Sunday, October 17, 2010
Last night, my neighbor and I went to a barn dance. It was quite an event - the first for the Historical Society in a small town near here. Round and square. It was so much fun to see the adult square dancers allow young kids to join their squares. I watched 2 kids, maybe about 10, in one square. Both in lime colored shirts, I don't know if they were brother and sister, related or not. At the beginning, they didn't want any actual physical contact with each other. The shyness of youth. Instead of the promenade, they'd walk side by side. When it came to circling the square with a hand on the shoulder of the person ahead of them, she held onto his shirt; he held onto her sweatshirt hood. There was no swinging. I watched them through several sets. By the end of the evening, they were swinging arm and arm. They were actually 'touching' each other though the promenades and circling the square. Smiling and clapping along with the adults. And the adults were so patient with them – gently pushing and putting them where they should be. On the final set, the same group searched them out to complete their square. Those adults were those kids' teachers in a new activity in their lives.
I would guess this would be a great lesson in starting with Spark. I got a lot of input from others, deciding what advice I wanted to take and then gradually grew more comfortable with my part and plan. I let myself be gently ‘pushed’ into the spot I wanted to be in and that would suit me as I moved through the 'dance'. And I had encouragement along the way. By the end of the evening, these 2 young people were doing pretty well. If they were to have the opportunity, I'd bet they would enjoy moving on with their 'lessons' of what they learned that night. I've learned many lessons in my few months with Spark and hope to continue.
For me, participating in Spark is a lot like these 2 kids learning to square dance. They had input from the others in the square and then decided, gradually, what would be comfortable for them. I received many replies concerning my original posts. Over these months, and by returning many posts, I've become comfortable with the part of the 'dance' I want to participate in. They stumbled, a lot, as it was their beginning. But were complimented on their progress and encouraged to keep going. I stumbled a lot as it was my beginning to what I wanted to accomplish. But I've experienced and learned from those stumbles and each day, I'm aware of where I want to be and how I want to get there. I hung onto 'shirts' and 'hoods' until I become more comfortable with doing it on my own.
I've not been as successful as I hoped in my original time frame; but better the progress I've made than not having made any progress at all. Had those 2 kids given up after that first rough square dance, they never would have had the joy of saying "I did it”.
I've still got just a few pounds to go but like the 2 kids did last night, I'm going to keep at it. My fellow team members' posts are so encouraging to me. Their issues and hopes may be different than mine but it's the determination to get where they (and I) want to be that is most impressive. And I want to be able to say "I did it".
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I made a very difficult decision today. I have decided to stop working at my 2 part time jobs. First, the backaches are getting worse. I missed Tuesday this week as I still had the backache I got at work last Tuesday. I get backaches from things that shouldn't effect me. Vacuuming, taking wet clothes out of the washer, washing dishes or windows, carrying things that aren't really heavy. Any motion with my right arm sets the backache off. I’ve done the xrays, therapy thing, pain pills and muscle relaxers, chiropractic sessions, and deep massage. 2 years ago, I even had sets of 3 trigger shots each into my back muscles. Nothing has worked.
There are other issues, too. I will see my primary doc tomorrow. I want her to confirm that I have Raynauds Syndrome. My fingers and feet get cold, the circulation stops, my fingers get white and hurt. My feet burn and it hurts to walk on them. It's not life threatening but my Tuesday job is in an auction arena with 20 overhead doors open for 4 hrs - in all kinds of weather. Not good for Raynauds. I am one in a group of 4 ladies that were assigned to the same area when I went there. I will miss them terribly. But we’ll do lunches.
My other job is at a facility for adults with mental illnesses. I love my residents but some of the work I do causes the backaches. I helped do resident laundry last Sunday, checked meds, checked & reset clocks for daylight savings, up and down stairs. I’ll miss all of them. But I can visit.
Then there's my balance. I've been a little 'off balance' lately. Running into the corners of walls. Having to steady myself while walking. It's not normal for me and it's worrisome.
In the 80s and 90s, I had many neurological tests done as they suspected lupus, MS and other similar diseases. Similar symptoms as now. All tests came back within normal range. So, they tagged me w/fibromyalgia. The antidepressants I got for the depression also relieved the fibro. But that balance problem is back. And I have the soreness in my muscles, again.
And there's the asthma and breathing issues. Asthma in the dry cold weather. Asthma if I try to exert myself in summer or even in the house. I run out of breath so easily. I'm going to request breathing tests that I've also had before. They came back within normal range, too.
I was fortunate to have been able to retire at 58. I had planned ahead. My Social Security started in May ‘09. Fortunately, in the mid-80s, I took out a disability/loss of income policy. I've collected on it just once before. All I've been doing is paying the premiums. I notified them today, have been assigned an adjuster and will be receiving my forms in the mail within days. After a 90-day waiting period, I will begin collecting monthly disability income.
