Shame and Pain

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I had a revelation this week that was quite confronting and not pretty.
I had brought up to someone how I haven’t been able to handle that they told me that my life was pathetic a year ago. They’re response was “I only had said that out of anger, that says more about me than it does about you… why have you held on to this so long?”
After a discussion the person apologized, but I didn’t feel better. I knew it was said to me out of anger – and that doesn’t make it okay – but it stayed with me. At my worst of times, while struggling with health or sleep or difficulties this year I said “Maybe your life is pathetic”.
Why did I allow something that was obviously untrue to creep into my mind?

My parents said to me when I was much younger that I appeared confident. I seemed like I had more confidence than the world and I was always trying to make people laugh.
As a result my parents believed that this is why some people thought it was okay to say things to me that they wouldn’t to anyone else… to “put me in my place”. The thing is, I was always trying to make people laugh because I was really sad, and depressed – and I didn’t want anyone to feel as sad as I did inside.  Continue reading “Shame and Pain”

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Look for the silver lining…

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Yesterday I had a bad day, A very bad day.
I was not my best because I had an infection which led me to a last minute appointment with a dentist. I know when I am about to battle a flu or an infection because I get angry. I am not an angry person by nature. I think (if I asked my friends) that although I am open with my emotions –  that I reason things out with a lot of logic (hence my love for Mike Rowe), and think about consequences and put things into perspective. So for me to be unreasonably angry is a big red flag – which often indicates some sort of illness. When I realized I could barely chew food, I made my way to the dentist with children in tow. I had already given myself a horrible guilt trip because I had yelled at my children for stupid reasons – something I don’t do. I had yelled a lot. A lot. So once I realized it was because I was unwell I had been able to put it into perspective and as I was driving to the dentist I apologized. They were immediately forgiving… which was undeserved.
I didn’t realize how long it had been since I had been to the dentist. My kids went 6 months ago but I have not. I realized this when the dentist I had been to for almost 14 years made me fill out a new patient form.
I saw a dentist  I was not used to, and apologized. I knew it had been long and I felt embarrassed. I was anticipating being told how bad my teeth actually were. And so that happened. BUT- the dentist did not stop, it was lecture after lecture as if I had never brushed my teeth or been to a dentist and I grew up in a cave. I wanted to tell her what had really stopped me from going to the dentist – which is kind of hard when they have dental tools in your mouth. I tried to explain my health problems had taken priority and I had been in the hospital – so my teeth weren’t the first things on my mind. She then asked if I ate a lot of sugar – I explained I had suffered from major fatigue with these health problems and desperate for energy and knew I had eaten a bad amount of sugar to try to keep up with life. With all the guilt tripping I couldn’t tell her the truth. The real reason for keeping me back was financial. It was not safe to say

“Well, my husband has been unemployed twice for long periods of time and is now only making just enough the threshold where we don’t qualify for benefits. On top of my children suddenly having growth spurts and I was only finally able to buy them two outfits each (they are on rotation) and somehow paying crazy amounts of money for my teeth had not made priority.”

Also, as anyone knows that has struggled financially – there is a lot of guilt as to what you wish you could afford. I couldn’t explain how there are days where my knees go weak feeling overwhelmed with what little money we do have – and there are times I feel like I cannot take another step with this burden. I couldn’t tell her that. Yet she kept trying to explain how bad it was that I had neglected to come in. Do I need that guilt? No. Does anyone really need that guilt? nope.
I had incorrectly guessed how much it would cost. Turns out my whole week’s worth of groceries – food I try to keep on the table is gone… and when I was asked to pay. when they told the amount it took everything in me not to start crying. I only kept it together because my kids were with me. I am so glad I spent a week’s worth of groceries to be told what a horrible person I was because my teeth aren’t perfect.
I had a headache and felt quite ill after when I got home. My sensory child decided that that was the time to  have a meltdown. I tried to do everything I could to make him stop but in the end I couldn’t and his screaming caused my seizures to start – so I made my way to my bed (as I don’t like the children to witness them) and closed the door and tried to just relax. I left my sensory child with my daughter, which also made me feel like I had failed as a parent.
I could hear my daughter, and my sensory child stopped screaming almost as soon as I got to my room. He was even laughing.
It hit me there was a silver lining here, that even though I had felt like a failure, through health, and parenting, that I had a daughter who was able to settle the situation in seconds. Not only that but she attended to me. She gave me encouragement and told me how much she loves me. I never asked for this… I didn’t tell her to do this. She was absolutely amazing. Her ability to settle a stressful situation was beyond what a 10 year old has the ability to do. I told her how Proud I was of her that night and she explained how she had distracted my sensory child with all the things she could think of that he loved.
A woman that I know who has MS told me not to be scared when I first had health symptoms – and young children. She said

