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Pumpkins and Pick-Me-Ups

As I look at what I’ve put out into the world here recently, I see words I don’t like staring back at me.  Struggle. Disappointment. Discouraged. Stressed. “Where does this restlessness and anxiety come from all of a sudden?”  The truth is it’s not sudden.  It’s stealthy.  It’s silent.  That unhappiness is creeping up on me again, slowly, slowly insinuating itself into my everyday.  But I am getting better at this.  I am getting better at seeing those telltale signs.

The frustrations and pressures of my jobs seem to be compounded daily.  But is that really true, or is it just that my ability to handle the stress is diminishing?  In any case, I feel myself stepping away from the emotional ties that bind me to those places.  While that serves it’s purpose, which is to eliminate my stress and anxiety, it also deadens the thing that makes me good at what I do.  To not care about the place and its problems is to not care about its people.  I can’t kill one and keep the other.  So they both die.

The thing is, it’s a creeping death.  That pulling away spills over into the entirety of my life, into my personal relationships, into this world.  Usually I just disappear.  Where that’s not possible, I put the shield up.  Mostly you can’t tell the difference, because I can laugh, I can smile.  I can interact like a normal person.  But I don’t feel, not in the same way.  My emotions stay inside the shield where they’re safe.  And yours stay outside, where they can’t touch me.

Now I have to choose: shut down, protect and conserve my emotions; or refuse to shut down and replenish them.

I said choose, but it’s not so clean and simple, because this is like a full out war.  And I am not in the rear, methodically plotting and planning the best means of attack.  I am in the front.  I am fighting in the trenches, where it’s dirty, and fast, where the enemy is staring you in the face.  It would be so easy to surrender; I’ve surrendered before without even realizing that my lines had been over-run.  But now that I know, now that I understand, the only real choice is to fight.

I can spend time with people who love me.  I can take walks with Louis.  I can chat up my customers and remember why it is that I serve.  I can obsorb the joy from those situations.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at my sister’s house with my great friend, Toni, and her son Duncan.  I had fun, I laughed, I replenished some of my emotional reserves.  On my thankfulness bracelet, I have a bead for my family and friends, and a bead for all of the places that welcome me in.  That’s what I have to keep in mind.  Those are the things that I’m fighting for, and the things that are fighting for me.

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22 Comments Post a comment
  1. you stole my feelings! I have been feeling exactly the same lately. It just slowly engulfs, like a branch of ivy creeping up the walls of a stone building until one day you notice the building has been resurfaced, suffocated out.
    Anyway, I really needed this weekend with my family to recharge.
    I loved looking at the photos! You take amazing pictures!!

    October 22, 2012
    • Thanks Becca – you know better than me, I’m sure. That’s a good analogy, the suffocating out of what you are. But things always get better.

      November 22, 2012
  2. Those are absolutely beautiful photos, especially the silhouette of Amanda on the swing! 🙂

    I’m pretty bad at advice, but I’m great at listening and consoling, and if I can say anything right now, it would be that there is nothing wrong with those feelings, I am sure. We are all human, we all have low patches and sad, lonely patches, for me I have worry-wart and depression patches which I have to pull myself out of, but it is what you DO with those feelings that makes the person into who they are meant to be.

    It seems all too easy for me to give the advice of “give them to God” but that is what He said to do. It may not be a simple matter of clicking your fingers and you feel better, but rejoice. Sing praises, read psalms, tell God all of your problems and worries and anxieties.
    “But He knows everything about me, why would I need to tell Him?” Don’t tell Him for His sake, He knows already, tell Him for yours. It is the act of telling Him, letting everything out and having a closer relationship with God that heals a person the most. After all, in the psalms, doesn’t David say to go into His sanctuary, retreat to a quiet place and become closer to God? And also, David isn’t always all smiles, so many of his psalms are his feelings of woe and upset, depression, crying out to God and wondering why all of these afflictions are upon him! Don’t feel you have to be in a “better place” before you come to God. Psalm 142 begins with “I cry out to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble.” (I would recommend reading the entire of that particular psalm anyway.) 😉

    Philippians 4:4-8 “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God: and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”

    Sorry for the insanely long comment 😀 have a blessed day!
    Lorna

    October 22, 2012
    • I am the Queen of insanely long comments, so I do not mind in the least! You can be the Princess of insanely long comments. I avoided answering these comments for a long time – wow, a month! – because I just needed to, maybe. I didn’t want to come back to it, I was avoiding. But I want you to know that I definitely read and absorbed every last word you wrote. I so appreciate all of them and I appreciate you, Lorna. Thank you so much.

      November 22, 2012
  3. MawMaw #

    Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and go on. I sometimes hate fall – so many bad -sad memories – a lost baby that would have been about 40 now, the loss of Nannie and PawPaw, my ever more fast approaching birthdays making me older…

    So then I looked at each of these pictures and rejoiced at the joy that these children bring me. the unbelievabel joy you and Rebecca have given me and your dad over the years and all the great memories of ya’ll’s childhood and the great gift of the four Super fantastic grandchildren. So much to look forward to – great grandchildren, fun at the river, retirement, not getting up at 4:30am.

    I want to enjoy the rest of my time here. I want to enjoy my family and not be so resentful of things I can’t control and don’t need to control, the things I wish didn’t happen. I want to be appreciative of my husband, who I know would do anything for me, and is always there when I need him. Even if he tells me what I need to hear instead of what I want to hear.

    I am grateful that you are spending the night with me tonight and Louis is here with us. I am grateful for what sunlight I am able to enjoy out my office window.

