Overwhelmed

Have you ever heard the saying, I have so much to do that I don’t have time to die? I have a plaque hanging in my attic bedroom relating to that quote. 60B33F47-76BB-4593-AE7C-7B7F835D5AC8 I have had it for years because not only is it funny, I feel it to be true. Too much to do. End result, if and when death happens, it does not matter. Humor helps when the stress of life seems to swallow one up.

Many times this week, I have been faced with the fact I need to do or that, etc., feeling overwhelmed and panic sets in. The panic of freezing because I do not know where to begin. Chaos takes over in my mind and I become stuck out of unknowingly what to do, fear of dealing with some issues and just plain thoughts of ignoring and that maybe it will go away.

I will face it all and begin but I think I will write about it all for now. Procrastination at its finest, just because.

When I started my present job many years ago, I was completely overwhelmed. It was out of my league I guess you could say. Knowing I can organize and bring order to an office so that it will run efficient is a talent I have. Some offices need my help. In all my years, I had never had an office job to make me cry but tears would fall at this one, early on, due to the amount of work plus long hours of staying late while others were home enjoying their family or perhaps already in bed.

2BF3F1BF-5C85-46AA-B6DE-79A1BEBBBF33To this day, I still have on my bulletin board above my desk that reads, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” That was what helped me tackle the files in front of me day after day and some nights; one file at a time. Well, crying out to the Lord oftentimes of I need your help, direction and wisdom to get me through, or how can I make this better, etc. Today, my office run smoothly and very orderly but it did not happen overnight.

This week dealing with a health issue that put fear on me of death and the thought I do not have time to die, I realized I need to get some things in order. Last night I was informed of another matter that will affect me, I again realized that I need to get real serious of doing the same. The alarm is going off in my mind and it is time to problem solve yet again to bring order, not in my office but life. Pressure to push through when I would rather procrastinate and keep my head in the sand or feel like child and have a temper tantrum. Again, my quote came to mind of “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” And again, crying out with Lord I need your help, direction and wisdom.

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If we do nothing, nothing gets done. Taking that first step, making an effort and pushing through will bring results. So if you are feeling overwhelmed as I am now or have been or later will be in a situation, know first off that the Lord knows where you are.

811F460B-9F1D-4726-8CDC-33587BE13524No matter if you feel as though you are begging for His help, and we often do, but direction and wisdom in an area that needs attention to go forward in an area or in a perhaps stupid mistake you caused, He knows already.  He is there for me, you and each of us. He wants us to call upon Him.

If the quote helps you, use it, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

We all get overwhelmed at times. The head in the sand trick will only cause more issues. Deal with whatever and move on.

Line in the Sand

A72E248C-B0F6-4503-9306-84BA5BF15076While each of us are unique and different, which is a good thing or life would be boring, so are counselors in their sessions. With that being said, that also would be boring and definitely useless, if not.

Just recently while seeing my counselors, I have been observing more, such as their counseling techniques, office system/files with notes about me and their surroundings.  Somewhat, okay comparing my last one of four years to present ones.  While a lot deals with the OCD in my life and my organizational skills, one drives me insane. Do I say something or let it continue to make me question them. I believe I need to speak up or there will be a wall of distrust and chaos within. We have that right to do so, as clients, as there must be trust.

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I have had and a total of five counselors in my life. Each one was good in their field and just what I needed at the time and still. As a client, I also have a right to end counseling, which I did with my first one back many, many years ago.

At that time, I enrolled in a New Life Live, a Christian workshop for women. This weekend workshop was to help women understand and gain strength and healing due to issues in their marriage due to porn usage with their husbands and the betrayal felt. Maybe a one last-ditch effort to save their marriage and self-esteem which was slowly dying within myself.

As nine of of us women from all over the United States gathered in this small office area, it became evident we were all in a battle. I was amazed how many traveled the distance in order to survive.  Desperate housewives.

09321795-BA50-40AE-940A-E4196E4476B7Afterward, I was probably the closest in mileage, only forty-five miles away, I decided to start counseling sessions with the leader/counselor. I did, on a monthly basis, if not twice a month. Unsure if I really gained information to grow but at least I could talk freely and feel safe to talk. I had always kept my marriage problems silent to the point I was suffering. Shame. This workshop and counseling was my effort to take care of me, unknowingly because I thought it was more my marriage, that I now know.

