Mind versus Body

Hey strangers,

I know it’s been a long while.  Just thought I’d jump in where I am, rather than trying to catch up.

Came across this today, and it was just what I needed to hear.  Thought maybe some of you needed to hear it as well.  The anger I feel when my body isn’t functioning the way it is *supposed* to, is intense, it’s absolutely hateful and unfair.  I can only recognize this and gain a healthy perspective by asking myself how I would advise a friend that was suffering with chronic illness, because well… these things with me can be quite the double standard, as I tend to have a rather abusive relationship with myself, and would never treat anyone else that way.  I know (intellectually), that it makes things worse when I dish out negative self talk, self sabotage, etc, however, it is so deeply engrained as my “go to” response to feeling poorly, that changing this habit is like turning the Titanic.  One of my goals in 2015 is to treat myself with respect in this regard, and take better care of myself.  In order to do this, I will have to work on forgiving my body for not doing what it’s supposed to, acknowledge that it is suffering, and come to some sort of peaceful relationship.  Not going to be easy, but I will persist!  Hope this encourages you to do the same.

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The Worst Friend in the World.

To the long list of you whom I have called, intended to call, or still call, “friend”:

 

I know I owe you a novel, and I know it’s been ages.  I think about you so much, wanting to know how you are, what’s happening in your life.  Wondering what life is teaching you, how big the kids have grown… ugh… you know… just missing you.  I feel like I should apologize to you for not communicating, but to be honest…I just have to do the best I can, and I have truly been doing that.  Life is just full.  Full, in an overwhelming, mental breakdown kind of way, and it has been on that ledge for so long, I feel like I can never quite get my footing.

I was remembering the other day about how much life changes when you add a baby to your family. When you have small children in your home, it’s like everything is put on hold… time passes and you feel like you’ve gotten absolutely nothing done.  You lose touch with people, your house is a mess, you often forget what day it is, and it seems impossible to do anything you used to do; and then it hit me:  Five and a half years ago, I had a baby (making me the mom of two beautiful, and all-consuming little girls), opened a business, and was diagnosed with a chronic illness all at the same time.  These are those *events* that turn your life upside down, the kind that change your course and knock the wind out of you.  I know that should be obvious info to me, but though I wouldn’t deny those facts, I don’t give myself the same grace that I give other people.  I still want and often expect myself to be the same me that I was before, and I feel like I owe it to you, as my friend, to be that person.

The baby is in Kindergarten now (her sister about to turn 13 and make me the proud parent of a teenager), the business is bigger than me, and well, the chronic illness… it’s now more familiar to me than being healthy, and what I keep hearing in my head is: “I am the worst friend in the world.”

I know, I know.  I shouldn’t allow negative self talk like this to continue playing on repeat in my head.  I’ll work on that, but for now it’s sincerely a struggle not to beat myself up when I see the gaps forming in my relationships and the missed opportunities to connect with others on a personal level.  So many unreturned phone calls, emails left without response, Facebook messages, party invitations, dinner invites, texts I never acknowledged, cancelled outings, and even a standing list of good intentions on my end to begin cultivating new relationships…I’m pretty sure that to a lot of people, I am perceived as a total jerk, and more importantly than anyone’s perception, I sincerely feel the disappointment associated with the degradation of these relationships.  I want to make room.

My reality is this.  I have a shorter day than most people to work with.  In order to function at a level that my symptoms are manageable, I have to sleep about 14 hours or more a day.  When I don’t do this, my symptoms slowly take over and I gradually work myself into being “grounded” and stuck in bed completely for days or weeks on end.  So, as a rule, I make it my goal to get this much sleep.  To keep things interesting, spontaneously, I get slammed for what seems like no apparent reason, so I am always “on call” to my illness.  But, on the good days, sleep is usually the best way to keep things under control.  Another part of maintaining some sort of control is with my diet.  Processed foods pretty much wreak havoc on my body, so it has become a huge priority to try to keep a more natural approach to what I eat, and that has carried over into how we eat as a family.  We try very hard to primarily eat “real” foods, which of course is a huge transition when this was not a previous way of life, and takes a huge investment of time, organization, and money… which, while we’re on the subject, has anyone else out there noticed a shortage of these things these days, or is it just me??  Weird.   Oh well…  Somewhere mixed in with the health priorities, I get small bursts of drive to seek medical care, and invest into myself by pursuing tests, going for checkups or treatments, though admittedly this gets neglected (ironically due primarily to a lack of energy), and often feels impossible to “stuff” into my day.

