Life with Limitations

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Everybody has something to deal with, whether it’s chronic pain, illness, injury, stress, or trauma. I have some limitations in my life due to chronic illness. I won’t bore you with all the details of how chronic illness is defined or what it means. I won’t explain the names of the illnesses with which I live. Everybody has their own problems, ailments, and other struggles that they live with. Mine are certainly better than some and, for that, I’m grateful.

Having said that, I feel that it’s also beneficial to raise awareness for the struggles that people live with, whether the limitations are physical, mental, or emotional. I feel like they’re all intertwined anyway. For sure, when I feel physically depleted, I also feel angry or depressed or sad (or all 3). Sometimes my thinking is adversely affected and I don’t trust myself to make important decisions or even drive. My anxiety ramps up even more than usual. Conversely, if I’m feeling down or thinking less clearly, it also seems to magnify the physical aspect of my conditions. Being affected like this means that I’m incapable of functioning at my best.

It’s not always like that, of course. I have great days when I can do everything (and sometimes more) than I planned on doing. I’m so grateful for those days. I have bad days when I’m unable to do more than open and close my eyes and pray for sleep. I hang on through those days knowing that it will pass. What I’d like to talk about is our norm.

My own “normal” life has changed to accommodate my slower pace, my physical and mental limitations, the flexibility required to live my life now, and the perspective necessary to get through each day. Again, everybody living with some type of limitation is living within a vast range of capabilities and disabilities. I can only speak for myself but know that much of this resonates as common amongst us.

One of the biggest struggles that we live with is trying to ensure that those closest to us understand what we’re going through. We want them to know that we aren’t uncaring when we’re forgetful and we don’t mean to be cranky and angry when we’re actually frustrated and upset with ourselves! If I ask you the same thing 3 times, please understand it’s not because I wasn’t listening. I sometimes have a hard time concentrating or remembering. We are happy to talk about any of this with you, but also don’t want to burden you. If you have questions, please ask us so that we can explain.

We want our family and friends to understand that we would do everything we can to keep our plans and spend time together but sometimes we just can’t do it. It doesn’t mean that we care less or that, whatever it is, is unimportant to us. We feel horribly guilty when we have to change or cancel something that we committed to. We hate to have to talk about these things and we tend to keep our troubles private, but we also struggle for understanding. We want those closest to us to know how we’re affected, understand how it affects them, too, and how we can best work together to get through these times.

Every morning, I stick to as much of a routine as possible. It helps me feel confident and requires less thinking. When I need to vary from that, I require additional time. I need to accommodate that. While I’m going about my usual morning routine, I evaluate how I’m feeling and determine what I’m able to accomplish that day, or at least what I THINK I can do that day. It may change in an hour. I go over what I had planned for the day and look at my to-do list (because I have to write everything down if I even hope to get it accomplished). On good days, I may be very successful and get everything done I had hoped for. On bad days, I may end up ignoring the entire thing and going back to bed. Then I’ll feel guilty because I “wasted” my day. This, in turn, leads to me feeling sad, angry, exasperated, and not even close to feeling better after spending hours in bed. On top of that, the list of uncompleted tasks gets even longer for the following days. I feel compelled to do even more the next day and the cycle continues. Add to that the inability to sleep and, whatever sleep I do manage to get is fitful and inadequate. It makes for an interesting day. I think we’ve all been there!

I feel like the pressure that we put on ourselves far exceeds that of other people’s expectations of us. I know that I feel like I have to “keep up”, do my share, prove that I’m worthwhile and can do what I need to do. I don’t want to feel like a failure. We shouldn’t feel this way! If I was talking to somebody else, I’d feel far more compassion for them than I give to myself. It’s like we put this extra burden on ourselves and make things so much harder than we have to. I’ve tried and tried to overcome this way of thinking, but I’ve been unsuccessful so far. Every single day, I get up and attempt to do as much as possible rather than taking the time to evaluate what’s actually BEST for me to do that day and just do that. I’m continuing to learn different ways to address this and I keep trying to at least THINK about it every day rather than just rushing headlong into bad decisions.

It’s a hard thing to do when I really WANT to run to the store, visit my kids, play with my grandson, and spend time with friends. Of course, that’s all balanced with paying bills, cleaning the house, cooking, doing laundry, going to the doctor, and dealing with insurance. Trying to fit in self-care seems to be too much, even though I know it should be a priority. We have limited amounts of energy and physical tolerance levels. That’s the crux of the problem: balance. Living a life without limitations is hard enough to balance. Living a life with additional problems is like walking a tightrope. Make one small error in judgment and you could pay for it for days or weeks. Dwell on it too long and you’ll feel even worse. Feel good this morning? Enjoy it because it might change by noon. How do we manage this?

We manage our lives the best way that we’re able to! It’s as simple as that. We each do things differently. There’s absolutely no right and wrong. Everyone has different circumstances, different expectations, and different temperaments. It’s unfair to judge anybody against another, whether we’re struggling or not. That’s the thing. We don’t want to be lumped into a label of “disabled” or “ill” or “sick” or any other title that’s being used. We’re human beings struggling with our limitations just like every other human being on earth. Ours are just sometimes a bit more obvious than other people’s struggles.

