Friday, November 23, 2018

Honestly, I struggle

Can I be honest?  It's my blog, so I need to be.  I struggle with things.  Big surprise, because most of us do.  We don't always see others in their struggles, and sometimes that is isolating. I'm not talking about those that constantly complain, but those daily struggles, or life stuff -   Aging parents, teen kids, losing weight, self esteem, forgiveness, anger, home repairs, bills, balancing life... I struggle with posting this.

I know the Bible tells us to not be anxious for anything.  I read it, hear it, underline it, and still it creeps in there.

The Honesty:  I have been seeing a Christian counselor for almost 9 months now. Sometimes, it feels like there is a bad stigma to see or need counseling.  Like we couldn't solve it, work through it, we are weak, that there are mental issues, etc, but actually that's not the case. There are many reasons that people seek counseling  - broken marriages, new job or leaving an old job, dealing with children, broken past, getting a degree, childhood trauma, PTSD, war, illnesses, being a parent, going to school, being a caregiver, loneliness, loss of child/spouse/parent, changes in life...  I've found lately that some of my closest friends have gone to counselors, and we're all really okay with that.  Just means that we realize we need someone to talk to that is more impartial.  I love that we have Christian counselors available.
When faced with difficult situations or stressful times in our lives, it’s quite common to try to bury our thoughts and emotions, to focus on something else rather than face the issue that’s driving us. It’s in these moments as well as many others when counseling is a wonderful way to cope with your thoughts, have a conversation about how to handle trigger situations, and learn skills to lead a happier and mentally, emotionally healthier life..  when counseling is a wonderful way to cope with your thoughts, have a conversation about how to handle trigger situations, and learn skills to lead a happier and mentally, emotionally healthier life
Whether you need help to cope with a mental illness or just need to speak with someone about a tough situation you’re currently facing, realize that there’s nothing wrong with you. Recognize that you love yourself enough to know you need help and seek it. - family first counseling
I love going to my counselor.  She listens to me ramble, I share normal family events:  graduations, engagements, a new dog with trauma or loss of pet, joys and celebrations, customer sewing projects, travels, solving home-ownership problems of appliances breaking, improvements, etc),  how I may challenge myself to learn something new,  teaching the cat some pretty cool tricks (shaking hangs, down, high-five), helps me to focus on the issue at hand, whether it is self-worth, anger, or even unforgiveness.  I basically pay to have someone to talk with me, without a ton of huge distractions, except her office is always cold and I take a quilt with me to keep warm.  She always offers me a bottle of water and we laugh if I have a tea with me because we call it The Hard Stuff - caffeine. She knows when I'm just worn out and when I'm struggling with my fibromyalgia. 

  Here is the honesty again.  I go because I have been upset, angry/irritated if you want to label it, with my brother, for the way that he treated our momma and the sturggles while she was going through the journey of Alzheimer's.  I had already worked through, many years ago, the un-forgiveness and anger stemming from my abusive biological father, but it's amazing how connected things are. Some things she has helped me realize, along with speaking to an aunt, is that genetics are deep, but it is not up to me to make sure other people take responsibility for their actions and words. I have discovered, that even though we had the same parents, that at the age of eleven and twelve, our parents divorced, due suspected abuse. Now this is something I did not find out about until my mom was struggling with the Alzhiermier's, and my aunt revealed it to me.  I chose to live with my mom, and my brother lived with our father.  I now realize how family dynamics and imprinting affects children, and the long-term struggles that can bring.  Our father's side of the family is riddled with abuse from generations in different forms, physical and mental, the inability to balance actual life events to where they change those events in their minds and believing them to be so true and actual, in order to cope with either not taking responsibility for their actions or lack of, that they believe that is how the event actually happened and no one can reason or prove otherwise.  Does this make sense?  I feel like I'm a puppy chasing my own tail with this one.  I really don't need you to fully understand, but I need to give voice to it.  I am not stating that my brother has all these issues, but rather... I just need to stop now.  It's the experiences of two children, born just one year apart, to the same parents, raised separately by each parent, would have such profound impact on characteristics,  mannerisms, actions, words, belief's, and choices made.  It's not an excuse for his actions and words, but it brings things into perspective, and it makes me thankful I was raising by our mother.

I will tell you, that I really feel I had an ideal childhood.  I was raised near grandparents, had wonderful experiences, lived in several states and even Japan, due to military, and have the most fond memories.  I really wouldn't trade it or change it. I was surrounded by aunts and uncles, cousins, family gatherings, laughter, and small town life.  It was like living in Mayberry (the Andy Griffith Show) without Sheriff Andy and Barney Fife, but even there, you see  generational influence.

Honey and I have repeatedly talked to our kids about generational sins of the past and how we have to make a choice to not allow them to continue and damage the future generations.  We have spoken very frankly to them about specifics, raising their awareness of dangers and the lasting impact it has on emotions, mental clarity, safety, character representing Christ, choices in spouses, and decisions we make.  We are not perfect parents, and have made so many mistakes, it's how we learn, but we want our children to be aware, be on guard, chose wisely, follow His instructions, and don't forget.

 I work on forgiveness, with the possibility of never getting an apology or righting the wrong.  It doesn't mean I forget, but I can let go. It's giving voice to my frustrations, using a source unrelated to the situation to give fresh eyes and perspective, and she has even given me home-work.  I will admit freely that I struggle greatly with self worth/esteem. The way that I allow Uninvited feelings to creep in and slap me upside the heart and present themselves in the form of loneliness, low self-worth, or left out.

One tool she has given me is a simple phrase:
                  I feel _____________  when _____________________, because ______________________. 

This gives me a moment to voice my feelings in a situation and the reason for that feeling.

One book that I've been slowly working through for a year now, is Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, and I've learned so much about myself and those ugly feelings of hurt, pain, rejection, and insecurities.  It's not been fun, but it has been good.  I have several tools to help me recognize how I allow things to control me and my relationship with family, others, and God.

Well, it's late and I've rambled long enough to you, plus the temp in the house has dropped to 66* and all the critters and Honey are snoring.

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