Coping with My Chronic Illnesses: A Pain-Filled World (02)

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“Of pain you could wish only one thing: that it should stop. Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain. In the face of pain there are no heroes.” ― George Orwell, 1984.

I don’t recall ever being in this much pain before without respite. The pain started at the end of June and hasn’t gone away and it’s already nearing the end of July. Normally, there would be a day or two of pain respite, but that hasn’t happened since it started, which is driving me insane. This pain-filled world is what I think hell is like. I watched House M.D. about half a year ago when it was still on Netflix, and I identified a part of myself with Gregory House. Pain changes a person, especially when it’s always there and severely limits their ability to do something. It definitely can make them meaner. I don’t have enough energy to pretend that things are okay anymore. I can forget for a little while when I indulge in my hobbies or hang out with my SO or my friends, but the pain is always there at the back of my mind.

I can’t sleep well without medication anymore; otherwise, I’m waking up in the middle of the night due to pain. At least now I can sleep for several hours undisturbed by pain. I’m close to giving up and going to the emergency room due to the sheer amount of pain I’m in, but luckily, I managed to snag a doctor’s appointment at the neurologist on Monday, so hopefully that goes well! I just want the pain to stop. It’s consuming a lot of my thoughts lately even when I try to push them away.

On a happier note, for coping partly comes from finding good in tough situations, I’m blessed that my SO tries his best to make my life as comfortable as possible right now. I’d be lost without his support. The daily massages are a blessing and knowing that he has my back and is willing to see my illnesses through with me is a great comfort. I am cherished, and though my mind likes to play tricks and make me think otherwise, it always comes back to: “I am cherished.”

It’s a bitter pill to swallow that because of some of the things I was born with, I’m not healthy and am in pain sometimes because of it. Without these breakthrough gratitude moments, my life would be the hell my body wants it to be. However, fortunately enough for me, I am able to remember my blessings. I am able to remember God’s greatness and how despite the illnesses, I still have blessings in my life. I said my prayers today and remembered my place as a child of God and felt a little more hopeful that I may bear with all this pain as we figure out what exactly is going on. I have to keep the faith that we will be able to figure out what’s going on and figure out a way to help me with the pain.

On Relaxation: Some Ways to Help Calm Unwanted Thoughts

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After the stress of my last post, I’ve been experimenting with things to help me out when unwanted thoughts are invading my mind. By unwanted thoughts, I mean thoughts that have no benefits to me at all such as me thinking that I’m worthless and that I don’t deserve anything because I have mental and physical illnesses that aren’t easy to deal with. I’ve found that breathing meditation doesn’t help me unless it’s to help with my panic attacks. In fact, for some reason, if I do it with other things besides my panic attacks, I’d go into rage inducing moments the moment I would stop the breathing exercises. I had to give up on that one. However, there were a few that have worked out for me so far. It’s a combination of the three in the end that have helped me the most:

  1. Count numbers. I came across this idea on reddit. The idea, as far as I understand it, behind it is that you can’t pay attention to unwanted thoughts and something else that you can focus on. I’m not a big fan of math, and I’ve found that it helps to immediately stop the thoughts. Eventually the thoughts return, but in the heat of the moment when I’m starting to get lost in flashbacks or anxiety, counting numbers helped break me out of it once I realized what was going on a few times long enough for me to do something else to calm down.
  2. Listening to music and singing along. This goes along with the idea behind counting numbers. It gives me something to focus on. Sometimes the lyrics match my mood as I seek it out; other times, I look for music that would help to lift me out of the mood I’ve found myself falling into. I’ve been listening to Michael Bolton’s Go the Distance. It’s old, it’s great, and it’s Hercules. Listening to music and singing along gets me in a mood to just jam out sometimes, which can get really fun for a while after being lost because of my thoughts.
  3. Praying silently or aloud. My rosary helps ground me as I meditate and give prayer to God. It helps me not get too lost in my own mind even when I’m praying. Having the rosary and praying as both to help in connecting with God creates a focus.

