New Things

I’m digging deep to find things to be positive about today. It’s been a week since I’ve been able to get out of bed.

Hello dear reader.

This is the last post for Chronic Living. I know you’ve all been holding your breath wondering what the new name of this blog will be. I really appreciate those of you who took the time to share your preference. The new name is… drum roll please… Finding Life Through Pain. It was a landslide. There was actually only one vote that wasn’t for that one.

Since we’re making changes, there’s one more I’m going to ask several of you to make. When you read this blog from a link on Facebook or Twitter, please put your likes or comments on the actual blog site. It’s difficult to keep up with when responses are coming from different places. It’s even more important now with so many people leaving Facebook. When you follow the link to the blog site, there’s a button you can use to follow the blog from there. You’ll get an email when a new post is up.

Okay, the business end is done. Now let’s talk about something positive (not that those were negative). I’m digging deep to find things to be positive about today. It’s been a week since I’ve been able to get out of bed. One good thing is that I’ve had lots of time to listen to my audiobooks. Did I tell you I’m addicted to them? I love to read, and since I plan to actually be published someday, reading is vital. I also love to do my craft stuff. When I discovered audiobooks I realized I could do both at the same time. I can “read” while I’m cleaning, cooking, driving, or almost anything. Also, when I’m in bed and can’t stand any light because of the headaches, I can even read then! There are a lot of places online where you can download audiobooks for free. Librivox has a lot of classics (I absolutely adore Dickens), YouTube has a good selection, just Google ‘Free Audiobooks’ and you’ll find tons. There is also Audible. It’s not free, but you can choose the option that’s not very expensive. My favorite thing about Audible is the Daily Deal. Every day there’s a different book at a reduced price (between $2 and $5). I’ve discovered some incredible authors like that, ones that I’d have never known to look at. Warning: I shared Audible with my daughter and now she’s as addicted as I am.

Another positive, and this one’s even bigger than audiobooks! I have the most wonderful husband any woman could ever imagine! That’s a positive I hang onto no matter how bad things get.

What are some of the positives you grab onto when everything seems horrible? What keeps you going?

I didn’t mean to turn this into a commercial for audiobooks. You know I tend to rant at times. And I found a positive to write about.

So on that note, I’ll say goodbye to Chronic Living and be back soon to say hello to Finding Life Through Pain

Until next time…

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Random

This kind of became a random rambling, but that happens with me.

Hello dear reader.

Today’s post started out being about going to the doctor, actually many doctors.  I wrote about a paragraph, read it, and promptly deleted it.  Sure, I could throw a couple of cutesy (yes that is a word.  I looked it up) little things in there to make it less depressing.  I could tell you about the new medications (with horrifying “possible side effects”) to make it more informative.  But to be perfectly honest, I’m almost as tired of talking about doctors as I am of going to them.  The “delete” button is one of the most important parts of a computer, maybe the most important.  Could you imagine if it wasn’t there?  I’d be terrified to touch a keyboard.  Who needs spell check?  Okay, I’ve gone off on another tangent. 

Yesterday was an absolutely incredible day.  I have to give you a little bit of back story for you to understand the incredibleness  (also in the dictionary) of it for me, but it won’t be long. I promise. I have been a part of St. George for more than 11 years. I love helping at the meals when I can. I've been on the vestry a few times. I met and became friends with my husband there. He proposed to me there during the Christmas Eve service. And of course we were married there. I’ve always loved the services there. I come away from them feeling refreshed and with something to think about. A few years ago, St. George’s began having the services on Sunday evening instead of in the morning. Unfortunately, that made it very difficult for me to attend. Everyone gets tired as they go through their day, but for me it’s worse. As the day goes on, my energy levels drop drastically and my pain levels increase. By late afternoon (3 or 4) I’m done. I’ve desperately missed being able to go to services. It’s been extremely difficult to stay on track with my spirituality, which is something vital for me. I promised this explanation wouldn’t be long and it’s almost done. I had made it clear to the priest of St. George, who’s also a wonderful friend of mine, how difficult this situation was for me. She got the idea to have “brunch church” once a month. St. George’s is very much about food. Once a month the service is in the late morning (11ish) and it’s a pot-luck. The service is held around the table. Yesterday, for the first time in a very long time, I was able to go to services at St. George. I left feeling refreshed and with things to think about. I cried tears of absolute joy. It was like coming home after a long journey. So now you know why yesterday was such an incredible day for me. The best part? This is going to keep happening. I get to have more days like yesterday! I am more appreciative and happy than I have words to express. Me without words! Crazy, right?