After about a year, my husband was invited to join and reluctantly, he did. The first session, within minutes, sitting on her couch together but not touching, she asked him if he felt he needed anti-depressants. BAM, right out of the shoot. No doubt, I was shaking my head yes but if not, my mind was screaming, YES. This counselor has his number, so I thought.

Months went on with couples counseling, individual, etc. It was one session when she, the counselor said to me with him in the room, that any woman would love to have him. In my mind, it came a screeching halt and shock on my face, as in a movie scene. What? I knew at that point, I had lost the battle. He has won her over with his calm demeanor, his porn usage and lies. My self-esteem, confidence and desire to even exist became less than before. It’s all my fault, I am the bad wife, I caused his porn usage and continued heaping the negative thoughts.

As we went yet again and again, it was this one night that I had had enough. While I did not say anything, my shock and boundary came into play, it had to.  While discussing issues at hand and making himself look good with her, now I see he won her over more so and now she feels all motherly with him.  He speaks, saying, ‘I don’t love her and I don’t think I ever did.’  I just turned toward him and said, WOW! FA895C6C-FB8A-40F4-91D3-DC25E21DACBE

It was a long, quiet drive home filled with anger in the air.  Rightfully so. With that though, I found my voice, not in a screaming manner but authoritative. I am done. I will not make your appointments, do your laundry, cook for you (another story in itself), and whatever else. My focus was on our children from that point forward. He just could not figure out why I was so angered over that and threw it up in my face that I took it out of context. 800BDEF7-0FA3-48BC-AE93-2587C1A502E9Seriously?!? Just stab me in the back, I’d heal quicker. Those words should never be said to a wife.  Ever!

8CEF791D-3B26-491A-BAC7-7465D3F0A30FThe counselor on the other hand wanted to meet with me more, which I declined. Soon after, he left going to her, too. No push from me so he won’t; plus, he won.

He won alright, no real marriage. He can continue on with his selfish ways with porn, believing he is all that because the counselor said what she did to enforce his behavior.  I’m the bad one in this whole scenario and Satan played his games mentally with me.88e6b2cf-66aa-4544-8dee-66d3712a8abe.jpeg

Those were dark days and sadly years for me but… had it not been, I would not be where I am today. I learned that I was caring for me, even if I felt numb to life and was physically putting one foot in front of the other. I was setting boundaries, as I deserved more even while I battled negative thoughts that it was all my fault. Plus, courage to keep my head up and move forward when I would had rather died and be done with life. Through the mental torment, I had to trust the Lord but even then, I felt He did not love me either.  Unlovable.

Don’t give up, keep your focus and trust the Lord to carry you through the craziness of life. He knows your name and He knows where you are.  I had to fight, not physically but spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  9F612C2F-1B60-4EDB-9F23-3D203477A1A0

While my faith in a counselor wavered for some years due to that situation, I did not give up.  I picked up my big girl panties and found another, just for me.  I am better today and stronger emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually than ever due to help from great counselors and trusting the Lord.  My faith increased, as He was all I had to cling to in the midst of the battle.

The Lord will meet you where you are.  Trust Him. 💕7AEF5CAE-4893-4666-8CA6-716FB3CE222B

Journey of Life

947F91A9-B1D8-49C6-8138-5C2EEA15DF62Here I am, home from my counseling session and so thankful of having such great counselors as I deal with life. I would not be where I am today had it not been with each one.

Mental health awareness has been quite visible lately in the news and on Facebook of not denying or keeping your head in the sand that it does not exist. It does. Look around and listen to the news, there is mental health issues of all levels around us. Some being hidden by a mask or fake smile and those that are down right out there and may cause issues.

Why is there such a stigma of counseling and sadly in the church making people feel shame in going? Many years I secretly went to counseling almost an hour away to avoid my church and members from knowing I needed help. You know, those that will say I did not have enough faith in God. Those that will bring shame, which is why I went out of my way to go. No more!8DDBBD6E-CF15-41B4-BEFC-5BD3D2AC9032

I found myself, as I was leaving my counselor’s office the other day and several women were in the waiting room. I couldn’t help but think about them and wonder why they were there, too. Did they feel shame being there or did they just accept that they, too, need help. For a moment, and to be honest, I felt a judgment of them, just as many would and have in the past and/or in our experiences. Wrong! I captured that thought quickly realizing I just walked out of a counseling session. I am no better than them and we all need to support one another. It’s that stigma that latches on.  I’m sure others have had that of me.  While that quick lesson allowed me to see both sides, I politely smiled and wished them a good day. As we make these appointments and deal with life, that is self-care and much needed for me, you and others.  It’s okay!

