It is funny. With all I have wrong physically, even laying here in a hospital bed, oxygen on and pain high…that I have people say “boy you are in bad shape”…my first reaction is “I am?”. I think it is because I do not sit and spend all my energy thinking about or whining about “my poor life as a chronically ill/disabled person” like some do and they attract those just like them. I spend my time living my life and getting the joy from it that is still there. I do not sit around thinking about how sick I am. It is all in how you view it and in spite of the above, I view my life as still full and filled with happiness and love.To me, it is still a beautiful world.
video by atyourserviceable
My friend Sherry says all the time “if you do not like the view..change your focus”. She is one that has been a real inspiration…even when she would push me to keep going and yell at me to “fight damn it fight” when I would get tired. And then there are people that I try to push to get past the “feel sorry for me” stage but then one day you realize they are still in that stage because they want to be and you can not help them out of it if they do not want to help themselves. And you realize that they even bring your spirit down.
My sons and those close to me know what a real fighter I am and how I simply refuse to let my health steal my life from me. I also think about how my actions affect those around me. I certainly do not want my son, who is my caretaker, or my other son and grandbaby, to have as their last memories of me to be a person who whines, complains, and just makes everyone miserable around them. The only people who like to be around someone like that are the ones that do it themselves and then they get tired of it because they want the attention too.
I want my sons to remember their mom being a warrior, to remember their mom’s smiles and laughter and to remember the zany moments like king fu granny yesterday. I want them to remember and learn that no matter what life deals you, someone else always has it worse and if you look around you will find plenty to be thankful for. I do not want my children or my precious Sweetpea to remember their mom/Mimi as “poor pitiful chronically ill Mom/Mimi”.
Being disabled/chronically ill is not who I am. I can make it all about who I am and constantly tell people…just in case the hospital bed, power chair, box of meds, forearm crutches, constant pain, etc LOL does not alert them to it. But, I want to have such an inner light shining that people say they never even stopped to think about me being sick because I did not lay around moaning and groaning. I want to be someone that lets their light shine so brightly that I give light to those who feel they are in darkness and it makes them see a small glow and know that they can keep going.
video by gree47
I think one of the biggest thrills to me was when I sent my friend Sherry a picture of me and she said it was a good picture and I told her “yeah, if I could have had it taken without the silver sticks (forearm crutches) on my arms. And do you know what she said? She told me that she never even notices the fore arm crutches, hospital bed or even the power chair when she sees me or talks to me. She just sees me and my “shining spirit” as she called it. How awesome is that to have someone to so see the heart of me that they do not see all the things that are part of my health.
Some days I lay here reading and want to stick a virtual post it or a real one …on people’s heads that says “stop yer dang whining” because they have so much going for them but are fighting so hard to convince the world how bad off they are.And I want to launch into the song ♫♫ get up offa that thing and dance til you feel better♫♫
video by Gian2812
And then I see beautiful people who are friends on Facebook or in real life, who are suffering challenges and seldom make a complaint but are working to keep their light shining just like my friend Sherry and who bring a glow to those around them and I want to set off balloons and streamers and start singing ♫♫ Celebration time..come on! There’s party going on right here” ♫♫ because they just bring that much light to those around them.
video by TropicalParadiseBaby
Life is a journey, not a destination and how we travel is up to us. It is not about reaching a place but about how we climb over all the hurdles in our lives for there will be hurdles. There will be pain and sorrow, disappointments, successes and failures, joys, days that fly by and days that seem 50 hours long, dreams that happen, dreams that do not…but as long as we keep moving forward we are making success. It is all about the climb and how we choose to climb.
video by VideoLyrics0
I have always found it ironic that Mother’s Day recognizes the mother for to me I felt so blessed to have been given my sons and of course my Sweetpea from my youngest son. I felt like it has been the greatest gift I have ever gotten just being given these beautiful young boys to love and raise and nurture. I can still see their little heads as I held them rocking them, or their sweet smiles as they played with their toys, or them on their first bike, first day of school, first date, first job and the list goes on. And now, here is my oldest who decided one day that he wanted to take care of me because of all the love and care I poured on him and his brother.
