Tag: self care

It All Works Out

Don’t worry about it {whatever your it may be} because everything will work out in due time.

I don’t know about you, but I am not comforted by the aforementioned sentiment. For a fact, I often feel like it’s an insult when someone says it or any variation of it to me.

Unfortunately I’ve uttered similar statements to others; however, now my perspective on it has changed.

I know that individuals are well intentioned when they say things of that nature and they are genuinely attempting to comfort the recipient.

It’s likely comforting to some individuals, in a similar sense that statements suggesting that a higher power or the universe is working things out on your behalf.

Sigh, I’ve never been one to be comforted by such statements. I’m often someone who struggles to see past my current situation and circumstances. I guess some would say when it comes to my perception of my life, I’m a glass half-empty kind of person!

This is not the case when it comes to my perception of other’s lives and the advice I give. That’s when I’m beyond optimistic and encouraging.

This part of my personality, makes me a great advice-giver and not so good advice-recipient. Especially when that advice requires me to change my perception of my situation.

Before you start with the shenanigans about how this is a bad thing and I need to work on it…let me ease your mind: I actively work to improve myself and my life daily. This includes changing how I perceive my situation and circumstances.

So, yes I work on it, but, I’m a work in progress to say the least. I don’t necessarily see my perspective as a bad thing, however, there are times when the balance is not there!

For instance, during the last few months, I accepted a job that will launch my professional career, I’ve managed to keep my bank account open during a long 7 month stretch of unemployment, and I never once became homeless or experienced true hunger despite my lack of income.

Ok that sounds great right? All things considered, but I see my situation through another set of lens.

That set of lens suggest that I’ve been unable to pay a single bill independently for the entire year of 2019 thus far; I had to depend on my parents, extended family, and friends for the simplest of my basic needs; and most of the time when my phone rings it’s a debtor whom I must tell the same tired story about why I am unable to pay my bills; I have multiple educational degrees and yet I was unable to secure any employment; my credit score has plummeted; and yes I have a full time position lined up that will launch my professional career and it is the position I desired but it doesn’t feel that significant.

Think about the differences between those thought statements. Now, imagine how an individual with the latter thoughts feels when someone says it will all work out.

Imagine their surprise when the person with the latter thoughts is unable to even faintly smile in return to their well intentioned statement.

Sigh. I’ve been told that I’m a negative person and that I make others uncomfortable when I do not take comfort in their sentiments.

Ok, so here’s the deal…I’m not here to for anyone’s comfort and it’s nonsensical for me to change my feelings about my situation and circumstances for the sole purpose of making someone else feel that their advice is inspiring.

Additionally, the phrase that it will all work out is on the same shelf as it could be worse…those phrases are empty platitudes.

I’m not naive I am very self-aware. I do not waddle in despair and I do not feel that my situation and circumstances are hopeless. However, I do not feel comfortable in this situation or with these circumstances.

I am entitled to feel however I feel. I believe it would be much easier for people to simply say, that sucks during the rare times they hear of my situation or circumstances.

Plus, it’s more than appropriate for an individual to tell me that they do not care to discuss my situation because it’s bringing them down. It’s important to take care of you, and part of that is protecting your own mental health.

Thankfully, I don’t sit around and incessantly gripe about my situation and circumstances. For a fact, when most people are made aware of them they are shocked.

But on the off chance that I do share with you or that anyone tells you their less than good current situation and circumstances,..try not to immediately find a fix! Just listen and once you’ve had enough change the topic.

And please, be mindful when you say it will all work out!

What’s something that irks your nerves when you’re in the midst of a trying time?

Let’s talk about today…

I’m in the land of the living; however, most of my residence today is in the I Am Chronically Unwell camp! That’s no problem!

Well it’s a bit of a problem…let me explain.

I’m what most people would consider invisibly unwell. Meaning that there’s not many external markers that give away my membership in the club of chronically unwell and/or sick individuals.

There’s millions of individuals who have invisible illnesses so that’s not the problem.

The problem is that at times my acting skills are so good that even I forget that chronic ailments take up residence in my body. Yes, acting skills! Day in and day out I purposely put on my best face and I muster up all the strength I can to downplay my membership to the chronically unwell club.

Through the years I’ve worked hard to not allow my ailments to define me. We’re not going to get into how psychological, physical, and emotional damaging this mindset can be when it has limited impact on the true state of illness.

