Saturday, October 12, 2013

De-stressing and Refreshing the Hope Banks

Between health difficulties and the stress of trying to imagine how to actually manage the upcoming move when I'm doing good to concentrate enough to make a to-do list, let alone remember to work on it, I've been battling discouragement off and on over the past month. General Conference last weekend did much to lift my spirits, but facing a doctor that has apparently never thought to look for more information about my particular health problems kind of put another damper on them. Since my health problems are rather sensitive to stress, when it builds up to these levels, I have to focus on getting them to drop quickly or I'll be facing worse 'crashes' as time goes on. (It has to do with the system that manages autonomic functioning in the body, including the adrenal glands - the more stress, the more likely it'll trigger another function to falter.) It is, therefore, not surprising that upon waking this morning, my attention has been on how to refocus and refresh the 'hope' banks.

While I may not be able to do all that I used to do before the H1N1 vaccine skewed my body's regulator, even accomplishing a few small things is enough to help dispel the hated 'trapped/stuck' feeling. Remembering that my life is my own and I can act and make choices and have a say in where and how it goes is crucial to a sense of well-being. The hardest times of the past were when there was no sense of freedom, no autonomy from the demands of others and no sustaining connections to other humans who actually cared and wanted to be involved in my life because of me rather than because of how it would reflect upon themselves. Being able to say, 'No, I don't like that; I don't want that,' or, 'Yes! I am doing this even if it seems weird to someone else,' allows a person to retain and remember their identity and individuality. It is quite good for the health. Knowing people who sincerely care and love you and who are willing to talk even if it's just for random talking has also proven very helpful in lifting my spirits.

If you've paid any attention to my previous blog-posts, you know that stories are my passion! If I've had a PTSD trigger (yes, I'm admitting it here as one of my trials in life - read the Moriarty post and you'll have a good insight on how some of that came about...) talking about the story(ies) I am or just have consumed is the quickest distraction to help me out of the bad place. Right now, I'm debating between a Danny Kaye movie (laughter is the best medicine, after all) and watching The Avengers again. (It's been a month or so since last time...)

Meditation may or may not prove helpful for me. If the stress is too high, I'll just get caught in a down-spiral. Boyd K. Packer said that sometimes we need to pray and then get up and go about our lives - that extended time 'on our knees', as it were, won't always grant us the answers we are asking for. Rather, pray in faith and go forth with faith and the answer will come in God's own time and God's own way. So long as we are willing to accept the answer that comes, we will recognize that He does answer. This ties in with a pattern I noticed in the scriptures some years back.

Throughout the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, I kept noticing reference to 'prayers of faith'. Truly, praying, asking for help from anyone, really, requires a confidence that help is even available. But then I also began noticing the phrase 'faith in their prayers'. It shows up most distinctly in D&C 10: 47-52 where the Lord speaks of the prayers of those who wrote the Book of Mormon and their confidence that their efforts would have value for the future generations. There was nothing to indicate the records would even survive after they died, yet they acted in faith, kept the records, and prayed in faith, believing their prayers meant something to God. In D&C 10, He shows us that even that secondary faith has value.

I suppose that could translate into my efforts to finish my education after I got sick. Granted, I've been of the idea that the doctors will someday get a clue and I'll be able to function at least as well as I did before getting sick (there are plenty of clues I've had the dysautonomia since being a child but that my body was able to mostly compensate in functioning). As time has passed, however, one could wonder why it was so important for me to fight the sickness and finish my last semester at the university if I'm often left in such a low level of functioning that it doesn't appear to hold much economic value. Is not paying and striving for an education an 'act of faith'? Now, I'm the stubborn type who is trying to find ways to move on even when it's so *growling* difficult to move, so I look at the education as a victory in itself. But you see how the apparent lack of point, value, effect of the endeavor could be a frustration? I readily admit that another recent topic on my mind is sorting itself out in these terms as I type. (I don't actually share everything in my blog - deal with it. ;) )

Getting a fresh perspective, or as we Mormons like to say, 'an eternal perspective', on things often helps whatever feelings of lack or failure or disappointment fade to the background. Often, things take far longer to completely resolve, but when they aren't overwhelming out attention, we are far better able to handle life as it comes. Since I spent so many years feeling trapped, it is logical that I respond the quickest to the things that helped me escape those situations - action and stories. I am a person of faith and it has served me just as well, so I must remember to bring my perspective into balance with the eternal perspective by using the patterns taught by the scriptures and by church leaders. Another might find their relief in running. Or painting. Or yoga. Or cooking. Or working on a car. Or journaling. The point is simply that if we pay attention to our personal patterns of stress and relief, we can actively pursue restored balance. And I much prefer living with a hopeful outlook on life. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment