Coping with the Tough Stuff Too

5 Suggestions to help you navigate the difficult times.

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.

 Arnold Schwarzenegger

You know what? Even the luckiest of us has had to deal with some serious bumps in the road, and if you haven’t yet, you will. That’s just the way life works. I didn’t make the rules – just saying.

Now it may not be your typical ‘take-your-black-suit-out-of-the-mothballs’ kind of stuff, not life-threatening or anything, but a major pothole none-the-less.

Take migraines for instance. Some people still think, migraine – no big deal; stop being a wuss, suck it up, swallow two Advil and get back to business as usual.

In case you, my reader, are a bit backward when it comes to “migrainology” (yes, I just made that word up . . . but what the heck, I live in America!), a migraine is not just a bad headache. It’s a neurological disease – changes your brain, the way it works and everything; one of the top 10 disabling diseases and can lead to stroke and coma.

Now that is tough sh*t right there! I won’t even want to think of dealing with that, yet millions deal with it daily.

I guess what I am saying is that other people’s challenges often seem much more arduous than your own but the thing is, it’s all relative. There’s no comparison. Don’t think for one minute that because I have AIH and you just have a URI, you have no right to be heard.

The ABC’s of Medical Conditions

So, whether it is PMS or CFS, EDS or HIV, SAD or TTH (ABC, XYZ or any of the myriad combinations of letters, if it significantly affects your quality of life; if it sometimes drives you to the brink of insanity/despair – it’s tough stuff. How do you cope?

Here are 5 strategies that have been working for me.

FACTS

Find out the facts, everything you can – all the “WHAT’s”: what you need to know; what to expect; what were the experiences of others; what are some of the things you can do that could help . . .  Punch in a Google search, I guarantee you’ll find something about anything – online communities and support groups, personal blogs (knowing that there are others like you is often reassuring), reliable information from qualified professionals.

Blot out myths and stigmas. You’ll feel better without all the false, scary stuff haunting your outlook. With greater knowledge comes a sense of empowerment and the ability to adapt to your situation.

 

ACCEPT

Accept your situation for what it is – neither a sign of weakness nor a measure of your worth – simply a straight-up fact. Ostomy bag, insulin pump, oxygen compressor, prosthetic breast . . . whatever, is nothing more than a life enhancing medical appliance.

So you wade through the initial feelings of embarrassment, self-blame, guilt, anger, depression; acknowledge your limitations and hoist self-care to a priority position at the top of your list. Don’t resign, simply accept and work with what you got.

 

INDWELL

Get on with living your life. You’ll probably need a little time to adjust but whatever you do, don’t let your situation become the center of your world. Set realistic short-term goals as stepping stones to your ultimate goal – a full and satisfying life.

 

TALK

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should broadcast your situation to every Tom, Dick and Harry but when you involve those around you – positive, caring family and friends – it strengthens your support network. I’ve found that generally, people can be quite understanding. The more people who know, the more support you’ll have, the lighter the burden of secrecy.

Secrets are heavy. Feelings of isolation are real. You need a strong support network. Talk about what is happening to you. There, I’ve made my case.

 

HUMOR

Lighten up! A little sense of humor can go a long way in coping with difficult situations. By changing your perspective, humor can combat fear and anxiety. Learn to laugh at life.

Facts; Accept; Indwell; Talk; Humor

The bottom line – have F.A.I.T.H.

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A Healing Touch

When God touches your life, it lets you touch the life of others.

Ever since Adam was a lad, touch had been used for physical, psychological and spiritual healing.

Wall carvings dating back to 3000 BC, show the ancient Egyptians using healing massages.

The power of ‘the royal touch’ was believed to be evidence of God’s high esteem.

Medieval kings and queens of Europe were supposedly able to ‘heal’ their subjects by simply applying ‘The Royal Touch’.

Me – the silent skeptic, never thought much of ‘the laying on of hands’. Ignorance? Lackadaisicalness?(Yes it’s a valid word. I checked). I prefer naiveté – that doesn’t sound quite so callous.

Healing people just by touching them? Pshaw! As far as I was concerned, that claim fell out of the same superstitious bag as Ouija boards, palm reading, and horoscopes.

But had I been more attentive, more open-minded . . .

Jesus, the greatest healer of all times never, ever carried a medicine bag. Yet he healed and continues to heal thousands.

Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes and immediately they regained their sight and followed him. Matthew 20:34.

And how do you know when God has touched your life? The real question should be, how do you not know when God has touched your life?

Let me tell you about one of the times when God literally touched me. And when it happened I didn’t even recognize it for what it truly was.

Feel like hearing a story? Doesn’t matter, I’ll tell it anyway!

Here’s my story: Continue reading “A Healing Touch”

Live the Life you Love

Get started on realizing your bucket list and making memorable life-stories. 12 prompts to motivate you.