Next, I have a family that I love.  When I am physically able, I want to spend as much time as I can, attending my daughters’ school functions, listening to them talk about their day, reading books together, chauffeuring them to activities, being involved.  I’ll take it, whatever I can get.  I have sacrificed so many of these things over the years because of being forced out of the game by physical limitations, but every “good day” that I have, I want to take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with my family (though it never does feel like enough time is spent here).  Dates and alone time with the hubby have recently been re-defined.  Attending the kids’ activities, riding together in the car, watching a 30 min sitcom (while falling asleep) at the end of the day, or having a business meeting to discuss pending decisions are now qualified as “dates”.  For now, we are gonna roll with it and look forward to future seasons of a more romantic scenario.

Filling the rest of my time and life, and constantly threatening to encroach upon the above two areas would be the business.  When my youngest daughter was 3 weeks old, and life was feeling rather simple and peaceful, I decided that it was a great time to go get my DBA, and pursue a dream of entrepreneurship and open my own company.   My dreams and vision have always been *huge*, but I had no idea whatsoever what this journey would mean to our future.  I opened a photography company, intending on specializing in family portraits, working with children, newborns, maternity sessions, etc, though my previous background was in the wedding industry.  Slowly this initial vision evolved, and one step led to another, and the company gradually transitioned into a wedding photography company.  I created a monster.  Seriously.  It is bigger than me and sometimes feels so overwhelmingly out of control I feel that I want to go to the airport and take a flight to an indisclosed location and hide.  That is not a joke, but a sincere feeling of desperation at times.  Obviously, it did not get here overnight… and obviously, there was a night and day effort and investment on my part to create said monster and drive it forward… but… I plead ignorance.  I knew not what I did.  With my husband partnering with me in this venture, we now have a team of 14 of us that actively make up this little company.  We are currently holding interviews to add at least 5 more people to the team within the next few weeks/month, and looking at the growth ahead, I can only see that expanding.  I love this team, and these people, and am devoted to continuing to do everything I can to provide opportunities.  I am completely passionate about this.  But as people generally do… each member of the team comes with their quirks, demands, differences, excuses, strengths, and weaknesses, and at the end of the day… I’m mother hen, and when people want answers, want money, or want to complain, I have to be available in this way.  The number of clients that keep us in business and the demands and expectations that they place on their service from our company, combined with the pressure of handling one of the most important days of their lives, is not something that I can take lightly, and has become severely intimidating to me as we continue to grow.  As a matter of fact, it is a complete discipline to stay in the moment when the time has come for me to rest or spend time with my family because of being so distracted by my emotional ties to this responsibility.  As you can imagine, the whole 14 hours of sleep a day concept often gets compromised and I run myself ‘till there is nothing left, in efforts to keep up.  The scary thing is, we are really just beginning.  This past year has been the most rapid season of growth that we have ever seen, and the growth just keeps coming.  Not to mention that we are expanding into other ventures.  You see, I want to devote my life to providing opportunities to help people reach and fulfill their potential, and I also want to leave something solid behind for my family’s financial future.  I have to say though, had I known that the path to this goal entailed being stretched and pushed in the ways that Derek (my husband), and I have been over the course of these last few years, I don’t know that we would have had the courage to open this door.  The business is a story for another blog…or maybe a book…?

You wanna learn what you are made of??  Get sick.  Or open a business.  Or… hey, do both, and why not add to your family while are at it!

