Monday, November 5, 2012

my dear j

i heard you today in your text. i heard what you were saying. i felt the pain of questions unanswered. the fear of anxiety and the power it can have over your life. i understand. i know. because i have not only been there, i am there.

there were three questions i heard you ask. i don't pretend to be an expert in answering these questions, but i want you to have the first thoughts that came to my mind.
how do i handle change?

oh change. such an enemy. different-new-challenging. the thought of change can bring me from a normal ,well day to a complete stop, lying in the fetal position. the thought of change terrorized my nights growing up. i remember when i was 13 lying awake at night waiting for my parents to come home from a date, just sure they had died in a car crash. i would then spend time planning how the changes would affect me and my siblings - how i would support the family - make it through school - pay for bills - and on and on. my heart would pound against my bed - sleep was no where in sight. now when i think of change at work or in moving apartments or in any aspect of my life, my breath grows shallow, my head starts to spin, i feel my heart rate pick up and suddenly all my thoughts are disconnected. my brain is jumbled. my actions scattered. as you can see my reaction to the thought of change has morphed over the years - but how do i deal with it now??

left foot. right foot. one moment at a time. i literally stop my thoughts and focus on the next minute of my life. what do i need to accomplish in it to calm down? usually it's take a deep breath. turn on a distracting tv show. get my cold packs out of the freezer (which are literally covering me now - never ever be too hot - ever). use the bathroom. drink some water. eat a little snack. all of these things help me get through the moment so that my thoughts calm down and my mind returns to a regular pace.

how am i supposed to function properly when i'm panicking and hurting 75% of the time?

i love that you used a percent. i have to use percentages in work all the time to show how much progress each of my children are making. my mind works best when i divide what i'm going through into a percentage of how i'm feeling / reacting. i hear you. hurting and panicking for most of your day is exhausting. and so stressful on your body - physically, mentally, emotionally. i want to address the word proper.

what is proper? j, it's different for each person. do not let someone else's idea of proper affect what you feel is right for you. there is no standard of correct function. it is simply your best. some days my best is getting out of bed long enough to take my meds, then turn on the tv and fall back asleep until it's time for my next dose of meds. and i'm not exaggerating. i can sleep for 18 hours no problem. other days my best is seeing 6 kids and going out with a friend that night. my best changes from day to day. my ability to function is based on how i'm doing inside. and so, be gentle with yourself. when you are overwhelmed with panic and pain, realize that your best may be 10% and that's ok. you wouldn't expect someone with a broken leg to run a marathon, right? i mean they have two legs and to function properly they should be able to run, right? wrong. you have to take into consideration the condition the legs are in. proper is different for each person. and while you are figuring out the balance of proper in your life, be gentle with yourself. give yourself extra time for rest and quiet thinking. it's ok to sit in bed with nothing to do and simply stare at the wall. that's ok. sometimes quiet is what we really need.

do not rush your journey.

how do i know if what i'm thinking is rational or irrational?

this is a little tougher. let me give you a glance into my irrational world. here, i am alone forever. i am loved by no one. i have no friends. no one likes me. i live in a ghetto apartment. i work at a job i don't like for 12 hours a day. i don't have the money to buy the medication i need. i am not happy. it's a gloomy place with no hope for a life of love, peace, and happiness.

when my mind starts using permanent words such as always or never i know i have entered irrational-ville. "i will never be married." "i will always be alone." "i will never be wanted." "i will always be anxious." my counselor has warned me about the dangers of using these words and other words like it. they set you up for one track thinking. when you begin trapping yourself with these words you have driven into irrational territory. the truth is, i will have my turn to have a family and husband. i will not always be alone - in fact i can not be alone anytime i want because i have friends and family close. i am wanted and needed by my kids at work. i am finding that as i work in counseling and take my meds my anxiety is decreasing. i will probably always struggle with it, but i will still be able to find rays of sunshine and peace amidst the anxiousness.

maybe a good way to see if what you are worrying about is true is to ask, "would rachel agree with this?" if i would then worry on! if not, S T O P. it's hard. but use some of the above ideas to get your mind to s l o w d o w n and take a break.

in summary
1 ) use the bathroom every hour.
2 ) drink at least 2 glasses of water a day.
3 ) breathe deeply.
4 ) take a nap, anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours.
5 ) remember that in the end, alliswell and alliswell and all that matters is well.

i chose pictures of sunrises to remind you that
- there is light behind the clouds -
- a new day will always come -
- hope fills each day -

No comments:

Post a Comment