My Post To Women. And Myself. And Anyone Else Who Might Be Interested.

Dudes. You may want to go get some popcorn and a drink. This looks to be a long one.

Two and a half years ago I established a posting schedule, of sorts, on this blog . And okay, it's changed a few times. But still, I've always posted at 5:00 a.m. my time, so my friends on the East Coast didn't have to wait until 9:00 their time to read something here. But lately . . . lately . . . 

Well, I've been learning a bit about life, and about what I'm grateful for. And what I should have been grateful for. And how I can show my gratitude in the future. And all of this learning has resulted in a total jogging up of my posting schedule. I'm late. Like, pretty much always. 

What's it down to? A change in my health. Actually, it hasn't been a change; it's been a finding out what's been going on for a bazillion years (since I was 16), and having it all hit critical mass at the same time. So, while I apologize for my erratic posting these days, let me also 'splain myself.

When I was sixteen: my parents had just divorced after an extremely un-friendly marriage, I was suffering from anorexia, we had moved and I was in my third high-school, having left several friends and really key teachers at the previous schools, and the post-divorce stress levels in our home were out the roof. My older siblings were gone, my mom was working, and I was doing most of the cooking, cleaning, errand running, bill paying, and stress absorbing. Naturally my body started doing funky things, for which I went to a doctor and was diagnosed with Raynaud's disease–an odd little stress-induced circulation disorder. (I was not, however, diagnosed with anorexia. It was a new thing, and I hadn't hit full stride with it yet. Besides, I had always been thin. People just assumed that my thinner-ness had to do with my home-life. Which, actually, it did.) 

Flash forward a few decades and I was no longer anorexic, was married, had delivered four hilarious children, and had finally started writing and performing again after giving it all up seventeen years earlier to raise my peeps full-time. I had a good and blessed life. But …

Why the hinkypunk was I tired and shaky all the time? And losing my hair–both of which, frankly, had been going on for, well, all the years since I was sixteen. Except I just assumed I was a wimp, so I forged ahead. Having babies wiped. me. out. and trashed my hormones. But I got over it. Eventually. I was always able to push on. Shakily but strongly. Mostly. I mean I ran a marathon. So why was I a wimp? And why was everything so hard? Sheesh.

Let me pause here and just say to women everywhere: Stop that! Why do we do that to ourselves? Push ourselves on and on and worry that we're not good enough and wonder why we're tired and stressed, and if some health issue or emotional issue is rearing its head, that we're just not tough enough or strong enough or good enough. Bleargh! Stop! We ARE good enough and tough enough and strong enough! We just need to NOTICE it. I don't think it's men. I don't. So I'm not going to go there. I don't think it's men telling us we're not good enough–although I'm not ruling out those individual males who DO do that sort of ridiculous and unenlightened thing. No. I think it's some female standard of femaleness and competition that we make up all by ourselves. And I think we need to ditch it and just start noticing ourselves. And our lives. And the wonderful things we do do. They count. We need to count them. Without trying to prove them.

Back to the shakiness-thing. So this Fall, as I mentioned, it all hit critical mass. I got tired of being tired, of being shaky, of flapping my arms and gesticulating wildly whenever I spoke, of being so hyper that I was interrupting people, of losing hair, of feeling stressed-out. So I went and saw a doctor. Who informed me that while she's sure my original doctor had the best of intentions in diagnosing me with Raynaud's disease, that was not in fact what I had. My Raynaud's had gone into remission for about 18 years. Real Raynaud's does not. Ergo, not Raynaud's. Hmm. How inconvenient. What about all those little stories and excuses and comforts I had built up around my disease.

Tough toenails. What I really had–and it was indeed in my blood–was and is Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. With a major splash of adrenal fatigue. Also known as cortisol depletion. Also known as THIS IS WHY I'M FREAKING TIRED AND SHAKY AND SPAZZY ALL THE TIME, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

And boy. Since then it has all. hit. hard. The best description of how these little ailments feel was given to me by my friend and fellow-sufferer, Maleah Warner: It's like I'm made of cement and walking through tar, and the rest of the world is happening a million miles away. Yep. That's it exactly. Except I prefer molasses. Its more fun to walk through. And it's a pain, because when you have this stuff, you look pretty normal. You sound pretty normal. People who don't know, wouldn't know–just by looking at you.

