Tag Archives: Stress

What Tools Should You Have in Your Toolbox?

If you hang around neuro-psychologists long enough, you just might pick up a couple of their phrases. Going through the evaluations, various testings including follow-up MRI’s and so forth with Greta’s Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), we’ve spent some time with a great neuro-psychologist. One of her phrases that we love -Tools for your Toolbox!

Basically, this doctor, who is a favorite among all the kids and parents because she is just so awesome, says her goal is to make sure Greta has enough tools in her toolbox to handle dealing with ADEM in day to day life. Now nearly three years after that terrifying ordeal of seeing my little girl hospitalized and hooked up to all kinds of things, I realize that tools in the toolbox can apply to any of us. I’ve also seen that we’re a lot happier when we embrace this.

I’m getting ready to send my firstborn off to college. He has his own issues that he deals with, like being an intense introvert and being addicted to his routines. Seeing him being forced by circumstances to change his routine is like watching ants that have lost the line. So yeah, I’m a little nervous for him, but I’ve taken on Dr. Harder’s mantra and I’m doing everything I can to make sure that Michael has the tools he needs in his toolbox to deal with life as a college student hundreds of miles from home.

So what tools should you have in your toolbox? That’s easy, the ones that help you cope and deal with life – in addition they should be legal, moral and ethical. That usually helps. While there will be similarities, there will also be tools that will be different for each person. Greta, being very literal now and decreased math skills due to ADEM, needs tools to help her remember to ask people to help her when she doesn’t understand something. She needs to tool of asking others to slow down and help her until she gets that joke, because she’s so literal.

Michael, the extreme introvert, knows he would rather do just about anything before talking on the phone to anyone. So a tool in his toolbox is going to be a good friend willing to make a phone call when he can’t.

What tools should be in your toolbox? Find those things that help you cope with life and deal with the day to day stresses that living on planet Earth serves up on a regular basis. The amazing thing is, you’ll usually find tools for your toolbox in your family, church, community and friends.

 

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Filed under ADEM, Community, Family, Parenting

You want WHAT?

It’s not just another day or just any moment. Surrender is serious. The peace you are trying to gain demands it be serious. You want an end to the bloodshed. You wan to form new relationships. The war has to end and for that to happen, one side must surrender.

For those who choose to follow God, we also come to a point of surrender. God wants to end the war in our lives – the constant battle to lift up self and selfish desires. The things we think we want leave us with ugly battle scars and we end up wounding those we love as well with our “friendly fire.”

Career, finances, free time, possessions, education. These are all things we aren’t too surprised about being on God’s list of things to be surrendered. It’s not easy, but in the end, there is peace when give God control. Then the amazing happens as we realize it truly was for the best! God really did know what He was doing in choosing this career for me instead of that one!

I fear God has asked the impossible of me, but then He also promises that all things are possible with Him. What does God want? He wants my stressful moments. What? Stressful moments create quite an intensity for me, especially seeing how they affect my Crohn’s Disease. Sometimes I spend days processing a particular stressful moment. That is so not good for me.

So God has asked for me to surrender those stressful moments to Him. I can’t lay claim on them anymore and process them myself. He wants it so He can take care of it. But my personality and sense of justice, organization and scheduling, common courtesy and whatever else says that I have to find a way to make sure this stressful moment never happens again! Nope, God wants to take care of it.

Surrender. God only asks for the thing we fight the most. Surrender. I welcome all prayers as I deal with self and ask for God to give me a heart willing to surrender stressful moments.

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Filed under Crohn's Disease, Spirituality

Even Keel

I’m running out of options and the few remaining aren’t that promising. My primary care physician and I agree on that. He’s great about realizing I’m not your average patient that you can just pump with drugs and so he searches for more natural remedies for me. I’m a bit of a medical freak and I know it.

Today he asked me how my stress levels were. Ha! Yes, it is true that reducing stress in a patient with Crohn’s Disease can be very beneficial to their guts. I’ll admit it – stress goes straight to my gut and I can literally feel it. My husband keeps an eye out for me and has even called me on some stressful situations and said it would be better for me to back out or avoid those situations. I’m so grateful for his support, but sometimes, stress just happens.

I’m a pastor’s wife with three kids, one of which has an autoimmune disease that keeps us going back to specialists every 6 months for MRI’s and other testing. Nope, no stress here. Did I mention that my husband actually pastors two sister churches and that they are each doing a Vacation Bible School this year – different programs of course – and I’m learning parts for both of them? My oldest is working at camp for the summer and I miss him very much, but I hey he is a senior now and it’s time for this mom to get in on all of the senior class fundraising things – don’t wait for school to start. Time is money!!

I suppose that for me, some of those stresses are worth it. I’d be a fool to think I could truly remove all stressors out of my life and remain forever on an even keel. By removing stressors, I’d also be removing amazing parts of my life. This disease has already taken enough from me. I won’t let it take my life.

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Filed under Crohn's Disease, Health & Wellness

Teens and Hypocrisy

There is this “unspoken” paradigm out there that teens are good at spotting hypocrisy in those older than themselves. Physiologically, teens are going through some of the most amazing growth times with the frontal lobe of their brain. They are searching, learning, seeking and noticing. So perhaps there is something to this paradigm.

My problem: how to get my teen to see his own hypocrisy. He is laid back and glides along, trying to make sure everyone stays calm. I am the one saying move it and do it – now! Recently this teenage son of mine asked me to read one of his papers for his religion class. The assignment was to write about what the perfect church would be like. The fresh and innovative ideas of the young are being mined by their teacher, but that is just my hypothesis.

As I read my son’s declaration that there needed to be a schedule so as to reduce stress – I nearly fell out of my chair. Michael loves schedules and knowing the rules, very true, except for one. He doesn’t abide by the rule of what time to get up in the morning, get dressed and get his lunch made. After I recovered from my shock, I asked the teen why he was being such a hypocrite, wanting schedules to prevent stress when he ignores the morning schedule and is the cause of much stress in our morning routine (huge understatement here).

It  happened again this morning. Again I asked the teen why the rules he wanted to reduce stress in situations didn’t apply to him. He had no answer for me. I shall not push it too far without making sure I am still connecting in relationship with my son. I don’t want to push him away forever during these important teen years, but I’ll admit it – I’m flat out tired. The heroic efforts we go through each morning to save that teen’s rumpus from being tardy to school should be recognized and rewarded!

But the truth is most of us are like this teen. I don’t like to admit it, but some of the things that I’m the most adamant about, I don’t always hold myself to. We can all be hypocrites at times. So, I’m working with my teen and his refusal to get going in the morning and the incredible tension it causes to his mother who suffers from Crohn’s Disease and isn’t supposed to have tons of undue stress. I’m also asking God to search my own heart. Help me to be true to the things I say are important, not just expect it from others.

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Filed under Family, Parenting