Monday, November 8, 2010

Facing the Holidays

For some reason Autumn is a hard time for me. I think it is because I put too much pressure on myself to make all of the holidays that are coming up so special.

I love getting ready for Halloween, picking out costumes, decorating and getting enough candy to pass out to the little ones. I think I am trying to prove that I am a perfect hostess. I want kids and parents to think that I have the best candy. I have constantly been searching for approval from outside of myself.

This leads to Thanksgiving. This time I want to cook food that everyone will rave about. I want them to think I have the best rolls, pies, turkey, etc. I need them to say that I am worthy.

Finally, Christmas. I start decorating on Black Friday and my whole house gets transformed. I light candles that smell like cinnamon and pine needles. I cover the tree with lights and beautiful decorations. I pick out the perfect gifts for those I love. Again, I love to do this, but I am seeking approval again.

I want to simplify things this year. I will only do what makes me happy, and will give my family joy. I do not need praise from others, for I will take joy in a job well done.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Insights

Digging around inside of my soul can often be painful. It can also be very rewarding.


I have a few things that have been on my mind lately and I am going to share them with you.




  • The world does not revolve around me.
    • I sometimes have a feeling that everything is happening "TO" me. The statements, "why me?" and "poor me" become constant in my mind. I try to push these thoughts away and to be positive. It can be very difficult to let go though. 
    • I have found that focusing on others helps me get my mind off of myself. There are others that are worse off and need my attention and prayers. By volunteering, sharing myself and helping to shoulder other's burdens, I move the focus from me to others. This is a much healthier state of mind and makes me feel like a more well-rounded person.
  • I am stronger than I thought I was.
    • I had thought that I could handle anything and then this year happened. I thought the world was crashing around me.I have been hit on every front, financially, spiritually, my family, my health. It never seems to end.
    • With each new challenge I feel like I am going to not survive it. I feel out of control and I don't know what to do next, but if I reach down deep, I find the strength to muscle through. I find friends I can rely on, a faith that gets me through and the courage to go on. 
  • There is fun to be had.
    • Even when things seem unbearable and tears are on the verge of spilling out, I can find ways to have fun. I laugh with my friends, letting loose and making light of my situation. I go on walks (well, I actually roll along in my chair) with my boys and talk about their lives. I find joy in my husband's success and the love he shows me. I count my blessings and they far outweigh my troubles. 
I spend 31 days in the hospital recently and it was a great time of reflection. I pray that you find some inspiration from this blog and a reason to celebrate the blessings in your life.

Friday, August 27, 2010

UP!


I just watched the movie, UP!

It really made me stop and think about life and the plans we make.

Carl spent so much time trying to fulfill Ellie's dream, that he didn't look all the way to the end of the book. He wasted so much time trying to do what he thought someone else wanted him to do. She loved him and their life together. She wanted him to have new adventures.

By focusing so much of my life on doing/being what others wanted, I didn't get to have my own adventures.

In the past 4 months I have had a major shift in my thinking. I am taking life by the horns and treating each new day as an adventure. I am doing what I want. I am trying new things. I am letting the real me shine.

Thanks Ellie for reminding me to keep looking for new adventures!

New Day

I am attacking today! I will not take it lying down! I will "OWN" today!

I am determined to make a difference today in a person's life. It may just be a smile, or a hello. Maybe I can inspire someone to keep going on when they don't feel like they want to.

I am making a conscious decision to be positive! I will project...JOY!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Learning Confidence

Confidence: a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances confidence in her ability to succeed>

This is the definition as found in Merriam-Webster dictionary.

I was a teenager that lacked confidence. I thought that I could do nothing right and that no one would ever like me. I didn't think I had any power or the ability to rely on my circumstances. I really didn't think I could succeed.

I had always loved going to Girl Scout summer camp. I loved being outside, learning new things, and getting away from the chaos of the "real world."

I learned life skills there. I learned how to rely on my strength to hike up and down hills to get to where I wanted to go. I learned how to be strategic as I navigated rivers, canoeing during a drought or flood. I learned how to overcome my fears as I did the trust fall into my friends' arms, and climbed down the side of a cliff as I found out how much I loved to rappel. I learned how to teach others the things that I knew.

