Monday, October 3, 2016

Flailing

I'm not someone who is really into watching the Olympics, but my husband and I would catch an occasional event on TV this past summer.

Some of the events we watched were the 100 m and 400 m races.  For whatever reason, I remember the commentator pointing out that when the runners got close to the finish line, some of them started to flail, which caused them to slow down a bit.

My current finish line is on October 6th, my last day of work. As I approach that finish line I feel myself flailing...slowing down.

It's harder to get up in the morning, harder to make breakfast, harder to get out of the door on time.

When I make it to the office, it's hard to pay attention.  Hard to know how to finish out my responsibilities.  Hard to know I'm letting people down.

I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from work today. After I got all the groceries put away, I had to go take a nap.

I only worked 4 hours.  Grocery shopping didn't take that long.

I know adrenal fatigue makes you exhausted, but sometimes I'm surprised by just how little I can do before I reach the point of exhaustion.

The other thing I remember about the Olympic races is what happened after people crossed the finish line.  Some people fell over, some people stayed upright.

I have obligations over the weekend, but once the 10th rolls around, I have a feeling I'm going to fall over.  I feel like this is not a bad thing....it seems like a good place to rest for a bit.




Starting Somewhere

Originally written 9/24/16

I don't know where to begin with explaining where I am.

Perhaps I'll start with the fact that after about 9.5 years, I just recently gave my employer my two week resignation notice due to health reasons.

In July 2015, while in town for my sister's bridal shower, my mom had commented that my hair was looking a little thin.  At the time, I hadn't really noticed.  Suddenly, I found myself staring at other women's heads in an attempt to ascertain if my hair was actually thinner than an average women my age.  I came to the conclusion it was.

At the time, I juggling the equivalent of 3-4 roles in my company, traveling every few weeks, and navigating relationships with people who would eventually become my husband and step daughter. I was maxed out and anxious. I didn't really have time to think about my hair being thin, or what it implied. 

Summer 2015 turned to fall.  Paul and I were engaged in early October, and married two weeks later. we both were traveling right before and after our marriage. We barely saw each other that first month as husband and wife.

Work continued to be stressful. The holidays happened in a blur.  

In late December/ early January, I felt the need to put on a multi day training for the new hires at work.  I was so overloaded with client deadlines that the training was designed, written, and scheduled almost entirely by me, and almost completely on weekends.  I essentially worked for an entire month straight.

I had gotten really good at doing what needed to be done for everyone else but myself.

The week after training, when I had some time to breath, was when I started to notice that things were going downhill. My hair loss seemed to be increasing.  I was abnormally tired.

I went to the doctor.  

We did some tests and discovered I had adrenal fatigue. The stress I had been under had maxed out my little adrenal glands, and they weren't working quite right anymore.  I found out, when you have adrenal fatigue, there are lots of things that don't work right anymore.

I couldn't work 8 hour days anymore.  I was using my flex time and vacation time to lessen the number of hours I was at work each day.

My Dr. told me to take time off work, then start working reduced hours. I did.

The time off was interesting.  I had weird symptoms pop up when I stopped working.  Heart palpitations, fluttering in my throat, waking up in a panic.  Sometimes it felt like I was being lightly choked.  The symptoms lessened over time, but were still disconcerting.

Going back at half time seemed like something I could manage. I got an office outside of my house to deal with some of the stress I was experiencing.  It helped for a while.

The summer  of 2016 had it's challenges and heartaches. We had a family tragedy in July.  My beloved dog Claire battled cancer for a month, with me as her hospice nurse. She finally had to be put to sleep in early September.

At this point it doesn't matter where stress comes from, whether it's work or home. Any stress from any where effects everything. 

I've come to the point where I feel like I am barely functioning on most days.  Sometimes I can only complete one thing well - making breakfast lets say-  and after that I'm spent. Oh I do things the rest of the day, like go to work, but I function like a zombie.

Which is how I got to the point of leaving work.

The best medicine for adrenal fatigue is rest, and that's what I plan to do.

I was reading the Bible the other day, and Matthew 10:39 jumped out at me:

"If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it."

And all of a sudden, the verse made perfect sense.  It spoke to me in a way I had never heard before.

I had been clinging to my job, to my sense of pride that I could do it all and then some.
I was clinging to what the world saw as worth.

