What do u take for granted?

My last post was not a search for sympathy (though I appreciate all comments I received)!  But I did want everyone to know that I am “normal”,  & I wanted to share how I am dealing with it.  I am actually grateful because I am finally learning something that I kept trying to earn, & had run out of ways to learn it!

However, getting myself to post has been SO hard, & over the months, I have started 6 different posts, & I want to share what I have: Here’s the 1st post…I started to write it as I was getting better (after being sick a total of 3 weeks: 1 week with the flu, then I remained congested, but since I can’t cough, it stayed in my lungs & must have  gotten infected, because once  I had antibiotics, I felt like a new person!)  I added a bit to what I started, just finishing the thought I had.  Here it is:

I always assumed that I was someone who did not take my health for granted. I know how fortunate I am for every small movement my body has, since the doctor’s prognosis was that I’d only blink my eyes. But, I realized that I take breathing for granted.  It just is always there!  So, I wondered if I am that way with other things, & I realized I am: I thought of how I was when Mark or my kids were new in my life.

 When I met Mark, there were things he did that no one had done for me before, & I Ioved that he did them!  I still love when he does those things, but I think they are more “expected” now because that is “just how Mark is.”

It is the same with my kids.  We were aware that Zach was a peacemaker in our home, but when Zach left home, we realized just how much of a peacemaker he was.    When Jessie joined our family, there was this zest  for life that came w/her, & it has become  such a constant in our life, that it will surely leave a hole & change our lives when she leaves soon (she  is  18 years old now!)  Soph has filled our home with music, & is always willing to help me.  We have 2 more years w/her, & better not take that for granted!

It’s been awhile…

It’s my nature (well, my OCD-personality!) to apologize & explain when I disappear for a while, so sorry I have not posted in awhile! While I’ve been gone, I’ve been jotting down notes of things to post over the last few months.  Rather than make 1 mega long post, I plan to write this post, & then post about 6 shorter posts in the next few days…

As for a brief explanation of what has been going on:  1st, I was fighting depression (I just had too much going on, so when I crashed, I really crashed)!  Then I was sick (& STAYED sick for like 3 weeks)!  & I have been incredibly busy (I was recently asked to be the primary secretary at church, so I now assist those who help & teach the kids who are 3-12 years old)

I have also been gone…Over President’s Day weekend, we went on a Carnival Cruise.  Carnival cruises are very “red-neck”¸ so I feel very out of place on them: I am like Rose on the Titanic, visiting the lower decks–she kinda doesn’t fit, but enjoys the people, ya’ know?  The entertainment on Carnival cruises suck, but I enjoyed every minute in my room—whether I was playing cards or having family scripture/prayer with the relatives who were on board, or whether I was alone in my room letting Mark rest.

A while ago, to help me deal with my depression, I began reading a book that Mark had introduced to me, called “Feeling Good”, by Dr. Burns.  Dr. Burns mentions 12 Cognitive Distortions. If we can change them, it helps depression, anxiety, OCD, & more. So, in an attempt to really learn them, I began “fasting” from one each week (instead of no food, each week I would focus on a cognitive distortion): I had read something about an alternative approach to fasting–rather than giving up food or TV, it suggested ;

  1. Fast  from anger & hatred (love more)
  2. Fast from judging others (overlook faults)
  3. Fast from discouragement (hold onto God’s promises)
  4. Fast from complaining (remember blessings)
  5. Fast from resentment or bitterness (be forgiving)
  6. Fast from spending too much money (save 10%, & give to the poor)

I liked that concept, so I tried to fast from these  cognitive distortions.  But that wasn’t working, because I need to learn to identify them, before I can “fast” from them…so, since I’d obviously been focusing on cognitive distortions of late, my OCD came into play as I did it…however, I got tired of writing the same stuff, & looking up meanings, so I made a template to fill out. (Mark gave me 4 more distortions that I added to it, as well!)  In case u are curious, here’s my template:

Situation: 

 

My Thoughts/Emotions: 

 

Cognitive Distortions/Rational Thoughts:

Filtering (Mental Filter)

Good and bad things are happening simultaneously but you only focus on the bad

 

Disqualifying The Positive

When good things happen, you reject it by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other, thereby thinking that nothing good happens

 

Global Labeling (and Mislabeling)

Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded—it is an extreme forn of overgeneralization: Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself

 “Black and White” Thinking (All-Or-Nothing Thinking)

If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure–when something has to be one way or it is ruined

 

Overgeneralization

You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat

 

Jumping to Conclusions—Mind Reading, The Fortune Teller Error.

