Fear

*Another old poem, previously unpublished.

Fear.
At the depths of me,
That’s what kept me
Immobilized
Terrorized
Fear of losing.
Fear of loosing
the floods of your
disapproval. 
Because maybe you’re right
And I am wrong.
So I stayed quiet for too long. 
And boiled deep inside
pains I tried to hide. 
And erupted unfairly
Unexpected and unkindly.
I’m sorry. 
What’s wrong with me?
I’m sorry. 

Breathing

It was a low point. I was not proud of myself. My sister-in-law looked me in the eyes and very clear breathed deeply to elicit a deep breath from me as well. “Please don’t,” was my honest, though tactless response.

At that point, all my senses were on high alert. She was right. I needed to breathe, but it felt patronizing to be told so.

Jesus knows I needed to breathe. My inability to receive help, though understandable, has hurt a number of well intentioned people.

When I am in an irrational state of mind, appealing to the logical course of action doesn’t always work. So, to help lessen the pain I cause, I try to plan before the panic. I’ve given my friends a keyword to tell me when they see me start to spiral. And if I fight it, they can remind me that I gave them permission to tell me that.

Also, it’s helpful to practice breathing deeply when I am feeling just fine. This develops helps me 1) lessen the intensity and frequency of panic and 2) aid me in the middle of it.

Instead of practicing breathing for mental health, it’s been easier for me to do breathing exercising for other reasons – like singing or playing harmonica. It feels more productive, enjoyable, and even healing.

Right now, I am going through vocal lesson videos online through WorshipU, which has a mobile app as well. It’s been a long time since I have played the harmonica, but maybe I’ll get back into that sometime in the future. One thing at a time. 🙂

As much as I pursue prevention, when I am in the middle of it and not thinking clearly, I usually just need to leave. I need to exit the situation and pray. He never condemns me when I do. The Prince of Peace revives my lungs and floods my soul with secure hope and love. Jesus, help me remember to breathe deep.

My Journey Towards Healing

Random fact about me. I am a bit of a health nut. Not in the sense that I am any good at following healthy eating patterns, but dang it, I am decent about knowing the stuff I should do.

I watched an entire docu-series a few years ago on the connection between the food we eat and mental health (The Depression Sessions) with all sorts of experts (Dr. Isabella Wentz, Dr. Ben Lynch, Dr. Jill Carnahan, etc…). I even took notes! Haven’t really followed them, but…

But then I finally went to a doctor. She prescribed anti-depressants and a list of about seven other lifestyle changes. Diet and exercise being towards the top of the list. One of the main elements of the diet changes was eliminating refined sugar and refined flour. Here’s an article (with legitimate sources linked) to explain more.

The antidepressants weren’t working for me, so I stopped taking them. (I was on the lowest dosage already, so tapering off wasn’t an issue.) Between the time I stopped taking them and the holidays, I was feeling great! My mood was 200% better, and the withdrawal symptoms were not bad at all. And cutting out sugar was helping. I could tell people it was the doctor’s orders, and get by without explaining much more. I was doing well…

Until Thanksgiving. Goodness gracious, Thanksgiving was a nightmare. I nearly cried. All of the holiday meal was everything I was supposed to avoid. I tried telling my grandparents the whole “doctors orders” thing, but they pushed. “Why?” “What would happen if you ate some sugar?” And you need to understand – my grandparents are not sympathetic in the least towards mental health issues, so telling them was not an option.

Even then, I managed to get through Thanksgiving without giving in too much. But then my little brother’s wedding, and Christmas… My will-power broke. My grandparents didn’t stop pushing and “jokingly” insulting my eating habits. God knows I love them, and they are wonderful in their own way, but this broke me. That and wedding cake. Need I say more?

It was around this same time that I watch a docu-series on the microbiome, which also referred to the connection between mental and gut health. I had been having other gut issues as well, so I figured it was worth looking into. I ordered a test to measure the health of my microbiome.

(I also went through a charity that offers donation-based Biblical counseling. I found the same or better counseling through my own church leadership, so I discontinued using the charity’s services.)

Since I’ve been indulging in sugar again, the sluggishness, brain fog, and depression have been returning.

All this to say, for those interested, I will be posting updates on my journey. The results of my microbiome test (including more of what foods I need to avoid, etc.). Tracking my attempts to follow doctor’s orders. And, per usual, what helps and doesn’t help my mental health.

Comments and questions are welcome 🙂

Understood

Good morning, sunshine.
I missed your smile in the night time.
The shadows over your troubled mind,
covered your hope and made you blind.