I had mentors along the way, they believed in me, they entrusted me with responsibility and they knew I could do the things I most afraid of.

These are all the lessons that I learned at camp, and I carry them with me today. I have been blessed to know them, and to have some of them still in my life.



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Eating Disorder-Counting my Blessings

Today I am reminded of the phrase:
"There is always someone worse off than you."

I really don't like this phrase so much, as it implies that someone else is suffering even more than I am, especially when I am feeling so low.

It is a true statement though. I have had a miserably rough few months, surgery, being injured, losing my job, two more surgeries, and being confined to a wheelchair through most of it. Now I am facing some eye issues that are going to be rough. I am blessed though. My kids are relatively healthy, my husband has a good job, my family loves me and I have great friends and a wonderful support system.

These past few weeks I have watched as one of my dearest friends growing up has taken on the battle of Pediatric Cancer with her 12 year old daughter. I cannot imagine the pain that entails. I also am overwhelmed with how much I love this little girl and I have never met her. Her mom and I lost touch for a long time and through the miracle that is social networking, have only recently re-connected. I pray for this family every day and know that their fight is much more challenging than my own.

I also have been praying for a little boy that I have never met, his name is Sam. My sister told me about this little boy, and I have been following his progress with Pediatric Cancer through
CaringBridge. He lost his battle last week, and even though the family has faith that he is no longer in pain and in the arms of a Loving God, they miss him very much.

There are others that have lost their homes to devastating floods in Iowa. There are people that have lost their families entire way of life on the Gulf Coast. There is suffering everywhere.

I have an eating disorder, I suffer from depression, but I am truly blessed to be who I am and where I am today.

Eating Disorder-Trying to be Perfect

I have stated that my goal in my eating disorder was to have control in my life, which seemed out of control.

It was also my way of being good at something. I was good at being thin...I thought this would make me "perfect." I wanted to be the perfect...
  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Friend
  • Employee
  • Christian
I knew really wanted to be what I believed others wanted me to be. I felt that I was falling short. I didn't know how to make everyone else happy, and I thought that by being thin and beautiful I would be all that I "should" be.

I only heard this song today, and it really sums up what I was trying to do. Thank you Alanis Morissette! Alanis has admitted that she struggled with both Anorexia and Bulimia as a teenager. She has been in recovery since and has taken a different approach to staying healthy by exercising moderately and eating better.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Origin of my Eating Disorder

When I was growing up I had to finish everything on my plate. It is/was a common order from parents. There are many reasons why:
  • So their children will grow up healthy and strong
  • So they don't waste food
  • So they can taste new things and find new favorite foods
These are all noble reasons. I have caught myself doing the same thing with my kids, and then thought, you sound just like your mom!

It has been said that eating disorders aren't really about the weight. It is about control and trying to find some of that in a world that feels so out of control.

I dipped my toe in the "pool of eating disorders" in high school. I would tell my parents that I was eating at my friends' houses and tell their parents that I had eaten at home. Suddenly I had control. I started to feel lethargic and wanted to stay in bed a lot of the time.

This didn't last long, but it is something that I think was always in the back of my mind.

When I found myself, at the age of 24, mother of two, stay-at-home mom with only one car, bills piling up, a new diagnosis of Diabetes, and feelings of insecurity and fear from my childhood...the thought came back. I was so out of control and this was something I could control.

I don't blame my parents for my eating disorder, I made choices that took me down that path. There were circumstances in my childhood that led me down this path, I take full responsibility for my part.

I have found other ways to take control of my life. This is by choosing to do the following things:
  • Take my medication as prescribed
  • Eat well balanced meals
  • Exercise moderately
  • Spend time with my family and friends
  • See my therapist regularly
These are all "rules" that I have previously felt others had put on me. I now know that to be healthy, these are "rules" that help me to survive.

As I explore my past and dig deeper into the origins of my eating disorder and why I allowed it to take control, I can have victory over it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Trying to Eat Better

I have been doing so well with my eating disorder and Diabetes. My numbers recently were wonderful, even after 3 surgeries since April. I am very proud of myself.

