Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Back to school and back to survival

It has been a few weeks now that my kids went back to school. Our summer was so relaxed and now we are slaves to our alarms and schedules. When we are forced into something our minds and bodies rebel don't they? I have noticed we are all more irritable and our bodies are tense. Can you notice when your body is handling a lot of stress? Stress for me, is especially bad. These past few weeks I have been more prone to emotional outbursts. I am tired and overwhelmed. I feel like I am in survival mode yet again! My young aborigines are getting restless and the mommy lion is ready to pounce. Life with children really can feel this way can't it? Our bodies really do act like we are in the jungle. Survival of the fittest!

The first day when I picked up my kids we were stuck in traffic due to construction. We were stuck and just had to wait it out. The kids were hungry and over tired. All of our patience was tested. The principal and teachers were  out directing traffic and trying to help in any way they could. Yet we inched along ready to break. Our car inched forward closer and closer to the end. I kept telling my kids we were almost there and to hang in there. I didn't know when we would make it. I just knew we are going the right way and the only way. We have no choice sometimes to travel the same road every day. We get up and do the same thing. We go to the same places. But we do not know what obstacles we might face. What detours or road blocks that will impede us. So what can we do when our plan is frustrated?

We can come up with a plan for the next time. Since I knew that the next few weeks would be the same with the construction I decided to have the kids walk and I parked somewhere away from the chaos. I was still nervous that there might be kinks in my plan. After all we never had done this before. The next day we carried out our plan and got home when we used to. It also felt great when I looked back and saw the long line of cars still in line and we were already on our way. It is convenient to drive in our cars and not have to get out but that just won't work if we want to be home at a decent time. There is a little more preparation and we have to walk in the hot sun. However we knew it was necessary to get our desired result.

We have to walk sometimes when we would rather run or drive, hypothetically speaking. I feel that way every day when my energy will only allow me to do so much. Where in your life do you feel like you are stuck in traffic? How can you make a change and a different plan?

First of all, just know that you are in survival mode and accept it. Accept that things are changing. Accept the mess and construction. When you are changing schedules it feel like you are under construction.Then examine your priorities. There are a lot of things that compete for our attention. What is the most important? Each morning I wake up I ask that question. It changes so I try to just go with the flow. When I start to feel rushed or panic then I know something is off. I stop and look at my plan. Sometimes it means I stop and rest. Sometimes I answer the sweet plea to "play with me". I have accepted that only the things I feel the most important gets pushed to the back burner.

We survived the month of August and that feels pretty good. Honestly I do not see how we cannot be in survival mode with little kids and busy schedules. We can however try to make changes and try to be less frazzled if we can. We can embrace the mess and chaos I stead of fighting against it. We can't do everything at once. So we need to stop cramming so much into our days, hours and minutes. How? Keep making course adjustments and little tweaks here and there until it feels right. Last, realize what season of life you are in and don't go faster than you have strength. Who ever told us we should do all these things. Wouldn't it be nice to take some of the pressure off? I think in 10 years I can have my house clean and organized but most of my kids will be gone. So what is really important? I put this question to you. After all, isn't it the most important question to ask? Everything else should fall in place when we have our priorities in perspective. It is like looking through a telescope. You only see what you are zoomed in on. Welcome back to survival!

Monday, August 15, 2016

How being stuck and in pain led to peace

I am woman hear me roar is what I want to say. But if I am honest it is more like hear me snore. I have been asleep for so long to all that has contributed and led up to my illness. Not to mention I fight real aggressive fatigue everyday. I have accepted that I have something that will ever go away. But I am still mourning all the things I want to do but can't and that keeps me stuck and my head turning. It is like I am in a blender and keep rehashing all the 'shoulds" and "what ifs". They have become such a part of me that it is hard not to think that way. It is hard but not impossible. I have realized that I can do hard things because I do them every day.

Most days though I am more like Oh in the movie Home. He is a Boov that along with his species takes over Earth and moves all the humans away. He forms a unexpected bond with a human girl who was left behind. At one point Tip, the human girl, puts on music and it makes Oh dance. He feels ashamed and says he has to cool his core. To do this he jumps out of a hover car over the ocean. That shame and depression likes to creep in their every minute of every day. I have to be so careful and change my thoughts as quickly as I can so I do not have to go to my room and cry until I fall asleep. I too have to cool my core but that is okay. I am learning a lot about shame and  about what my triggers are. With each successful step I am getting closer to not being tossed about by every whirlwind, but instead I can hold my ground. Again this is all very hard and requires me to be ever vigilant. It means I can never, not once let my guard down and think that things are getting better. Then I stop or get relaxed about what is really going on until that whirlwind picks me up and tosses me around for a while. I have to be relentless in fighting all that comes at me on a daily basis. Now to you it may sound like a prison to always be fighting something. It is definitely exhausting! But if I don't fight who will? God helps me in the battles but he can't fight them for me or for you!

