Sunday With April

Amidst chaos, self-doubt, self-hate, changes…..look, and you will find some beauty.

I have a list that has accumulated and some of what I have found to be beautiful are…

  • Lavender, lots of lavender
  • Sensible Girlfriend – she makes me laugh when I don’t feel like laughing
  • True mountains
  • Time to reflect
  • Our new grand puppy…..even though he pees when he sees us because he’s so excited
  • NFL Football season again! woohoo!
  • The sounds of summer
  • A baby lizard

Some photos from the wedding to share:

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Our youngest son, me, our oldest’s girlfriend, our oldest.

******The marriage ceremony was performed by our new son-in-law’s best friend

May you find something to make you smile.

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Posted in Grattitude, Uncategorized | Tagged | 12 Comments

Warning Music Needed

I often wish life would simply roll along without any detours. By detours, I mean depression or massive anxiety. It would be so nice if my life were like a Hallmark movie. You know, with quirky updated elevator music always playing in the background, getting darker sounding when something rotten is about to happen.

Now that I have a computer back….I couldn’t revive my old one….maybe I will release more thoughts here and respond to comments left. I’ve been simply dumping my thoughts and not returning to WordPress.  What I’m finding is that I must be totally in tune with my body, and I need the encouragement, or basic camaraderie I have found in the blogging community. Thanks to you all.

The mind is a mysterious place filled with memories of experiences, automatic responses, and thoughts. Yes, we can control those thoughts. As I’ve found, one can’t let their guard down lest some major life event happens and negative thoughts swirl out of control. Kind of like a category 1 hurricane building into the major destruction of a category 4. (By the way, my most sincere prayers for those of Texas impacted by the latest hurricane)

For…..oh, I don’t know how long…one thing after another kept happening. I knew a long time ago that I wanted to lose weight for our daughter’s wedding. But, in my sick mind, I procrastinated and didn’t take care of myself. Looking for dresses and shoes was a major source of anxiety. I should have taken a cue from my daughter. As soon as the photos and ceremony were over, she changed into a cute white dress with red tennis shoes. Did she care? Nope.

I have been experiencing some sharp chest pains and my first thought was cancer. I went to two doctors and had a ct scan. I didn’t receive an answer to the source of the pain, but apparently my heart is okay and I still remain cancer free–6 years now. I have a trip to another doctor next week. I will get to the source of the pain, no matter how many doctors I have to pester.

And……..our youngest son and his girlfriend, along with my grand puppies, decided they were going to take a road trip to include a stop for the wedding. Half way through their planning they decided they would not be returning from Seattle. Our oldest remains in the city of Atlanta but 2/3 of our kids are in different time zones! Talk about an empty nest.

I took that detour of anxiety and depression, but guess what? I’m still here. I didn’t physically fall into a heap on the floor….just in my mind. I learned a lot about myself through the eyes of others. I have also done a lot of soul searching. The coping strategies I learned are still there, they were simply pushed to the back and I let old habits return.

So, I guess I’m not perfect. Ha!

There may not be any mysterious music playing in the background but there are clues that things are about to change. Recognizing and acting upon what I see coming is important. I can’t bury my head and believe what’s happening isn’t really happening. Change is constant, being open to change and learning how to cope using various strategies is the important part of accepting that change. I will continue striving to believe in myself and my capabilities.

 

Posted in Anxeity and Depression, Depression, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

When a Smile Is Not a Smile

A lot has been going on in my life and I have so much to say but have kept it all tucked into my bag of Shame On Me.

Our daughter was married last Sunday. She married a wonderful young man and the venue/ceremony was beautiful. As mother of an independent bride-to-be, I kept a low profile. She finally gave me the task of obtaining flowers and decorating the venue. All went fine in spite of my lack of confidence.

For months, there was a build up of anxiety. It wasn’t until a week before the wedding that I realized where it was coming from. Social anxiety, and my introverted nature. How was I going to deal with all the activity?

