I was brought to tears by my sweet son who is doing a gofundme project trying to raise the funds to get a small shuttle bus with a handicap lift so that it will be less painful for me traveling to the doctors and hospitals as much as I have to. He is always looking ahead trying to find ways to make life easier for me. I am so proud of him. He is also writing a book on being a family caretaker.
Here is a screen shot of the project and then also the link to click on. If you all know anyone that helps the handicapped, would you please pass it on to them. My son is as determined as his mother. :)
and to see the rest click on the link to take you to the gofundme page. Some are trying to do a fundraiser to help a little. Anything anyone can do to help son with this project will be greatly appreciated not only by him but by me since he is doing it to benefit me.
I get asked so many times how I keep such a positive attitude with all I have wrong and the answer it always …because I choose to be positive. I have certain things I live by for my life and am going to list them with some information with it. I have been sickly since I was 31, on disability in my early 40′s and am going to be 65 in May. That is a lot of experience dealing with the medical profession and chronic illness and disability. I often share my experiences and what worked and what did not with others and find a very small number get angry because they do not want to hear it and the rest like it or agree with it or are glad to hear it. So, take your pick. I believe in learning from those that walked the miles ahead of us. That is how I learned.
1. On Research…I do NOT spend hours a day researching on the internet for information related to my illness. I do look up things so make sure I am clear on what the doctors have told me but I find that researching your health can become an obsessive thing and when it does become obsessive, you are losing hours of your life just by focusing so hard on your illness. I know what I have and I know what it does to me and I look at it as my job to make it through it all and most of all, to make it through happy. I am not my disease and I find that what you give the most thought and energy to, you become. I might be chronically ill and disabled but I refuse to let it steal all of my life. My second thought on research is that far too many people start looking up what their tests say and see one thing and decide that is what is wrong even before the doctor has told them anything.
Some diseases such as auto immune disorders, the test also covers other diseases and takes a medical doctor to tell us what the tests are actually saying. And auto immune disorders are not just one symptom. They consist of multiple symptoms. You can have skin issues without it being an auto immune disorder and you can have them with it being an auto immune disorder. If we just assume that is what we have and start talking as if we are already diagnosed before we are, it can cause problems in the long run and be embarrassing because then we have to backtrack and say…uhhh no, that is not what I have. I see people who will research and start reading all the symptoms you “CAN” have with such and such illness and decide they have ALL the symptoms. Sorry folks, but just because they are all listed does not mean you automatically have them all. It just means it is possible and sometimes it is very rare they happen.
I had to laugh because a person I know in another state read up on Fibro, which she had for several years. And she saw dizziness and a couple of other things on the list and suddenly she had dizziness episodes, etc. And she got furious because her doctor’s response is that they needed to run some other tests because she has been sick with Fibro for several years and never had dizziness so he did not feel it was the fibro causing it.
2. Medicines and Treatments….if I am going to go through a treatment or take meds the doctors give me, then I am going to follow through. I hear so many say “I am not taking that med, it makes my hair fall out.” or “I am not taking steroids because it makes me fat.” I often wonder do they realize the doctor can take one look at you and know you are not following what he prescribed. Which is more important…..feeling better, less pain, etc or looking good? And when you answer that you will know why some doctors just assume you are not really sick. Let me tell you, I am so sick that if it will help me…I WILL do it because that is how much I want to still be here and to feel better. Who cares if I lose some hair? Who cares if I get moon face from steroids? I certainly do not because I am after the benefit first.
3. Hysteria and Crying when sick or in pain…my views. I do not do either one of those. That does not mean tears do not quietly roll down my cheeks when pain is so high. I have just learned that both of those things only increases your symptoms and pain and that slow, regulated breathing and staying calm help me from raising my pain level by my emotions. I watched people in pain clinics have hysterical crying fits because the doctor wanted them to do alternative things to help lower their pain level when all they wanted was another pain pill. And when they left crying hysterically, their pain was zooming off the charts and I would hear them say “See, I am getting worse.”
I know we chronically ill hate to admit that our emotions can affect our health and symptoms but they can. It is very evident by the number of people under stress or who are upset that get stomach aches. There is nothing physically causing it, just the stress causing very real symptoms. So, it is not always saying someone is a hypochondriac when a doctor starts talking about how stress affects your health. Our emotional, spiritual and physical must work together and each affects the other.
