Close to You – Why Divorce is One Flesh ‘Rent Asunder’

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IMG_1226 1.JPGIt’s no secret that it has taken me longer to get over my marriage breakdown than it has for some other people.

This time, the season, is the first time in 30 years that I have not seen Ex regularly. We co-parented our dog for six or seven years after The Separation and she died at Christmas 2016.  Although we have been in touch a little bit by text and email we have not seen each other.  I think this is a good thing.  They say that no contact (NC) is the way forward.

I was talking to my mother about this the other day. I said, “Ex is the person that I have been closest to in the whole of my life.”  Now this may have been a little hurtful for my mother to hear but it is true.

We are meant to separate from our parents.  When we marry we expect to travel through the decades with our spouse.  Also, there is the sexual connection which binds us to our spouse; something that, hopefully, we do not share with our parents.

It seems strange but it was only this realisation that my ex is the person that I have been closest to in my whole life that made me realise why it has taken me such a long time to get over him and the marriage.  I don’t think I necessarily miss him as much as being married,  though I am not entirely sure that I would choose to remarry.  The thought of never being in love or being loved again in return, however, during my remaining life is pretty grim!

 

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The tyranny of the ‘Fat’ Brigade

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vintage-1107700_960_720One of the most distressing symptoms of my prolonged health relapse is that I am very underweight. I’m 5ft 1″ and under 7 stone. I eat like a starving donkey, take supplements, including whey protein powder, I am having tests on my repeated GP visits.  I hate being this thin.  It makes me feel unfeminine, weak and insubstantial.

Yet people feel free to tell me,  most  emphatically, that I am too thin… in a concerned voice.  It seems never ending.  I find it patronising and hurtful. It is socially acceptable to tell me I am too thin  but how would they feel if I said: “Hi! Still fat, then?” or “Crikey, you’ve put weight on. Bit of a porker!”

Constantly telling someone they are too thin seems to imply that you’re starving yourself, (you’re anorexic) or just plain difficult!

I think some people genuinely are concerned but it does make me wonder if some are they’re doing it to make themselves feel better about themselves and THEIR bodies. To be fair, no-one at church has said this; it’s my secular friends! Go figure! 

I’m going to have to think of a good riposte next time somebody pipes up!

 

The Jubilation-Despair Clash

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Things have been very up or down here.  I’ve just had a very busy week,  busy for me that is.  

JUBILATION   I went to a prayer meeting at the tiny church on my new street. This church is linked to my usual church – they belong to the same family. I’m hoping to get involved in their home group whilst I am recuperating from my long health relapse.

I’ve had beloved visitors to the flat which has made it feel much more homely. I also met a woman and her partner at a social event. She  invited me to her new home which is a palatial edifice overlooking the sea. The views are spectacular.  They moved up from London six months ago. Gentrification is definitely taking place here.

I also went to a craft/technical workshop yesterday which I absolutely loved.

DESPAIR  But there are downsides too. I went to my GP and asked to go back on antidepressants as being housebound much of the time has been really getting to me.  I am feeling a little brighter for that.  I am also going to be tested for Addison’s Disease.  I don’t think I have it but it is a good place to start,  to find out why I have had muscle wasting and weight loss over the last 3 years.  Personally I think it is to do with hormones,  lack thereof,  after my hysterectomy.  Low testosterone can be a real problem.

I am really struggling with my trusted mechanic, who is looking out for an automatic car for me. It’s taking ages and I feel that there is a breakdown in communication. I feel like a ‘problem’ to him, which is how my ex used to make me feel, whereas we have always got on brilliantly. 

My relationship with my  best friend, G, is also proving to be quite difficult. We have had some talks recently about how I feel the friendship is being eroded by his extraordinarily busy, stressful life. Much of his life is negative. I really do fear for his health – and he does too! He got defensive when I brought up this ‘fading of our friendship’.  He basically told me to ‘get over it’ and ‘get on with it’.  I  believe  he has lost perspective and sees me as attacking him rather than trying to sort the problem out.  We have been friends for 31 years.  I don’t think he has any conception at all of what it is like to be very often housebound and vulnerable because of that. Disappointing.

Therefore, I have jubilant times and times of despair.  I have a large desire to tell a few people to sling their hooks.  But I know that that will be self-defeating in the long run. I must master my emotions! 

When You Are Not Needed

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Sometimes having only yourself to think about is more a of a curse than a blessing. Even offered to take my 83 neighbour to the nursing home where here hubby is today but she was already sorted!

Offered to help young friends out with childcare on their moving day, but they don’t need me. I’ve joined a voluntary group – but nothing’s happening yet, I’ve work promised – but for the future, have a business idea – but it is still in development. Even Life Group was cancelled tonight.

At least I got out of town today for a while! Hallelujah!

Regular Self-Care As a Route to Health

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This is from the TMS Wiki Structured Education Programme. It struck a chord as I can neglect myself in terms of diet and rest if under stress. http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Educational_Program_Day_37

Regular Self Care

The ability to care for oneself is an essential skill that that needs to be learned and practiced to prevent or relieve TMS/PPD symptoms. Most people learn this as children when they are given adequate opportunities to play. A four-year-old with paper and fingerpaints does not care how many pictures per hour they produce, or about the quality of their work or who will see it. They care only that they are having fun. If it stops being fun they move on to another activity they enjoy. This is how children, and adults, learn how to meet their need for enjoyment. Adults may not need as many hours spent in this way as a child, but the need is always there.

For some children, the opportunity for carefree self-indulgence is limited or non-existent. If children are abused or given excessive responsibilities, if among the adults in the home there is violence, drug abuse, a high need for support or erratic behavior the child may focus on the needs of others (adults or siblings) in the home. This may leave insufficient time for acquiring self-care skills. In addition, low self-esteem from a less than nurturing home may leave children feeling unworthy of taking time for themselves.

Adults lacking this ability care for everyone but themselves. If they have spare time, their thoughts turn to using it constructively for the benefit of others. On the list of those whom they support, their own name is missing. For some, the only break they get occurs when TMS/PPD symptoms become too severe for them to function.

Fortunately, self-care skill can be acquired at any age. Here are some steps that have helped others:

  1. Recognize the issues that may have deprived you of self-care skills as a child. It may help to imagine your own children (or a child you care about) growing up in the same environment you did. If those children would be missing out then so did you. This provides a solid justification for learning the skills you missed.
  2. Take 4-5 hours every week, if possible, for activity with no purpose but its own joy. Ask members of your household to support you in this effort. Trial and error are usually needed to find enjoyable activities (going to a gym to work out usually isn’t enough fun, for example). Don’t worry if you feel like a failure at this for months because that is part of the learning process. It is not easy to change a life pattern that has been successful for you up to now.
  3. Don’t worry if you feel guilty about not doing something “constructive” with this weekly self-care because that is usually how people feel at first.
  4. If there are people who created difficulties in the past who are still creating problems for you, consider ending or strictly limiting contact with them during the time you are developing self-care skills.

Once you acquire this skill you will have it for life. In the future, whenever your stress level begins to reach levels capable of causing symptoms, you will have the ability to leave the rest of your world and focus on you. This is a powerful technique that, by itself, has relieved severe and long-lasting symptoms in many people.

Scary Monsters and the Buddhist Way.

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20141206sa-shepherds-hut-wagon-retreat-tiny-house-interior-example-009I’m still feeling very unsettled in my new home. I think it’s because this is the first home I have ever owned by myself, even though I am over 50.

First came my parents houses, then university halls and student houses, and then renting with my now ex-husband. We went on to buy a couple of houses. There’s always somebody by my side.  

Now I should be viewing my move with a spirit of independence but I think I’m just scared! I would also really enjoy having someone to share the renovations with. I used to love planning our houses with my ex.

A friend of mine said it took him three years to settle into his home. Everything went wrong for him until he started going to meditation classes then everything fell into place for him and he stopped running away. He’s now a practising Buddhist.

I have decided to stay here until 2018. If I still feel unsettled I will think about moving then.  

Marriage support – Care for the Family

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“Every marriage is different, but all marriages experience ups and downs – there’s the romantic times when the sun seems to be always shining, and the tough times when winter seems to have set in for good. We want to support you in your relationship whether you are preparing to get married or have been …”

Source: Marriage support – Care for the Family

QMUL RELEASES PACE DATA – Graded Exercise Therapy Bogus Treatment for CFS/ME

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This is such landmark news for people with ME/CFS. This backs up what patients have known all along… militaristic Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) makes us worse not better. This doesn’t mean that we should stop moving but that pushing through the pain does not work for us. Pacing is more effective. It also partially explains my current prolonged muscle relapse as pushing is what I did through my house move – push through pain and warning symptoms. Thank God for the people out there who campaigned to get this data released.

http://www.meaction.net/2016/09/09/qmul-releases-pace-data/

 

Kindness of Friends Brings Startling Revelation

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Had a wonderful time with friends this weekend.  One of them, P, I have known for 31 years and his partner, J, I’ve known 25 years! We went to a very posh hotel and they treated me to dinner!