I pretended.

I focused on the happiness and beauty of the day. The smiles around me. The pure joy of watching our daughter. I felt it. I was present. I will remember it in my mind without pictures to remind me. Pictures are nice, but it’s important for me to also hold the memory in my mind.

I have lied awake every night since, staring at the ceiling, replaying what I perceived I did or didn’t do correct. Mind torture that I desperately try to replace with positive memories, thoughts, or scenes.

At dinner the night before we left, Sensible Girlfriend took a picture of all of us with my mom. After the photo, our oldest told me that his new girlfriend is the only one who understands why he doesn’t like to smile for photos. To them, if a smile doesn’t reach the eyes, it’s just an action.

I understand now.

This morning I read the following quote on Instagram: Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo. – Jon Sinclair

I’m very bruised at the moment. Not because I feel as if I failed my duties of obtaining flowers or decorating the wedding venue. Not because I wonder what my new in-laws think of me. Not because I wonder if I offended anyone.

I’m bruised because I failed myself. I failed the lessons I’ve been teaching myself for years. I failed to be compassionate to myself.

I must remind myself that I’m bruised…..not tattooed.

 

Posted in Anxeity and Depression | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

The Little Thought That Grew

Depression warning-you may want to skip if you’re having difficulty right now.

Of all the years and years of dealing with depression—most of the time untreated depression, only once did I feel as if I wanted to end it all. Not just run away like I’ve always done but to not exist anymore.

Yesterday I hit that low for a second time in my life, and it scared me. I thought about my family and their loss.

Then I focused on all the little lines that make the tiles in the shower. I looked at the designs of the patterned strip surrounding the walls. I thought about the person who created such a pleasant design. I focused on the water hitting me on the head. The head that is still alive and has a flicker that remains lit.

That little flicker reminds me that I am a warrior inside and I know this mood is temporary.

 

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Throw a Little Chaos Into It

Beware to readers who may be depressed at the time you read this. My intention is not to make you more hopeless because I know a new moment is coming to enjoy life….it’s just not right now.

For months I have been struggling to find happiness and joy. Do I find things funny? Yes. I laugh, I smile, I’m my sarcastic self…….but I’m not myself. Deep down, there is a storm a-brewing. The nasty kind with clapping thunder and magnificent lightning.

I’ve never tried so hard to change my negative thoughts than I have the last couple….or has it been several….months. Pbbbt…it could be longer than that.

I am a fake, but an award worthy actress.

I live, but I’m not living.

Continuing to look for the blessings in life is still a minute by minute exercise. The feel of my grand puppy’s hair, the sunshine in the morning, visiting with family……

I exist.

Posted in Depression | Tagged | 15 Comments

Travelling First Class in My Mind

Understanding what we think is what we become has been a long process for me. I’m really tired of feeling depressed, obsessed, sad…..

Ugh, I’m so tired of the questions of what thoughts are swirling in my mind right now?

Our daughter’s wedding is quickly approaching. She gave the the duties of finding a florist and I did with the obsessive zest I tend to lean toward. Yes, I got my hands slapped in the most tactful way. While I was dreaming of this and that, our daughter and her fiance reminded me they are simple people. They want to enjoy the company attending the wedding instead of stressing over details of decorations and fru-fru. They are having their wedding on a very beautiful farm in the foothills of Mount Baker, Washington, and that is more than enough fru-fru.

I’ve obsessively searched for the proper dress to wear. I’ve moved to shoes and rehearsal dinner apparel. Our daughter has asked us for our favorite songs to dance to and I have obsessively searched for songs. In fact, I created an entire playlist for her…..should she need it. However, we were asked to submit three.

Obsessive tendencies….that’s what my therapist has suggested I have. I suppose she’s correct because it leaves me little time for other activities.