And as I lay here, I think about all the children lost and gone to heaven. I have two children there that I look forward to seeing in heaven one day. I might not have gotten the chance to raise them but that does not diminish my love for them. Few know the story but I will tell this much. I lost these children when my health started to go down and so I had to believe that God knew physically that I could not care for them and finish caring for my two sons too. And because I was taught by my life how to totally depend on God, I trusted that God knew better than I did and I accepted. And every Christmas I hang two small stockings on the tree for them to let them know that I think of them all the time. That is how us mothers are.
And so, I want to wish Happy Mother’s Day to many people. I want to wish Happy Mother’s Day to all who are mothers…. to those who lost children and never got the chance to mother them…to those that stepped up to the plate and mothered children who needed a mother like my aunt does for me now and I call her Mama….to those who never conceived and wanted children desperately and filled that place in their hearts with their pets or with others that needed a mother and did not have one….and to those who are filled with motherly love and bestow it on those around them…to the fathers that must be both mother and father…..and last ..to all the mothers that watched as their child went off to war knowing that they might not come home…who held their breath every time the phone rang or news of a battle took place, waiting on that call to tell them their child was gone and to all those mothers of policemen and firemen and veterans…not only do I say Happy Mother’s Day…but I say thank you.
No matter where your children are today, I hope you will take a moment to just know that mothers and mother figures are a valued part of our society and that you are appreciated..by me and by many. My mother died in 2006 and my aunt has been my mother ever since. She offered after both my parents died that if any of us needed a mother, she would be our mother. I was the only one…guess cause I was the youngest…that took her up on it. And she has been a true mother…encouraging me, loving me, protecting me, ready to whup ass for me (like when that doctor was so brutal with me two years ago when I had the female exam and tests and I came away feeling brutalized and violated..she was ready to give him a piece of her mind) and most of all she has listened to me and loved me and made me feel loved. And to her I say a very special Happy Mother’s Day and I realize how blessed I am. Happy Mother’s Day Mama. I love you.
Life is so busy. Take time today in all the rush, rush, rush to be with your mother. She will not always be here and one day you may look back and wish you could talk to her one more time and could tell her how much you love her. All the things the world seems to value so much is not near as important as the loved ones in your life. I wish you all a glorious, happy, loved filled day and hope that mothers everywhere are being shown that they matter.
Son here asked me what I wanted for mother’s day and I told him I wanted to go for a ride, get a soft serve ice cream cone (for those that do not know what that is, it is the soft ice cream that comes out of a machine in one of those cones that have been around for years and years) and I wanted to ride through the open range seeing the horses and maybe take a few pictures. I am resting now just so I can take that short ride. It takes less than thirty minutes from house and back to house as the ice cream place is the truck stop a mile away and the open range is a short drive back to the road that goes to our house. One of the joys of country living. Just the time with my son talking, riding and enjoying the scenery is the best present he could give me.
Words are probably one of the most powerful things we have in life. Truces are made with words. Wars are started with words. Marriages are dissolved with words. Marriages are formed with words. Friendships are ended with words. Hearts are healed with words. People survive by words. Victims are made with words. Love is shared with words. Hatred is spread with words. And I could go on and on. Words are more powerful than most people realize.
image from www.okyday.com
Our words make us and shape us. People will form opinions of us by our words and how we put those words into action. Our words will tell people if we are people of integrity or people willed with lies. They will show people if we are winners or losers and if we are survivors or victims. They will show people how strong we are or how weak we are. They will show people if we are spiritual or have no faith. They will tell people a lot about us.
Now, I could write every day about how I feel, how much pain I am in from muscle pain which is bad, joint and arthritis pain which is bad and from nerve pain from neuropathy and spinal stenosis which is horrific. I could tell you about being so sick that I can not think or eat, how I can not roll over without son to help me, how I live my life in a hospital bed with a gel mattress hooked to an oxygen hose and my room is my world and how I will be this way the rest of my life. But, I choose not to because I refuse to let all of this take my happiness and joy from me.
Words are powerful and the more you speak them, the more you give power to them. I do not believe in giving power to negative words or thoughts. Our minds can affect our health. They can cause us to have increased anxiety and make ourselves feel worse. They can set the tone for our whole life and can actually make people turn away from us instead of be there for us. People do not like constant negative anymore than I do. After a while it gets old when there is a choice we can make. We can choose how we deal with life and what it has given us.