Ok, so there’s my life.  Summed up neatly into three parts.  Somewhere stuffed into all of this, are the intentions to exercise, have a spiritual life, take time to relax, aaaand, you guessed it…among other things… to connect with friends.  Family commitments ebb and flow, as does the business, and as do my health issues.  But I either have to choose to wait for that absolutely rare moment when all of these things align in a way that makes room in life for more, or just try my best to keep reaching out in between the cracks, and in the midst of the chaos in a very messy and extremely inconsistent way.  Usually it’s the latter, and those efforts are so spaced apart and so sporadic that I often end up just opening one side of a two way effort for communication, only to walk away and get caught up and consumed by one the above mentioned components and therefore confirming my theory that I am very possibly in fact the “worst friend in the world”.

One thing that I know for certain that I can always trust and count on is the changing of seasons.  For now, I’m going to put my hope into that, and embrace the “in betweens” that come along.  I guess by doing that, you might say that I’m being a pretty good friend to myself, and in the grand scheme of things, maybe that will make me a better friend to you when our paths cross next.

 

 

Running.

  Sometimes I step back and kind of watch myself for a minute, and I see that what I am doing is not at all healthy.  This running thing.  I see it, but I sincerely am addicted.  You see, if I can run at a pace that is fast enough, I can actually “beat” my illness.  I can temporarily feel like I’m winning.  I can achieve things that have previously seemed impossible, and the gratification from that creates such a high, that I am not sure that I am willing to let go of. 

  Sometimes I even take pride in this ritual.  Well… often, I take pride in this ritual.  It is self destructive in one sense, and valuable in another.  I’m not sure how this all ends.  I don’t want it to end with me being counted out, and leaving a mess that I’ve created for those around me.  I’m pretty sure it ends with me being counted out though.

  I feel like in all of this madness there is this amazingly powerful denial.  I feel like I am doing my damndest to act as if I don’t know what’s coming.  But I know.  I see it happening.  I am *literally* falling apart.  I see the changes.  I do see them when I look, but I spend my time trying to look elsewhere. 

  I just want to live.  I want to live my life.  I want to buck all of the excuses, and I want to leave an impact on this world.  I want to better the lives of the generations that follow my time.  I want to influence you in a positive way.  I want to live to serve.  I want to live to love.  To better others, to bring peace. 

  The truth is.  I could just stop.  At any time.  I could just stop this running, and my body would be where it should be.  I should be resting.  I should be living simply.  According to these rules.  Sometimes I come so close to pulling the whole thing down and coming to a place of “acceptance”.  But is taking care of myself worth the investment, if I can no longer have any impact?  What am I preserving myself for after all?  Isn’t that what life is about?  Spending all you have?

  And then.  Then there’s that word.  That word that makes me feel like putting my fist through the wall, because I think it’s a total crock and really that it just hangs out to make us feel like we are always off kilter. 

Balance.

  A little of this, a little of that.  Slow and steady.  Balance.

  Here’s the deal.   The scale is tipped my friend.  I am internally created with a dysfunction that causes an extreme bias towards one side of the scale.  In order for me to achieve so called “balance”, I have to work two or three times as hard just to get to zero.  So ya… I’m running.  I’m running a mile a minute and exhausting everything I’ve got to tip the scale even slightly towards the other direction.  And I know from the outside it may look like some twisted game of self sabotage, and honestly, I suppose it is… but… I wasn’t put here to sit under the radar. 

  I will keep running until the weights that are currently creating pain and slowing my pace, become too heavy to bear.  And the whole time I’m running, I will be carrying a torch, and I will be starting a fire with every fucking step I take, because some day I will have to stand there and look back, and all I want to see are flames.    

