Sunday, September 13, 2020

Accepting, Embracing What Is

This year, I’ve posted sporadically and done a poor job of visiting your blogs and leaving comments. That haphazardness is due to Meniere’s Disease. 

The specialist who diagnosed Meniere’s in 2006 said I had a “truly bad case” that was both “progressive and intractable.” This year’s vision problems have resolved themselves as I follow the routine of 30-minute-focus/20-minute-close-eyes. That’s easily doable; what Meniere’s does to my mind isn’t easy. 

 

For me, this year has been the worse for Meniere’s since 2009. From early March on, I’ve had almost daily headaches that are like migraines in intensity, but without the light sensitivity. On those days, I want to bang my head against the wall so as to knock myself out. The headaches drain me, so, if the next day is headache-free, I have no energy to do anything except listen to a book. 

 

The headaches make me stutter when I talk; I can’t think straight. My brain becomes “foggy.” That is, I can’t prioritize, make decisions, or make sense of what is being said to me. 

 

Beyond the brain fog, Meniere’s brings wooziness, dizziness, insomnia, and an imbalance that has me bopping against the hall walls and falling against the computer screen or furniture. (My mailbox is across the street, and I weave back and forth getting to it. I suspect the neighbors think I’m a secret tippler!) 

 

This year, I’ve so enjoyed listening to audio books about the American Revolution. As our democracy is being fractured, these books help me put the present time into perspective. However, my last post, which was about my reading, took me 5 ½ hours to complete because of the brain fog and the vision routine.

 

Leaving comments when I read your postings also takes time. Time for the words to come and to make sense. When I proofread the comments before clicking, I discover words missing, meaning gone. So, writing comments whether on your blogs or mine is both time-consuming and frustrating. 

 

For most of my life, I’ve had a routine: school, convent, work, retirement. Even with my vision, routine reigns: 10 times a day I put drops in my eyes. And I now have the vision routine of 30 on/20 off. When I don’t stick to a routine, I accomplish little. When that happens, I feel frustrated; disappointed in myself. In 84 years, I haven’t been able to outgrow this incessant drive to achieve.

 

A psychiatrist once said to me, “Dee, be gracious to yourself.” I’ve said that to others, but the truth is, I find it hard—I’m driven to produce. (If only I could work on my childhood memoir, I’d explain how that happened!) This past Wednesday, however, some concerned friends encouraged me to accept that I must let go of routine. I need not only to accept that truth, but to embrace it and find good in what is. By doing so, I’ll banish the debilitating feelings of disappointment and frustration and, yes, guilt that hound me. 

 

I’m sharing this with you simply to let you know that when I can visit your blogs, I will do so because I so want to keep up with those of you who have become virtual friends. You matter to me. As the weeks and months pass, I’ll visit when the day feels right and I’m making sense. When a day is especially good, I hope to post my ongoing response to the audio books. Just know that you aren’t forgotten, that I will always feel deep gratitude for your support.




 

Peace. 

PS: I’ve read, reread, edited, and searched for words for this posting for five hours. I’m going to stop now. Please excuse any mistakes.

37 comments:

  1. You are really hard on yourself, dear Dee. If I had a magic wand, I'd wave it over your head and release you from all need to perform for anybody, including you. You left me an amazing comment awhile back, one I will not forget. You are truly a gem and must take care of yourself, please. :-)

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    1. Dear DJan, I wish you did have a magic wand and could wave it over my thick skull! All my friends say I'm hard on myself, but I'm such a slow learner!!!!! about this "going with the flow." I know that's the way to live--that is, in the present moment. But I'm always planning, planning, planning about what I can get done each day (each morning I did this when I do my morning pages). And when bedtime comes and I've accomplished little or nothing, then I feel like such a failure. I know I have to grapple with this and let my obsession with achieving drop into the deep well of the past. Send me some good thoughts about that! Thanks for your support. Peace.

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  2. I am praying for you, Dee. 🌸

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    1. Dear Sandi, thank you. Prayer is essential right now. The kind of prayer in which we admit that we don't know the answers--often we don't even know the questions--and we don't know the best way and so we simply (I simply) ask that I will be open to the answer to the prayer. Peace.

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  3. Heartfelt hugs and oceans of caring flow to you from me Dee. Today and every day. You are very dear to me, and to many others.
    Visit us when/if you can, and know that it doesn't change how we feel about you.
    And yes, being gracious to yourself is MUCH harder than it sounds.

