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.

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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.

Seeking calm

are-you-an-authentic-empath-watch-for-these-12-strange-behaviors-2I am tired. I have realized that the tiredness is coming from the emotional roller coaster I have been on lately. When we have done physical work or completed a project we can be tired but it is a satisfying tired. It feels good. This is not that. This tired is totally enervating. It has drained me to my core.

When we are truly empathetic we experience the feelings and aura of those around us.  Recently the strain that my friends have been under and the energy I have expended has taken all the oomph out of me. However I hope we are now on the upswing and that things are getting better.

Tomorrow I will be able to work in the yard. Although this is tiring it is the good kind of tired. It will produce a sense of pleasure and satisfaction. I have complained about the yard work but you can actually see the progress and that is something.

Lately I have taken little time for myself and I will address that in the coming week. I would like to see some “normal” but you never know when you will have to adjust to a “new normal.”

calmFinding things that bring us peace and calm are so important. Reading help me and just sitting on the porch and enjoying the outdoors. Each of us needs to find what can help when things get overwhelming. Not caring for ourselves will bring on anxiety, panic and depression. Not something we want to do.

What helps to bring you some peace and calm?

Illness/anxiety/mental problems, the chicken or the egg?

chicken eggToday 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.

keep your head
Jane Seabrook

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.

The calm in the storm

I have just finished reading the blogs I missed in the last few days. WOW! everyone has written a lot. I think that is the most I have read since I began this journey., So many inspiring and thoughtful things to read!

Our journey to discover what comes next is complete and we finally have some answers. My husband’s surgery is scheduled for September and “the planner” (me) can stop obsessing. Reservations are in place and I can draw a deep breath and let go of my angst.

It is amazing how not knowing can turn me into a cartoon of panic.

anatomy of panic

Using the tricks I have learned to defuse my anxiety helped while waiting for the doctor to tells us the prognosis and plan….I closed my eyes and concentrated on my breathing. It actually helped! You would think I was waiting for the physician to declare my husband terminal instead of telling us what they would do about the 21 year old artificial knee that needed something done. What an idiot I am. And a nurse! (Maybe that makes it worse.)

The Mayo Clinic is amazing. Efficiency plus, people oriented with smiles and help everywhere. I have worked in hospitals …if only they were all like this. Information given about the knee…clear, concise and through. Not what happened at home. A real plan for the surgery not just “we’ll open it up and see what needs to be done” which is what we heard before. (one of the reasons we went to Mayo)

sometimes-god-calms-the-stormI wonder what I can find to obsess about now that this is on the radar. Life never leaves us untouched for long but I thank God for this hiatus. There can be times of calm in the midst of the storm. Keep that in mind.

Not the best day

Today I have not really experienced the day. I am somewhere else….living in what is to come. Monday we go to Mayo Clinic and I hope get some schedule for my husbands knee surgery. I feel as if I am living in limbo. I know I should let the future go and just live each day but today it hasn’t worked. I am tired of not knowing. One of the hardest things to tolerate. So today I lean on this quote.

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Crossing bridges

Yesterday I wrote about the anxiety attached to again ?? the physician’s office about records. I felt so foolish going again and as usual it was not at all difficult and we managed to get everything we needed.

scary bridge

It’s that thing about crossing bridges before we get to them. It is one of my favorite things to do. I visualize the event, conjure up conversations and live the experience over and over. Really stupid when I only need to live through it once. This obsession with imagining the future is not a good choice.

I wish I knew why I do this or how I started. It would be so nice to just shut it off. I do try. Using reverting to positive thinking and focusing on other things helped and I was able to remain reasonably un-crazy and not run for bathrooms.

Those of us who have this problem are so good at imagining the worst. We seem to think that going over it and over it will prepare us to cope. I’m not sure that is true. The anxiety we experience before the event may far exceed reality. I am sure that there are times when this is not true but I do think they are infrequent.

Coping

Learning to recognize different events and evaluate their true potential for unacceptable outcomes would help to decrease the level of stress involved. Am I going to die from this interaction? Will I run screaming from the building?  Just looking with an open mind and clear eye may help to bring things into focus.

We learn each day. We grow each day and hopefully learn and use new ideas for coping.

May your day be blessed.

It’s the little things

little thingsThe last few weeks have been chock full of appointments, visits, company, and everything else. Something has become very clear to me. The big crises can wipe us out but it is the little things that really do us in.

While on the way to the Mayo clinic my cell phone decided life was too simple and just froze. It froze just as we needed information about directions to get off the freeway to get to Mayo. Nothing would entice it to come alive again. It just sat there with half of the screen with directions and the bottom half with mail? or something?? The directions we needed were on the bottom half of the screen. The phone would not shut off or do anything. We managed to limp our way to our destination. I plugged the phone in at our hotel and it decided that it was fine.

On the way home it moved some icons around and continued to tempt us to throw it out the window. I now have a new phone.

This should be good news but I have just spent two days re-connecting to everything I need to function.

Life at home has been hectic with a series of company (all who were wonderful) and we are not done yet.

Today my IBD decided that it had had enough too and joined the fun. At which point I headed for the medicine bottle.

last nerve
I have one nerve left and you are getting on it —————-Jane Seabrook

It is not one big crisis that makes life difficult to handle. It is a series of little irritating events. Events that rest on your last nerve and push you right on over into anxiety. None of these events in and of themselves was a big deal. It was the combination. Those of us who walk on the edge only need for the balance pole to lean over just a little too far and poof! we are done.

For the next few day I will concentrate on seeking consistency and regular routine and life will move on.

Just remember “it is the little things.”

 

(note to my company—you were wonderful and not the problem!)