Mental Health

Arm surgery, anxiety, & the abnormals

 

A lady had broken her arm and the doctor had a quick-fix, something for the interim because of other health complications that prevented a complete fix. This lady no longer could lift so much as a cup of tea with that hand now, halfway helpless, but her bone slowly healed in that wrong way and she grew stronger and found ways to adapt and get around without using her one arm so much.

Months later, the doctor said it was time for the Big Fix – a complete recovery and healing for her arm.

 Does it come as a shock that she didn’t want it?

Thing is, her arm had healed wrong, so her arm would need re-broken to be completely healed. It would be a long painful process and she would have to readjust to new pain and then to this new “normal” life with both arms in relatively perfect condition.

I heard this story and immediately could relate. Can’t you? To that thing you’ve gotten so used to, that wrong thing, but you’re not sure you can live without it?

 

Because being broken is less painful than being fixed.

The novel I’m working on is called “Unfixed” and that’s oddly a safe place for these grotesque characters. But I wonder what would happen if in the end I heal them, if their story heals them.

  • Who would they be then?
  • Would they be themselves anymore, or someone new?
  • What would they have to re-learn, and would they ever like it?

I’ve learned to manage my pain, much like my characters manage theirs. A community of misfits. We’ve created a new normal. And it’s scary to think of leaving it. It’s kinda like arm surgery. And I’m not sure I’m ready to break again.
 
 

The great & terrible light ahead…

As this post is published, I’m in the middle of a month of busy. Me, a social life! So many things I’m doing, and I love them all, but I’m just waiting for anxiety to knock me back down. But it can’t keep me from living, not totally.

And that’s not the end of my story either. Really, I don’t know the end to that lady’s arm surgery story. But I know that the end of mine will be complete healing – in this life or another. Healing isn’t regret – that’s a lie, likely from the very pain that afflicts us. I and my characters are going to learn to be brave, to be the hero of our stories as we go into the terror of the woods and as we emerge into the great & terrible light again.

 

Free, Take 1:
|Normal| |Control| |Courage| |New Name|

I recently read this Hannah Brencher post on keeping your normal. You should read it all, but here’s a snippet that I think reminds of the control and the courage we do have.
 

Here’s the thing: I am not my depression. I am not defined by it or confined by it. It happened to me. It still happens to me. My depression does not, on any day of the week, give me a new name though. It will never have that sort of permission.No mental illness, no horrific tragedy, no person who did you wrong or left you broken is allowed to name you. It does not work that way, no matter what other people tell you. This is your life. These are your lungs. This is your space.

 

 

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Mental Health, Relationships

When you drive 230 miles thu a snowstorm for your long-distance bf

It starts with dancing to Lady Gaga while cruising through the flurries. Not a care in the world. It goes downhill though, beware.

Here’s how it happened for me:

Halfway through it got rough. Ice on my windshield wipers kept them from clearing my windshield, and I was seeing through a sliver.

It was one of those moments where I knew God is for me in an overall sense, but then I start analyzing whether my greatest good and His greatest glory will actually come from me dying or at least suffering a horrific car crash. And hoping that His glory comes from, ya know, me being safe and sound in my car and then cozied up at Josh’s. (World, meet my boyfriend Josh.)

I finally found a gas station to clean my windshield at, but got stuck in the middle of the road because the town hadn’t plowed their roads yet. That’s when I burst into tears the first time (lol and also, ya know, not funny)…

then I got back on the road and was sliding all around the interstate while cars raced past me. Even though I was in the town right next to my destination, I thought about stopping at a hotel because I wasn’t sure I’d make it.

I was most positive I would die, or at least enter a horrific coma, when Josh told me his coworker was driving just a couple miles away from me on the same interstate. I was like, ya know how this works right? Too big a coincidence, snowstorm and closeby coworker means one of the following:

  1. I crash and die and Josh calls his coworker to go check on me and make sure I’m alive but of course I’m not
  2. I crash and go unconscious so I can’t respond to Josh and Josh calls his coworker to check on me and the coworker rushes to save my life and get me to the hospital

 

That’s how it’d happen in the movies anyhow 🙂

 

But I did in fact make it and pulled into Josh’s alleyway, only to get stuck there. Burst into tears a second time because I was so close but also so so far. After awhile, I was able to back out and park on the street.