    I am so thankful that you have this blog and even if I don’t comment, I can read and ponder and think – yeah I feel like that, too. And I am so glad you share your wonderful pictures. When all is said and done, I would not change my life. I would not risk giving up any of you all to go back and change any thing.

    October 22, 2012
    • Thanks Momma, I’m glad I was able to come to your house and spend that little bit of time, too.

      November 23, 2012
  4. Those are such great photos! You’ve really come a long way in your photography skills.

    Just remember that you’re not alone. Everyone feels down at times. When I feel that way, I try to accept the way I’m feeling without letting it overwhelm me. It’s not easy. Be kind to yourself, rest, take walks with Louis, read, watch a movie, and know that the mood will pass. I try to force myself to spend time with my friends, especially those who will make me laugh. It almost always makes me feel better. Sometimes writing about it, knowing no one will ever read it, helps, too.

    October 22, 2012
    • Thank you, Angela! And that’s why I keep coming here to let it out, because I know you all will be with me to offer support and especially to tell me that it’s not just me. I just hope I don’t become a broken record with this mess! Thanks for your advice, too, it’s all good. But then, your advice always is!

      November 23, 2012
  5. From the beauty in the photos I can see why being there helped you begin your climb outta the pit. I was in a nasty mood today–for most of the day. I didn’t even like myself. Had a heart to heart with you know Who and though the sun may not be shining brightly I can see hints of it.

    Don’t get down on yourself, life ain’t easy, take it one day at a time.

    October 22, 2012
    • Thanks, Patricia! I have been having plenty of you know Who talks of my own this month, and it’s definitely important to not pull away from Him. Which is of course what my tendency would be. It’s been a longish month, but things are getting better.

      November 23, 2012
  6. Those are lovely words Michelle. I believe as the others mentioned, we all live this at one time or another and sometimes more often then others. The power is knowledge! You recogonized the war and you “choose” to move onward! CHARGE! Everyone takes one step at a time and move forward to our future. You have big plans for the future, keep your focus on that and not the everyday “rut” that we sometimes create or fall into!

    Remember one step at a time can create your most wonderful M.I.L.E.S.T.O.N.E.

    Keep your chin up and your Faith shining! 🙂

    October 23, 2012
    • Thanks Vicki, and thanks for your talks this past month. I know at least once I was not in the best frame of mind and when I told you I just wanted to escape off of that phone, you just kept going. So, thank you for that, too. It’s important to make myself face some things head on, at least to deal with them and how I feel. Thanks for being there for me anytime I need you.

      November 23, 2012
  7. When this happens to me, I keep telling myself that I must remember that mind lies. Just because I think it is true (life stinks, etc.) doesn’t mean it is. I force myself to attempt to not buy into it and be patient, it will pass!

    October 23, 2012
    • Thanks Gretchen, that’s good advice. My friend talks about that in her health business too, that the mind and heart sometimes tell us things that aren’t true. I’ve approached this period a little differently, though I clearly have backed off here. I avoided responding to these comments for a month, so that probably wasn’t the best way to go. But I tried to reason with myself more and really be honest about what is happening – that it’s a temporary feeling, that this does not represent what is happening in every aspect of my life and I can’t let it. Thank you for your great advice!

      November 23, 2012
  8. You write so beautifully. I’ve been feeling pretty much the same the past couple weeks but the one word I have is – bleah. I’ve have been forcing myself to come out of it by baking, shopping online, cuddling the cats – anything. But I still find myself slipping back into the dumps. The warmth and love of family and friends work wonders, and I can see from the photos you’ve figured it out too 🙂 It will pass. Leave it to God and let him figure it out for you.

    October 29, 2012
    • Thank you so much! I’ve tried to turn things over to God and sometimes I am able. Other times I keep on floundering and fighting. It definitely does pass, slowly but surely! I kept up my conversation with Him and kept up in contact with my family and friends and those things made a huge difference.

      November 23, 2012
  9. I remember feeling sad for so long that it began to seem normal….then one day, I looked up and realized the sadness had finally gone. It was a really long time…. I was told to fake it til I made it, but that never worked for me. It just made me feel combative to the world! For me it was simply time~ a lot more of it than I would have expected.
    So, it will pass, if you are patient and kind with yourself. Sometimes I wonder whether you are in a situation that doesn’t suit you, though?

    November 4, 2012
    • I believe you’re right about my situation. I’m not miserable, but I’m not fulfilled or even necessarily happy. I just am. I’m sorry you had to go through that, and I’ve been there too. The last time it happened to me like that, it was a little over 6 months, but I was just enveloped by it, not even realizing – like you said, it became the new normal. The time it happened last year was bad, but much shorter because I’d become aware and I fought it. This time isn’t nearly as bad as that, and I think I’m understanding it better each time. I did like you said, just took some time to rest and be kind to myself. I sure hope you never have to go through a long sad period like that again!

      November 23, 2012
  10. As a kid, I always wanted a swing like that, a tyre swing, swinging out over a river.

    Do you really have a thankfulness bracelet?

    I’m commenting really late, so I do hope that by now you’re over this bout. *hugs*

    November 5, 2012
    • I always wanted a swing like that, too! I do have a thankful bracelet (you can see it here). And thank you for commenting, no matter how late. As you see, I am totally late in answering the comments – honestly it’s because I’ve just been avoiding and hiding from it. Now I’m feeling better, not completely fantastic, but better. Thanks so much for the hug, too!

      November 23, 2012

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