Like a Tree ~ We Will Flourish Again

Audio

2014-0415-1838-Tree

I wrote a poem one day called “The Mystery of the Couch”. It was a dark poem, but it helped me to express what was going on inside of me that day. I felt a relief after getting my words out on paper… about what I had been feeling inside for a long time now.

The very day after I wrote it, I read something in a post on Facebook that I’m sure God wanted me to see – especially after pouring my heart out in my poem.

The quote was, “to everything there is a season”.

I thought to myself, “Thank you Jesus for speaking to me through this simple post that wasn’t even posted to me!” Isn’t it good how God works through others?  This is one way that Jesus speaks to people. Jesus was letting me know that I was definitely going to come through this dark place, because now I am reminded that it is “a season“, and we all know that seasons don’t last forever. We will flourish again.  Sharing with others and reading God’s Word is part of what keeps us all going.

This was a great way to start my day, especially after the darkness that washed over me the day before. For me, the (devil’s) PTSD and depression consume me sometimes still.

I have learned a technique called “Surfing the Wave”. Basically, it’s a skill that I can use right away (wherever I am). When the intense feelings come, I am to “observe and describe”, and breathe through them as they wash over me, “with no judgement” .

It’s good not to judge yourself and your reactions to things; like, “Oh I’m so stupid!”, or “I can’t believe I’m doing this AGAIN!”  Or “Gosh! What is wrong with me?”  It really does “lower my level of suffering” in the moment, and even more so over time, as I practice these skills of non-judgement of myself, others, and situations that just come up in daily life.

Do the feelings come back? Of course they do. Do I have a new way to process my way through them? Yes! I do! Do the feelings then go away? For that moment, yes. Do they come back? Yes, sometimes. Then what?

Then I use the techniques that I am learning in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). It’s just one of the many skills I am learning as I am working my way through the grieving process.

Jesus and DBT therapy have kept me alive and going for almost a year now. I’m letting my readers know right here, today, that – in the beginning, I did think about ending my life as things just kept falling apart at the seams. I just got too far-gone in grief and didn’t have enough skills or wherewithal to deal with it. I closed myself off and went inside – as if trying to keep the rain from falling on my head.

A lot of other negative things all happened at the same time; some of which included: of course, the death of my only son, the death of my dad, the death of my brother, the deaths of two aunts, the deaths of an uncle and a cousin consecutively – all within about 1-2 months apart from each other. Seriously it almost felt like the rapture had happened and we just got left behind!  I’m not even kidding.

Practically my entire family was ripped away from me, (including my daughters and grandchildren – their choice, don’t know why), and it is still this way to this day. I never imagined any of this could ever even HAPPEN to a person. It felt like almost EVERYONE close to me had just suddenly evaporated or died, and I never saw ANY of it coming. I felt like I had gotten run over by a freight train. It hurt my heart to the core. It STILL hurts my heart to the core. Grief on top of grief on top of grief on top of grief.

But I know that whatever you focus on, is what becomes magnified in your life. At a time like this, I understand that it’s hard to focus on the good things. Believe me, I do try every day. BUT we must at least try, in order to get through it (with our souls and brains still intact!).

Don’t be ashamed to own the truth of your experience; even if others do not understand your emotions as you struggle to put one foot in front of the other. Your truth is your truth!

The death of a child (or anyone you are really close to) is not easy; and we need all the help we can get. So I’m going for it! Do I want to be going through this process? No way! Should I continue to keep fighting against it at every turn? No. Why? Because it actually ‘raises’ my level of suffering to fight against the feelings/emotions rather than go with them.  My old beliefs would have me think that to “go with them” would lead me into the pit of despair. But the exact opposite is true. Who knew?

Another skill that I have learned to use a lot is a technique called “Radical Acceptance“. I have to accept the things that I can do nothing about (even though I desperately still want to sometimes). I’m not gonna lie – it’s hard. But I can say that when I fight it, it ‘raises’ my level of suffering. And when I use my “Radical Acceptance” skills, I am able to ‘lower’ my level of suffering and anxiety.

I cannot do anything about the fact that my heart was shattered when I lost my son in a tragic fire. I can never change that. I can’t change the fact that I basically have no family anymore except my husband and sister (whom I am SO grateful for), and some dear supportive friends. I can’t change the fact that my heart STILL feels shattered at times.

But I am learning that at least there is a way now for me to control SOMETHING – myself! I still feel the suffering, but now I can choose to lower my level of it. I never knew that I could practically use tools to actually do this before. What a concept! Thank God! I CAN and will get through this journey/process with His help and with the help of my new skills.

The gift? Is there a gift? Yes. (There’s always a gift in the midst of the storm.) We just have to believe it and train ourselves to see it – and that is not easy sometimes, especially when gift wrapping is not so great.

My precious husband and I are learning these DBT skills together, and it helps us so so much. We are together (on the same page) now with our grief and with life in general. We are walking together in our understanding (and our “new normal”), instead of apart.