I prefer to write about surviving, about finding the funny things in life, about the blessings I still have in my life and the things I can do and it is those words I prefer to give power to. I want my words and actions to be something that motivates someone and makes them say “OH heck yeah…I can do this”…and they keep fighting.
This is how powerful words are. I tried this as an experiment a couple of years back. It is human nature to group with those that think and talk like we do. So, first I started off doing the moaning and groaning about all that is wrong, how much pain I was in, how bad it was, etc. And you know what I got? I got a group that would comment back to me with the same words. “Oh yes, I know just how you feel. I am down in bed too. I have nothing to live for. There is no good left”. I was giving power to the negative and reinforcing the negative in others.
So, then I started writing about being a survivor and learning that you have choices and one is the choice in how you deal with life. And what did I get? I got those that are survivors too or on the brink of being fighters and my words inspired their feelings of being a survivor and fighting to keep the joy in their lives and not the negative. So, our words attract those that are just like what we are saying. And I decided I would rather motivate those that are fighters to keep fighting, than motivate those that are victims to keep on being a victim.
Whether we like it or not, we are a role model for someone. We may never know the person but there are people who watch what we do and look to us as a role model. What do we want to be modeling? Do we want to model being a victim? Or do we want to model being a survivor? Do we want to model someone who has chosen to handle life with joy or do we want to model someone who complains all the time about how bad it is? That is how powerful words are. We can inspire and motivate but what is it that we are inspiring or motivating? I want to inspire and motivate people to keep fighting, to not give up, to realize they have choices and one choice is to deal with what life hands us in a positive way.
And this is why I watch shows that have people who are worse than I am because it keeps me in perspective. And that is where “at least it is not the sixty pound tumor” phrase came from. People with sixty pound tumors are in way worse shape than I am here right this minute. People dying of cancer are in worse shape than I am now. People who have been mangled in car wrecks are in worse shape than I am. And so I look around me and I see that if I look at what those worse than me are going through, then I am able to keep my health issues in perspective and not allow myself to go into victim mode and try to make everyone see how bad I am. I do not need to prove to anyone how bad I am. I only need to prove what a survivor I am. And with my words, I hope to send out the energy and healing that positive words can do to others that are in bad shape.
image from www.okyday.com
This is a topic that really hit me today as I was reading emails and one message was the inspiring moment. What happens when you make “something” your identity? People do it all the time. Parents can make their children their identity and become so obsessed on what their kids do that when it is the normal time for a child to be moving on into adulthood that panic sets in because the parent no longer knows who they are. I have seen people make careers, children, health issues, looks, etc be their end all about who they are. And then they fail to grow in other ways.
These things are not who we are. They are what we do, what we have, what has happened to us. I always tell people my health, my disabilities are not who I am but rather things I live with. If I cut myself down to one thing as my whole identity, I am really committing identity theft…theft of my own identity. I am hiding, throwing away, stealing my own identity which is more than just one thing. Look at yourself and see what all you really do have about yourself. Ask someone to tell you what things they see about you. You are never “JUST” a mother or just a friend or an employee, or a chronically ill person or a wife, etc. Do not steal your own identity by shutting it away and focusing on just one thing.
I remember a friend from some years ago who had constant health issues and when the doctor would prescribe medicine, she would not take it because she was afraid it would make her well. I know you all probably think who would be that way but it happens more often than we realize. She would never tell the doctor that she was not taking her medicine but she just hid the medicine. She did not know that the doctors realized soon that she was not taking what they prescribed her. She would research medicine and automatically had any side effects the medicines had.
She had made being sick her whole life and the thought of giving up that role terrified her. She was afraid that she would be nothing without it. She woke up with talk of sickness being her first words. She lived, ate, slept, moved, talked illness. She knew no other language it seemed and the thought of a doctor healing her sent her into panic because she really did not know what she would do without it. If she was told that her blood tests were fine the first comment she would make to friends or loved ones would be something to the effect of “well that might be gone but I still have this over here”. She could not stand to not have something she could say was wrong physically.