4. Talking to Doctors….if you are not comfortable talking to your doctors then you need new ones. I am blessed to finally have doctors that listen to me and discuss with me. I have only taken something from online one time in my life and it was a picture of legs with the exact same thing I had on my legs as the doctor and I both could not figure out what was wrong. But, it was an IMAGE, not just some words from support groups of people giving their views or from sites that are not reliable.
I believe that if you want to turn your doctor off and make him think you are not really sick, start taking stacks of papers to them of all these things “friends online” have told you and unreliable sources have posted. I am not talking about that big stack of your records that you carry when you start a new doctor. Those papers are necessary for setting yourself up with a new doctor. I am talking about all those who spend hours researching and print off stacks of stuff to take to their doctor to try to prove this or that is wrong. I have learned that most doctors do not like that and it affects their view of us.
I do know my body and what it does and that is important. It helped me when we discussed my thyroid issues as I have nodules all over my thyroid and it causes my thyroid levels to fluctuate. I was able to tell my doctors that even though .5 to 5 or .3 to 3…(depending on which doctor is telling you) is normal, I did better at between a 1 and a 2. I was not as exhausted, my hair was not brittle nor my skin as dry. And that is where we try to keep me. I also know that my doctors are trained in things I have no concept of and I need to listen to them.
5. Living Life.…I believe that we are either victims or survivors and have said many times that survivors focus on solutions and victims focus on problems. I am a survivor and so my focus is on finding ways to live with, deal with and work with the health issues I have. I do not believe in focusing all my time and energy on reading about what is wrong. I KNOW what is wrong. I want to live my life the fullest I can and I want to do the steps and solutions to make my life better. And I am a big believer in laughter for it releases the right endorphins to help make life better.
6. People Offering Suggestions or Making Compliments: I hear chronically ill people complaining that “HATE” when people tell them they look good or do not look sick. Personally, I love when they do that for it means I look better than I feel and to me that is good. Why would someone want to look sick? I do not get it. I want people to see me..quirky, funny, happy me not some disease. And I always wonder why some people are so sensitive to it that they let it take joy from their lives.
I can remember a time when I first became ill before they diagnosed me and I felt that way and the reason was I was feeling insecure about being sick because I felt like I had to defend how I felt since I had no diagnosis. I learned to say to people who told me I did not look sick the following: “And that explains how hard some things are to diagnose. Because I do not look sick does not mean I am not sick on the inside” and let it go. You can not force anyone to believe you. The only one you can control is you and how you let others make you feel. You are sick and they are not your doctor so why should I care about what they say? They had to eat their words later on. And it does not bother me when people offer suggestions because I am thankful that they care enough to do it.
Yes, you will always have some that want to make some comment about what is wrong and those are the ones I just smile and ignore. Why waste the energy on anyone negative. I think again that people can become so sensitive to what others say because they are feeling insecure and thinking no one believes they are really sick. The first person that has to believe is myself and if I am showing everyone that I am so sensitive and not confident on how sick I am, then how can I expect them to believe I am sick too. I do not try to explain to people what is wrong. When asked, I will tell what is wrong in brief terms. I do not have to convince them. You can not explain to someone who has never been there. It is like trying to tell someone what being in a house fire is like and they have never been in a house fire.
LIVE life, LOVE life and LAUGH as much as possible. Life is too short to focus on the negative things in life.
I was quickly scanning FB and saw this post about NASA wanting us to post a Selfie today , the 22nd for Earth Day. Now that conjures up all sorts of images and got me to laughing. They ask you to step outside and take a selfie wherever you are and post it with the hashtag #GlobalSelfie.
NASA’s Earth day link is located here:
As I lay here laughing, I envisioned everyone looking up into the sky looking for the big eye of the NASA Satellite that circles the earth looking down on them. And it made me laugh even more for it was like being in a sci-fi movie and visualizing the shuttle with lightening speed looking down and taking our picture of us taking a selfie. And so, I created my selfie and here it is. It is my brand of humor for sure right down to the ET finger holding the note saying “take me to your leader”.
