Tuesday, August 26, 2014

8 Years

During the past couple of days, I decided to go back and scan through my blog entries. Until then, it really had not hit me that I have been blogging for 8 years. I honestly never thought it would last this long. 

There have been times when I have taken the title of my blog pretty literally. I have said what I really think about some issues. This has gotten me "defriended" by a couple of people over the years, but sometimes things just need to be said. Reading over changes in my life and friendships over the past few years put me in mind of this poem. Like the poem reflects, I have had friendships that meet all these categories. I have had to walk away from friendships for my own health and sanity. Sadly, this was not necessarily because of the friend, but constant drama in his or her family that I could no longer handle. I have had to step away from some friendships that strained or threatened my marriage. Sometimes, there is just not enough to hold a friendship together through physical distance. There have been a number of times when I have outlived my usefulness in a relationships and they gave ended. This hurts for a time. But, hurts heal. Fortunately, I have those "lifetime" friendships. The most priceless treasures on Earth.



Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
— Unknown

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Limits

One thing I particularly love about watercolor is that it stays within its limits. If there is no water to carry the color, it stays within the limits set for it, most of the time, anyway.

It took me a long time and I still struggle to set limits in my life with other people. Most of my friends and acquaintances know that I am having multiple new medical issues on top of multiple existing medical issues. 




Right now, I am able to make my very basic obligations. Church, teaching at the Senior Center, singing at Heritage House, and encouraging friends are very high on my list. But, after I finish these things, I am absolutely exhausted and it can take several hours to recover enough to fold a load of laundry or heat up supper. 

September promises to be a sea of specialist appointments and tests. I have already had to cancel my first week of watercolor classes to be able to see these new doctors. When I am a new patient waiting for a specialty appointment, I take whatever I can get. I am desperately trying to get well enough to go on a long anticipated weekend trip in October with my best friend. I want to have a birthday party in October, that will double as a fundraiser for Good Shepherd Community Center. 

The rest of August and September need to be my time to work on my healing. 

Right now, I just don't feel like extensive visiting, doing special programs, going anywhere after dark, or even shopping. The rare bits of energy I have need to be going to the things that I feel called to do and to being with chosen friends who understand where my limits are and respect them. 



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My 2 Cents

Like many people today, I am shocked and saddened by the death of Robin Williams. Yet another reminder of the realities of depression and the fact that this disease is no respecter of persons. 

I am a retired licensed professional counselor. At least 75% of the people who walked through my office door suffered from depression. Many of them had suffered in silence for years due to the stigma (which still exists to an alarming degree) associated with getting help. 

Here in the "Bible Belt" depression is often seen as a sign that the person is not close enough to God, is not praying hard enough, etc. This just adds to the guilt and shame that the clinically depressed are already feeling. No wonder suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in this country.

I am sure that I am not the only middle-aged woman who, upon admitting being depressed to a physician, has had her genuine physical ailments immediately dismissed as "stress". Prescriptions for Valium, etc are offered instead of investigating real causes of illness. I never answer the question on history of depression on a new doctor's questionnaire. When my body "broke down" at age 40, what two doctors dismissed as stress turned out to be a neuromuscular disease, sleep apnea, asthma, severe food allergies, and severe anemia. I thank God every day for the young doc at MEA in Clinton who cared enough to refer me to the right doctors and get me treated for these very real illnesses. 

I have been clinically depressed. I was able to ignore the well meaning friends who did not think I needed help and listen to the ones who thought I did. I found a good counselor and anti-depressant medication. I leaned (too heavily at times, God bless them) on my friends. And, eventually, I got better. 

Unfortunately, the stories of others don't end as well as mine did. 

May you find the peace in death that you could not find in life, Robin. 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Hearts

I have had tests done on my heart for years. Because of my family history, doctors tend to check my heart every few years, just in case. They have always come back clear and the problem has been something else. 

When Dr. Distante came in the room Tuesday, I was honestly expecting him to say, "Well, it's not your heart" and ship me back to Dr. LaTorre. 

I was a little taken aback when he told me that the tests had shown that there do appear to be some problems. 

My heart does not seem to be pumping quite enough blood and there is fluid around my it. I am scheduled for a heart cathererization on Friday to see if the other test results were correct and possibly fix problems.

I know that these procedures are routine and very low risk now, but I would be lying if I said that I was not a trifle nervous. I have tried to better my odds of heart problems (no smoking, taking my cholesterol meds, trying not too eat too many fried or greasy foods, and exercising as able with my myopathy) but, as the doc says, sometimes genetics just suck. 

Best case scenario is that whatever they find can be easily fixed and I will get some energy back. I have places to go, people to see, and things to do! As the meme says "Ain't Nobody Got Time for This!" 

I certainly don't!

Friday, August 01, 2014

Miss Mary

When I woke up this morning, it was raining. I had planned to go to the gym, but, just for a moment, I was SO tempted to just skip it. It would have been lovely just to sit down in my chair and play with my iPad. 

I quickly shook off that notion, put my clothes on, grabbed my umbrella, and headed off to Fitness Works. As I arrived, my friend, 94 year old Mary Clark was coming out of the gym. Yes, Miss Mary was out IN THE RAIN before 9 AM at the gym!

Miss Mary amazes me. Even at 94, she has never grown "old". She does not constantly harp on aches and pains. She does not constantly talk about "the good old days." She is lively and interested in other people and what is going on with THEM. I remember getting an invitation to the 90th birthday party that she threw for herself. She wanted to treat her family and friends rather than have them treat her. 

I want to be Miss Mary when I grow up. I want to stay interested. I don't want to waste my time complaining. I want to learn new things. I want to throw my own 90th birthday party!

And I want to still be going to the gym when I am 94!