Our youngest and Sensible Girlfriend are driving across the states to the wedding with their two Australian Shepherds…..one is still a puppy so that should be a challenge. For months they have planned this trip and are looking forward to visiting various beautiful places the United States holds. During their planning they decided to stay in the Seattle area.

A great big dose of Mom Yikes!

We will now have three kids in three different time zones. I have to admit I felt sorry for myself when our youngest informed us of their plans. Sensible Girlfriend is one of my peeps! However, moving doesn’t mean life ends for me as I know it. It begins a new adventure they have the opportunity to experience and I have a new opportunity to learn how to grow without crutches.

While asking myself why I keep putting my mind at the back of the plane and keep trying to advance, one row at a time, then being set back three rows, is exhausting. Again, I’m overthinking. Sometimes things are what they are. They aren’t always about me.

So, I will sit back and enjoy the beginnings of new lives for two of my kids.

At least I’ll try, but somebody better be serving me Bloody Mary’s as I watch the Premier.

 

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Sunday With April

We have had some changes to our little way of life. Our youngest moved out, along with his dogs. We are empty nesters again…for the first time in 30 years we are also dog free.

Could this be what has thrown me off kilter? Ugh, I believe I overthink too much.

The following made me smile this week:

  • a Google Chat (like Skype) call with our daughter
  • a phone call from our oldest
  • a long visit with our youngest and the grand puppies
  • 2 for the price of one sale on salsa….and most importantly, 2 for the price of one sale on bags of M&Ms
  • for weeks I have been hearing an odd sound. Thought for sure it was a frog stuck in the basement or hanging around the outside of our living room. I couldn’t pinpoint where it was coming from. When our youngest came to visit, I asked him to listen, within one second he said, “it’s coming from your blu-ray player or tv equipment”. Aha! It was the blu-ray player. Problem solved!
  • finding my way to adjust my sails in a different direction

I hope you find something to make you smile!

Posted in Grattitude | Tagged | 8 Comments

Sunday With April

This week, the following made me smile:

  • A deep breath of the scent of freshly cut grass (yes, I notice this often)
  • Pink blossoms on a Mimosa Tree (or Persian Silk Tree)
  • They rearranged the waiting area at our veterinarian’s office
  • My old lady cat (age 18) is free of the infection she was suffering from, and her kidneys are in good shape
  • The middle-child-cat’s blood work is good. We have been watching his liver enzymes and there is no sign of cancer.
  • A grandma holding her grandchild up in the air so that the child could smile at all the goodies hanging from above
  • Learning that the lady who dispenses the plethora of my medications is a neighbor (ha! can’t hide my crazy from my neighbors)

….and for a little snarky one….

  • All three of my cats now have the sneezies. They are so kind to share their respiratory ailments with each other, I love their kindness to each other.

I hope you find something to make you smile today.

Posted in Grattitude, Uncategorized | Tagged | 9 Comments

The Cracks Will Eventually Fade

This is one of my metaphoric posts. I think if I visualize something I can make it stick in my mind.

That little house in Nowhere, Missouri has really been a type of thorn in my side. Years ago…two? three? When we inherited it from my husband’s dad, I saw the connection that my husband had with his dad while we were discussing what to do with the house. The house his dad built.

I know how attached I am to items built by my dad, so we kicked around the idea of slowing down life and moving to the little house. The light in my husband’s eyes made my heart warm. He has sacrificed, and worked so hard for our family for many years which enabled me to be a stay-at-home mom. It’s his turn to enjoy life, feeling close to his dad’s spirit.

As most houses do, the house settled. Well, actually, one of the foundation walls was in a precarious state. We had someone fix that for us as well and replace the roof and perform all the home inspections.

Some of you know my father-in-law was a heavy smoker. I couldn’t breathe in the house, I had to have my rescue inhaler with me at all times. Masks have helped a lot and I believe we have reduced the smell to an almost liveable level. However, the house makes me cough….a lot. There is still work to do.

