Coping with Devastation.

We live in an uncertain world, like our ancestors before us, but we are bombarded with devasting news more than ever. I mean, cavemen and cavewomen did not know what drama was happening with the Vikings, nor did the Vikings know what Native American’s were up to. (Yes, I know that is not historically accurate, play along please).

With the development of technology and new forms of media, something is always scrolling across the computer screen, interrupting a show, binging on smartwatches; ultimately creating a world of stressed humans. Some generations are becoming numb from tragic natural and manmade events. (For more on this, please read one of my favorite bloggers, Julie Sellers, and her thoughts on this subject).

Devastation

How do you define devastation? Is it the recent hurricanes that ravaged Texas, Flordia, and the Caribbean? A loved one suffering? Women and men coming forward about sexual harassment in the workplace? Deception from someone you thought you could trust? Terrorists? Hate crimes? The Opioid Crisis? Our government? Mass shootings? Disease? A fight with a lover? A country threatening nuclear war? Whatever YOUR devastation is, whatever complexity you need to overcome each day, here are some of my thoughts on how to conquer some of those demons.

Acknowledge It. Pain, frustration, sadness, anger. They are all real, raw emotions. Allow yourself to feel them, identify them, and ultimately remind yourself, they are just feelings. (And sometimes I need a stern suggestion to feel these and to not distract myself by making to-do lists or work…or be called on my mind over matter bullshit straight out over the phone) Cry. Run. Punch a pillow. Scream into the woods. Listen to sad music (might I suggest Linkin Park’s “One More Light?”). Then, tell yourself over and over, until you believe it, that frustration will not help, no matter what the situation.

Talk About It. That same technology that informs of every scary and terrible thing in the world – use it for good. Facetime your friends who cannot come and hug you. Text your loved ones. Call family and friends. Find a chat room related to the subject and let your hands rip on the keyboard. Call and see a therapist or psychiatrist (or both), if the event or situation has you feeling broken.  Talk about the situation and your feelings. Do not let them bottle up. I tend to use dry, sarcastic humor the most when I begin to open up about things, but as my tribe listens, I shed those tears and allow my vulnerabilities to be exposed, shared, and listened to. Talk to your support, your tribe, your squad!

Ask For Help. Do not be proud. It is amazing what humans can do for one another. It may be moving someone’s belongings, it could be raising money for a charity, or even just visits to check in on you. Think about what you need and never hesitate to ask.

Treat Yourself. It does feel good to indulge when you feel so down. Now, be careful to not allow this to become your new mantra —  but an ice cream sundae, buying a pair of new shoes, letting others set up meals for you, etc. can help temporarily.

 

this-treat-yo-self-reunion-is-the-best-thing-you-will-see-all-day-1

Please do yourself a favor and watch Parks and Rec. If you don’t feel like a Netflix and Bingeeeee week, check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsABTmT1_M0

 

Focus on What You Can Do. Just like the men and women who may be helping you, think about what you can do to stop, prevent, provide aid to whatever may be upsetting you. It is simple and helpful to donate money (no matter the amount) to a reputable non-profit during times a crisis. If someone you know is suffering, think about how to get them help. Can you start a drive to provide necessities to humans in need? Sit and think about your situation. Do you want to start a campaign for awareness about a disease that took your loved one? Can you join groups that support you and what you are going through? When you are ready, take the time to think and focus on what you can do. As you delve into that project, allow yourself to feel emotions, let yourself breathe deep, and be proud that you are helping not only yourself but others.

Learn. In recent years, when I worked for a non-profit that worked on radical transparency, many times we were asked what did we learn (after events, if we made a mistake, at the end of a meeting). Hands down, this is THE best lesson I have applied to my life, during great moments and during times of pain. As you travel down the path of devastation, you must ask yourself, “what is this moment teaching me?” “what did I take away from this experience?” “how did this help me grow?” It will NOT be the first day you feel ruined, it will not be during the first week as you grieve, be filled with anger, or shake in fear. When you are ready and further away from the moment, question yourself. Talk with other people involved if you can and ask them. Life is a journey and we learn many lessons along the way.  Taking away a lesson from something horrible is constructive and teaches you more about life.

Pain, anger, devastation, it cannot be stopped. But, the way you cope can change how you heal from agony.

How do you help yourself in times of devastation?

