Saturday, January 15, 2022
Friday, June 18, 2021
All of the social distacing and isolation from others does not, however, make the deeps hurts before magically disappear. Mother Teresa once said, "Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway." Before my aneurysm I was a "peacekeeper" NOT a 'peacemaker' like I should have been, a "people pleaser" that hated confrontation. I felt very uncomfortable with no nonsense, gruff , military like personalities. Being an off- the-charts highly sensitive person, I was used to a softer more sensitive approach to life. When I didn't agree, the people around me listened and we had polite discussions. I did not find much of this approach to life after graduating from college. I took things too personally and had no "coping device" like those around me for this new environment. So as you can imagine, I naturally felt largely unheard and misunderstood. To keep the peace for a number of years I just went along with it trying to justify ri myself why I must be wrong. I tried to act unaffected and "fine." It was only my hubby I trusted enough to know the truth. And by the time I was brave enough too share, the hurt and uncomfortable feelings I felt, it seemed too late. He had a lifetime of developing coping skills of listening but not taking things too seriously and then simply living his life mostly unaffected. The other noted approach was to just laugh everything off and also go along my own way. These don't develop over night, andd neither of them were for me! What did happen in a matter of seconds was an aneurysm that flooded my head with blood and did some serious damage. My filter was gone just like that. I started to disagree. I started to share opinions I never would have before. They came out with much less tact and Grace than they would have if I shared them to begin with. In a recent devotion the title was "Hurt people,Hurt people." GUILTY! I carried a whole lot of hurt. I didn't mean to hurt others but it did. What was hurt was judged by others as hate. I have wrestled with this for over a year now, given it to Jesus and known in my heart it wasn't hate. I have wept and felt depressed. I have avoided people and witheld affection because I just couldn't be 'fake' any longer. It was being uncomfortable. It was diagreeing without being heard. It was even grief. Grief over the loss of independance. Being a married adult still being told constantly what to do and how to do it. Constantly being judged. Being told what was in my heart. When I was accused of 'being happy someone suffered a misfortune,' it cut deep and still does. Sure I had disagreeded with this person and their personality made me unusually uncomfortable and uptight. I even called the accuser the next day to clear the air. Give them a chance to tell me they didn't really think I was such a monster that I could truly be happy about anyone's misfortune. Sadly, the accuser stood by their accusation and has ever since. Of course, I still hear things like, "you are such a sweetheart. We love you. We miss you." Really? I can't accept these things also knowing that they believe me capable of such inhumane things. As a best friend told me, anyone who has spent five minutes with me would never believe that of me. They would wonder why I was so upset and saying uncharacteristic things and recognize it did not come from hate but from hurt, very deep and personal hurt. "Sweet friend" she said, "you are not that monster and it is going way too far to believe that of you or, anyone with a heart for that matter." My therapist saw through it right away and asked me if the accuser was mad at me. At the time, I said that I was pretty sure they were not, now I think that they too were hurt that I didn't agree with someone they profoundly agreed with unquestionably. If they said or thought it, it was truth. There was absolutely no room for someone saying, "It doesn't have to be that way!"
So, I conclude this with other wisdom from Mother Teresa and confess it is easier said than done......
Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem (slightly revised)
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Thursday, November 26, 2020
Here I sit at home typing and processing. It's the first Thanksgiving ever I haven't been with my family. I love being with my family. They ground me and remind me who I am. Amongst a pandemic and my vascular health concerns we decided to do what many others did today; simply stay home. I don't regret that decision and I'm thankful my extended family was able to do a zoom meeting, to see faces and answered prayers. This year has not only been challenging with the health of hubby's father but it is not as well known that I had an uncle with a potentially life threatening blood clot, like another hour and this would have been a different post. Then, I had a cousin survive a massive heart attack, no risk factors other than family history. As I sat looking at all their faces and listened to them talk it hit me, profoundly. I was grateful and overwhelmed all at once. I sat there taking it all in and I'm not sure I even opened my mouth to say what I was thankful for. Honestly, I was struggling to process it. And then it made me sad that I haven't been allowed the space to feel all of that. Because of our location and relationship the sole focus has been elsewhere. I was lost, got lost, ended up lost in the shuffle. But, today I was reminded who I am. Where I come from and the dear lives that I love so much, dear ones that have been understanding and poured so much of themselves into me, so many times. No questions asked(Okay, maybe a few that's a family trait). It spoke life and softness around some annoyingly hardened edges of me. I saw in living color family loving and caring and reaching across the valleys of life.
