Monday, April 13, 2015

Both/And Thinking

So the other day I talked about how my voice can be nasal and high and kind. Lately, this both/and thinking is blowing. My. Mind. I finally accepted the renovation we did to our house five years ago was wonderful and difficult, a dream come true and traumatic. Once I traced my adrenal fatigue's seriousness back to that event, I was tempted to judge it. "We shouldn't have done that. The bad it did outweighs the good." But it's not a numbers thing. I can't actually calculate how much good it does me to live in my beautiful surroundings, no longer dreaming of another house, someday. I can't quantify when my adrenal fatigue would've gotten serious if we hadn't taken that project on. These are unknowns, so as much as I'd like to draw a conclusion to help me avoid future pitfalls, it would be oversimplifying things. Life is gray and I'm actually glad. Instead of casting judgment and saying, "I'll never do that again," I can be open to new adventures with the knowledge I've gained: I'm not invincible, so I'll be careful how far I push myself.

If "traumatic" seems strong, it is but I wasn't exaggerating. I've had nightmares ever since that we're mid-project on a house that's torn apart, we're out of money/energy to finish, so it's sitting empty, ruining our financial future. I panic every time. Am I proud that I'm traumatized by something so ordinary? Not very, but I'm learning to love myself as much when I'm weak as when I'm strong. I told my sister I thought she had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from when she almost lost her husband and after seeing a therapist, she told me about it. The way I understand it, it's your body trying to process big emotions you had during a stressful situation, and reliving them in everyday life. The feelings can be alarming and disproportionate to the situation at hand. 

For example, I'm trying to cook (my achilles heel) and both kids are telling me about school projects. Their disagreement over due dates gets impassioned and loud so I strain to see the date on the fridge and knock over a box of pasta that goes everywhere. Rather than feeling irritation or a normal level of frustration, I feel panic. I feel like I've breathed in and breathed in and breathed in and now I can't breathe out so I'm full and bursting and what's in me feels like it'll make me crazy if I have to sit with it two seconds. 

My sister's therapist said if you know the panic's coming and why, you can let it wash over you like a wave and then it'll recede. That's when you start telling yourself the truth so it stays out. "It's not the end of the world that I spilled something. I can clean it up and keep going. If the kids are making me crazy, I can ask them to go elsewhere or resort to the sweet quiet of electronic distraction." See? Truth. Sometimes you have to start with the lies that fly at you. "I can't DO this! I'm so impatient! I don't like my kids. I want to run away and never come back." These demand acknowledgement, so you can do that, but then start in with the truth. My sister said to try this with my feelings about the renovation and see if my nightmares didn't go away. 

They did

Our minds seem so dang tricky but all that time I was one simple exercise away from freedom. 

What are you trying to classify in your life now or your past? That third kid? That lemon of a car? This career path? Most choices we make have positive repercussions and negative, so lets stop trying to navigate so perfectly. After encountering pain early in life I adopted the motto, "An ounce of prevention's worth a pound of cure." But I'm noticing all the energy I spend fretting about not knowing and trying to tell a future I can't see. I'm kinda worn out before I even roll the dice! I want to try saving that energy for the walking on whatever path I choose.  

I adopted this term during the renovation: It is what it is. I latched onto it because it's how you accept that lots of things are a mixed bag. And acceptance takes something you thought you couldn't exist with happily, and makes it possible. We aren't obligated to throw a fit about the things we don't like or blame ourselves for not foreseeing them. We can still choose happiness. So let's set sail, throw our fears overboard and enjoy the wind in our face because wherever we go, we'll find some good and we'll find some bad, and the ratio between the two doesn't get to decide if we're happy or not. 


  1. God is so good at providing clarity when we are ready for it. God bless dear Kendra.

  2. I know this all too well. Thank you for verbalising it. It is good to know that I am not alone in my struggles.