Remembering the Familiar and Embracing the New

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So what happens when you are truly unhappy. Well, you can sit and dwell in the depths of unhappy and become depressed. Eventually, and what I realised is somehow I have to keep going – my children depend on me.

One thing that we changed – on request of my daughter, was to change schools. We found out only too late that my daughter’s teacher last year had bullied her – she had bullied many children. My daughter’s major problem is that the school knew about it and did nothing. So she made the mature argument that the problem is bigger than the teacher but a school problem.  Many times I attended the school and found it to not putting the children’s safety first. I wont name the school – but say that with our new school we are very pleased. We had no clue how much this has changed our lives. They actually do what they say they stand by! You don’t have to come with buckets of proof that your child was bullied by a child that day, they actually handle problems properly and put safety first. For the first time in years, I don’t have anxiety about taking my children to school. I mention this change because I think that there are times where we think we are in the best situation possible, so we put up with some really unhealthy things – only for those things to become the normal.

Only when you find out there are other ways to do things, and there are better options can you raise the standards of now only what you should expect of others but what you expect from yourself.

Our area of the world it is difficult to find a job. It’s hardly what you know but who you know. I have applied to so many jobs and the only ones I have ever gotten in our state is ones where a friend works at the company. It’s unfortunate and difficult but widely known by outsiders that connections are needed. So another wonderful change was – a friend helped me get a job. We desperately needed a change in funds (we are technically living below the poverty line) as we have been assisted by relatives with keeping our heads above water. My husband and I are very independent people so you can imagine how mentally painful this is, as it’s been going on for a couple of years now. We now have hope that we may be able to support ourselves very soon and raise our standard of living. You can see though that there are definitely some contributors to the depression I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

Finally, with some hope giving me some wind in my wings – I have been trying to find myself again – and books were a huge part of that. My friends often would ask me for recommendations and so now I want to start an online book club on this blog. As I can’t buy books anymore, we have been living off of the library for books and videos. I have a challenge to read a book from each shelf (of the library)… so that I read a wide variety as I don’t like just reading one or two authors but discovering new ones. SO I hope you will enjoy this.

I also know getting out of the house is a big deal to help combat depression and plan on spending more time outdoors and being present with nature. So I plan on also incorporating this into this blog.

I do have physical energy now that it has been one year since the spleen shrinkage. SO I plan on taking advantage of this.

SO even though there have been some difficulties – I am either making changes where I can or finding my passions again.

If you feel stuck, I recommend taking inventory of what is working, what isn’t working, and what you can change and what you need to keep in your life.

There is a way to regain control.

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Beginning Today

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Today is the day I start my journey to becoming more fit and the weight that I want to be.
It hit me that I have done this but given up because I don’t see the progress I have made. I was looking at other weight-loss stories and I saw a woman who said she was glad she took pictures because she didn’t think she had made progress even though she had lost 100 pounds. The pictures showed how obvious it was that she had lost weight but in her head she felt like she hadn’t made progress.
This is why I fully believe that as long as you don’t have any physical health problems Continue reading “Beginning Today”

The strongest people are the loneliest..

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This is one of the most honest blogs I will ever write:

One thing that my family and friends have observed about me over the years was that in the face of trauma and drama I appear like I have it together. One of my thought processes is “I’ll take care of the people around me first, and then someone can take care of me when things calm down. The problem is, by the time I think everyone around me is okay and it’s my turn to lean on someone – people have already assumed the crisis is over and long passed.

I don’t know when this started, maybe before I can remember. I do remember specifically being aware of it when a family friend took his life when I was 13 years old and I knew that my parents had many people to attend to, including the family of the man. There were so many people around me affected by this, that I thought it was my role to comfort. Later, when I felt like the situation had calmed down a little… I waited. I thought “okay, someone will ask me how I am now…”. No one ever asked. I remember years later asking my parents and family, how come they never checked on me? They replied “you seemed like you were doing fine”.

I actually remember in that same week that I was beat up by a bunch of guys (yup, true – they are all such brave boys – beating up a girl as a group). I came home to a lonely house. My family gone because I knew they were at the man’s house comforting that family. It wasn’t until many years later that I told my family about being beat up. They asked me why I hadn’t told them at the time. I assumed that me mentioning that I got beat up at school would have added to the problems that had accumulated around the suicide. I had been beat up – I hadn’t died.

The thing is, the people who seem the bravest, and the strongest, are still suffering but they are looking at the bigger picture – of helping others until they are safe to have their breakdown. The problem is, most people have forgotten by then, and assume those that provided comfort are okay. News flash is: THEY ARE NOT OKAY.

The people who seem the strongest feel like they cannot unload their burden after they have comforted others. Those are the people that are most at risk. They turn to ways of self-medicating.
I believe this to be true, because the people I know who have taken their lives are all people who made others laugh, thought about others and tried to comfort people around them and make them happy. That was definitely true of the man I knew who took his life during this time. If you ask MOST people if they saw any signs in someone who took their life they always mention how funny they were and how they helped others, and USUALLY they never saw any signs.
We need to talk about loneliness, depression, suicide, and addiction in a different format. Mental health isn’t something that is easy to notice. We need to check on each other, no matter how weak, or how strong they seem and sometimes months and years after a trauma.

