My Personal Ideology: My Way of Living (1)

Standard

“The thing is to understand myself: the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die. That is what I now recognize as the most important thing.” – Søren Kierkegaard.

To know who you are is important as who you are shapes your life. Existence precedes essence, and that it’s up to us to make do with what we have and form our essence based on that. We exist, and then we create, but what we create is different because no two people are the same.

Everyone has their own unique perspective – we witness the same events but we remember and recall through our perspective which may differ from the perspective of others who were also witnesses. In writing, there are multiple points of view. On the basic level, there is: first, second, and third point of view. There’s also omniscient and limited point of views which you’ll use depending on which person point of view that you’re using. All of this goes back to that there’s a lot that everyone can offer because we view things differently from one another. There’s a truth that’s true for you, and that can be used to find the ideology that you feel strongly about.

My constantly shaping ideology that I live by is: taking personal responsibility for myself, continue towards self-improvement, there’s always something to be learned, and doing my best to not consciously harm another person for whatever reason besides to defend myself. Treat thy neighbor as thou would treat thyself. My religious values play a large part in my philosophy – I believe in a benevolent God who through Jesus Christ forgave us for our sins and through belief in our lord savior, we will be saved. Treating others well, or at least being cordial to them even if I don’t feel warmly towards them, is a goal of mine that I try to implement as best as possible. I seek to live a life that’s dedicated to keeping my promises and being a good servant to my Lord Father which includes spreading love and kindness to others. People have been using God to spread their evil and hatred when Jesus tells us to love all. “He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’” (Matthew 22:37-40, NRSV w/A). These two commandments were emphasized by Jesus and both speak of love.

In addition, Jean-Paul Sartre has it right when he states: “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.” We must take personal responsibility for ourselves because we are free. We are free to choose who we get to be. Even with my mental illnesses, I chose to seek help and be medicated when I desperately needed to be who I wanted to be and not what my mental illnesses wanted me to be. It’s up to me to give my life meaning, and through my hobbies, passions, and surrounding myself with people who help me think critically about my ideas, I find myself developing my philosophy that’s ever changing but solid in its foundation of: personal choice and freedom. In a sense, I do identify with being a Christian Existentialist.

I still have a problem with not letting my illnesses shape everything in my life, but it’s hard when my life is significantly impacted with how limiting my physical capabilities are now. However, I am moving on with getting my tests done including MRIs of my brain and cervical spine to see if there’s any lesions in my brain as my neurologist also thinks multiple sclerosis is a possibility, so we’re going to be thorough to be sure. It’s relieving how fast things are moving now to figure out what’s going on with me. I’m tired of feeling ill all day while being in a good amount of pain without knowing what’s causing all of it. Hopefully once we figure out the diagnosis, it’ll be something that’s curable. I need to keep the faith otherwise I’ll be lost in this pain, and I refuse to let pain be everything about me. I still have my hobbies. I still have a great relationship. I have a lot to be grateful for, and gratitude is an important way of looking at life as it’s just that wonderful to be grateful for things.

Coping with My Chronic Illnesses: Some Thoughts (01)

Standard

“Those great wars which the body wages with the mind a slave to it, in the solitude of the bedroom against the assault of fever or the oncome of melancholia, are neglected. Nor is the reason far to seek. To look these things squarely in the face would need the courage of a lion tamer; a robust philosophy; a reason rooted in the bowels of the earth.” – Virginia Woolf, On Being Ill.

There are some days that you feel ill from the very moment you wake up. Your body is waging a war with your mind. How can you face it? You know something is not right; you’re unhealthy. You’re not at the top shape you know you could be if your body and/or your mind wasn’t failing you. The constant onslaught of a chronic illness is enough to drive people crazy, and as Woolf puts it: “To look these things squarely in the face would need the courage of a lion tamer; a robust philosophy; a reason rooted in the bowels of the earth.” Finding that reason can be hard, but it’s achievable. And then it’s being gritty and persisting in the direction you want your life to continue going despite the uncertainty of how the illness affects you on the timeline it affects you.

I can only plan as appropriately as I can, even if it’s not that far in advance, but that’s okay. I’m going by my timeline because my timeline involves being chronically ill that has no pattern beyond being every day. The intensity of the illnesses aren’t always the same on a day to day basis, but even on the better days, dealing with the illnesses is still stressful.

