You know how your childhood issues, fears, and old patterns haunt you no matter how hard you try to move past them? (If you don’t, wow, you’re one exceptional human.) That’s certainly a struggle I’ve dealt with my whole life, or at least since I’ve realized you actually might be able to move past such things.
I’ve made great progress in recent years with a lot of my “issues” (thanks to my fine therapist and Brene Brown books). I no longer blame everything that goes wrong in my life on my own shortcomings. I no longer hesitate to speak up when someone in authority makes a proclamation or judges someone in a way I know is wrong. I care much, much less about whether my personal appearance pleases anyone but me…and so on.
I’ve talked about it before, how I’ve managed to get the negative voices in my head to shut the heck up and say nice stuff instead (“Great work, me,” says my internal voice).
Hi, friends. I interrupt this period of “hermiting” to share a little bit of what I’ve learned about myself and how I handle stress and anxiety now as opposed to how I used to. I’m hoping it might help someone else to at least realize they aren’t the only ones with these confounding symptoms.
I’m lucky that a combination of a low dose of an anti-depressant, meditation, yoga, and a good therapist mean that I don’t have the generalized, daily, anxiety symptoms I used to. It’s just when things pile up or there’s some big new stress source (just family stuff; it’s okay) that my old symptom friends make a rare appearance.
For one thing, when that happens, I think to myself, “Oh, there are my symptoms again…I’d better pay attention to what is going on and see if I can ameliorate something and nip this in the bud.” In the past, I’d just wallow, think about how I must be at fault and must have caused this myself, and feel helpless.
Here’s more on our adventures in Gainesville, Florida. My hometown!
One more stop
We had plenty of time, so we visited a small museum that highlighted Gainesville history, the Matheson Museum. There was an exhibit on modern buildings of Gainesville, which featured many places familiar to me from the 1960s.
We also found postcards of old Gainesville and some books, one on the plants and animals of Alachua County. That book will take me back to my college days when my boyfriend and I would drive all over the back roads looking for armadillo, turtles, and deer on the side of the road.
Prior to finding the Hermits’ Rest, I knew it was possible to have a physical attachment to a specific location. I may have written before about how my body feels better when I’m in the place where I grew up, in Florida. Is it magnetism? Pleasant memories? A placebo effect?
I don’t know, but I’ve become attached to our ranch just like with Gainesville. When I get to the creek, my body relaxes and the clutter lifts from my mind. Just like that.
One possible explanation is that I really knew the plants and animals, the weather patterns, the sounds, and the smells where I grew up. And over these past years, I’ve become that familiar with the ranch, working pretty hard at it with all my Master Naturalist classes and book learning. Oh yes, and just by being observant. Doing this has made me a part of this place.
I have been thinking a lot about the idea of being blessed, praying for others, and sending out prayers. That’s kind of a weird thing for me to be thinking about, to be honest, since I have been an agnostic for most of my life, and not someone who “believes in” a particular deity.* Organized religion has always made me uncomfortable, even when I was actively participating in Unitarian Universalism and getting a lot out of membership in my church.
I have had a real issue with “praying” my whole life, which has led me to examine my own prejudices and beliefs. I have a visceral reaction when people talk about praying about a situation or for a person. Why is that?
(And why am I illustrating this post with filters applied to my face? I guess to bring something funny to a serious musing.)
Back in the days of childhood, I went to Sunday School, basically because everyone in my working-class Gainesville neighborhood went to Sunday School. We got to be Presbyterians, because that was the closest church that wasn’t Catholic (Mom had issues with her upbringing). So, I listened to those nice people pray a lot. They always asked God for stuff, so that was what I thought praying was for. I always thought I ought to at least try to get stuff for myself.
I was feeling pretty crummy today. I guess grief hit me hard.
I asked my Facebook community friends to share things that brought them joy recently, thinking it might help. I was smart. It did help. I highly recommend reaching out and asking for help when you need it. It will remind you that people ARE good.
If you’re my Facebook friend, check out my post asking for joyful moments. All the happy babies, cute pets, fun stories, and nature observations remind you of all the beauty and love around us.
How I’m Doing
Grief is hard, even when you intellectually know all about how it works. I hadn’t cried in so long that I couldn’t recall the most recent time. So I’d forgotten how much it takes out of me.
Being on Prozac for the last couple of years has helped me a lot, but I can see how it’s separated me from expressing some emotions. They’re there, but not all on top of me. It helps me from drowning in my empathic tendencies. But yow! When something breaks through it has physical consequences!
I have had the strange headache I used to often get. It feels like something gently squeezing the sides of my head. And I forget to breathe and end up gasping. That’s annoying. My words don’t come out well and I have trouble swallowing. Ooh, and let’s not forget the chest pains, my old friends! At least the weird neck tingling that used to really bother me hasn’t kicked in.
So, those are all my anxiety symptoms I used to live with every single day. How did I manage? How do others manage? I sure feel sympathy for them. If you have anxiety and are functional, you have my admiration.
I’m guessing I’ll feel better soon. Grief is normal and can knock you down. Soon the grief will bloom into love and warm memories of our canine friend, Brody.
The photos are all of my plants that have resurrected themselves after the winter.
At work, we got access to new video hosting platform, and I saw that they have a free extension for Chrome that lets you record short videos, with your webcam embedded, so you can talk to people and show them things on your computer. It’s called Vidyard GoVideo, and it’s Canadian!
I had some fun trying the software out, and found it easy. It gave me LOTS of ideas, too.
If you’re on Facebook with me, you’ve already seen this (be my friend; I don’t yet hate Facebook!), but I’m sharing this for others who might find this technology useful in their work, or to publicize their blog or other projects. It’s got branding on it, so it isn’t perfect for all business uses, but you can see how many people view your videos and other basic statistics, so it’s potentially quite useful.
You can turn the camera off, and just talk about what’s on your screen, or just use the webcam to do a video blog. Best of all worlds, especially if you aren’t trying to be a professional video blogger who wants to be on video blogging platforms.
You can’t embed in your blog page, at least as far as I can tell, so that’s a downer. I’ll have to explore this simple tool more.