I’m Really Trying

I’ve had some beautiful pieces of synchronicity happen in my life lately. A friend sent a friend to help out for a few days. She was more here to help me look at past “wounds” and think more about my spiritual path. I will admit that we didn’t interact a whole lot, but when we did, she gave me a lot to reflect on and continue to work on within myself.

I also like that she physically pushed me. We took pretty long walks in nature, and that’s something I haven’t done in so long as by the time I walk, I’m too tired to drive home. I also fall over a lot! So it was nice to have a driver that pushed me to be in nature, which is incredibly healing for anyone, but especially for someone who just spent a couple weeks in the hospital and is generally holed up in the house. My only interface with nature has been my backyard, which I’m grateful for, but new places and new sites imprint on the brain in exciting ways so I have something new to visualize when I’m paralyzed in my bed.

I know when you are dealing with your trauma, it can become especially hard to be isolated and get stuck there. I was that way, and now that I’m dealing with chronic illnesses, I’m stuck there again. Instead of just lying there wishing the misery would end as I did when my trauma and anxiety plagued me so terribly, I’m trying really hard to reach out.

A lot of what I have to do is online, but I am making new online friends who are lifelines for me. Some check on me more. I tend to check on others more, but friendships are forming, and I hope to be well enough someday to hug them all in person someday.

I’ve spent years, even in recent times (today even) where I get stuck in that rut that no one cares. We get lost in that cognitive distortion that if no one reaches out to us, no one must care. I get stuck in it often, but if I reach out, I find people want to be part of a community of friends. We may all feel alone, but I don’t think anyone ever truly wants to be alone. I’m also realizing that people think about me even though I may never realize it.

Push yourself today to reach out. Push yourself to contact someone, whether it be an online friend or someone you know in person. I guarantee you’ll feel less alone and may even find yourself feeling cared for or even smiling a genuine smile. It’s important. If you have no one, reach out to me. I love meeting new people, especially ones who deal with hard stuff. I get it. Trust me.

Love

Lizzie

Communication, Even about the Yucky Stuff

Me, like most people used to absolutely avoid conflict. The unfortunate part about avoiding conflict is that things build and then become a blow up disaster.

As trauma survivors, even the idea of confronting the smallest conflict can be frightening or triggering. I know I used to avoid it as I somehow always believed people would end up yelling and screaming, begin saying ugly and mean things, and someone would run out of the house kicking a hole in the plaster of the wall on the way out. Of course, this was my true schéma from childhood watching my parents fight or my mom fighting with me. We didn’t do “conflict resolution”, we just perpetuated abuse.

So as you can imagine, when I started learning about having proper communication about conflicts, I just shut down as this topic was too anxiety producing to even begin to tackle. As I tackled the trauma and learned to deal with my PTSD symptoms effectively, I realized that avoiding conflict was a huge problem.

If something seems unjust or even a tiny bit unfair to me, I bring it up. I may not be perfect in how I do it, but I’m finding my true friends are ones who negotiate my imperfection with me.

The benefit of bringing up conflict with another is not about proving you’re right, it’s about voicing your feelings, allowing the other person to voice theirs, really listening to each other and coming up with a mutual solution. (It may sound impossible, but it really has happened for me in a very calm manner and NO screaming involved!)

People who can truly involve in conflict resolution are my heroes. I watch and learn from them and attempt it in my life. When I’ve managed to negotiate a conflict, whether it was quick and smooth or lengthy and rocky are friendships that grew. These instances of growth are even greater than those talks where you talk about how much in common you have.

I encourage you to bring up conflict, even if it ends dreadfully as the other person can’t do it or accuses you of things in an ugly way. Maybe they will come around to be able to communicate later or maybe they never will, and in that instance, I’m not sure it’s a relationship that was worth it. Relationships where there is no conflict isn’t a real relationship. When someone exclaims “we never fight”, I always think it’s strange. Remember fighting does not equal abuse.

