illness as a disease. We are just weaker. We don’t try hard enough to fix it.
The truth is that anyone who is willing to acknowledge their issues is the stronger person. Great strength is required to see ourselves clearly and take that step forward to make changes in our lives.
Don’t ever think of yourself as “less than.” The truth is we are all “more than.”