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Coping

Coping

Molehills for Mountains

March 2, 2017

A couple months ago I discussed my “big” goal for 2017: to stop worrying. I began by contemplating why I worry and react in fear, then tested out stress management techniques. I wrote a blog post about what works for me under Coping, called “Stop Worrying.”  For accountability sake, here is a follow-up:

Like every path we take, there are ups and downs. It is easy to walk in peace when there is no problem looming on the horizon. Life is full of struggle and surprises. My techniques were put to the test shortly after posting them.  I became pregnant! Yes, a blessing. Yes, a joyous time. When Lyme disease is involved, a time of concern as well. This disease is congenital. Could I watch another human suffer the way others with this horrible disease have? What were we going to do?!?!?!?! Worry, worry, worry. Sleepless nights. Tossing and turning. Fearing for little life growing inside me.

Why was I such a hypocrite? I just wrote a blog post on how to not worry. So I returned to it, followed the steps, and voila, sleeping, praying, smiling, and peace. Not worrying is a goal and it is realistic that I slip a bit. The point is I got back up and hammered that mountain back into a little mole hill.

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Coping

No Small Thing: the beginning

January 27, 2017

Conjuring fantastical worlds and grand adventures was how my brother and I spent many summer afternoons. To escape the droughts of the 1980s and a rather isolated existence on the prairies, our imaginations took us to a different place each day. The Caragana hedge became a dense jungle where we fought off a patrol of Viet Cong (Derek and I were obsessed with Vietnam War vet, Magnum PI). The yellow bean pods that hung from the branches became hand grenades, easily plucked and thrown at the enemy. Another day we crawled through a ditch, or ran over crunching dried, golden clumps of prairie grass, kicking up fine dirt as we escaped lions who stalked us on make-believe safaris. Some summer afternoons we fished with our great uncle and great grandmother at the pond, a lone body of water near our farmyard. Of course, the small pond became an ocean and we, deep sea fishers. Though far from a Norman Rockwell painting, a typical childhood in the 1980s country life was idyllic in some ways. Slowly this painting of imagination and family gatherings and youthful adventure became sullied, darkened by the unknown. Long-living, German, Protestant hardiness coursed through our veins. What was also coursing through our veins was something “new” and unseen and much more dangerous than the lions, human enemies, and sharks of our imaginations. This unseen guest was slowly attacking our bodies and minds, stripping us of our hardy genetics and ability to survive.

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Coping

Stop Worrying

December 9, 2016

 

Before explaining tactics that helped me stop worrying, it is important to mention that they were successful because I first sought the root causes of my anxiety and worrisome ways. In understanding the source, I was better able to eradicate the habit of reacting to stress with worry. Knowing why I worried and felt anxious laid the foundation to breaking the habit and forming new, healthier habits. It took time, lots of walks down memory lane, and careful observation of my reactions.

I encourage all worriers out there to do the same. Why is your reaction to stress, panic? Why do you dwell on things? Why are you living with constant stomach aches?

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Coping

From Chaos to Peacefulness

November 27, 2016

Advent begins today:

A priest shared this idea and it resonates with me today: On that first Christmas, God came to those who were still, who were waiting, who were open. The angels did not bring a message to the Pharisees. God did not speak to the census workers or busy innkeepers. Angels came to shepherds in the quiet fields of night. Jesus was born in a quiet stable. A silent night can be a holy night.

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Coping

Ten Ways To Prevent Despair

October 26, 2016

Depression, anxiety, and suicide rates are high among the chronically ill. Many people are never cured, but they also do not pass away. This means years of day in and day out fatigue, medication routines, and watching life pass from the bedroom window.

If you are ill and entering your second or third decade of aloneness and medical crisis, you are not an anomaly. There are thousands of people lying in beds or on couches in basements feeling isolated and scared. They stare at the ceiling questioning why they should continue treatment for another decade if all that results is staying alive. Too weak and fatigued to pursue hobbies, a person can become so bored that it creates a feeling of anxious suffocation.

Some, like me, recover a little bit, to the point we can work part time and take care of our homes. Loneliness sets in though because we are not well enough to pursue hobbies, travel much, and stay up late to socialize. We are still on treatments and certainly are not symptom-free.

The following points are a few ways I prevented depression during the darkest years, and how I manage to stay afloat now. I am certainly not an expert. These are simply things that work for me, and it is my hope one or two will resonate with you. Continue Reading…