Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Didn't build in the Rain

Noah didn't build the ark when it started to rain. 

Too often, people, myself included, wait until their life falls apart before preparing.  More often then not preparing ahead is joked about as a Boy Scout thing to do.  Yet, every major company spends huge amount of time, money and workers hours planning ahead. 

It is time to plan ahead to the up coming holidays.  How to handle the parties, pressure, problems and pleasures of the holidays.  I discovered in my journey to healthy that I am an introvert so parties are stressful.  Add PTSD and anxiety, they can be a nightmare.  Choose wisely.  Say "No" when I really don't want to go.  Select smaller events....Have an exit plan if I do choose to go.  I write about planning ahead every year because every year I face the challenges of the HOLIDAYS.

Canada’s Thanksgiving day already happened.  In the United States we are coming up on the Holiday blitz – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years followed by Valentine’s day.  After my third year in counseling, my therapist pointed out how I wiped out each Holiday season.  Well I am consistent in something.  I learned to plan ahead for the Holiday onslaught.

First, I acknowledge that this is a hard time of the year for me.  Triggers on top of triggers slam into me.

Second, it comes around every year…..have you noticed that too? Annual holidays happen every single year – Well one year I took a break from some of the Holidays.  Seriously, I refused all invitations made no decorations, nothing – zip – NADA.  Weirdly, giving myself permission to refuse to have anything to do with the Holiday helped me enjoy it the following year.


It comes every year, like clock work or calendar work. First, Halloween with hauntings and triggers galore.  Followed by Thanksgiving with demands for the perfect meal and a ‘happy family’ without resolving old hurts.  Then infamous/famous Christmas with expectations bigger than the National Christmas tree….do we even get a national tree any more?

Prepare my toolbox of coping skills I’ve learned….in my box I have:

Acceptance that I am not perfect….I don’t need to be.  In fact, I can’t be.  That is OK.

Best laid plans can fall apart.  I will survive plans falling apart.

Someone else can plan things and they can do a wonderful job without me being less because I didn’t do it.

Have an exit plan on hand for different situations.  Practice exit phrases…. “I loved being here but I am leaving now.”   Know where the exit doors are located and start moving towards them before I panic.

Or don’t go in the first place….. “The evening sounds lovely I am sorry I won’t be attending.”  I don’t need to explain that I am sitting in front of my Christmas tree sipping hot chocolate.
Prioritize activities.  Not all activities are #1.

Skip some traditions…. It doesn’t stop being a tradition if I don’t do it one year.

Not having some detail completed is not the end of the World.

NO is a complete sentence.

I do not need to explain my choices unless I choose to.

Breathe…..feeling blue breathe.

MMV (learned this from my sister) Mental Mini Vacations.  Emotionally escape to a deserted island where there is no holiday madness. Picture myself on a beach sipping coconut juice.

Hit the pause button, allow myself to go outside, find a private space to be alone, hang out with just one or two people.

Letting go means I don’t need to fix it or think about it any more.

Some people will flip out during the Holidays and it is not about me.  NOTHING I do will stop their behavior because it is not about me.

Remember that emotional black mail is still black mail.  I am not ‘mean’, ‘cruel’, or ‘going to hell’ if I don’t meet someone else’s expectations.

Crawling into bed and pulling the covers over my head is an acceptable activity as needed.

Call a friend or have a text buddy to check in with during stressful events that I choose to attend.

Change all my ‘can’ts’ and ‘have-tos’ to I choose to do___________________.  I don’t enjoy ___________________but I am choosing to do it anyway because some other need is being met that I may not understand myself.  No one is holding a gun to my head.  It may feel like it but that is probably emotional black mail…refer to emotional black mail above.

Christ is my Savior and as far as historians can figure out He was born in April any way.

Make choices with my happiness in my mind.  I enjoy doing things for others and I am happy doing things for them….that is part of my happiness equation.

I am not responsible for other people’s happiness.  Happiness is an inside job and I have enough on my plate teaching me to be happy during the holidays.

It is OK to be super excited and dread Christmas at the same time.  I call it being bi-North-Polar.

