Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holidays...Stress or Joy (it's your chorce)

Christmas is over for another year and although relieved I can hardly wait til next Christmas!

It's hard not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it, the commercial part at least. And then being consumed with it we some times forget what it's really all about in the first place.

It's not about what we give or how much we give or what we get or how much we get. It's not about the decorations, the lights or the tree, although they have their meaning or purpose. And it's not about a man called Santa Claus or St. Nick, but about a man called Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin to save the world from their sins. And although these other aspects are a part of how most of us celebrate Christmas, and there is nothing wrong with that, sometimes it's so stressful we forget that it's a simple birthday celebration, Jesus Christ's birthday. I mean truly that's the real reason for this day we call Christmas.

I love buying and giving gifts and it's fun to be surprised by gifts someone gives me. I love Christmas morning when my kids and now my grand children wake up and see all the packages under the lighted tree. I love the smell of dinner cooking and knowing all my family will be here to enjoy our traditional Christmas dinner. The family fellowship is awesome and so much fun. I just never want to forget the true reason this day came about in the first place and why we celebrate it.

The stress I usually get during this time of year is over whelming. But this year was different. I smiled a lot, I didn't stress over it like I use to, if I felt stressed I stopped, walked away for a few minutes and asked myself why I am feeling this way, and what can I do to change it. It is a choice to stay upset, I love being content and happy and I know that when I make the decision to get out of a negative feeling I immediately feel better and even happy. It's so empowering to be able to change your mood. For example, the day came to put the tree up, I put the lights on first then everyone helped put the ornaments on. The lights were all checked, they all worked so I started winding them around the tree. I needed another pair of hands, the tree was so big, it was hard to get the lights where I wanted them. When I got the first strand on I plugged the second one into it and I started winding that around the tree, then the third strand. I plugged it into the wall outlet and the first strand wouldn't light up. I tried everything I knew to get them to work but nothing I did fixed the problem. I felt frustrated, I felt like cussing, I felt like crying. Then I looked up and saw my son and grandchildren watching me. I knew I didn't want them to act like this one day so I excused myself to get a grip on how I was feeling. I reminded myself that this is fun and especially for the kids and that it's no big deal about the lights. When I went back to the tree I took the fist strand off and put another strand in its place. It was fine, the tree looked nice. Everyone hung ornaments, I put the angel on top, we all talked and laughed and had a good time. I enjoyed myself and I had fun, this should not be a time to feel burdened, and I wanted to be truly happy, not just putting a fake smile on my face and really feeling upset or even angry on the inside. I kept it simple and myself calm.

Christmas can also be stressful financially so I bought gifts with the money I had, I didn't charge anything, this is a huge relief to my budget and to my mind. I hate buying Christmas gifts then paying for them for a whole year, or longer! Then next Christmas comes along and the cycle repeats itself. That takes the fun out of gift buying to me!

So I write all this to say, stress is a part of life, anxiety is a part of life, we will always have these in our lives, but it's a choice how we react to them. And choosing to react in a positive way is so much better on us physically, emotionally and mentally, nothing compares to true joy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Staying Positive

Although my day can be extremely stressful, my anxiety levels are low. The second I feel anxious I stop in my tracks and breathe then I put a smile on my face and I quietly remind myself to relax, there is nothing to be anxious about. There is no rush or hurry. I tell myself to be at ease and to enjoy my job, my day and the task at hand. It always calms me down and the anxious moment becomes a simple enjoyable moment. And I really do enjoy my job, it's a rewarding job, although it can be stressful it's worth it. And as long as I don't allow myself to be negative in thought or word then anxiety can't step in and ruin my job or my day. It's all about being positive.

There are days I feel irritated but instead of staying in that negative feeling I choose joy and to smile and to be happy. This is actually easier than being or staying mad or irritated. Being mad takes a toll on your physical and emotional being. Being possitive takes practice and it takes a true desire to want to be happy, once you start practicing it it becomes so natural, fun and rewarding!