Now on a more serious note, after having just passed Easter Sunday, my more serious visual was that of the one that does look down on us every minute of every day and sees all we do and that is Jesus. What comfort that gives me. My faith carries me through the rough times like my health issues right now. And add to that my sense of humor and no matter what comes my way, I am ready for it. And I need no hashtag for Jesus for He already sees.
So, here’s to ya NASA. I come in peace…LOL. I wish I could have “stepped” outside to take this picture but my blog info explains why I could not. Just mark me down as fifteen miles NE of the LaVeta Pass in Colorado. :)
Just a thought to get you going. Why do people do most of the things they do? Because they want to and sometimes because they REALLY want to and so they put forth the effort. I get into this power chair because I REALLY want to sit up for a while. Is it easy? No but my WANT is more powerful than how I am feeling when I push to get up and the feeling of accomplishment is a great reward and is my incentive to push to sit in my chair. If I really do not care or want to get up, I make no effort.
Does this mean I do not have bad days where I can not get up? No it does not. I am talking about when we are capable of making the effort and what we do with it. That is human nature. Even healthy people do it. Let a person be in dire straights for money and they will go and find a job to make some money even if it is not the job they want. Have you ever seen the person that lays around moaning and groaning..that is until something they REALLY want to do comes along like say a concert or a football game and then amazingly they can get up and go? What is the difference? It is the incentive.
Even when we feel bad, it is still the incentive that gets us up. When we are beyond getting up, nothing will give us the incentive. I do not know of a chronically ill person who does not go through this and they will have up days doing or going somewhere and people will say “Wow, you must feel better.” And then I hear all sorts of comments saying how they resent people telling them that. Know what folks? This is not about what others think. No one can explain chronic illness to others that have never experienced it and so I do not waste my energy trying.
What it does mean though is that what our incentive is CAN determines our mood and our getting up an attempting to do things. Yes, there are times when nothing can give us the incentive to get up but many times, we just do not have anything driving us to get up. My incentive most of the time is NOT wanting to be bed bound. The longer you lay in a bed the quicker your health goes down. This is why hospitals have a person up the next day after surgery so that they do not lose their strength.
And by bed bound, I mean when a person needs help getting in and out of the bed and depends on another person to take care of them. There is a huge difference in laying in bed because we do not feel like getting up and are feeling drained but are capable of walking to the kitchen to get ourselves a drink or fix ourselves some lunch and being in a bed that requires another person to do those things because we can not get up alone. The first is in bed by choice as in I am tired and am going to bed and the second is bed bound because we have no choice.
The same applies to life in general. People will not go look for a job unless they have an incentive and sometimes it is money, sometimes it is ambition and sometimes it is because they are pushed to go look for a job. People do not clean their house unless they have an incentive. The incentive can be that they want a clean house, that they are threatened if they do not clean such as with teens, or someone is coming to visit and they do not want the person to see how dirty their house is. No matter the incentive, it must be one that is strong enough to push a person to do things.
Sometimes incentives are positive such as receiving a reward for doing this or that. It does not have to be a concrete item. It can be the pleasure and feeling of success that comes in accomplishing a certain feat or it can be getting paid. And sometimes it can be a negative incentive such as with children when Iphones are taken away or TV privileges or being grounded. Those will give a child the incentive to do certain things.
By the time we are adults, we should know how to find ways to inspire us and give ourselves incentives to do things. I find that the more loss of ability I have with my disabilities and chronic illnesses, the more I work to find things that will give me the incentive to keep fighting. Those that have never had to have someone take care of your personal needs such as in the bathroom and bathing, etc….do not realize what a strong incentive that can be to keep fighting and trying to regain strength and ability. Incentives go along with making goals in life. If a person has no goals, they are like a ship adrift and float aimlessly through life. There is nothing grounding or motivating one that has no goals. When we create goals, we create incentives to motivate us to work on those goals.
Incentives are as individual as each person and my incentives may not be what gives you incentive and your incentives may not give me the motivation I need. But, the one thing for certain is that we do need things that give us the incentive to live life, to get up, to do things when we are able. It is easy to fall into this “whatever” mode where we make no effort because laying there is easier than getting up. What are your incentives?
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.
image from www.pinterest.com
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.