But good morning, my love!
You are awake in the light of day.
You are not defined by the dumb things you say.
You are loved beyond every little mistake.

The One who loves you is good,
By Him, you’ll always be understood.


Books I Haven’t Read

I have a bunch of books on my shelves that I’ve started & haven’t finished or haven’t even started. The plan is to finish them all this year.

Here’s the list. I’ll let you know how it goes.
*=started

*Humility – Andrew Murray
*The Autobiography of George Muller
*An Illustrated Atlas – J.R.R. Tolkien
Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth – J.R.R. Tolkien
*What is the Point? – Misty Edwards
A.D. 33 – Ted Dekker
Desiring God – John Piper
When I Don’t Desire God – John Piper
And Justice for All – John Perkins
The Prophet’s Manual – John Eckhardt
Fasting for Breakthrough and Deliverance- John Eckhardt
Connecting with Muslims – Fouad Masri
*My Name is Asher Lev – Chaim Potok
*The Charisma Myth – Olivia Fox Cabane
*The Holy Bible (NKJV)

Healthy Fours

The following is from The Enneagram Institute >

“Healthy Fours are honest with themselves: they own all of their feelings and can look at their motives, contradictions, and emotional conflicts without denying or whitewashing them. They may not necessarily like what they discover, but they do not try to rationalize their states, nor do they try to hide them from themselves or others. They are not afraid to see themselves “warts and all.” Healthy Fours are willing to reveal highly personal and potentially shameful things about themselves because they are determined to understand the truth of their experience—so that they can discover who they are and come to terms with their emotional history. This ability also enables Fours to endure suffering with a quiet strength. Their familiarity with their own darker nature makes it easier for them to process painful experiences that might overwhelm other types.”

Enneagram 4 Wing 5

Each type has two wings, with one usually being stronger than the other. Those wings will be the numbers immediately adjacent to the dominant type. For example, as a Four, my wing will either be a 3 or 5. I cannot be a Four wing Nine, as much as I want to be and as strong as my Nine tendencies are. (I definitely told a few people I was  a Four wing Nine until I understood wings. *facepalm* ) 

That being said, I am most definitely a Four wing Five (sometimes called “The Bohemian”), if you haven’t guessed from the title of this post. I lean towards the intellectual and withdrawn.

I have borrowed the following information on 4w5s from the EnneaApp. Check it out. I’ll italicize that which resonates

  • Drive for expression of unique self leads to a quest of mental analysis
  • Is pleased to be different from the “ordinary;” self-interest is dominant
  • Get lost in fantasy that appears real; comfortable with life’s dark side
  • Elitist and eccentric; defiant of convention; can push the edge of sanity
  • More introverted; not quite as interested in image/acceptance as 4w3

Of course, we are responsible for our actions, so I cannot be elitist, self-absorbed, lost in fantasy land on the edge of sanity and dismiss it with saying, “That’s just the way I am.” No. Nope. I don’t even want to. The great gift of the Enneagram is to show us ourselves in the mirror, so we can move towards health. A wise man once said that our personalities are what show up when we don’t

On the bright side, being a Four wing Five means I get to enjoy not being so concerned with image. I prefer to dress for comfort and genuine self-expression (not trying to be or please someone else).

While I am happy to be different from “ordinary,” I have learned to embrace some sameness. There is a time and place to express my little quirks, and there are perfectly acceptable times and places to adapt to my surroundings. I’ll save my map of Middle Earth sweatshirt for the former.  😉 

I could talk more, but I am also learning to limit the analysis. I’d be happy to talk more in the comments. I’ll also talk a little more about my 5 wing when I review Sleeping At Last’s podcast later. 🙂

If you are a 4w5, I’d love to know if you relate to any of this, and what your experience is! Feel free to ask questions related to the post as well. Comment below!

Tumult & Ease

Tell me about the sunrise.
Heart pounding, not breathing.
Describe the colors of the skies.
Peach, pale green, indigo, steel blue.
Be amazed and let wonder soothe.
Tell me about that one time,
that story I never knew.
Where you lived,
How you loved,
and you ran.
How I’d love to see you run,
and when the day is done,
Tell me again about the colors by the sun.


A Misophonia Story continued

…continued

So, “Black” Friday night, like an involuntary twitch, holding myself together felt like an impossibility; if I didn’t “flight”, I was gonna fight. I was shaking inside. *slam* My hands hit the table, and I immediately wanted to take it back. Everyone looked at me in shock and maybe judgment – which I wouldn’t blame anyone for.  