I won’t say that this acting is a bad thing, neither will I declare it a good thing…I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. I’ll just say the acting is what I do on a daily basis. Acting as if I am free of any ailments despite the fact that my body is riddled with ailments became my way of life decades ago. So much so that presently acting well is simply a habit now.

Sigh. So when I have days like today when my illnesses outweigh my acting skills and I must pause…I struggle.

I struggle because I’ve spent so much time pretending to be well that I forget how to tend to my illnesses.

I struggle because no one is used to me saying no or being unable to participate in whatever activity they want me to.

I struggle because on those days (today) I’m forced to look at myself and see the illnesses that I fight so hard to ignore.

I struggle because the illnesses impact my entire being.

You’d think I’d only experienced days like today once every three years, the way it seems to knock me down. You would think that there’s no warning signals and that I’m always caught by surprise based on my reaction to days like today.

None of that is true.

I frequently experienced days like today. There’s generally always warning signs and I even take steps to prepare for the life interruptions. Yet, I’ll never get used to the toll days like today take on me.

Days like today will be familiar, yet foreign.

Independence

I’m a bit rusty on child development research; however, I know that between the toddler and preschool years children stake their claims for independence.

Oh yes they want to prove that they no longer need their caregivers to help them with anything. Most of us in the United States are very familiar with the coined phrase, “mommy wow, I’m a big kid now” thanks to a popular advertisement.

This time of independence is often challenging for the caregivers. This stage is one of the first times, caregivers get a glimpse into the future when their child is less dependent on them. This stage comes quickly; however, many caregivers feel like its sudden.

As you know I’m certainly not a toddler, nor a preschooler but I’m once again staking my claim for independence.

I’ll explain…I’ve had a various jobs throughout my life but the next job will be the first position I have where I’m also not simultaneously a student.

That’s all great but it has little to do with my claim for independence.

My claim for independence stems from the fact that I’ve reached a place in life where I’m not concerned about being identified by my family or any attributes.

I don’t want to identify myself as X’s daughter or a member of X organization.

So my independence embodies the fact that I’m stepping out on my own and I’m defining who and what I am. My family and friends don’t have to hold my hands because like the child attempting to prove that they are a big kid now; i am showing my Family and friends that I’m able to do these things I’ve set out to do,

I’m a big kid now!

Mental Health Days

During my days in elementary school, my mother taught me about self-care.

I do not believe that she was intentionally teaching my sister and I about self care when she would declare a random day – Mental Health Day.

Mental Health Day did not come often but when it did it was outrageously exhilarating to elementary me.

Ok so Mom’s Mental Health Day was a day of lounging, eating something healthy and fuss free, and enjoying board games with some sort of dessert!

The most fascinating part about these Mental Health Days is that we stayed at home from work and/or school on these days. We just enjoyed each other’s company.

If we watched something on the television, it was a family movie that we all wanted to see. Since there were rarely movies that we all wanted to see, we rarely watched television on our special days.

Looking back, I see now that my mom had to carve out time for us as a family. Time that she was not rushing to go to work or trying to rest up for the next shift at work. She knew that our school work and her employment would be there once our day commenced…however, she must’ve been acutely aware that the easygoing, laid back time we shared together would be limited.

My sister and I are adults now and even living in the same town, it’s difficult to carve out a day when we can just share each other’s company. Work, school, family, church, and so on and so on gets in the way.

Neither me nor my sister have mom’s ingenuity to select the perfect day as a Mental Health Day. We’ve tried but we just don’t have the special touch my mom did.

Now when we try it feels forced and we are often busy trying to connect to the outside world on our devices and we just don’t accomplish a Mental Health Day.

But we remember those wonderful days that we shared with our mother and we marvel at how easily she pulled them off!

Back then once our day was over and life as we knew it returned, we were refreshed. Practically skipping joyfully on our way to school and/or work.

Our behavior at school and home improved and our relationship with each other grew.

I didn’t know it then but now I know that my mom taught me that self care is vitally important and it does not take much money.

I’m pretty sure that these mental health days likely occurred on my mom’s days off and on those rare half-days at school because my mom wouldn’t just let us miss a full regular school day

However, back then I was simply ecstatic that we were having fun with each other and just relaxing.

As I mention, I don’t have the magic formula my mom had to pull off a perfect mental health day; but mom gave me the guidelines on how to take care of myself regardless of what’s going on in the world or even in my world!

Mental Health Days in my home embodied what is now known as self-care and my mom was the best at it!

