Remembering Pain

August 15, 2019

For about a week, I had intense back pain. I was fortunate that it wasn’t anything serious, but just a muscle spasm that kept on hurting. It took over my life — too painful to drive or to sit straight up, which cut down on my activities and my work. I couldn’t think straight because of the pain, and I was living with a careful schedule of pain pills and muscle relaxants. When I was in the middle of the pain, I promised myself I would be eternally grateful if it would just go away.

Thankfully, it went away and I’m fine. I am having trouble with the gratitude though. I can’t seem to remember what the pain felt like! I have a vague idea that it was awful and that I’m much better and happier now, but I can’t really compare.

I think that emotional pain is similar. When I was in the deepest throes of my depression (I don’t usually use the word “throes” but I looked it up and it means “intense or violent pain and struggle” and that felt accurate), I thought that if I could just move past this, get better, or be healed, I would be grateful forever.

Well, I’m doing better. And I have been for some time. But I’m not feeling incredibly grateful all the time. I’m just feeling… kind of normal. And sometimes frustrated that I have a touch of depression. Sometimes happy, sometimes lonely, sometimes fulfilled, and sometimes wondering what the point of life is.

I think part of it is that I can’t really remember the pain. I think that’s good and bad. I am certainly less grateful than I would be otherwise. But it’s probably a blessing that I can’t remember, because I think it was probably unsustainable.

I remember when my dog had (very expensive) knee surgery. For three nights, it was horrible. She was crying non-stop, even with the pain medication. I slept on the floor next to her one of these nights because it was so terrible. But then, on the fourth morning, she hopped up and was fine. So fine that I had to restrain and eventually sedate her so she wouldn’t hurt herself. But she didn’t seem to remember the pain at all. Nothing remained of the pathetic dog-patient; she was totally happy again.

Maybe that’s what this is. Maybe it’s a gift. And I’ll try to be grateful.


Sadness Around the Edge of My Brain

June 25, 2019

My life is good. I have two nieces and a nephew who I love more than life itself. I just traveled for two weeks and learned to scuba dive. I have a career that I love and is incredibly fulfilling. I have free time to read and knit and live in a beautiful area.

But there’s sadness around the edge of my brain.

You know when you have a floater in your eye, but you can’t see it directly, just around the edge of your vision?

Nothing lasts. I love my dog very much but she’s aging and one day I’ll have to deal with her loss. I love every minute with my nieces and nephew but they’re not my kids and I have to work around other people’s schedules and have little control over when I get to see them. I am happily single and love living and traveling alone but have strong pangs of loneliness when I see people who are in wonderful partnerships or watch certain movies or TV shows.

The sadness is nebulous and not life-threatening (yes, I believe sadness can be life-threatening), but it is there.

Just around the edges, but it’s there.


A Reprieve

September 19, 2017

Something has shifted lately. I don’t know if it’s meds, therapy, prayer, or what, but I’ve been feeling… content. Maybe even joyful sometimes. And much less sorry for myself.

I went to a family event over the weekend. When I spend time with my family, I go way into self-pity mode. I’m the only adult there who’s not married, who doesn’t own a home, who doesn’t have children. Mostly, I’m just the only one alone.

But something about this time was different. I got to spend time with my nephew and nieces who I love very very much. My youngest niece just warmed up to me (she’s two and VERY picky about who she spends time with) so I got to read her books and have her sit on my lap and play games with her. My nephew and I have always had a really strong bond and even though he managed to spill a whole jar of syrup all over my lap, we still had fun.

Things feel good. The tough part is that depression waits. You don’t get cured, you get reprieves. One of the triggers that has been most consistent for me is the season change from summer to fall. So here we are on September 18, and I feel like it’s tapping me on the shoulder. I don’t want it, I don’t want anything to do with it, but there’s a reminder.


The Peace Of God

September 4, 2017

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I grew up in  the Episcopalian Church and there was a part of the service called “passing the peace,” where you turn to someone near you and say “Peace be with you,” answered with “And also with you.” It’s been a while since I’ve been in an Episcopal church but I believe there’s also a part where the priest says, “May the peace of God be with you,” and the congregation responds, “And also with you.”

I miss the liturgy. I think I need to visit an Episcopalian church soon. It gets ingrained in your heart and our mind and I need that right now.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the peace that surpasses all understanding, that Paul promises we get from God. And Jesus saying that he brings us peace, not as the world gives.

The world is making me CRAZY. I’m worried all the time. I’m worried about nuclear war, and deporting DREAMers, and losing my health care, and public schools getting worse, and Nazis having a say in our world, and sexually assaulting men running the country. I’m worried about my own life, and dying alone, and the health of my dog, I’m worried about everything from the world ending from climate change to not being able to lose weight.

And yet, I profess to have a belief system that tells me not to worry, that tells me that I have peace, should I choose to accept it. I don’t know how to reconcile those two things.

I certainly don’t believe it means I close my eyes and plug my ears and pretend none of this is happening. I think it’s time for activism and speaking up. But I do feel like it means this shouldn’t break me. I shouldn’t be up all night worrying.