People can do the same thing with people, places, jobs, children, pets, hobbies, etc. They can make it their whole existence until nothing much else seems to exist. Everything centers around their own obsession. Watching Dr. Phil the other day on a show about reborn dolls, he said he had been asked was this an obsession. He said the easiest way to know was if whatever it was had taken over your whole life and you had no room for anything else then you might want to consider that you were obsessive.
I have never as sick as I am made sickness my whole world. I just plain refuse to. There is too much life to miss. I love to do photography, to draw and paint, to read, to write, to cook even though now I am the helper and son does the cooking, to play with Daisy. There is a lot I can do from this hospital bed and make my life more whole. I also make myself get up and walk a few steps to try to keep my muscles. I know what it is like to not be able to move like a normal person and it is not as much fun as someone who really can move but tries to act like they can not. It is really hard. So, I work to fight that.
Never make something your whole identity. You are more than that. When you do that it is like taking a big, beautiful house with all the lights off and slowly turning them off one by one until only one light remains and that is the spot you sit in. Gone is the world around you. When you lose the world around you because of circumstances beyond your control…that is one thing. When you deliberately shut off your life for whatever reason and narrow it down to one thing..whether that is focusing only on chronic illness, children, people, hobbies, jobs, etc… then you are hurting yourself and are effectively pushing everyone else away from you. And you are effectively committing identity theft….your own identity.
It took me y ears to realize this simple statement “your worth is not based on what others think of you”. I was always defending myself, trying to prove to others how sick I really am, that I am not a bad person, etc. And then one day, I asked myself “why do I care what these people think?” Now keep in mind that “these people” could mean strangers on the street, neighbors, people I worked around, friends, family, people online.
One day, I asked myself why I was letting someone else set the standard for me. So what if this person did not think I was really sick? I had all the medical papers to prove I was sick so why did I feel the urge to prove to everyone that I was really sick? Why did I feel insecure about it? Why did it bother me if someone made comments like ‘boy, you must not be that sick, you are going out and go here and there” or similar comments? Why was I letting others define who I was?
I am using chronic health to do this post but it could be about your job, your partner, your family, your home…whatever. Why do we let others define who we are. If you love your job and do the best you can…that is all that matters. When you place “making the most money” as a reason for taking a job and it is not a job you love, then you will be miserable the whole time. If you love your home, who cares whether it has two hundred square feet or five thousand square feet. The size of your house, how much money you make, how many cars you have, how big or small your family is, how fantastic your kids are does not make you any better than anyone else.
We all live in our own situation and with our own dreams and desires. And we all have self-worth but when we let others define it…then they can take away our self-worth in a second. I talk about happiness being inside your heart and head…well, so is self-worth. I finally learned to say to people who wanted to make me feel like I was not that sick some years back when I appeared healthier than I am…”when you live in my shoes and have all that is wrong with you that I do, then you can tell me how sick I am or am not”. I do not let them define me.
Some older than dirt wisdom I learned along the way is that we create who we are and we should define who we are by our actions and our words. No one else should be doing that and when we sit and worry because we can not make someone understand something about us such as our health, we are wasting precious moments. People who do not walk in our shoes will never understand. They might sympathize but they really do not get it and so why should we be letting them define us or even get upset when they do not get it?
Believe me when I say that being able to calmly look at people when they make comments like “I do not get it, how can you blah blah’ and then you can say “Of course you do not get it. You are not in my shoes” and turn away. We have to set the boundary for what we will accept. If someone wants to pick my life apart, I do not let them into my life. Period. That is a deal breaker just like lying and stealing from me is. I accept constructive criticism but I do not accept tearing down or attacking or being condescending with me. Those we have in our life should be supportive and loving and if they are not that, then the line should be drawn and we should quit allowing them to define who we are.
“You are only a loser if you quit while you are behind”
This is a video I saw this morning. It is about a dog with no eyes. Many people would just give up with that kind of disability. Watch Riddle…nothing stops him. There is more to us than just the label of disabled or chronically ill.
Created by hullshaven
I remember my roommate of some years back. We were both disabled and yet so different. She worried so what others thought of how she “looked”, refused to ride in her electric chair and wanted to be pushed. She literally wallowed in her disabilities. She used her disabilities as excuses not to do things or why she acted like she did. She lived, breathed, ate being disabled and had no other life other than that of being chronically ill and disabled. She made no effort to see the good, made no effort to look for new ways to do things, made no efforts to be all that she could be. And I found that so sad.