On a completely different note, I’m dying to tell you about a book I just finished. It was so awesome! I have a new favorite author and her name is Caroline Kepnes. The book is titled simply You. I listened to it on audiobook and I had earplugs in as often as possible, while I was doing housework, laundry, cooking, crocheting, knitting, and laying down to rest. This book had me hooked from the first sentence and I was so sad when it ended that I immediately got the sequil Hidden Bodies and started it. The first sentence I was yelling, “Oh my God! No way!” and I am again hooked. I do have to warn that there is a lot of rough language and a lot of sexual content. So if either of those things bother you then ignore my rantings. But I would truly be doing my readers a disservice if I didn’t tell you about this. Don’t take my word on it. I found an article from the Huffington Post . I told my daughter about it last week and she devoured it in like 3 days. The whole time she kept calling me freaking out about it. It was kind of funny. I feel a little bit bad because she doesn’t have Hidden Bodies yet, but not bad enough to wait for her to get it!

Speaking of my daughter, she is coming up to visit me on Thursday. I’m extremely excited! She lives about three hours away from me, but it’s amazing how hard it is to get to see her. I’ve been so sick the last month or so that I can’t even make that trip. But she’s making the trip in just a few days and I can’t wait to see her!

This kind of became a random rambling, but that happens with me. It sure was better than talking about doctors and medications, right? I don’t know about you, but I needed good positive stuff today. I hope you enjoyed it too.

Until next time…

State of mind

I have much to be thankful for. Sometimes I just have to look harder to see past the hard stuff.

Hello dear reader

People say that happiness is a choice. I agree with that only to a point. You can choose whether to focus on the positive things in your life rather than on the negative. That I agree with.

However, there are several reasons why someone can’t be “happy” no matter how hard they try to focus on the positive. Depression can be situational, but is often a chemical problem. When someone is suffering from depression, telling them that happiness is a choice can actually make things worse…much worse.

Depression is a deep dark hole that gets smaller and more confining every day. It robs you of energy and smothers any ray of hope and/or happiness. Guilt weighs on you because you’re depressed, which makes you feelmoredepressed.

Can you imagine feeling that way and then being told that it’s your choice? Or being told to “just cheer up?” Do you think that would help your state of mind? I can promise you that it would have the opposite effect.

So I wrote about depression yesterday. Why am I still going on about it? I don’t really know, it feels important.

Moving on…. tomorrow is my oldest daughter’s birthday. She’s almost to the end of her 20’s. I am constantly amazed at how quickly life goes by. I’m also amazed at how fortunate I feel to be her mother. I loved being “Mommy” when she was little, and I love being “Mom” now that she’s grown. Our relationship is very different now, of course. I’m no longer the person who knows everything, can see through walls AND the back of my head, and always knows when she’s having a bad day. I can no longer solve any problem from a skinned knee to a broken heart with a kiss and/or a cheesecake tart. But I can listen when she needs someone to. I can laugh and/or cry with her. I can give her tips on anything from a roast to a relationship. I can (and do) know that she may or may not follow my advice. She’s a grown woman who can think for herself and make her own decisions. I am so proud of that. I’m thrilled that she asks my advice, whether she takes it or not. In some ways it’s harder to be “Mom” than it was to be “Mommy” because I still want to protect her from the world. I still want to fix anything that hurts. But being “Mom” is wonderful too. I can be her friend now, and she’s a great friend to have. You can’t be a child’s friend and protect them. There are too many times the word “No” has to be said.

I know. I’m ranting again. But these are the things that keep depression from winning. These are the positive things that I try to focus on. I have a great life….a truly amazing husband, great friends, and some great kids (even the ones that aren’t really mine). I live in the most beautiful place there is. I have much to be thankful for. Sometimes I just have to look harder to see past the hard stuff. Sometimes the hard stuff is just too big to see past.

Until next time….

Stigma

There should be no more stigma attached to mental illness than there is to physical illness. 

Hello dear reader

Note:  There were some issues with publishing this post. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

I try very hard to keep a positive outlook on my life, and most of the time I’m fairly successful. But I have to admit that I’ve been in a really bad place recently.  It’s hard to explain, but I just gave up. I didn’t follow up on getting my teeth fixed, or doing the mammogram or colonoscopy my doctor ordered a month ago. I stopped wearing any jewelry or make-up. I didn’t care what I wore, just pulled on clothes because it’s what I had to do. I didn’t keep up with housework or laundry, just did what absolutely had to be done. Nothing mattered. I didn’t want to do anything but sleep. I felt done.

The thing is that I didn’t realize what was going on, or didn’t care. I’m not certain which. Maybe both.  But I woke up this morning and felt different. I got up, took a bath, thought about what I was going to wear and got dressed, and started cleaning the house.  Yes, I know. It was classic depression.  But what I don’t know is where it came from and where it went. 

I’ve dealt with depression for the majority of my life and have been on some kind of antidepressant or another for years. I know the signs and symptoms. I know things that help and things that make it worse.  But I cannot see it when I’m in it.
About three weeks ago I woke up at 3:30 in the morning with a high fever and having convulsions.  My husband rushed me to the hospital, where they diagnosed me with pneumonia. They gave me a prescriptions for antibiotics and home oxygen and told me to follow up with my primary care doctor, which I did. I spent the next week and a half in a LOT of pain and completely exhausted. The one good thing that came out of it was that I quit smoking. I’ve tried so many times and ways. All of a sudden I simply had no more urge to smoke!  Almost worth the pneumonia… maybe.  The point to this long story (yes, there is a point) is that there’s a possibility all of that happening had something to do with the depression coming on.  I say possibility because I believe the depression started before the pneumonia and all that went with it.