Hope you are having a good beginning of the week… God bless.

Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14
National Suicide Hotline (USA) 1800 273 8255

 

 

 

Balancing Sensitivity

 

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When I was younger I was told by the majority of people around me that I was “so sensitive” and that I needed to “stop being so sensitive”. I tried to change as I thought this was a problem with me and who I was as a person, but as I got older I realized it was a gift not a problem.

I learned to accept my sensitivity and use it in a way that drew people to me through that sensitivity.
My greatest weakness had become one of my greatest strengths…but with some things out there the opposite can become true. Your greatest strength can become your weakness.

I personally think we all have sensitivities that can be used to attract others as everyone’s desire (whether they realize it or not) is to be seen, heard, and understood. However there are some pitfalls with having a gift. When used incorrectly – your gift becomes your weakness.

One of these examples is if you are TOO sensitive to yourself but not to others. We all know them. People who dish it out, and have no awareness that they say awful things but are extremely sensitive to even the slightest look. They definitely can’t take what they dish. This isn’t a balance of sensitivity. You can be just as sensitive to yourself as you can be to others… but it takes a lot of awareness to do this. This can be classic to some of the Autism community, and I think then it falls on the people with those that don’t have the challenges of Autism to try to understand that this is not a personal thing from Autistic people. The other is that there are just some people out there that have never been taught a “greater awareness” of others, or something outside their ‘bubble’. Some people have never been taught about the bigger picture. Some people cannot put themselves in other’s shoes. It usually isn’t something that the regular person can approach. The few people I know that fit this category have total unawareness of their lack of sensitivity and believe they are sensitive to others. The clue is when you find they can be more sensitive to strangers or people on the news than to the closest people to them. I’m not a psychology expert but it definitely seems like something that hasn’t been fully developed.

The other problem is when you are too sensitive to others more than you are to yourself. My mother used to get quite upset when I was just in Kindergarten and she would see a child do something to me and I wouldn’t say (or do) anything back. After five children she was curious and frustrated about this trait. She asked me why I didn’t stand up for myself and she said she was quite surprised that a five year old would say “because they are hurting”. She says that I knew if someone expressed anger it was because they were hurting. I didn’t want to hurt them back. As much as this is probably admirable and quite intuitive, it definitely turned into a fault. I put my needs behind everyone else’s because I was so worried about others. Even now some of my best friends know me well enough to tell me when I am doing this. In the past, this was definitely more extreme and it really hurt me. I had friendships where I allowed others to blame me if I perceived that they felt better about themselves when doing this. This is unhealthy. This is not something that should be continued. If anything this should be a temporary imbalance for someone helping another person out long enough for them to get on their feet. What is important is to get back on your feet. You taking the blame to make others feel better should not be a lifelong crutch. This is something I still struggle with every day. I have to constantly check in with myself to see if I am giving too much of myself away, or allowing people to cross boundaries just because I think they feel better doing so.

Being sensitive is awesome, but it takes skill, a lot of practice, and a balancing act to make sure it doesn’t turn into our weakness.
Hope your weekend is awesome.
Jenny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful

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My son happily cleaning windows.

Lately I have been frustrated with life working against us. This has to do with my husband’s Job and my personal life goals and on top of that our whole household has come down with a cold which means my kids have stayed home all week in destructive attitudes which included non-stop fighting.
Today was different. The kids needed to get out of the house but we didn’t want to infect others… my husband was able to put them to work.
Suddenly the destructive attitudes turned constructive and they were so excited to be useful. I was able to watch them from inside the house and I started thinking about how thankful I was for this moment.
Despite my son having some challenges, he is always excited to do things for others. Despite my daughter stirring her brother constantly, her sense of humor and willingness to respond promptly to instructions is a wonderful thing.
My husband is a hard worker – and unfortunately one of those good traits he has worked against him this week when he was told that he didn’t get the position he wanted because he was “too calm” (I know, ridiculous right?). His calmness helped our whole family deal with an incident last year when our car lost its brakes. I wouldn’t trade his “calmness” – for a better position within a company. I’m not sure what company would want a stressed out/yelling type of manager anyway…. I’m proud of my husband.
Today when I went shopping all the things I needed, most of my items were on sale… I didn’t plan that as I needed to do a last minute shop. I remember just feeling thankful that even though money is tight, that so many of our favorites were on sale.
There was a situation in which we have been given a chance to serve in a few months. I usually feel stressed by this, but I feel not only calm about it but excited to help. I’m not only thankful that I have the opportunity but also thankful that I don’t feel stressed and miserable about it like I have in the past.
Anyway, Today was a day where I was able to focus on the good things in life.
I hope you have a thankful and grateful day.

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Jen

 

 

Health Check Tuesday: Building Your Support Team

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One of the downfalls of having a chronic health issue – or even intermittent health issues is that you will receive opinions. Some come from a place where the person giving their opinion lacks compassion because they have not been there, but most are really well-meaning. The ones you need to listen to, are the ones that know you best and have tread the difficult waters of illness with you.

