This has been a difficult week and it’s not over. My husband is working on a house we need to sell as our age makes it difficult to care for it ourselves. We have been doing repairs on this rental house for years and it is time to stop. Unfortunately, we didn’t plan well and now we are trying to get work done so it can be sold. Nothing like adding this on in the midst of going to the Mayo Clinic, getting ready for Christmas and life in general. Our friend who loaned us the RV has never used it and we don’t know how to work the many devices that we have to use to work things. She has no idea either. I guess we will take it to an RV place tomorrow and hope they can help. I feel as is everything is frustrating. I find myself flying off the handle at every little thing.
I know that we can manage to work everything out but right now it seems too hard. I must find time to stop and take a deep breath…calm down and just let things come as they will. I will sign off for tonight and go meditate.
Today I have been feeling stressed. I started obsessing about dec 18th through 21st when we have to go back to Mayo clinic for therapy for my husband. We have no one to keep the dogs and so if all works out will take my friend’s 27 ft, camper. It is a real luxury but easy to drive since it is not one of those ones that looks like a bus. It looks more like a truck and has all the bells and whistles that we need. She bought it recently and has not used it so we do have to check everything out and be sure it all works.
I can’t say that I am looking forward to those days with the dogs. I don’t know how two bassets will respond to the trip. However, bassets are not know for their energy but are know for their incessant talking. (read that as barking). I will also have no internet to blog unless I can find a hot spot.
I should take this as “time out of time” and relax into it but I haven’t wrapped my head around it yet. Maybe I will after we get the camper all set up. I can spend time reading and walking the dogs. If it is not cold I would love to walk them on the beach.
Today I began something new and it really helped me to back down off my anxiety. I watched “the great bell chant” on you tube and another video that taught how to use the bell. Since I have a bell from Tibetan monks I used that and found that the sound is very calming for me. Another tool in my tool chest. Something I will continue to work with.
I have been so good about my meditation, prayer and writing time and that has helped also. The place I have failed utterly is cleaning my office and my house in general. I don’t do well with cluttered space and usually my office is my “sacred space.” Right now it is filled with Christmas presents that need wrapping. Oh well. My mother used to say that I don’t have to worry that the elves will come and clean it for me and that after I rest or go out it will still be there for me to take care of. A very wise woman, my mother. She lived to be 95 and was wise ’til death. I hope I am that blessed.
Advent continues to slide toward Christmas. I have decided to live by the prayer I use each night before I sleep. Hope you enjoy this prayer as much as I do.
From “Night Prayer” in the New Zealand Prayer Book
it is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
One of my word press reads talked about having a 26 hour day. It reminded me of the book about Alzheimer’s with that name. Living with someone whose mind is slipping away moment by moment is excruciating. It is hard on those who are losing themselves day after day but it is harder still on those who are watching it happen. Losing the person you love until they no longer know you is beyond terrible.
I have worked with families dealing with this crisis and it is so difficult and painful. It is so hard to cope when the muddled mind changes reality. Caregivers want so badly to correct the thinking and this exacerbates the situation. We want so much to bring them back to who they were and caregivers have to learn to live into the persons reality. I used to visit someone who thought he was living his 20 year ago life. When we talked I had to accept his viewpoint and talk with him about life as he was living it. This is much more difficult for the caregivers.
As the disease progresses management at home can become impossible. Frequently the patient has something called “sundowners.” This means that they are alert when everyone else needs to sleep. A friend of mine’s mother climbed out a window in the middle of the night to “go home.” How can the average family cope with someone who could leave the stove on starting a fire or turns on the bathtub faucet flooding the house? Caregivers are stressed and exhausted.
In the USA the other problem is the cost of care. Many people have to manage care at home with little help. Their day becomes the 26 hour day. Be kind and compassionate for those who are care-giving someone with this illness. Help where you can. Their life is disintegrating one moment at a time.
For those of us who suffer from anxiety I am sure that we realize that anxiety is fear. I’m not sure that we can identify the fear….or put a name to it. Maybe if we could do that we could conquer it..and that is the trick….learning how to conquer it.
All the coping skills that we learn are ways to shove the fear away and replace it with calm and resolve. When fear raises its ugly head we react with the flight or fight response. Our body is ready to go into battle. As most of us know, there is no battle looming. Only the one with ourselves.
Like those with PTSD too much adrenaline is coursing through us and our heart rate increases, alertness heightens, and we are hyper and fearful. We know it is anxiety and too often related to nothing threatening but there we are.
I wonder if we could stop and identify the specific fear it would help. Maybe just taking a good look at our worst thoughts would help us to be more realistic. Most of the time the bridge we are trying to cross is never coming.
I think I will add this to my list of coping skills to see if I can identify the threat and thereby defuse it. It really would be nice if this can be another skill to add to the arsenal.
Recently I read an article that led me to explore another coping skill for managing stress. One of the things I have noticed about dealing with stress, anxiety and depression is the more we are able to step away in our minds helps. The ability to almost have an out of body experience allows us to look at things differently. We disassociate ourselves from the distress and are able to see it as outside of ourselves.
We seem to do it (when we can) without really understanding that it is what we are doing. I think if we can understand this process, and actually use it, more control is possible. I can imagine saying to myself “now just stand away…let this other person struggle you are separated from it.” I don’t see it as a true out of body experience but just the disconnecting of our mind from the immediate issue.
It does seem to have a relationship with things like taking a deep breath, or lowering your chi. I do think it goes one step further. Breathing can help to get us to that state. Take a deep breath and imagine yourself standing apart from all the problems. See your other self and let the feelings that are there be away from you.
This may all sound a little out there but I am adding this coping skill and will report on how well it works for me.
The last few months have been filled with such stress that it has been hard to keep focused. It hasn’t been one thing but the combination of things. Friends sick, husbands sick, travel, whatever. It is time to get my focus back and to remember an event from last week.
Wednesday of last week i realized how sick I was and decided that I must go to my doctor. It was in the morning and while I was trying to make a logical decision the phone rang and it was my doctor’s office. They called to let me know that they had called in a refill for some routine medicine. This is not how their system works. They never call to let me know about that I just get a text from the pharmacy when it is ready. Their system has been skewed due to some doctors moving and the office being understaffed at the moment so this was not the usual person. While I had her on the phone I asked if I could see my physician that day and she managed an appointment for that afternoon. Absolutely amazing. That would never have happened at any other time!
Madeleine L’Engle says “a miracle is a coincidence where God prefers to remain anonymous.” People say miracles don’t happen and this was just nothing but it didn’t feel that way to me. I have a friend who says “the ARANGELS were at work” and I agree. For me this was a miracle and due to that visit I am now better.
Is there something in your life that makes you feel good? Something that you like doing and it puts you in a calm place. There are several things that I do that calm my mind and my mind is peaceful. I do Mandalas. I started these after seeing the book by Judith Cornell on Mandalas for healing.
I am not artist but just creating something while in a meditative state gives me peace. I also use the book Praying in Color as a way to pray for others using drawing. Again, I am not an artist but the action is calming.
Writing is also calming for me (most of the time). Writing poetry allow me to vent my feelings in a constructive way. I also like to play the piano.
The point of all of this is that if you can find something that is calming for you and that you like doing, use it. If you, like me, tend to binge on TV to reduce stress and keep your mind from freaking out, try something like this instead. There is something about engaging your hands, eyes and mind all at once that soothes us.