I am trying to sort out my experiences and thoughts to better understand how to move forward and not stay stuck in the past.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Game Plan

Occasionally, when I ask my dad how his day went, he'll say it started with him feeling 'blah.'  I think I have been feeling like that for the past couple of weeks.  Not really motivated to do anything but what is necessary.  I don't know why I'm feeling like this.  My dad takes a nap and that seems to dissolve the blahs.  I can't nap during the day now that school has started back.  Plus, I'm not really any more tired than usual.  I feel like one of those cars you pass along the side of the road, where everything on the car looks okay (no flat tire, or parts hanging off) yet, someone tied a little white rag to the driver's side door handle, and left.  So there the car sits, in surrender, waiting for help to arrive.

I called for help. I called a friend of mine and asked her if she wanted to go to lunch. Sure!  So, I picked her up Sunday afternoon and we went to this Mideastern restaurant.  The flavors and spices in the food they bring are so healthy feeling (I don't know how else to describe it).  We ate things like, hummus, babaganoush, tabbouleh and stuffed grape leaves. The meal concluded with Turkish coffee and a piece of baklava (in all honesty, that was so good, I could have bathed in it). 

Not only was the meal nourishing, but, as always with her, so was the conversation.  Several years ago, her son (he's a year older than my daughter) was playing baseball.  I'm not sure how it happened, but someone hit the ball and it ended up hitting him in the head.  The hit caused a concussion.  The concussion has caused an even bigger ripple in the health of her son.  He suffers from headaches, can't drive for long periods of time, for a while light was bothering him, and it seems to have had an effect on his temperament.  He gets angry quicker and it seems as though he has a difficult time with it. Like he knows its happening but the feeling is so quick and strong he hasn't developed the skills to grab that feeling to wrestle it down.  They live in a beautiful place.  A creek flows right past their house.  They have a large yard, so, now, when he's feeling mad, he'll either calm down by the water--just sitting and listening to it, or (and this made me laugh when she told it) he throws apples at the shed in her back yard.  

As she was catching me up with what has been happening, she told me how she has changed her approach to her son's circumstances.  When this first began, and she was still trying to understand it all (and she wasn't fully believing what he was saying--she wasn't comprehending the new, foreign situation) there would be a lot of yelling and fighting.  Her son had to quit his job over this and is living at home.  Though he did go to counseling and a rehabilitation place for brain injury, it has taken a long time for him to develop the skills.  During that 'developing' time, is when the fights occurred.  I remember her during those times and she was exhausted and drained.  Everyone was butting heads and judging and seeing things from their point of view instead of surrendering to the situation and working from the ground up to build a new set of rules to deal with this very unique situation. 

What she told me on Sunday was so simple, yet so hard to do in the midst of turmoil.  She said that it just came to her to start being more loving.  She doesn't react in rage, she is calmer.  She makes sure to tell him she loves him everyday.  She includes him in everything, even if he can't participate. She tries to touch him more.  A hug, her hand on his shoulder.  The little things that are so often brushed aside in a busy day.  I watched the peace in her face as she told me this.  What popped into my head is how biblical it was.  1 Cor. 13 describes what love is and if God is love then, that is a good guideline of how to act if we choose to follow it.

I know from my own experience here from last summer to this past summer.  The summer from hell was filled with anger and hate and rage and ignorance.  Things got better once my thinking changed and I started from scratch to work on a different game plan.  I guess the game plan is love. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

On the Mend

I have been trying to get healthy.  After summer school was over, I spent August trying to focus on my health.  I used to be pretty healthy.  No aches or pains. I rowed, walked and gardened without any problems.  Last November is when I started going down hill.  I've written about it before, here.  Not feeling up to my normal self, forced me to review a lot of how I was living my life.  I wondered things like, are we really what we think?  Do our thoughts and worries really boomerang back to us?  I remember commenting on various occasions that I would hate to be in chronic pain.  Hello, here I am in chronic pain.  I've told my daughter the same thing, that she has become everything she talked about that she didn't like, hated even.  (So, why is it the negative thoughts that come to fruition, and not the positive ones?  Hmm). 

Anyway, I began reading articles, talking to friends, and trying to center myself so that I could relocate the person I was.  I liked that person.  The person I've morphed into is not someone I'm comfortable with.  I'm physically more than I want to weigh.  I'm mentally more negative and less spiritual than I like. I'm emotionally pinging from numb to fear to anger to sadness.  I'm not me.  Where do I start?

I had to start with the pain. It began with the wellness day at work last spring, but I only utilized the aloe vera juice as an anti inflammatory.  I swear by it now. Every morning I have a 1/4 cup, before I drink anything else.  I started using food as medicine.  I became a vegetarian way back in tenth grade.  I remember how after a few weeks I felt 'lighter' and ended up losing 20 lbs. without effort.  After I had children, I began eating chicken.  I eat a lamb gyro every now and then, too.  I decided to go back to the way I ate before.  I was more conscience about what I put into my body.  So, it's been more natural, less processed.  No white sugar.  I buy raw sugar and raw honey.  I also started reading about the flora in your digestive tract and that if that isn't healthy, then the food and supplements you take aren't as effective, so I discovered something called Keifer.  I drink two glasses of that a day.  I do take several vitamins, probably more than I need to but I can't wrap my head around the idea that all of the vitamins I need are in one multi-vitamin--all of those vitamins listed in the ingredients in one pill, really?  So, I take singles.  (It's me, I know). 

I have started moving more.  It's hard to move when you hurt.  It feels better to find a comfortable position and stay there.  Not the healthiest thing to do, but moving in pain is unbearable.  Sitting without pain feels a lot better.  However, not having the metabolism that I did at 20...yep, I put on some weight.  I felt 'blocked' or stuck.  I was not used to not moving.  After the majority of the pain started to subside, my daughter and I started stretching to this beginners yoga DVD I bought at a yard sale.  I love it. I can already see a difference in how I feel, physically.  So, now I stretch.  I can walk up and down the stairs without feeling like I'm 90 (though, my dad will be ninety in 2 weeks and he has been more spry then me).  I will start walking in the fall.  I'm taking things slow.  The last time I started feeling better, I over did it and found myself back on the couch.

Emotional and spiritual is taking longer.  The spectre of addiction is still lurking in the corners of my home.  It still has influence over my daughter and has also managed to infect me with emotions and feelings that I would normally overcome.  I am still processing how it has changed me.  When you're in the middle of it, it's like being in Dorothy's tornado; everything is swirling around and you can't grab on to any one thing. Once you land, you see everything sprawled around you, your personal life, your emotions, your fears, your child.  Learning what to do and not do is hard.  It's confusing and often goes against your very nature.  I am still so angry about so much.  I am hurt.  But I'm trying to work through this.  A very good friend of mine has given my name to a spiritual counselor.  I look forward to talking to her. 

Anyway, that is what I have been doing.  I have noticed how insidious addiction is and the way it seeps into your behaviors so slyly that you're changing even though you don't realize it, until one day you wake up and don't recognize the person you see in the mirror. You don't feel like yourself.   Sometimes I feel as though I was spirited away as I slept four years ago, and dropped into a dark forest on an unknown planet.  I have been trying to fight the unseen demons, while trying to keep my family alive.  It's hard work and it takes a toll.  But I feel as though I'm finally on a familiar and comfortable path. I'm finally on the mend.