As you start to stand up for yourself through bringing up conflict, remember to give yourself grace. It’s not going to be easy. You may have to apologize as you may be too strong, but still stand strong in what you originally were speaking up for. NEVER and I mean NEVER apologize for something that isn’t yours or to get out of the situation. That is not being authentic.

And my final gem is that people are like ice cream. Not everyone likes every flavor. I happen to hate rocky road. I also happen to not care for lots of people. It’s ok and normal. If you start to be authentic and people begin to dislike you, good job!! You’re probably doing it right!

Go conflict!

Love

Lizzie

I Send on My Good Wishes to Everyone Hurting in Anyway

I’m very tired and very sick, but wanted to share my Facebook post today. I recognize I’m hurting in so many ways, but so are others. Read the following and you can see what I did today for all those in need of some extra thoughts. Along with this, I use the “loving kindness” meditation that I usually send more to people who have hurt me. I figure if you are being hurtful, you are most in need of “metta”.

Spread love today, even if you are hurting. I’m spreading it to you. If we could all act based in love and not fear or anger or discord or anxiety or assumptions, perhaps many wonderful things could happen.

In loving kindness,

Lizzie

Sometimes I Wonder Where to Draw the Line

(My little dogs are getting me through, especially as my “heart mender”)

When you have trauma, sometimes the smallest amount of kindness will make you blind to all the negative. I feel if I’m given an ounce of nice, I can ignore the multiple pounds of garbage that gets piled on right along with it.

I came home early from the skilled nursing hospital as it was extremely abusive and neglectful. So my coming home was already a bit traumatic as I now had to figure out how I was going to care for myself alone when the doctors were clear I needed 24/7 care.

Being rolled into my house, I was met with the stench of dog pee. I knew my dogs would go a little as they weren’t let out regularly, but I expected the people caring for my dogs would clean it in a timely manner. The laundry soap was all gone as was a lot of my food. I just fell into a heap and sobbed.

I have no ability to get anywhere or do much at all. I couldn’t deal with the pee smell, so I started on my hands and knees scrubbing all my floors. The pee has soaked in in many places that my hardwood floors are permanently stained, which made me sob more. Why would someone treat my home, which is my sacred space this way?

They did bring me more laundry soap the next day after I told them they needed to. I doubt they will pay to have my floors finished or replace the food, most importantly, they will never understand how devastating it is to have my sacred living space so recklessly treated.

Here’s my dilemma. Do I ignore it and just accept they kept my dogs alive? Unfortunately that feels wrong and unjust to my true feelings. My caregiver thinks what happened is absolutely terrible and had a few choice words for them as I was sitting and sobbing about it all.

I tried to start a dialogue with one of them this evening to say I was hurt, but true to who she is, she just ignored me. Not engaging in a conversation about conflict and just disappearing feels worse than than the conversation itself.

Healthy conflict is good! It makes relationships better and makes them grow. Someone deciding they won’t communicate with me at all makes me feel worthless and invisible.

So the logistics of coming home were traumatic as the skilled nursing was so bad, then getting here to see I was taken advantage of and nothing was cleaned up properly made it worse. I guess the fact that there’s zero communication is the worst. If there’s one thing I’ve realized this past year is that I have a voice and deserve to use it, especially in situations that are wrong against me.

By the way, my peaceful and gentle energy home now feels terrible. Any ideas on clearing negative energy from your house besides sage (makes me sneeze). These two ladies have completely wrecked the zen feeling of my home.

Love

Lizzie

Future Thinking

I’m just short of 2 weeks in the hospital. The outlook isn’t great and will post the exact nature of what’s going on when all is confirmed.

Anyone who has ever spent any time in a hospital (I’ve managed a lot of time) knows it’s really hard and uncomfortable. As a trauma survivor, giving up control of your entire environment is REALLY hard. I’ve found twinges of anxiety creeping up, but I go inside, remind myself I’m safe, and try to appreciate that I’m being taken care of as there’s no way I could do it at home currently.

My mind turns to the future and the things I want to enjoy again. Future thinking is usually a negative for me, but I’m using it as an exercise in gratitude for my usual life, which is extremely difficult, yet very abundant.