But tonight I realized that I am not eating the best foods for my body. I am getting older and it is easy to pack on the weight. This is hard for someone dealing with a lifelong struggle with eating. I know that I should be careful about the foods I eat, however, spending too much time thinking about it could lead me down the path of destruction.

How does one make sure that they have a regulated diet without obsessing about it?

I have been there before, but it is never easy to follow through on the "program."

I need to eat a balanced diet and get moderate exercise. Seems easy enough. I will do my best to eat more veggies, les bread and do some sort of activity each day.

Are you with me?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Child Abuse, the Impact: Fear of Intimacy

Being abused in a sexual nature as a child has impacted me on many levels as previous posts have demonstrated.
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Self Worth
Fear of intimacy is tied into all of these others. Getting close to someone makes one vulnerable. It opens up areas of one's soul that are sometimes scary to reveal.

I am not just speaking about physical intimacy, but emotional as well. To be intimate with a friend, lover, spouse, entails letting them see the ugliness beneath the nice girl image. By letting them hear about the pain, you are opening a door that can be really scary to someone that has not gone through it.

They may not understand why it happened, or the choices you had to make during and after the abuse. They may not totally get why you are or are not okay now. It may be something that they cannot get their thoughts around and it just may be too much for them to handle.

And that in itself is why it is hard to let someone completely into your heart:
  • "What if they leave?"
  • "What if they take advantage of my vulnerability?"
  • "What if...?"
I have told my story to a lot of people, through speaking engagements, this blog and talking with friends.

Sometimes my story is too much for them to handle and they leave. Sometimes they don't.

I have really only totally opened up about my abuse to a few select people. Most of those people have been professionals in the Mental Health industry or people in the group therapy sessions. There have been a few others along the way that have heard the whole ugly truth, those are the people that I have become truly intimate with on an emotional level.

I am blessed to have those special people in my life and I am so glad that I let them in to see the real me, scars and all.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eating Disorder: Health Complications


Eating disorders are so damaging to one's body.

There are problems with the GI tract, the esophagus, teeth, hair, nails, skin as well as many other things. When the body doesn't get the nutrition it needs
, every system that is not vital to immediate survival begins to shut down. There are also issues with purging and laxative use, that can harm your insides. Over-exercising can cause a lot of injuries too.

I have other complications due to my Diabetes being out of control so long. A lot of my complications are seen in the elderly that have had Diabetes.

These pictures show some of the things I have to use to walk or get around these days

This is my wheelchair that I have to use right now after my surgeries these past few months
My fracture boot
Crutches
After surgery shoe

Brace for my left leg
This is the walker that I have to use when I am not in my wheelchair

There has been a lot of damage, and I have to fight the pain every day. I hope that no one else has to go through this pain and frustration. If I can tell you one thing that I regret in my life, it is that I did not take care of my body the way I was supposed to.

I have learned a valuable lesson in a very difficult way. My body is the only one I will get so I will treat it with the respect and care it deserves.















Monday, August 2, 2010

Power

I am going to take a departure from my last few posts, but will return to that series soon.

Today I want to write about power.

I started dabbling in my eating disorder (Edith) when I was about 13 years old. I, like so many other teenagers was worried about fitting in. I couldn't control the fact that my parents couldn't afford the latest name brand fads. I couldn't control where I lived. I couldn't control my life in many ways. I thought that if I was thin, people would like me because I would be beautiful. This I could control.

I began to feel like I had some of my power back that was taken away from the abuse.

Suddenly I was in control of something. That made me feel powerful.

As I said, I dabbled in it at first. Edith did not take complete control until I was about 24. At that time I was a mother to young sons. I was trying to find a job that allowed me to be home with them most of the time. I was trying to be a good wife and wasn't really sure what that meant. I was trying to manage a household budget that did not have a lot of income coming in. I was trying to be Supermom, what I thought I "should" be based on what I saw on TV and in magazines.

Suddenly, when I started controlling what went into my body and what I did with it, I really felt in control and powerful. People commented on how good I looked as I lost weight. I was thrilled to finally get the attention I had been craving.

It didn't take long for that power to be stripped away as I lost all control.

Approximately 6 years later, I realized that I no longer had the power. Edith had taken complete control and stole that power away from me.