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    1. Dear Sue, yes, hard. Hard, too, for me to change from a person who all her life has been obsessed with proving herself to be worthy. That's what all the achieving--at its heart--is about. My not to DJan sort of sums it up. I do want to "go with the flow" each day and night plan it, not accomplish my plan, and then feel like a failure. I'm starting to use the image of floating on a river, just letting the current take me each day to what the breeze and the sky, nature and sunlight, moonlight and stars present to me as I float ever so gently to wherever it is I am peacefully going. Peace.

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  4. Gosh, Dee, I'm glad to get your update but sorry you have so many health issues to deal with. Don't worry about returning a common on my blog for this one. I sure understand as I'm sure all your blogger friends do. Under the best circumstances its time consuming and can drain energy you need for other things. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!

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    1. Dear Jean, thank you for understanding this obsessive gene I have grappled with all my life. I suspect it's a perfection gene! If you'd like to see where I am with this and have the time, please read my response to DJan's and to Elephant Child's comments. Take care. Stay safe. Peace.

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  5. Oh, dear Dee, my heart goes out to you. Besides the pain you feel and all you have to do to complete a task, you have, and always will have “the incessant drive to succeed”. I don’t think you know how successful a human being you are. I think that the main reason for our existence is to love and be loved. All the things you have done and accomplished in life revolves around those two things. You are a success, you have given love to others in so many ways, and you are loved and admired very much by those who have been fortunate to know you. Ambition is good but not at the price of your health. Please take care of yourself, dear friend.

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    1. Dear Arleen, you are such a dear and have the talent to soothe with words. Thank you. I'm reading Louise Penny's latest novel in her s series about the village of Three Pines and its occupants. The main characters are in Paris in this one and it's title is "All the Devils Are Here." And I think it's apropos for me because the demons are of my own making. I'm the one who demands that I set deadlines and meet them and then feel like a failure when I don't. I want to stop--well as Yoda says, "I will . ." stop beating myself up. And just do what I explain to Elephant's Child up above where I respond to her comment. Please take care of yourself. Peace.

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  6. Dearest Dee-I was looking at my book shelves today, for volumes I could dispose of. And I pushed all my Dee Ready's aside. I cannot part with her. As for visiting me, it is not essential, or even a priority. Please take care of your self. I value you so.

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    1. Dear Joanne, thanks so much for so many things, not least of which is the green tea towel you wove that I'm using today! From a comment of yours, I know you read Philbrick's "Bunker Hill." I'm not reading the 2nd book in his Revolutionary War trilogy: Valiant Ambition. Already, within a few pages, I was learning new things despite the fact that I'd read "1776" by McCullough and "The British Are Coming" by Rick Atkinson--both outstanding historians. I finished Joseph J. Ellis' two books on the securing the peace by establishing the federal government. Absolutely mesmerizing. One is "American Creation." The other is "The Quartet." I'm learning so much that my dendrites are branching in a dizzy joyous dance of delight! Peace.

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    2. Joanne, in my response to your comment I typed "I'm not reading . . ." I meant to say, "I'm now reading"!!! Peace.

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  7. I can’t imagine how hard your physical health is to deal with, on top of the difficulties of life during Covid and the challenging state of our country. I admire you and care very much. I hope you will be able to carry out your new plan and find a more peaceful and balanced place to be within yourself. Sending you positive energy and big love. -Cynthia

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    1. Dear Cynthia, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words. I'm truly--after all these years--letting go of a "Plan" or a "routine" or a "schedule" or "deadlines." All of that, which I've imposed all these years on myself, demand achieving goals each day, and when I can't because of health, then feeling guilty and worthless. So I'm now just floating in the river of presence. Peace.

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  8. My heart is with you, Dee, in your struggle with this terrible affliction. Thank you for sharing with us and opening our eyes to what you deal with daily. I pray that you will be given courage, patience in your struggle, and the strength needed to make any changes in your routine to ease your burden. Your readers understand and send love.💖

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    1. Dear Susan, thank you for stopping by this blog and leaving a comment. I hope to visit your blog soon. And thank you, too, for your prayers. This is a struggle because I've been obsessed with "getting things done according to my schedule" for so many, many years. I will need strength to change this and to become, as the psychiatrist said so many years ago, "gracious to myself." Prayer please that I will be open to the possibilities presented to me. Take care; stay safe. Peace.

