Wednesday, January 25, 2017

no, I am not fine


I've mostly been posting book reviews here because I haven't wanted to share as much about what is going on in our lives. The kids are getting older and I have been feeling the need to be careful about what I share about them and their lives. And most of the time my life is fairly boring and routine: we're remodeling the house, B is in preschool, I read a lot ...

Of course I began writing here at a time when I needed to be heard and understood. I wanted others experiencing loss to know they were not alone so I shared about all of my grief and parenting after loss struggles even though some of it was hard to write about.

I wrote about my anxiety after B was born and how I needed outside help so I went to counseling. And that counseling helped quite a bit, but it didn't really solve anything. I felt better most of the time, but I was still anxious about a lot of things. Then B had a series of reactions (just hives, no Epi-pen required) in October and I quietly fell apart.

I appeared fine on the outside, but I was an anxious mess on the inside. I was sick to my stomach (literally) with worry and fear, but I continued putting 'find a new counselor because I didn't LOVE my last one,' at the end of my to do list.

Then I had an anxiety attack in the middle of a church service one Saturday night. I was sitting there worrying about B and the small spot he had on his face after dinner. I worry spiraled, as I do, letting my mind wander from worst case scenario to just shy of worst case scenario when I realized my vision was off. Well that was frightening. And then I got really, really, really hot. I leaned over and asked Jonathan to walk out with me. When we had walked down a side hallway I told him I didn't feel well and he checked my heart rate. It was over 200 bpm.

After calming down - and crying - I told Jonathan it was probably time to get help. Again. Finally. 

I called a counselor the next morning - another random choice, which did not work perfectly last time, but I think this one is a better fit - certain I was ready to do just about anything to prevent another anxiety attack.

A few years ago I would've been like, it's time to get help! Let's all get help! Thank the Lord for helpers! This time I'm more ashamed. I mean, it's been nearly 7 years since Charlotte died and I'm still feeling aftershocks. SEVERE aftershocks. Just about pass out from fear and anxiety in the middle of church aftershocks. And it makes me feel really broken and messed up.

But when I told the new counselor about Charlotte dying her jaw was practically on the floor, and it reminded me that what happened to us was very sudden and incredibly traumatic so aftershocks are to be expected, even seven years after the initial traumatic event.

So I'm back to doing the work I need to do to heal. Because I can't live every day waiting for the children who are here to die. That's more waiting for disaster that may never come than living, and it is certainly not a healthy place to parent from.

And B is fine. He's on a new medicine, his doctors are optimistic about the plans we have in place for him, we've been given the go ahead to reintroduce a few foods and even try a baked egg challenge in a month (dear Lord give me the tools I need to cope with that before it occurs!) and he is overall just fine.

I, however, am not fine. I need to reorganize my stress responses so I can parent from a healthier place. I need to be honest with myself and others about how I am so that they can help me find my way. I need to be reminded that there is nothing wrong with how I am handling my grief. I have peace about much of Charlotte's life and death, but I still struggle with what happened - the actual event - because it was so traumatic and life altering.

And I need to tell you something: if you feel like you may need help, get it. Don't wait. God created kind compassionate helper healers for a reason. It's okay to ask them to walk alongside you while you figure out what you need to live a complete and healthy life. It's not easy asking for help, or admitting that everything is not fine, but it's better than having an anxiety attack that leaves you convinced you are dying - trust me.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

what falls from the sky




I selected this book on a whim. I was scrolling through a list of books, trying to decide on a title to read when the subtitle caught my eye:

What Falls From the Sky: How I Disconnected from the Internet and Reconnected with the God Who Made The Clouds

Esther Emery spent an entire year offline. No phone, no computer, no email, no facebook, no blog, no instagram ... nothing to do with the Internet for an entire year.

Could you do it?

I couldn't, but the idea of it is intriguing, so I settled in to read this book one evening and I blazed through it.

I didn't expect the writing to be so descriptive and beautiful. I didn't expect to feel so deeply for Esther and the gut wrenching upheavals that led her to go offline for a year. I loved that she didn't sugarcoat her story; instead she was brutally honest about the job she lost, the strife between her and her husband and how those things affected her life and the choices she made, and eventually led her back to God.

And the background stories that are skillfully woven throughout the book were just as interesting as Esther's reflections on her life.

It was intriguing and sometimes harrowing, to read about what it was like for the Emerys to live in close proximity to a family in crisis, but it was also a good reminder on how to love others well. And the stories about Esther's mother, who was a homesteading back to the land proponent in the 70's, were also fascinating.

Above all else Esther Emery is a good storyteller, and I enjoyed reading about her life and how she came through a time of crisis with her marriage and faith intact.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Sunday, January 1, 2017

lights out {book review}


I have to keep this short since I am still dealing with one hand in a brace. Hopefully my hand will be healed soon; I am ready to have it back!

I enjoyed Ted Koppel's account of the security  risk our power grid is, but I found the first section a little too dry. I really enjoyed the third section about what to do in the event of a cyber attack, although it left me wanting to buy 5 acres and build a bunker!

I like reading disaster plan books, or what if books, because they force me to think about the emergency plans we have in place and what our family needs to do to improve. Reading Lights Out presented the opportunity to ask myself a series of questions: What would we do if the power was out for months? Could we survive? What would change? How would we need to adapt?

One concrete action I've taken since reading Lights Out was to make an emergency box solely for my son who has food allergies. In the event of a major disaster, like 1\3 of the United States being without power, it might be difficult to obtain the foods he needs to stay healthy.

Lights Out is an important book for everyone to read so that they may be prepared in case a large scale cyber  attack is perpetuated on the United States. 

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