Can we know too much?

Information booth and what to do with it.Today there is so much that we can find out about ourselves. It has become popular to have you DNA done and discover you roots. (if the tests are accurate) You can be tested to see if you have the gene for breast cancer or find out if you are likely to get Alzheimers. Each day there is something new.

My father had kidney stones and you can inherit the tendency to be a “stone makes.’ This is someone who has stones from an early age. I inherited that. We can also check to see if we have genes for some diseases that might make us choose to not have children such as Cystic Fibrosis. I suspect that as time goes on we will face some moral dilemmas and have to make some uncomfortable decisions.

Hopefully we will not reach a point where the choice is taken out of our hands but it is not impossible.

I do wonder if I knew that there was a possibility I would pass on anxiety and depression what I would have decided. The thing is you wouldn’t know if descendants would have a mild problem or a serious one.

choice

I don’t think that any of us would want to pass on something negative to our children and grandchildren. Sometimes too much knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Where has the family gone?

My oldest daughter called this morning on her way to work. She works at a major Children’s Hospital as a nurse case manager. She see some of the most critical and heart wrenching cases. In the past she worked at another unit that was an adolescent med-psych unit so she has experience with psych.

suicide

Today she was distressed that a short while ago her bosses son overdosed and died. They don’t know if it was suicide or an accident. Then she learned that a friend’s child committed suicide. This morning she was distressed that she is seeing so many cases of young adults and teens in crisis. Like the rest of us she has no idea why this is happening but is terrible concerned about the culture that is creating mental distress in the young.

It seems that both of these cases were a total surprise and not the result of known mental health issues. Of course she realizes that the problem could have been there unrecognized but in these two cases it seems not.

Recently several blogs that I read have talked about the current TV series 13 Reasons. The blogs have been very negative about the value of this program and its influence. I have not watched it….I watched a brief piece and the premise turned me off so I quit. The blogs seem to feel that this show has a bad influence on young people and the blogs were written by people close to the age.

good family

There are so many problems with the structure of the family today that it is easy for me to see why children are stressed. In some cases the children run the family and the adults take second place. When this happens children don’t feel safe. There is no strong adult influence. Parents must be parents.

In other cases the family is so busy with outside activities that there is no family time. They don’t eat together or take time to talk and share. Children need structure and down time with their family to feel connected.

Like my daughter I am equally concerned about the pattern we are seeing in children and young adults. I pray that some change will come about that re-centers the family group and gives children security and grounding.

Raising children to become anxious and prone to violence and suicide is a plague upon our society.

Pets are a joy

It is impossible to say how much I love having dogs. I grew up with dogs as my mother and grandmother loved them and we always had at least one. Now we have two rescued basset hounds. For 50 years of my married life we had dachshunds. One day my son brought a sad looking basset hound to our house. A friend of his couldn’t keep the dog and my son knew that we were easy marks. Once she came into the house that was it. At the time we had two dachshunds. We didn’t really need another dog. However, she is a joy. Calm, loving and peaceful. She knows when I am stressed and will come to bond with me putting her head on my knee.

Shortly after we got Tillie we lost first one doxy and then another. We decided to adopt another basset to keep Tillie company. We ended up with Crash.

tillie (2)
Tillie in her usual half asleep mode

Crash was so named by his foster family after he was found by a basset rescue agency. They felt he had been hit by a car. He was emaciated, covered with fleas and ticks and had a broken pelvis. When we got him he had been treated extensively by a vet. He was better but still thin.

Crash was definitely the right name for him. He crashed into our house and life has not been the same. He has relieved me of at least six pairs of shoes until I learned to put them away properly. It was his job to take this task in hand. He succeeded. He is terrified of thunder storms and cowers by our feet. He hates for us to leave home and howls the basset howl for the neighbors to hear. While we are away he pulls towels down from the racks, rearranges all loose rugs, pulls out any laundry left on the floor of the laundry room and removes it to other places in the house.

Nothing is harmed, nothing is chewed….just moved. Crash is joy personified.

Pets are wonderful things. Whether you love dogs, cats or some other pet they bring joy to your life. They improve our health. Their love is an example to us of how God expects us to love. If you have pets I hope that they bring you as much joy as mine do.

I am NOT tense

I am not tenseI love this picture done by Jane Seabrook. Her book called Furry Logic is wonderful. All the drawings and captions make me laugh. I have this one in a calendar and it is permanently on my cork-board. It is how I feel a lot of the time. This is such a better way to put it.

A lot of the time I do feel terribly alert. At this time in my life health issues crop up and they can take the stuffing right out of you. I don’t want to say that I am anxious but that is what happens. This photo reminds me that there are different ways to explain things.

