The emotional toll.

blog 18

It keeps coming up over and over that if you live a privileged life you benefit from taking time to help those less fortunate. One hard thing about being a certain personality type is knowing when to ask for help instead of being the volunteer to always help. When I was diagnosed with graves disease I didn’t know what my next step would be. I felt as though I switched to a survival mode. Just trying to get the bare minimum done in a day. I knew deep down that I needed more physical help from family and friends, but the reality was that wasn’t going to happen. At one point I asked the nurse who communicates with my endocrinologist if they offer information on resources or support recommendations for the mental and emotional toll that occurs when through the diagnosis of a auto immune disease like graves. The nurse told me in a bothered tone that no one had ever asked about that, and so no she had no information to help me. On my own I have chosen to isolate and rest the last seven months. I have a four year old son, so I’m really not that isolated. With the resources I’ve been given this has been the reality. I can’t say if it’s been the right choice by some people’s standards. Unless you’ve gone through it though, it’s hard to say what the right thing to do is. I’ve just been trying to survive. Keep things going. One choice I know is not right is to constantly put others well being before my own. I can’t believe after all these years of heartbreak I finally can ask for time to rest. Not just for healing from my diagnoses, but for protection of my boundaries as a highly sensitive person. No matter how dark some days are feeling lately I know that I finally can fight to have my quiet time, and nobody gets to have an opinion on it.

-Gertie

 

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Another layer to this story

Blog post #7

When you are walking through a life experience that seems so much more difficult than those around you, because of a highly sensitive personality, it is a constant battle. Having a chronic illness caused by an autoimmune problem is really what I like to think of as the icing on the not so great cake. It has been somewhat of a relief to realize our society is talking about highly sensitive people in a certain way. Even the most close minded have probably come across some kind of material or information regarding it. I am thankful that it can be accessed and understood so easily.  Being understood by a larger population of people in your life is helpful. What’s funny is that I have not found that people understand chronic illnesses. Unless they have gone through it, or someone they are very close to has, I have gotten a lot of blank stares when I explain I was diagnosed with graves disease. I’m on a journey now to explore why people don’t really care to know about all the complex layers, of not just graves disease, but all the autoimmune/chronic illnesses members of our society are suffering from. Why are people so quiet about it? I have trouble understanding why it is interpreted as whining. I’ve never been lazy. I have in the last ten years of my life felt I needed to  defend my actions of self care though. There are some layers of pain and suffering going on in our communities that are not being met with empathy. Statistically the numbers of our population that are struggling with chronic illnesses  is huge. It’s unfortunate that we aren’t able to find support from professionals as easily as some things. You can possibly find medical treatment for some of the chronic illnesses, but what about the mental and emotional support? I don’t understand why that layer is so overlooked.

-Gertie

 

 

 

 

True self

 

Blog photo #2

Lately I have noticed that I have a desire to have the people in my life understand my highly sensitive personality type. This has been an eye opener, and a roller coaster of an experience. When I turned thirty years old I started to come across books and blogs related to the highly sensitive person. It was a great relief to see some of the issues I’ve dealt with all my life laid out in easy to understand terms. I began to feel a little more comfortable standing up for myself, if I could catch it in the moment. I found some ways to explain myself and my feelings. I was so excited at first. I could more easily fight the thoughts constantly going through my head that something was wrong with me, and I needed to be more like others. What I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that even though I had a better grasp of a way to communicate my reality, and argue it’s validity, many friends and family couldn’t wrap their brains around it. Just recently I responded very emotionally to my son not being able to do certain things at swim lessons. He was scared and held back jumping into the water and putting his head in the water. It broke my heart as I watched him be the only child that didn’t. My emotion was so strong it scared me. When I looked for support from family, just for my heartbreak, I was immediately told the list of things I’ve always been told my whole life. You are too thin skinned, he will be just fine, don’t take him out of class, and you’re being selfish. I felt like I always feel after I put my true self out there. That the true point I was trying to make was completely missed. My son is fine and wants to go back to class. He stands up for himself, and feels okay with saying no to jumping in. He isn’t like me. There are some big differences. We will make it through this together. The thing I will carry now as I heal from this newest wound is that no matter how much I try to explain who I am to certain people, they may never understand. It’s a sad realization. I’ve lost many people on my journey the last eight or nine years. I have felt so betrayed at times, but I have felt confident in making my circle very small, and have learned the hard way not to over share in small talk situations. The hardest part in this stage of life as get near to forty years old is being able to tolerate certain close family who can never really be a support system. You can wish and wish for someone to be one way, but you also have to be real and truthful with yourself. I will continue to try to be okay with being highly sensitive. I will try to be grateful for the people who do understand. At this point at least I have hope. The outside voices don’t hold the power they used to anymore. It’s a quick sting that heals faster.

-Gertie

Searching

025One helpful reminder that a highly sensitive person can try give themselves is that their minor mistakes are okay. I have to try to attempt to do this often. Unfortunately it’s so easy to overthink certain situations where we were not perfect. The tendency towards perfectionism is very common with people who are highly sensitive. It is very exhausting. I’ve had many situations lately where I beat myself up for not dealing with it in the right way. It’s a path that leads to low confidence. I just want to be free of this burden. I’m searching for that self compassion right when it happens, and the confidence to get back up again. I’m still learning what works for  me. My way of thinking has had many years to become a habit. Ingrained in my daily existence. It’s hard to change, but it’s harder to keep doing something so painful to yourself. For right now all I can do is continue to try to find things in my life the heal and restore my emotional state after a situation occurs, and most often I need alone time and rest. I need to be away from people. We have to continue to learn and fight to find ways to live with this habit. If you are highly sensitive it may be something you carry your whole life. I will keep searching.

