It has been two weeks since I was so sick with IBSD. I have been so well in general that the episode completely blind-sided me. Now I am experiencing the hangover. Since these particular episodes always occur between 9 and 10 in the evening I get anxious each night around that time.
The irony is that this kind of episode only crops up, at the most, once a year. It will take weeks for it to fade from my mind and then I will be fine.
It is so amazing what we can do to ourselves. I am fine physically but my mind clings to the latest event. So what to do? I have increased my prayer and quiet time, continued my regular routine and let that event become a memory that will fade. Learning and using coping skills is such a critical piece to our health and wholeness. We must remember that we were created as whole beings….not separate parts. Everything that we do affects our entire being.
One of the problems with out medical systems today is that we are not see this way but as different parts managed by different physicians. Not only do they not see beyond their specialty but they seldom communicate with each other.
We must learn to be our own advocates. Even if a physician ignores or puts you down for your concerns and conclusions about your care remember who sees the end result. Don’t ever be afraid to speak your mind and if you have someone who can’t accept that change to someone else. Never let a caregiver dismiss you. Each of us is just a important as the person caring for us. Never forget it.
Can you live in mystery? For me, advent is a season of mystery. It is about waiting…something that most of us don’t do well. It is also about not knowing. When we wait for a baby we have no idea what the outcome will be. The baby may be healthy or not…fussy or not….cute or not. We just don’t know.
We also won’t know for years what that child will be like when an adult. We may do everything we can to raise him/her and it still may not work out. We live daily in mystery but we think we are in charge. We think we are in control.
I learned pretty early on that I am not in charge. Anyone who has suffered with illness or mental health issues has that hit home. We have learned that life is about living each day as it comes.
If we have learned how to cope with unknowing then we make adjustments and move on to the next day. Strangely enough this is not a bad thing. Those who have not learned about life’s mystery have difficulty when something goes out of their control.
So, don’t bemoan the trials you have had. Take the things you have learned and use them to your benefit. You will be able to tackle challenges better and recover faster than those who have never faced the unknown that shatters their belief.
Know this—your experiences have made you stronger. You can live in mystery.
We so often talk about knowing ourselves. We want to see ourselves and know our innermost thoughts and feelings. Most of the time I don’t think that we are ready to see ourselves fully. The truth would be too painful.
I often think about this as standing in a bright light looking in a mirror. In the mirror we see our face unadorned. All the blemishes and flaws are totally revealed. If we see this most women are quick to add make up to cover what we see and make it acceptable to us. We hope that others will not see what we saw. The face we present to the world is different than the one in the mirror.
The same thing is true of us. We don’t really want to see all the flaws that would be revealed if we could really see what is inside. Our minds have doors that we don’t open. We say we want to see but we look without opening those doors.
I wonder if this is part of the reason that contemplation/meditation is so difficult. Not only is it not part of our culture but it can be revealing. Sitting in silence and letting the unconscious be in charge can be scary. We may learn things we didn’t really want to know.
The other side of the coin is that opening those doors and cleaning out those closets can bring us a peace that we can only imagine. We just have to be strong enough to accept what we find and let the ugliness drift away and hold on to the beauty. We will find beauty there as well and it can bring peace and help us to love ourselves.
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’s blessing: We both have time to heal.
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.