Saturday, March 26, 2016

HIGHS AND LOWS

The last few weeks (or more) have proven to be especially rough. For reasons I’ve never been able to fully understand or put any particular pattern to, I sometimes drop into a phase of not being able to sleep well, migraines are worse, and occasional stomach aches pop up in the middle of the night. When daylight arrives and I already feel like I’ve been engaged in battle with pain and an inability to rest, I generally start out the day feeling depressed and incapable of accomplishing anything productive at all. That leads to often hiding myself in mindless television, which has an oxymoron effect in my mind; part of me is absolutely certain that it’s ridiculous to be sitting there watching reruns of reruns of one of my favorite shows, when I’m not even enjoying it or getting anything out of it, and another part of me simply can’t find the strength or the will power to even write a text or an email or make a phone call, let alone do a load of laundry, cook a meal, or actually write something worth reading. It seems that only the absolutely urgent things get done, and even that takes some serious self-talk to make it happen. 

I’ve grown to love writing these blog entries since I embarked on this project earlier this year, but even that has felt difficult to approach. My distorted thinking takes me to thoughts of how people can’t really be finding anything valuable in my senseless babbling. And now that I’ve been doing it for a while, I have begun to wonder if I’m going to start repeating myself and write about things I’ve already written about. That’s certainly taboo in a novel; except for careful evolution of dealing with an ongoing issue, a writer isn’t supposed to repeat the same information to the reader. But I don’t have it in me to go back and read my previous blog entries, so if I’m going to be able to keep doing this, I can only ask your forgiveness in advance if I start repeating myself. I repeat myself a great deal when I have conversations. I think it’s my own insecurities coming out, that something in me fears not being heard, so I have to say it again. People who share conversation with me must surely be very patient on that count. 

Anyway, I was ahead on blog posts for a while and it felt good, and then I ran out and I couldn’t bring myself to write anything. But early this morning I actually felt a glimmer of motivation and I dragged myself out of bed in the dark with the determination to write SOMETHING, hoping that it might connect with those of you devoted enough to keep reading these thoughts and feelings from my deepest self. I have a list of ideas I could write about that might actually have some kind of valuable message embedded in them, but I looked over that list and couldn’t adhere my brain to any of them. Therefore, suffice to say, that I just needed to write, I need to connect with those of you out in the great void of social media, and to feel heard.

If nothing else, I want to counter the expression of my struggles with a recounting of what’s good. I deeply believe that we need to be mindful of the checks and balances in life. If we have something negative that we have to vent about, it should be followed by something positive. If we have difficulties that weigh us down, we should seek to find gratitude for blessings in our lives that might not even think about otherwise. So, in an effort to give myself perspective in regard to how much I have NOT accomplished, let me say that I did finish a novel and got it submitted, and I wrote a short true Christmas thing for Covenant’s annual Christmas collection; I submitted that as well and with any luck they’ll like it. I started a new novel, even if that actually means I only created a computer file for it and wrote about two and a half pages. I’ve managed some minimal personal hygiene. And I did actually get out of the house with my dear friend, Amanda. Her visit last Saturday was a highlight in the midst of a difficult stretch of life, and she drove me to take care of a couple of errands and then we had lunch together to celebrate her birthday, since I don’t know if I’ll see her again before then. Her love and generosity, which is so completely sincere, always lifts my spirits. I am grateful for you, Amanda. (I know you’re reading this.) And if the rest of you reading this haven’t yet seen the one-minute video we made, you can find it on my Facebook pages. 

I also got my daughter off on her choir tour, managed to not worry about her, and have helped her adjust back to her crazy life of being on the track team, tons of homework, two church callings, and other general teenaged insanity. But I’m so grateful for her and her siblings and my grandchildren. I’m grateful for my home and my comfortable bedroom where I live most of my life, and for all the electronics and appliances that make life so easy. I’m grateful for all the parts of my body that are free of pain and functioning properly. I’m grateful that my other daughter’s very elderly cat didn’t have to be put down a few weeks ago, and that she’s holding on and doing tolerably well for a fussy old lady feline. I pray she can be with us a good while longer. (She’s nineteen now; the cat and my daughter grew up together.) I’m grateful for our other cat who is fat and hairy and kind of a snot. (Just put a picture of her on Instagram yesterday; horstbergwriter is where you’ll find me there.) I’m grateful for good food when I’m able to find/make/enjoy it. Given my food issues, I consider having food that tastes good and fills me up to be a huge blessing. I’m also grateful for my sweet visiting teachers, who are truly two of the most loving and charitable women I’ve ever known. The vase of daffodils one of them left on my porch is brightening my room and reminding me that I’m not alone. 

If I have anything of value to pass on today, it’s that it really is possible to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even if that means simply chalking a day up to vegging in front of the TV. And gratitude truly is a powerful remedy, even if it takes some serious self-talking to be reminded of the perspective of how much we are truly blessed, and how much worse things could be. 

I send my love to all of you who are reading this, and I wish for you a very happy Easter weekend. I’m grateful above all else for a Savior, and for my absolute knowledge that He is real, and so is what He did for us. Whatever this world might do to drag us down, there is always hope to be found in that. God bless! Anita

4 comments:

Marcy said...

Thank you for your words of hope and gratitude. May you continue to be blessed with the strength and the courage you need to continue your good work! It is appreciated!

michelle said...

Please, please, please keep writing and sharing. I wish we could talk face to face. I think we woukd be fast friends. I am so grateful for you and your gift. I have been with you since book 1...you are an inspiration to me and I love you more each time I read a blog post.

Tamra said...

Thank you for the reminder about gratitude and seeing the positive things in life. Your thoughts help me feel like I am not alone in my depression and health issues. You are making a difference in th lives of others because you are willing to share your personal experiences. So excited to hear you submitted another book.

Amanda Wilhelm said...

I hope you repeat yourself over and over in this blog. (Wait - was that redundant?) I want to hear every way you think a thought, whenever you think it, and I especially want to hear it when you need to write about it. My journal is filled with repeated thoughts and themes and phrases. So what! Sometimes I think I learn from the words I repeat, like there is a message in there for me. I don't often go back and reread journals before I throw them away, but when I do - it's a lesson for me where I am saying the same things again and again. Some light, some spec of wisdom will come from the repetition. What is the saying - repetition is the key to learning? So Pete and Repeat were writing in a blog . . .

You know how much deep empathy I have for your pain my dear friend. I heard from someone the other day who, after she had surgery, said she couldn't imagine what it was like for people who have chronic pain. It is an eye opener for a person who normally does not suffer in these ways to have something challenging come up, and for the first time experience what it's like to go through days when doing the basic things seems impossible, where guilt surrounds you like air.

You are so wise to focus on gratitude. I try to do that, too, when I am strong enough. Sometimes I just can't find it, and I sink into one of those "can't get dressed" weekends. But when I can see that I have pain medication to help and a bed to rest in and children who are old enough to get their own cereal now and a job that starts so early I don't have time to entertain the fantasy of calling in sick, I realize how much there is to be grateful for, even if I do it in the same nightgown I've been wearing for 3 days.

I love you. I love you. I love you. (I think that I'm repetitive too, sometimes, but unlike you mine is from a lack of creative ability.) I am with you always, holding hands, dreaming of fries in ketchup.

Ooo - fries in ketchup. There is a reason to get dressed today! Love your guts.