We all have issues. Even counselors, doctors and so forth. I totally recommend seeing a counselor for issues or just to stay in tune with life and healing for yourself of past, present and for the future.  In my case, it started with marriage but nowadays it is to help me grow and heal some much-need broken places in my spirit, soul and body. I am a better person with counseling. Not having a spouse to relate to and cry on his shoulder or my close friends that do not live near, I have my counselors. Yes, counselors.

For this period in my life, I started with one to help me get over my last counselor of four years that left due to health issues.  We were dealing with abandonment issues in my life, yet I was abandoned by her. While not her fault, still it was and is still hard some days. Talk about a double whammy! Plus, I have another counselor to help me move forward in life, not so much focus on past counselor. Both have been good for me in my journey right now.  It’s been a good thing.

A2D1DCB8-345F-4FBF-9E47-A34CDC8843BAJust with my last appointment, she said that a poem reminded her of me of my past counseling experience, which I will share. Perfect. Again, I have had the best and thankful for what each one has done to help me grow, understand life, and even understand myself.

So, if you are considering to go see a counselor, do it. Give it time so each one can get familiar and build a relationship.  If after a time and there is no connection, change your counselor but do not quit taking care of you. There are some really good ones out there. Just know YOU MATTER and YOU are worth it.DE7BECC3-28B7-4B8B-83B3-C9265B356DA0

Just FYI, there is a lot of information on Pinterest regarding mental health, groups on Facebook and Google searches, too.

870 Days

652B2586-29F0-48E6-A4E4-AB1FB25A3117I can honestly tell you, I dislike a part of the code of ethics between a counselor and client relationship.  I totally understand that the counselor’s personal life is private while the client shares their life and deepest, darkest secrets.  That’s fine because that is why you are there in counseling.  

While I do understand the boundaries during the process of counseling, I also understand it after counseling has ended between both but I just don’t like it.  The connection is no more, as if it never existed.

As I started counseling over four years ago, it recently ended due to health issues of my counselor.  Jokingly, although some seriousness in me, I have wondered maybe I caused her to have burnout. Possibly!?

With our time together, I found her to be one I could confide in and be honest with and that is exactly what you want in a counselor, a connection. While she maintained boundaries in her profession, I still considered her closer than my own sisters. I could talk to C16F158F-ACF3-4CF3-B616-32E1C8C0E1E6her in complete confidence, truly feeling she cared for me not only as a client but as a person. To be listened to, heard and understood, brings healing.  I have to say, she was one of the best.  I feel blessed to have had her in my life, when I needed her the most.

The word, had.  I had her in my life. Now I don’t. It’s that code of ethics that comes into play. Again, I really do understand but I really don’t like it. Okay, I am having a temper tantrum, and I’ve had a few.44590330-BB3A-43DD-86EE-727802A14440

At one time, a brief comment was made between us that no friendship relationship while counselor/client. Okay, fine. It was when she made her decision to close her office, it all became real and quite upsetting. Hoping now, at least we can become friends on Facebook to stay connected, was my hope. Nope!

Okay, now with that, a real temper tantrum because not only can we not be friends on Facebook, but no contact for three years. Three years!  As of today, that will be 870 days, but who is counting? Ha 6062824E-20AB-4CA3-93C2-A01347B364F0

Again, I do understand and I respect her in this matter. I just don’t like it. It’s like the song, ‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.’ Well, this is my blog and I’ll complain if I want to, while working through it all and having fun, too.  Getting through the grief.  It would not surprise her to know I have a countdown timer on my iPhone.  I also have one of my retirement date, which is definitely more days than I want to be reminded.  It works for me.

In three years, I guess the reasoning is that the facts spoken within her four office walls will be forgotten, she will forget me and I will forget her and life goes on as if we never knew one another.  Can that really be true?

For me, not possible. On my end, she will always be a part of my testimony. While I am adjusting to the abandonment part of this situation, I still have my moments of grief and missing our talks.

So, perhaps this will help somebody know of what to expect when considering counseling.

Even though we both go our separate ways, I feel the Lord led me to her at the right time. He prepared her in this area for me, others clients also, but He knew I would need her many years before I even entered her door.  That’s God!