 

The trip which usually takes 3.5-4hrs actually took almost 6.5 hrs. And I told Josh I’m never visiting him again during inclement weather, unless he’s on his deathbed or stranded and freezing.

 

Luckily, the ride home was fine. I saw a few people on the side of the road, and got stuck in traffic for 45 minutes from someone else’s car crash, but I at least had no problems.

So if you’re thinking of driving through a snowstorm this winter, cozy up by the fireplace with a book instead. Or face the consequences 😛

 

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Christianity, Mental Health

While I was doing other things, life.

“Your life gets lived while you’re busy d0ing other things.” –Rizzoli & Isles

I’m pretty sure formulaic crime dramas aren’t supposed to be inspiration for writing. But I finished Gilmore Girls and need some feel-good TV female relationships. And every so often a certain quote just hits you.

I don’t always make the right entrepeneurial-dreamer choices. I watch TV too much and blame it on needing relaxation time or – the writers’ perfect scapegoat – research 🙂 I don’t always know how to balance my need to push myself and exercise self-discipline with my need to monitor my anxiety levels and say no and rest. But while I’m figuring all this out, my life is being lived anyhow. TV shows and all.

While I’ve been busy figuring it all out, I’ve grown bitter and skeptical, in general but of the church specifically. How bad is that! A professing Christian who loves the church doesn’t know how to just be there anymore. And I’m trying to fix that. To remind myself that God has put me in a safe place.

But while I’ve been busy figuring it all out, I’ve been questioning, good questioning. Who is God really, beyond Christian tradition and deep in the Bible. Who does God say that I am? What is my sin and what is my sickness and what needs deliverance? It’s not easy questions, I certainly haven’t found all the answers. But it’s a reminder that God loves disciples who don’t have it all figured out.

 

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Mental Health, Musings of a Creative, Relationships

Living is the Hardest Part

“We say that writing is the hardest part, but I think that living is the hardest part.”

 

I haven’t written much in the past 6 months. And I wasn’t okay with it.

How long can a writer go without writing and still be called a writer? 

I wasn’t okay. Until I had this quote come up in my Facebook memories –

 

“We say that writing is the hardest part, but I think that living is the hardest part.”

Hannah Brencher said that in a class I took about a year ago. (P.S. Everyone go take her class or read her blog or follow her facebook/twitter/instagram or buy her book. You can’t regret it.)

 

The truth is, I haven’t been writing lately. I’ve been living. And learning to live. I explored new places. I met new people, and am learning not to panic about it. I actually have had multiple sunburns this summer. I’m living.

 

I’m still not entirely okay with not writing. I’m more emotional. (Can you believe it? Me, more emotional than I already am!? And my boyfriend gets the brunt of it, and – get this – still likes me! He’s a keeper 🙂 ) I feel a bit like I’m floating around without an anchor, not really sure where I’m going in life or what I’m working towards.

So I have to write. But I have to live. I have to intentionally choose both writing and living and know when to choose which. That’s what I’m learning right now.

 

I don’t know what that means for this blog. I hope to get back to weekly postings. You can count on me posting semi-regularly on Thursdays. Upcoming posts you’ll hear more of what I’ve been up to. And thinking. And living. Who knows 🙂 Thanks for sticking with me!

 

 

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Mental Health

Today I’m Not Strong

I’m not sure when it happened. There’s no moment I can pinpoint, no catalyst to blame. Or maybe there’s too many. Did it happen when I lost my dream? When I lost my community? When I lost my future?

The symptoms, the evidence piles up against me. I’m out of control.  To be blunt, I’ve gained weight, I’ve lost friends, I avoid gatherings, I’ve neglected my blog, I’ve postponed my writing/teaching, and I failed a dream I’ve been working toward for 4 years.