I’m extremely fortunate that I have family and friends that do support me without explanation. I know that it can be as frustrating for them as it is for me, but I don’t feel like I have to justify how or why I do things anymore. I’m becoming more comfortable in my own circumstances and learning how to be more accepting of myself as I am now. It’s a journey, but one that I need to embark on again every single day when I wake up.

I know that I’m lucky and that lots of people aren’t as fortunate. They feel as if they have to prove their disability or prove their worth. Neither one is a good thing. It puts additional stress on an already stressful life. We need to realize that we’re all just doing the best that we can, each in our own lives and in our own circumstances. My hope is that we can understand each other, without judgment, knowing that we all have issues that we’re dealing with.  This means being more accepting and understanding of ourselves as well. Sometimes I think that’s the hardest job of all!

Be Well ♥

 

Change Happens, Ready or Not

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Throughout our lives, we come across times of change, whether we looked for it or not and whether we want it or not. Obviously, how we react to these changes will affect the next portion of our life.

Some changes are easier to react to than others. For instance, if we actively decide to make a change for the better (new job with better hours, more pay, or a better location or a new house/apartment, new relationship, etc.), the change is much easier to live with. You’ve made the choice yourself and you’re benefiting from the change in a positive way. Does this mean everything is rosy? Nope. Continue reading “Change Happens, Ready or Not”

To Our Elected Officials

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Immigrants = Human Beings Looking for Help

My heart is weary and my eyes are tearing.

Watching these families being torn apart breaks my heart.

I can’t imagine, as a mother, how I could survive something like this. I would break.

I can’t imagine, as a child, how I would feel watching my mother walk away from me and not understanding why she’s leaving me with strangers and not coming back.

STOP with the lies, the blame, the accusations and deflection.

I don’t care about the politics. I don’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. I don’t care if you’re pro-immigration or against immigration. I care about these families, these parents and these children.

We elected you to represent us, the people. You are supposed to care about what we want, what we need, and listen to us when we speak. When you don’t, when you choose to do whatever you want, you will be voted out. Expect it.

I don’t care what we have to do to fix this problem. FIX IT!

 

What Makes Our Mother So Special?

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First of all, it’s because she gave birth to us. She CHOSE to do that. She didn’t know what kind of kid you’d end up being. She didn’t know if you’d end up being a brain surgeon or end up in jail. It was all a crap shoot when she decided to have you, her baby. Just for this, you should thank her.

Secondly, she’s a hero for even HAVING you. Giving birth is not a picnic and you owe her big time for that. In fact, you can never even come close to repaying her for that, so at least make or get her a really nice Mother’s Day card.

It doesn’t matter how old you are; your mother is still likely an important influence in your life. No matter her current status, she still holds an important place in your life. Moms are there to be both loved and not-so-loved at different parts of your life and, because they’re your mom, they understand that.

I think we all like to believe that our mother is super-human. They can do anything! They know what’s best for us, they protect us from harm, they know what kind of cookies we like and they make them for us when we’re sad. When we’re sick, they know just what to do to help us feel better. When we succeed at something, they are the first person in line to celebrate our greatness! They help us figure out who we are, who we want to be, and how to get there. Moms are unconditional love.

At some point while we’re growing up, we’re going to learn differently. We’re going to recognize that our mom made a mistake or that we would do something differently than she had done. You might just be disappointed by that. It’s okay. It’s normal and part of our becoming our own person. It’s how we grow up and become independent with our own thoughts, values, and ways of doing things.

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Speaking as a daughter, I regret some of the things I said to my own mother. I regret the pain that I caused her when I was a teen and again later in life. I’m sure there were several times that we had differences of opinions but she NEVER stopped loving me or letting me know that she loved me. I, too, had differences of opinion where I didn’t necessarily agree with all of her choices, but I never stopped loving her either. That’s the thing; your mother is your mother. We need to remember that each one of us, both when we’re young and when we’re old, are simply doing the best that we can in the moment with what we have. If we stop to think about it, we can all understand that.

Speaking as a mother myself, I can tell you that it’s terrifying! The fact that you’re instantly responsible for an entire human life with absolutely no qualifications is crazy. Our kids think we’re perfect when they’re small and we sure don’t want to disappoint them, but we’re just normal people. I can certainly assure you that I am a flawed human being. I’ve made mistakes in my life and as a parent. I definitely have things that I wish I would have done differently; some big and some small. I feel each and every one of those. I have no more important thing in my life than my children and I would do anything to spare them hurt. The worst part of being a mother is the knowledge that sometimes you can’t fix it for them. Some things aren’t fixable and others shouldn’t be. Part of being a mother is stepping back and supporting them while they manage their own situations.

As we move through life in our role of the child or the mother, we change. Relationships will change over time with each child and we need to adapt. What doesn’t change? Our mom is still our mom. Treasure this relationship; there’s not another one like it.

Wishing you each a very Happy Mother’s Day!

To My Mom, for whom I would do anything in the world to be able to talk with again

To My Kids, who ARE my whole world

I Love You