An anxious world

anxietyToday I read an article about our reactions to stress. With the state of the world the way that it is overreacting to simple events is almost a given. When talking about memory my daughter says that when we can’t access names etc. our RAM memory is full. I think with life being so chaotic our ability to handle events is over taxed. I do wonder if the number of people with anxiety is on the rise because of how the world works. It is hard to get those kind of statistics as many people with anxiety are not known. Are more of us suffering with anxiety? We don’t know but I suspect the answer is yes.

There are so many reasons. The internet makes bad news so much more accessible.
It is almost impossible to avoid it. We now have a whole world of people to agree or disagree with what is posted on social media and some responses attack the writer viciously. Even though it is evident that we are all different and have different opinions people are inclined to take taking sides to the extreme.

There is no silence. We need silence and down time to be creative. We don’t disconnect from everything enough. Silence rests the mind. We don’t know how to sit in silence. We are addicted to noise. Just ask people to sit in silence for one minute and watch the fidgeting.

Life is running at such a fast pace that we barely have time to draw breath. We plan so many things in each day that we are overwhelmed. Whether you are spiritual or not just resting with peace and quiet can help. If you pray, spend time listening for God instead of talking to Him. We spend so much time talking TO God instead of waiting for God to speak. No wonder we can’t hear His voice.

silenceSo…turn off electronics…..sit quietly….think…..meditate…..pray. If you do this each day you will find life more manageable.

Help us find caring

mentalI was watching a story on netflix this morning. It was the true story of a family who lost the father to suicide. I had many questions while watching this. It seems that all of the children had major issues. I think several of them were Autistic although, if so, their affect on the show did not show it. The family seemed loving but overwhelmed. Just watching it I found myself diagnosing each of them…right or not. The father seemed manic depressive (I forget what the new name is). The family took many videos over the years and maybe that’s why they were chosen for this.

It reminded me how mental illness (and many other illnesses) run in families. Sometimes I wonder if we had a clear view of our own problems would we chose to have children and pass our issues on to the next generation. However, I think it takes living for us to discover how we will react to life. Knowing our mental issues is much more difficult than the physical ones. It is not so obvious especially to us. That is, unless it is a critical and obvious problem.

There is help for so many issues today but to seek them is to admit that they are there. That is the hardest part. Add to it the fact that mental illness has been such an avoided subject and those who suffer have been outcasts. There is also the problem of affording treatment. The family I viewed seem to be British so I am thinking they had some access to care. Here in the US mental health is the least funded of any illness. Insurance companies only understand dollars and cents and it is difficult to show that no treatment initially will be more costly later.

Having done Case Management, that is how decisions are made regarding treatment. If we don’t treat this will it cost us more money in the long tun? Can you show me that it will? This is a terrible way to determine care.

There are not as many people who have acute mental health problems as there are those of us who have episodic or milder issues. Because of that getting treatment is harder. Money is part of the issue and knowing that we need help and seeking it is the other part.

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I hope that looking at the person as body, mind, and spirit will help us to look at all aspects of a person and treat anything that prevents us from being whole. Which, by the way, is related to the word holy. This is how God created us to be. Whole, holy people.

How will you be seen?

peanuts dirtyFor the people that see us every day how we appear to them they take at face value. If I don’t bother with my clothes (and I don’t mean how expensive they are) and am sloppy and dirty then that is how I am perceived. God didn’t make junk and I don’t think he wants us to look that way.

Each of us has our own personality and we dress accordingly. I love to people watch and in some cases it is easy to fit people into categories. Admittedly our ideas may be wrong but sometimes we are right on target. Some people’s clothes just shout where they fit in. I was in a restaurant and saw a couple with lots of tattoos, black leather jackets with motorcycle logos, and boots. It wasn’t hard to figure out.

The problem is twofold. Sometimes we misjudge others based on how they look. Discrimination crops up when our view is based on skin color or other ethnic signs. We know that this is the kind of judging that God calls us to avoid.

The other side of the coin is when we don’t care enough for ourselves to put our best foot forward whatever that may be. God does not call us to be sour faced, sloppy and dirty. We are called to be the Christian someone else sees in a positive way whether they are Christian or not.

seing ourselvesRemember you may be the best Christian someone sees today. A really scary thought.

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us!  Robert Burns

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.

What is your fear?

I have just finished reading When Breath Becomes Air. This is a wonderful book written by a neurosurgeon/neuroscientist on his journey toward death. It is not as sad as you might imagine. He has spent his life searching for meaning and has multiple degrees from medicine to English. The book is full of wonderful thoughts about life.

Dying seems to be the thing that haunts us.Not existing is unimaginable. We can’t begin to imagine ourselves absent.There are cultures that live closer to it’s reality and have less difficulty. We love youth in this culture.Death is not acceptable. This brings to mind again those who want to be immortal. What arrogance? 

Somehow having a beginning and an end feels right. I wish that we could turn loose of our fears. After all as FDR said “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” Most of us who struggle with anxiety and fear are usually not thinking about death but whatever triggers our fears.We truly see fear as the enemy……maybe not death.

This is where our faith and faith community are so important. We need the love and care to hold us up. It can be the difference in our lives.