(New)  If I know something about the Holidays is a trigger, change it.  Make new traditions.
People in my life do not have the right to trample on my boundaries just because it is a Holiday and they want everything PERFECT so you must do  _________________.  Refusing to meet their need for perfection is a healthy choice.

Changing my mind about an activity is OK.  Just because I felt like I could do something a week ago when I RSVP’ed, doesn’t mean that event is cut in stone.  I can change my mind and call to let the host know I am not coming. NO explanation is required.

I can add to this list at any time…..anyone want to share their coping techniques?

More links to help with planning for the Holidays.

Preparing to be with Family…..

From Love Our Vets:

ONLY 114 days until February 15th. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Passing it on

From my sister, "A friend posted this for her daughter. I don't have children, but I need this:"

1. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

2. Always do more than expected.

3. Travel light through life. Keep only what you need.

4. Put cinnamon in your coffee, and twice as much when you miss me.

5. It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.

6. If you’re going to curse, be clever. If you’re going to curse in public, know your audience.

7. Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul.

8. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

9. 5-second rule. It’s just dirt. There are worse things in a fast food cheeseburger.

10. Happiness is not a permanent state. Wholeness is. Don’t confuse these.

11. If you’re staying more than one night, unpack your bag.

12. Never walk through an alley.

13. Be less sugar, more spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without compromising yourself.

14. Can’t is a cop-out. Don’t want to is perfectly acceptable.

15. Hold your heroes to a high standard. Be your own hero.

16. If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.

17. Never lie to yourself.

18. Your body, your rules.

19. If you have an opinion, you better know why.

20. Study your curiosities and practice your passions.

21. Ask for what you want.

22. Wish on stars and dandelions, then get to work.

23. Don’t skimp on good sheets.

24. Fall in love often. Particularly with ideas, art, music, literature, food and far-off places.

25. Fall hard and forever in love with nothing but yourself.

26. Say Please, Thank You, and Pardon Me, whenever the situation warrants it.

27. Reserve I’m sorry for when you truly are.

28. Naps are for grown-ups, too.

29. Question everything except your own intuition.

30. You have enough. You are enough.

31. You are amazing! Don't let anyone ever make you feel you are not. If someone does....walk away. You deserve better.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Stretched too thin

Recently I noticed I am doing less with friends and family.  I am stretched too thin.  Too many 'yeses' and not enough 'nos'.  Can't blame anyone but myself.  I am strained at school because there is a teacher that is out sick for over a month now.  I am trying not to fix things at school but I kind of consider it my job.  I am volunteering for a musical production that I imagined to be much smaller than it is.  I am feeling the strain of health problems, family challenges, and around daily stuff.  Now the air is cooling telling me holiday's are coming.  Halloween is already going to back shelves making way for Christmas.  Whooo wheee.  I am sitting here wondering why I've done it to myself again...buried myself in business.  Loosing track of what is important. 

Thankful to my DH for reminding me to eat simply or simply eat.  Thankful to my sister for chats in the evening when I am feeling over wound and struggling.  Thankful to a loving Heavenly Father trying to teach me, "I can't fix this."  Yea, I was the family fixer.  If there was a problem I was expected to fix it.  Failed a lot.  Then I became a Mom and carried on the tradition dishing out advice and trying to fix things.  The Good Lord is putting me on a interesting path of "you can't fix this."  Not sure how the lesson is going....so far feeling like a failure again because I keep trying to fix things, people, problems, myself.  Sometimes I can't fix things.  My sister reminds me to "Give the battle to God."  Yup.  That is a toughy. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

tips for studies


 I finished the first 9 weeks of school at our high school.  I am encountering the usual resistance from students to ask for help.  My job is to support students that need extra help.  Repeatedly I am told, "I don't want help."  Then I watch the student struggle and fall further and further behind.  I learned a new technique that I am trying to use.  I explain, "My job is to help students, help me to do my job by asking me questions."  Or I'll watch a student working on a project and I'll ask, "Tell me about what you are doing."  I am also walking around the students.  I discovered that they will not get up and ask be for help but if I am standing close by any way their quiet questions are cheerfully answered.  Sometimes I don't know the answer, so I assist the student in asking the right question to the teacher.  I am finding my nitch.  A way for me to help students and improve the learning environment.  The above article are a few tips on how to ask and get help when living with chronic illness.  The same tips work for PTSD.  I few other things that help me study, I wrote notes, I research other articles on the same topic.  If a subject is important to me I'll make a notebook and gather articles and write my responses in the margin.  If it is really important to me, I'll buy books.  I learned that I don't have any problem that someone else had the same problem and wrote a book about it.  When I learned I had multiple personalities I went to the university library and chose 10 books from different eras and times.  I started in 1960's and moved through time.  I picked books that were both negative and positive.  One of the ten books I threw across the room.  (I don't recommend this when borrowing books, they are expensive to replace.)  I was angry because the author basically said the there was no such thing as multiple personalities.  I screamed at my book to live one week in my head.  Of course, the author never heard my opinion but I felt much better expressing that I am real and all of me is important.  My integrated me is just as important as my fragmanted me.  I felt like I worked many times harder learning anything but that didn't stop me from studying and becoming an excellent student.  Over coming difficulties is not a new process, check out how somebody else succeeded then decide if you are willing to pay the price to go forward and be more than anyone dreamed you could be. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Off to see the Wizard

My body and I are not friends.  I struggle with weight, dizzy spells, passing out, cancer in remission, brain tumor that hangs out with me and over all my body doesn't do what I want it to do.  However, today when I walked with two of my grandsons we skipped and sang "We're off to see the Wizard" for two rounds.  I am learning to work with instead of against my bodies idiosyncrasies.  It costs money.  It takes effort.  About the time I think I get things figured out something else goes wrong.  However, I am not giving up on trying to love my body the way it deserves to be loved.  Work in progress and sometimes progress is slow.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The End is Near

Some people just won't believe it.   The end of the nine weeks of school ended.  A student wanted to know if they could turn in an assignment the following week.  Uhhhhh we will be on Fall break and no one will be at school. 

One of the teachers asked if I accepted late work.  I told her that in the fashion class we explain to the students that if a gown is late for a fashion show it won't be accepted late because the show is over.  We get many of our students with the mistaken idea that they have unlimited do overs and turning things in at any time.  Some are shocked when you simply say "No, what you turned in or not is it."

I believe in correcting mistakes and improving performance.  I also accept that sometimes the show is over....the end is near or the bridge is out.

Years ago I heard a joke about two missionaries on the road holding up a sign that read, "The End is Near."  A person driving quickly saw them, flipped them off and sped on around the curve.  Followed by a huge splash.  One missionary turned to the other sighing, "Maybe we should have written Bridge out." 

I'm relieved to be spending a week regenerating before returning to another round of school. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

If you know the answers

Is it still a test?

In high school I took a search for identity class.  We read Daphne du Maurier The Scapegoat. 


I read it in a week then carried on a 9 week discussion with my teacher while the rest of the class that didn't read the book listened in.  She let me skip the final since she knew I read the book.  I had more questions than answers at the end of the class.  I kept trying to learn stuff but felt like I was looking at life through funny/weird/distorted glasses.  Nothing made sense until I entered counseling.  I felt like my life was turned upside down and inside out.  All shook up like a snow globe. 

I continue to explore personality types.  Here are a few of the tests I have tried.....



There are other free personality tests you can try out.  Occasionally you will run across one that charges a fee.  Proceed with caution. 

What is interesting to me is on different days or after certain events I can end up with a different answers.  After counseling my answers are less different and a bit more consistent. 

While I was taking a True Colors https://truecolorsintl.com/ class for school that I took an Introvert/Extrovert test and learned to my surprise that I am fairly high on the scale of Introvert.  Then I watched some Ted Talks, followed an Introvert Facebook group, and studied more to realize that things that I blamed on PTSD were actually signs of being an Introvert. 

TED talk on the Power of Introverts.  


What is your favorite personality test?