There was an error in this gadget

Monday, January 23, 2012

Help around the house

Tonight I have been a bad mom. I don't feel good, so I did some essential domestics, then went and laid in my bed. My oldest let the baby (who's 3 now, but she'll always be "the baby") shower with her. The baby is lively tonight. Of course. Since I have no energy.but how in the world can you be agitated with such an adorable little fireball?
I hear dishes banging in the kitchen and start yelling her name. She finally comes walking through my room, shaking the water off her hands, doesn't even look at me, and announces: "I'm done with the dishes." She looked a little exasperated. Dishes will do that to a girl!

She's so sassy! Must be the red hair. She insisted on taking a picture of me After I took hers. (notice the inside out nightgown)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Outside closed doors - Our judgmental nature (A barring of my soul... again)

I distinctly remember being a young child lying in bed, sweating.  On mild nights my parents would open the windows in the house instead of turning on the air conditioner.  I would get up and shut my window, for fear that someone would cut my screen and climb in and take me.  So, I would try desperately to go to sleep even though I was so hot.  But, I also had to leave at least the sheet on or "they" would get me.  (I don't know who "they" were.  I also had to close my eyes when the train went by at night.  They could get me if I didn't.)
I can remember laying in bed, fretting over endangered species.  I had pamphlets on how to help save almost every endangered species on the planet.  I would literally cry myself to sleep thinking about the chance of my parents or grandparents dying.  I worried about the amount of roadkill I saw on the side of the road because I was afraid those animals would become endangered as well.  (I know this all sounds kind of silly, but to me, it was so serious and scary!)  I remember in first grade I dropped my lunchbox on the way to the bus after school and contents fell on the ground.  I was MORTIFIED.  I wanted to cry so badly but I was so afraid if I did I'd be made fun of.  In third grade I left my reading book at school accidentally.  I came home and cried inconsolably because I was so upset that I wouldn't be able to get my homework done.  In Kindergarten my teacher wanted me held back. I was excelling academically, but I rarely spoke.  I remember having to say my ABCs and I absolutely wouldn't say them in front of the whole class.  My teacher had me come up to her desk so I could whisper them to her. I also had some OCD type issues, although I didn't realize they were weird or odd and they were mainly in my mind, so no one noticed.
Shy?  I was called that.  I was called "shy" and "sensitive" a lot as a kid.  As an adult I figured out I'm not really "shy."  I'm introverted, but get to know me and you would never in a million years call me shy.  My biggest issue for my whole life has been anxiety.  I didn't want to talk in front of people because I was so nervous about being laughed at.  Over the years my anxiety grew with me and manifested in different ways.  In high school I was a conscientious and honor roll student.  However, by college, the pressure I'd put on myself to succeed became too much for me to handle and I cracked. I was having anxiety attacks then, although I didn't know what they were and I began drinking alcohol to deal with it.  Being drunk was the ONLY time I didn't have a knot in my stomach and a million things running through the back of my mind.  I fell in love with that feeling.  The freedom that offered me to just be myself and not worry for a few hours. 
When I became pregnant at 19 I immediately quit drinking.  When my daughter was born, my anxiety was brought to a whole new level.  I never had classic post-partum depression with her but I was immediately filled with an intense anxiety over anything happening to her.  For the first year of all three of my children's lives I was tortured by their frailty and while I adored them all more than anything, that love drove me to places in my mind that I'm still not ready to openly share.  I fear sounding like a complete lunatic!  During my divorce, I went to the ER with chest pains and shortness of breath.  Had an EKG done and the whole bit.  Everything checked out fine.  However, I knew something was wrong.  I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest and like my lungs were collapsing. Stress, they told me.
When I moved in to my own apartment, just me and my two small children, that's when everything came to a head for me.  I couldn't let my kids sleep in their room.  I would stay up so late that I finally became so exhausted I would just crash.  That's the only way I could go to sleep.  Otherwise, I would lay there and freak out over every noise and make up scenarios in my head so I could be prepared for anything that might happen while we slept.  I would fret over whether or not to sleep with the TV on.  Because I liked the noise, but what if it kept me from hearing something in the middle of the night?  But, on the other hand, it might make it look like I was awake so no one would try to break in. I would get up several times to check the locks, even though I locked the door every time I shut it. This circle would go on and on in my head until it was spinning.  I would just give in to it.  It's all I'd ever done.  And, when you live with something your whole entire life, you don't really realize there's anything wrong with it.  Kind of like when kids get glasses.  They don't realize they can't see well because that's just how things have always looked.  Then, they put the glasses on and are like, "Oh!  Wow!!"  That's how my anxiety was.  It was every bit as much a part of me as my hands.  It had always been there.  It's WHO I was.
When the attacks started hitting me in public, I knew something had to change.  If you've never had one, it is scary.  You literally feel like your heart is going to beat right out of your chest and you can't breathe.  You start to think you are going to die and it is a very real fear in your mind that something is terribly wrong.  You become so fearful that you won't be able to catch your breath.  That your heart will stop.  I can remember racing to the bathroom to double over and try to overcome it.  I have to cry.  The only way I can get past a full blown attack is to finally cry.  And, that's not fun in the middle of dinner at a restaurant with other people.
I went to the doctor finally.  She asked me a lot of questions.  She told me this: (which made me feel a little crazy!  lol)  "Your fears are not irrational.  You just take them about 10 steps further than normal people."  Normal people??  Nice.  "Here's a prescription."
So, I started taking a little pill every day.  I hated it.  It did, in fact, alleviate the physical symptoms of my anxiety.  However, I felt like I was in a completely monotone state, emotionally.  There were no lows, but there were also no highs.  And, the problem with medicating anxiety is that they give you a pill for depression and that wasn't an issue for me.  I was not depressed.  So, I learned more and more about the attacks and about how the adrenaline causes them and that you get scared and produce more adrenaline which feeds the adrenaline and before you know it you're in a vicious adrenaline cycle and there's your attack.  I learned to feel it coming on and to take deep breaths and calm myself down.  I learned to stop and pray.  And, I got off the little pill and started dealing with it on my own, with God's help.  And, I finally realized the freedom from my anxiety that I can only find in Christ.
The ironic thing about it is how other people see me.  I've heard me described as:  "laid back"  "easy going"  "calm".  And, I am very much those things outside of myself.  Outside of my own head.  But, hearing that has always made me laugh inside.  I'd always think, If only they knew what goes on inside my head.  How absolutely tense I usually am inside.  How when I set a certain time to leave the house and don't make the mark I'm reeling inside.  Even though there's no actual deadline. 
Which leads me to my whole point.  Why are we all so judgmental?  Myself included!!  Why do we look at other people and make inferences and judgments about the way they do things?  We don't know their insides.  We don't know all their struggles. 
I fight so hard against my anxiety and everyday it is a struggle to hand over my stress to God and let it go.  Some days I do better than others.  I "fall off the wagon" from time to time.  This December was one of those times for me.  I gave in.  I let the anxiety take over.  And, when I do that I tend to close myself off to everyone around me.  Even those closest to me.  It's hard for me to interact with other people, especially to go to places like church or parties, where a lot of people will be there.  I've been judged on that.  I know what it feels like to have people misjudge your motives, infer about why you act the way you do and generally not understand where you are coming from.  It's hard.  And, let's face it, we ALL have struggles and issues.  We ALL battle our own battles in our lives that sometimes we conquer, or sometimes we don't.  So, why do we feel the right to look at other people and judge them without knowing their battles?  Without even caring, half the time.
And, I am not preaching.  I am as guilty as the next person.  Not to long ago I caught myself judging someone for being judgmental!  I had to just laugh at myself.  It was the height of ridiculousness.  I just wish we all had more grace for each other.  Especially those of us in the "Christian" community.  Sometimes I think we can be the worst of all!  We have been shown the ultimate grace and should be more than happy to pass it on.
Afterall, sin, in itself, is our flesh struggling against our spirituality.  My anxiety is sinful in nature.  It's prideful, even, for me to think that I need to worry about one single thing when I profess my faith in a God who has overcome the world already.  The bible tells me not to worry:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" Matthew 6:25-27  And, yet, every single day I fight the urge to fret and worry.  Sometimes I give in and make myself physically ill or mentally exhausted.  Reading this story might make it easy for you to pity me.  "Awww.  Poor girl, having to deal with that her whole life."  But, the truth of the matter is, we've all placed values on sins.  We decide which ones are worse, which ones we need to harp on, and which ones we need to make public debates over.  Some of the "lesser" ones we just leave alone.  But, in God's eyes, sin is sin.  He hates it all.  He knows what it does to our spirits.  We are commanded to love.  To first love God, and to then to "love our neighbor as ourselves."  (Mark 12:31)  And, love keeps no record of wrongdoing.  Love doesn't judge.  Sometimes love is the very thing someone needs to pull them out of their struggle with their sinful nature.  Just something to think about.  So, the next time you want to look in at someone from the outside and judge them, maybe try to figure out a way to show them some love instead.  It may be just what they need.  (And, PS, the ones who are the hardest to love are probably the ones who need it the most!)