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  9. I think your blogger friends would understand if your posts were not perfectly written and edited with every single error removed. We all know you are dealing with major health issues and we understand and care about you.

    I know this is difficult because I too want to produce post without errors. As we grow older, a time comes when we must let go of our perfectionism, enjoy blogging for the chance to write something others may enjoy and for the friends we make and keep. I care about you so very much, you are a dear friend to me.

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    1. Dear Inger, thank you for sharing your thoughts about this. The thing is that I'm not really wedded to no mistakes. What I'm wedded to is making a schedule each morning while I do my "morning pages," and then trying to do all the things I've listed. Then, when health or need interrupts that schedule--which I've imposed on myself and which even has time listed as to when I'll be doing each thing--that is, when I don't succeed in following my own will, I feel like a failure. The truth is, and I'm admitting now for the first time, I've felt like a failure all my life. The time has come to be, as I've said to you more than once, "gracious to myself." I want to--well I am!--cutting myself some slack and simply floating free from my self-imposed constraints. Peace.

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  10. Hi There, I know about health issues--but mine are minor compared to yours. I have always told myself to 'push' through the pain --and keep on moving forward. BUT--it took me awhile to learn that I cannot do the things I used to be able to do --and that that is okay. Learning to ACCEPT the 'new' me --and my limitations wasn't easy (and is still not easy).

    I have enjoyed your posts about our history... I love history myself --and only wish that people in our country today could/would take time to READ and understand why things happened the way that they did. We loved the documentary about John Adams.

    My love and prayers to you and your health. I pray that you have the strength to feel God's love for you each and every minute/day of your life...

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Dear Betsy, thank you. I know that you have had to deal with health constraints that have changed the way you visit and walk and hike the trails of all the parks and places you and George explore. You've done this beautifully and I so admire you for it. Now, I hope I can emulate you and embrace the changes I'm choosing. Take care. Peace.

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  11. I am so sorry with what all you are having to deal with Dee. I don't know how you manage and please do not feel like you have to comment on our blogs. Just write here when you are able and let us do the commenting. You are in my prayers dear lady.

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    1. Dear Patti, well, the truth is that I don't manage very well!!!!! But the problem with that is that I end up blaming myself for being a lazy, good-for-nothing lout! My convent memoir shared with you and others the three presences that accompanied me out of the convent. They stayed with me for 10 years until a psychiatrist prescribed the medication that ended my seeing as well as hearing them. Of course, those voices/entities came from the deep center of my own insecurities. And one of them, Anna, was always highly critical. The "Anna" in me has remained all these years. It's time now to let that voice go--that is, to let my own dissatisfaction with myself go. I hope to do that. Perhaps 2020 will be for me not the COVID year or the horrific wildfire year but the year I go to the deep center of myself and say, "Yes, you are fine just as you are." Peace.

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  12. So sorry your Meniere’s Disease has gotten worse again. Our health can severely limit the ability of what we can and can't do from day to day...or even year to year, for that matter. Yes--acceptance is a different kind of spiritual trial. Has been for me. Bless you, Dee. It's not what you do but who you are. love and hugs

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    1. Dear Rita, you know so all about health concerns/problems because you deal with firbromyalgia (spelling?) daily. And whenever I read your blog, I find myself cheering you on and filled with awe at your bravery and good sense and your ability to make lemonade out of lemons. Not only your posting, but the quotation you always share with us at the end inspire me. Thank you. Peace.

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  13. Don't be hard on youself, life is hard enough for many of us day in and day out all we can do is wake up and the best of the day ahead.

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    1. Dear Jo-Anne, you are so very right. I'm truly trying to stop hitting myself--figuratively--in the head each day with a sledgehammer, demanding of myself the impossible. I'm going with the flow! Floating in the stream! Trying at least! Peace.

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  14. dear Dee

    i am sorry you are having ear problem

    i am fifty and i have started to learn how diseases overwhelm one as we grow age no matter how cautious we remain

    so please don't be hard on yourself
    visiting you is leaning faith and purity of soul and is deeply joy my friend :)

    i will be visiting you whether you visit me or not as i know you will when you feel like it
    hugs ,tons of healing energy and hugs!