And then there was me. My sons told me they had never seen anyone do like I did with a power chair….that it literally became part of me. They saw me use it as my back hoe. I would hold the snow shovel between my legs and rake with my little rake mulch, etc up on it and back up across the yard and then go forward and dump it. They saw me put my seat belt on and go flying down the road and around in circles….much like Riddle in the video….out of sheer joy at being free and able to move. I do not have the strength to turn the wheels on a manual wheelchair and I have injuries that prohibit that but put me behind the joy stick of a power chair and watch out world.
There is more to me than the label “disabled” and “chronically ill”. There is more to me than being someone who has trouble walking or who is in chronic pain or chronically ill. Inside is this woman who dances across rooms, who runs in the breeze, who swings my grand baby around. I am alive…I am smart…I have talents…I have feelings…I laugh…I cry….I play tricks…I work on projects most people would not….I even mud sheet rock laying down when I have to. I have just learned a different way to do things.
So, what makes us different? Different personalities I guess. Some of us never give up. Some of us do not quit and some of us just do not want to have to depend on someone for everything. I may have to one day and then I will develop another attitude to handle that. Right now I have to depend on son for some things but I still am capable of finding my own joy in my life and of contributing to this world instead of being a victim and taking and taking. I want to fly with the eagles, dance with the wolves and I want to die with a smile on my face knowing I used up all that God has blessed me with. I do not sit and think about how chronically ill and disabled I am every minute of every day. I do not focus on the what if’s or on the next doctor or hospital stay. I focus on living.
People tend to judge others by how they look. Oh look ..a disabled person. Oh look, he or she wobbles when they walk. Oh look, they are bald. Oh look, they are fat or skinny. And they never look beyond that. There is so much more to people than that. We never take the time to ask ourselves..”wonder why she is bald?” and to discover..maybe she is going through chemo. Or why she or he can’t walk or talk right. There is more to us than the label.
I was a teacher and this is why I did not like labels on kids. I taught hyperactive kids, attention deficit kids, really bright kids, slower kids…but I did not want to know all those labels when I got to know that child for then it puts expectations on them. Same with disabled people. If you see us just as disabled…you think we can not do. I hate for someone to take things out of my hands and “do it for me” because I am not as fast as they want. I now look up and go ”it is my hands that do not work well…not my brain. Now hand it back please.”
I wish all labels were banned. Now, if you want to put a price tag on me…put it for the price I think I am worth…LOL..and not what you think I am worth. I do not let others diminish who I am. What someone else thinks is just an opinion…and you know what they say about opinions. Opinions are like rectums…everyone has one and some stink and some do not. I prefer to make my own opinion and as long as I am happy with the person I am…then I am ok. So, no labels for me please.
This is what I love about animals. They do not see you as disabled or ugly or fat or skinny or short or tall or any of those adjectives we humans like to use. They see into your heart and know whether you are good or not. That is more important to me than anything. And so, I shall continue to run and romp (even if it is in a scooter) and laugh and enjoy life and do all I can do and be all I can be..just like Riddle. And I shall continue to work my dreams until I get as many as possible to come true. And I will nevah *using my best Scarlet voice here* Nevah as God is my witness, live my life as a victim”…*shaking my fist in the air*.
image from robertlindsay.wordpress.com
What The Old Ones Know
Patinas, silvers and faded browns
dimming lights and diminishing sounds
creaking hinges and crooked doors
gnarly feet on wooden floors
robbers enter to steal our health
a possession far greater than any wealth
strength wanes likes the ocean tides
making life turn into bumpy rides
minds can defeat us on crimson rose
stopping the rise on warrior toes
defeat looks like hedge roses so bright
lovely to smell and looks so right
A warrior knows what lurks deep inside
all the thorns the lovely roses can hide
the thorns of weakness, self-pity and blame
being a warrior is not playing a game
being a warrior means choosing to fight
and choosing to see the happiness light
the elders know the pain and sorrow of life
they know it can slice like the blade of a knife
Must you become patina, silver and faded browns
before you know where happiness can be found?