I have cried this afternoon at the thought of having to notify my employers that I can no longer work. I have cried this afternoon because I will miss my friends and residents. I have cried because I am scared. My son told me “It’s time, Mom.” While I will have time to finish de-cluttering, I’ll probably have to hire people to do my electrical, plumbing, painting, floors, etc. All things I’m quite capable of doing myself. It’s similar to giving up one’s independence. Becoming dependent on others.
So, I’m going to pull up my bootstraps, as my Grandma would say, and stop fretting and feeling sorry for myself. I have endured worse! Apparently, It’s just the next step in “growing up.”
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
For weeks, I've spent a most of my days in my pajamas. I work Tuesday mornings; I put my jammies on that night and most weeks, I'm still wearing them when the next Tuesday comes around. I felt absolutely nasty after a week in the same clothes; no brushing my teeth; just putting my hair up in a clip without even brushing it. Never washing my face. This is how my months have been going lately. But I've had my Ah Ah moment.
This morning, I expected to run errands. So, I cleaned up, brushed my teeth, washed my face and put moisturizer and make-up on. Even brushed my hair before putting it in the clip. Even put my Curves ShapeUps on. As it turned out, I didn't need to go out.
I can't believe how good I feel. It was a little of an effort to get myself cleaned up. But the results are amazing. For me, I feel as I dress. Clean, pretty, capable. Since my weight loss goal is to get down a size in jeans, my jeans are getting baggy but that makes me feel good, too.
I think the new antidepressant is working, finally. But, the point I really want to make, is about how Spark has helped me. The biggest part of my Spark Day is the emails I receive alerting me to check in with new Spark members. I welcome each new member as I get the emails; I always check back in when I'm alerted to a new post.
I have taken the focus off myself. I am helping others. Over the years, I've been involved in many volunteer projects. I participated mostly because my therapist said "it's a gym or it's volunteering.' I choose what I thought was the easier of the 2. My volunteer work saved me at that time as I had to pay attention while I was helping others. MS clients, abandoned and abused children, the elderly who had no visits from family, fund raising by running cruise bingo on a gaming ship (that was a hard gig.). That's when I realized that my capacity for caring for others was a strong point of my personality.
SparkPeople is allowing me to go back to that time in my life where part of my therapy was helping others. I feel so good answering the posts I get. I have made some dear friends on this site. When other Sparkers are dealing with depression (which I still deal with and always will) I encourage others, gently, to try replying to the emails they receive as alerts to postings. If I could only convey to them what a boost it will be for them.
It's difficult to get started. I still have to push myself to do many things - I got the trash to the curb today; that's 2 weeks in a row. I'm slowly de-cluttering my house. I'm enjoying seeing a clean living room again. There's a ton of stuff to get done here, but I'm chipping away at it. I wrote the following to another Sparker. Try to think of your depression as a huge boulder; try to chip away at it by doing for others. It will eventually become a stone that is more manageable. One day, it'll be a pebble. Then we go to a pond and skip that pebble across the water. For me, they'll always be residuals of that pebble. But it's no longer a boulder.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
My 11 wk old son Michael died in 1973 from SIDS. I've been in 2 Compassionate Friends groups; I've heard stories about parents getting 'signs' from their children after their death. I've been envious of these parents as I hadn't been fortunate to have been so lucky. Or maybe I just didn't notice.
While attending a meeting in another city, a bereaved Mom told me her story: after her son died, she began to find dimes in places where they wouldn't ordinarily be. On the microwave, on the vanity, in her mailbox, etc. To her, this was her son sending her a message that he was ok.
After hearing her story, I began to look for dimes - to let me know that Michael was OK and he wants me to carry on.
I opened my car door just a couple days later and there on the ground was a dime. I cried. My 1st dime. I put it in a little cup near his pictures.
I got an apology from a clerk that her change was low. Instead of 2 quarters, I got 5 dimes.
I put a coat on last fall that I not worn since the previous winter. Guess what was in the pocket? A dime.
I probably have a couple dollars worth of dimes. But I don't know how many dimes I missed all these years. I don't feel so alone and Michael feels closer to me. I'm no longer envious of other parents who get 'signs' from their children. Every time I get a dime, that's my 'sign'.
12/6/72 to 2/23/73
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Paste this into a new blog for yourself; add a question and answer w/just 1 word. Have fun!
Where is your cell phone? couch
Your hair? long
Your mother? angel
Your father? friend
Your favorite thing? son
Your dream last night? didn't
Favorite drink? water
What room are you in? living
Your hobby? fishing
Your fear? snakes
Where do you want to be in 6 years? here
Where were you last night? work
Something that you aren't? skinny
Wish list item? camper
Last thing you did? Wii
What are you wearing? sweats
Your pets? Lambchop
Your life? good
Your mood? tired
Missing someone? Mom
Your car? Chevy
Something you're not wearing? shoes
Your favorite store? Sam's
Your favorite color? purple
When is the last time you cried? yesterday
Where do you go over and over? home
Five people who email me regularly? friends
Favorite place to eat? Subway
Favorite place I'd like to be right now? lake
Favorite season? Spring
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