Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Failing, Failure

The last couple days have been tough. There is nothing monumentally wrong that most families and relationships don’t typically go through. But when I feel like everything around me (or 80%) is failing, I end up feeling like a failure.

My sister was her supportive self today when we talked. She gave me her opinion that I am one of the most capable people she knows and far from a failure. Thanks sissy! Deep down, I guess I know I’m not responsible for everyone else’s choices, but it’s hard when stress can feel unrelenting.

I got talking to a client today and it reminded me of research I read years ago. It said that females in particular tend to be prone to an “internal locus of control” which, like anything else, has its good and bad points.

When a woman is faced with a problem or hurt, she usually asks herself what she did wrong and looks for how she can fix it. An external locus of control would assume someone else screwed up. The good part of the internal focus is that it can lead to empowerment and change. The bad part is that it can lead to over-responsibility and unnecessary self-blame.

Generalizations almost always get you in trouble so please understand these thoughts don’t apply to every single person in every single situation. As an observer of human behavior and relationships, I have to say that it does seem to often be the case though. Women are often the “emotional thermometers” in relationships. It’s almost comical when a couple sits down for session and the man briefly declares things are ok. The woman wants to know who he has been living with because it apparently isn’t their home. As she recounts the week’s activity, the man will eventually nod in agreement. “Oh yea, I forgot about that,” or something similar.

Anyhow, when you intensely love and care for people around you, it can be heartbreaking when you are disappointed, worried, concerned when you see those around you making choices that hurt you, or worse hurt themselves. Probably the most intense pain is around the love and concern a parent has for their child. A child of any age, no matter how old he/she gets.

I’m doing ok tonight. I’m exhausted and feel like a wet dish rag. But talking to people who care and an unscheduled call to Scott (my trusted therapist) reminds me that these things too shall pass. They hurt like hell, but I don’t need to fall into the abyss or anything. Tomorrow will come and I will just do the best I can again. I’m usually the only one that asks more of me than that.

Hope all is well in your world, wherever you are. Take some time for self-care, but stay engaged in life and people. It’s worth it, even when you’d rather punch them all…LOL.


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Plodding Along

They say that the most-read blogs have catchy how-to titles. I have to laugh because the older I get, the less and less I feel like I know “how-to” do much of anything. Maybe I could write one entitled, “How to have no brilliant earth-changing ideas” or something like that.

My schedule is usually over the top. I’ve probably blogged about it a few times. Last week I spent some quality time talking with my peers, friends, and counselor about it. A couple of themes emerged so I’m pretty good at figuring out it’s time to listen to the message when it gets repeated in my life. Over the weekend I spent a pretty large chunk of time conceiving and implementing a new scheduling system. I knew it wouldn’t make me more efficient necessarily. I’m already the efficiency queen. But I was hoping that it would help me be less exhausted at the end of the day.

It wasn’t terribly hard to implement. It was just a re-shifting of ideas and priorities, not a massive lifestyle change. Almost a week in, I’m sorry to say it was a dismal failure. It hasn’t made my life harder. It hasn’t made me less efficient. It just plain didn’t make a difference.

I’ve been so excited (and frankly, shocked) that I’ve been off anti-depressants. Acupuncture has really made an impact. I think that is why I’ve been telling myself so adamantly that I’m just having a bad day. I didn’t want the wave to crash. The end of last week, my acupuncture doc and I decided that perhaps I needed two sessions this week, even though we had made the encouraging decision to go down to one treatment a week.

Yesterday I went in for my second appointment this week. I was laying on the table waiting for her and it started to happen. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hide it. I couldn’t hide it from myself, and I couldn’t hide it from her. She walked in the room and asked me how I was doing. Then it happened. I just started crying. Not sobbing or anything worthy of a good drama film. The tears just fell down my cheeks. I was overwhelmed. In spite of my best efforts, my life was getting the better of me again.

She poked me up good and then told me she left me on the table an extra long time. Kind of made me laugh. Ya think? I laid there and was unable to sleep, but the stress did start to lessen. I started thinking a bunch of different things. In her cute and simplistic way, the doc said I just have too much to do. She also said I need a vacation. I reminded her that I was ready for the cruise that she and I have been talking about anytime she was ready. She said I need more days to myself. Yep.