I came across this prayer (the mystery of sorrowful Tuesday) while wanting to learn more on praying using a rosary: “My children, never seek your comfort in anyone but God. In your times of loneliness, in your times of depression, in your times of doubt, have recourse to prayer. When you go to the Father, offer this mystery for those who are in doubt: those who do not know where to turn to: those who are depressed: the mentally ill: the emotionally ill. Pray that as the Father sent an angel to comfort my Son, the Lord in His mercy will comfort them and enlighten them.” Meditating on it, I found some comfort. For someone I feel as unworthy as me, I pray that the Father’s mercy will comfort and enlighten me so that I may heal in mind and spirit, as I lay my allegiance to my Lord God.

Overall, it’s been hard. My teeth have been grinding again too. It’s easy to be exhausted when mentally and physically you’re not feeling well. In a way, I think I’ve quieted down these past few days. I’m so tired. I’ve honestly lost count on how many times I’ve said: “I’m tired” this past month. I’ve hardly been able to relax this past month. A short-term goal for the rest of the month is to relax and work on not letting the anxiety, depression, and stress take over. It’s a tough road, but I hope as I continue to fight off these mental illnesses that I’ll eventually overcome them.

Keeping the faith can be hard, but it’s something alongside hope that helps to keep me going at times.


Sources:

http://www.catholic.org/prayers/mystery.php?id=2#1

 

Lost a Part of Myself

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Sometimes the depression, anxiety, and stress are so bad that it affects me physiologically. I get intense nausea, sometimes short of breath, and even what seems like streaks across my chest sometimes almost like a panic attack. I’m kind of lost at the moment. I’m not quite sure what to do anymore. I think this past month, I lost a part of myself with all the stress. I’m not sure how to gain it back.

One of the things that’s been helping me are my prayers, but the feelings of anxiety always return. I’m tired of feeling like this. I’m tired of crying. It’s a strange mixture of feeling tired of both wanting to live and die. I’m so tired…

Praying Aloud + Bible Study

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Praying aloud helps to calm me. It helps to give focus back into my life rather than a chaotic whirl of frustration and stress. It’s important to remember that God is good. Every time I pray aloud, I feel a slow calm wash over me as if God is slowly embracing me as I pray to him for whatever it is that I’m praying for/about. I’m always so grateful to Our Father in Heaven. In Him I gain strength even when I don’t think I can go on. Hope and faith in Him who loves us helps carry me on when times are hard.

I’m trying my best to go about trying to figure out my way of studying the Bible. I recently finished Jen Wilkin’s Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds. I’m also going to be starting William W. Klein’s Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (Revised and Updated).

In addition, one of the things that I’m having trouble deciding on is if I should read the Bible in chronological order as I start to get to know the text or if it would be fine to hop around and read the books of the Bible in random order. Also, who should I look into for scholastic work on the Bible? Who would you recommend to read about the history of Christianity or even further back to including the history of Judaism? I’d like to gain knowledge on a broad overview of the history of the Hebrews.

While I decide how I’ll go about with my personal Bible Study and more academic Bible Study by figuring out secondary sources to go along with those reading, I’ll been listening to audio version of the NRSV of the Bible in the meantime. YouTube is great for this. Sometimes I like to follow along with the texts, other times, I like to listen to the Bible while doing chores that take minimal amount of thought so I can focus more on the Bible. There’s no rush to learning God’s Word. In fact, I’d rather take my time so that I may immerse myself in His Word. I look forward to my Bible Study.

Discipline Over Motivation

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“True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.” – Mortimer J. Adler, How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

How reliant are you on motivation? Do you practice discipline more than motivation or vice versa?

When it comes to most things, discipline typically is much better than waiting on motivation to strike. You build upon yourself with discipline as you force yourself on even the tougher days to continue your projects and assignments rather than procrastinating and hoping that motivation will happen and you’ll find your mojo to do your thing.

Per dictionary.com, discipline can be defined as an: “activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.” Discipline becomes a habit over time. It’s important to make discipline a habit because its primary use is to train yourself in a skill. Discipline is a part of self-improvement. To self-improve, it takes a lot of hard work. That work will include times when there’s nothing more you want to do is quit, but you won’t because you want to be better. Discipline helps push you through, and it’ll be because of you and not some in the moment motivation that suddenly inspired you. No, it’ll be because you put in the time and effort to create hard work through your habit of utilizing discipline to attain true freedom by improving or developing whatever you focused your discipline on.

These past few weeks, I’ve come to realize how much I depend on motivation, especially in regards to how I feel emotionally. When I’m too stressed, I can’t function. I cannot think. I need a break. But one of the hardest things to do is to communicate that I need a break without lashing out. Emotionally, I am now practicing to feel my anger, but never let it overtake me as much as possible. Anger is draining, and it definitely hasn’t added to my life these past few weeks.

To cope emotionally, one of the things I’m working on is to become better disciplined in that even when I’m not feeling entirely good, I’ll still take the time to do my studying. It’s a work in progress, and there’s much improvement to be done, but I’m getting there. As yesterday has showed me, studying helped to take the pressure of stress off for a little while because it was something productive being done at the same time. Despite the stress, I managed to do something else, and that’s a good start compared to how I obsessively would think on the stress and completely overwhelm myself with thoughts alone. Sometimes taking things slowly one at a time is what you need rather than charging straight ahead and doing everything at once.

Remembering God and my faith is important as well. God is great, and continues to be great. He has helped me more than I feel I deserve, so through discipline I seek to become a better servant of the Lord. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, Both now and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.


Sources: “Discipline”. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 4 Jun. 2017. <Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/discipline>.

Bible Study: Romans 9 (NRSV)

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I spent time last night listening to a recording of the book of Romans in the New Testament and completed it. I followed the audio by silently reading the text at the same time. It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything remotely like that, but it felt kind of nice. This was the first time that I read entirety of the Book of Romans (I’ve read parts of it before), so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Taking the time to soak it in what I read and reflect is something that I want to do more. At the end, I found myself mulling over Chapter Nine especially.

God, as creator of all, is the one to choose what to do with you as he wishes. Verses 14-18 go:

What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. So then he has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses.”

God will have mercy for whoever He wishes to have mercy for, and same with compassion. There is no injustice because it is His will, and He is acting upon a divine level that’s not depending on human will or exertion. Moreover, Paul recalls God’s hardening of the Pharaoh’s heart as Moses goes to the Pharaoh to gain the release of his people to show the greatness of God. God has a plan for His people and beloved, and if He has the will to make it so, it will happen.

Later, Paul follows this up in verses 20, 22, and 23:

But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God…? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory.

Echoing through my mind after I read this was: Who are we to thoughtlessly judge our creator?

Ultimately, these verses made me think of suffering and why God would allow it to happen. To know one extreme is to reveal the other. On a personal level, being constantly ill, and having been that way since I was young, I wondered why I was so sick, why I was in so much pain while I was so young, why I couldn’t be as healthy as my friends or even as healthy as my siblings. Even on a grander scale like how could God ever allow something like the World Wars and other terrorist attacks to happen. But Paul reminds me to look underneath the underneath. God has endured the flaws of humanity with occasional shows of enforcing His wrath to prepare us for His ultimate goal:” To make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory.” With the life that I have now, I must make the best of it even with the obstacles placed before me.

The ending of the chapter speaks out to me the most of relying on faith. I am a Gentile. The inclusion of God accepting us as His people and of being His beloved speaks to me. Through my faith, I pray that God continues to guide my loved ones and I through life. The belief that God has a plan for us that surpasses the suffering is one I believe in.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Praying During Emotionally Trying Times

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This past week has been awful emotionally. There’s been moments when I just want to give up on everything, but I know that’s not me. With that in mind,  I searched out ways to muster strength to continue on as I slowly lost hope little by little. Eventually, I took out the rosary my grandmother gave me a while back, and I prayed. I prayed with all the desperation that I felt. I prayed to God for strength. I prayed to God for stability. I prayed my Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers through my tears, and slowly as I concentrated by praying aloud and focusing on the prayers themselves, I felt a calm wash over me, slowly, each time, and found the will to get back up and face my mistakes with the notion to take responsibility and to become better. The power of prayer and the belief in Our Father’s love helped push me on. It’s a terrible battle of fighting off the dark thoughts that swirl in my mind due to depression and anxiety, but through Christianity, I am finding my solace for God is good.

Every day is a new day, and I would like to treat it as a new start. I would like to take my past in consideration but not have it consume me that it stops me from making today and the rest of my days a better life for my loved ones and I. It’s a battle every day, but I must carry on.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, and now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen!