If you had to pick which thing caused you the most problems in life, do you know what it would be? I used to be able to name this, that and the other but one day I read this quote that has forever stuck in my head. It made me analyze the other things and realize that they came from this root problem.
image from www.tattoogen.com
My first thought was “No, this can not be true. Things like my feelings towards others, finances, medical issues, etc cause me more problems.” Then I started analyzing these things and it changed my perspective totally.
Finances come from a fear of not having enough money, fear of not being able to pay our bills, fear that we can not buy that special item, etc. It all relates back to fear.
I had a friend tell me that jealousy was her biggest problem and after thinking about it, I realized that jealousy also stems from fear…fear that someone is better than us, fear that we are not good enough, fear that we do not look good enough, fear that we can not do as well, etc.
My medical issues, if I allow them, can throw me into fear. It can make anyone fear that they will not get better, fear of what is coming, fear of what treatments, medicines, etc will be required, fear that no one will love us if we are so sick or disabled and the list goes all.
This was a revelation to me because then I started thinking about all the things that go on in life and how much is fear oriented. People hold back their lives because they allow fear to rule it. People do not go to events because they are afraid they will not fit in or they are afraid of being around so many people. Some people will not try new foods because they are afraid they will not like it. Some people will not leave a dead end job because they are afraid of trying something new. And I probably could think of a thousand more things all fear oriented.
So, how do we break the pattern of allowing fear to rule us? People will not disagree with others because of fear of being rejected and yet, if they ever make that step just one time and say they do not agree…they will find that such a freeing moment. How much of our lives do we allow fear to control?
I remember once my father asking me was I proud to be poor as the rest of my family is not. I told him that I was not ashamed of being poor and I was proud of living simply, being able to enjoy my children and not having tens upon tens of thousands of dollars of debt over my head. That was a major step for me and for my son. We moved out here to simplify our lives and to get away from the rat race and we love it.
We will always have fears. It is what we do with that fear that determines the person we become. If we walk through the fears, face the fears and move on, then we have won a victory. If we give into the fears, we lose a big part of our lives. And if you have never faced fear, let me tell you from experience that when you do it for the first time, it is empowering. You will come away going “WOW that felt good”. So, always know the enemy…which is fear…and never let it stop you. It may not feel comfortable to do things you are scared of such as changing jobs or meeting someone new. We will have uncomfortable feelings all our life. Just march on through.
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We are created fully equipped to become our own advocate and our own validating judge of ourselves and yet we continue to use other people to make us feel whole. And when that person disappears, leaves us, dies, etc….then we feel as if we no longer have any worth.
Why are people NOT validating themselves? Why do people need to ask others if they look good, did they act ok, how does their hair look, etc? We have eyes and we can look in the mirror and know if we look ok or not. We have brains that tell us “Oops, that was a dumb thing to do.” or “I did a good job.”
When we depend on others, who are just humans, then we lose some of our power. We are letting others decide what is good for us and what is not and if that person just happens to be mad at you and decides to be ugly when they reply, we are giving them more power over us.
image from mayasaboutique.tumblr.com
I learned the hard way that people are just that…people. They are human with human qualities and do not always speak with kind hearts, with love in their hearts and with pure honesty and so if we allow them to evaluate us, to validate us and to set the bar for us, then they could be setting a bar that does not show the real us.
We have within us the ability to validate ourselves. We are capable of deciding if what we eat, wear, think or do is good or not. We do not have to dress in designer clothes to be beautiful. We just have to be beautiful inside and out. We do not have to jeopardize our values to fit in with others. If people can not love the real us, then they will not truly love us if we do all those things above. Let yourself shine as you and use your own brain to decide what is right for you. When we seek the approval and validation from others, we are setting ourselves up to fail.
In this world where women are often treated as second best, not valued as they should be, overworked between work and home/family life and just in general are made to feel guilty if they do anything for themselves, they list themselves on the bottom of the list of who is important. I am talking in people…not God here. I did this for years and years and wondered why everyone else treated me like I was the least important. And then someone very wise opened my eyes and taught me a very good lesson.
“We teach people how to treat us by what we will accept.”
This means that if we put ourselves last on the list, then so will others. We have taught them that we are not worth putting on the top of the list. We lower our bar so much because we feel the demands of life on us and feel like if we take time for us, buy for ourselves, do something special for ourselves then we are being bad and selfish. And people pick up on it.
image from www.reinventlove.com
Another very wise person taught me that we as women especially tend to be “helper” type people and we want to help others and lift them up. I am that way. I try to do it with my blog or by doing things I see others need. But, this friend told me one day that if I did not put my oxygen on first, then I would be no help to anyone. I had to think on that a while and I realized what she was saying was that if I did not take care of myself, did not do for me the things I need to be healthy and filled with joy, to feel beautiful and assured…..then I could not do anything to help anyone else.
So, who comes first? You do. This does not mean that all your time should be spent on yourself, indulging yourself, spoiling yourself….it means that before you can help others you must start with yourself. Remember how I talk about choices? It is a choice to make sure that you are top of your list that you start with for when you are, then you can help lift others up in their lives. When we do not take care of ourselves, when we do not feel like we look good, when we are not eating right or exercising right, when we are not attending to our own spiritual and emotional needs….it shows. And people around us will view us that way.
image from cougarcrossings.com
Start your day putting yourself first and once you get yourself taken care of then you can take care of those around you. You are worth it. You deserve it and it is not selfish to attend to your needs. Like I said…if you spent all day every day just on yourself…that would be selfish. But, if you take care of yourself daily, you will find you have so much more energy to help those around you and you will show others that you are worth loving and worth being treated as special as you are.
Oh my, you all can ask some tough questions and I will do my best to answer them as fully as I can. This is not something I normally write on as I do not believe in focusing on what is wrong with me but on what I can do to make life better and on solutions to problems I have with my health.
1. What is wrong with me?
You mean besides being wacky? LOL. I will answer this but I do not want pity nor do I want you to see only the things I have wrong and not see me. Because as you know, I truly believe I am not my diseases or disorders, I am danLrene…with many sides to me as seen on the right side of this blog. I already answered the person that asked this but this question leads to the next question so I am posting the answer here.
I have auto immune disorders. Yes, that means more than one. I have Sarcoidosis, Fibromyalgia, Sjorgens, auto immune pernicious anemia and Rheumatoid Arthritis which is also an auto immune disorder and I am on treatment for it. I also have COPD and have had for years and am on oxygen 24/7. I have degenerative disc and joint disease. I have had back surgery on the lower spine and have had in the past couple of years radio frequency ablation, which is burning the nerves coming out of the spine to help with the constant pain. I suffer with chronic pain from degeneration of my spine, a genetic flaw in my spine that causes our spine to curve more than normal , stenosis of the spine and neuropathy. I have had three vertebrae fracture during the past ten years. And just last week, I had 8 trigger point injections in my back to try to help the pain until the doctor could do a OMT to take the pressure off the nerves. I will be having RFA again in the near future. I also have a knee that was badly injured and requires me to wear a brace to put any weight on my right leg. I am in a hospital bed with a special gel mattress a large part of my day from the pain and use a power chair the rest of the time but I am fighting to bet back up on my forearm crutches. Even with pain meds and other treatments, I have pain that never goes below a 5 with meds and usually stays at a 7 or 8 causing me to be bed bound almost all the time.
I have neuropathy which is another cause of my chronic pain. Chronic pain is the monster under the bed. It loves to creep out at night and make sleep impossible and due to my stomach issues which are below, I can not take meds for the neuropathy and use a gel anti-inflammatory gel to help relieve some of the pain. I have balance issues from it, feet and calves that feel like they are on fire, weakness in my legs and arms and hands. The neuropathy and the spine issues have caused me to have bladder weakness as the nerves affect the signals send to my bladder. I have stomach and bowel issues ranging from GERD to IBD to metaplasia in my stomach which is where the cells have changed structure and can turn into malignant cells. I just finished treatment for H Pylori, a bacteria infection in my stomach which required high doses of antibiotics. All of the GERD issues caused so much scar tissue that I have stricture of the esophagus and cause swallowing problems.