They treated me brilliantly, with such care and attention,  making sure I was comfortable etc. It certainly made me realise how little my former husband valued me but, more importantly, shone a light on how poorly I valued myself. I must hold myself with little regard to have put up with much that I did. (I was no saint either, I may add.)

I have been overwhelmed with how kind people have been since I moved house. Many  of them have given me presents, for example, totally unexpectedly. S, for example, cooks for me! I don’t ask her to – she just occasionally hands me something for the freezer. 

It has to be said that old friends really do make me feel happy and secure.  There is something very powerful about having a shared history.  Also, the fact that P knew me before I became ill is very healing because his memories of me are not just of “the sick, fragile one” nut as the energetic one who was leading a fairly normal life.

 

Dr Sarno Makes Me Realise I’m a Bitter Hag!

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I am doing a lot of mind-body therapy at the moment, following the teachings of Dr Sarno, author of The Divided Mind and inventor of the term Tension Myositis Syndrome.  It’s fascinating stuff.  Basically, the idea is that many chronic conditions are the result of holding in, or rather repressing, difficult emotions, especially rage/anger.  The process is unconscious.

You have to list all the things in your life, past and present, that make you angry or cause other negative emotions such as sadness, fear, etc.  My list is very long –and I haven’t even finished!

I have realised I am criminally envious of and bitter towards two Christians I know.  These two seem to live the perfect life and it really gets to me.  It pains me to admit it but I really do not like one of them.  It is hard to say it out loud but I think this person is spoilt and they have made me feel like some people in the past have made me feel: lesser, lowly and a bit grubby.  I appreciate that that might be more MY problem than theirs.

I am seething with vitriol right now!  It’s not a nice feeling but at least I’m being honest with myself.  This person, of course, has no idea I feel this way and, as it happens, I have not seen them in real life for months and months.  But, boy, do they like to flaunt their lives on social media! And hopefully they will never know of my dislike. These feelings may pass now I’ve acknowledged them.

Well, that’s my vitriolic posting for the evening. I think I feel better for it!

Facebook Envy Destroys the Soul

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I had a quick scoot around Facebook yesterday, looking at posts by people I don’t normally see in my newsfeed. Came away feeling depressed and envious. That’s just not right even though I know that  Facebook pics often show just the ‘Kodak moments’. It’s a lie!

I hope there is a Facebook backlash in a way. I’ve been trying not to spend as much time there – but it is not always easy. I’m spending more time with Jon Kabat-Zinn, on CD, I hasten to add, and in print. He’s a lifeline at the moment. And a much healthier companion than 400 virtual friends.

Lower Muscle Strength and the Postmenopausal Woman

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Build up your muscle strength

Gosh, I just found this on The Finchley Clinic Blog. Very pertinent to me as I have lost a lot of muscle strength since my major surgery in 2013. Below is an extract from the article: 

Only a fool would suggest that the menopause isn’t a complicated and often difficult time in a woman’s life. And, with all the hormonal changes going on in the female body at this point, bone health can become an issue. Many may not be aware, though, that muscle strength – or lack of it – can also be a concern thanks to ‘the change’. Both during and after menopause, oestrogen levels decrease and this can result in sarcopenia – a gradual, ongoing drop in muscle mass.

Is this enormously serious? Well, inside muscles, Vitamin D acts on special receptors, helping to drive up the mass and strength of the muscle as well as becoming involved in protein synthesis, which enables muscle contractions; thus, it plays a critical role in healthy muscle function. All this means that, due to Vitamin D deficiency, post-menopausal women can be at risk of potential frailty (and so reduced mobility) as well as frequent falls. And it can also help drive that particularly unpopular side-effect of menopause, weight gain – because it leads to a lower metabolism.

Inevitably then, help can come from boosting Vitamin D. A recent nine-month study, conducted at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil, found that post-menopausal women who had received Vitamin D3 supplementation enjoyed a 25% increase in muscle strength, while conversely, a similar group of volunteers receiving a placebo instead actually lost muscle mass – and experienced twice as many falls as those taking Vitamin D3.

Optimisation through supplementation

The results of these studies, as well as the fact IBS and muscle softness among post-menopausal women is common, is sadly not surprising (at least in this country) when one considers that four in every 10 (39%) of UK adults experience low vitamin D levels when the sun’s at its weakest in the winter. Indeed, ageing adults (the most likely to spend a good deal of time indoors) are most vulnerable to this nutrient deficiency4.

It’s pretty clear then that most people could probably do with optimising their Vitamin D levels. The trouble is, of course, this is easier said than done, as for half the year in many parts of the world (and, again, certainly in the UK), there isn’t much in the way of sunlight from which to gain it. So the answer? Supplementation.

http://www.thefinchleyclinic.com/blog/ibs-and-muscle-strengthening-what-vitamin-d-supplements-can-do-for-you/

Letter to My Illness

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ax1h5dLast night of I wrote a letter to my illness.  It was full of expletives.

Among my sentiments were the words: “You are not here to teach me a lesson or humility.  You are not my friend.  You are a ridiculous ragbag of pathetic symptoms.  Go **** yourself, you miserable, mitochondria-disrupting loser.  You think you have won.  But the person I was before you stuck your poxy neb [nose] in is still within me.”

I continued: “Yes, that child who could run like the wind, the one who could dance all night, the girl who could run from the nightclub in the dark to her home in minutes, the one who called walk miles and miles, up mountains, across moors, around London.  How dare you disrupt all of that!  You robbed me of my life with of my husband, of children, of experiences, of opportunity, of peace.”

Sometimes I just don’t know what God is playing at!

(There was more but this gives you a flavour. I found the writing therapeutic.)

I then listened to the hate-filled but cathartic ‘Sorry’ by nu-Guns n Roses on my headphones and scribbled down some pertinent lyrics. The whole song suited my mood and situation but here are the first lines:

“You like to hurt me
You know that you do
You like to think
In some way
That it’s me
And not you”

 

 

Getting to Know ‘Joy’ Again

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I am still pacing well as I continue to plough through the longest muscle relapse I’ve never had in my chronic illness.  It is quite hard but it is a relief to get off the hamster wheel that I seem to have been on for the last few years.  Surprisingly, I have had quite a lot of visitors one way or the other.  This has been a huge help.

I went for a massage at a luxurious hotel yesterday and that was amazing. When we are bereaved or divorced it is quite important, I think, to receive caring and supportive touch.  I think it is something I’m going to do again.

I am also using a meditation and mindfulness CDs of Jon Kabat-Zinn, developed for the University of Massachusetts.  They are wonderful.  Each session lasts around 40 minutes and his voice is incredibly soothing and unpretentious.

Recommended.

Not Celebrating Recovery

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DSCF2594As the relapse in my health – long-term condition –  from hell continues I have dropped all regular commitments, including Celebrate Recovery at church in nearby city.

Not even sure I am going to go back to it. Not making any plans at all like that. Researching how to recover from this relapse a lot and thinking I may just stick to following my church’s sermons online while I recover.

CR is great but there are a lot of platitudes uttered from the manual. It is also a very tiring evening, especially if there are only two of you in the small sharing group. I will carry on doing my moral and spiritual inventory though. That’s useful.

Spiritual and Practical Approaches to Adrenal Fatigue

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Shannon TaggartFrom an article by Dr Christine Northrup

Spiritual and Holistic Options

A far better option for healing adrenal fatigue over the long run is to restore adrenal health and function so your adrenals can eventually produce the hormones you need on their own. That will require making changes in the lifestyle that caused the adrenal insufficiency. Here are some suggestions:

  • Focus more on loving thoughts. Thoughts that bring you pleasure (like thinking about people you love, favorite pets, a delicious meal, or even a sweet memory) short-circuit the harm done by the body’s physiological reaction to stress. This learning to “think with your heart” may be challenging at first, but it’s definitely worth it. If you faithfully learn this and regularly pay attention to areas of your life that bring you joy and fulfillment, you will evoke biochemical changes in your body over time that will recharge your adrenal batteries. (For assistance, I recommend the training programs and books from The Institute of HeartMath.)
  • In addition, do more things that bring you pleasure and make you laugh and fewer activities that feel like obligations. Spend more time with people who make you feel good and less time with people who are draining.
  • Dwell more on what you like about yourself and less on what you see as your limitations. In short, have more fun! Make pleasure a priority instead of a luxury.
  • Allow yourself to accept nurturing and affection. If you didn’t learn how to do this as a child, you may need to practice it. Every morning before you get up, spend a minute or two reveling in a memory of a time you felt loved. Do the same at night. Imagine your heart being filled with this love. Use affirmations that help you feel deserving of this nurturing and love.
  • Follow a healthy, whole foods diet with minimal sugar and adequate protein. (Every meal or snack should contain some protein.) Avoid caffeine because it whips your adrenals into a frenzy. Also avoid fasting or cleansing regimens because they can weaken you further.
  • Take a comprehensive multivitamin/mineral supplement.
  • Try herbal support, including:
    – Licorice root: This herb contains plant hormones that mimic the effects of cortisol. Start with a small amount and gradually work up to one-quarter teaspoon solid licorice root extract three times per day. Baschetti2 Make sure to monitor blood pressure, as licorice may increase blood pressure in susceptible individuals.
    – Siberian ginseng: One of the components of Siberian ginseng is related to a precursor for DHEA and cortisol. Try one 100 mg capsule two times a day. It can have a stimulating effect, though, so if it interferes with your sleep, take it before three p.m.
  • Get plenty of sleep: Sleep is the most effective approach to high adrenaline levels. Many women require eight to ten hours of sleep to function optimally. Try to go to bed by ten P.M. Getting to sleep on the earlier side of midnight is much more restorative to your adrenals than sleep that begins later in the night, even if you sleep late the next morning to get in your full amount of sleep.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular light-to-moderate exercise is helpful, but not so much that you feel depleted afterward. Pushing yourself beyond your limits weakens your adrenals even further, so start slowly—even if it’s only walking down your street and back. Then build up slowly.
  • Get more exposure to natural sunlight. This is not only good for your adrenal glands, but it boosts vitamin D, as well. Sunbathe only in the early morning or later afternoon, however, never in midday; and never get enough exposure to burn or even redden your skin. Work up to ten to fifteen minutes of exposure three to four times per week.
  • Prioritize. Make a list of your most important activities and commitments, and then let everything else go. Don’t agree to a new task or commitment unless it’s something that will recharge your batteries.

– See more at: http://www.drnorthrup.com/adrenal-exhaustion/#sthash.xNcKaxvS.dpuf

When God Makes You Wait

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amusement-park-438419_960_720Just having that extra night at Celebrate Recovery has shortened my week which means I have less energy to do other things. CR makes for quite a long evening but it is helpful.

I’ve decided that as God is making me wait here in this town due to the ridiculous house move delays I can use the time to go to this more local church where Celebrate Recovery is. In this way the waiting becomes useful.

If I had moved to the next town 6-8 weeks ago I may not have started the course as I would have been busy settling in and trying to forge a new life for myself there.

How Hearing of A Friend’s Shortened Life Expectancy Can Galvanise Us

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Hearing yesterday about a beloved friend’s terminal cancer (could be weeks, months or years – not sure yet) has made me aware that I’m spending too much time living in the past and the future and not concentrating on the now.

I’m determined to make some changes in my life, even just little ones, like not being involved with too many things on Facebook! I do the Christian business club page, update my church’s public page, then there is our prayer group, where I am the admin, and I also am admin on a client page plus have my own business page. Time to do something else I think.

There are some bigger changes I want to make too but I’m working my way through those and how I might proceed.

 

Feeling Stuck – Advice from Tiny Buddha

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Why We Feel Stuck in Life and the Secret to Dealing with It

My Diaries Spanning 40 Years Don’t Lie

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40 years a slave to journaling! 

I’ve kept a diary since I was 12 years old – that’s nearly 40 years!

I’ve been re-reading them over the last few weeks.

Man, talk about a shock! Many of the events are clear in my head but some of my attitudes and behaviour were awful. What a cow I could be! And how much I took for granted.

I’m learning a lot. Maybe I’ll share some of my revelations here.

I see the diary reading as part of my spiritual journey and attempts at growth.