Life is full of wisdom even when the path is gnarled and full of potholes. My faith has always sustained me in the worst of times and I have learned many lessons along the way. No matter how rough the journey has gotten, I have always had the little spark of hope in my heart and that happy place that keeps me going.
One lesson that bears repeating came in this wonderful quote:
“There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living. Being alive is a gift, being happy is a choice..”
There comes a time in life we have to decide is what we are doing worth putting up with all the drama and people who create it in your life. I have decided that drama is an addiction. Some people can not live without drama in their lives. Everything must be a dramatic turn of events and each one fuels them until the next one.
I have even seen people, when there was no drama…create drama because they needed the adrenalin rush it provides. Where some want the fly by the seat of your pants, drama in full action life….I desire the quiet rock seat, listening to the melodic sound of water tricking over the rocks, the birds singing in the background and the rustle of wildlife in the bushes.
For me, it became time to walk away from the drama and be around those that bring laughter and joy to my life a long time ago. When one lives with chronic pain like I do, choosing what is the best for us becomes as urgent as going to the ER when feeling really bad. The negativity zaps our strength and weakens our immune system and so making a choice to leave the negativity, drama and the people who cause it one days becomes imperative for our life.
I think it was after lung surgery that I realized that I had to make choices in my life so that I would be around a lot longer. I had to find the things that kept my life as stress free as possible. That isn’t saying a little excitement is bad. It isn’t. But, excitement is not drama. Excitement is the feeling of anticipation over that box loved ones are sending you or the excitement over seeing family and friends. That is not drama. Drama is when something is always wrong or something bad is always about to happen. or when a simple thing is turned into something dramatic when it is not.
My favorite example is someone I know from years ago who used to come in sobbing with dramatic emotional animations of one who has just lost their closest friend/relative etc and when you asked them what was wrong, they replied something along these lines……(are you ready?) “My friend’s uncle’s brother’s wife’s friend died. I met them once five years ago and I am just devastated. *sob* *sob*” She had nothing bad going on in her life and needed something dramatic to get attention for her “broken heart”. Yes, it was sad the friend died, but my friend’s display was out of context for having met someone “one” time five years ago. And she actually went to the funeral and put on this display of emotion and hung close to the grieving family.
This is one of my favorite stories. The meaning in it is wisdom beyond words. And the lesson is….whatever part of us we feed or put the energy into…that is what we will be. And that lesson is we will be someone kind, loving, caring, a survivor, etc OR we will be someone who is filled with anger, hate, victim thoughts, vindictiveness. And it is a choice and it is up to us to choose.
The Two Wolves
A Cherokee elder was teaching his grandchildren about life.
He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me… it is a terrible fight between two wolves.
One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, hatefulness, and lies.
The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, humbleness, kindness, friendship, generosity, faith, and truth.
This same fight is going on inside of you, and inside every other person, too.”
The children thought about it for a minute. Then one child asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf will win?”
The Cherokee elder replied…
“The one you feed.”
I am a person of faith. I also believe that we all have the same higher power as some call it…whether you call that higher power God, Creator, Grandfather, Savior, Christ…no matter what you call that higher power, it is the supreme being and if we are not careful, we can become so rigid on faith and that ours is the only right way that it is as if we overdosed on Viagra and instead of inspiring others to have a faith, we turn them away.
I learn many things from many religions. I have a very eclectic background on religions…born a Presbyterian, married a Seventh Day Adventist, divorced and became a Baptist, was a “Nature is God” person for a while, did not have a “faith” for a while, became a Catholic and now am a Baptist..again. What I learned was, there is a grain of truth in all but that my faith comes from a deep personal relationship with God, Creator, Grandfather, Savior, Christ, Mother Earth….and each one of the faith’s above gave me pieces upon which my foundation of faith is built.
And this story above of the two wolves speaks to me for it tells of life and what choices we must make. Do we give into the hatred, jealousy, envy, greed, arrogance, laziness, self-pity and all the other negative emotions and let them rule us or do we foster and feed love, joy, kindness, truth, friendship, charity and being a survivor? Which wolf do we feed?
I realized that my happiness is dependent on me. I have had many ask me how I could be happy being disabled like I was, living in the pain I am in and the trials I go through and have gone through..all the horrors. And as is my standard reply….my happiness lies inside. If I depend on external things to make me happy, then when those things disappear..what will I do then? Happiness is a place within…a feeling of contentment no matter how little we have in life.