I have seizure disorder which was causing me to fall a lot and injure myself. One fall tore the rotator cuff, pulled my collar-bone, 8 ribs out-of-place and rotated three vertebra. Once they got me on seizure meds, the falling has dropped off. I have osteoarthritis, osteopenia, osteoporosis, sarcoid arthritis and the auto immune Rheumatoid arthritis. My bones have thinned significantly and falling is very risky for me because I could easily break something. I have Hypertensive Heart disease, Blood pressure issues, tachycardia and brachycardia and on medicines for all. I have sleep apnea and must use a CPAP machine when I sleep. I have a blood clotting disorder and take medicine to thin my blood to keep me from having another stroke. I also have diabetes for which I take meds to keep it under control. I have chronic cystitis and tumors in my kidneys for which I have had a partial nephrectomy to remove the largest tumor at the time and kidney surgery again to ablate (cut off blood supply to) a large tumor a year and a half ago and will have to have this done again in the future as the tumors grow. And I suffer with chronic fatigue. I also have hypothyroidism and Hyperlipidemia And I think that may be the end of the list but I am not sure. I live on a huge amount of medicine but as long as it keeps me going, I will take it.
2. How do you keep so upbeat and happy?
I imagine anyone reading the first question would think I would be the most down in the dumps, miserable person but I am not. I am happy because I choose to be. It is that simple. Life is a continual series of choices and the most important one should be the choice to be happy.
Yes, I have a lot of medical problems but I refuse to focus daily on all that is wrong. I get through the tough times and enjoy the heck out of the good times. No matter how bad it gets, whether it is me hanging on to my “blue bag” sick to my stomach or me sitting in my power chair, I have always been able to find something good to focus on. My son, who is my caretaker, says I am the only person he has ever seen that could be throwing up one minute and look up and smile when it was over. I am on the “Long Term Care” program which means you are so sick that you can not take care of yourself and my son is a paid family caretaker and I have a caretaker that comes in several times a week to help with bathing, shampooing and doing my hair, cleaning, laundry, etc. This program is to keep people who should be in a nursing home in their own home by giving them the appropriate help they need. Requirements to be on this program are quite strict.
What keeps me so upbeat and happy is my faith. I can see some of you rolling your eyes and thinking “Oh a God freak.” and maybe I am by your definition. All I know is my faith in God, my faith in that He will provide my needs, that He will not forsake me and that He loves me so much that He sent his son to die for me keeps me going. I have had people ask me to prove God is real and my response is “that is what faith is about…believing in what you can not see”. I do not think anyone has to “Prove” their faith to anyone no matter what their faith is. And so I do not “prove” my faith in the way they want. I prove my faith by living my faith even in the throes of all this sickness.
How do I stay so happy? I stay so happy because I discovered some time back that my happiness lies within me not outside me. It does not lie in people, places or things. There is not enough money to make a person happy. Yes, money can bring joy but joy passes once the excitement passes. People can bring us joy but they can not bring us happiness and neither can places. Happiness is a place of contentment within us that stays no matter how bad it gets. It does not mean we never get sad at loss. I cried when my godfather died a few weeks back but my happiness did not disappear because my happiness was not centered around him.
And so, the same is true with my health. My health does not make our break my happiness. If I have good health does not mean I am automatically happy. And so by the same token, being chronically ill should not be what determines that I am unhappy. Do I want to be chronically ill? No, but I am not going to let being chronically ill take any more from me than it already has. I have two choices….and that is either become the victim and constantly complain about all my health issues or become the survivor and look for ways to make my life better and I choose the latter. I do not spend every minute of every day talking about my health..which is evident as I do not normally post about my health on here. When people do that they drive people away and lose minutes that could be spent with loved ones or doing things they love. Minutes that can never be gotten back.
And there are answers to two of the toughest questions that I have gotten so far. I hope that it answers it and that it gives insight into how I choose to live my life as a chronically ill person. I choose happiness, I choose looking for the good and not dwelling on what I can not change and I choose be a fighter.
Living up to our potential often becomes this elusive dream that we feel we can never quite reach. Fear of failure, of rejection, of looking stupid, etc keep so many people from finding their “calling” in life. And I believe before we can find our calling in life we must first learn what makes us fulfilled and empowered. I see many who have high paying jobs and yet they are so discontent that it tells me that working for the money is not the key to happiness.
Empowerment comes from actually stepping out and doing. Everyone encouraging us is nice but in reality, it is us actually stepping up and doing the job and finding that special feeling inside that says “oh man, I feel so good”. I learned a long time ago that helping others always made me feel like I had done something really special. No one had to know and I did not have to announce it for accolades later on. All I had to do was take the step and do it.