Still, slowly, you must fight on through the chronic illness. It’s tempting to give up. There’s nothing sweeter than temptation. I want to give up a lot, but I can’t. I refuse to. Taking each day, sometimes each hour, one at a time and slowing down is what’s best for me. That’s all I can handle sometimes, and that’s alright. Sometimes I’m so hard on myself even when everyone is telling me to take it easy. Truly, sometimes, you are your worst critic. Practicing self-compassion is another strategy to help with this.

Sometimes, my mind is hazy in the morning. It feels like I can’t quite understand what’s going on and nothing registers in me because of it. This feeling doesn’t last long, but sometimes it’s a little scary in retrospect. Moreover, my anxiety heightens the scariness as well when I can’t get it under control. Trying these coping methods helps a little, but ultimately when things are really bad, catharsis by crying and praying is the only thing that helps me feel remotely any better. Once the emotions are drained, it’s then possible to look at solutions as to how I can make myself comfortable while dealing with the chronic illness. For me, the pain won’t go away, but I can deal with it by not making it the center of every thought by trying to do the things that I need to get done or do my hobbies like reading or my language learning activities.

Regardless, things have been looking up emotional-wise. I’m glad that things have slowly gotten better over the past few weeks in all my personal relationships even if my physical health is deteriorating to balance out the emotional stability that I’ve slowly gained. However, I do my best to not allow my illnesses to interfere with my personal development as much as possible, and this blog helps me stay accountable while being a place where I feel willing to write down my thoughts.

My goal of self-improvement (among other goals) stems from wanting to have a better relationship with God, my SO, and myself as I deal with the fact that I’m more than likely won’t ever escape my chronic illnesses like I wished desperately to when I was a little girl. It’s a continuous challenge, especially as my illnesses sometimes dominates my mind and body, but as I stated before, achievable. As Albert Einstein said: “You never fail until you stop trying.” I’ll only fail at my goal when I stop trying so as I don’t like failing, I obviously can’t stop trying.

Getting Back Into the Groove

Standard

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring.

Life likes to knock you one regardless if you’re looking or not, and it’s up to you to pick yourself up after he has knocked you down.

The days have passed by in somewhat of a tired, painful, blur these past few days. I’ve been worrying heavily since my doctor indicated that multiple sclerosis is on the table and now I’m being referred to a neurologist. Hopefully things are resolved, and I find out just what exactly I may have. Back in 2009, I had an episode of optic neuritis, which can be an early sign of multiple sclerosis. Of course, I need to go for further testing. I’m trying to relax, but it can be pretty hard when symptoms seem to be lining up for now, but I suppose that could be me with confirmation bias, which might not be the reality of the matter at all. I really need to relax. I’m praying that it’s not multiple sclerosis, but even if it’s not, there’s still a lot of pain and fatigue that still occurs. I also can’t quite leave my home much due to the intense heat with my heat intolerance. I don’t think life is meant to feel like a trap, but it does at the moment with being so ill.

Despite all the ill feelings, I’ve managed to get some reading done towards the Classics challenge I’m going this year. I’m finally tackling Virgil’s The Aeneid. I really like it so far. I’m reading Fagles’ verse translation of the Latin classic, which has made me think of learning more about poetry. For someone who has difficulty with poetry, what text would you recommend to help get a feel for poetic analysis? I enjoy more ancient and early modern poetry than modern and postmodern poetry. Are there sources where I can also read about the types of poetic styles (I suppose that’s based quite a bit on time period?) that writer’s employed during ancient and early modern periods e.g. metaphysical poetry for early modern?

I’ve also completed the German 1 course on Memrise. I’ll be moving onto the second course soon. I’m actually enjoying the time I spend on Memrise. It feels very much like a game to me that I’m slowly learning German vocabulary from. Are there any resources for free that anyone would recommend to someone who’s primary focus is to read German?

As it stands, even when I’m feeling ill, I don’t want to waste majority of the day lost in a haze where I’m probably zoning out on Reddit, watching Netflix, or on my mobile game. Doing chores is one of the most productive things I do outside of my studying and taking care of myself and my loved ones. Staying productive helps to not sink fully into a major depression as my tendency to stop things I enjoy is a prominent symptom when I’m spiraling into a more major depressive state. It’s a struggle, but at least there are moments where things are good, God is gracious, and I have relatively pain-free and depressive-free days. Rarely do they occur, but they are cherished moments. It’s up to me on what to do with the time that I do have, so I personally would like to do things that I view as productive which is sometimes a struggle, but it’s always a proud moment when I do manage to succeed.