After years in recovery I can now see that I finally have true power. I have taken back my life and control of it. Food, exercise, medications do not control me. I am no longer focusing on these things every waking moment of every day. This is not to say that it isn't still a daily struggle, but it is no longer all-consuming.

I am a powerful woman. Not because I am thin, but because I finally have taken back control!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Child Abuse, the Impact: Fear

I have lived in fear for most of my life. Whether there is a real threat or not, the fear remained.

I was afraid of being left alone. I was afraid of large crowds. I was afraid of being hurt. I was afraid of loving. I was afraid of being loved, and it ending. I was afraid no one would ever love me. I was afraid of dying. I was afraid of living.

The list goes on and on.

When you are a child whose innocence and wonder of the world is stripped away, it is hard to ever feel safe again.

I have suffered in many ways beyond the actual abuse. I have also suffered many other hardships in my life. There has been a near constant need to flee or fight. Those moments that happened nearly 30 years ago left in me with that constant fear that it could happen again and that I had to find a way to keep myself safe.

I have constructed walls around myself to ensure that no one could really get to know the real me. It took almost 10 years of marriage for me to really start to let my husband behind those walls and nearly seven years later to let him truly see the real me down to my core.

I have told my story to countless people, I believe that by being open about it I am not becoming a statistic and becoming an offender myself. (There have been studies on people that were molested and the likelihood of them becoming abusive themselves. I know for a fact that my abuser was abused as a child and suppressed the memory. I think that had he been able to tell someone and talk about it, he may not have committed the crimes he did. That is not an excuse for what he did, but an explanation.)

After having said that, friends and loved ones may have known my story, but very few really knew me. I was afraid if they did know me they would not like me at all.

Fear has made me hide myself away at times. I have had times in my life where I didn't leave my bed unless I absolutely had to. I would get up to go to the bathroom, and to make dinner for the family and then go back to bed to eat. I would sometimes even let my kids make the food themselves once they were old enough and would spend the entire day in bed.

Other times I was afraid of being alone and I would constantly be out and about. I would go shopping, to restaurants, to fairs, wherever people were. If you notice where I chose to go, I was not going to be with friends, I just wanted people around me.

I have released a lot of the fear, and thanks to people that have become real friends, I am continuing to let go. My husband has helped me a lot. He has helped me to let go of people that are not in my life to help me, but to keep me down. He has helped give me wings to try new things and to try things I have been afraid to do before. He has done a lot for me, but the biggest change has been what I have done for myself.

I have so much more strength and bravery in me that I didn't know was there. I have talents and gifts to share with others, and I know they want to know about them. I have become open to love, letting it in and giving it out.

I have no reason to fear, I am Rachel and I can do anything I set my mind to!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Child Abuse, the Impact: Self Worth

I have stated before that I struggle with self worth and shame.

I was very young when I was first molested, 10 years old. I didn't understand what was happening, but I knew that it was wrong and that I felt like a "bad girl" for allowing it to happen. As the years passed I felt worse and worse about myself. The shame was overwhelming.

On the outside I put on a happy/brave face. I didn't let anyone know how incredibly ugly, dirty, bad, hurt and ashamed I was. I was able to hide it from everyone until I couldn't do it anymore.

I had to tell someone and I decided to tell my best friend Rachael at that time. She knew what I was going through, because she had told her mother the same thing before me. She would not keep my secret and forced me to tell my mom.

This was the best thing I ever did. To let someone know I was being hurt and that I couldn't take it anymore. That was all I let them know.

The pain, shame, and ugliness I felt lay hidden deep. It influenced every choice I made after that. I tried to bury it and be the happy girl everyone thought I should be. I was perky to the point of annoyance, I know, but I felt that if I didn't put that mask on people would see the ugly me beneath it.

I picked a college that I knew I would get into. I chose a career that I knew people thought I should. I dropped out of college because I was so eager for people to like me that I neglected my studies.

I did things to attract boys and keep them around that I didn't want to do. I smoked because my friends did. I hid my hatred of myself from them, and let things happen sexually that I was not prepared for.

I did these things and many more, all to keep friends in my life, and boys interested. I did these things because I didn't believe I deserved better.

I have since learned that by stating my needs and letting people know the real me, I can keep friends easier. Friends that love me for me. Friends that want to be there for me, in good and bad times.