I recently received a get well card from some people I knew years ago. They never really made the effort to support me or even be that kind to me, but things have changed.
I was 20 when I knew them, most people at that age have not dealt with real illness by and they just are not in a place to show their support. I used to take this personally but after receiving a card from these people over 15 years later I reflected on my memories of them. I also was aware that not long ago they had a child that had to deal with a very serious illness. In the 15 years during this time, they have seen (in the most difficult way) how painful that can be (there is nothing worse than having a small child in the hospital). The card I received from them was probably one of the nicest, genuine and supportive cards I have ever received and it made me realize a couple of things:

  • You cannot make people understand how you feel if they aren’t ready for it
  • the people you least expect, can become your biggest supporters

 

The second category of people are the people who really want the best for you but go about it the wrong way. They give you opinions from the sidelines – they may have had an illness but not the same kind, and will give you advice based on their own experience not thinking about the major differences between you and them. I find even some of my closest of friends go into this mode when I am sick – they tend to lecture instead of empathize. They aren’t truly listening but to make them feel better sometimes you just let them talk. They have good intentions – but on difficult days they can take any energy left from you by providing opinions on what you should do. I really would listen to these people more if they stopped by and visited more, or made a meal or any of those things. But bottom line is, they do care, they just don’t truly understand – and as much as that can be frustrating – they still mean well (and shockingly, there are times they wont tell you how to handle your illness). 

The last group of people – I call my people. They may or may not have had an illness, but they want to understand – they will listen to every complaint, every thought, and give you space when you need to rest. If they give advice (which is rare), you do listen, because you know they know you best during this time. They have done the hard yards. You can count on them 100%. Sometimes there may be just one person in your life that will be this person, if you are lucky maybe more. These people you know are friends for life, they aren’t just around during the good times, but there for the difficult times too. BUT THERE IS STILL ONE VERY IMPORTANT PERSON LEFT…

YOU!! If you are anything like me, you can be your harshest critic. This is a lesson I am learning right now. To give myself a break.  When I am unwell I tell myself I am lazy – I’m not lazy – I’m sick, but that word goes through my head. You need to be able to sit and rest, take a nap, take meds/vitamins, be in tune with what lifts your spirits and put your effort into that. That is your assignment! You need to be part of your own support team. Be good to yourself. There is only one of you! You need to know yourself well enough to know what can trigger thoughts of anger, discouragement, depression, and to find a way to replace it with a thought of love, kindess, and Joy. You are the most important person in your own support team, and without you as the foundation – none of the other people in your team can support you. 
Hope you have a great health day. 
Jen

Tuesday Health check: A Slam Dunk?

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Well, my procedure did not go as planned but in a good way.  My doctor used coil he had never used before to fix my splenic artery aneurysm (which other radiologists don’t believe me… “you mean brain aneurysm? heart Aneurysm??” “No, Splenic artery Aneurysm” – in which they then say “oh you’re that girl I heard about”. “I’m as rare as a unicorn” I tell myself).
My doctor looked nervous – the whole team looked nervous. Couldn’t barely crack a smile even with my pre-surgery jokes I was telling (Trust me, it was comedy gold to anyone else that wasn’t under pressure).
He ended the procedure early and called my husband to tell him how it went better than expected.

The funny thing is – a week before the procedure my doctor called me in to have a consultation about how difficult this procedure was going to be. It was not going to be a “slam dunk” is what he kept saying. He also told me they had planned for minimum 6 different scenarios… none of them being “a slam dunk”. 

As soon as I woke up and heard how it went extremely well and easy from the nurses (doctor went into another procedure), and my husband who also explained everything to me that was relayed over the phone.

I knew that as soon as I saw my doctor I had one thing to say to him:
“So, it was kind of a slam dunk huh?”

He then said “Well.. it was as if we were standing with our backs towards the hoop, and we just throw the ball blindly over our heads and we somehow got the ball in”. Is how he explained (and demonstrated) it.

I know this post might not get many hits. It’s not about that. I  hope this reaches those that have something super rare – something possibly like a splenic artery aneurysm – with all the complications I had (portal vein hypertension due to old clot, dangerous varices, hypersplenism etc etc etc). I had a hard time searching and reseaching positive outcomes of people like me… because there is very little out there. Why? To have a splenic artery aneurysm is literally less than a tenth of a percent of aneurysms – and very rarely someone of my age (I got lucky I suppose). I want those that don’t know what to expect, or even when your doctor seems nervous because he/she doesn’t know what to expect… that you can find someone out there that has had this. That it doesn’t have to be as lonely of a walk. I know for some – a tenth of a percent of aneurysms is actually a high percentage for the rarities that they have with their health. BUT I am writing this not for the majority -I’m writing this for those out there who have doctors who are doing everything they can to understand and figure out how to treat their issue.

Sometimes – no matter how the doctors tell you, “it’s not a slam dunk” and even the months of warnings I received about how hard it would be to survive – that it could actually go better than expected –
You could get that slam dunk! Stay hopeful!!
Sometimes miracles happen.

(P.S. This post means I am back on board with posting more regularly again – thanks for being patient).