I offered to leave in the calmest tone of voice I could muster.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault, really. I had just reached my limit with my sound sensitivity. My sisters and brother-in-law insisted that they would rather have me stay there and they would stop eating. Other sarcastic words were uttered by a loved one and bitterness exposed. I cried. I didn’t want to ruin their night. Shoot. Recalling this all really sucks. 

Anyway, I stayed, and they took snack breaks in the other room between game rounds. A compromise. Quieter foods were consumed at the table. And still I felt the weight of the fact they could have carried on normally if it wasn’t for me. If I wasn’t there, they might’ve had a better time. But they insisted that they wanted me there. Most of them insisted anyway. 

Phew. I need to recenter. I’m in tears as I am typing this. I don’t usually describe these scenarios here for that reason. I want to focus more on what helps. I am really fortunate to have people who willing to accommodate me in my weakness, but I really wish they didn’t have to. Okay, okay, okay. I need to stop. *nearly bawling* *trying to convince myself* Everyone needs some level of accommodation, and love means sacrifice no matter who you are and what you struggle with. 

Pursuing Peace Holistically

AGH! Okay. I don’t want that to happen again. So here’s the plan, ideally. 

Making consistent for prayer and meditation on the Word is necessary. I need to be okay with leaving people in order to do that. Regardless of what I think they might think.

Also, it is completely acceptable to utilize other healthy methods of managing stress. *I’ll share some things I am trying, but I have not been paid by any of these companies to do so.* During the holidays, I had forgotten to take my vitamins and supplements. I have been taking Ashwagandha (an herb), which has been helpful across the board in regards to stress. And, again, I forgot to take it over the holiday. So back on it. Gonna aim to continue faithfully.  

A couple other things I am trying:  Monq -a personal essential oil diffuser;  Wholetones .

On top of these, I’ve been more disciplined in diet and exercise – not quite to the point I’d like to be, but taking steps in that direction. I’ve got people holding me accountable. 

I know there is more therapy and healing that needs to happen. There may be a root issue that may be accessible and treatable with some help. In the meantime, I’ll do what I know works and gets me through to the next day. 

And, most importantly, I’ll keep praying to the One who can heal me. Jesus Christ. I’ll keep looking to Him. 

 

4 Holiday Self-Care/ Reality

“Dear Fours, during the past holidays, what are some things you’ve found yourself longing for? There are probably some things that aren’t meant to be, and that’s ok – can you hold them gently and loosely in one of your hands? Now, in your other hand, what are the things you’ve longed for that you might be able to create, initiate, participate in, or actively move toward this holiday season?” @xoenneagram

I don’t have Instagram anymore, but my sister screenshot this and sent it to me. So, you Insta-people should check out @xoenneagram. (Another Enneagram post in reference to Fours.)

Back to the questions…. 
…during the past holidays, what are some things you’ve found yourself longing for? …

Hmm… peace? Is that too cliche? Mostly, I just want peace, whether it’s a  holiday or not. Sometimes, peace and quiet – though I love all the little children and big people making noise. I need my quiet times. Peace. The serenity of the outdoors. But mostly peace within my own heart and head. My misophonia generally acts up a lot during the holidays. I can get away and do the dishes, but sometimes Grandpa insists that I sit and wait for everyone else to finish eating -_-.

Practically speaking… umm… for everyone to get along; not freak out over small things (myself included). So I guess that’s also peace. Haha. Now, if we’re gonna dream big, I may say deep pure connection over the beauty and glory of Jesus. 

Joy. Thankfully, I don’t have to look far for that. And when I struggle to see beyond my nose, quiet times with Jesus help me to find joy. So, peace, again 😀

Okay, I can’t control all of that. I can set aside time intentionally for quiet, but I can’t make people respect that. So I’ll ideally hold that loosely. I can start gushing about my Savior, and hope that it catches. —That’s the plan anyway—

How That Went – A Misophonia Story

…Okay, so I wrote most of this before Thanksgiving, and wanted to be frank with how it went. I had a low-grade panic attack for most of “Black” Friday. After spending the day using all my energy to keep from running to hide, my body couldn’t hold in the tension any longer. As is common in these circumstances, my misophonia was on high alert (sensitivity to sounds often is connected to stress levels). I try to distract myself as much as possible to ease the fight or flight response, but my resources had bled dry. 

I’m not proud of myself. I wanted to apply this “holiday self-care” advice more effectively. It’s not easily understood, Misophonia. I am thankful for everyone who loved me through it. Still, I acted out of fear. I didn’t take the time alone that I needed for fear that my loved ones would think I did not want to be around them. 

… I’ll tell you more tomorrow.