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.

Pope Paul VI

So you say you’ve never had a bucket list? You sure? Think back to when you were a child and fill in the blank:

“When I grow up, I want to _____.”

There was the first item on you bucket list. Have you followed through on it yet?

If not, what are you waiting for?

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The Bucket List

“One day, you will wake up and there wouldn’t be anymore time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” – Paulo Coelho

A living, breathing alligator right next to me. O-M-G, I could hardly believe it! If I stretched out my hand I could’ve almost touched it – no cage, no protective glass, just the low metal side of the flimsy-looking air-boat we sat in.

Alligator in Florida Everglades

First the eye – large, oily black, sleepy looking; Continue reading “The Bucket List”

Live Life to the Fullest

How long do you have to wait before you begin to enjoy your life and live it to the fullest? 12 affirmations to get you started.

I knew Lindsay would be there when I arrived. She always was; either behind her desk in the reception area or in the consult room helping Dr. J with a procedure. Wherever she was, once those bells on the door jangled, she’d sing out, “I’ll be with you in a moment.”

Over the years Lindsay became a friend and I looked forward to seeing her and catching up. The fact that I was there for another dreaded dental appointment became a distant secondary event.

Enjoy the journey of life for it is as much about how you get where you are going as it is where you go.

There will always be opportunities to take joy in life and with an open mind, we learn to find them.

We have the control to make every day a special day, regardless of whatever else may be going on.

Here are 12 reminders to keep you on the joyful track.

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Petals of Love

10 compelling affirmations that inspire a healthy self-love.

When I look in the mirror and the only one there is me, every freckle on my face is where its supposed to be, and I know my creator didn’t make no mistakes on me, my feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes – I’m loving what I see.

Because I Am A Queen – India Arie.

Loving yourselves is being thankful for what God made. Not loving yourself is an offense to God since we are his most precious creation.

I found that if I looked at it this way, self-love became more of a duty than an indulgence.

Regardless,there will be times when we find ourselves slipping back into old habits and need encouragement – gentle reminders of our duty to love ourselves.

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Be Your Valentine

Does your name top your valentine list? Should it? Learning to love yourself.

Valentine’s Day wasn’t going to sneak up on me again this year. I was determined.

So a couple weeks ago I started making my “list” –  names of all the people I really love. My intention (get this), was to send each person on my list a personal note, handwritten of course, in my most elaborate script; penned with my one-of-a-kind handcrafted glass quill, on rolled parchment paper (specially ordered).

But wait! There’s more! I would stamp each note with an appropriately colored rose – red, pink, white or yellow.

Sounds so romantic doesn’t it? Real fairy-tale stuff. Well that was my intention – until I found myself broadsided.

Continue reading “Be Your Valentine”

A Garden of Hope and Healing

A collection of quotes to embrace and inspire.

Life is a tough deal. You don’t get a rehearsal and there’re no do-overs; there’s no personalized instructional manual, you get only one chance and you never know when the game is going to end.

That is why we have to take what we have ‘here and now’, and make it count for everything, whatever the situation. Hope is the key.

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear the hardship of today.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh.

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.” ~ Christopher Reeves.

And that means healing is always possible. Sometimes you just need to tweak your perspective – change your glasses.

“Healing doesn’t mean that the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.” ~ unknown.

And yes, healing takes courage, but “we all have courage, even when we have to dig a little to find it.” ~ Tori Amos.

So when the going gets tough, remember “you were given this life because you’re strong enough to live it.” ~ unknown.

So have HOPE.

“Hold On, Pain Ends.”

“Have Only Positive Expectations.”

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Don’t Be Afraid

12 bible verses to remind you that you’re not alone when the going gets tough.

When I found out my mother was dying of cancer I was terrified. For 26 years she had watched over me when I was sick (and that was a lot of the time) and encouraged, not with words but a silent expectation that I would do what was necessary to get back on my feet, brush myself off and carry on without complaint. The thought of trying to do it without her made me weak in the knees – literally shaking in my shoes.

Then I wondered, does she know she’s dying? And if not, how do I tell her?

“Julie, am I going to die?” Continue reading “Don’t Be Afraid”

Desiderata

If ever there was an instructional manual for life, this prose poem takes one of the top places.

An inspired timepiece with an ageless message – Lindsay Planer.

With all that has happened this week, I feel a major boost is in order. You know a good old ‘shot in the arm’ to balance things out a bit. Oh! I almost forgot, you may not know about everything that has happened.

Well, let me fill you in. A new president was elected, my rose bush lost its last flower, I had to make my way to the ER – all last Tuesday. And guess what? They kept me – at the ER, I mean – said they were unwilling to part with my smile. I fell for it. Continue reading “Desiderata”