You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out, or you anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an established fact

 

Catastrophizing (Magnification) or Minimization

You exaggerate the importance of things, or  you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny

 

Personalization

a person believes that everything others do or say is some kind of direct, personal reaction to the person. May also see themselves as the cause of some unhealthy external event that they were not responsible for & we also compare ourselves to others

 

Control Fallacies

If we feel externally controlled, we see ourselves as helpless a victim of fate, but if we feel internal control we assume responsibility for the pain and happiness of everyone around us.

 

Fallacy of Fairness

We feel resentful because we think we know what is fair, but other people won’t agree with us

 

Blaming

We hold other people responsible for our pain, or take the other track and blame ourselves for every problem

 

Shoulds

You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn’ts. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.

 

Emotional Reasoning

We believe that what we feel must be true automatically

 

Fallacy of Change

We expect that other people will change to suit us if we just pressure or cajole them enough

 

Always Being Right

Being wrong is unthinkable and we will go to any length to demonstrate our rightness

 

Heaven’s Reward Fallacy

We feel bitter when the reward doesn’t come.

You can do it!

A while ago, I visited a stroke survivor in the hospital.  This was not my 1st trip back to a hospital (the 1st time, I was freaked out, cuz when I came home from the hospital after my stroke, it took years before I could watch shows on TV that showed hospitals), but I’ve been fine, so I thought nothing of it.   But this was so familiar that going to the hospital brought a  flood of memories of being locked-in.  Both of us were pegged as being stubborn, & I realized that as a necessary characteristic of stroke survivors.  While being stubborn can be a bad quality, it can also be good, if it is determination & persistence…in fact, it can be quite necessary for stroke survivors!  Case in point:

Before leaving for the hospital, I finally did something that has required lots of trial & error, but I FINALLY did it:  Around the time that I was becoming more independent, by being able to make many of my own breakfasts & lunches, I was introduced to this Superfood shake that is a powder…which I needed help mixing with a liquid. It killed me that I again needed help making my breakfast!  It wasn’t like it only was something I wanted occasionally, but I wanted it EVERY DAY!  So, I was taking a step back in my independence… To make matters worse, for some reason the girls hate making them for me, so it felt like a burden!

Well, I have a can of the powder mix on the kitchen counter, but for months, I wasn’t strong enough to open it…so I have a grip exerciser that I have been using as I watch TV.  When I could open it, I thought that was it—but I was wrong…very wrong!  The first time, powder went everywhere, & I was not so good at shaking it.  The next time, was less of a mess, & I stirred it with a fork, which was better, but my daughter still had to vacuum up my mess.  The next time, I thought I was so smart by using a funnel, but the neck of the funnel was too small, so the powder got stuck in the neck of the funnel, & I made a mess again.  So, I got a new funnel with a wide neck.  FINALLY, I could open the canister, not make a mess pouring the powder, & mix my own shake!  It took me awhile; but I finally made it by myself, without making a  huge mess!   I still have not mastered it, but it’s a start!

So, to all of u who are struggling:

“I was giving up. I would have given up – if a voice hadn’t made itself heard in my heart. The voice said “I will not die. I refuse it. I will make it through this nightmare. I will beat the odds, as great as they are. I have survived so far, miraculously. Now I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen everyday. I will put in all the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen.”

― Yann Martel, Life of Pi

PBA and depression

Friday we were supposed to fly to Idaho at 8:30 am, with a layover in SLC. All seemed well-we were checked in, told it was on time, & there was a plane…but no crew!  We ended up not leaving until around 3 pm, so we ended up driving to Idaho from Utah, & missing our tour of BYU-I. (bummer), but I wrote this post as we waited;

Awhile ago, I watched an hour long presentation on Neurocarelive.com about PBA.  If u forward about 19 minutes in, & watch until about 25 minutes in, it discusses the differences between PBA & depression.  Since PBA (PseudoBulbar Affect  Disorder) is an inability to control your emotions, & often is classified with uncontrollable laughter or crying, it is commonly mistaken for depression. Though it is possible to have both, PBA is a neurological disorder, & is not “sad on the inside,” like depression.  In this blog entry, I will share how I have dealt with both of them. On my recommended sites, I recently added a blog for those suffering w/depression, & I also have shared some websites that offer PBA resources.

One of the most effective ways that I have found to deal with PBA is distraction. At first, I thought this required me to leave the room, & if I can, that is great, but it can also just mean a change of position, a change of eye position, or as simple as scratching something, or thinking of something else. Focusing on my breath, & taking smoother, bigger breaths has also helped me.

I was once asked about the medicine I take for PBA (Nuedexta), but in the above mentioned video, it explains that before medicine was made specifically for PBA, anti-depressants were used.  Here are the Three Main Treatments for PBA (according to Neurocarelive.com)

1)     Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) – Examples:  Amitriptyline (Elavil), Nortriptyline (Pamelor)

2)     Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – Examples:  Citalopram (Celexa®), Fluoxetine (Prozac®), Fluvoxamine (Luvox®)

3)     Dextromethorphan/quinidine (DM/Q, Nuedexta®)

A great tool for depression was suggested to me years ago, & though I have  shared this before, I want to share it again: When I was struggling during the 1st year after my stroke, my husband (who is a pshyco-therapist) encouraged that I start writing down all I am grateful for.

At 1st, I thought he was crazy–I couldn’t talk, or even move, & wasn’t even happy to be alive (even though I had requested to live, certain that I’d “get better” fast).  So, what was I supposed to write???  It took me 3 years before I tried making a gratitude list, & I started because my family got lice–but I did not get lice, because we never shared chairs…so, it dawned on me that I was grateful for something–as minuscule as it was!  Ha!  Ha!  It took me a LONG time before I could say/write that I was grateful to be alive, but now, anytime something bothers me, I look for the good (ie. before I could move, I couldn’t get myself a snack, so I wrote about how it was  a great forced “diet”! Ha!  Ha!  I suggest writing the list though–I tried first to just think about them & pray about them, but writing them down firms them up in your mind, & allows the spirit to talk to u & remind u of other things.

Anyway, I still have days I struggle–many of my posts come after those days: the sprit speaks to me as I type, so all the inspiring stuff on my website oftentimes is the Lord strengthening me, too!

Yellowstone

When I was in junior high, we ran the mile at the beginning & the end of the year, & since our grade was based on how much we improved during the year, I always walked it at the start of the year.  My dad saw me walking it one year, & I have never lived it down.  PE was never a subject where I excelled, so it was quite funny when my 1st long-term subbing job was  as a PE teacher!

Our family visited Yellowstone this weekend.  Given my history, I never thought I’d say this, but as my husband pushed me around, I got so jealous of the exercise his body got!  I’ll admit that the reason I first thought it, was because he loses so many calories that he can actually eat (I have to eat like a bird, since I don’t burn many calories…)  But then I realized that I actually miss the feeling of tiring my body, & getting sore muscles…but before I could have a “pity party”, I remembered that I found a  therapy in Nov. 2013

that does make me feel tired & sore…horse therapy, which started up again last week, & has left me so exhausted that  I can barely move for a few hours afterwards, & sore for days!  But it makes me so happy!  J

It was beautiful in Yellowstone, & we saw a lot of geysers, but I did not see even 1 animal, unless u count what I saw when we went to Bear World in Rexburg, Idaho! (Having double vision does not help me focus quick enough to see anything that is moving).  My daughter, Jessica, made this video after our trip to Yellowstone National Park  (any animals you see are from Bear World, in Idaho, which was the coolest part of our trip—the girls  got to bottle feed baby cub bears!): https://youtu.be/Tr9cgyWlcOo