#yellowitsme #positivity #progress #mindset #growthmindset #blog #wordpress #devastation #anger #cope #coping #family #focus #grit #indulge #learn #lesson #lifelesson #numb #demons #problems #recovery #sadness #sad #stressed #stress #support #supportsystem #treatyourself #treatyoself

 

 

Advertisements

Why Me?

A lackadaisical summer car ride brought about the interesting question.

My Jeep weaved up and down hills, from point to A to B, as I hovered my foot above the gas and twisted the wheel with each turn; iced coffees jostling between our hands and the cupholder.

23deb1d6001296f8df417453423d5e05--monty-python-yellow-quotesWe were talking about some of my medical conditions and the impending eight level cervical spine fusion that was charging our way.

She asked, “have you ever thought, ‘why me’?”

Without a beat, I replied, “No.”

Yes, I have acknowledged painful moments in my 32 years. I have allowed myself to feel those moments with the raw emotions that tackle one’s system; devastation, fear, loneliness,  anger, and frustration. However, I never throw myself pity party, I never play the victim card. What a waste of energy.

mindset-change.jpg

I have hope. I am grateful. I have faith. I have love. I have laughter.

I know the strength to remain positive in adversity is not something I was born with. My life experiences created it. It was (and is) modeled by my family, mentors, and friends.  My faith constantly reminds me that I must trust the universe.  I continue practicing the growth mindset, an idea about the brain presented by Psychologist Carol Dweck. Everyday incredible opportunities present themselves, far more than anything horrible. I chose to focus on the good.

1176251-Carol-S-Dweck-Quote-In-a-growth-mindset-challenges-are-exciting.jpg

As Monty Python sings,

“Always look on the bright side of life/If life seems jolly rotten,/There’s something you’ve forgotten!/And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.”

#yellowitsme  #positivity #progress #mindset  #lifesjourney #blog #wordpress #grateful #mentalhealth #family #disability #inspiration #panicdisorder #ehlerdanlossyndrome #cervicalspinefusion #hypermobolity #scared #thanks #gratitude #mentalillness #growthmindset #emotions #montypython #caroldweck

 

Learning to Fly

 

Bird

A Robin fledgling, a baby bird who has left the nest without much experience to survive. Credit: Google Images

 

Dusk’s magical lighting fell over the manicured grounds, so at first, I thought it was a baby bat. It was on the pavement, so close to the lush lawn where its home was, but about ten feet away, struggling to fly.

I squinted, focused, and recognized the little animal as a tiny Robin, old enough to be away from the nest, full of its blue egg remnants, but small and young enough to fumble in flight.

My heart sank as I watched. It kept jumping up, launching straight up like a rocket, and then would peacefully fall back down to the ground. It would barely gain any distance towards the inviting trees and gardens, where its community was waiting and chirping for the bird.

With each attempt toward the sky, I stopped breathing, until the bird safely landed. Inch by inch, it flew up, fluttered back down. I prayed the wind would come along and help carry it over. Should I help it?  What if a car does not see it? I began the dangerous thought pattern of “what-ifs.”

As it launched itself again, I rooted for its flight to become more fruitful, for it to gain distance and length. Little by little, the determined bird made its way; up and over, up and over, up and over, to the green grass. It’s dainty legs hit the grass and like a proud mother, I teared up when it leveraged itself once more, and finally, hitting his fledgling stride, soared home.

 

The synchronicity of this little bird and his struggle overwhelmed me, but I trust the universe and look for signs when practicing mindfulness. I believe the bird was there for me, from a power higher than I can imagine, showing me I too will soar with persistence, grit, and determination. That wobbly, unstable flight represents the trauma of the past three weeks. Each flight attempt up symbolizes my struggles for the days, the hours, or the minutes that I conquered.

It was dusk for me at many of those moments; the pain, the panic, medical threats to my life and well being. With my loved ones encouraging me, chirping in and reminding me there was a beautiful spot for me to land, I endured my wobbly flight of recovery.

I can enjoy this fumbling flight now that I know soon I will be able to soar.

#yellowitsme #positivity #progress #mindset #growthmindset #blog #wordpress #cervicalspine #ehlerdanlos #cervicalspinalfusion #grateful #gratitiude #pain #chronicpain #positivethinking #recovery #grit #persistance #determination #synchronicity #learningtofly