Knowing that I have been a big contributor in my overall decline helps me to never want to go there again. I don't want to feel like a victim or wonder when things are going to get better. When I was diagnosed with Celiac I was never again tempted to eat wheat. I feel the same way about my thoughts. Now that I know that my thoughts have such an impact for pain I don't want to think so negatively anymore. My life is beating me up enough and I don't want to help it. I can keep working on my thoughts. I can keep working on my health. I can stop putting up with the disabling side effects of fibromyalgia. I can accept that I have limits and work within them.

 There are speed limit signs everywhere you look to remind you how fast you should be going. If you go over the speed limit you can get a ticket. If we push ourselves and stress ourselves we are going to fast and we need to find a speed that is right. Whether you have a chronic condition or not each of us has to slow down to what our bodies are telling us. Maybe we come to a Stop sign or caution sign. I have learned to listen to the Holy Ghost to tell if I am going the speed that I should. It is amazing if I just take time to listen. Like it says D&C 11:12-14

12 And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.
 13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;
 14 And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.
I had no idea how powerful the atonement could be and how I could be using the Holy Ghost so much more . I know that I have to trust in the process. There will be set backs. It will be hard. You can do it too. You can let go of past hurt or even present pain. You can trust yourself and that you know what to do. If not study it out and then pray everyday. One day it will make sense even if the timing isn't what you wanted it to be. Trust in that process and that you will be ready to face your challenges when the Lord knows you are ready. He is making us who we are meant to become. If I hadn't had such a hard life so far I don't know if I would have been humble enough when the Lord said that I needed a serious and expensive remodeling.

I don't like where I have been so I am not going back. What about your life is driving you crazy or that you have lost control? Where are you stuck? What are you willing to do to get to where you want to be? You can do it! I believe in you!

Monday, August 1, 2016

The strength is in the mess

We just got back from a vacation and it was a little bit of vitamin sea! I love the ocean and just lounging around. The only problem was coming back home I felt anxiety and the heat because our swamp cooler doesn't do very well in 100 degrees. The anxiety I felt was more fear of what might happen when I walked through the door. We stayed in a cabin for 6 days and each of us took turns making dinner and Breakfast. We only had to clean up what we brought and it was so easy. Once I walk in my door at home I see the mess and the loss of what I just had. I think that I can go through this grief every day. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to de-clutter 11 years of depression. Then I wonder why I need to when it only makes me more agitated. Why do I feel the pressure like I am slowly being roasted on a fire or something? How can I have those same feelings of peace at home that I did on vacation?

I have been trying to get back to my morning routine and I am just so worn out! The last day of my vacation my body said no more. Everyone left for the beach and I was left alone to feel yucky, alone and guilty for not going with everyone else. That's where I take that shiny tempting bait of Satan and I start feeling sorry for myself or like I a victim. I know that what I am dealing with is hard but do I have to be so hard on myself too? I am sitting here thinking and writing and I am shaking my head at myself. Why do I keep doing this? But then I am being hard on myself again! Uggghhh.

The first day we were on the beach we got some pretty bad sun burns. We wore sunblock and applied it every 2 hours but some of us got blisters. Even though we protected our self and did everything right we still got burned. Even though I keep trying to protect myself and prevent nasty thoughts some how they get to me and it hurts. Just like any wound it takes time to heal and repair the damage. The problem with an emotional wound is sometimes they are so raw and tender. We cover them with" band aids" and hope they go away. We suppress them because we feel guilty or ashamed.

Most wounds don't become scars. They heal with time. The scars are more of a reminder of our injury good or bad. For most guys it is cool to have gnarly scars. For me I had a scar on my forehead from falling that I hated to see everyday. I still fall, not literally, everyday sometimes a couple of times a day but I always manage to get back up, but not always wound free. These wounds are what keep me from healing or letting go. These wounds strike a cord within my soul. They have also made me who I am today. Am I weaker or better because of them? I am still trying to find that out. I am still trying to figure out what weaknesses I have and what God can make strengths. I love the scripture Ether 12:27- And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. I know God loves me even if my life is chaos. I am going to keep making mistakes so I shouldn't worry about if I will or not. This keeps the wounds open or reopens an old wound.

We should not have received such bad sun burns that first day, but we did. We shouldn't keep getting hurt,but we do. The next day we stepped into the sun we were all a little more careful. Some wore shirts so the burn couldn't get worse and tried to come in from the sun more often. We develop coping techniques to deal with pain. Some of it is good and some of it is bad. I have developed some self destructing habits to keep me safe. If I hurt myself no one can hurt me. Wrong! We end up an emotional mess because we don't know how to deal with these powerful emotions. But in our weakness and in the mess we find what we are made of. We discover our strengths despite the pain. We inch forward holding on to the scriptures and what we know to be true. We keep going and try to heal or cover the pain. Next time we are in a situation that could bring us pain we are more prepared and wiser to deal with it. This is even true if it is a small change we can make. I am going to learn more about what behaviors are toxic and more about the grieving process. I hope that this will help me to deal with damaging behaviors and be a more healthy person. If we gain a little more knowledge we can step out into the sun and not get burned. The strength is in the heat and the chaos of life. The strength is in you!

This is a picture of my son covered from head to toe to protect his burns. He looks tough doesn't he?