I wish to be at home, surrounded by soft blankets, comforting dogs, living plants, and my window that is perfectly angled to watch the sunrise every morning as a reminder that I’m very much alive and part of the earth.

I wish to work on my health so I can take short hikes, long baths, paint beautiful pictures, with enough energy to see a friend.

I wish to have a freedom of movement on legs that are strong thrust forward by an even stronger mind.

I wish to see faraway friends and go to not so faraway places, just the places that bring me joy even if they are just across town.

I wish to tell people I love them and hear them say they love me back. I wish to be loving in my actions with the reciprocation that my actions are paid forward to me. Oh wait, all of this last paragraph is happening now. The most important of it all. Love and connection. Forget the future. I’ll take this moment and revel in the warmth of love that is stronger than the sun. I’ll also relish the fact that someone else is cooking my breakfast, even though it’s the gourmet delight of hospital food!

What about this current moment makes you joyous, peaceful, content, or just ok? Tell me!

Love

Lizzie

An Update to My Health and a Thanks

So many people have reached out to me over my near week of being in the hospital. For a person who often struggles with feeling alone and unloved, it feels comforting that I’m not forgotten in the really hard times.

My hospital room is filled with flowers, cards, books, and so many fun gifts. Even better than that, it has been filled with love. It’s the love of others and caring medical staff that has truly lifted me.

I’m still shaking pretty bad and they have ruled out many things and sadly ruled in others. I won’t get into the specifics of what they are thinking as I don’t want to be alarmist without the final say, but will give updates on my health once everything is certain. Just please keep the positive thoughts coming!

I love that blog readers have reached out through comments and email from people I don’t normally hear from. A HUGE thank you for that. I am comforted in knowing I affect others enough to make a comment or send a note.

Have you ever felt like you didn’t matter and were totally forgettable? It’s my biggest fear. I’m finding I have an impact. You do too. You especially impact me when you make a comment or email. I realize I’m not writing to empty space!! So I am memorable and you are TOO!!

Keep the love coming. Most importantly, engage in something to love yourself. Spring is coming for those of us in the northern hemisphere. It’s a time of new growth. Remember it for your own life as the world goes from cold and hibernating to warmer and blossoming.

Love

Lizzie

Asking for HELP—again

(I was having a tremor/ muscle contraction in my neck and shoulder in this picture)

Sometimes I fear asking for help as I fear there will be no response and really will make me feel terrible. When you need so much, a “no” can feel really hard even though you know it may be temporary.

I’m in the hospital, again. Unfortunately, I have been shaking and jerking uncontrollably for 8 days. I have had so many doctors try to diagnose me with MS, but never managed to be positive for all markers. The neurology team believe this is MS or another neurological disease.

So when I talk about asking for help, I need people to check on my dogs, want visitors, and put on Facebook that I really wanted someone to bring me a book. Reading would be a lovely distraction from all this jerking and shaking. No one came through with a book.

I will tell you what did happen that is better than a book. In a recent blog post, I wrote about my giving too much, feeling overwhelmed, then having to just back out leaving us both hurt. This happened with a young woman I met several years ago and was instantly connected to in a mentoring capacity. Recently our friendship ended as she made mistakes, and I certainly did too. I always left the door to communicate open and hoped she would turn the knob eventually.

Last night she messaged with her apologies and responded with mine. I was elated to hear from her. She came and hung out for a long time last night at the hospital. She made me laugh and distracted me from the intense fear I’m having over my physical health. I look forward to a healthy friendship with her where we can both be clear in our boundaries to make our relationship fulfilling and rewarding.

So I didn’t get a book, but got some love. Love is definitely best than a book (a little better!). So if any of my Reno readers want to stop by, I’m at renown regional under my legal name!

So looks like I’m going to be asking for lots of help. I’m asking my blog readers to help by sending good thoughts, or praying, or whatever your way is to help someone sick. They haven’t figured anything out yet, so direct your thoughts on diagnosis!

So many people have been telling me about reading my blog. I sincerely appreciate it.

Love

Lizzie

PS I love and appreciate you KS!