I am on day 90 of a 100 day hiatus from how my life WAS….and before I start writing about what exactly transpired over these months……….I wanted to set the stage. I am SO READY to close this chapter. This was no sabbatical….it was more like an emotional/physical/ mental boot camp. Today I can be all light hearted and cheerful about it…..in the middle….I wasn’t so much fun to be around. This was not my favorite summer of all time.
This blog post is gonna sound really ugly at the beginning but I promise it all turns out in the end.
As someone who tries to see the bright side of everything, as someone who believes in extracting the valuable lesson in everything and letting the rest go……it has been a terrifying few months when I could do neither. I have known myself as someone who could will myself to do just about anything….someone who could overcome and just press on….power through it. Tough it out. Well……
My 100 day hiatus is almost up. In May, after nearly 2 years of chronic hives and a gradual decline in vitality….then a swift decline in vitality and a startling weight gain, I decided to take the summer to really figure out what was going on with my body. I did not write much, even though I had planned on it, because it was all just too personal…I know you get that. Also….I didn’t have much to say that was good or inspiring. Things got much worse before they finally started to get better….in fact, I was sure I was ruined for life when I was just a few weeks in. I did not have it in me to see the bright side of that. What I learned this summer was that although my symptoms most certainly manifested in my body…..they started in my head, my heart and my soul. Shutting my body down was my self’s last resort to get me to stop and take care of some old, yucky infected soul wounds that I have powered through but never let myself feel angry about…hurt about….I have never let myself grieve things that were lost by natural causes, lost by unfairness, lost by my own decisions, lost by things that were out of control. My way of dealing with everything has always been to press on…press on…press on…….power through it and always always always look at the bright side.
Well…then I got sick. In June…..I got diagnosed with Stage 3 adrenal exhaustion. This was after, like I said, nearly 2 years of disfiguring welts and hives that moved all over my body and stayed for weeks at a time. After all of the blood and saliva tests….I learned I was depleted in everything. Even my cholesterol was low! There was nothing left in my body to power through with…not even a drop. My doctor said….‘you have squeezed every last drop of every single thing out of your body…….you have no choice but to stop and replenish it all…and it takes a while to do that.
2 years of chronic hives, stage 3 adrenal fatigue and a 30 pound weight gain….hellooooooo, healing hiatus…where are you????? (and by the way….WHAT THE H????? Remember, God, that I just finished this 10 year marathon of helping my husband heal and seeing our life fall apart and working my bootie off to put it all back together…….and now this??? WHY???)
That is when I stopped writing.
That is when I got madder than mad. (I was even mad at my doctor) This is new for me…I really and truly thought I did not have the gene that helps people to feel anger….turns out, I just had a really thick wall with a really locked up gate that held in all of my very human anger….years and years and years of it.
That is when I pretty much stayed in my bedroom and cried and made art from my bed all summer because I lost my energy and my zoom and my pizazz and my sparkle… and all I could do was rest most days….another totally new experience for me.
and….that is when I went into a pity party of such sizable proportions that I didn’t even know who I was.
This summer (and for the last 2 years) I had grotesque hives in ways that made me look like that guy in Goonies…no matter what I did..they itch, they hurt, they make me want to hide and sleep in a bathtub of oatmeal…….my weight climbed, leaving me 30 pounds heavier than I was before this all happened. My energy went away, my joy went away and I every day I faced a new issue. It was not the best year of my life.
I have WANTED to write….I have wanted to write blog posts with titles like “2014, the year I got old and dried up, puffed up and messed up” or…..”when beauty and youth fade overnight and leave you a shell of human” or…..just simply “life is not fair and it really really REALLY sucks.”
but…I didn’t. I am glad I didn’t. Hopefully you can see why I stopped writing. In fact, my writing has withered over the last 2 years since those hives showed up because my energy, my vitality, my sparkle, my shine, my confidence, my smile, my mojo….all of it was slowly draining out of me…….but I just kept powering through it instead of filling it back up.
I will tell you that I wanted a magic pill….a magic program….a silver bullet…..a secret code….SOMETHING that would make me better overnight. I believe in choosing happiness above all else…I never thought it would be so hard for ME to find it. I thought happiness was my special talent!! It has felt very unfair when I begged and I begged and I prayed and I prayed to be healed. It made me feel very sad, mad and negative for lots weeks that turned into lots of months. I don’t like this side of me that behaves this way….but I do love her. She has put up with so much. Soooo, I finally let that side of me be as mad and as sad as she wanted to be….I surrendered to it….and I let her say it, I let her feel it…I sat next to her through it. When she would listen…I would tell her that it was gonna pass and everything would be happy again.
…and I even started therapy…which I have never ever ever done.
I was so thankful when, after talking for 2 hours…..my therapist said….”you have been through a LOT of trauma, dear…..you HAVE to let yourself heal from that….you have to let yourself be mad at how unfair it felt, how sad it felt, how lost you felt, how alone you felt…..you have to work through this anger and sorrow and despair.”