And, just when you think 19 years would teach you something about a person, there is always more to learn. When we met 19 years ago I distinctly remember the Thanksgiving plans discussion. Hubs told me it was 'no big deal in his family. They would hunt all day and stop at Cracker Barrel on the way home. I remember finding it a bit sad but we started going to my parent's. He would hunt with my dad then we would visit each of my grandparents. Still pretty low key, really. Then my sister moved closer so we started a tradition at her house. This year, sadly, neither grandparent can be visited, we aren't traveling so I expected we would default to "Thanksgiving is no big deal." So, I didn't stress out about it, not a bit. I bought some thick sliced baked turkey at a deli and figured I'd do a couple sides and call it a day. Hubs asks me first thing I wake up, "what appetizers are we having?" WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thankfully, I'm a mild hoarder and always have some simple basics on hand so I did pull off a few unexpected appetizers and had planned a surprise pumpkin pie anyway. So, once again my communication deficit bites me. If only, I could process faster or learn to ask the right questions. Don't assume or "the saying" (you know what it is) will indeed be true. Oh, and always keep a few appetizers on hand, incase you misunderstood along the way!
|An my weak left side shows again!|
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Recently, I had a conversation with a loved one about my continued fatigue. I kind of thought people knew.
Yes, I nap regularly even though I get 12 hours of sleep sometimes. No matter how much or how little sleep I get of any quality, life still makes me extremely tired. Doctors have explained it this way. I still have to think about every single thing I do. Every step takes careful planning still. Dinner still has to be sequenced. I have lost the reserve to push past the fatigue. It is simply gone! I have all new pathways and some of them are still a bit bumpy. Oh how I try not to make a brain Injury my excuse for everything but I do have limits different than most. Whether you think I do or not. The filing cabinet in my brain has been dumped and I am still searching for all the papers carried off by the wind. Imagine how tired you would be if your brain didn't filter out light and noise and touch. If you felt like you were constantly in a game of dodge ball with all these things and also had to carry on like "normal". Carry on like nothing was constantly bombarding you. Nobody knows the actual extent of damage the aneurysm caused. There are no studies of survivors of burst aneurysms. Doctors would tell you those people don't exist. Blood touching brain cells outside a vessel kills them. That is what they do know. My head was filled with blood, this we also know. Reports state I have, "significant cognitive deficits."
Another loved one just this week, "but you'd never know you were struggling right now." Another Mercy on my life, for short periods of time I do rather well not showing the actual struggle. But tune in and you'll notice it. My left hand will curl tighter and tighter. I'll struggle with balance, I huff more often or sound out of breath. I begin to answer everything with, "I don't know." My left leg shakes and I start to loose eye contact when people are talking. I desperately search for words and call things by the wrong names. We all do it. I just do it more now than I ever used to. Nothing irritates me more than someone telling me I don't have a problem or it isn't as bad as theirs simply because they can't see me struggling. I've been accused of not having the same degree of struggle and honestly, who really knows. Perhaps I just have stronger coping mechanisms from working with autistic children. Perhaps, it's a good day for me. Perhaps, we have a different definition of struggle! My dad always said, "don't compare yourself to others." I'm tired. I struggle whether you see it or not. There are many times it is just worth the struggle. It is worth the nausea, brain fog, headache and a body full of nerves that feel on fire. It is worth the left side tone and frustration. My mom reminded me of the words of the young missionary, Elizabeth Elliott. If you don't know her story you really should look it up!! Her husband was killed by the people they went to serve. When her husband was killed they were very young and she had a baby to care for still in a foreign country. When she asked what she was going to do, a wise person told her, "do the next thing."
|The 'survivor tree' in NYC (another great story)|
So, every moment we just "do the next thing," whatever that is.