Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Here in the US we’re celebrating Thanksgiving today. For us Americans, it’s mainly an excuse to eat lots of food and watch football (though we Americans don’t really need and excuse for those things). But while eating, drinking and being merry, most people remember the true meaning of the holiday. This year, I have many things to be thankful for.

As you all know, I’ve been working on my “Me” project. When I started on this venture, I was very hopeful that it would work right from the get-go. But I have come to see that it’s failed me; or rather, I’ve failed it. Maybe “fail” isn’t the right word here. Maybe it’s just not as easy as I thought it would be, as I hoped it would be. I thought that starting this project would fix the issue as hand without question. But I was wrong.

For the past few years, I’ve been dealing with anxiety issues. So much so that it can keep me up at night, give me heart palpitations, everything short of an all-out panic attack, though if I’m honest, I’ve probably been there more times than I care to admit. Some nights it’s been so bad I thought I was literally going crazy. More recently, I’ve added a small bout of depression to that anxiety. Usually, this anxiety stems from health issues. I get anxious about other things, but it seems that when I’m not feeling well or have something going on physically, that’s when all of my anxiety comes out in full force. I have mentioned that I’ve been dealing with health issues for a while (at this point, going on 4 months). It’s nothing serious, but it’s the longest I’ve ever dealt with one health issue and it scares me. Hence the increase in anxiety and the addition of depression here.

The “Me” project was originally set up for me to work on the anxiety issues. It’s been going okay. But as I said, I’ve failed it. And by that I mean that I haven’t been doing everything I could have to ward off the anxiety. And this past week, that lack of work came to haunt me. I had a particularly bad weekend where the anxiety and depression are concerned. I found that there’s a little more to the issue than I first thought. Of course, when you’re working on something like this, things from the past, things you’re aware of but don’t necessarily contribute to the issue at hand, come out. Old feelings are dredged up and brought to the surface and you must face those old feelings all over again. In my case, a big part of that is dealing with my father’s death. It’s always painful to think about what happened, but to live it again and again and again when having these anxiety attacks, well it’s that much more painful. He lived with a debilitating disease for a long time; I watched him suffer and deteriorate before my eyes; then watched him die. So you can see where the health concerns comes in – one small thing in the grand scheme and I get so anxious that I cannot move forward. That and just feeling ill at all leads to the depression.

I am still working on the “Me” project, still working on reducing my anxiety. And this will probably always be an issue for me. But I now have tools and resources to help me through it all. And for that I’m very truly thankful. I suppose in a way, this is a learning lesson and the health issue I currently face is probably a blessing in disguise. It’s the reason I’m dealing with the anxiety at all – if I hadn’t gotten sick and been so for so long, I would not have had to deal with all of these feelings. But it’s time I did and so, for that I’m thankful as well.

I’ve been writing in my journal more and more, making the time to do it, rather than waiting for the time to come to me. One thing I’ve included in my journal is a daily list of things I’m thankful for. This will help me to focus on the good things in my life, rather than the bad or sad things.

Today I am thankful for having been there for my father when he needed is family the most. I’m also thankful for family holidays and traditions, like watching favorite movies. And I’m thankful for all of you, readers. This blogging community means a great deal to me – I’ve “met” so many wonderful people, some who have become good friends, who understand some of what I’m going through. It’s amazing that what started out as a love and passion for planners has grown into a community where we share more than just that one thing in common.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you’re having a great day and giving thanks for all that you have and have had in your lifetime.

Happy Thanksgiving.

9 comments:

  1. Happy Thanksgiving! As I sit here drinking my tea and thinking about later today (full of family and fun and food) I just wanted a bit of alone time to reflect ... I am very happy to have found meaningful blogs written by people who share their lives - thanks to you and Philosophy and others, I, too, have the Me & Mine Journal (in an agenda) which lifts my spirits and elevates my thinking to beyond just me, as contradictory as that sounds.

    Happy Thanksgiving. It is all about giving thanks.

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  2. Just a thought Sue... do you drink normal coffee or de-caff coffee? Your symptoms are similar to what I had a few years ago before I went 100% decaff coffee...

    But I'm no doctor or medical expert so it might be totally unrelated.

    But that aside... I hope you both have a great long weekend, some quality time to sit and enjoy and relax together, take stock before winter takes a hold.

    Regards
    Steve

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  3. Please consider seeing a psychiatrist. I had a very similar hard time last year when my daddy died. My mom had a critical surgery on the very same day, and getting through the holidays and working was nearly impossible. I couldn't even do parts of my job, like making a phone call, without crying, and when I tried to go to sleep my brain would not stop thinking.

    Remember, your brain is a part of your body too, and it can get sick just like any other part of your body. There is nothing wrong with you, and there are people with the same problems you have. I've been on anxiety medication for a year and it has made things so much easier, and contrary to popular belief, it doesn't make you an emotionless zombie. ;)

    If you need someone to talk to you can email me: mrsgrievous at gmail dot com. We all love you and want you to feel amazing! :D

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  4. Thanks for the comments and concerns. I am doing everything that needs to be done and things are better for me at this point. One day at a time right now. It helps to put everything into perspective and one way for me to do that is to write about it. Thanks for all of the support!

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  5. Leslie - Thanks for your support. I'm sorry for all that you have been through as well. The tough thing for me is that my dad died three years ago so I thought I was over the worst. It's funny how emotions can sneak up on you when you're not expecting them.

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  6. Kanalt I am only now reading your post. Thanks for sharing with us.Leslie is right. Too often we as a society ignore mental health issues and turn a blind eye to it. For some reason we are happy to throw money ensuring people get the best treatments for heart disease or cancer but mental health..... Oh no! I am not a psychiatrist but a public health dr who does psychiatric epidemiology. However I will say that if at any time you feel that you are not coping with what is happening seek professional help, whether that means psychotherapy/ seeing a psychiatrist and/ or starting drug treatment for your anxiety/depression. I admire you for sharing this with us and if you need to know more email me and hopefully I can signpost you in the right direction. Ok now off to check why this post didn't come up in my reader!

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  7. CP - Thanks for your reply. I have to say that I couldn't make up my mind about whether or not to write about this. It's more personal than I intended to ever get via a blog. But as I love writing so much, it does act as therapy for me and so helps me to put everything into perspective. As I said in a comment above, I am now doing what needs to be done. I have a lot of resources at hand and am working on these issues. I appreciate everyone's support and kind words. =)

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  8. Susan, just remember we love reading your blog!! You have many friends/Fans! ;-).. fyi, ask your doctor about Lexapro. I've had anxiety problems since 97 - they turned off until 2006 when it just went haywire. I couldnt' even drive on Sunrise Highway!.. My doctor prescribed Lexapro and it's truly been a livesaving miracle drug!

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  9. Thanks Michele, for the support and information. I do intent to keep writing - it's finding the time these days, with the holidays and all. My next entry will be a little more light-hearted. And Sunrise Highway - the roads around here are enough to give anyone anxiety. ;)

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