Saturday, September 23, 2017

Perspective Is Everything

Some say perspective is everything. It certainly affects the way we see the world and perceive events. It never ceases to amaze me, when my grown kids tell the same stories from when they were growing up. I get three different versions! That's because their level of maturity, their role in the situation and how they felt about it, all affected how they saw things and remembered them each time.

They are called filters, the lens through which we see the world. We commonly refer to romantics as seeing through rose colored glasses, or depressed people as "seeing through a dark veil." I have found that the mood and frame of mind I'm in affects how I experience what is happening in a day. It all comes down to perspective.

When I first was diagnosed with my illnesses I was scared. They were rare and I didn't know a lot about them. Information wasn't easy to find. I thought of myself as very sick, and consequently noticed every single ache and pain. I forgot about the normal aches and pains we all experience. I was looking for what was wrong.

When I found acceptance not only of my illness but of where I am presently, with the help of God, my thinking and my filters started to change. Although my doctors didn't give me hope of a full recovery, my Lord does. Instead of thinking of myself as being sick, I try to think of myself as getting well. While that may not mean I will be fully healed in this life time, I look for what is okay or getting better instead of what is worse. When the pain is bad, I put it in the context of a bad pain day, meaning tomorrow may be better. Looking for the good, and thinking positively, shines a bright light on my illnesses, instead of feeling like i am walking a dark, lonely path.

Applying this practice to my daily life has led to a reduction in stress, and an overall feeling of peace. Remembering God's faithfulness in prior events helps me to put much more trust in Him now. I've been learning that I can pray for Him to work through me, and He will. I can ask Him to carry me when I'm weak and He does. I can ask for His strength when mine is running out, and He gives it to me. I can pray for Him to help me with having a life- affirming attitude, and He really does help.

Changing one's perspective can even impact how you feel physically. It doesn't change having an illness, but it can certainly contribute to overall quality of life and how much pain you feel. For me, it has meant letting go of self-sufficiency and depending on God and those He chooses to work through. That has been difficult for me, but along with the letting go has come a freedom to change and grow, and the humility to ask for help. Maybe that is a new beginning in itself.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

When The Walls Are Crashing In

Have you ever been in a deep dark pit? So deep you couldn't see a way out? I have, at different points in my life. As a teenager after a horrible trauma I didn't think I could possibly survive.  Also when I became chronically ill with Addison's Disease and then other co-existing illnesses, knowing life would never be the same, I was grief stricken.

I lived in Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina. I was in Central Mississippi so we didn't get the devastation of the coast or New Orleans, but we got hit hard. At that time I worked hardships for the state retirement plan, and after hearing all the stories from the coast all day long, I would go home at night and cry, at least in the beginning. But you know what? I watched the stories change. From shock and grief to unity and a new hope...where there is God, there is always hope.

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week. It is also when Hurricane Irma will be hitting the Southeastern United States. Please know that whether you have evacuated or stayed, whether you are in a bad situation or hurting, no matter what your circumstance, or how dark things look, it can and does get better. You are never alone. I can say this because I have been in that dark pit. We can't always do it our own, sometimes we need help. There is no shame in needing help. We are not built to be perfect or completely independent, no matter what anyone has told you. Please if you feel like giving up, don't. Reach out. If not to someone you know, I will have some contacts below. And I want to share something that helped me. Please share it with anyone you think it might help. God never leaves us, and is a source of great comfort and peace.

I promised you some contacts. You can always contact me. For some anonymous contacts who are trained to help people that are hurting and people that are thinking about giving up here are some numbers and web addresses:

1-800-273-TALK (24/7)
Crisis Chat:
Textline: Text home to 741741

Please, never give up when the walls are crashing in.