8E1FED02-9CEB-4A34-A7AE-D82DB646EA89The Lord knows and will put the right people in your path.

I really miss her.  Sometimes I hope she reads my writings, perhaps to know I care and appreciatative but be encouraged, too, because she helped me be who I am today.

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Dumbfounded

F215FCA7-FBA6-4303-A3E8-0555B9025311Once upon a time…

All the good stories begin like this and what little girls (and boys) dream of but life happens and we just live, but not so happily ever after.

How many are just living but not really happy? That could be anyone, young, old, single, married, divorced.

flat editable vector illustrationJust today, I was reminded by the dumbfounded look I received when trying to mention a simple suggestion, not nagging, but found myself wanting to throw up my hands. I have had this look too many times through the years that makes me feel stupid. Either I am not verbalizing correctly or he is not understanding me. I give up, usually walking away with frustration and complaining under my breath.  My voice remains quiet as we exist under one roof, yet again. Not 316D7FC5-956D-4061-B755-963E4B9DC343worth losing my energy for such a draining moment that repeats each time. All I can guess is that this is just his Aspergers way of comprehending.  Lord, give me strength.

I know there are many marriages and relationships that struggle in one way or another. I have heard too much from many to believe otherwise. I am not alone. Even some people/couples that appear happy, write sweet posts on Facebook, sit on a church pew together and seem to have it all together.  Sad but happens.  Life happens.

I do know and have had to dig my heels in to keep going forward when at times I’d rather dig a hole and crawl in it to disappear, but I must keep my focus on the Lord.  He knows my name and He knows where I am.

So if you are reading this and just existing, know that the Lord loves you, He knows your name and He knows where you are. Trust Him in the process.

086A81D4-74F8-4A8D-ADCC-AEB2BD3F162ATaking care of you also is very important. You matter!

True happiness will only come with knowing the Lord and trusting Him. What happens day in and day out, and around you, happens. With all that, we must go to Him. Sometimes, asking Him what to do and for His Favor or if things went south, for His Forgiveness. I have been on both sides of that many times. His Grace and Mercy is forever.

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Drowning in Tears

How many walking around us are hurting?  Choking back the tears hoping that they do not leak out of the corner of our eyes.   How many are hurting?  Are you?

95963B54-44B9-4F73-A094-39E9325160B8We all go through struggles, some worse than others and when it hits, it feels as though we won’t survive. We feel numb while only able to function by putting one foot in front of the other.  It takes much effort and energy that seems depleted.

It happens. It’s hard as hell but you keep going.  You must. Thankfully, your heart beats and lungs inhale and exhale and do their job all on their own.

When things are going well and manageable, it’s all great and feels like life is somewhat normal.  The feeling of, I’ve got this. It is when something within gets triggered, out of nowhere and unexpected and it is when you know you are losing control but trying your best to keep it together. This one day, just that, for me.

I was at my doctor’s appointment, and I knew I would be asked questions related to a specific matter, not medical.  I knew the questions were coming and was trying to maintain my composure but I felt the depression of it all hitting me from all sides.  When I try to fight off this emotional battle within, I tend to get stern and controlled. I’m not. When I am like this, I wish somebody knew me well enough and would just grab me and hold me so I can go ahead and get through it.20EA41E8-89AE-41A6-9BAF-E7B3EFEC4129

Earlier, before this appointment I was doing so well, I had a great morning and now my emotions were wreaking havoc. Ever have that happen? Emotions are real.

Trying to get a grip after I left my appointment, I did go grab a few groceries before my next appointment. I tried adjusting my mask to appear happy and to hide the desire to bust out crying like a baby. Please tell me I am not the only one that wears a happy mask at times. Really, I think we all do in certain circumstances. My former counselor and I discussed this mask wearing with me but odds are even she wears one.  What’s your thoughts?

As I stood still waiting in line to check out, I saw a lady in her electric wheelchair sitting by the window looking back at me.  I wondered if she could see the hurt in my eyes, the emotions about to burst like Niagara Falls. I had to wonder if she was quietly praying for me as I try to do when I see others unhappy, as such.  Lord knows, I needed her prayers right then. I gave her a slight smile as I left because it was her that kept my mind occupied while fighting back having an emotional breakdown right there in front of the cashier.