Anyway, as I’ve whined about before, there are so many cracks in the walls and ceiling. Each and every seam is cracked. Oh! I forgot about the walls with wallpaper or a wallpaper border that had to come down. My wish was to tear everything down to the studs and begin again. My husband was the practical one….that type of thing takes money we just don’t have. So we do what we can, when we can, with the money we have saved.

We have removed wallpaper piece by piece, scrubbed the surfaces of everything multiple times, and I have used my very amateurish skill repairing the cracks.

All the cracks.

It’s a process that can’t be rushed. If the desired look is to be acceptable to my little perfectionistic mind, it takes a very long time. I found the hard way that one can’t just slap some joint compound over the cracks and call it good. It’s a process of retaping the seams and covering with the proper layers of joint compound—feathering out each layer and sanding between. Hopefully, in the end, the cracks will never be noticeable to my eyes.

I’ll know they are there but I worked hard to repair them. I did it with raw determination, lots of do-overs, a ton of sanding (thank you, facemasks), and more wiping of dust.

One room is complete. Well, I think I need to go over some areas that I’m not happy with and feather out some flaws, but I know I can do it.

Rebuilding is being accomplished, one little step at a time. Just as my mind. One step at a time. One little piece of the puzzle placed with love and caring for myself.

In the back of my mind I wonder how limited my life may be…..will cancer return? I don’t know. All I have is today. This moment. I deserve to enjoy this moment. A moment spent sipping on a cup of coffee, looking at the leaves on the trees, listening to the birds sing, marvelling at the very blue sky, the softness of the clouds as they pass.

The moment I have to repair a crack in my mind.

None of us know how much time we will have, I certainly don’t know what my next moment will bring, I simply know that this very moment I have a chance to improve the moment.

It can be done, I know. It simply takes time. If a moment is passed without recognition, it’s a moment one can never get back. It’s never too late to pull up your bootstraps and make an inch of progress. It’s one inch further than you were yesterday, this morning, last hour, the minute that just passed.

……and for the rah, rah moment……go ahead, patch those cracks! You can do it, you just have to be a little patient.

Posted in Depression | Tagged | 19 Comments

Learning to be Helpless? Aw, c’mon

My husband has been taking a class, “Psychology for Living”. He has shared varying topics he has learned. He shares, I nod. Yes, I know about all that. I live that.

The other day, he started describing, Learned Helplessness. Hmmm. He went on to say how it is believed to be the root of some depression. I instantly had tears in my eyes. Could I have learned to put myself through this kind of mind torture? How do I unlearn it? I want to do that now!

So, I went to my source of all sources, Google. Sure enough, there was a topic I hadn’t explored yet. I started reading but didn’t get very far. I didn’t like what I was seeing in myself. To top it off, I returned way back to the cobweb infested part of my brain to dig up the old taunts from childhood friends and the feelings of isolation. All the beliefs created by a young growing mind.

Seriously, I thought I’d moved beyond that. I truly believe the past does not equal the future. We create our destiny with information we have retained through our experiences and interpretations thereof. It’s an ongoing process of receiving information, processing the information based upon what we know to be true, and creating our reality.

As I skimmed one article regarding “unlearning” helplessness I came across something that I already do. It’s known as gratitude, counting your blessings, being thankful. I’m actually doing something to teach myself to correct what I see as flaws in myself. I know I have much more to learn but at least I’m going the right direction.

For some time, I have been trying to regain my confidence. I don’t know why or how, but I lost the warrior inside me. I gave in to helplessness. The notion that if one action didn’t work out, try another, or another, or another, until I attained the desired results….poof….gone….lost in my mind of learned helplessness.

What do I have to be grateful today? I have passed the 6-year mark of my cancer surgery. I’m still alive and cancer free. That should be enough, however I sometimes wish I didn’t live the life inside my mind.

So…..I will continue to learn…..or unlearn, whatever the case may be.

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