I remembered what some dear friends had told me repeatedly... that I had worth because I was a child of God, not because of all the stuff I did.

I feel like I'm in the process of being deconstructed. That the life I had clung to is being torn away.

I hold onto Matthew 10:39 as a promise.  A promise that my old life, the one I had created around the world, is passing away.  And in that death, a new life will be constructed for me that is built around God, and I count that as a joy!

A few people have asked me, and I'm sure more will, what I'll do in the future.
Will I go back to my old job?
Find a new one?
Become a permanent housewife?

The honest answer is that I'm not even thinking about it. 
I can only take care of myself one moment at a time, anything else is overwhelming.

I'm choosing to trust God in this deconstruction.  He is calling me to rest. In my Bible reading this morning, Matthew 11:28-30 spoke to me: 

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

And once I read those words, it felt like my whole being sighed and said yesssssss. Please.

So what I will do, moment by moment, moving forward is rest, to trust that God has a plan for me, and that He will provide.  I have no anxiety about that, no indecision, just peace.


From Pagan to Chrisitan

Originally written on 2/6/16

When I’m trying to make my mind up about something, I typically search the interwebs to help me find information on both sides of a decision.

Sometimes my searches are not satisfying.

I identified as Pagan from the time I was a senior in high school, until just before I turned 32.
In thinking about making the switch from Pagan to Christian, I was unsure of myself.  I searched the internet for others who had made the journey before me.  While I found some information on those who made the switch, it was typically only a few sentences on a forum someplace.

I was craving a much deeper discussion than what I was finding in my searches.

So, for others thinking about making the switch from Pagan to Christian (or for those just wondering why on earth someone would even think about switching!), I want to give you the discussion I was looking for.

I also want to shed some light on things that Christians did that I found weird (or just didn't understand) when I was still Pagan.

Ultimately, I made the decision to follow Jesus after an encounter in love, an encounter with community, and coming to terms with two issues that were gnawing at me.

In winter of 2014/2015, I was dating a man named Paul, who was Lutheran. We lived about a half hour apart, and one day while driving home from his house, I discovered a Colorado based Christian Radio station called Grace FM.  When I first started listening, I was mainly interested in what they were saying about the culture in Jesus’ day.  As I continued to listen, I started to wonder, is this stuff for real?

One night I was looking at Paul, who I loved dearly (and who is now my husband!), and I thought to myself ‘if he goes to heaven and I don’t…. I don’t like that idea’.

It was that thought, that we might not be together in heaven, that inspired me to keep listening to Grace FM, and start looking a little harder at Christianity.

After a few misses, I found a church in May 2015 that resonated with me. I can (and will) write a whole post about The Pursuit Church and what it means to me, but for this post, let’s just say I found a place that welcomed me for who I was, and was full of really authentic people. It was like God knew I needed REALLY fertile soil to be planted, and so he led me there.

And then there were my two hang ups, the things that kept me from taking that step of belief:

11. What are people going to THINK?!
I was so adamantly against Christianity for so long, that the thought of telling people I was considering Christianity as my new life seemed…..ridiculous. I kept playing the conversations I was going to have with people over and over again, and I couldn’t wrap my mind around how to make that conversation work. One day, I realized that my decision to follow Jesus would have ETERNAL ramifications.  Once I started thinking about things on an eternal basis, I stopped caring what people here on earth thought.  I realized it really only mattered what GOD thought of me.

   2.  I’m too BAD for salvation!
We have all done things we regret. I personally have made a ton of mistakes. I have hurt people I cared for. I had spent my whole adult life pretty much marinating in sin. How could I come to God, unclean as I was? During the time I was thinking about converting, I was listening to a Grace FM fairly often. In a one week span, I had heard on Grace FM multiple times that salvation is not something that is earned, it is something that is given.  That there is no reason to ‘clean up your act’ before coming to God, that God meets you where you are. Once I heard, for the umpteenth time, that salvation isn’t earned, I started to believe it.

If I had to sum up in one word how I decided to go from Pagan to Christian it would be LOVE. There was no amount of logic, no amount of arguing, and no amount of guilt that ever could have moved my decision along. My decision to follow Jesus was about LOVE.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

All work and no play makes marcy a mess...