I do not live my life as a sick person. I know that sounds crazy but I do not sit and think about how sick I am all the time and about all the things I can not do anymore. I think of all the things I can still do, work on new ways to do things I can no longer do like watching my grand baby ride in the rode in Georgie on the internet, laying here on my bed. And I live my life just like anyone else. I find that if I focus only on my health and the sickness, it will soon saturate me so much that I will not find anything good left in life and I can not live like that. So, I do not feed that wolf. I focus on life and living and being happy.
I think we set ourselves up for failure in happiness because society has trained us to believe that if we just had that shiny red bike, we would be happy. If we had this wonderful home, we would be happy, or this beautiful outfit, we would be happy. If we just had our health, we would be happy. Well, guess what..I do not have my health and have not for 32 years and I am happy and have been for a long time. I do not have the shiny new car or the fancy home or all the name brand clothes and yet I am happy. Why? Because happiness is not those things. Things bring us joy..not happiness.
When we make people, places, things, new toys, etc our happiness..oh yes, we get joy. And the joy and excitement last but a short time and then once again we are discontent. We see this a lot around the world now. This is probably the biggest thing that led son and I to seek a simpler life…one with less material things and more things like love and joy and family.
And there-in began our quest to fill the dream for the future..the dream of a simpler life. A life without drama and negativity. We wanted a life focused on the simple pleasures in life…our loved ones, being in nature, enjoying being together, having a home that did not have a mortgage so big that we would be dead before it was paid off. We were feeding the good things in life and realizing that the good things were not materialistic things…they were the peace, contentment, joy, love and happiness in our lives. What wolf do you feed?
This is a delicate topic for the chronically ill because far too often, the chronically ill are made to feel like their symptoms are all in their heads. And so, the question becomes …when do we stop fighting that and ask ourselves are we emotionally making ourselves worse with worrying over every symptom? Get your coffee and pull up a chair for this is a long blog but so important if you have physical health issues.
I got a lot of the “but you look so good”, “nothing seems to be wrong test wise”, “just try to get out more and exercise more” type comments in my early years of being sick. And now that I am in my 32 year and spend most of my time in a hospital bed with a gel mattress because of the chronic pain, in a power chair with a special gel seat and very soft back, sit in a roll in shower chair to take my shower and roll out my door down the ramp put in by the disability people and all the aforementioned prescribed by doctors..I do not hear that as much.
Oh, I get the occasional comment from someone who sees me on cam and will say I look good even when I look like I was run over by a truck but I have learned through the years that those people think they are being encouraging and do not realize they are being diminishing by saying things like that when you look really sick.
Good example, the picture below where I look like I have been run over by a truck after heart catherization…and yet someone will say how wonderful I look in that picture. I feel sure they are trying to encourage but seriously folks…if you are not chronically ill, trust me when I say that this does not encourage..it minimizes and makes the sick person feel worse. Do we want you to say “oh my gosh you look like you are dying”? No, sometimes nothing is the best thing to say other than “I love you and I am here”.
With the new DSM5 disorder called Somatic Symptom Disorder, the chronically ill face this more and more…being treated as if they are all over emotional, hypersensitive, reactive people. After 32 years plus doing this, I have learned to recognize when things are creating certain symptoms and making those symptoms appear to become worse.
For example, I can guarantee you that when I get to the doctor my blood pressure is up. Does that mean something bad is wrong? No, it means that my pain is high from traveling and my white-collar anxiety is up. We simply can not panic at every little symptom and sometimes, the only answer is “it is the auto immune disorder” doing it if you have been diagnosed with one.
These are some symptoms listed on Familydoctor,org that your emotional health can manifest physically:
- Back pain
- Change in appetite
- Chest pain
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Dry mouth
- Extreme tiredness
- General aches and pains
- High blood pressure
- Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
- Palpitations (the feeling that your heart is racing)
- Sexual problems
- Shortness of breath
- Stiff neck
- Upset stomach
- Weight gain or loss
Does this mean that nothing is wrong if you have these symptoms? No, but what it does mean is that if tests prove nothing time and time again, then perhaps it is time to look at your emotional health and see ways to improve that and see if that helps those symptoms. The mind/body connection is so important and this is one reason I talk so much about being a survivor. Survivors have a better emotional health system because they are always encouraging themselves to keep going and do not focus on all the negative all the time. Victim mentality type of people tend to have more aches and pains that are unaccountable for because their emotional health is not good.