The first time I went to a soup kitchen and volunteered, I was terrified for a couple of reasons. I was afraid that I would be rejected because I was on forearm crutches and I was afraid I would not know what to do. Well, the truth was…I did not know exactly what I was supposed to do but I did know how to do the work. I knew how to cut up food, how to set tables, how to serve from the buffet, how to wash dishes and I did know how to greet people and talk to them. And I LOVED working in the soup kitchen. It made me feel like I was giving something back to the community.
I truly believe that we as humans are created to serve in some capacity. Serving fulfills us and empowers us and lets us feel like we are accomplishing something really good in life. It does not matter if our service is working with the sick, helping the poor, helping in a tragedy, working in a field of work that serves the community such as a fireman, policeman, EMT, or if it is the trash collector. All of those jobs are serving for the greater good of your community.
If you are at loose ends, feeling unfulfilled, feel like you are not doing anything special, just try stepping out and taking a chance and doing something to help those in need. Go volunteer at a food bank, soup kitchen, for disaster relief, as a volunteer in a nursing home, volunteer in a school or day care…volunteer to be a secret santa for children in need, create your own foodboxes to give people….anything that helps others and you will be amazed at how good you will feel.
I have watched a dear friend who has helped organize fund-raising for the victims of a catastrophe in her state. And the glow on her face says it all. We all want to feel like we have done something special and more than just make money and buy more and more trinkets. I believe we are born with an inner desire to somehow make a difference in the world and reaching out to help those in need is one of those ways to do that. I find it becomes a “Job” you look forward to going to even though you receive no financial pay. And that is because the pay you do receive is the wonderful feeling that comes from knowing that you can make a difference in the lives of others.
We all have problems that we must deal with in life. We all have our own journeys that we are on and on these journeys, there will be problems that come up. There will be problems that hit us smack in the face and bring us to our knees. When these things happen, we have two main choices and that is we can either fall into the pity party, victim mode and stick our heads in the sand or we can grieve whatever it is and then step up and work the problem.
image from www.onefleshmarriage.com
I am sure some are saying “What does work the problem mean?” As I normally do, I am going to use me as an example. When I first started getting sick and before I got the answers I needed to understand why I was so sick. I decided that I had to accept that I was sick and that I suddenly had limitations and then I had to decide how to live with those limitations. I had to “work the problem”. I had to find ways to handle the exhaustion so that I could keep going, ways to deal with the pain and sickness and I did. Some worked and some did not but I was always “working the problem” trying to stay on top of it.
Working the problem does not just apply to health issues. It can be marriage problems, employment problems, financial problems, health problems, household problems, children problems, friendship problems, etc. What work the problem means is you see the problem and then you start looking for ways to deal with it. We can not be like the ostrich and stick our heads in the sand for nothing gets accomplished.
If I slice my hand with a knife, then working the problem would be checking to see how bad it was cut, getting bandages and ointment to fix it and putting them on. Working your financial problems means sitting down and figuring out why you are having such problems, what you can cut to make the budget more flexible, how you can bring in more money, etc. Many people do one of two things. They either pretend it does not exist or they work the problem.
Working the problem is the difference in being a survivor and a victim. Survivors look for solutions. I say this often. They do not just sit there and do nothing or blame everything but themselves, they take the bull by the horns and find a way to deal with it. They make a plan and they work that plan. That is working the problem.
image from howtomarryatool.blogspot.com
Believe me from experience, ignoring a problem, pretending it does not exist, blaming it on someone else, etc only make you become the biggest part of the problem. If you can not talk about problems with your spouse, find someone who is a neutral party to be there with you. If you can not handle your finances, talk to a financial adviser. If you have health issues, work on ways to live with those health issues, on methods that will help you have a more productive life with your health issues. If you have problems with your children, sit down and work on them as a family to find solutions. If you can not do it as a family, get outside help. The most important thing is to KEEP working the problem. Laying back and saying woe is me only makes you a victim and no one likes victim mentality. Being an ostrich does not make the problems go away. It only makes them worse.