So I learned the lesson that actual work when out of balance with actual life is bad.  What I apparently failed to connect is things that are work-like also count against balance even though it wasn't actual work.
What am I talking about?
I decided to move in with my boyfriend in December, and since then I've been 'working' almost non stop to make it happen.  First it was purging stuff from the house, then it was the packing, then it was the moving (which happened over a period of a few months, since I was relativity close and could move jeep loads sporadically), and THEN it was getting my house ready to rent, which was WAYYYY more work and time than I ever expected.  Now that the house is rented, we have projects at our house- building and planting the garden, rearranging the basement, STILLLL unpacking....

It's been one thing after the other for about 5 months, with almost zero down time.

I've slowly been going downhill, but the last 2 or 3 weeks I've really noticed that I'm feeling off. It's funny- for only moving a half hour north to a town I was already familiar with, I feel out of place still.  I dont necessarily know where everything is, or where to go, or what to do.  There are events I never would have attended before on week nights because the drive was too far....and now it would be easy, but I never think about doing anything because I'm so used to living farther away.

One of the results of the above is that I haven't gotten out of the house much since I've moved, which was starting to drive me a little batty.

I also haven't been playing much music since the first of the year...being busy and stressed for me basically crushes any creative impulses I have.  I know from experience that I do better as a whole when I'm playing music, but it's hard to convince myself to play anything when I'm exhausted.

Now that I recognize all of this, it's time to get out of the house more, play more music, and enjoy the fact that I no longer have to deal with my house!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Set Backs and Such

I had a panic attack today, which is kind of funny because I have been telling people in recent weeks that, yeah, I had anxiety once that was debilitating!  But I'm over it now.

Apparently I'm not as over it as I thought.

I have been careful in the last year not to overwhelm myself with too many activities, and be busy more than a few days in a row. However, I have a tendency, when I start feeling better, to push faster than is wise....and it always catches up with me.

I imagine this panic attack has been brewing for about a week, I've been way busier than normal, I haven't been eating quite as well, and the new responsibilities I've taken on at work are starting to feel a little heavy. I've been more reactive with my coworkers, and nit picky details have worn me down.

I'm not sure exactly what the trigger was this afternoon, but I started to feel panicky.  It may have been all the work I need to finish by the end of the day, and all of the things I needed to accomplish tonight to prepare for a trip this weekend. I remember thinking about how my boyfriend had asked me to go to his neighborhood HOA meeting since he couldn't be there, and that I was planning to go, but with all the other things going on it seemed like that HOA meeting would prevent me from getting everything done.  In my mind, I was letting my bf down big time by not having the capacity to go to the HOA meeting, I had just found I let some things slip at work, and I lost it.

I called the bf and left him a nearly hysterical message about how I was overwhelmed, and that I was sorry, but I wouldn't make the HOA meeting.  This was approximately 8 minutes before a client meeting.

After hanging up, I cried, hyperventilated, and generally panicked. I then pulled myself together enough to sit on a web conference.

The bf called a few hours later, and I tearfully walked him through what was going on.

I think the most upsetting thing about the whole episode is that I had said to myself 'I am never going back' ...not going back to the stress, anxiety, unhealthy habits, etc.

I have forgotten how disastrous panic attacks are to ones day... I couldn't concentrate afterwards, I felt scattered and exhausted. I felt like I was a huge disappointment.

I was barely functional for several hours.

This is not the place I want to be.

The bf reminded me that it was about the middle of the month, and that he's noticed that I tend to be more emotional during that time.  I'm not entirely sure what my hormones are doing, but there is a time between my period and ovulation that I seem to loose it a bit.

We also talked about how I've had a bunch of body work lately- acupuncture, chiro, and lymph massage that could have stirred some things up.

I'm hopeful that it's just a convergence of events that led to this, and that I'm not slipping into a new normal, because I desperately don't want to go back.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Unexpected

I've recently started trying to make sense of the last year.

The short story is on July 27 of 2013  I found a lump in my left breast and didn't handle it well.
Even when the results of various imaging work came back benign not once, but twice.

At one point, a friend who is a cancer survivor on Facebook posted an article that talked about how once remission status was reached, a person didn't necessarily feel totally relieved, or go back to their normal self.