“If you saw what a better person my son has become since I got sick, you will see that there is no reason for guilt, that children learn amazing skills when their mother is sick.”

I didn’t believe her until yesterday. I now know that is true. My daughter has peacemaking skills that no school could teach her. Maybe the bad day was worth seeing the light in someone else.

Finding a way to make an obstacle your advantage? Check out The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. 

Health update: Energy and Excitement…

 

smiling woman wearing black jacket and pants jumping in brown open field
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I know it’s not the day I use to do a health update but I’m kind of excited.
I had no clue how much I struggled before. I just thought that I had to focus on what I could do than what I can’t. BUT Who knew losing a 30% of your 3-times-larger than normal spleen could make you feel so good?

I kept getting told by my doctors that if I did “survive” this all, that I would feel better than I have in years – possibly ever. Well, of course there is recovery of procedures to do and such…  and I had been struggling with energy through recovery.

However – I am now feeling less weight internally –  and able to sleep on my left side again (it had been months). I find that my mind feels lighter in the sense that I actually feel like I can accomplish more. To me there is so much proof in that if your body isn’t working right, there is more difficulty with feeling focused and motivated in your thoughts. It definitely causes the feeling of being overwhelmed. This is part of the reason why I started this blog, to use it as a source of encouragement and positivity for those that may have extra challenges.

I have a cold right now, the first I have had in a long time. I’m kind of excited by having my first cold with a nearly normal white blood cell count! It sounds weird I know, but when your neutrophils drop below 1 on the blood test and you are told to “stay inside” on those occasions, well… it can affect you mentally as well as physically. So knowing that I’m almost back to normal blood cell counts like other people has made me feel more optimistic about fighting this cold. I’m a weird one but I said to my husband “I can’t wait to see what this level of white blood cells can do!! They are going to kick some butt.” (Ahh… one of my mottos is that if you don’t deal with health issues with a sense of humor you become mentally unhealthy).

My circulation is so much better at the moment. I definitely feel less sluggish and am motivated to do more exercise. It doesn’t hurt to jump around or dance with this extra-large organ inside of me anymore. To be honest – I may need another procedure in a couple of years that would possibly cause further spleen death. Since my Spleen has gone from 3 times a normal size spleen to twice the size – I think I can afford another 30% off… but that can wait though.

It does prove one thing – that nearly 37 years of struggling there is still hope that technology, doctors, investigations, procedures and FAITH can actually get you to a point where you feel better than you have – ever. Even while having a cold! Keep going…

 

You are a warrior!

This is my new motto.

We had a difficult day today. My son, who has sensory issues had a couple of meltdowns (in public) but the other difficulty is that I still have a few family members who don’t handle it well.

I cannot explain the frustration and I also I cannot explain the pain of feeling so alone with dealing with so much emotion each day.

I did have a moment when I felt the situation had settled but my emotions and nerves were still upset. I purposely took myself to the restroom, looked myself in the mirror and said “you are a warrior! You can handle this. You are strong”. I know we live in a world where we are to be in touch with our emotions and feel the depth of our reality but for some of us, if we did that, there might not be an end to the tears. So in moments where I have no choice but to keep going, I remind myself that I am a warrior, and that I have all the emotional tools to handle any situation that comes along.

So if you find yourself in a difficult reality, please keep telling yourself to keep going. You are a warrior!

God bless and be better!

Strangers and friends…

Shopping

I’ve had some weird encounters over the years when it came to understanding that my son was different and there have been differences between these encounters between strangers and friends….