When most people think of infectious, they think of germs and sick people and viruses and pandemic flu events. And those are very infectious. We have infectious disease doctors and research on infectious diseases. We have germ warfare, all sorts of germ lotions and gels, warning signs to wash our hands, cover our mouths, wear masks if we are sick and other things to keep from being infected or infecting others. But, that is not the kind of infectious I am talking about here. There are several definitions of “infectious” and I am talking about one specific meaning of “Infectious”. I am not talking spreading disease or germs. I am talking about “spreading to others”.
a : capable of causing infection <viruses and other infectious agents>
b : communicable by infection <an infectious disease>
c : spreading or capable of spreading rapidly to others <their enthusiasm was infectious> <an infectious grin>
Our moods, our attitude, our outlook on life are very infectious to those around us. If we are happy, filled with laughter and joy, it spreads to those around us. And on the flip side, if we are down in the mouth, always complaining or moaning and groaning, it spreads to those around us too. Even how we look at each situation affects those around us. If we see it as a problem, so will others. If we see it as a challenge, so will others.
I was reading on “The Little Couple” as they wrote about the mother’s battle with a rare cancer during the midst of the couple adopting two small children. And the article was about how this mother was in remission. There was no sign of her cancer. Reading all the posts, I found most were excited and congratulating the couple but a few turned it into all about them and complained that they did not have the medical insurance this couple had and it was not fair. They also made ugly comments about them adopting from China and India and were really negative.
It was almost like they wished that Jen the mother was not in remission from this cancer.. What was funny to watch was that the majority of the people commenting were happy and positive people and they quickly squelched the ones trying to ruin such a special moment. Their attitude was way more infectious than the negative and unhappy people trying to ruin a moment of celebrating the cancer being in remission. And fortunately, those that were joyful, excited and full of positive thoughts let their joy be so infectious that the whole thread remained positive.
carriers of strength instead of weakness, carriers of positive energy. Infect the world with love, compassion, joy, and a positive attitude and watch it spread.
video by fpngan
Remember when the scariest show you ever saw was “The Wizard of Oz”?
Remember when you could leave your doors unlocked and you could trust people in your little town or neighborhood?
Remember when you could watch TV and NOT see pharmaceutical Ads, feminine hygiene product ads or condom ads, etc? When you could let your child watch TV without worrying if the ads were inappropriate?
Remember when there was less hate and anger in the world?
Remember when people actually talked person to person?
Remember when children respected the police and firemen and other leaders?
Remember when being a soldier was held in esteem and a career consideration?
Remember when money was not the total focus of life but family was?
Remember when the word gang meant “Our Gang” reruns?
Remember when neighbors watched out for the kids in the neighborhood and we fussed at the kids as if they were our own?
Remember when people would actually jump in and stop an attack instead of whipping out their cellphones to video tape it?
Remember when someone died and all the church women gathered and went and cleaned the house for family and fixed food for the family to come home to?
Remember when marriages lasted more than a couple of years and when heroes were not people who tried to be come famous for being stupid?
Remember when you were kept after school if you did not get all your lessons done?
Remember when everyone in high school did not have their own car?
Remember when kids actually worked after school to get those name brand shoes, money for dates, that old jalopy they wanted?
Remember when reading was actually something that was valued. I read to my sons for family time up until the time that my youngest sat on the arm of my recliner and his feet drug the floor and my oldest leaned against the side of the chair..”Ole Yellar”, “Where the Red Fern Grows”. Reading time was more important than TV time in our house.
Remember when everyone did not have a computer in their house and the kids certainly did not have their own computer.
Remember when teachers made home visits? I do because I was a teacher and I did.
Remember when kids had curfews and were held to them?
Remember when kids really had chores to do and lost privileges if they did not do them.
Remember when there were no smart phones or cellphones at school?
Remember when kids were 10, 11, 12, 13 still played with dolls, played jacks and recited jump rope rhymes and dressed like the kids they were instead of mini adults?
Remember when cancer was something only people you never heard of had?
Remember when grandparents and elders were treasured and valued?
Remember when making good grades was important and that perfect attendance award was meaningful?
Remember the person who doctored your skinned knees and kissed your tears away when you were hurt?
Remember when teachers were respected and listened to?
Remember when people wanted to be scientists, astronauts, teachers, doctors, nurses, etc instead of wanting to be on a reality show and become famous for acting stupid?
Remember when church on Sunday was a family event and the kids were involved in the programs of the church?