I have also learned that I was too young to make a decision about what was happening to me, and that it was not my fault. I knew this intellectually all along, but I have finally taken that knowledge into my heart.

I am a great person, friend, I'm kinda cute and I deserve to be loved for who I am.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Child Abuse, the Impact: Anger

These next few blog posts will be a bit difficult to write. It hurts to re-visit some of these memories and I don't want to hurt anyone else in doing so. I made a promise to myself when I started this blog, to be open and honest and while doing that, I knew others would be helped.

I was a sweet, precocious little girl. I believed that the world was good and that people really liked me. My mom said that I never met a stranger. I would go up to people in the mall and start telling them about my doll or my little brother. I loved life and thought that it was great to be me.

At the age of 10 my childhood was changed forever. It was at this time that I was molested. This lasted for 3 years and I was never the same.

Through my years of therapy as I learned about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I found out a lot about the general disorder and about the way that I coped with it.

When someone is victimized over and over, it changes their brain chemistry. This is to say that the person I once was is not the person I am today. Don't get me wrong, I know that everyone grows up and changes, but I often wonder what kind of person I would be today if this hadn't happened to me. I might have known how to handle my life and others in it with assertiveness rather than letting them walk all over me.

I have been in several hospitals dealing with my eating disorder, but the most helpful was a Sexual Trauma Unit that I went to in Kansas City.

It was there that I learned to really let the anger I was feeling out. I was always afraid of the anger and thought that if I was a good person I wouldn't get angry. My poor husband was the only one to ever see me really angry and it was seemingly over something very minor. Little did I know at the time that it was decades worth of anger boiling over at really inappropriate times. In the hospital I was taken to a room that had carpeted walls and was sound proof. I was given a foam bat and was told to use it to let out the anger on some pillows on the floor. It took me awhile, I was very tentative and safe at first. I didn't want the therapists to see me lose control, and then suddenly it all came out. I screamed, I pounded, I sobbed uncontrollably. At the end of the exercise, my therapist held me close as I cried and cried. She told me that it was okay to let it out, and that all I needed to do was to find a safe place to do it.

This was a great exercise for me, and there were other ones that helped me too, but I believe that one really let me release a lot of the pent up feelings that I had.

Although this was good for me, I also learned not to let it get to that point when I am angry. I need to let my feelings be known and talk it out with someone if I have that opportunity. Sometimes though, it does feel good to go pound a pillow or to let out a primal scream into it.

I believe that I was put on this earth and allowed to experience this pain for a couple of purposes:

To make me more empathetic to others that are hurting, and to help others see the goodness in life even after a tragedy.

I do hope that you will continue with me on this journey as I let you into my world and open up to you about not only surviving it, but thriving in it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Asking for Help

I am not good at asking for help. It is something that has plagued me most of my life. I hide my feelings pretty well.

My mother has said that I am a good "actress." Although I wanted to be an actress when I was younger (and still hope to do some more acting someday soon), this probably isn't a good thing. People don't know that inside I am aching, hurting for a child that was abused, crying for the loss of innocence, aching over a pain that runs so deep it is indescribable. I have tried to overcome these feelings, but it is a long and arduous process.

I am anxious that by talking about my past, and my pain, I will burden those around me. I am scared that I will end up alone. I am tired of dealing with it all alone, but do not want to ask for help.

It is good that I have an amazing Psychiatrist, but I am thinking it is time to get back into a group setting. Sharing the pain with others that have been there helps immensely. I find this blog helpful, a way to get out the feelings I have trapped inside, but I believe that talk therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a great way to go.

I will ask for help, I will share my story and overcome the pain of my past.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What to Do?

I am at a loss as to what my next step in life is!

I am contemplating some major changes in career and lifestyle. I need guidance and a lot of prayer.

I have been praying for a "sign." Although I have several ideas, there hasn't been a big neon arrow pointing the way.

What constitutes a sign? Does it have to be something big and blaring? Do I have be be knocked upside the head with a mallet? Will some prophet come and tell me what to do? I would welcome just about any of these, and I think I got some this summer.

