Saturday, October 18, 2014

She Is Only Sleeping

Winter, 2013


Being on the edge of winter
feels like Death looking 
over my shoulder - I dread it's coming.

But when I turn around to face it,
I see only a silent old man,
his pockets full of sand
for Mother Nature's
sweet sleep.

- Anita Hohl

Friday, October 17, 2014

Is It Ever "Too Late"?

This morning's sunrise

     After a childhood where I was constantly judged, belittled, and bullied by my peers (and my mother) I have become this person who constantly expects that from anyone I'm around, except Rick and the kids.

     I am never "myself" in person with others as I am when I'm alone, connecting with people online. I am "authentic" online, in writing, but when I am physically present with anyone I find it hard to look people in the eyes, and constantly look for ways to escape, or at least shrink back into the shadows, unnoticed. It's one of the reasons I communicate so much better in written words than when speaking.

     I commiserate with the Wizard of Oz when he says, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" Only for me, it's "Pay no attention to the woman at the keyboard, only the image projected through the screen!"

     After 47 years you'd think I'd have found a way to feel safe around people, but it just hasn't happened.

"In a study published in 2003 in the journal Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a team of Canadian researchers examined the effects of exposure to bullying on a person's long-term chances of developing an anxiety-related condition such as social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The authors of the study concluded that more than 90 percent of the study participants diagnosed with social anxiety disorder(social phobia was the term used by the authors) self-reported a personal history that included extreme exposure to teasing from others. By contrast, only half of the participants with OCD reported an extreme teasing history, while only one-third of the participants with panic disorder reported such a history." - taken from THIS ARTICLE
     So reading this, I've learned that at least my experience isn't unusual. It's sad to me that this happens to others, too, though. It's almost an emotional-social  "PTSD". There are many other studies out there now saying the same thing.  THIS ARTICLE even says that bullying causes physical changes in the brain.
     So, now all I need to do is figure out how to work through this without the help of a professional. Those of us who can't afford that kind of help are at a serious disadvantage, but surely there is a way though this. I've found lots of articles to read about "recovery". Is it ever too late for recovery? Is the damage permanent? A bible study of how God sees us (me), our worth in His eyes, may help, now that I'm thinking about it.

"What then shall we say in response to these things? 
If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31

     I can say these things to others and believe them 100% - why can I not believe them for myself? Is it the physical changes in my brain that prevent me from making that connection on a personal level? so many things to wonder about... I many never know the answer or find the way out. But I'll keep trying.
Please - don't minimize the seriousness of SA because you don't feel it... and don't try the "buck up" speech. Similar to the "snap out of it" speech frequently given to people who are clinically depressed, it is very demeaning, and doesn't help anyone.
"How can a Christian overcome social anxiety?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rusty Poet

I'm sure anyone reading this has seen me mention before about my previous poetry writing days. How I won the "Poet of the Year" award at the small college I attended for a while. I quit writing, just about as soon as I stopped going to college. I have no recollection of doing it deliberately, I just stopped.
I've been trying lately to get back into writing, and I wrote one this evening.
As a disclaimer, I have to say - I hate rhyming poetry, sing-song rhythms, "greeting card" verses. My favorite poet is Mary Oliver, if you've ever read her work, you'll understand the way I write.


So very quiet.
My back to the sunset,
staring out the window.
the light changes,
the shadows grow longer,
until all I see is the outline
of the trees against
a starry sky.
I can almost hear
the moon rising.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Life Is Beautiful

A Mackerel Sky
    When I share the things that are going on in our lives they are not meant to gain sympathy, or make others feel bad. Everyone on Facebook or on blogs like mine share their day-to-day happenings, plans, and stories. Mine just happen to be a lot different than most. Can we not listen and share with people who are in other circumstances from our own? Is being different a threat?

     There are days when I consider just withdrawing from the virtual world completely. But I am just like anyone in that I need to be able to share my life with people, and online is the only way I have of doing that. I will not "shut up" about the things I'm going through just because it makes some people uncomfortable. I will also not accept the notion that our life is "hard" because we're being punished in some way. Rick and I are more dependent on God than anyone else I know, on a daily basis we are made aware of how much, and I am thankful that we are not under the assumption that we gained all we have on our own merit.

"Lord, you established peace for us, all that we have accomplished you have done for us." Isaiah 26:12

     Every day I notice dozens of things to be thankful for. Just because our life seems harder than most in the area where we live, does not mean others are better than us or that we are miserable. God gave Rick and I both the ability to see beauty where others just rush past, and that in itself is something to be thankful for. We are content wherever we are.

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength." Phillippians 4:11-13

     Do not feel sorry for us, or feel guilty because you have more. Learn from our contentment and happiness in our meager circumstances, and be thankful for where you are.