So…I started doing that.
I am doing that.
I wrote in one of my first “lighter and lighter” posts about how it knocked the wind out of me when I realized that my husband can not remember the worst things that happened during his 4-5 years of mental illness that resulted after his brain injury. I think I started going downhill fast when I realized that we were never going to be able to heal from those years together because he can not even remember them. It really really REALLY stinks when you are the only one holding memories that have never been dealt with. It makes you feel crazy. It makes you feel infuriated.
I was reminded that over the last 2 years I have done some major overhauling in my life through facing painful and difficult things that had never been talked about…..on top of my son getting married 2 years ago, my daughter getting married last year and our first grandchild being born this Spring.(all the the most wonderful things you can imagine) We have moved 5 times in the last 5 years and life was very uncertain for a very long time. We started a new business on a shoestring and gave it all we had. We love everything we do and we give it everything we have…..
Life has just been really grueling….happy and sad…constant going….constant survival mode. Constant POWERING THROUGH IT. It has been this way for more than 10 years.
My body is tired. My soul is tired.
Plus…….this thing that happens in your 40’s…..when you start to age, you start to look different and feel different….when you start to question everything in life because you have new wisdom…..it is a weird time. Middle age is not for wimps…that’s all I’ve got to say.
SOOOOO…the good news is, dear friends…that I am writing because I am shifting. Everything is shifting. I see the light. My body is balancing….my heart is balancing. I have so much to say about all of the different facets of this………as this summer I have learned so much about my marriage, about being a mother, about being a woman, about being a friend and letting others be a friend to me. I have learned so much about limitations. I have learned so much about choosing…and deciding. I have learned so much about patience and impatience. I have learned so much about the value of anger and the purpose of anger. I have learned so much about myself….my beloved, precious self (I can say that now and really mean it) I have learned so much about what happens when we believe the yucky lie that we have to pay dearly for anything good, including happiness…..and I am learning every day what GRACE means.
I have been angry at God, angry at myself, angry at my husband’s loss of memory, angry at my body, angry at the world…..I have been angry this summer about how life works. I have been angry angry angry….mostly about things that I can not control…and that made me even angrier.
But I am seeing the other side of it.
When I can…I want to write to you all that I have learned about these chronic hives, about what I’ve learned about hormones…what I’ve learned about adrenals…what I’ve learned about how it’s all connected to old secrets, old memories, old wounds and old stories……..because I want to give you all the information I can about how this healing is evolving so that if you are going through some of the same things….maybe I have a map that will help you on your journey.
Because I AM HEALING. I AM.
I see this vision of myself coming out of this brighter, happier and more at peace than ever before…….because I went on a quest and I was gifted with some gifts of knowledge and wisdom…….(gifts I may have declined had I been given the choice when they were offered, but that I am profoundly grateful for now)
….thank goodness because I thought this was all just a bunch of crap while I was in the middle of it. I thought this was my new life. Just being honest. I swore a lot, I cried a lot and I felt sorry for myself a lot. I was jealous of others a lot. I begged a lot…I yelled a lot………..I hid out a lot. I did what I needed to do…and I let myself do it.
Ok..this is too long already but I will write more when it is time.
Love you all so much……..please hang in there…stay with it. When my friends kept telling me to HANG IN THERE and STAY WITH IT this summer, I sometimes wanted to punch them in the face, but I knew they loved me and that I could trust them…so I did. I hope you will do the same.
Because life is really hard sometimes….but sometimes that’s what it takes to get us to the next place we are meant to be.
Finally…..as the post is titled…”SHOW UP ANGRY…SHOW UP SAD…” please make sure you reach out when things are tough. This summer it has been a real exercise in trust as I have been honest with my closest circle about how yucky I felt. It is excruciating to have to admit how you really feel, especially when you feel like there is no way out of it. It was a floatation device for me to be able to reach out to a few trusted friends and family and really be honest about how angry, sad and hopeless I felt some days. PLEASE REACH OUT AND BE HONEST…don’t keep it inside. They all told me it would pass…and it always did….even when I was sure it wouldn’t.
You are beloved and important and human…..that means you have human frailties and limitations, that means you have up times and down times……that means you have hard things to learn sometimes. Know how I know that for sure??? Because I am human and I am living it too. Even when there seems to be no good news to share…..reach out, ok?
I promise I will write more about the chronic hives (they are gone!) and I will write more about the adrenal fatigue and the hormone imbalances and the anger…..because I know there are lots of you suffering with the same stuff. Let’s all help each other figure this out.
I am getting better. I feel good today. Good feels sooooooooooooooo amazing…just regular old good feels sooooooooooooooo incredible. What a gift.
I choose happy…………it’s always looking for me just as hard as I am looking for it. The reunion is so exquisitely sweet when we finally find each other again.