  1. I was injured at work, a job that I loved at times and couldn't stand at others. Things were getting rough there and the atmosphere was pretty toxic. I was injured and in the hospital when I got the call that I was no longer their employee. I was angry, I was hurt, no I was furious. Not really that I had lost the job, but the way that I was informed about it while sitting in my hospital bed.
  2. Next I was sidelined with the fact that I would need surgery on my foot and that I could not walk or drive for 2 months. I was upset, scared and frustrated.
  3. Next I was informed that the first surgery did not work, and that I would need another. This would add 8 more weeks to my recovery. I was devastated, defeated and demoralized.
  4. Finally, 10 weeks after the initial injury, I have not received one check from unemployment or from worker's compensation. We were running our house on a tight budget before I lost my job and now we have only one income. I am undone.
I think I have finally got the hint..."Slow down Rachel and focus on what is important."

  1. Myself-I need to take time to nurture myself and be as healthy and strong as I can be. I need to care for my inner and outer health. This means claiming victory over Edith, control of my physical health, and finally facing the demons of childhood sexual abuse. I am the only one that can do this. I have been and will continue to fight!
  2. My marriage-I have put a lot of burdens on my husband that have been unfair. He is not responsible for my recovery, I am. He is not responsible for my happiness, I am. He is an amazing man to have put up with me and my "issues" over the years. He is not my savior, he is my partner. I have had some fun re-connecting with him this summer and re-defining our roles.
  3. My children-I have two of the most amazing young men living in my house. They are growing and changing and struggling right under my nose. I have been so busy working and fighting illnesses that I have missed out on a lot of their development. I have tried to be a good mother, but this summer I have had the opportunity to actually be that good mother. I am so looking forward to seeing the kind of men they will become and being a part of their futures.
With my priorities in order, I can face whatever comes my way. Thank you God for the neon sign, the whack over the head and the voice of truth!

Onward and Upward!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Being Comfortable in My Own Skin

Lately I have had the oddest feeling, I couldn't quite figure it out. It was driving me a bit batty as I tried to analyze it. I figured it out.

I like who I am becoming, the real Rachel. I really think that if I were to meet myself on the street, we would really like each other. Now that sounds sort of like I have a whole other mental health diagnosis than I have, but it is true.

I like how self-assured I have become, able to make decisions and stick by them.

I like that I am no longer sad all of the time, I can enjoy life and I do.

I like that I am no longer the "victim" needing to make others prove their love to me.

I am funny, I can laugh at myself and with others. I am not afraid of what other people will say if they see me laughing and making a "fool" of myself.

I can love and be loved. I can enjoy life and even make it through some of the toughest times in my life. My circumstances do not define me, it is the way in which I face those circumstances that makes me the woman that I am.

I am finally comfortable in my own skin.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Deceit

I have tried to teach my children about the value of a good reputation.

One way to maintain that good reputation is to always be honest. Making sure that people can believe what you say, and know that you will always be straight with them is important. Once you have lied to someone, they are less likely to believe what you say the next time.

This is a hard thing to teach children, as there is such a desire to please others and to stay out of trouble that lying comes easily. I know that when I first caught Heath in a lie as a toddler I was so hurt by it, I thought that I had done something wrong as a mother since I was his primary caregiver. I found out that it was natural, but I didn't like it.

As they have grown it has become a constant battle. You ask them about something that you know they did, they don't want to get in trouble, so they lie to cover their tracks. They get punished and you think they have learned the lesson, until next time.

I believe that honesty is the best policy. I want my word to be my bond and that people know that when I tell them something I am speaking from the heart with all honesty.

But...

I have an eating disorder and part of the pattern is deceit. I had to lie to cover it up from those that loved me. I had to lie to myself to make myself believe that it was okay and under control. I had to lie to doctors so that they wouldn't find it out and tell those I loved. I had to lie to keep Edith close.

Because of this, my friends and family have trouble believing me when I tell them I am okay. They often look for the hidden meaning under my words. If I protest too much, they think I am lying. If I am overly calm about something, they think I am lying. My reputation has been ruined by Edith, and I let her do it.

I hope that someday my friends and family can trust me again. I hope that one day they will know that what I say I mean, and what I say is true.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pride

I am a very proud woman.

I am proud of two "things" in particular:
  • Heath
  • Austin
These are my sons and they are amazing young men.

