Last week I visited a friend/ex-colleague in the hospital after he had to have a benign tumour removed from his spine. Due to the expertise of the doctors (and perhaps a little bit of luck), he came through the surgery with flying colours and is home on the mend. Illness and disease has surrounded us recently, with so many friends and relatives, and friends of relatives, having to battle to keep their health and livelihood. It has me thinking of a few things - both the nature of illness and how this is accelerated in our culture; and what we can do to work towards optimal health of body, mind and emotions.
On his way home from the hospital for a check-up, this friend brought me a book by Brene Brown called Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. He warned me that most people he had given the book to had only been able to read five pages at a time before they needed to it down to process. I made it through two. There is an excerpt in these first few pages that hit home. Brene is talking to a therapist:
"I hate how [vulnerability] makes me feel."
"What does it feel like?"
"Like I'm coming out of my skin. Like I need to fix whatever's happening and make it better."...
"So what do you do?"
"Clean the house. Eat peanut butter. Blame people. Make everything around me perfect. Control whatever I can - whatever's not nailed down....Can you give me some homework or something? Shall I review the data?"
"No data and no homework. No assignments or gold stars in here. Less thinking. More feeling."
After the delivery of our first child, I had postpartum depression. I have had depression before and it is also in my family history. So with the birth of our second child, one of my priorities was to make choices that ensured I felt healthy not only in body, but mentally and emotionally as well. I know that feeling a lack of control contributes to feeling unhealthy. So, yes, I am guilty of researching, looking at studies and reading blogs to learn about others experiences and what worked for them. Yes, I over think, but perhaps it is sometimes because I feel too much. Perhaps rather than succumbing to the emotions, I get afraid of what that letting go will result in and forget to trust myself. I do know that if I give myself time to process, to write it out, I can bring myself back to a state of calm and trust. But let's be real...with a 5-year old and a newborn, who has time to eat and shower never mind to process and write. So rather than run to Google or Chapters next time I am overwhelmed to find a fix from someone else's experience, I hope to choose myself. To trust myself to know what is best for me and my family. To slow down and breathe. To accept vulnerability and let go of control, at least for this moment. I know deep down that this will keep me a healthier person and suspect that less dis-ease would pervade our society if we all could do just the same.
Every night I go to bed, I have thoughts swirling in my head. Things to do. Scrapbook pages I want to create. Gifts I want to make. Skills I want to learn. And, of course, daily happenings that I don't want to forget, but invariably will by tomorrow morning, only to pop up in a random thought weeks down the road. So, here I am. I may use this blog daily to empty my head and heart before cuddling up in my duvet, or as it may be, I may write in it once a month. Who knows. It is for me, but perhaps something I write or learn may spark a fire in someone else. Perhaps it may quiet a mind or make you feel like you are not alone out there. It is for me. But perhaps it is for you.