Diets and Dog Poo - Deja Vu??

There have been several nights that my sweet, now full grown, Fizzgig furbaby has slept in the kids' beds as opposed to locked in the laundry room as usual.  So, last night as I lay curled in my warm, cozy bed, I thought it would be okay to leave her free to roam as we slept.  I was laying there thinking about how she hadn't had an accident in the house, period, since she was a puppy and the few nights we'd let her sleep with the kids, she just stayed there until morning.  Blissfully, I drifted off, so pleased with my perfect little animal.  Although, having an animal in the house disgusts me slightly, my adoration for this little thing, as well my childrens' adoration, helps me accept her IN to our home.
This morning.  I awoke to two piles in the living room.  One on the carpet and one on the tile in the entry way.  Of course. Of course she had to prove me wrong.  Gagging all the while, I cleaned up the poo.  Dog poo is no fun, and it is especially no fun first thing in the morning,pre-coffee.  I found her sleeping happily on my daughter's bed and when I opened the front door, she trotted out happily as if nothing had happened.  Dogs.  Then, when I let her back in, she proceded to scoot her doggy bottom ON MY CARPET.  I was so grossed out.  I will be steaming my carpets now.
Maybe that's why I couldn't eat breakfast until much later.  And, speaking of breakfast, I am once again on the diet bandwagon.  Weight watchers/low carb.  Not no carb.  No special rules or bans on foods.  Just trying really hard to eat whole foods most of the time and get my carbs from fruits mainly.  Whole grains here and there.  I've figured out that my body does not respond well to carbs.  Also, I've adopted Weight Watchers as my new way of life.  And, I've learned some valuable things already!  A.  I've been able to, for years, eat my daily recommended calorie intake in one meal of pizza.  B.  Eating out is the debil!  C. It's okay to eat candy bars.  Sometimes.  Provided you haven't already splurged that day.  D. Candy bars are glorious when you only eat them sometimes.  E.  Only allowing yourself to have a certain portion of food makes you slow down and enjoy it more.  F.  Even very small changes in your diet can equal to a lot of cut calories! G.  If you mess up one day, just start all over the next day.  It's ok.  H.  Cleaning up dog feces in the morning will greatly reduce your appetite!