Mixed Emotions

If I had to describe today with emoji’s, I’d need a lot of them!

Exhaustion – Tuesdays are always difficult. I get very little sleep before having to come into work for the night. I do the best I can to nap when the kids are napping, but things just never seems to line up where we all sleep at the same time.

Confident – Recently I was presented with an opportunity that peaked my interest. It was one of those things that I really wasn’t searching for, but I looked at it very carefully. After much discussion and weighing all the pros and cons, I made a decision that I feel is best.

Afraid – At the same time, looking on the horizon, there is something I stumbled on that has positives and negatives. I took a leap of faith today. It would be a HUGE change. It has been something that has been on the back burner for some time. Whether or not anything comes of it is yet to be seen. If it does, there are some big things to think about and consider.

Angry – Annoyed – Exasperated – Done – One phone call can bring about so many emotions. How many times can the same things be rehashed? When do you just say “Forget it? I’m done?” An hour and 20 minutes of being on speaker phone being accused, judged, called every profane name imaginable, and treated like a piece of crap is not exactly how I want to spend my time. Once you apologize for something, you shouldn’t be expected to keep apologizing for it over and over again. Especially when the other party has said they forgive you. My God, it was a vicious circle of things that are from years ago, yet here we are talking about it again! Enough is enough. If you can’t get past it, I don’t know what to tell you. Don’t feel sorry for me or my family, because quite frankly, we are fine! Please just let it go!

Dedicated – It is time for me to stop letting the outside BS affect me and my family. I am dedicated to being the best husband and father I can be to those who will let me. I have found happiness and NO ONE will take that away from me. I love my family more than I will ever be able to express here, and intend to keep it together. Leave your negativity at the door or better yet, keep it away. There is LOVE, tenderness, faith, and joy in my house! I intend to increase those feelings with every moment I am alive!

Sadness – With every day my kids continue to grow up. Ella will be two this week. I am having a very difficult time wrapping my head around that. Andrew will be 4 months old this week and it seems like time won’t slow down. Sam has often said to me that she feels when she is done with work for the week, she feels like the look older and are bigger. I feel the same way. Despite having gone through this with my two older sons, it feels like time is going by even faster than before.

I will end on a positive emotion:

Happiness – This week, Ella started saying, “I love you, too, Daddy.” and “I love you, too, Mommy” after we tell her that we love her. There is nothing that will melt your heart faster.

Earlier today, Andrew was laying on the floor and he was giggling. I snapped a picture of him and Ella immediately came over and laid next to him and said, “My turn, Daddy!” In an absolute amazing moment, she grabbed his hand and I snapped the picture.

THAT IS WHAT MATTERS! Those two amazing kids (and my beautiful and wonderful wife) are the source of my happiness. There is nothing but joy connected with them. There is no negativity. There is no hate. There are no grudges. There are no hidden motives. There is LOVE. There is JOY. There is HAPPINESS. There is DELIGHT. There is LAUGHTER.

This is what is important! THEY are what is important.

On my bad days, those two special kids remind me to focus on what really matters!

Close, But No Breakthrough … Yet

I wrote a fun blog already today, so now I need to get this down in writing before I lose it.

In therapy the past few weeks I’ve been working through some pretty deep stuff. Death has been at the forefront of my mind lately, probably due to the many deaths that I have seen in the Facebook feed over the past couple years. Whether those deaths were caused by Covid, cancer, heart attack or whatever, I have certainly felt it hit close to home. Just this week, a friend lost her fiancé and another school friend lost his mother.

This week, we dove into the subject of death itself and people in my life who I have lost. We looked at the loss of my grandparents and the loss of my mother specifically. My therapist asked about the first death I every experienced (my grandpa when I was 11). She asked what I felt when that happened. I wasn’t sure. So we moved ahead to my mom (when I was 36). What was I feeling then?

How was it so hard to come up with what I was feeling? Am I blocking feelings?

I came up with: sad, confusion, fear (scared), helplessness, regret, and guilt. I am guessing that there are many more feelings associated with death, but those are what I pulled out of the top of my head.

So I have a homework assignment. I am to look at each of those words and see how they play into things. How did the deaths affect others in my house?

Basically, it seems that grief is a theme in many of our sessions and we are going to examine it further. We’re going to try to pinpoint what event has brought me to where I am today. She told me that there is a phrase that says, “When your hysterical – it’s historical.” There is usually something “back there” that can lead to the way you react and behave.

Why can’t I accept and get past things? What may be hanging around in my brain? What am I protecting myself from?

I don’t know any of the answers.

After therapy my wife asked how it went. I told her I was still trying to process it. I knew we really struck on something, but I didn’t know what. I also expressed how it scared me. Have you ever been afraid to proceed, because you are just not sure what you might find out? That’s where I am at.

Hopefully, we are working toward some sort of resolution and not something that will mess up my head even more!

Emotional Weekend Recap

It is taking all that is in me to write a blog today. I don’t feel like writing. I’m numb today.

All weekend long I struggled with whether or not to proceed with something. It is something that has weighed very heavy on my heart. It is something that comes with risks no matter what I decided to do. I have spent three entire therapy sessions (one I scheduled purposely) discussing it with my therapist. No matter how much I talked about it, no matter how I looked at it, no matter what the pros and cons were, I still don’t feel like I was ready to make a decision. Based on previous blogs, you can probably figure out what I am talking about.

It doesn’t really even matter what it is. I wrestled to make a decision and now I am wrestling with the decision I made. I am literally numb. I am feeling many emotions today – fear, anger, sadness, uncertainty, worry, and so many more. As I stared at the computer screen, I wondered just what the hell I wanted to write about. So I grabbed my phone and looked back at some of the pictures from the weekend and figured maybe I should at least talk about the positives.

Positives

First of all, I got to spend the entire weekend with my wife and daughter. It was an extended weekend for my wife and I, and as a bonus we both got Tuesday off. We actually had time to sit on the couch and watch shows we had on the DVR, which is something we rarely get to do. Ella had us laughing a lot this weekend. Recently, Sam’s folks bought her an easel. It has a chalkboard, whiteboard, place for paper, etc… We thought that this would be great for her to draw on. We haven’t let her paint yet, but she can color on it and uses the chalkboard a lot. Up until now, the sidewalk chalk had to stay outside. Now she has it on the easel, which isn’t always a good thing ….

This probably won’t stop her from drawing on the furniture … but it was worth a try!

On Sunday, I got together with two of my close friends from high school – Margaret and Chris. It was probably a couple months ago that a picture of the three of us came up in Facebook Memories. I think it said the picture was taken 10 years ago! While I’ve gotten together with them separately since, it had been that long since we all got together. So we met at Margaret’s house and she had a cook out. The town was hopping because the peach festival was going on. I got their late, because I thought we were supposed to get together on Monday. No matter, we all got to sit around and chat, reminisce, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company. Before we wrapped up the day, I said we had to get another picture! I sent the picture to both of them, and each of us posted it on our pages. Margaret joked around and said to crop the picture more …. so I did….

Really a great picture of us ….

Sometimes, I have to do things just to take my mind off the crap that is on social media. I am so sick of the politics, hatred, and sadness that is often the subject of posts on Facebook. During conversation at Margaret’s, the topic turned to some silliness I have been posting. I did this last September, too. I know it is stupid, but it truly makes me laugh and I share to save my sanity.

One of the Three Stooges pages I follow on Facebook takes Shemp Howard’s picture and Photoshops them on other pictures. The can be movie stills, magazine covers, etc. They call the entire month of September – SHEMPtember! So every day this month, I find a silly pic from their page and post it. This remains one of my favorites, and I am sure my musical followers will get a good laugh from it, too….

The Shemptations!!!!!

30 days of stupidity? Yeah, probably. I’ll take the stupidity and enjoy the laugh over the other things I am feeling any day.

The rest of the weekend falls into the area that I’d rather not think about ….

I hope you had an enjoyable Labor Day Weekend.

So much death …

For 5 days, I have opened my blog with every intention of writing. I have stared at the blank page, not really knowing what to write. How do I begin to even tackle what has been on my mind? I mean, I didn’t even tell my wife about it until just a couple days ago. I guess I didn’t realize just how much I was thinking about it until a couple weeks of constant dreams and a discussion with my therapist.

Maybe it is the “rising Covid numbers.” Maybe it is the fact that I am now required by work to get vaccinated or lose my job. Maybe it is the fact that death just seems a whole lot more common on my Facebook news feed. I’m not sure, but it seems like I am thinking a lot about it.

I have sleep apnea and wear my CPAP every night. That should allow me to sleep through the night without waking up every couple hours due to apnea. I have checked the CPAP app on my phone and according to it, I am not having enough apneas to wake me up, so why am I up every hour? It’s bad enough to constantly wake up, but when you lay there and fight to go back to sleep, it can be aggravating.

Even trying to fall asleep, my mind will not shut off. My prayers are interrupted with random thoughts. As I close my eyes, I begin to have bizarre thoughts. I find myself screaming inside my head “STOP THINKING ABOUT THAT!” I have tried those apps that play music and “talk” you to sleep. I have tried to put myself in my “happy place,” but my mind just doesn’t want to shut off.

In the past year, I have seen too many people pass away. Not all of them had Covid, but some did. Heart attack, sepsis, old age, cancer, and other illnesses have claimed the lives of friends, former teachers, and former co-workers. Just this week a friend from high school lost her life to Covid.

There is that old quote that says something about the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. A pastor friend of mine always says that the “death rate is still one apiece.” In the Bible, it reads: “ And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). In a book I was reading this week it said “You’re only one breath away from eternity.” All of those quotes are true.

I can’t even explain the uneasiness and anguish I have experienced over the past couple weeks. I’m not even sure why! Without getting theological or anything, I will say that I am not afraid of death, because I have settled that issue and know where I am going when I die. That may sound pompous, but I stand by my faith and trust that my Savior, Jesus Christ, died for me.

Despite the fact that I have peace with this, I have found myself laying in bed wondering about things. I have literally laid there with my eyes closed thinking about what I need to write down in a letter to my each of children should something happen or a love letter to my wife. What would I need to tell my dad or my brother? My mind races with these things for absolutely no reason.

As I look around at what is going on in the world, I see things happening that don’t sit well with me. I see such division. I see so much hate. I see (and feel) distrust for the government. There is way too much of the “I’m right! You’re wrong!” mentality. It makes me sad.

I have talked to people “for” and “against” the vaccine. So much uncertainty. I worry. I’m scared. I shouldn’t be, but I am. Is this where it all stems from? God only knows. God give me peace in the days and weeks ahead, please.

Be careful for nothing …

I needed to read this verse tonight. The Greek word translated “careful” in verse 6 is (μεριμνάω) merimnáō. It literally means “to be anxious” or “to be troubled with cares.” Anxious is defined: experiencing worry, unease, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. So the verse is saying “Don’t be anxious about anything!” “Don’t be full of worry!” It is easier said than done sometimes.

I haven’t really said anything on here or really anywhere about this, but I think my anxiety level is starting to rise a bit too much. Ever get that feeling like things are closing in on you? Feel like you are surrounded by things that are just out of your control? That’s kind of where I am right now. I’ve been in this place before, and have been able to get it under control. It just feels like the things I was able to do to get them under control, aren’t helping like they did before.

Admittedly, there are things that I know contribute to this. Lack of sleep, for example. I am just not getting enough, and won’t be getting enough for some time. With a baby on the way, and a toddler, I’ll be grabbing sleep in little chunks for a while. What is bothersome to me about sleep is that instead of getting my usual 5-6 hours, I am waking up a lot, usually from weird dreams. Then my mind won’t shut off long enough about other things to let me fall back to sleep.

I made the choice some time ago to stop watching the news. This really helped eliminate much of the barrage of Covid stories that I was seeing. Covid and just the fear and uncertainty that came with it led to me having a breakdown a year ago. Staying away from those stories helped. However, my phone continues to “ding” throughout the day and night with Covid stories from Yahoo News and other apps. Then there is the constant stories that friends share on Facebook.

Let me put it this way, I can see why many people are choosing to leave Facebook. There is so much misinformation, countless arguments, and hatred within my newsfeed daily. I have muted or snoozed many people because of it. That doesn’t stop it, though. Any time a post mentions “Covid” or “Vaccine” there is a link that automatically shows up.

Then you have the fight between people who are pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine. This falls into the same category as whether you should wear a mask or not. It is amazing how polarizing this is. It is almost as polarizing as what we saw during the past few elections. Pro/Anti Trump. Pro/Anti Biden. There has always been divisions in our country, but it seems that it in society today, if someone disagrees with you, it leads to hatred and violence. I know way too many friendships that have been broken because of the failure to “agree to disagree”

I digress. If I am being honest, I am beginning to feel overwhelmed again. I know that I shouldn’t, yet I do. I need to take those verses and focus on them. I know that is where I will find peace.

Remember the opening of the Twilight Zone where all the things are spiraling around?

That is how I feel on a daily basis and it is taking my focus away from where it needs to be! I feel like I am surrounded by Covid and cancer and the deaths that they bring about. I feel like the vaccine is being talked about everywhere – whether the talk is good or bad. Then we have all the stuff that is going on in the Middle East, Earthquakes and natural disasters. I seem to have daily conversations with people about whether or not we are in the Biblical End Times. It is overwhelming.

THEN factor in that my wife and I are are expecting a baby and the pregnancy has had its share of scares and worry. Those worries outweigh ALL of the others. As mentioned in a pervious blog, those worries were put at ease to some degree with the latest ultrasound. However, we have 8 weeks left and I still have some concerns.

My mind is one big muddled mess at times.

I am struggling to remember things. I zone out during conversations for no reason at all. I can listen to something or read something over and over and not comprehend what I just heard/read. I’m scared about some things right now. I will spare you the details of that.

I’m hoping to dig myself out of the rut and get back to normal. I have the support of my wife and family. I have the support of my Christian friends. I have God on my side. I will do my best to “let go and let God.”

Thank you for allowing me to vent.

Fear and the Inner Child

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” – H. P. Lovecraft

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I think every one has fears.  We all fear different things.  Growing up, I was afraid of the dark, afraid of heights, afraid of bees, and many other things.  As we get closer to having our daughter, I have fears, too.  I am afraid I will pass out when she is born.  I am afraid I won’t be a good enough support for Sam while she is in labor.  I’ve never raised a girl before, so there is an entire list of fears that go with that!  Many fears are more worries, “what ifs”, or fears brought about by thinking of alternative possible outcomes.

Recently, in therapy, we have reached a place where I am about to face the fear of the unknown.  Let me explain.

While discussing the Christmas holiday, and the memories that go along with it, the subject of nostalgia came up.  My therapist said that it is obvious that I am a nostalgic person.  I talk about the past a lot.  I experience a lot emotions in going through old pictures, remembering the past, and remembering people who have passed away.  My therapist began to ask about my childhood, which led to an exercise that was very difficult and uncomfortable for me.

I was to pick an event where I recalled a big change in my life.  The event I chose was when I got glasses in fourth grade.  We walked through an exercise where I had to put myself back in fourth grade and remember what I was feeling.  I have to admit, it was difficult.  She asked what I was feeling.  She asked about school.  “What was that fourth grader experiencing at home during this time?”  “How was he treated at school by classmates?” She asked me many things, and it took quite a bit to actually remember those things.  There were many questions I could not answer, but there were a whole lot of emotions that were revisited as well.  I’ve been in therapy for a lot of my lifetime, and I’ve never experienced anything like this!

One thing the therapist said was that sometimes, as an adult, we look back at pictures or memories and remember them in a way that brings us happiness.  We have this ability as adults to block out some of the things that were actually going on at that time in our life and with time, we push those things away, and remember the good.  Is this what I have done?

My homework was to find a picture from my childhood.  I was to look at it and try to remember every possible thing about it.  What might be going on in the next room?  What did the house smell like?  What might I have for homework?  What books was I reading? Things like that.  We will talk about this at my next session.

Why all this reflection on my childhood?  It all has to do with the “inner child”.  I have heard this phrase tossed around for sometime on the radio and on TV, but never really understood what it all meant.  I know a little bit more now that we’ve talked about it.  Basically, each of us has a part of us that feels and reacts to life the way a child does.  Everyone experiences this.  The challenge is to connect with that part of your personality as well as know it and accept it.

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The inner child is not a concept or theory of psychology.  It is part of who we are as a person.  The things that happen to us as a child can affect us and the way we react to things as an adult.  There are many things that can cause the inner child to “hurt” – divorce, bullying, a traumatic event, severe illness, being isolated from family, forms of abuse and neglect, and many other things.  These things can affect your behaviors as an adult.

Many adults are “damaged” and have a “wounded” inner child.  In many cases, you can’t “fix” it, but having knowledge of what things cause the hurt, can actually help you to “heal” the inner child and help change the way you react to things, and actually help end some of the internal suffering that we have.  The idea is that by examining the inner child, identifying the hurt, and addressing it, we can ultimately change the way we think, feel and behave.

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This is a whole new thing for me. I’ve made many positive changes in my life over the past few years, and this is unchartered territory. It’s scary to think about what I may stumble on.  I may need to revisit old wounds.  I may have to revisit emotions and feelings that I have purposely “forgotten”.  It’s a scary thing – it’s the unknown.  I don’t know what to expect.  I don’t know what I am going to feel.  But, if examining these things will help me as an adult, then I am ready to face the unknown and conquer it!