Stress is Stealing our Lives

i-rGBjX5Z-LDear Friends,

It has been a stressful summer. A little stress may in fact help us to cope. Adrenalin is pumped into our body and we work at a faster pace and get things done.  This is how a small woman is able to pick up a car when an accident has happened to free someone that is pinned under-neath. So adrenaline is our super fuel, but too much can cause problems with our engines.

Most of you know about a time in my life when I was very depressed and need to go to the hospital. As a result I was prescribed anti-depressant medication. I do believe that this helped to save my life, but it was not the only thing. I wanted to feel better, so I search high and low for help.

For seventeen years I was in an oppressive relationship. Everything was my fault or so I was told; from my husband (at that time) not going to law school to the fact that I didn’t work outside of the home and money was tight. After four years of the insults; I made up my mind to find a job. Even though I felt that staying home with my son was as important a job as any in the world. I was just tried of the abuse.

While I was a Stay-At-Home-Mom; I had it all together. I only had one child and it was not that difficult to take care of our home. Then toss into the mix working forty-four hours a week and juggling church, day care, helping car pool football players all over the county for my husband along with his blaming attitude. I could not win for losing.

We had to buy another car when I started working. Oh and that meant that after daycare and the additional car payment, gas and clothes; I was only bringing home $25 a week extra money. Hey but it kept him from going into a rage. I was juggling as fast as I could to keep him happy. At times the house would start to fall apart. I would have to rush home on my lunch hour and crisis clean; 15 minutes of drive time and 45 minutes of cleaning. I was amazed at what I could accomplish in 45 minutes.

I was living a life of egg shell walking. The stress levels of trying to keep someone happy that is never going to be happy were debilitating. I was sick all the time and no matter how much I dieted I could not lose weight. All I ever wanted was to feel loved. I thought that if I did all the right things and kept the perfect home that he would love me. Boy was I wrong. I was also determined to stay married because I was raised in a church that didn’t believe in divorce. I was stuck in more ways than one. I began to believe all of the negative things he told me. My self-esteem was gone. My face broke out all the time, I fainted many times, I was so cold and eventually became a food addict. Every time I was upset; I would find myself in front of the refrigerator crying my eyes out and feeding my face to stuff my anger and pain. Then I would crawl into bed to comfort myself.

I didn’t even realize that there was anything wrong; at least my son was not growing up in a broken home. I have now found out there are much worse things in life than a broken home; it is called torture and abuse. No one should have to be subjected to this life.

I knew that there had to be a better way to live and that God did not want me to be this unhappy. Now remember my husband at that time was happy and oblivious to my unhappiness because all I wanted was to keep him from going into a rage and throwing things at me. I started reading Pam and Peggy’s books to find out how to keep house. Their system really did keep me on track, but I began to realize that there was more to life than cleaning. In their book the Happiness File; I began to laugh again. Now for someone who doesn’t laugh(dh and not Dear Husband either) being in a house with laughter is painful. He began to ridicule me for laughing out loud. It was at that time that I realized that I could not live like that any more.

In order to make myself a better person I started reading and listening to books on tape. Rita Davenport also helped to rebuild my shattered self-esteem with her tapes. I saw her on an info-commercial and bought her tapes; It’s Time For You!! If I listened to them one time I listened to them thirty times. I began to believe her when she said, “What you think about you bring about!” Even today I catch myself quoting her. She is now a good friend and one of my mentors. I thank God every day that I had the courage to save grocery money up to buy her tapes and use them to find me again.  It was the best money I ever spent.

I started feeling better about myself. Well let me warn you. When you get stronger the abuser is going to feel threatened and the abuse is going to get worse. My depression got worse too and so did my health. Eventually I found myself just sitting for hours unable to function. I realize that not only was I suffering from depression but the depression may have been a result of stress and my body shutting down in protection mode. In three years; my boss of ten years had died, I got a new job, after a year got laid off and started college and then my step-father got sick and died after nine months of cancer treatment; then he left me in charge of a huge farm and a monster debt to go with it. I finally broke down.

