By the age of eight years old, I had to figure out, quite abruptly and quickly I might add, how I was going to survive. Not physically; rather, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I can’t recall what I did at that young of an age, but something existed within me that said, “No, you will not be beaten by this situation.” The situation was a stepfather entering the picture.
By age the age of 12, I can say that I was very good at hiding.
I would get up on weekends and in summers and do my daily three hour cleaning and gardening, then pack a drink, sandwich, some snacks and a portable cd player, and took off to the creek and small lake not far from our home (house, actually…two different things) as well as the empty bottomed-out river beds full of limestone.
I would have lunch down there, listen to music, wade in the water, and quite often I would take a book to read that day.
I was down there by 9-10:00 a.m. and would have to return home for dinner and cleaning afterwards.
Dinner was seasoned with nightmares – the kind that occur while you’re awake. I would get through all of that as soon as I was able and go to bed, pretending to sleep and blocking out screams with that blasted cd player. The bedroom door had no lock.
During the school year, I left for school early each day, offering the excuse I needed tutoring. I became involved in extra-curricular activities and sports so that I could go home later. As soon as I was legally allowed, I began working. And when all of that failed, when I was going to be stuck in the house alone with him (him is the stepfather) I hid in the bathroom acting as though I was sick, or taking a long time to get ready to go out somewhere, etc.
Ultimately, what I’m trying to say here is that in order to survive that time period of my life, I hid. I got to the point at which I excelled. At that point, it was a coping technique – a way in which I survived.
As an adult, is hiding the healthiest strategy? Probably not. However, you know what? It allowed me to survive. Currently, working on more healthy coping techniques.
Take care and treat each other with love, guys.🙏💛✌
Yesterday, I mentioned self-care. Today, I’m going to share two things that help me. Small, little, helpful, easy to do type things.
1. I wear a locket with a felt tab inside it that holds and diffuses various scents. My favorite is a combo of peppermint, orange and lemon. It helps me feel more peppy and sharpens my focus.
2. I go outside. Even if I don’t walk miles, just getting outdoors and smelling the grass, watching the sage and rosemary grow, excitedly checking on the peaches and apricots, delighted to see the bumblebees, butterflies and birds dancing here and there…all of this helps me be in the moment. I feel thankful. Blessed. I pray. I come up with ideas for art and writing. I feel like I have time to myself, which is something I very much need for stability.
Do you have a sure fire go-to that helps ground or calm you?
Hey, guys. Just a quick shout-out to all of the new followers in this last week or so. I’m sorry I hadn’t posted many blog entries in this last month and a half, but our family has experienced three losses, and we’ve been traveling and attending funerals, as well as one seminar. Just quite busy.
Anyway, what I wanted to mention is today I had my second epidural injection of Lidocaine in my back in order to help with chronic pain in my lower left back since three surgeries, and in order to help with fibromyalgia.
During this injection, apparently when the pain was quite intense, I was forgetting to breathe. So the doctor very wisely reminded me to do so, and I began taking in deep breaths and exhaling out. Within a few minutes, I was feeling much better and I was able to control the pain that I was feeling and my reactions to it for the rest of the time until the procedure was finished. Afterward, it reminded me of how we (those with mental health issues) are supposed to take care of ourselves with self-care daily, just as we do stretching, walking, biking, water aerobics, and just like we hit the gym – we are also supposed to do some deep breathing exercises, some progressive muscle relaxation, some guided meditation, listening to calm music & calm sounds – that kind of thing to help us keep a baseline of calm and to help us have the tools and equipment to later in the day handle any anxiety that comes up and any unforeseen difficult circumstances. The idea behind all of this is that because we practice self-care in those ways everyday, it will be an immediate reaction to help us get through the acute times of emotional angst and pain.
So, hopefully today I received an epidural injection that will help with my back pain in just a few days, and I know I definitely received a great reminder because I had forgotten to be doing the daily deep breathing and other exercises that can help.
Tell me, is there anything in particular that helps you with mental & emotional health self-care each day? I’d love to hear about it.
(image: Pinterest, saved by Nevine Sultan, PhD, NCC, LPC)
I’m not doing the whole resolution thing, but I am taking the opportunity to do a bit of self-reflection. I’m going to try to work on small, attainable goals that promote growth. If I don’t achieve all of these quickly and/or every single day, I am not failing. These are just guidelines to help improve myself and help others.
First and foremost, try to dedicate myself even more to Jesus, my Savior. That’s something I should always be doing, and help my family and friends in any way I can and should. Witness when and where I can. This is not part of the eighteen. This should be every day, every month, every year.
Eighteen Goals – dedicate myself and give my best efforts as I’m able. Don’t be hard on myself if I don’t nail all eighteen immediately, fully and completely. Any effort is good. Any effort is helpful and beneficial. Any effort is progress.
1. Begin setting goals and outline a plan to start attending sociology classes again in order to ultimately be involved in juvenile criminal justice.
2. Research and try vitamins, supplements and foods that help protect nerves, and decrease joint inflammation and fibromyalgia pain.
3. Cook more often, while utilizing crock pots, pressure cookers and meal wrap storage.
4. Use coupons and the like to help with finances.
5. Researching ways to build a craft-making and selling small business in order to help with finances and to have an outlet for creativity.
6. Join the local town gym that offers classes and indoor warm pool for arthritis and fibromyalgia. Also sign up for the massages and nutritionist offered at the gym. Endorphin release will also help mental health issues too, of course.
7. Go to the one flat park in this town that is full of hills and walk with Richard Parker.
8. Visit my special hideaway at the river more often. Relaxation and a nice place for photos, writing, drawing, coloring and/or listening to music or books.
9. Follow bird trails in town and nearby towns and do more of the birdwatching journaling.
10. Get more bird feeders, birdhouses, and bird baths for the yard.
11. Plant a few plants in front walkway to add a splash of color to the house.
12. Start growing a few of my own herbs, as well as food such as tomatoes.
13. At least one 4-day weekend family trip in 2018.
14. Save money for a longer, more activity filled family vacation in 2019.
15. Find ways to have time to myself and maintain balance. Do not isolate, but do have some time alone for quiet time, free thoughts flowing, creativity, etc.
16. Work with new ideas listed above and doctors to find some sort of normal, consistent sleeping pattern.
17. Volunteer more often.
18. Laugh, sing and dance (privately, like a fool!) a little more often!