For most of my life being subject to anxiety was not acceptable. I was good at denying it. I was good at managing to get medication from doctors to tide me over until the episode passed. I was good at seeming to be fine. Life went on and I managed. Thank God I was able to.

Things are better now. They are not perfect but they are better. Physicians are beginning to have more understanding of mental illness. I remember one physician, knowing that I had anxiety, told me that he was going to put down a different diagnosis so that I wouldn’t be tagged with that diagnosis! Shows you how it was understood. I know there is a long way to go and we are not there yet but I do have hope.

Hope_596x.progressive

I keep hoping that the new brain chemical studies will enlighten the medical community and the rest of the world. There is hope everyone will have it easier in the future.

Too much —-too little, take your pick

Sometimes it is hard to write. Some days it feels as if my brain is either empty or gone. Today is one of those days. I worked in the garden this morning and the heat and humidity almost made me melt. There was a little bit of breeze but not enough to really help.

vines 2We have a big yard. My husband takes care of the lawn and I do the flower beds. ….or more accurately the flower beds do me. It has been raining a lot and things are growing at an enormous rate….that is the weeds, the vines and anything I don’t want. The flowers..not so much.

We are blessed with an enormous amount of vines. Some of them arrived on their own and some I think my grandmother planted. Unfortunately the vines which she planned would be wonderful, have developed a mind of their own and if you stand in one place in my yard for long you may be covered in greenery.

vines

It is a constant battle for me to keep the vines from killing the azaleas which edge our property. I think the vines are winning. I start at one end of the yard and work to the other end and begin again. Two years ago I pruned the azaleas drastically which did help.

Learning to choose the right amount of work to do each day is critical to our well being. If I plan to do too much then when I can’t complete the task I feel defeated. If I plan to do too little I chastise myself for not getting enough done. This is an important life lesson. Many people are called upon to work to exhaustion in their jobs. They are made to take on too much for fear of losing their jobs. How did we get to this point?

We all need good work to do or we are not stimulated and enriched. If the work is overwhelming we become stressed, anxious and less productive. Given appropriate amount of work and we become more creative and efficient. Businesses need to understand that overwork makes us worse workers.

everything

 

We have to remember this in the things we choose to do also. We cannot take on too little or too much. We have to reach that happy medium.

Touch heals

There has been a lot of research about touch and how healing it can be. Over the years, while visiting people at home and in the hospital, I have always used touch to draw closer. I truly believe that touch can be therapeutic if used with intent to heal. Recent studies have shown that just holding the hand of a loved one can reduce pain.

healing touch

When visiting a member of the congregation in the hospital I found her in pain. Unfortunately, he pain medicine was not due for some time and she was very uncomfortable. She responded well to my touch and using both touch, a soothing voice, and a meditative talk (like a mantra….”just rest, just rest..close your eyes and just rest) over and over she relaxed into a calm and peaceful state and was able to wait for her next dose of medicine.

I don’t know how many times I used this technique on my children and never thought about it but with my job as parish nurse it was very helpful. Having someone focus your thoughts soothes us and along with gentle touch can bring us to a state of calm.

The problem is it is hard to do this for yourself. I have done it on occasion when I found myself in a situation when I was about to lose either my temper or my mind. Just stepping back, breathing and focusing my mind….I sometimes repeat “be calm, be calm”…does help me get past that moment. I had a Tai Chi instructor who said when faced with her kids waiting in an airport she had to keep saying “lower your chi” over and over.

Sometimes when I am alone I like to sing a piece of Taize music. These pieces from the Taize community in France are soothing chants that can calm your mind and soothe your soul. If you have never heard these look it up.

This link will take you to one of my favorites on YouTube.

Fight anxiety!

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained. –———Arthur Somers Roche

Unfortunately this is very true. When anxiety raises its ugly head everything else just disappears. Notice that the quote says “if encouraged.” Yes, we can encourage it by giving in to it.

anxiety person

When it comes I am unable to focus on anything…can’t read, can’t move, can’t find comfort. It is a terrible feeling. What even makes it worse is that the fear of more anxiety adds to the anxiety.

Life is worth living. Anxiety can take the feeling that I am living away. It is like falling down a deep hole with no bottom. You just keep falling thinking all the while about hitting bottom.

This is no way to live. We have to find ways to push anxiety aside and move into the world. It is so much easier to give up but then what is there? No matter how hard it is working to move away from anxiety and depression is critical.

help for anxiety

I have learned over the years that literally movingĀ  my body helps. Getting up, getting dressed, combing my hair and making myself ready to go out makes a difference. Even if the anxiety goes with me I am better. If it is not possible to be with people then walking outdoors is a good choice. If there are friends who understand then seek their company. For me, friends help.

Bible verses

 

Whatever we do we must not give up. This can be worked through and a life worth living can be discovered. Don’t ever give up!