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!

Allowing Others to Care for Me

I haven’t been very authentic in my relationships these past several days (ok, lifetime!). I’m super irritated with my physical health and have a perception that everyone else must be as well.

I haven’t talked about how I’ve been feeling physically lately. Lots of people have sent texts asking how I am. I reply that things are well or feeling content. It’s not a lie. My mental health has never been stronger, but my emotional self is housed in a body that is totally falling apart. I have been brave in managing social commitments and throwing on cute clothes, smiling through the physical pain to just collapse into my bed again in total fear of what is really happening with my body.

I have been strong in stressing the importance of my clear mind, but I’m also terrified of what my body is telling me. I’m afraid of facing this alone. I’m afraid of not making it and no one will ever know how bad it has been.

I have a friend in the chronic illness community who doesn’t live far from me. We don’t really see each other as neither of us get out often, but I have been honest with her about my health problems that have hit most recently. She encouraged me to go to the ER tomorrow morning. I told her I couldn’t drive and wasn’t taking an ambulance. She offered to pay for an Uber. My initial reaction was to immediately say no. I can’t afford an Uber as I spent my emergency fund on emergency house repairs due to a nasty storm we had for the past couple days. Before my immediate response was no, I thought to myself that I deserve care and love and friendship where someone gives back to me. It’s also not beyond the scope of what is realistic to her, so instead, I decided to say yes. I need to go to the ER. I also deserve to have my medical needs attended to. Along with my yes, I also thanked her for pushing myself out of my comfort zone in accepting help. She totally got it and responded with a “sleep well dear friend”.

A simple act of accepting a payment of an Uber to the emergency room has made me feel more love and connection than I think I’ve felt. I think it’s because I’m allowing it. I’m allowing self love through allowing others to love me.

When I left another state in the beginning of 2018, my amazing therapist wrote me a letter. In it she said something almost like this, “I hope someday you will realize that you are more than what you can give to others”. It’s true. In giving myself the acceptance of a gift, I recognize that this friend sees me as more than what I give to others.

So much time alone and my heart broken a thousand times to be filled with what I have been searching for. A genuine recognition that I’m worthy of the care of others.

Give yourself a gift too and send healing thoughts my direction as I tackle this next health challenge. Even with a full heart and a strong mind, one can still feel very afraid.

Love

Lizzie

Listening to the Wisdom of Others

Sometimes when people say things, they strike me really hard, and I have to visit them over and over again in my mind to fully understand the implications they may have for huge impact on my personal growth. As I’m learning to listen more and talk less (which has been a dysfunctional need to be desperately heard after lifetime of being silenced) insights into the beauty of others experience has been profoundly impactful.

A coffee date with a new friend yielded this gem: “the best thing my mother ever told me was to bring your whole self into a relationship”. (Not an exact quote, but I think pretty close).

As a person who has always given to the detriment of myself in my career and personal life, this has been a hole in my dealing with others and perhaps I’m on piece 996 of a 1000 piece puzzle as to why my relationships with everyone have been so fractured.

I wanted to save everyone as a means to save myself. I haven’t been bringing my whole self into relationships. I’ve brought my wounded and damaged and emotionally immature self into relationships. It was one that was broken and in fixing the broken of others, my broken would be fixed too. Broken people can’t fix other broken people. I jumped two feet into help others, got overwhelmed, and had to back out completely leaving us both hurt. Many broken people bringing their fractured selves have done this to me as well, leading me to believe I was the damaged one. The truth is, people can’t come together in their damage unless one party is cognizant and clear in their boundaries.

My whole self is going to work on going into relationships. My hurt and wounded self can come too, but my strong, adult identity who knows she has done huge healing to wholeness and exhibits emotional maturity is coming to steer the ship. My hurt little girls inside can be there too as they need to see safe relationships in action, but it is my healthy self that can form relationships, not just a bunch of my damaged being.

No one can fix me. I can’t fix anyone else. I’m learning I can support others in their healing, but with a lot of healthy boundaries in knowing what is mine and what is theirs. I can also invite people to actually love and care about me. I deserve to be cared about beyond what i can just give others.

Some people will call this healing from codependency or people pleasing or exercising healthy boundaries. I’m seeing it as a way for me to form lasting friendships that don’t end in chaos and confusion. As much as I’ve been rejected for being #toomuch, I’ve rejected others for the same reason. Trying to fix others is overwhelming and we get mired in it to the point we have to disappear.

I don’t know if I fully expressed properly the impact of the concept of “bringing your whole self” has brought to me, but I hope anyone who has a pathological tendency to help others will reflect. It’s really been huge as I’ve contemplated it for several days. I also was able to catch myself jumping to save someone once again this week that would have ended in disaster had I not realized my whole self wasn’t operating. I genuinely saved myself a ton of personal distress over this one that I’ll write about another time. I also saved her distress too.

Today and everyday, I’m going to work on bringing my whole self into relationships. All of me can go forth. All of me deserves it.

Love

Lizzie

Back to Concrete Things that Help

I started to write posts about concrete things that help me cope and manage and live well awhile ago. Tonight, I’m going to write about plants and light.

When I was mired deep in the throes of depression and anxiety, I didn’t want to face the world. The sun rising every morning was an assault to the fact that I was miserable, but the world could still be so cheery with light. It was irritating as I just wanted to live in darkness. I had dark curtains, sleeping masks, and anything to keep it all as black as I felt.

The other thing I always killed were plants. Plants like light and there wasn’t much of it in my spirit for life nor my physical space. Plants represented a huge failure of my ability to sustain much of anything.

Today, I try to keep my house very light filled, physically and emotionally. On days I feel terrible, the light can begin as very annoying, but allowing it and not buying black out curtains or surrounding myself in dark is a huge mood lifter even on the days it all feels overwhelming.

You know what I did with the money I saved on blacking out my house? I bought plants! They are rapidly growing and thriving and besides the dogs, it’s wonderful to have other living things in the house. I enjoy tending to them, and I observe them daily for new growth. Metaphorical…

The guy I was dating once said my house was too bright, too much light. Haha. Get out! Feeling a bit lighter hearted and scattered!

Go open your curtains and enjoy the beauty of something green in your space. I promise it will make just the slightest of difference (once you get past how bitterly irritatingly cheerful it is!)

Love

Lizzie