I really identified with the article, not because I had cancer and survived it, but because when the benign results came back, I didn't  feel relieved. I kept thinking 'but it still could happen'.  I also haven't gone back to my pre-lump self- as I mentioned in my last post, I'm struggling with who as was versus who I am now.

I realized two or three months ago that I'm doing a really good job at fixing the physical aspects  that were at the root cause of my health issues- mainly hormone imbalance that has probably been going on since late high school or early college.

I also realized that finding the lump for me was an emotional shock, one that I had not realized was present until a few months ago, and one that I was not doing a good job at addressing.

I  think the awareness that the shock was present was key- the fact that I  recognized it helped lessen the shock a little bit.

One of the treatments I sought out that helped the most with the emotional shock was going to a very gifted lymph massage therapist that also does advanced energy healing (CJ at LymphWorks in Fort Collins, CO), which was in early July 2014.

Since then, I feel like the shock is primarily in the background, instead of at the for front of every day. I've also been able to look at the experiences of the last year more objectively.

During on of my more objective looks, I realized something else- finding the lump and the resulting treatments to address the hormone balance were fairly unexpected.  I thought that I was doing a pretty good job at living a healthy life,  I don't smoke anything, don't drink much, don't participate in risky behaviors, and yet .... I had some health issues.

At the time I didn't realize how bad my stress and anxiety  were in the years leading up to the health issues, and how much stress and anxiety can adversely affect ones health.  Had I truly known that, I probably wouldn't have been surprised.

But I didn't know, and the lump seemed to come out of the blue, and I think that's one of the reasons I  just didn't handle most things well after July of 2013.

I often wonder now how other people I know would have reacted in the same situation. Would they have been more calm?  More open (I didn't tell anyone for several months, and even then kept it relatively quiet)?  Not been bothered much?

There was a period of about 2 months last December and January where I  basically became a hermit.  All of the dietary and lifestyle changes that I needed to make were overwhelming,  so I stopped going out, stopped talking to friends and family, and just learned how to take care of myself.  I had disabled my Facebook account a month or so earlier, so I  really had no idea what  was going on with every one else.  I thought, if I can barely handle whats happening in my own life, I certainly don't want the added stress of knowing what's going on in other peoples lives.

The nice thing about being a hermit for a few months is that I really learned what it meant to take care of myself.  While I still struggle to balance self care and the rest of my life, I've gotten much better at it.  I've also gotten much better at saying no to things that will make maintaining that balance more difficult.

It's been just over a year since I found the lump.  I'm hoping that this year I can put all the worries and shock related to finding the lump aside, and just focus on my new lifestyle and diet as something that I want to do to live a healthy life, instead of something I have to do out of fear.


The recent (and future blogging)  is one of my attempts to make sense of things....maybe if these thoughts aren't rattling around in my head, maybe if they're written down somewhere, I'll stop needing to think them.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Blank Canvases are Immobilizing

This past year has been difficult for me, for various reasons.
I have made several changes in my life, from diet, to the way I take care of myself, to work responsibilities, and in that process I have been changed.

I suppose when I started all the changes, I figured there were things about my life that would change, but that my fundamental personality would stay they same.

I was wrong.

The problem with fundamental personality shifts is that you retain the memory of who you were before, what you used to do, what you used to like, and how you used to react to things....kind of like program settings.

When you try to apply your old life settings to your current settings it is confusing, and doesn't work out very well.

For example,  since I work from home and don't see other humans during the day, I was alllllll about going out and socializing in the evenings.  It didn't really matter what else was going on in my life, I was up for just about anything at anytime.

Now I find myself starting to avoid  most social situations if there will be more than a handful of people. Sometimes I avoid one on one time too.

It's not that I'm unhappy about avoiding social situations, either.  I'm actually quite pleased about it.  I've been relishing quiet time more and more.  I like hanging out with my dogs and putzing in the yard.

The issue comes when I compare the two settings, I suppose because I don't fully comprehend how I went from one extreme to the other.

In some ways if feels like I'm starting over- now that I understand I don't HAVE to live by my old settings, I can choose something different!

However, I am one of those people that have found blank canvases terrifying, immobilizing. There's so much opportunity  that the choices are overwhelming.

I find myself drifting.

I feel like I need a plan, any sort of plan, to give me some direction.

Compared to where I was a year ago, this is not a bad place to be .

I just don't know how to figure out what to do next.