Waiting

Waiting…I could be better at this. My waiting game could definitely be improved, a lot!

Now as I wait for direction on how to proceed in my job search, I grow impatient. I developed several excuses of why my impatience is justified.

Seriously, I have debts…enough said. My residence is not my own, therefore, I fail to have my own space. There are personal items that I need to function in daily life…I am an adult. I am supposed to furnish these items and take care of these debts on my own. Trust me when I suggest that I have many reasons to justify my impatience.

BUT! Justification or not, I am in a period of waiting…waiting sucks! My needs are being met during this time so honestly, my justifications for impatience are a bit weak; however, I am struggling (MENTALLY) as I wait.

Patience is one of those things that I can only tend to find when I am teaching, counseling, or advising. Do you notice something about those things? I find patience for OTHERS but rarely for myself. IF someone takes a little longer or even a lot longer to grasp a concept, my patience is beautiful – for a fact, many people would be shocked to know that I have ZERO patience with myself and/or my journey.

I am not sure how I actually completed the doctoral program…it did require a lot of patience, but it was also formulaic. I knew what was next and what had to be achieved in order to reach the final milestone of the program. I need to locate the patience I had with the program as I WAIT for what to do next.

My brain is less foggy since completing the program, so I know that this time of “rest” has been good for me. I put rest in quotes because I’ve never been particularly good at resting. I have a bad habit of filling my rest time with activities, so yeah…it’s not complete rest.

Waiting.

I am able to wait in a long line patiently or even to wait in the waiting room at a medical facility, but waiting to figure out what my next move will be is torturous.

I’ve lived my life filled with plans and now I do not have a plan. Yes, these plans never quite worked out but it was comforting for me to have said plans. Now I do not have a plan and I am working on this whole “living in the present” thing while I wait.

Waiting.

There are several things that I could do during this time. I could easily do a job just because I need the money…but here’s the thing I do not like to leave things without finishing what I started. Also, I really do need to wait until the last of the post-doctoral program brain fog dissipates in the name of self-care.

Waiting sucks but I imagine that soon this transitional time will pay off for me. I have to listen to my intuition, my voice in my head, the higher power, the universe, God, or whatever you may call it so that means that I wait.

Stay tuned…the waiting will be over soon.

Rest required

I have a few chronic illnesses, some that I’ve written about in the past…it doesn’t matter what they are, just know that they exist and they impact every facet of my life.

I recently defended my dissertation (Yay Me!!!) now it is time to focus on job hunting (Why me?) and this is where chronic illness is front and center.

So I’ve lived with these chronic illnesses for many years and I’ve achieved my educational goals…although things never went smoothly…and now I’m exhausted

I have important people to contact, cover letters to compose, and applications to complete…but I’m tired.

I’m not only tired from the arduous process that is a doctoral program…my chronic illnesses are screaming at me to pause temporarily.

My chronic illnesses are suggesting that I breathe, meditate, then rest. Sigh.

As many of you know, application deadlines and all the many things necessary for getting a job fails to account for the fact that your (my) chronic illnesses demand that I rest.

Some of you may even go so far as to say, if I need rest during the application process, I’m likely not able to do the job for which I am applying.

Then there’s others who would say that the PhD process is tedious and the typical person would need a break, so it’s not unusual that I need a break…in the form of a short rest.

The problem I often face as a result of being chronically ill is that I wonder if I’m being lazy or I really need the rest.

Those closest to me suggest that I simply need the rest, but even that’s not always convincing enough to stop my negative self talk

As someone with chronic illnesses, it is hard enough to deal with some outsider suggesting that you are lazy, incompetent and yet many of us, myself included engage in negative self talk when our bodies demand self-care.

I am someone who possesses chronic illnesses, but I’m also more than that. I am someone who needs accommodations, but I’m also more than that. I am more than any identifier I possess…if only I consistently believed that.

Stress induced flare

Ok so here’s the deal, in less than 10 days my dissertation defense will happen and my angst is high

I’m not nervous about what I know as it pertains to my dissertation; but I’m concerned about the what’s next questions that are flooding my mind

This is bad because the illnesses that reside in my body react badly to stress…really bad.

My thoughts are jumbled; I’m frustrated and I’m ready to scream

I must find a way to calm my mind and balance myself.

I must relax or else I won’t make it through my dissertation defense because I’ll be nursing a flare.

Why are my illnesses stress- sensitive ?