This is where I start believing I’d be a much better atheist than a Christian because I am better at worrying and not trusting God. But somehow I still believe.

If anyone has their own thoughts about this, please do share!


I Felt Hopeful Last Night

August 25, 2017

I’m really tired so it’s hard to remember details, but last night, I felt really hopeful.

I felt like my life was good and I was going to be OK, and I felt happy and hopeful.

I just feel like it’s important to write that down and remember. Today wasn’t bad, but last night, there was a flash of incredible hopefulness.


Worrying, Again

August 23, 2017

I’m so tired of worrying. But I don’t know how to stop. The Bible has a million verses about not worrying, but they’re all verses that tell you not to worry. None of them tell you HOW.

I’m worried that my landlord will sell my house and I’ll have to leave. (He hasn’t said he was considering it but he sold one of his three properties last year)

I’m worried that my dog will die soon. (She’s seven and in good health)

I’m worried that I won’t have enough money to keep living in my area. (While not a ton, I’m making more money than I ever have)

I’m worried that I’ll never find a partner. I’m worried about car accidents. I’m worried about health problems. I’m worried, I’m worried, I’m worried.

It’s exhausting. And I don’t want it. I just don’t know how to end this cycle.

Any ideas?


Worry, Worry, Worry

July 24, 2017

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this here, but fairly recently, a friend of mine, who is an atheist/agnostic, depending on the day, called me out on something. She said, “Listen. You believe in this God who takes care of you. You believe in a God who created you and loved you. That should make a difference in your life.” She went on to explain that this was something she (and a to of people) didn’t have. She doesn’t believe there’s any higher power or anything past humans, and she thinks that if I believe that, my life should reflect it. I should have more hope than people without this.

She explained it better, but you get the idea. If I believe in a loving God, who I can even TALK to, why doesn’t this make a difference?

I need it to make a difference. Either I believe this or I don’t. If I do, then I should, well, not give up worry entirely, because I’m human, but I should have a basic confidence that God is with me. Who can be against me? What can “man” do to me? I shouldn’t be afraid of housing prices or illness or anything else, but have a “peace that transcends all understanding.”

I know that a lot of people who read this are not necessarily people of faith, but many of you are. Do you have any ways to remember this, really deep down? As someone very very prone to anxiety and depression, this is essential for me to not go down.


Fear

April 16, 2017

If there is one thing that would change my life for the better, it would be having less fear. That is an understatement. It wouldn’t just change my life, it would revolutionize it.

I am not afraid of snakes, spiders, or bridges. I’m only a little afraid of heights and commitment. I am, however, terrified that I will not be taken care of.

I have believed in God for my entire life. But I don’t trust God. I don’t believe that God cares about me or will care for me. This is, of course, a bit of an exaggeration. I believe in my head that God cares about me, but it’s never made it to my heart.

I want that to change. I really do. I don’t want to spend sleepless nights trying to figure out what I’m going to do about housing a year from now or if I’m going to be alone when I die. I don’t want to go through every worst-case scenario and everything I’m afraid of and try to figure out what I’ll do in every possible case.

I want to actually believe God. I want to trust God. I don’t understand, but I want to know that God cares for me, cares about me, and will take care of me. I don’t want to fear the future; I want to be excited for what God will bring me.

But how?


This Too Shall Pass

May 6, 2013

I’ve talked about my nightmares before and how that’s one of the things I consider to be a miracle.  Granted, I have no idea why God ever permitted such horrible nightmares, and I’m often very angry about that, but I’m also able to be glad for the healing (although I’d really really like an explanation!)

Today I was taking a nap, suffering from allergies and Benadryl and all that fun stuff so the nap wasn’t very restful but I was having a hard time waking up.  All of a sudden, mostly asleep, I had this strong sense that the depression was back and I’d feel like this forever.  This was a pretty common element of my nightmares before and I’d often wake up and not really recover from it all day.  Today, even still mostly asleep, I felt something telling me “This will pass, this too shall pass.”  In my dream.  And I woke up and I was OK.  Minor and miraculous at the same time.


He Cares for You

January 22, 2013

I’ve been reading 1 Peter 5:7 a lot lately, in various translations.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Throw all your anxiety onto him, because he cares about you.

God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.

Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.

I’ve been having some sort of PTSD effects from the dog situation. I’ve never been scared of dogs in my life and I’m finding myself skittish around dogs when they interact. My neighbor who was involved mentioned that her dogs are having a lot of trouble with other dogs since the incident, and I feel terrible – but what else could I have done? I put my dog down, can’t do more than that. Also I miss her and feel guilty. Not as guilty as I thought I’d feel, which is a blessing, but guilty.

I’m worried about money, and finding a new dog who is right for me (which is seeming like an impossible task now), and being single forever, and about a million other things. And I’m trying to remember in all this that God cares for me. That’s pretty big. The creator of the world cares for me. I don’t know why I believe that sometimes; it seems ridiculous, but I do believe it.