My daughter and I live together with her four children, ages 3 months to 12 years and with my (now) 10 year old son (He just turned ten a week ago).
That in itself is hard and exhausting at times, five young children! On top of that my daughter and I run an in-home day care for children of all ages. We work from five thirty a.m. to six or six thirty p.m. Monday through Friday. The hours are long and sometimes very hard, especially if we don't get enough sleep during the week. In the midst of our work day we also raise our own children, get them to school, pick them up from school, help with their homework, have a family dinner time and prayer at the dinner table, we remind them to brush their teeth, read bed time stories to them, clean the house, do the laundry, etc. We are thankful to be able to be at home with our children and not have to go outside the home to work and have to have someone else take care of our children. Sometimes our children resent the children we take in but when we explain that they would be in someones home being watched if we didn't have this business, they understand and quit griping.

My daughter is a lot of fun to live and work with, she has a great sense of humor and keeps things in perspective and not take herself too seriously. I'm learning to be more like that and to teach my son to be more like that also. Being too uptight can sure stress out your life!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My 31 year old daughter asked me today what one word would describe how I felt my whole childhood. I told her fear, I was always scared. She knows I was molested as a child by a family member, and it went on for years. He was cruel, a very mean, hateful man. He was very perverted and I suffered for it. I would have such severe stomach pain that my parents would take me to the hospital thinking it was my appendix. Later I found out that children who are sexually molested can have these severe stomach pains. He has ruined me as an adult when it comes to sex. When ever I'm "with" a man if he does certain things I instantly go back to my childhood and have to tell him to stop, I can't do this. Usually he understands and if not, well too bad, I stop any way. I haven't had sex in almost two years and don't plan on it for a very long time. I hated this person for a very long time and wished he'd die. But that never happened. He made my life a living hell, as well as my siblings lives. He made us believe that he had spy's watching us at school or any where we were so that we wouldn't do any thing wrong. And if we did do anything wrong, whoa, then we got a belt or switch taken to our bare butts. What humiliation that was! He use to take me out alone to teach me to drive when I was thirteen. But once we got out to where we were going and it was my turn to get behind the wheel he would molest me while I was trying to keep the car on the road with out wrecking it, which was almost impossible. If I tried to stop him or even say no he would get angry, and meaner. I hate these childhood memories and all the other ones like these.

Many years later now this man is saved by Jesus, spiritually and physically. He only has one quarter of his heart alive and pumping after suffering several heart attacks. He's a different person, a gentle, nice man now. He's a joy to be around now and I love talking to him on the phone or visiting with him in person.

Then I asked my daughter what one word would describe how she felt and she shocked me by saying worried. I'm her mom and I never knew she felt worried her whole childhood. I wanted to grab her and hug her and tell her I'm sorry. I didn't know she worried, and especially about finances of all things. A child shouldn't worry about things like that! We weren't rich but we weren't poor during her childhood, we had some struggles through the years but not enough for a child to worry about it. That breaks my heart.

The things in our childhood that have made us the adults we are today...whether afraid, angry, sad, worried, can cause us to become depressed and stressed and full of anxiety. Even children have anxiety, stress and fear and worry. But it's usually into their adulthood that it catches up with them and when they start having troubles with it and end up on medication or at a psychiatrist's office.

There are so so many of us. It's too bad and it saddens me that not only has it happened to me but to a child of mine.