This is when a friend asked me to go with her to the doctor because she needed someone to ride with her to Memphis. She knew me and knew I would do it for her. What I didn’t know was the appointment was for me. That day they wanted to put me in the hospital because I was suicidal, but I couldn’t stay in Memphis; I had a family to take care of. So I went back home and told my dh that they wanted me to check into the Charter Hospital for depression. Now here are those infamous words that made me realize that I had to take care of me! “If you check yourself into the loony bin; don’t bother coming home!” I was in shock that he didn’t want me to get well. So I packed my bags and turned right around that night and went back to Memphis (two hours). So I guess a little rebellion is good for us. My gut reaction was to take care of me.

While I was in the hospital for those ten days; I learned about stress. I believe that our mental and physical health is tied together. I started working on my physical health. I had been raised in church and I knew how to pray, but I didn’t know how to walk in God’s light all the time. I began to meditate for purely relaxation purposes and what came from that was a very real sense that God is with me ever minute and every second of every day and even though I was taught that God does not talk to us directly; I was finding that as I slowed down the juggling of my thoughts that I could see clearly what God wanted for me. My sweet darling calls those God Breezes.

After I got out of the hospital on January 31st; I started on my depression medication for six weeks. After nine days the Prozac kicked in and I realized that I could not live with that dh any longer. When I told him I was moving out, he said, “But why; I am happy!” I said “I know. I made sure of it”. All I took with me was my stereo to play my Rita Davenport tapes, my goose down comforter because I was so cold, my car and the clothes on my back and moved up to the farm in an old house that used to be a country store.

This house had an antique claw foot tub in it and some days the only way I could get warm was to get into a hot bath and stay there for hours. I asked a doctor about this and he said that I had artificially raised my body temperature and had probably out of instinct help to cure myself of the low body temperature. I also started meditating and reducing the stress in my life. A week after I left him; I was walking down the street and some one told me I looked ten years younger: My face cleared up and then I started my period. I had the worst cramps I had ever experienced in my life. But guess what I figured out. The stress of living with him and my body shutting down had protected from the pain of the cramps. So I celebrated having the CRAMPS! I could feel again! Now I am crying! I won’t every forget it!

Since freeing myself of this stress and learning to deal with other stressors; I am hardly ever sick. I have been taking care of me for many years and I am just so proud to be here and to be able to help you. If we don’t take care of ourselves then who is going to? No one cares about us the way we do. God gave us our minds, bodies and spirits! It is up to us to meld the three together at all times. For I feel with all my heart that as our spirit goes; so goes our mind and as our mind goes so goes our body and vice-versa. It is all connected to God.

He gave us the power of positive thinking and along with that; positive actions. This is why we wear our shoes; get dressed in the morning and get enough rest. He also gave us our intuition. It is God in us! When we don’t heed those messages we end up regretting not taking action. It can be as simple as taking a bath like it was with me or stopping a negative thought in your head! Listen to yourself; when you hear negative things come into your head; make them positive.

Now I want to put this all together for you! We are not superwomen; we may play them in the little sitcom we are starring in; but let’s face it; the harder we strive for perfection the farther we get from it. Trying to live up to someone else’s ideal of perfection is hard enough; but we are trying to live up to our own unrealistic standards. These are standards that have been set by the perfectionist that raised us and their parents. Then combine this perfectionism with an attitude that you can’t get rid of any thing because you may need it one day and we become imprisoned in our imperfect cluttered homes wallowing in self-pity and shame. It is this fear that someone will find out our dirty little secret that keeps the stress levels turned up on high and what makes our bodies shut down.

I want to put a stop to this self-torture. We can do this quite simply by letting go of our perfectionism and realizing that it does not have to be perfect to be good enough to bless our family. We can also do this by going to bed at a decent hour and eating good food and drinking water (which most of us don’t do)! Or even by clearing off one hot spot or shining your sink or developing a small routine. Any one of this things can help you to start feeling better. The best part is that the more you let go of your perfectionism the closer we become to the one perfect thing; GOD!

I want for you what I have; Peace and this peace came from letting go of my super woman mentality and taking care of me.

I love you all!


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