I remember the time reality hit me about our situation was when out of tiredness and begging. I had gotten my son a McDonalds Happy Meal (It really does make him happy) and he tripped and dropped his fries. He screamed nonstop outside of the supermarket. It didn’t matter if I promised to buy him new fries or that I threatened to take away things if he didn’t just “get himself together”. He screamed, and cried, and he wouldn’t move or be calmed down. The fries on the ground are the ones he wanted and no replacement would help.  That is when it hit me “Is this normal?”

You see, all I was going in the supermarket for, was some bread. So I was pleading with him “let me just go in and get some bread… Can you come in with me for just some bread”. My daughter who was also with me and was quite stressed, tried everything to make him feel better.

An aboriginal man came up to me and said “Can I buy the bread for you? I have  a grandchild who is autistic, so I understand”. I tried to say through my sobs “My son isn’t autistic, he just needs to get over this” but he didn’t hear me but I nodded through my own tears of frustration. He asked me what kind of bread we buy and somehow the words fumbled out. I am a fiercely independent woman so it was hard for me to accept help, but also I was mad at the word… mad that someone assumed my son was autistic when I wasn’t there yet. I hadn’t accepted any “difference” yet. I did thank him when he returned with bread and I found some money in my wallet to pay him but I vaguely remember him giving me words of encouragement to keep going.

It’s strange because strangers have seen the worst of my family, and they have been the most encouraging (a lot from men who expressed their relation to somebody with some diagnosis). Yet most of my friends have seen the best. Some of my friends don’t even know that my son has been diagnosed with anything because they see him on his best days… but even if there is just a little thing “out of the ordinary”, I have had some less-than-encouraging comments. “You know, there was a kid that couldn’t sit still when I was young, you know what fixed him? Spanking!” which is usually the general gist of a few of the comments made by people who have known me for years. I instinctively have known never to mention what my son deals with because I knew they wouldn’t understand and yet, have found understanding, kindness, and grace in strangers who have witnessed the worst meltdowns in the most public places. The kindness of strangers sometimes has brought me to my knees of crying tears of joy when all I needed was just a bit of grace through difficult times and feelings of failure.

There was a beautiful moment not long ago where my son got “fixated” on a toy in which we definitely could not afford but he had emotionally become attached to. This led to a  minimum half an hour (of a meltdown) in the store. Yup. I’m that mother!  I felt by this time, knowing he had been diagnosed with sensory issues along with other things, that I had “toughened up” and thought I could had handle this, but I had started to grow weary. This old man, who I assumed must have been judging me and had been in our “vicinity” for a while, walked up to me, looked me in the eye and said “You’re doing a good job”. I could feel myself take a breath (in which I hadn’t noticed that I was holding so much in) and I smiled at him, and he smiled back and kept walking. I knew I couldn’t say thank you because I would have just cried… cried and cried. I was very thankful for those words.

This is all I ask sometimes of a community. We don’t know what we are all going through day to day but sometimes we need someone to witness our most painful and frustrating moments and still find a way to say something encouraging.

This is not to say that I haven’t had some amazing friends be there for me and my son but Sometimes strangers give unique encouragement in those moments.
Keep going! Be better!

First blog post

fireworks
Fireworks at the stadium

So 2018 is a new year and time to start something that I have been thinking about for a long time. A Blog. I started one last year but it was not at all going in the direction I had hoped it would and after much thought and planning decided that I have a chance to take this into the right direction.
Since I can remember I have been a person who never understood doing things the long way if I could think of a better and faster way of doing things. I have had some challenges, especially recently that has made me research better and improved ways of making my life simpler and easier. I wanted to share my results with others… sometimes this includes pointing to a gadget, sometimes it points to ideas to corporate into my own life, and sometimes it includes a little bit of inspiration from those that have overcome challenges or achieved things when no one else believed in them. My goals are to become healthier, more active, and kinder.
I’m also looking at ways I can become a better mother to my two children. One of them has sensory issues which can prove challenging in different environments. I enjoy finding new ways to help him overcome and move forward.

I also find great fulfillment in encouraging others. So that is the direction I am moving this blog towards.

Hope 2018 finds you successful, healthier, open to finding new ways to overcome any challenge that comes your way.

Jenny