But this isn’t supposed to be a pity party. I haven’t lost everything (for instance, I haven’t lost weight…haha. ha. ha. I know, not funny…). I am discouraged, but I’m not gone. I am discouraged.

The thing is, we don’t go through this life unscathed. There’s some days I just don’t know if I can make it, but an easy life isn’t promised and I’m not sure that’s one I’d want anyhow.

I’m still working on myself. I’m still working on my dreams. I’m still working on looking past myself to all the other people in this world I can care for. I’m still working. I’m still here.

Those picture-perfect people who are the epitome of grace and beauty? You know the ones….You’ve got them on your facebook because they’re friends, but also to remind you that you’re not who you’re supposed to be, not yet. But when we enroll in a battle, when we’re fighting for something, it’s not pretty. We’re not necessarily gonna be pretty. We’re gonna be scarred and bruised and calloused and somehow still beautiful.

Some warriors have frazzled hair and cautious steps. That’s me. I’m not supposed to be this way, but if that’s the wound I carry from battling for love, for dreams, for life, then I’ll take it.

I’ll limp my way through and believe that somehow at the end I will come out “a pure and spotless bride without wrinkle.” I don’t know how I go from broken to spotless. I don’t know how I go from weary to youthful. But it’s my hope. And until then, I’m broken yet beautiful.

 

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Mental Health

When You Don’t Recognize Yourself Anymore

Not good, not bad, just not me anymore, or a different me I suppose.

I looked in the mirror this morning and realized that I didn’t recognize that person staring back. Not just the figure. The person. Something in the eyes. Something in the thoughts.

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When was the last time I knew myself? I don’t know. But the me I knew isn’t the me I am now. And I’m not sure why. And I’m not sure if I’m okay with it or not.

Part of it is the changes around me, I’m sure. Adapting. When everything around me changes I can’t expect to stay the same. I can’t survive it all intact.

Another part is that I’ve lost time with the people who make me most myself – people I’m all me with. Too often I’m just a shadow now.

I’m spending time reintroducing the me I am to the me I know. Reconciling the two. Embracing what is good, finding what I’ve lost, dropping the junk I’ve accumulated. The bitterness. The fear. The walls. The death of things that should not die.

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Still, there’s some part of me that circumstances, relationships, and even I can’t change. We’re constantly changing as humans, but there’s some core identity that can’t be lost. I’m searching for that now. In writing. In doing what I love. In realizing that I’m not lost, no matter how uncertain I am. I’m right here, to find and to see for any who takes the time. Including myself. So here I am saying “Hello world.” And here I am saying “Hello me. Nice to meet you.”

 

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Mental Health

How To Be Okay…

 

    • Turn your ears off. Don’t hear what others are saying. Don’t hear the cries, the laughs, the shrieks.

 

    • Turn your light off. Don’t be too much. Don’t be too happy, too sad, too ambitious, too progressive, too opinionated, too emotional, too introspective, too loud, too quiet, too needy, too carefree, or too uptight.

 

    • Turn your heart off. Don’t feel. Don’t think about feeling. Care about neither yourself nor the world.

 

    • As soon as scientific advances allow, become a robot.

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Maybe being okay isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Instead of being okay, try being:

    1. A fire. Burn hot, burn high, burn far. Infect everything in your path til you find all that is left is the most pure, condensed form of being.
    2. A sponge. Take it all in, everything you see, hear, feel, soak it up, then pour it out til the world sees where you’ve been and all that you’ve known.
    3. A dancer. Choose your music, choose your rhythm, and beckon others join.
    4. A mask. And then another. And another. Sometimes it takes knowing what you’re not to really know who you are.
    5. A hot mess. Try it if you need to. Find out who’s there for you in the end.
    6. A faerie tale. Adventure, happy ever after, mischief, augmented reality…Have it all.
    7. Nonsensical. We all need a little madness.
    8. An agent of change. Shake things up. Feel heavily, speak out, find your story, and live it to where you’ve made the world a little better.

Okay isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Be more than okay. It’s okay.

 

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