We are closer to each than we’ve ever been. We seek God even more.  We finally have a common ground and tools with which to relate to each other (even in just regular old everyday communication); and we will now be able to share in all of this together – on the same page – on the same journey – for the rest of our lives.

For us (as a couple especially) it is so important to be able to recognize that when disagreements come, it is not your loved one that you are in disagreement with, it is the enemy (the devil) whose mission is basically to break up your family (among other things).  I wish everyone could know this and keep it close to their heart all the time.

DBT – A BIG gift – and what a welcomed surprise in the midst of all the pain. A silver lining? I think so. Hopefully one of many. God’s good like that.

A Prayer for all of us:

“Thank You Jesus for blessing every single person pouring their hearts out to you. I know that You see and hear every single one. I know that you are catching every tear. I thank you for helping us to come up out of the dark places to receive your gifts in the midst of the storms.

Thank you for giving us all a way to be like a tree…..

Feet firmly planted in the ground where the roots go deep. Our arms can flail about in the storm, blowing this way and that. But by grounding ourselves with Your Words and the help of others, the winds may continue to blow; but we will not be moved in Jesus name”. “Amen.”

Peace and comfort to you all as we “Continue on this Journey ~ Together.

XOXO, Cyd

Advertisements

The Mystery Of The Couch

Standard

20140328-124844.jpg
THE MYSTERY OF THE COUCH
by: Cydnee Green

My My My how depression looms
I don’t want to leave my living room
Would love to go out and just look at the moon
It’s just so much safer in my cocoon.

On my couch in the same old seat
Everything I need just within my reach
Fear and anxiety seem to grip my soul
Fear of being like this until I am old.

“Get out and get some exercise!”, people say
If they only understood what’s in my way
It may seem simple from where they sit
There must be something that I just don’t get.

I see other people getting so much done
Seems to deepen the depression – like I’m the only one
I really do love to laugh and have fun
I have short bursts, then it’s all gone gone.

I want so badly to see the day
When so many feelings don’t get in my way
Time stands still as things pass me by
Always questioning why why why.

“Please oh please stop hanging around!”
Silent depression – with no sound.
I’m so tired of asking, “Pease pray for me?”
What a gift some have, to just be free.

Free of all the pain that lingers inside
Yearning for the arms of others to open wide.
Hugs and words showing that they understand
What exactly it’s like to live in no man’s land.

It’s not that I focus on it every single day
It’s seemingly just there and doesn’t want to go away.
Other’s say to me, “Hey! Let’s go play!”
If I can pry myself from the couch, it can truly make my day!

The mind and the body can be mystical things
I just want to fly, like with angel wings
A lot of days it’s hard, to just go with the flow
Sitting on my couch, I still don’t know…..

Why?;

Grief – “The No Judgement Zone And Boundaries”

Standard

No JudgementLet this right here be the “no judgement zone”.  Whatever the words or feelings are – that come from within us – are VALID! When other people don’t understand our “timeframe”, or our journey, it’s sometimes because they have not walked in our shoes.

Then there are others……The words they speak to us, actually say more about them than they do about us.  It’s up to us to learn this.  Never, ever, should we feel ‘depressed’ or ‘judgmental’ toward ourselves (or of them).

I always say, “What others think about me is none of MY business”.  Even if others are more than happy to give you their opinions about you (or about what you say or do) – that is “their” opinion. Leave it with THEM.

And furthermore, (gently spoken here), we are not “mind readers”.

So we should not assume that we know what “they are thinking about us”. Sometimes we just have to validate our own selves because other people – friends included – may not be able to do that for us. That is about them, not about us.  But it is up to us to learn the difference.

Among my many friends, some are “safe” to share my innermost thoughts and feelings with, and some are not.  Does that make them less of a friend?  Of course not!  Do I set healthy boundaries regarding how much I trust that person with my emotions?  You betcha!  Is that weird?  No way!  Again, they’re called “boundaries”.

We will also learn that some people will honor our boundaries and others …umm …not so much. They are who I call “boundary busters”.  I like to believe that they just don’t know better yet.  People tend to do what they know, or what was modeled for them somewhere along their way in life.

The Bible says to choose your friends wisely as in Proverbs 12:26.  So I choose very carefully who I allow (especially) into my innermost circle.  In my case, it’s not as many people as those who are in the middle and outermost circle.  Some I keep my emotions more at more of a distance to some, and others not.  

Imagine that your emotions (inside of you) have 3 circles surrounding them/you:

  1. innermost circle (closest to your heart)
  2. middle circle (a little further out), and
  3. outermost circle.

Imagine that I can move friends/people around within these inner and outer circles however and whenever I see fit (as to protect my emotions).  This makes sense to me as people do change, and I do make new friends from time to time. No explanations are necessary when you set your boundaries in order to keep yourself peaceful. My body is a temple.  My job is to protect, nurture it, and keep good boundaries around it.

This is especially important in times of grief over a loved one. Nurture your soul, and protect your peace.  God’s Word says to follow peace, as in Hebrews 12:14.

So there – the very Creator of the universe Himself has freely given you His permission.

Protect your peace!