I remember all of these things and more. This is why I took my sons and moved to a very small town much like what we are living in now to raise them. There were no gangs and it was like going back in time in the values of people. And I am so proud of both of my sons and how they turned out. I am proud of their work ethic, of their compassion to help others, of their respect and treatment of the opposite sex and all people, their support of our police force, firemen and military. I am proud of the father my youngest son is as he is so dedicated to raising his daughter with the same values that he has. I am proud of the men my sons have become.
Not all progress is progress. Not all the new tech toys are good for us. And the manufacturers are not advertising all these fancy clothes just to make themselves feel good. It is for the same reason that they advertise Christmas from August on and that is to get the young people wanting all those fancy items.
I personally believe that time spent with my children is way more important than owning the fanciest car, the biggest house, the designer clothes, all the newest tech gadgets, etc. I love little towns where everyone knows everyone, people help each other and you can feel safer. I often wonder how long before the little towns are destroyed by all this so-called progress.
Never, even in the most remote recesses of my foggy brain, did I ever think my life would turn out like it has. I never dreamed that I would be chronically ill from the time I was barely thirty and on disability in my forties. Never did I dream I would be in a hospital bed, in a power chair or going through treatments at different times in my life or be on all the prescription pills that I am on or in all the pain I live with. But….I am and it did turn out this way. And so I had to decide would I let it take me down moaning and groaning or would I keep fighting..moaning and groaning? Either way I will be moaning and groaning so why not fight. Why not make the effort instead of spending all the minutes, hours, days, months, years in the pit of darkness of being chronically ill or disabled?
Maybe that is why I do not look at myself like so many chronically ill do. I do not look at me and see someone chronically ill or disabled. I just do not. I recognize that I have health issues and that I have to adapt my life for the situation but I have just never labeled myself with those words. I remember telling the doctors when I had the Celluliltis infection in my legs months back and they mentioned putting me in the hospital…that I did not want to go in the hospital because “sick people” were in there. They laughed but asked me what did I think I was? And my reply was…well I am not like them. See, I always thought I could do anything I wanted if I tried. I might have to lay down to do it. I might have to cry doing it and I might have to take a nap to finish it but I believe I can fly even when I am flat on my back.
image from searchfortheperhaps.wordpress.com
So, maybe it is because I do not view myself as chronically ill or disabled that I am able to view myself as someone still alive and with dreams instead of mentally taking on all the symptoms thinking I must have them all if I have this disease or that disease. I can not explain to others why I do not get into the depressions others do about their health nor can I explain where my Pollyanna attitude comes from. I just know that I know I will not die one day sooner or one day later than God intends so I leave dying to him and I focus on living. And living means looking to the future. Living means making an effort and pushing yourself…yes pushing yourself to be involved in life.
I have been really sick the past few weeks from medicines that I am having to take plus from a really bad infections, high pain and a foggy brain. The foggy brain is one reason I have not posted a blog in a few days. My brain just would not connect with my fingers and so my thoughts were there but getting them on this page was a different story. And so, I decided to just relax, rest, watch movies, and enjoy my Daisy and my son until things calmed down a little. Son is working on putting Dragon on my computer so I can just talk and it will type for me. Now to get something that makes my brain throw the words into my mouth and I am good to go. *laughing here*
I preach this all the time. We are NOT our illnesses or disabilities. They are just what we have. I see so many take on this disease or disorder or disability and wear it like a merit badge sash with all the symptoms proudly displayed. That is not who we are. We are the person that is inside and yes, that person may struggle to “get out” at times but it is still there within us. I am a compassionate, loving, quirky, funny, feisty, country girl, redneck, stubborn, intelligent, determined, creative, artistic, giving, affectionate , happy woman who just happens to be chronically ill and disabled. Notice that chronically ill and disabled are not listed in the description of who I am. They are not the headliner even though it may seem like it at times. It is only a piece of this person called simply danLrene
I have spent almost thirty-four years being constantly sick and in constant pain and slowly losing my abilities until I have ended up spending most of my time on a hospital bed with a mattress and a gel mattress and a 4 inch memory foam mattress on top of that to help ease the pain. I wear oxygen 24/7, take enough pills to choke a horse, use a power chair and have caretakers and my life is a roller coaster of climbing up the mountain and thinking I will get over the top to be knocked back down to the valley again. And I start climbing again…over and over and over and over. Because you see, I am too stubborn to give up and to give in and let chronic illness or my disabilities rule my life. I am also too stubborn to let anything steal my happiness from me.