In a life full of mistakes, missteps and missed opportunities, they are none of these things. There is nothing they could ever do that would make me love them any less or any more. I love them for just being who they are.

My "boys" are kind, empathetic, caring, strong, opinionated, courageous and talented to list just a few of their admirable qualities.

At 15 and 16 they still give me hugs and kisses and tell me they love me daily. They get on each other's nerves, but are each other's best friend. There is no one in this world that make the other laugh as hard, and no one that will defend their brother more.

They are similar in many ways, but different in so many more.

They look so incredibly opposite at times, but some people can't tell them apart. Two sides to the same coin.

I have so enjoyed watching them develop into the people they are, and look forward to spending the rest of my days experiencing life through their eyes.

I can spin these wonderful lines about my beautiful children, it isn't hard at all.

Now to take these words and bring them back around to the self-love that I deserve.
There is nothing I could ever do that would make me love myself any less or any more. I love who I am for just being me.

I am kind, empathetic, caring, strong, opinionated, courageous and talented to list just a few of my admirable qualities.

I still give hugs and kisses and tell them I love them daily. Now to do that to my inner child, because she deserves it too.

I pray that I can continue to show my boys and myself how much we are all loved.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Facing Hurdles

I am not a runner, never have been very good at it. I am actually quite klutzy and the thought of doing hurdles scares me very much!

This metaphor of what I feel like has been happening, is perfect. I imagine each new situation as a hurdle that I must get over. Sometimes I run at full speed and sail over them, other times I slow down and climb over it with caution, and still other times I trip and fall and have to go back and try again.

I have had two surgeries in the past 3 months and am facing a third next week. I have had diagnoses that have scared me and I thought I couldn't handle. I have had personal issues come at me from every direction. I have 2 sons that have had medical problems this year. I have lost my job.

All of these hurdles have popped up on the race I call life.

I will keep running, I will keep leaping, I will keep stumbling, but I will keep getting back up and trying again.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Trying to Feel Better

I am currently unemployed, and dealing with some health issues. I can go for days without leaving my house. I have been known to stay in my PJs for 2 or more days. It gets gross.

This was sometimes fun to do on vacation, or the occasional weekend. It isn't so much fun when you suffer from depression and feel like your life is slipping away from you.

Many years ago I went to one of those home "make up" parties where they sell you products in cute little packages. The woman said that if we got up each day and washed our faces and put on a little make up we would feel much better. I thought to myself, how vain is that? To think that making our outsides pretty will make us feel better inside?

I have spent years trying to tell myself that my happiness is not tied to my outward appearance. That I don't need to worry about whether I am "pretty" to others or not, and that I can find the beauty within myself.

She was right though. To some extent. I could just stay in the same clothes for days on end and not wash my hair. My family loves me anyway. I could just through on the next set of stained sweatpants and it wouldn't hurt anyone. That doesn't make me feel any better though. I don't feel productive, or motivated to be productive.

If I get up in the morning, wash my face, change my clothes, and dab on a little lip gloss I am more likely to get things done than if I just rolled out of bed and onto the couch for the day.

I don't have to worry about how "pretty" I am, I just need to take care of myself!

Another way I am trying to feel better!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I See the Light

I have felt like my life was on a runaway train and every time I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, it was another oncoming train!

It seemed that every time I turned around I got another medical diagnosis, or disappointing news about my family or work. I have been handling it pretty well, and definitely better than I have in the past.

Last week I saw my Ophthalmologist and he diagnosed me with Diabetic Retinopathy and told me that I would need laser surgery to correct it. I was terrified! I knew that my past eating disorder behaviors had contributed to the decline in my eyes, my numbness in my feet and many other complications. I had hoped that it wouldn't come to this yet.

I then saw a Retina Specialist, and almost had a panic attack in his office while I waited. I was able to calm down and keep it at bay. A victory for me yet again!

When the doctor came in I held my breath, expecting the worst. He told me that he could definitely see damage, but that the damage did not warrant any treatment right now.

I am to keep taking care of myself, and keep the blood sugars under control. I can reverse some of the damage by tight control.

I CAN DO IT!

I see the light and this time it is blue skies and gorgeous scenery!

Hallelujah!