I am NOT in charge!

vacationIt is wonderful to go away for vacation and I always look forward to coming home. Two positives. However, this time I should have stayed on vacation. The morning after I arrived home one of our basset hounds had diarrhea everywhere. It was so bad that I actually trashed two rugs that were old. They will go to the dump.

We were sure it was our male basset as he is on medicine that could cause that to happen. While I cleaned up my husband called the vet and got time to take him in. Just before going out the door our female basset had another bout of diarrhea and we realized she had the problem. Almost took the wrong dog!

disasterThe vet gave her meds but her problem continued the next morning and finally stopped. So another day of cleanup. Then the male dog threw up. He is prone to eat too fast and choke. Another clean up. By this time I am sure I had cleaned every floor in the house so that’s one good thing. Both dogs seem to be ok now.

Yesterday I began to feel as if I was coming down with something and sure enough I now have a cold. Just your ordinary …garden variety cold but I feel yuk. Can I go away and start over?

The good new is that I was supposed to start a class at 8:00 am the morning after I arrived home. It was to go 8-4 for three and 1/2 days. The class was canceled which proves that God is definitely in charge. Although life was challenging for the last few days and I still have a cold it could have been worse.

god in charge

Thank you God for being in control. Life would not be possible without you!

How will you be remembered?

careIt has been a few days since I have been available to write. I am now home from my visit to Boston with my daughter and granddaughter. I loved seeing Boston with my daughter and have odd moments with my granddaughter who is in school at Brandeis. She and her assortment of roommates are a fun and brilliant crew. The way they are heading into the future is so vastly different than when I was their age. I hope that many groups of students think the way they do.

Ecology is critical to them. All of them are vegetarian or vegan. They care greatly about others and have compassion for those who suffer. I hope that this state of mind can flower and spread.

consumerMy generation was so consumer oriented. It bothers me to realize how much we raped the earth with little thought. It wasn’t a conscious thing but we just didn’t think that resources were limited. It seemed that there was an abundance…..and there was at the time. Now we have come to understand the consequences of taking without replacing. Native Americans (who I have now seen some call themselves First Nations) have a much closer link to the earth and understand how we are all connected.

We all need to learn to live differently. So many today see having more is important: a bigger house, more cars, more money….just more, more, more. The truth is that none of those things matter. People are what matter and community is key. When I am gone I wish to be remembered as one who loved.

be soulful love

Accept yourself

It has been nice to be here in Boston with my daughter.We have visited museams and seen some beautiful things. Art feeds my soul. I so wish it was something I could do. Sometimes I feel so lacking in creativity. I keep forgetting that I can’t do everything. It is so hard to focus on the things that I can do well. I used to put myself down. I do better now and have accepted myself more. I suppose that may come with age. I know myself better.

It is not easy to accept yourself with all your flaws. We have to remember that God accepts us no matter what. His love is freely given.This is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his theses. Luther believed that the grace of God is freely given.I agree.We are so blessed.

Accept yourself. God does.

How would you do?

trauma

In a previous post I mentioned reading the book Tribes. I have noticed lately that I am secure enough in myself to agree or disagree with someone. I have felt that way about the last few things that I have read.

Years ago I read a book about the PTSD that is being seen in our returning soldiers that was excellent. Being married to a military man (his first career) the book clarified for me many things that had changed in the handling of military personnel and that the changes were not good.

In the book Tribes the author suggests that if people who suffer from PTSD were integrated back into a loving community environment that it would be easier for them to recover. I am sure there is truth to this. Being accepted is critical to our well being. However, the way soldiers have been handled in Iraq and Afghanistan has created more stress than in previous wars. I think the PTSD is more severe than we have seen before.

Recovering from any traumatic event causes PTSD. If the event is sudden and ends quickly recovery is usually easier. Any of us have a big physical response to trauma. All of our fight or flight responses are activated with some major physical changes. Major amounts of Adrenalin are released, our heart rate increases, blood to areas of the body not needed is reduced and brain is super alert. This is what is supposed to happen in the short term but suppose you are in this mode over a long period of time. The body is physically stressed to the point where it is difficult to recover.

So what made this happen to our soldiers? In previous wars there was a front……an area where the fighting took place and units were rotated back from the front for rest and time to come down from the high. In the last wars there has been no front and soldiers are in danger no matter where they are. They are never free from the adrenaline rush. There is no place to rotate them to for rest. During Viet Nam soldiers served (usually) one year and knew that they would be rotated home at the end of that time. They were usually away from battle for at least two years before being sent back. (If at all) Many of the prime units used in recent times have been at war for an undetermined length of time. (usually shorter than before) They were brought home and may be sent back in a few months. Some of them 4 or 5 times or more. The time away from battle has not been long enough for any sort of recovery. This information is not hearsay. I have personal knowledge of this.

PTSDits-not-that-the-person-is-refusing-300x300Having said all of this I know that the writer of the Tribe is correct is saying that recovery is better if there is integration into a community. Unfortunately, for most of the sufferers there is no community awaiting them. Many can’t find a job or have any major support system. Their trauma has also been so much more severe than previous cases we haven’t really learned how we can help. Work is being done but maybe too little, too late.

Wow! I really needed to say all of that! It has bothered me for a while.

Anxiety and stress and difficult for any of us to handle. How much more so if we were exposed to life threatening events over a long period and then expected to return to normal over night.

Some things can’t be fixed

i_can_t_be_fixed__by_x_arisu_x-d7sz2heToday someone said something to me that reminded me of a profound truth that I began to accept late in life. Having attended college twice with two different degrees it wasn’t until my 40s that I finished my nursing degree. Working with those who were sick brought home to me in a different way that there are some things that we cannot fix.