So I still don’t know where (why?) it came from or where (why?) it went. I only know that I’m very glad it’s gone and that I have a TON of catching up to do.

I think the reason it’s important to me to put all of this out there is that there is still a stigma about mental illness, which depression is a form of.  But I don’t choose to be mentally ill any more than I choose to have Chiari Malformation or chose to have pneumonia.  There should be no more stigma attached to mental illness than there is to physical illness. 

There needs to be conversation about these things. Only by talking about them can people understand what mental illness is and is not.  Communication is what will bring us out of the dark ages and the fear that goes along with ignorance.

Until next time….

Morning coffee

Good morning dear reader.

Every morning Tim & I sit in bed and drink coffee together.  We’ve done it ever since the first night we spent together.  Now that he leaves at 6:00 every morning, we get up at 4:00 so we have time to do it.  It’s a wonderful practice.  It gives us a chance to connect before the busyness of the day pulls us in different directions.  Even the dogs get in on it, climbing onto the bed with us. 

We’re doing pre-marital counseling (only 3 more weeks until the wedding!) and learning tools to have a stronger, happier marriage.  It’s actually a lot of fun.  What has struck me the most about it is how many of the things they recommend that we already do and have been doing.  While they  don’t specifically say, “morning coffee time” it is something that fits very well into the things they do encourage couples to do.

This morning I started thinking about how many simple things we do that make our relationship stronger and happier.  I don’t know if any of them will apply to any of you, but I’m going to tell you about them anyway.

Communication

I believe this is vital.  We eat dinner at the table (away from the TV) two or three times a week.  Other times we eat in the living room watching the news.  That keeps the table dinners from becoming a chore.  It’s always a little bit special when we do it.  When we reconnect at the end of the day, we take the time to talk about how our day has gone…both of us.  I listen (and sometimes comment) as he tells me about his day, and he does the same for me.  While we’re apart during the day we touch base once or twice.  It may just be a text that says “I love you” or “Hope your day is going well.”  It’s more about letting each other know we’re thinking about them than what we say. 

What we say and how we say it

Let me start this part by making it  clear that there are always times when things are misread or misunderstood.  Here’s a perfect example:  We had a meeting scheduled with Ali for the pre-marital counseling Friday morning.  I was on the phone with someone I hadn’t talked to in years.  Tim was in the yard with his best friend trying to get Duke and his dog to get along so we could dog-sit for him.  I looked at the clock after I hung up the phone and realized we were supposed to be there in 15 minutes and I was still in my bathrobe.  I hurried down the stairs and to the yard and said, “Do you realize we’re supposed to meet Ali  in 15 minutes?”  Tim’s response was, “And you’re in your bathrobe.”  Long story short, we ended up running about 10 minutes behind which worked out perfectly because so was she.  Yesterday we were sitting on the couch together and Tim said he wanted to talk to me about something.  He said that when I did that Friday morning he felt scolded and embarrassed because he was out there with his best friend and I had been so “harsh” about him forgetting.  I had not even thought about it that way.  I wasn’t upset with him for forgetting, I was upset with myself for forgetting.  I was also feeling very rushed and a little bit stressed because of it.  I’m one of those people who are anal about being on time.  I’m normally at an appointment 10 minutes before I’m supposed to be there.  So you see what happened there?  A total misunderstanding.   Things like that happen to everyone.  Nobody reads things correctly all the time, and nobody says things the right way all the time.

That being said, everyone has a need to be loved, appreciated, admired, etc.  So saying things like “I appreciate you” or “You look nice today”…things like that, can make a relationship much happier.  Think about it.   If you hear things like, “Why in the hell did you do that?” or “You really need to do something about your hair” or “This food sucks” etc., how much are you going to look forward to communicating with that person?  Hearing positive things from someone makes you draw closer to them and want to talk with them.  Of course, nobody does everything right or always looks wonderful.  It’s a matter of choosing to focus on the positive.  Sometimes you have to look hard to find it, but when you do it should be expressed.

An important aspect of how we talk is simple courtesy.  I’ve heard many couples talk to each other in ways they wouldn’t talk to anyone else.  I remember a friend of ours who was amazed that we said “please” and “thank you” to each other.  Think about it.  This is someone you love.  Don’t they deserve at least as much courtesy as you’d give a stranger who was asking for directions? 

Wow!  I really took off with this!  I’ve hardly scratched the surface, but I think it’s probably enough for now.  Seriously, think about these things.  The difference they can make is incredible.  Or…say to yourself that Lynnette is full of crap and forget about it.   Definitely your choice.  Just because these things work for me doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work for you.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.  Simply hit the comment button below and let it rip.

Until next time…