I started thinking about a simple but wise statement a friend made to me recently after I had described my grand plan to reschedule my life over the weekend. I wanted to pop him in the nose, but I knew he was right. He said ever-so-gently that no matter how you slice up a hundred things to do, you are still left with a hundred things to do.

I also started thinking about some of the gifts that had come my way over the week. I hadn’t ignored them. I was deeply grateful for them when they happened, but I need to post them in my eyelids.

1- a client brought me in a beautiful framed Wizard of Oz picture for my office wall. The occasion? She said there was none, but she was thinking about how special I am and she thought she should do something special for me. AWESOME.

2- a student emailed me after our three hour class and said it was the best supervision she had ever had and that I had a gift. MELTED ME.

3- after a conversation about my struggles with diet and weight (which have been lifelong, by the way), a friend texted me and said I was beautiful, inside and out. HIT A RAW NERVE.

When the timer went off and the needles were removed, I still had the same 100 things to do. But I had stopped crying. I was breathing easier. I still am overwhelmed. But I’m trying to remember the gifts I have. And I’m trying to remember that when I can’t possibly waste a second with all I have to do, that it might be time to invest a minute or two to close my eyes and relax. I just don’t have to poke a bunch of needles in my head. (The doc didn’t have to say, “Don’t try this at home.” I actually know better without being told!)

Keep hanging in there. I will if you will. There will always be circumstances and people who will want more from you than you can give. There will always be those who look at you and not realize that one small thing they want from you is the straw that might break your strong camel back. But it’s okay. There are also people who love and encourage you. And it helps to focus on those moments.

Here’s to plodding along. Forward, backward, and hopefully forward a few more. Blessings!


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A River of Goodness

Remember when I told you that Summer gave me a pack of gratitude cards to use for blog day? Well, I’m using one today and it was labeled “A River of Goodness.”

It talks about how when you are feeling lonely and overwhelmed, you should remember there is a loving universe. You can listen for any sort of sign that soothes your soul, which then allows you to act wisely.

Hmmmm… I didn’t thumb through the cards, I just took the next one in the pack, trusting it would contain the message I needed. And in turn, I trust that there will be a reader or two that need the message as well. Last week’s blog garnered several comments and texts. Many of you tried the quieting exercises and sent me your results. The “winner” was a brilliant young lady I know who said she had 52 thoughts in two minutes!

Anyhow, back to the card. I am very, very happy to say that I have NOT been feeling lonely lately. I think that is a miraculous statement coming from me, and I think it’s based on a number of factors. First, my acupuncture doc actually said she thinks I’m ready to go down to one treatment a week. She reminded me of the first appointment I had with her and said I couldn’t even smile. Not only am I less depressed, I have actually been off the depression medicine for almost three weeks. HOLY COW!

When I am less depressed, I think I am able to appreciate the people in my life on an emotional level. I always maintain an intellectual gratitude for all the amazing folks in my life, but often times it just doesn’t affect the level of sadness I feel. When I am less depressed, I can appreciate it emotionally as well. I have all my family and friends who have always been there through some of the darkest things I’ve ever had to face in my life. Then there are friends I have discovered in the last four years since Tim’s passing. And now there are new faces in my life just in the last month or two who I am very grateful for. Isn’t that a lovely thing?

Back to the card. So yeah for not feeling so lonely. But the overwhelmed part still stings. My color-coded schedule has been out of control. The responsibilities have been relentless and I have been exhausted as a result. I am working very hard (no surprise there!) to figure out how to shift that. It’s hard because all the things I do are worthwhile and mostly necessary. But going from 7 am to 10 pm every day is a bit ridiculous. One sign from the universe was the announcement that I could go down to once a week with the acupuncturist. I don’t know what the answers are just yet, but I am going to keep chipping away at making my life more manageable. Last night I went to bed by 10:30 pm. My kitchen was a mess, but I valued not feeling like a zombie today more than a clean kitchen. The great thing is, I woke up refreshed and it was no problem to get the kitchen back in order. Priorities!

Overall, I’d say that is good news. I still have my share of critics out there who have voiced how negative my blogs have been. Well, HA! This one is positive 🙂