 

Vitamin D Deficiency

Wellness, Health, Vitamin D, Auto-immune Disease, Vitamin Deficiency

  As I am building and learning more about health and nutrition, I would like to start sharing what I find.  This is a great article that gives detail about the importance of Vitamin D, and how simple it is to be tested and boosted if needed.  This was one vitamin that tests recently showed that I was low in, and research shows that the majority of Americans are actually deficient!  Don’t let that be you!  Get tested, and start adding some extra Vitamin D to your diet, supplementing, or catching 20 minutes of rays a day!  Hope you enjoy the article,

http://www.healthcentral.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/cf/slideshows/10-facts-about-vitamin-d-and-rheumatoid-arthritis/vitamin-d-deficiency-affects-genes-for-cancer-autoimmune-disorde/?ap=825

Health of a New Kind

I’ve been waiting for the blog fairy to pay me a visit and sprinkle a little inspirational dust my way, but it’s been a while and I am beginning to realize that she may just not show.  So with or without her, I shall proceed.

Today I find myself feeling hopeful as I look towards a new week and what I also believe is a new chapter in my life.  I realize that I have been in a very lengthy “waiting period” as I have been waiting to find solutions, waiting for recovery, waiting for healing, for answers.  And life, as it tends to do has continued to go on around me and has not waited for a moment by my side.

So that brings me back to today.  Today I recognize that I have been neglecting a number of areas in my life.  Areas that contribute to making a person feel like a person, a woman feel like a woman,  an individual feel like an individual, and I know that is not acceptable and nor is it helpful to me as I try to grow and go forward.  This realization didn’t actually start today.  I move way slower than that!  I have been processing and analyzing these feelings for a number of weeks and am just now beginning to give all of this a little shape and meaning.

I have been taking some new steps with my health, which I will write about in another blog, but the bottom line is that I am beginning to see little glimpses of hope in the possibility of becoming stronger physically.  As I began to let this hope slip in (which for the record, at this present time “hope” has to be very persistent to get through the walls I have created over the years in this area in order for me to even acknowledge it slightly), I simultaneously,  gradually began to feel more and more unsettled inside. In fact, I felt so absolutely conflicted and unhappy with my present circumstances and longing for newness that as I was walking out of a store with my daughter I suddenly and impulsively grabbed an application and applied for a job there!   Mind you – Intellectually I know that a new job is not the answer, and particularly one with such limited flexibility, but the need to feel qualified and capable, and the need to feel   human was becoming so strong that I just wanted to grab on to any change as if it were a string tied to a helium balloon and just float away with it.  I actually went on to apply and get offered several jobs over the course of the next few weeks, only to be reminded that the opportunity for income and the flexibility that I require is at best where I am, in my own company.  I am thankful for the gift of being able to do what I love to do and do it in an environment that is accommodating to my physical limitations, but if not a job… what was I looking for?

So here I am, after several weeks of this unsettled search for something, and I am recognizing that neglect is in fact the source of my deep agitation and dissatisfaction.  I have slowly learned to make my health and medical care a priority and though that requires our financial resources and time, I have a greater feeling of peace about this than I have in the past.  Not guilt free yet, but maybe a little less guilt than I previously inflicted on myself for watching these resources be used.  This is progress, and I am going to continue to try to invest in these areas and do so with more confidence and peace.   I have however, failed to notice that as this one area has developed, I have slowly decreased the value and investment into other areas in my life.  It’s as if I made a trade in order to ease my conscience.   So the remaining parts of me and the balance in my life have become quite depleted and off kilter.  Even in the very simplest of areas.  No wonder I have felt so unsettled.

I have recently resorted to merely existing and taking up space, but not actually putting value into that existence or treating myself with the respect tending to other areas in my life.  I am aware that I don’t have unlimited resources to make up for lost time and take care of everything in one fail swoop.  But I do have some resources.  And in the same way that my two beautiful girls have their hair cut, their clean & presentable clothes, are current on their dentist appointments, & have plenty of “extras”, and just as my husband feels confident in his clean, dependable car and his personal appearance as he goes about his day, I have a need within me to be respected in this way as well.  And the lack of respect has not come from those around me.  The lack of respect has begun within me, and will only begin to change with small adjustments, little investments and acknowledgements, until it becomes a new habit and perspective.

So today is a new day.  It is Monday, A start of a new week, a start of a new awareness, and another step towards health of a new kind.