Faith · Family · Health · Perspective

The Anxious Mind

The anxious mind. Last night as I was tucking my 10yr old into bed, we started talking about having busy brains. I have an extremely busy brain. My son does as well.

The thing about a busy brain is that it never stops. All day long, ideas, conversations, and second guesses roll around. In recent memory, I’ve not experienced a truly blank mind. Never have I enjoyed the pleasure of just…. quiet.

When my husband got home late last night from fall (soybean) harvest, I asked him what he thinks about as he cuts. He said “nothing.” My response “Really? Like… Nothing?!” How is that even possible? He said the hum of the combine, the constant feeling of the machine, and all the dust billowing up lead to a quiet nothing. Of course he’s still aware of what’s going on around him, but his brain isn’t also processing phone calls he needs to return, conversations he had with customers, or how he’s going to juggle getting T to the campout Friday night. He does have situational anxious moments, but it isn’t a constant barrage in his mind.

Yoga, meditation, prayer. I’ve tried and continue each of these on a sporadic, regular, and frequent basis, respectively. The only place I’ve felt close to quiet is when I’m running. Then, the kicker is that I have music blaring in my ears but my body is mostly focused on breath and gait. Still not completely quiet, but all my senses are pointed towards supporting the run.

I started talking to a therapist about 5 weeks ago to help sort the thought cloud out. The events of this year pushed me past the realm of my typical coping mechanisms. Do you know the character Pig Pen off of Peanuts? It’s not dirt, but the thoughts that swirl around in my mind feel like that cloud. The cloud is claustrophobic. You want to burst out in all directions, but yet don’t have a pathway to do it.

Peanuts Comic by Charles Schulz

Part of me thinks that all these conversations I’m having with her seem frivolous compared to the mom with post-partum or the woman who lost her husband that are likely part of her clientele. She told me to stop second guessing myself because we all have our things. Goodness, if I could just take out the second guessing part of the mind cloud…

The step I’m working on to shine a light on this darkness is to talk about it. Anxiety had me boxed into thinking that I couldn’t talk about anything non-functional with my husband, family, or friends. “Everybody is dealing with things, so don’t add non-positive issues to their plates.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Anxiety thrives in hidden environments, so bring it to the light and talk about it.

My anxious mind is amazing. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Anxiety. It is a liar.

Faith · Family · Health · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Long Hiatus

Back to writing. This has been a goal for months. Cue the triumphant music!

Shortly before this long writing hiatus began, my life was increasingly frazzled by anxiety. I’d been battling this for months… basically the majority of 2018. After suffering a couple actual legitimate anxiety attacks while my husband was away on a trip and then (quickly after) chosen to sit on the jury for a brutal murder case, I sought help from my family practitioner. She helped me get chemically back on track with the assurance that with a very small amount of anxiety medication, my already strong coping skills would kick back in.

She was correct. I stopped wanting to run away from my family. The crazy sweating, racing thoughts, and desire to be alone stopped! My coping skills like reading, exercise, washing dishes, etc… were able to climb back to the surface and work their magic.

Good thing those stopped because baseball started for my son in March and ran thru July. Even after 4.5 straight months of baseball, he was disappointed when it was over! I ate more hot dogs in those months than I have in my entire life. We started the season wrapped in blankets wearing gloves and ended it sweating thru tank tops and shorts. Totally worth it!

baseball blog
Pee Wee District Champions!

My daughter had 6 weeks of a coach pitch/ t-ball combo in the mix as well. The kids had us hopping all summer. Something at the ball field Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday (all day) and Sunday evenings means that this mama is investing in better lawn chairs next spring. It’s on my Christmas list. The kind of lawn chairs that fold up and have hydraulic shocks — the deluxe model – will be worth the cost.

We took a family vacation to South Carolina in June to visit family and introduce the kids to the Atlantic Ocean. They flew for the first time. Nerve wracking for me, but honestly, they gracefully handled layovers, a diverted flight to Charleston and tarmac time due to a storm, turbulence when our pilots squeezed us into Columbia’s airport before the storm hit again, and security when SOMEONE put an open water bottle in my bag unbeknownst to me. (eye roll)

Family in South Carolina

After a flight to Las Vegas in March, my spine/ lower back started to hurt. After solid scoldings from my family practitioner, husband, sisters, and a nurse friend, an MRI revealed a bulging disc at L5 – S1. This is actually a relief given my MS history. I was flippant about how serious this was until I stopped being able to move without pain. Up, down, walking, sleeping, standing… it was all painful. I started Physical Therapy. There it was revealed that along with the disc issue, my SI joint was also rotated. How incredibly humbling it is to go from running half marathons to not being able to walk! Anyone who has been thru PT knows that it’s a slow, meticulous battle. I graduated PT, bought a SI support band (Serola BioMechanics gets 5 stars from me!), and recently have waded back into running. It’s only one mile at a time, but as the saying goes “you have to learn to crawl before you walk.”

Mixed into the fun was VBS, fishing, playground time, family time, wheat harvest, fall crop planting, our full-time business, and many many more activities. Summer seemed to rush by. I’m not sad it’s over. It wasn’t a hustle, nor did it feel terribly stressful. It was simply FULL. Full of good memories and time spent together that we all appreciate.

Here we are now. Back to school and September is already rolling. I will try to write more regularly. I’ve felt it stirring in my mind and my fingers to get back to it.

Much love — Jen