So I'm learning. I'm grateful my body made it this far. It shouldn't have. It's a miracle that it did without collapsing. It's like I've been running a hundred mile race, all the time. (And I know what that's like. Vicariously. My husband ran one last year, like a crazy person. His description of it is what life has felt like for me. I'm not trying to be whiny. You're just being my therapist. You can bill me later. Although I'm assuming you're charitable and this is pro bono work. Besides, I've already done the professional therapy thing. It's why I'm so normal and balanced and stuff. Well. Getting there.) And given that it takes one day to recover for each mile you run in a race, after the way I have non-managed stress all of my life, I calculate that it will take me 1,100 years to recover from my life-race. Give or take a little.

I don't have time for that.

So, I'm going to change my life approach. I can't do what I've always done and be a whackadoo hyper stress-woman who is never good enough anymore. Can't. Instead, I will look at where I am each day, and live there. Not in the past. Not in the future. But there. In that moment. 

I will clear my mental stage of stress every time I feel it. Just visualize it all going away and leaving the stage of my brain clean. It's not like I can address all of it at once anyway. And no stage can be that full all of the time and make any sense. The only real-life stage that allows multiple things to go on at once is a circus stage. And you'll notice that a circus—well, it's a circus. One thing at a time, my friends.

I will see the good things I'm doing every day. While I'm doing them. After I did them. And I will say, "Yay you, Janiel! Look what you did! You did that! Good job. It counts." And I will let myself enjoy it.

I will learn to forgive. Do you know how much stress one carries around when one doesn't forgive? 5,000 metric tons. I measured. It's too much. I have finally realized that if I hold onto the not-nice things other people do to me, all that happens is it just sits there. On me. Not leaving. Weighing me down. Harassing me. Reminding me of the pain the other person inflicted. And then re-inflicting it on me. Over and over. For as long as I carry around the unforgiven thing. Meanwhile, the other person moves on with their life. Psh. So done with that. Forgiveness is for my benefit, not the other person's. They still have God to answer to. Or Karma. Or whatever you believe in. Yeah. I don't need it. Going to ditch the unforgiveness-thing.

And while I have this blank stage of my mind, this notice-the-good-I-do state of living, this let go of other peoples' not nice-ness-burden, I am going to live. And love. And learn. And feel joy, And spread it around. Even if no one but me notices. It's bound to do some good for the world. Add some positive energy.

Also, I am going stop listening to the news. And eat more Ben & Jerry's. And then learn to enjoy the benefits of running. Which involve being able to eat Ben & Jerry's.

And I will hug all my favorite people.

*hug*

And maybe, somewhere in all of this rambling, there will be something that will strike you. Help you. Get you to notice the good you do, and count it. Keep your mind free and clean and clear of stress. And help you go out and hug the world too. Do it. You are good, and you can.

Cheers, my friends. And that, I hope, is the end result of all of this. Good, old-fashioned cheer.

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About Janiel 432 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.

10 Comments

  1. Dude. You’re totally right. I am so so sorry that things have been so hard for so long. You’ve been really good at not letting it show, but that must have made it harder. I’m glad you can talk about it now.

    *Hugs* back.

    • Thank you very much, my friend! You are the best encourager I know. And you’re also a genius fighter and surviver and thriver and inspirer. I’m so grateful for our friendship. πŸ™‚

    • You are very sweet, and thank you! I’m not really amazing. I mean, it took me like 30 years to figure out I needed to go to a doctor. πŸ˜› πŸ™‚

  2. A couple of thoughts to add to your well-said blog: Live each day as if it were your last, live in the now. I agree! I learned that while visiting friends in the hospital for suicide attempts. Life is too important to be taken so seriously! For the other thought I would like to quote Auntie Mame: “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” Go Auntie Mame – who is a woman, if you didn’t notice. “Live, Live!”

  3. Wow. I second all the comments above. I knew you were having health issues, but I didn’t realize just how intense they were, and while you were also taking care of your kids, writing, working, acting in plays, singing in Seattle, fulfilling Church callings, and supporting your Gnomes (I’m sure there are many things to add to this list). You are amazing!

    • Maegs! You are most kind. And I appreciate your kind words. I’m not really amazing–I’m just a bit clueless. πŸ™‚ And it didn’t hit the most critical mass until this Fall. It’s always been harder than it should have been. But I’d be dead now if I’d always felt the way I do these days. Thank heavens I’m getting help before THAT happens. πŸ™‚ I really do appreciate your thoughts and kindness. Thank ya, Gnomie!

  4. I agree with all of the above, and as benefactor of stated sacrifices, am indeed quite grateful. So, proclaiming to the general world wide web, I have a pretty darn tootin’ fantastic mother. Fact. And she has done more for me and our family than she realizes. So a summary that agrees with the advice: “We Women (though i’m sure it applies broadly) have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are” ~Marjorie Pay Hinckley. Because what we are is pretty astounding.

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