My daughter had severe anxiety and panic attacks a few years ago and on a several times a week basis she'd drive (rush) to the hospital because she thought she was having a heart attack or a stroke. She was in a very bad marriage, she says he was a tyrant, and he was. He was awful to their children and to my daughter. I could not stand what he put my daughter and their children through. But she got out and things actually got worse, he tried every thing to make her life hell and the kids lives as well.
But she and the kids got through it and today she and her children are happy. And my daughter does not have anxiety or panic attacks any more. She knows what to do before anxiety goes into a full blown out panic attack and she doesn't give in to the fear. She knows it's not a stroke or a heart attack and does not fear those feelings any more.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Yesterday was an extremely hard day. I almost had a panic attack from being so stressed out and exhausted. But I talked my self out of it. My nine year old son was so out of line and tried pushing every button I have. He was so mean to everyone in our household, including me. Since I know yelling at him or spanking him out of anger is not the way to get my point across to him I sent him to his room to sit on his bed and to think about what he was doing and how he was acting, and to hopefully give him some time to cool off. Also to remove him from the situation and to remove him from me to give me a chance to keep calm, and not allow him to "get to" me. He has a temper that is explosive at times and gets out of hand. I know that being abused by his dad on several different occasions before I left his dad has had a very negative impact on my son and his behavior to say the least. But I also know that I need to keep him in line and to keep his anger controlled or he'll do something that he'll regret.

I talked to him after he sat on his bed for about fifteen minutes. I used the skills I've learned from the program I bought for my self for anxiety and depression. I had anger too and I know I can control it now and I know he can too, he just needs to know how. So I teach him how to walk away from the situation at hand that's causing him so much frustration to the point of anger. I told him before he reacts out of anger to count to ten. This gives him time to keep from striking out at someone or some thing. I also told him it's not always easy but it is doable and the more he does it the easier it will get. I know, I am living proof. I reinforce in him the skills that I have learned that have helped me.

By the end of the night after a hell of a day, my son finally came to me and said he was sorry for being mean today. I hugged him and held him for a few minutes. He kissed my cheek and I kissed his. I told him that I forgive him and that I love him so so much. I also told him that I am so proud of him for coming to me to apologize, that it takes a brave person to admit when they are wrong and to apologize. He said he loves me and then went in to play before bed. I am so proud of my son, he's a good boy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

You Can Take Your Life Back!

Just about every thing I learned from the program I bought, I already knew. I remember calling my mom one night after about two weeks into the program and telling her all that I've learned. She was happy to hear in my voice, I was getting better. The last time she saw me was about a month prior to this phone call and when her and my dad came over I immediately became so panicked that I just sat in my chair and barely said a word. I sat in my own little world struck with fear that paralyzed me. The difference was amazing to me and to many of my family members. I went from being crippled with fear to being able to laugh again and to joke back with someone instead of sitting in such fear that I couldn't smile, laugh or even converse. I can barely even explain what was going on with me, and unless someone else has experienced this they really can't understand it. That night I told my mom everything I'm learning is exactly what she's taught and exactly like she lives her own life. My mom is a very positive person, she has more confidence than anyone I know. She does not allow anyone to bring her down and she fully relies on Christ for every thing. She told me about the episodes she's gone through for years and at one point she said her doctor tried to get her to take an antidepressant medication. She wouldn't take it because she knew she would get through it with God, and she did. Instead of fearing the fear, the dizzy spells, the adrenaline rush, she prayed then rested and then went on with her day, she refused to let it control her or her life. She would not not do something or go some where. That was my biggest mistake, I allowed it to control me and keep me from going places or doing things. As I look back on my life with panic and depression and fear, stress, anxiety, I see why and how I became an agoraphobic and I sympathize with everyone who has or is going through this right now. I promise you, you can get over it and get your life back. It is truly a choice. And it all starts with positive thoughts and dialog. When I tell my nine year old son to talk nice to himself and his brain will start believing it, he says "that doesn't work." But the more I share with him all that I've learned and really already knew, the more he is seeing it and starting to practice it in his own life. He knows it works, it's just so easy to not do anything about it though and to stay angry or sad or fear ridden. It's a choice that you have to make, probably every single day or more often, sometimes hundreds of times a day. You have to face your fears in order for them to not scare you any more. Refusing to face your fears keeps you from really living a full life. Once you face your fears you begin to realize, your anticipation was much worse than the actual real thing.