That Beautiful Silver Cross

 

cross

The silver cross hangs from my car mirror.  On it is inscribed, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’.  How often I read those words and prayed for strength after first, my mother’s diagnosis with multiple myeoloma – then her fall down my stairs while on Coumadin (blood thinner) and the flight from New Hampshire to Mass General with the diagnosis of a prominent brain bleed.  She at that time was given four hours to live.  Mom lived almost another year, and given the opportunity to enjoy her family.

The couple of months one to two times a day driving into Boston to see mom in the ICU was wearing to my spirit.  Also managing my medications and stress level was important, along with counseling sessions.  Life was full, but so focused on stress and life and death.  It was a crazy time.

Though staring at me while in my car so often hung that cross with the perfect verse to maintain my sanity and strength through those times, till long after that time when I was caring for my mom in my home.  It was so very difficult to care for mom, but I would do that over in a heartbeat.  I learned so much about the strength of love during that time.  And we became the best of friends.

That cross still hangs from my mirror, and that promise from God still inspires me.  Because I know without fault that God will strengthen me and I CAN do all things through Christ.  Thanks to you God!!

Leaving It In The Past and Peaking Around The Corner

 

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be such a debilitating disorder.  It can be one traumatic event that causes fear for the rest of one’s life; or it can be years of repeated attacks to the soul that sparks episodes of recall, fear, depression, or anxiety.  The depths of the attack to one’s spirit is intense and forever relevant with hair-raising episodes of fear, elevating periods of a pounding pulse and startling fast paced breathing.  It is not a disorder that is easily overcome or forgotten, if ever.

For me, I realized that just reading in my journal the full recollection of a traumatic event caused me to become depressed.  I was not so much depressed that I could not function, but my mind was saying  “put the brakes on, I don’t want this to impact me again”.  I could either be on alert or put the brakes on.  The recent recollection slowed me down and unconsciously I said “NO”.  I don’t want to feel this again.

Due to my PTSD I realized that I have to take a break from reading my journals from years past.  I will go back to it eventually, but now it is time to be present and in the moment.  I, of course, don’t live back in those days.  My life now is fulfilling and ever-changing.  Each day is a new adventure.  I’m looking forward to what’s around the corner.

Healing With Ink On The Page

 

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My writing and thoughts were disconnected.  One thought ran into another, or worse yet – the thoughts that came out one after another had no reasoning to be with each other at all.  The writing was scribbles and yelling on the page.  I couldn’t get my perspective back into order.  Then all of a sudden, I began to write the depths of my fears on the page.  I began to blurt out the whole memory from the beginning.  My writing evened out and became more legible with each thought of the horrible memory that I began putting down in ink.  Somehow my writing of these memories were cathartic.  Somehow I found my voice!

I Wish That I Was As Strong As I Look

peace

A familiar theme in my past journals is that I wish I was as strong as I look.  It seems unimaginable that I could keep my emotions of fear (or anything for that matter) hid so deep inside.  I can still do that at some times, but I work on being healthier and letting those feelings out – and to talk about them.  I have had the ability to have a pounding heart and be filled with anxiety, yet still appear relaxed to the point that others around me feel more relaxed due to my calm presence.  But the healthier part of me now says release those emotions.  Talk to someone.  Pray!

Prayer helps so much and releases a lot of my burden.  I put my feelings and all of the future actions into God’s hands.  It’s a beautiful thing.  And to remember that I’m never alone is so peaceful to my spirit.  There have been times that I’ve said, “Who can I call?  Who can I talk to?”  Then I realize God is always available.  And I pray.  And peace overcomes me.

Carefully Watching Eyes

children

Way back in 1995 (I was twenty-five at the time), I questioned myself with the goal of going back to school.  I thought that perhaps I was being selfish because I was taking time away from the family.  The children have always been my main priority in life, and knowing now that going back to college and becoming an RN was in fact one of the best things that I could have done for me, (and yes) for the children.

The children saw first hand what hard work can do for someone.  I became a nurse, and enjoyed working in my field.  I was meant to be a helper.  I found out that I am capable and responsible, and truly filled with compassion.  The role model that I was able to be encouraged the children in later years to know that they could do it too.  My children were the first ones in our family to maintain excellent grades in college, work hard, and all of them to receive their baccalaureate degrees (I received my Registered Nurse Diploma).  And for that I’m immensely proud and know that these goals are going to prosper throughout the generations.  Anything they set their minds on can be within reach.

Taking care of oneself shows others how to also work hard to care for oneself and pursue personal goals.  It is not being selfish to be a good role-model.  It is good to spend the quality time when able though.  I recall two years in a row studying for exams while my ex-husband and the children went apple picking.  I missed those experiences, but thankfully my ex-husband jumped in to make memories.  We were both thinking about the future, just in different roles and ways.

My Strength

isaiah

 

Understanding that perfection is not a possibility is step one to happiness.  Yes doing one’s best is great, but perfection and striving for perfection leads to needless self-criticism.  I have learned that settling for great can be accomplished.  Even if it’s not great, that’s OK.  But to say that’s “good enough” doesn’t work for me.  With God’s guidance I can do better than good enough.  My strive is to accomplish my personal best with each endeavor.  Thank you God for opening my mind and letting me know that through your Holy Spirit, I am capable.  You are my guide!

Finding A Better Way

 

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I have gained more acceptance of my fate in life with the understanding that I need to be diligent in my medical/psychological care.  I have to make a conscious effort and be proactive in being mindfully healthy.  Yet, I still rely on the help of others.  Even to be outwardly open about my struggle with mental health and my Bipolar is a positive step for others to see and understand that there is no need to have UNWARRANTED shame, related to a difficult illness that is hard to control.

To have delusions, delirium, and to be locked up against your will, and be forced to take medications.  Or worse yet, to be held down (against your will) and be shot up with these mind altering meds is a loss of total control over one’s own body, mind, and will.  You are once again a child that is being pushed around (an abused child) and being assaulted.  I do know in my heart that the goal is good, but the way it is completed is NOT!  Your spirit and will are taken away.  There must be a better way.

So therefore I’m going to think about the alternative.  If perhaps I was not held down and given these meds to control my delusions, word salad, hallucinations, and other (I believe) stress related induction of symptoms, I would be lost in my own world, or worse yet, I would be dead from where my mind could have taken me.  So yes, the treatment is unfair, though it is not unkind.  In my state of chaos, my mind and eyes are seeing evil, but in the reality of the situation control is trying to be established so that a solution or treatment can be instilled.

Therefore I have to remind myself that although the methods of care have not yet been perfected to make the one with mental illness feel soothed or under careful attention and comfort, the goal is to be healed.  An empathy to understand one going through this treatment is a must.  It is a painful experience to endure.  Please remember that these individuals feel a loss of control and dignity.  A therapist and advocate needs to be put into the situation immediately.