Did you know that if your emotional health system is out of sync, it lowers your immune system and so you get sick more often. You have colds, stomach issues, aches and pains and even catch the bugs floating around more often because your immune system has been compromised even more than it already is. This is why we must pay attention to our emotional health along with our physical health and our spiritual health for they all run together and when one is out of sync they all are, just like a bicycle tire with missing spokes that wobbles.
I get accused of being a Pollyanna because I do believe a positive mental attitude helps our health. I laugh every time someone calls me that because when I look at them….they are the ones miserable in their lives and not me. Trust me when I say, I know how upsetting it is to have doctors suggest that perhaps you might be just too overly emotional and need to work on that. It makes us feel like we are not being listened to and we are not. But, there comes a time that we need to really pay attention to what we feel, what the tests show and do not show and ask ourselves are we tending to all parts of our health.
The more we fight against admitting that maybe our emotional health is not what it should be, the more we create more symptoms physically and then we begin doing what I call the race car thing where over and over we replay in our heads the worries. “Oh no, I feel breathless right now”, “oh no, my back is hurting”, “oh no, my lips are so dry they are cracking” and the list goes on until we have affected our physical and emotional health even more.
The best thing I did for myself some years back was to get a therapist who helped me with so many things. I learned from this therapist how to listen to my inner being and to talk to myself when something seemed overwhelming so that I could keep harmony with all three aspects of my health…physical, emotional and spiritual.
I can hear some of you saying “I am not crazy”. Well, let’s get honest here. Going to a therapist does not mean you are crazy. Therapists offer tools that can help you more than you realize. They can help you learn to better manage your emotional health so that your physical health is better and by learning that, it gives you a tool with which to use with your medical doctor when trying to find out what is wrong. If you have learned to keep your emotional health in harmony then he has to admit that maybe there is something else that needs addressing and it is not all emotional.
Are you understanding me here? If you are willing to address the possibility that your emotional health is out of sync and might be affecting your physical health, then you are showing your doctor that you are willing to utilize all options. After all, all we want is to feel better…right? And if we are dealing with pain, exhaustion, and then normal events in life such as loss of job, deaths in the family, divorce, marriage, births etc…the stress level is zooming to the top. And yes, emotionally a person can make their health worse and create unexplained symptoms.
Sometimes we can get in the mode of fighting so hard to prove that something MUST be wrong physically, that we create even more stress in our lives on top of what we already have and in the lives of those around us. I was to the point that I was ready to accept that maybe the doctors were right many years ago…maybe I was too emotional and it was causing all these health problems. And then lung surgery proved there was a physical reason behind some of my symptoms but it did not account for all my symptoms.
I had reached the point that I was ready to accept and work on my emotional health for a while instead of investing so much energy trying to prove that all these symptoms must be something physically wrong. The lung surgery did not show all my symptoms I was having but did address the breathing problems. The back surgery and scans showed what was wrong with my back and legs. But, I learned to take the actual tests and scans and hold them as the proof of what is wrong here or here and then to say…ok, they are not finding answers for this and this and ask myself was I creating too much stress for my emotional well-being and creating even more symptoms than the physical problems were causing. Was it time to spend some time working on my emotional health so that all was more in sync? Yes, it was and I did.
Let me say that NO, I do not think that all our physical illnesses are emotionally borne but I do believe that attitude plays a huge role in our health and helps us to live more productive and happier lives. We have to get all three in harmony..spiritual, emotional and physical in order for the wheel to turn smoother. It is not an either or situation. It is not either you are physically sick OR you are emotionally unhealthy. It can be both is out of harmoney and we have to learn to take care of the emotional health along with the physical health.
- Comfort foods
- Dreams for the future
- Eating Out
- Etta James
- Female Impersonators
- heart center
- helping others
- Native American
- New Year's Resolution
- Protection from fraud
- Rocky Mountains
- US Military