Women Power & Purpose

womenpower

 

We have just passed the sad anniversary of when I went out on Disability.  I have been thinking about the 4 years since that happened and what has occurred in my life.  And what has stood out to me, has been the stand out and stand up Women I have met in this time.  I have met 4 women, through the course of my new journey that are Powerful, Grateful, Kind and Loving all in different ways, but all in ways that reach out to you.

3 of these women, I am proud to call my friend.  The 4th is a recent addition to my world, but she is unlike anybody I have ever met, as she is a Nun, who is also a Licensed Massage Therapist.  I went for a massage yesterday and also received a blessing as she prays at the beginning and end of the session.  I am not religious and not even Catholic, but yesterday I felt the presence of God during the session.  I so wish this woman was my grandmother, as she has spunk beyond her years and a twinkle in her eye.

All these women have their own life stories to tell, filled with their own trials and tribulations, yet all show up every single day with a welcoming smile on their face and are just grateful to be here another day.  Another one of these woman is a Reiki Healer and being with her is like transcending time.  When you are with her, an inexplicable peace just fills your body and you feel calm and relaxed.  There is an energy emitted by this woman and it too envelopes you beyond which any words can describe.

The last 2 women, are either struggling with their own illness, or the illness of a close loved one, yet they are grateful and appreciative for everything good thing in their life and try not to dwell or drown with the bad part.

I am so eternally grateful that my illness has brought these 4 Amazing Women to me.  They are role models and mentors in many ways and I hope they all know how much their friendship means to me.  I think about how they struggle, yet always sound cheery when we speak and never complain about these troubles, just talk about them as part of their life.

When you are struggling with a chronic illness or dealing with a chronic illness the illness creates your “new normal”, in such that now it is part of your new life and going back to your old life is not even possible.  Right now all I can do is accept my “new normal” and be thankful that I have these “new friends” to share them with.

 

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Anger

holdingontoanger

 

Today it was pointed out to me by someone who’s opinion I trust and respect, that I very rarely get angry.   This wasn’t the first time this was pointed out to me and I wanted to explore this further.   I said anger is an emotion I am not comfortable with.  I hate the emotion when it is displayed in others and especially when it’s directed at me.  I try very hard to live and act a certain way, so as not to hurt or anger anyone.  My intent is always pure and I expect others to act the same way.

But is it healthy not to get angry?  Can’t I be pure and good and nice and still display anger.  Am I harming myself  by not getting angry when it is warranted?  Shouldn’t I be angry that I am chronically ill and have no idea when (or if) I will ever return to health?  Shouldn’t I be angry that I had to stop working and go on disability?  Shouldn’t I be angry that I had to sell my co-op that I owned for 20 years and move to a neighborhood near my mom and sister, so that I had a support system near by.  Shouldn’t I be angry that I have been removed from society for 5 years and not able to move on with my live?

When I read this, I’m thinking of course I should be angry, but I’m not.  Or is this anger so suppressed  and buried deep within me, that it is keeping me ill and I don’t even know it.  It would be a lie to say that my life and my health haven’t changed for the worse, but I think I am making the best of a difficult situation and I just don’t see how being angry that this happened to me is of any use.

I grieved for the loss of my pre-illness life, as I would a loved one.  In fact, I was going through this period of mourning my old life, when my dad past, so I grieved for them both at the same time.  Just as I deeply miss my dad, I deeply miss the life I had, but as time moves on and you become more removed from the past, the new normal is your reality.  While I remember and have flashbacks of my dad when I see a mailman on the street (as that was his occupation), or when I have to parallel park (as he taught me how to expertly do that), I also have flashbacks and pangs of sadness when I think back to my working and dating days.  But not anger, never anger or rage.

I’m starting to wonder if this is normal.  I never really thought about it before like this.  What good is constantly reliving the past in our minds, it only holds us back from moving forward.  I have so many physical constraints, I don’t want to think that my mind is causing me to prolong my illness and recovery.

I strongly believe that a very important component of me getting well and feeling better is adapting to my new reality.  Even though my life is difficult, very difficult at times, I still have an inner peace that sustains me and helps me go on each day.   There are days when I feel useless and not productive, but I never feel like my life is without value or worth.

My particular chronic illness is an extremely physically draining one, but I would be foolish to think that it isn’t emotionally draining too.  The more I adapt to my current surroundings and my new limits, the happier I feel I will be.  I am very thankful, that before I became ill, I was a very resilient, easy going individual and this resilience has served me well.  I also am thankful that I have a social support system that is available to me when I speak up and ask for help.

So as suggested to me, for the next 30 days, I am going to keep a diary of situations that occur and my response to them and see if anger is warranted in any of the situations when I review the day in my diary.  I am hoping I don’t have too many entries!

 

The Gift

thegift

Last week someone who I used to work with contacted me and asked how I was doing and if I was well enough to meet her for lunch in NYC. Unfortunately the answer was no and I explained that the fatigue and pain still prevent me from taking public transportation into the city. She understood and at the end of her email she wrote, “Health is a precious gift.”

How true is that statement and it is not often that a healthy person realizes that.  My previous coworker is enlightened and gets that health is the most important thing of all.  How come none of my other friends realize that concept?

Yesterday I was speaking with my oldest friend (Ms. E).  We grew up together, were college roommates, our parents were best friends and we have seen each other through many of lives triumphs and tragedies.   I said my oldest friend and not my closest friend as our lives have taken very different paths and we really haven’t been all that close lately.  Since I’ve been ill, my friend hasn’t visited me once (except when we saw each other at 2 funerals).  She lives about 60 miles from me, so I understand that she can’t casually drop by for a few minutes, but it is a little hurtful that in 5 years she hasn’t been able to visit me.  We do talk and text, but sometimes you expect more from some people.

While we were speaking yesterday on the phone, the instant she said hello, I knew something was very wrong with her.  Her voice sounded weird, had no life, no spirit, no personality.  It sounded dead and depressed.  In the 40 years that I have known Ms. E, I never heard her sound like this before.  I asked a few times what was wrong and at first she said nothing is wrong, but before the end of the conversation she told me she is very depressed and is currently taking 3 different medicines, prescribed by her psychiatrist.

Now I was concerned because she sounded out of it and was driving alone on a highway.  She assured me she was alright to drive and that she’s just been very emotional lately and they haven’t figured out the right dosage of her medications yet.

That made me feel  somewhat better, but then my mind starting churning.  While I was very, very sad that my friend was in so much pain, I couldn’t help but wonder what could Ms. E be so depressed about that 3 medications were required?  She has been married for 25 years, has 4 healthy children, her and her husband are physically healthy, she lives in a beautiful house and is wealthy beyond my wildest dreams.

Here I am ill for the past 5 years,  divorced, no children, rent a one bedroom apartment and I’m not depressed.  I don’t get what people expect out of life.  Maybe I’m becoming cynical or hardened but what does it take for someone to realize that when they have their HEALTH, the greatest gift of all, they have everything they need.