Turning to Faith in Sickness

Standard

Lately life has been hectic; chaotic, really. I’ve been sick on and off, but this past weekend, I was sicker than I’ve been in a while. It was one hell of a severe cold that left me unable to stomach eating anything beyond a few bites here and there so I could take my medicine, mostly drinking water in attempts to stay hydrated, severe congestion and other sinus problems, cough, fatigue, and some body pains. Amazingly, it wasn’t the flu according to the test that I did at the doctor’s. These colds are nasty. But I am in a new environment this time of year, so maybe the environment isn’t agreeing with my immunity yet.

With all these illnesses, I’ve found myself turning to my faith more than ever. I asked my grandmother for a rosary, which she did have, great woman, and gifted it to me. I felt blessed and thankful. It’s a beautiful rosary, but more so, it’s my first rosary from when I can understand it more than when I was a young child going to Sunday school. It helped comfort me through the night as I prayed in bed, and I felt better mentally after praying, enough to finally help calm my thoughts into a more linear direction rather than being scrambled. I can’t really can’t find the right words to describe how I felt about the experience beyond that it was my personal choice to experience it. I felt that I could rest more peacefully and wake up feeling much better, which did happen. I still have my fever, but I’m not as bedridden as I have been these past few days which were nearly all day being sick out of my mind.

All of this served to remind me of my faith. Before I had gotten sick, I had read the first four chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, and it was through remembering my faith and turning to it that I felt some strength to power through the hard times and settle into the less sick days. I’m glad that I am better than I was these past few days. I’m hoping to keep up a commitment to read more of the Bible as I have read parts of both the Old and New Testaments but never completed the Bible as in read it from the first to the last line, with commentary. The Bible that I use is the New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version With the Apocrypha and sometimes the HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).  I first decided to immerse myself into reading and learning more about Christianity as a whole a little over a year ago, and I’m glad I decided to do so. It helped me find my faith, along with other Christian writers such as my adventures into reading Søren Kierkegaard, and I’m hoping to read a little more into C.S. Lewis’s writings on Christianity.

Some Thoughts of Living with Chronic Pain + Andrew Lang’s Myth, Ritual, and Religion

Standard

How do you live and cope with chronic pain and illness?

I haven’t quite figured it out myself yet what that question exactly means to me and exactly how I do it beyond taking things one day, one thing at a time because who knows how I’d be feeling later in the day compared to how I feel in the morning. Some days I can walk fine at one point of the day and then be unable to walk at another part of the day. Sometimes the weather affects my illnesses and makes them worse. Coping well is hard for me at times because there are many times that I want to give up. I end up praying a lot, if only to find time to ease my mind which tends to happen as it gives me something else else to focus so in the meantime I calm down enough to look at the situation after a little more time has passed and go back to resolve it if it means that much to me.

Being constantly ill as a child to now as an adult in my 20s, life has been wild in regards to how much I feel like I’m lacking compared to everyone else. Chronic pain has stolen a large swathe of my life and will continue to do so. Most days I’m lying in bed. Rarely do I leave my home; I leave once on average, or twice if I’m feeling really good, per week. I don’t have the energy nor the tolerance to be somewhere not comfortable while my body goes through enough pain that I want to go hide in a corner and bawl my eyes out. Most of my attention throughout the day is focused on my pain, focused on making me comfortable with the limited movements that I can do that won’t send pain ramming into me. I’ll be going in for another review of myself at the doctor’s next month, so at least there’s that.

In the meantime, I try my best to focus on my hobbies and doing household chores that I’m able to do on my own. I’m so blessed to have him in my life – someone who loves and supports me despite my general craziness and how ill I can get. Through thick and thin, I know I can trust him. For my hobbies, I feel like I need to create a more structured environment, but I find it incredibly difficult to do things when I feel unwell – pressured or not. I do have many moments where I can suddenly study with deep concentration for a few hours (and by few, I mean 2-3) on end, but that’s only a few times a week, and I’d like to extend that to at least four to five times a week on top of doing my chores.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about Andrew Lang’s Myth, Ritual, and Religion. A good portion that I read so far (I’m 25% into the first volume) strikes me as “meh”. I’d rate it at a 2/5 so far. Lang goes on to making sure the reader understands what a civilized person believes in regards to myth as compared to a savage. The terms civil and savage doesn’t work for me, personally, but Lang is explicit so that makes it easy to understand what he means by those terms. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding or looking too much into it, but Lang seems to just radiate white superiority when he writes about savages sometimes, or at the very least, he uses examples of such stereotypes as to show white superiority while just about what seemed to me dissing of every other culture because people saw just as much value in other things as humans, which was one of the reasons of what made a person savage. Like I said, perhaps it’s just me misunderstanding the him and he didn’t mean to come across like that, but he does to me. The book has turned into a bit of a slog for me, but I feel that I should try to finish the first volume at the very least.

Reflecting While Ill

Standard

This past week has been a week from hell. My health took a plunge and seems determined to keep me ill, and it’s been over a week! There’s been allergies, muscle spasms, body pain, fatigue, and a whole slew of other physical and mental illnesses that all seemed to want to pop up at once. On a scale of how bad I felt from 1-10, I was constantly at a 10 last week. I’ve gotten at least down to an 8 now. One of the things that I’ve been trying to keep in mind this week is that God is good and has a plan for me or I have a plan for myself that I haven’t built a solid foundation for yet. Either way, the best thing about the moment is that I’m starting to feel better after last week’s hell – even if it’s a slow recovery.

Considering how unwell I felt, I mostly focused on recuperating and trying to have fun. One of the things that I did was play my favorite mobile game, Summoners War, more often and trying to learn more of the game rather than just playing it instinctively. I’ve been watching SW streams every now and then but I haven’t gotten into it as much as I like watching the League of Legend e-sports pro scene, especially NALCS. I’m a major TSM fan alongside being a fan of SKT. But going back to SW, I’m a free to play player so I’m often grinding throughout the day when I have the energy and despite playing for about a year pretty much daily, I’m only around mid-game, I’d say. My poor phone is showing signs of wear mainly because of this game. I like turn based games and summoning things, which SW and other games like Fire Emblem Heroes fits the bill. Hopefully my phone lasts longer or I can get a tablet somehow – either way, here’s to hoping for longer gaming.

I’ve also been reading into mythology. I just began Myth, Ritual, and Religion by Andrew Lang this morning, and I think I’d like consider the field of mythology further. Moreover, I’m about to begin Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood for the May reading challenge at LetsReadABook. I haven’t read The Tempest by William Shakespeare, which Atwood uses as inspiration for her book, nor do I know what it’s about beyond what’s in the first few scenes of the play, so I’m going in a little blind. I’m excited to finish it and discuss it with others on the subreddit. Although the subreddit has been lacking a little on the activity, I hope with summer coming up more activity will return with it. I also highly recommend checking out your local library, signing up with them, and see what they participate in offline and online. My library offers hoopladigital and overdrive, which allows me to access a vast number of books that I can borrow from the comfort of my own home. It’s amazing.

My art stuff (along with my bujo, sadly) have been coming along slowly; I did take a break when I fell ill last week. For my art side of things, I think I’m getting to a point where practicing my cursive and other hand lettering styles that that’s what I want to focus on – particularly creating quote designs. Practice makes perfect. I’m going back and forth between working on my art and studying. I’m slowly getting a hang of how I want to study, which includes studying something for a week or two, put it off for a while, and come back when the interest shows again, which it does. For the most part, my interests tend to fall into the same categories: art, gaming, personal development/learning/productivity, reading and studying religion, politics, philosophy, history, and literature. There’s so many things to study, and I have the flexibility at the moment to take my time to learn and practice things while maneuvering being ill a lot that it helps to keep the interest alive for so many things!

Of course, I hope to continue writing consistently with at least one post a week. I’ve kept up writing, but I’d like to do it more. For example, I’d like to post my thoughts on quotes I’ve read considering the amount of reading I do daily always has something that I’m left pondering about. I haven’t been consistent in this so I haven’t posted anything, but I’m still currently focused on getting better physically so this one isn’t a priority. Hopefully, I will at least start.