I have some friends who are that way. They may take their time to rest for a bit but they keep climbing that mountain and moving forward because you see….survivors talk about the future and solutions to make life easier to cope with. And victims are always talking about all their problems as if that were all there was in their lives. And it is not. Take a look around and see how much you have to be thankful for. I have a roof over my head, food on the table, a bed that is special for me, heat and cool in the house, a shower to bathe in, washer and dryer to keep clean clothes, clothes to wear, friends in Real life and on the internet, my Daisy and my son who takes care of me and my other son and daughter in law and Sweetpea, a helper that comes in to assist me and I could go on. I can still do things I just have to do them at a different pace and in a different way than most people.
There is an old saying that “birds of a feather flock together” and I find it to be true in the chronically ill and disabled. Those that are survivors, warriors that keep fighting and climbing that mountain will hang around with others that do the same. And those that are victims and want to only talk about all their problems will hang around those that are the same. Another old saying “misery loves company”. The only problem is those miserable and unhappy in their situation only bring negativity and if a positive person is not careful, it can bring them down too. So, we have to be careful and guard our fight so that we can stay on the path and keep going up…and sometimes down again and then back up and back down again and back up. But so long as we keep moving up, we are ok. We might need a small breather but the important thing is to get back up and fight again.
I always tell people that we can not change what others do, we can only change how we react to it. The same is true for those of us with chronic illnesses and disabilities. We can not change that we are but we can change our attitude about it and change how we deal with it. It is about choice just as happiness is about choice. We choose to be happy. We choose to be positive and we choose to be fighters. We choose to be optimistic. And we choose how we use the trials and tribulations we have in our lives.
This thing called life comes with no guarantees of tomorrow, no guarantees that we will be successful, rich, healthy, happy or any of those things. It is our gift and what we do with it is up to us.
I live in America, known as the land of the free. We hear people spouting their freedoms, their rights some in good ways and some not so good. Many people around the world have more freedom than we do and it is all because they have known how to take the fence down around them that they have encircled themselves with.
We all have fences around us and we are the ones that build those fences. When we learn that our freedom lies in taking down those fences, then we will have found that ultimate freedom of being happy in spite of anything happening to us.
I used to hate when I was told that it was my choice whether I get mad or upset with anyone. It took me most of my life to learn that skill and a lot of chronic illness and fatigue before I realized I ony had so much energy and I did not want to waste that energy on anger and fighting and hard feelings. If something is wrong, go across the fence, ask and if you do not get the answer you want, it is time to let go.
Fear is another thing that takes our freedom away. If I am always afraid of what others think, of failing, of not being good enough or beautiful enough, of never making it to my dream, etc… then I spend all my time fearing and worrying and never enjoying the life I do have.
We all erect fences around us. I used to say I was a professional wall builder. Sometimes you need to build some boundaries that let people know what you will and will not accept from them. That is another freedom we have.
I hear “I have the freedom of speech” and we do here in our country but we do not have the freedom to just slander someone or to cause harm to someone. That is misuse of freedom. But, when you know that it is ok to express your pain or sorrow, then that is freedom. There is a difference in saying “What you said just hurt me” and saying something derogatory and insulting.
I believe that our biggest threat to our freedom is ourselves. I see shows and news reports where men who have been in prison for twenty years for a crime they did not commit and yet they are smiling and not holding bitterness. That is freedom. A few will tell you that they learned in prison that they could either let the anger and bitterness take over their lives or they could move past it. And moving past it gave them the freedom to survive mentally from their ordeal.
As you see, the ones I mentioned are connected to our own choices and what we do with them. Others should not be a prison wall to us. They should be something that livens up our life and brings us joy and if they are not, we need to re-evaluate why we are making choices over and over that bring us such negative feelings.
And that will take you right back to the fences that hold us back from freedom. For example, it will take us to fear which is a common comment on this topic. People will fear that others will not like them if they say anything. And then comes resentment because you did not put up the boundary and say no. See how we can get in a vicious cycle of our own doing? Look at all the real freedoms you have that you are not using. The freedom to walk away, the freedom to say no, the freedom to speak, the freedom to not get angry or upset, the freedom, the freedom to not respond….freedom.