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  15. Dear Baili, thank you for your kind words. You are right about this growing older. It brings its own challenges and demands from us fortitude, a sense of humor, and patience among others things. It's patience I'm needing to learn. Patience with my own deep need to write and to publish. I'm trying to simply live in the present and enjoy, as you do always, the beauty of the day and my surroundings. Peace.

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  16. If you want to write another book, could you record it and have someone type it up?
    I pray for you. My Grandpa had Meniere's disease and I know how terrible it can be. I have inner ear problems that interfere with my balance. I too walk like a drunken sailor from door to mail box and back. BUT--on we go...for as long as we can. XX OO Judy

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    1. Dear Judy, my Mac computer has a "talk-to-text" function, which I'm learning to use. But the editing and then rewrite of sentences has to be done with my eyes wide opened!

      So sorry to learn that your Grandpa had Meniere's Disease; it truly can be somewhat horrific, especially with the acute rotational vertigo episodes that were part of it for me for 10 months until I had an operation on my ear (Once, I went for 24 hours with everything spinning around me. Most times though, I experienced that for only 3 to 8 hours about five days a week.)

      Sorry to learn also that you, too, have ear problems that bring on imbalance. It's so tricky, isn't it! That feeling like we're leaning left and right and then bopping against something. Both of us really need to be careful. Yes, on we go until we go into whatever is beyond. Peace.

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  17. You are one brave woman D and have my total admiration. My own vertigo is sometimes problematic and sometimes with the help of Mayo Clinic's balance clinic almost tolerable

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    1. Dear Ray, thank you. From blogging and just from years of meeting people and listening to them and to friends and family members as the years pass, I've concluded that we all have within us the qualities of bravery or fortitude or resilience that we call upon when life presses us down and still we rise.

      You certainly do. In the past months your beloved wife died and you experienced that loss with such grace. It inspired me. Peace.

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  18. Oh, Dee! I'm so sorry that you're having such difficulty and feeling such frustration about feeling you're not productive. That psychiatrist was right: be gracious to yourself. Think of all you have accomplished and the blessings you have given others, including me. I love reading everything you write and was so thrilled when you published your convent memoir. Maybe it's time to give yourself a break and rest of your laurels, knowing that you've brought light to so many lives. Though I hope you're able to write your memoir in bits and pieces, because it would please you so, I hope most of all the you continue to find peace in what is and know how loved you are!

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    1. Dear Kathy, thank you for your find words and your understanding and support. This past week, I had three days--3!!!!--with no Meniere's symptoms. It was--and this an understatement--grand and glorious.

      As to the second memoir (my childhood), I will, as you say, be doing it in bits and pieces. I'm slowly learning not to give myself arbitrary deadlines. That's being gracious to myself! Instead, I'll just write when I'm able and be content with whatever happens when. At some point, I hope there'll be another memoir, but I leave that now in the hands of Oneness.

      By the way, what is happening with your memoir? I'd so like to know when it will be available. Peace.

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  19. Dear Dee,

    Thank you for this post. It reads well, just so you know! I had a wee laugh at the thought of your neighbors possibly thinking that you're a secret tippler!

    Your friends sound like they are doing right by you. A new routine, no routine, a varied routine...whatever you are able to do with a sense of achievement and gratitude sounds like it could mitigate some of the feelings of guilt you have been having over not being able to adhere to a certain schedule you've kept for yourself all these years. (Apologies for the run-on sentence!)

    Thinking of you & hoping you are headache-free,
    Bea x

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    1. Dear Bea, thanks for saying the post read well. My career was as an editor and curriculum developer and so I've spent my life line editing for content and copy editing for mistakes! It's built into me.

      This past week, I had three good days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) in which I had no Meniere's symptoms and I could walk, dance, prance, skip--you name it!--across the street to the mailbox. So perhaps the neighbors now think that I've joined AA!

      Today feels as if it will be a "no routine" day. I'm listening to an excellent mystery--#5 in the series--by Robert Galbraith (called Troubled Blood) and as I rest and keep from walking, etc. the audio book is a real gift. Galbraith is, you may know, the pseudonym for J. K. Rowling. Her adult mysteries have been praised highly by all the critics!

      I walked around the house last Thursday, imbalanced but needed to check the downspouts and came to a alight slope between my house and the neighbor's and sure enough I started to fall to the side. It would have been a bad fall, but I caught hold of the edging on the house and pulled myself upright. It only took a nanosecond (I love that word!) but I realized just how careful I have to be on Meniere's days. Take care; stay safe. Peace.

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