Friday, January 19, 2024

Some Extra Help

This month has been heavy. January always is, but this year it feels like it's packing an extra oomph to me. I feel ungrounded, lost, anxious and unable to even find a basic direction where relief can be found. That's why I decided it was time. I pulled up my new insurance app and began researching therapy and wellness options. It took some digging, but I was able to find an 8 week program that seems to meet my needs with no out of pocket expense. I haven't been to any sort of therapy for 10-15 years. Usually, I am able to use the tools I've learned previously or find other resources to help me solve issues as they arise. This time I was up to my eyebrows with a whole conglomeration of various emotional struggles and anxieties with little solace from anywhere. It's time to learn new techniques and gather some new tools. It's not anymore layered than that. Life has changed and so have I. My inability to keep pace isn't a failure or anything to feel bad about. It's just a sign that I don't have the set of coping skills I need to feel more confident and successful in my repertoire right now, but I can learn those skills. 

If you're going through something similar, I urge you to look for any resources you can access to help yourself get back on track. You don't have to suffer alone. Investing time and energy into improving your well being also raises the well being of everyone whom your presence affects. I'm hoping that I can get to feeling like my best self again and you all can too, if you're not already. 

Friday, December 29, 2023

Not This Year

This last year was a long, strung out struggle for my family, same as it was for many families I know. With unrelenting stress, economic woes and humanitarian crisises becoming a normal part of our lives on a global scale, most of us are burnt out. Honestly, I feel like there should be another word used here to describe this state of being where life keeps coming at us with high energy demands, but we're all running on fumes, but I can't think of it right now, so I suppose 'burnt out' will have to do. 

I'm not gonna even say that I'm glad this year is over. I'm not feeling optimistic that next year will be better. I'm just gonna hope for the best, while trying to build my resilience to meet whatever challenges come my way.

Part of doing that is knowing when to rest and when to be active. 

As I've grown older, I've realized that sometimes it's fine to half ass tasks and skip on tradition. Sometimes doing some of a chore, or a task is better than doing none of it, because when you have health or other challenges in your life that syphon your energy, waiting until you can complete a task to perfection is equal to never getting to it at all. 

I feel the same about traditions. Holiday and other celebratory traditions are meant to fill our cups. They're meant to lift spirits in a communal way that nourishes our souls in unison. They aren't there to drain or drag us down. This year my family skipped a couple of our annual Christmas traditions. With my husband's and my health issues we were unable to make them happen without significant sacrifice. While I felt a little sad about not participating in some of the usual activities, I felt a sense of relief and peacefulness. I managed to sidestep the anxiety and give gratitude to what I can do with joy, instead of dragging through what I thought I *had* to do. I wanted to be present in what my life is right now, even if it's not what I expected.

This kind of approach to celebrations isn't new for us in terms of raising neurodivergent children. Beans is a young man now, but still doesn't care for his routine to change much. He tends to get anxious when we ask him to unwrap gifts. He doesn't like it, so why make him do it? We usually put his gifts into an open gift bag and leave it for him to go through at his leisure. No pressure. Below is a picture of what's left on the 28th of the basket we piled his gifts into Christmas Eve. He had pulled out about half of it in the last 3 days. He seemed to like the things he received, but he needs time to feel it all out. That's fine with us. Sometimes we all do. 

Monday, October 16, 2023

Showing Up

Several years ago I saw this video where a lady was filming herself as she waited for her father to bring her lunch while she was at work. In and of itself, that's not a big deal. What made it noteworthy was that he had recently been released from prison and she had been waiting for this moment for years. 

This video stuck with me. It kind of fell to the back of my brain where I keep things that question my perception of life, others and myself.    During moments where I question my parenting abilities or feel like I've hit an insurmountable problem I remember it. I don't remember what anyone in it looked like or exactly what they said. What I do remember is the feeling of pure joy and gratitude this young lady had toward her father when he showed up. She was so proud of her father that she wanted to tell the world about him. I'm sure their lives are complicated, just like anyone else's. I'm not trying to oversimplify their struggles to this one video. However,this video did leave a lasting effect on me. What stuck with me all this time was the idea of showing up is oftentimes enough. As a parent, we will make mistakes. We don't always get it right. But what if what our kids (young and old) need is just a parent that shows up? Maybe it's not about perfection, but perseverance. Sometimes I feel like I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm fully engaged and present and perhaps that's the most important thing I can do.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

My Own Critic

I love to write. I have ideas for content all day that float across my mind like clouds of inspiration in a blue sunny sky. They drift aimlessly in fluffy masses through my conscious, only to dissipate as another task calls for my attention. That's where I seem to be nowadays, mundane tasks sandwiched between fatigue and more fatigue. The hours turn into days and all my good intentions to create get lost in the shuffle.

I guess life coupled with chronic illness does that to a person. The demands often outweigh the abilities, but still we press on. I'd say I've adjusted, that I've accepted, but that would be a false claim, as much as I wish it weren't. I'm still adjusting and doing an okay job of it, but accepting is another animal, it's layered and complicated. My subconscious, conscious and emotions have to all align in order for true acceptance of this radically different reality that I presently find myself within. This takes time and can't be rushed. There are no jump aheads or shortcuts on the journey to acceptance. It's a total surrender of what could have been for what is, can and will be. I think removing the rose tinted glasses in these kinds of circumstances is a slow process for most. I am a steadily patient soul, carefully crafting, building, nurturing growth and progress in others, but fall short on lending myself that same kind of support. As much of a realist as I claim to be, my ability to view myself from any perspective other than one of a cynical critic with impossible standards is poor, at best. Acknowledgement of this is only a whisper of a solution in a mind that's been built to operate in this kind of fight or flight environment. While I *know* my ideas of what I can realistically achieve presently is skewed, I am unable to fully believe it. 

I am, as always, a work in progress. Every day presents itself with old and new challenges. My goal is to navigate them all in ways that foster growth, joy and purpose in whatever way I can, from wherever I happen to be. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The Nostalgia of Ink and Paper

 I grew up loving the tactile feel of stationary. Journaling stationary, postcards, greeting cards, notebooks and more, all empty, awaiting the perfect moment when a person's imagination turns to a creation. What once was a private concept born of a mind's eye becomes a tangible expression of thought to share, communicate with others. All the empty pages ready to soak up the contents of one's mind.

It's a writer's curse and blessing to see such potential of these pages. The smell and feel of new, unused pages bound by spines and spirals feels fresh, elegant  but intimidating. The first words set a tone. They must match the energy this empty book deserves. Will the first scribbles miss the mark? What if they land flatly on the paper, forever staining it with subpar markings? Oh, the anxiety of new beginnings!

I still have quite a modest collection of stationary. I find that I utilize them in fewer and fewer creative ways and much more as daily doldrum type tasks. To do and shopping lists tend to fill the pages where my inner most thoughts used to go.

As I grew up, the bound pages turned to blank, stark white single papers twisted firmly into a typewriter. The keys were concave and slick. The letters struck the paper with force, imprinting it with neat, ink letters. Tick, click, tick, ring. It was also tactile , but in a different way.

That way of filling pages soon turned digital from there. The keyboard still made a clicking noise, but more subdued. The paper would be a blinking curser on a screen until I filled it with letters, no paper to be seen unless I decided to print my creation.

Now, the keyboard is a screen and there is no clicking to be heard. I miss the feeling of taking pen to paper, even if I do appreciate the ease and efficiency of digital writing. There was always a quiet beauty to stacks of filled journals or a recipe box of small note cards neatly written, ready to be flipped through.