-Gertie

 

 

 

Going Backwards

068A month ago a publication was sent home with my son from preschool. It was a collaboration of different educators and community members. It gave information on communicating with your child, and supporting healthy development. I thought it was very educational except for one article.
The half page article was a long rant by a stay at home Dad in the community. He had a very impassioned view on what changes he has seen in our society. He had many concerns about how children are being raised now compared to back in the day. He brought up viewpoints on how much better it was when he and his parents generations were growing up. He spoke negatively of varying aspects of parenting styles that have emerged recently. It went on and on.
The only thing I took from the article is that this person comes from a place of privilege. It had a condescending tone towards anyone who isn’t similar to the people he knows in his small bubble. There was no empathy or intelligent thought behind it. It really just attacked new information and ideas on child development. Information that has been studied by experts.We really need to look forward.I am still shocked that a family resource center and the school district would support these kind of ideas but our society as a whole is thinking we can make America great again if we go backwards.

-Gertie

Brief Bio

I’m excited to share that I was offered a new job. I will begin this new endeavor in a couple weeks, but that’s not the purpose of this update. The purpose is to offer a little encouragement. Yesterday I was asked to write up a brief bio about myself, so my new supervisor could share it with the current staff. Upon receiving this request I rolled my eyes and my inner voice said, “You have nothing to write about. What have you done? You don’t even come close to those around you with things you’ve been successful in” and on and on and on. So today I closed the door to my office, hunkered in for a good couple of hours, and worked on this assignment that I really didn’t want to address. Guess what?! I learned a few things.

I’m doing it (life that is) and I’m doing pretty damn good!

I’m not sure if you know this 😉 but life can be hard. Divorce, loss and grief are hard. Change is hard. Co Parenting is hard. Single parenting is hard. Low income is hard. Living with chronic illness is hard. Cancer and disease are hard. Blending families is hard. Being vulnerable is hard. Believing in yourself, seeing your worth and value can be hard. Anxiety and depression are really fucking hard. What did I miss? Please feel free to add. 🙂

But let me share with you one of my many favorite quotes, “Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s wrong.” This can be a difficult quote to accept when you’re the one in the midst of hard, but it’s been helpful for me with moving forward.

So here’s a recommendation for all of you. Take an hour or so and write up a short bio of yourself. Chances are high, that you too are doing pretty damn good. Your definition of success might be different than your neighbors. Neither one is less than. I’m grateful that my bio lines up with me and the things I value most in life. Not everyone has that opportunity.

Paranoid and thin skinned.

blog photo2 One of the potential problems that can arise from experiencing a heightened sensitivity to people and places is that what you see in your mind can be cloudy. It can be so unclear that you can interpret the experience as completely different than what is true and real. It is exhausting and painful. It’s hard to just stop the moments from manifesting, and let it go. It’s hard to know what’s real. For years the intensity of the experiences have only increased for me. When you are navigating the moments alone, for the most part, you can feel like you are drifting in the ocean. It’s easy for people to label what you may be seeing if you decide to confide in someone. I learned to be careful who I share with. I’ve been labeled with terms such as paranoid, ,mentally ill, and thin skinned. When a person is called these names enough times it really starts to have a certain power. It’s a constant battle to reach out for confidence again. It’s like a punch in the gut. I’ve only ever wished for the space to just be my true and authentic self. I don’t know if I have the type of faith that allows me to believe society will ever allow that space to exist. I believe more and more I have to just be in love with short moments in the chaos. When it finally feels good. Moments where the pain and anxiety subside for awhile.

-Gertie

Learning to Love and Be Loved, Even in the Mess

Learning to love and be loved again. It’s a new kind of love. It’s a kind of love that doesn’t fix. You know, the kind of love you thought would relieve all of your lonely pangs and sooth your fears. This is not that kind of love. It’s the kind of love that bears witness to your journey. That walks along side you and stands in the fire with you. That looks upon you lovingly as you feel as though you just might lose it all in the matter of a second. It’s the kind that leaves you love notes and doesn’t ask you to change. The kind that gives you hope in the midst of confusion. It’s the kind of love that says, “Believe”! It’s the kind of love that waits for you to be ready. It’s the kind of love you beg your body to accept and accept that your body is still healing. It’s a patient kind of love that gives you space to heal. It’s the kind of love that calls you out and into life. That offers a hand. It’s an unfamiliar kind of love. A welcomed love.

~Ceda

M and J Time

“What hurts you, blesses you, darkness is your candle.” Rumi

Oh sweet lessons in empathy and sympathy please do leave me be. I know you all to well. I’ll never say never for I know better now. My heart aches, my head hurts, my body claims this place alone.

In the darkest of nights I reached out and embraced you. I held you near. In the darkest of nights I knew you. In the brightest of days I saw you.

Your words sting and nonverbal cues bring me to my knees. Lack in gratitude. Conditional love. The freedom of a choice. The inconvenience of a friend, lover, and wife.

A blessing and a gift. Would I know myself this well otherwise. The light in the darkness. I am grateful. I am grateful for the constant battle that showed me my strength. For the space to crumble and rise again.

For the gift of motherhood. How unaware I was that my whole being could love so completely.

For you were a gift unknown.

~Ceda

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