Challenge of the Day

We all get caught up in the stress and busyness of life.  At times, we power on, feeling a vague sense of “there must be something more than this.”

For those of us struggling with mental and/or physical health issues- breaking out of the rut, helping someone else, taking care of ourselves, and/or stretching our comfort zones can help in healing.

Challenge of the Day: Choose one or more activities from this list to do.  

  1. Hold the door open for someone
  2. Say hello
  3. Send a letter or card to a friend, family member, or someone else p
  4. Do something nice for someone
  5. Donate to charity 
  6. Volunteer in the community
  7. Carry a plastic bag and pick up litter 
  8. Kiss your significant other
  9. Tell someone that you love how you feel
  10. Give someone flowers
  11. Exercise
  12. Practice meditation, mindfulness, or yoga
  13. Take a relaxing bath
  14. Read something for fun
  15. Go to bed at a reasonable hour
  16. Do something silly like skipping down the street
  17. Tell a joke
  18. Pet a dog, cat, or other animal
  19. Try something new 
  20. Take a drive 
  21. Have a picnic
  22. Hike
  23. Go to a museum
  24. Cook dinner and clean up
  25. Do something you like

Taking care of yourself makes for a healthier and more balanced life.  Doing for others takes you outside yourself and makes a difference for another person. Small things make a difference.

Healthy living to you

My offering for the night: a stupid joke.  Enjoy

Sensitive

A friend of mine tried to distract her daughter from watching a Humane Society commercial.  She is a sensitive kid and her mom was worried that the commercial would upset her.  Ella’s response:

” Yes, I am sensitive, but it’s my sensitive heart that makes me the perfect person to help others. If my heart was hard, I wouldn’t care. I hope I never stop being sensitive, even if that means sometimes my heart gets broken. Broken hearts can heal, but how do you fix someone who doesn’t care? 3❤❤❤ <3″ This is such a deep response from an 8 year old.  

Words of wisdom from an 8year old girl.
I was a sensitive kid.  Often my mother was critical of me.  She blamed my pain from being bullied as me being “too sensitive” and it would stop if I  would be like other kids.  It took me until I was an adult to realize that this was her attempt protect me.  Yet, as a child it only brought more pain.  I couldn’t depend on my mother for support.  I was lucky.  I had support from my brother and sister. The bullying pretty much stopped in high school.

Yes, I am sensitive, but it’s my sensitive heart that makes me the perfect person to help others. If my heart was hard, I wouldn’t care. I hope I never stop being sensitive, even if that means sometimes my heart gets broken. Broken hearts can heal, but how do you fix someone who doesn’t care? 3❤❤❤❤

Ironically, some of the kids who used to bully me started coming to me with problems.  I listened and didn’t judge.  And I wanted to help.  

I became a social worker.  Social workers often work with people on the fringes of society: the poor, people with substance abuse and/or mental illness, aanjsed children.  Some work in other ways such as hospital social workers.  Our jobs require a bit of sensitivity to others.  I grew up to be in a field that focuses on people needing some sort of help.

Sensitive kids and adults need support from friends and family.  The sensitivity that leads us to help others also causes us to often be hurt.   If you are a sensitive person, do not let anyone make you feel guilty, weak, or useless.  We have an important place in the world.  Someone has to care.  We do.

Daily Relfection

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways-either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” Dalai Lama 

Tragedies are defined by someone’s experiences and view points.  What is tragic for one won’t be for another.  Like PTSD, people can experience the same stressor but respond differently.  

My injury was a tragedy for me.  My life changed totally and I have problems I never thought I’d have.  I see myself in both parts of the quote.  I lose hope- too often.  I want to give up.  Nothing matters.  I self destruct with suicidal thoughts, withdrawal, dietary changes.  In many ways, my activity becomes dangerous- running at two in the morning, not taking rest days.  Yet, my activity also is a big part of coping.  

Depression tips the scales.  When that monster jumps on my back, I spiral into hopelessness and negativity. 

People can’t choose not to be depressed.  It is a journey of healing.  Some people go on to recover over time- others will struggle for life.  Many times people improve but have episodes of depression that returns.  I don’t choose to be depressed.  This is another challenge.  

Ok, Universe, I’m challenged enough!  Knock it off already!

I choose to find inner strength.  It’s a daily action: a conscious choice.  And it’s a climb up the side of a mountain.  I fall.  I slide down the mountain.   At times, I lay on my face, not moving at all. The clouds of depression and despair roll over me. Eventually,  I manage to continue the climb- sometimes I crawl for a distance, other times, I get to my feet.  

Other times, it’s a brief trip and fall and I get up immediately.

We still can choose to stay in despair or try to find the inner strength to meet the challenges.  

What do you choose? 

A Help but a Sadness

Blogging in WordPress is both good and sad. I found people with similar struggles with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and brain injury. I meet people through blogs that help me feel less lonely, more connected to society, and understood.  Perhaps my experiences are helping others also.

Yet, It’s sad that so many of us have been touched by these things.  We all journey together.  We seek healing.  There are just so many.

We all journey together seeking wholeness, happiness, and healing.  

Meditation

Today I went for a walk near my house and noticed this tree- really looked and noticed.  I had walked by this tree many times in the past without paying much attention to it.  Today,  I connected to a sense of peace and connection.  It became an instant mindfulness moment.  Usually I have to “work” to put myself into a mindful state.  I heard the water nearby and birds singing.  There was a gentle breeze and I heard the wind in the trees. My soul quieted.  

Eventually my thoughts drifted.  The tree is dying; there are only a few branches with leaves.  It still stands even with the broken trunk. The tree is beautiful, even with its “faults.”  It still lives and stands against winds and rain.  It has not surrendered. 

This is like life.  We are imperfect and broken.  We have to continue the journey, even when part of us is dying.  We are beautiful.

The tree is marked to be cut down.  I’ll miss it. We all return to energy.  Our souls continue.   So will this tree.

Invisible Disabilities 

September 3, 2016

What is an invisible disability?

The term invisible disabilities refers to symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive dysfunctions, brain injuries, learning differences and mental health disorders, as well as hearing and vision impairments. These are not always obvious to the onlooker, but can sometimes or always limit daily activities, range from mild challenges to severe. 

Invisible Disabilities Association

Disability does not mean disabled.  Most people with disabilities have productive lives.  The disability makes life more difficult.  But people find ways to accommodate their challenges.  

Interacting with Society and Relationships

In addition to the physical and emotional challenges, the impact of disability is not understood by family and community members.  We deal with ignorance every day.  Sometimes comments are an attempt to encourage.  Other times it’s judgment.  Either way, it’s disheartening.   People often don’t believe we have a disability.  We hear comments such as,”you don’t look sick,” ” you can do it if you’d only try harder,” “you can choose to be better,” “you could do this yesterday,” “it must be nice to stay home all day.”

Relationships are impacted by the individual’s limitations in functions.  They might cancel plans unexpectedly because they just can’t do it on that day.   They may need assistance  in activities of daily living and other care taking.  Families dissolve, friends drift away.

I have more than one chronic, invisible disabilities. Many are due to brain injury: aphasia, migraines, fatigues, linear thinking, problems understanding complex spoken directions or information, hating change, sensitivity to sensory input. Depression, anxiety, PTSD impact daily functioning.  I also have a seizure disorder, fortunately controlled currently. 

I wouldn’t choose what I go through.  If I had my way, I’d be like I was before I got hurt.  I’d be working, going to public events, running marathons.  I wouldn’t be so damn tired and struggling with basic things.  I wouldn’t get so tired getting out of bed is a struggle. This isn’t something I’d ever choose.


130 million Americans have chronic illness and costs $2.5 trillion dollars annually for impact on employment and health care.  Most of these illnesses are invisible.
Disabilities and Work

Hope
The majority of people with invisible disabilities work. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibites discrimination in hiring and requires employers to provide accommodations. The difficulty is in proving their is a disability.  They work in a variety of fields.

Medical science is finding new treatments and possible cures.  Medications can help control symptoms so people can have better quality of life.  My seizures are fully controlled by medications.  In some cases, surgery completely stops seizures.  Medical research continues to make advances towards possible cures or prevention of invisible disabilities and chronic illnesses.  

What Can You Do to Help


My Life- My hope 

There has been a lot of improvement since the accident five years ago.  I access public places and transportation.  I exercise again.  My seizures are controlled and I have fewer migraines.  I even cook again; although this is a challenging activity.  I haven’t burned spaghetti in several years.  But, I did explode a frozen side dish in the microwave yesterday.  I put in too much time by mistake.  I planned to take out the side dish and warm up some bread.  I forgot . It made a spectacular mess.  This is another change: I find things like that funny.  Frustrating but funny.  

I hope that someday I can find healing from the PTSD, depression, and anxiety.  I hope I will work again. One day, things will be better. We all have potential to be more than we are- even with disability.

For Consideration- Quote of the Day 9/2/16

Depression, anxiety, and PTSD all have a common thread: issues with how you think. These are examples of  thoughts: a skewed vision of how you see the world, how you interactive with the world, unrealistic expectations, negative self image, self blame, constant worry.  There are others.  They make for an insane inner choir.  

The mind is everything. What you think you become.  ~~~ Buddha

 These thoughts define our world.  That’s a big part of CBT, looking at inaccurate thoughts, how they impact us, how to change them, and how we act.  We are encouraged to be in the world, interacting, trying to find something we enjoy and/ or gives meaning.

It is so difficult to change how we think.  Thought ruts.  We’re stuck in them.  They are our reality.

Personally, I view myself as a completely worthless piece of shit.  Would anyone even notice if I was gone?  I have nothing left to give.  Of course, these messages sent by that insane choir impacts how I define myself and the world.  No wonder I struggle with depression.  “I’m not safe.  I can’t protect myself.  People can and will hurt me.  It was my fault anyway.”  The craziness of PTSD and anxiety.  The thoughts feed them.

Thoughts impact the physical body.  The body impacts the thoughts.  They both influence actions. Isolating ,dealing with constant fear, hypervigilence, not trusting. Not wanting to do anything at all. 

So, who am I really?  Did I really become all that because I believe it to be true?  Can I really see who I am differently?  I suppose that last is possible.  What happened to me changed my identity and how I view myself.  It was different once.  I’m not sure I’ll get there again.

Definitions.