18A09F38-1F16-4EF9-8840-4B70322D7598A good cry, sometimes or even a scream within, asking the Lord to get through a period as such, definitely helps.  The tears fell when I got in my car and shut the door hiding behind my dark tinted windows. No longer could to contain the heartache.  Feeling numb as the pain was so great. I was fine and then I am a basket case.

Fighting thoughts that come when in this state and rejecting every negative one with the Word of God and positive comebacks, it is like a battle.  Because it is!  God is for us and Satan would like nothing more to keep us sad, depressed, sick, isolated and you name it. Kill, Steal and Destroy. That’s the game plan.

Knowing myself and the hour or so of this heartache, pain and battle, I would overcome but many do not.  If it lasts longer, depression sets in.  Been there.  Thankfully, I did not stay in this long but enough to scare me.  Once this battle was over, within the next hour, I remember thinking and smiling that my former counselor would be so proud of me, as I did not get stuck in this turmoil.  I did learn from her counseling.

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Whether people want to admit, depression exists and so do suicidal thoughts.  Don’t be in denial.  We do not know what the person next to us in line at the grocery store, passing on the street or even sitting next to in church of what they are going through. Offer a kind word, a smile if nothing else.  It may be the only thing they have to hold onto and give hope.  Many are holding back the tears and drowning inside. Many wear a mask, even those you think have it all together.

I know I was lost in my own garbage for that period that day and when it comes to our own, we become stuck feeling we are the only ones to ever go through these periods but not true. While feeling selfish of those thoughts and actions afterward, it’s normal. We all go through stuff.  We all have emotions.  Life happens.

So if you are going through some rough patches, know you are going through. You will not stay there although it may feel like it. Learn to take care of you during these times. Get some extra rest. Go outside and walk or just sit and enjoy nature.

Years ago, I would have blown you off, not believing any of these comments or wanting to do any of that but today, I do. I am taking care of me. Now, take care of you.

There is an old song we sing at church and it goes like this, ‘If you take one step, He will take two.’ He will. Faith believing everything will be and will work out. Tomorrow is another day.  Hang in there.

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Grades of Grief

1CC51986-2CC6-456F-BCB2-98B5AF2690B2     I have had my share of grief in life and no doubt, you also.  It, of course, can come from a physical death of a loved one or friend but grief is shared among other losses and the pain is there.
     Growing up and probably until my own mother passed away, I dealt with deaths and the visitations, funerals and family gatherings afterward never wanting to lose touch with cousins and extended family members, but you do.
     It was when my mother passed that it all became real, the grieving of what was and what will never be.  While we were not the mother-daughter connection as pictures show and memories are made of, still she was my mother.  Sitting at traffic lights looking up at the beautiful sky and seeing the clouds, the tears would flow were my usual bouts of grief.
     Just a few years later, while trying to maintain my own home but also my father’s home and all of his financial and medical affairs, my marriage was dying.  I could feel it, I knew things were not right. I blamed myself as I was being pulled in many directions and apparently neglecting him.  While that was all true of caring and doing for many, I am not to accept all the blame and I will not.  Still, grieving the marriage of what was and what will never be.
F36661FC-75AE-4792-88F7-1F4EFB5ACE0E     Through the years, I have lost friendships for whatever reason by job change, moving, etc. no doubt, you have also.  Realizing their friendship was just for a season, whether it be their season or mine, it still hurts to lose the closeness. Depending how close we were, the grief can become intense, not just uncomfortable for a bit.
     With that I found myself to be distant with some because of the hurt, the grief of losing them. They are still alive but not there. Just recently, I went through this with someone very special to me. Every level of grief was there still and I knew it. Even today, I now teeter between the depression stage and acceptance.  This can last for a bit.  When sadness hits, I cry and then I get back up accept what is. Thankfully the anger has lost its power but it was there and normal.
     Whether it is a person, a pet or whatever to cause your heart to ache, it is normal.  It just shows you are normal and have a heart and love within that you shared.
Looking at the chart of the many levels of grief, I recognize each one and understand when it hits.  One of those, ‘been there, done that’ quotes.  No matter what your situation, grief is hard and exhausting.
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     Understanding the levels of grief in whatever you are facing, it will help you through it.  Normal.  Cry if you need to and then carry on the best you can. Some days you will need to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.  Normal.  Will life be the same?  No.  A new normal will form and you will adjust.  One day, your experience will be encouragement to another; you made it and they will also.
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