I have a friend whose grandchild is suffering with brain cancer. It is tragic and I mourn for the struggle they are facing but I can’t fix it.

Right now I am watching three hurricanes in the Atlantic that could devastate some people already hit by another storm. I can’t fix it. I wish I could. I really want to.

 

We expect everything to continue just exactly the way we want and we are gobsmacked by something that we can’t fix.

While nursing I did learn that things that can’t be fixed can usually be helped in some way. The sick child still has cancer but thanks to medicine he is better (not cured) and has many people helping him and others with financial and emotional support.

The last hurricane has shown that it could not be stopped but many people have put their lives on hold to help. What was amazing to me was to see linemen from Houston here in Savannah helping to restore power to us. They were “paying it forward.”

help 2I have learned that we can’t dwell on the fact that it can’t be fixed but instead concentrate on what is possible to do to help. That way we give of ourselves…….the most precious thing that we can give.

Understand there are things that can’t be fixed but we can help the unendurable be endured.

 

How do you fill the hole?

I have just read an article from Spirituality and Health about a physician named Gabor Mate. Mate works with addiction patients in Vancouver, Canada. I have included a link to the whole article at the end of this post.

I was intrigued by the article and found some things I agree with and others I don’t. Mate is convinced that much addiction is linked to our childhood experiences. I agree that there may be some link between the two but I wouldn’t rule out the other links such as genetic disposition. I am a holistic thinker and tend to see us as body, mind and spirit linked together. However, some of his thinking seems to be right on target.

“Addiction, says Maté, is nothing more than an attempt to self-medicate emotional pain.”

addictionI do believe that this is true. In a previous blog I talked about the hole that is in us that we need to fill. Each of us tries to fill it in some way. Our way of filling it may be a recognizable addiction or one that society sees as good.

Mate says that: “The only difference between the identified addict and the rest of us is a matter of degrees. Daniel Maté, Gabor’s son and an editor of his books says “A lot of people make wonderful contributions to the world at their own cost. We often lionize unhealthy things.”

It seems to me that we are all addicted in some way. Some are workaholics, some over or under eat, some shop etc. If we do enough of these things we may begin to be noticed as going overboard and a problem may be identified and called addiction. This doesn’t happen to all of us but each of us is trying to fill that hole in some way. The question is with what?

Some doctors who do not recognize something as other do not agree with Mate who says: “something else in us and about us: it is called by many names, ‘spirit’ being the most democratic and least denominational.” For me this is God.

He does believe that there is something more. Something about us that is craving for wholeness.

The article concludes with Mate talking about how we treat and judge addiction and for me he hits the target smack in the middle.

We lack compassion for the addict precisely because we are addicted ourselves in ways we don’t want to accept and because we lack self-compassion,” he says. “And so we treat the addict as an “other” – this criminal, this person making poor choices – to whom we can feel superior.

“I think that if we developed a more compassionate view of addiction and a more deep understanding of the addict and if we recognized the similarities between the ostracized addict at the social periphery and the rest of society and if we did so with compassion both for them and for the rest of us we would not only have more efficient, more successful drug treatment programs, we would also have a better society.”

better world

This was an excellent article with much to think about. If you would like to read it for yourself the link is: https://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/2012/10/10/gabor-mat%C3%A9-why-were-culture-addicts#.Wa3qMGIX6z0.email

There Remains Hope

hidingIt is only in the last few years that I have realized that anxiety (and related problems) runs in families. It may manifest itself differently in each person but those descended from us may have it. Since there are two people involved in conception it is not 100% that a family member will have it. In my family I now realize that there are several of us who suffer with some form of this. More than one of us has some anxiety, OCD, depression and/or inability to sleep. The only light is that they can see at the end of the tunnel me still moving along at 76. They can feel comfortable that it is possible to manage these problems and live a good life. In the early years of my life anxiety, depression etc were not understood or talked about. Where women were concerned it was brushed off. In the south it was often called the “vapors” and you could go to a hospital to return to a calm demeanor. Some women just kept to their rooms. I am sure that most of you have read or seen Pride and Prejudice where the mother is constantly in a state of anxiety.

As the years went on I learned that certain situations caused me extreme stress with some symptoms of anxiety such as sleeplessness, increased heart rate, etc. I had one panic attack in college and the school had a psychiatrist who gave me ?Valium short term. I felt there was something wrong with me that I couldn’t face some things without anxiety. I tried so hard to change but nothing helped. I felt guilty for being the way I was and never talked about it. It was a no no subject.

hopeThank God things have changed. The invention of anti-depressants and other meds that can help the symptoms make this no longer a guilty secret. I know that my problem is mild compared to many and that I am not crazy. This is the information that I feel the need to pass on to anyone suffering from these disorders ,,,,especially to those I love.

You can live a full life. You don’t have to hide or be ashamed. Doctors now realize that this a brain wiring problem and much research is being done on the brain to identify where the various problems are located and what can be done to help. This also doesn’t mean that you must be born with it. Extreme trauma such as PTSD can cause the wiring glitch. There is a recent book by a lifelong anxiety sufferer called On Edge – A journey Through Anxiety by Andrea Peterson. It can be a tough read but she has done major research with scientists who are studying the problems. It may or may not be something you want to read but I found it enlightening.

The most important thing to remember is that we are not some weird creation. “God didn’t make junk.” (from marriage encounter) We have issues just like everyone else. Ours were taboo for a long while but that has changed and will continue to as more research is done. Hang in there! I lived through “the dark ages” and have a wonderful husband and family. Life is good most of the time. You can do it!