Just a Few Musings

So 2020 is rocking our collective world. As my dear son said, “ After all of this is over, maybe some positives will come out of this crisis.”

One can only hope so. Maybe this collective fear and anxiety and concern for health and humanity can provide a sense of unity and empathy that has been lacking. Maybe we can become more comfortable accepting other’s viewpoints and also focus more on things that matter. Maybe we can all remember to wash our hands more thoroughly and to practice better hygiene. I will tell you that in a weird way, as someone who is immune-compromised, a part of me feels safer going out in the world now because everyone ( hopefully…) is taking extra measures to contain their germs. This doesn’t mean I am hugging people or doing anything ridiculous, just that it is kind of nice- other than the fact that if this particular virus gets me…. well, we all know the scary realities. And I would rather not relapse, but that is a fear I live with every single day- just a part of regular life now- no big deal…. insert eyes rolling.

My heart is aching for all of the victims and all of the health care workers. And all of the teachers. And all of the parents. And basically every one. The small businesses and the people out of work. The stories I have heard personally- overwhelming sadness and fear. The outrageousness of what is happening takes some time to fully process and absorb.

And we are consistently having to reset and adjust as new issues keep arising. What a practice in patience and acceptance this is….

Our family dynamics ( as well as tons of yours) just completely shifted with college kids moving ( understandably unhappily) back home to finish the semester online and high schoolers doing e-learning and husbands working from home. I almost walked in on a live web-conference call yesterday- Oy-my poor husband!Every one is HOME. At the same time. For many hours at a time. I honestly cannot imagine having young kids at this time. Those of you who do, please know it is ok just to be on survival mode and that screen time lots of the time will not be the end of the world. Seriously. Just do the best you can each hour. Maybe all of the parent shaming and comparison bullshit can begin to END- that would certainly be a positive to come out of this.

And, if any of you know me at all, you have to be expecting a musing about food shaming and body shaming and all of the things that go along with that soapbox of mine. Please, just don’t even go there. Maybe this will be a lovely time for detoxing from certain social media accounts that create this ridiculousness. We are all just trying to avoid this virus and deal with quarantines and finding toilet paper and surviving our family dynamics- so, for once and for all, enough with diet culture. Food is not medicine either and will not cure the Coronavirus- ( nor will essential oils) how crazy that I just even wrote this sentence? But some “Wellness Gurus” are actually promoting this idea. Y’all. Just no. Dr. Joshua Wolrich and FoodSCIENCEBabe are great resources for scientific facts. There is such a thing as science. And I am a believer in and user of complementary health modalities AND SCIENCE.

Also, a note on letting go of the incessant need to be productive and busy. As someone who can no longer engage in life with that perspective ( and the struggle is persistent and real), please consider using this time to give yourself permission to untether yourself from this way of rigid thinking. Some days it really is acceptable to stay in your pajamas all day and read books, watch tv, write, create art, play games, watch silly videos on your phone or sleep. And you can do it without calling yourself lazy. We are actually being mandated to slow down for the greater good. So if you need to view it that way- feel free!

So may we all give ourselves and our fellow humans the gifts of hand washing and social distancing and and noticing the little things to be grateful for and the compassion for how challenging this time is for all of us collectively. And may we send consistent healing vibes to all the suffering people.

Deep Breaths. Drop Inside Yourself.

So many things. A sensory overload of information- conflicting, divisive, political ridiculousness in excess, opinions upon opinions. Enough.

The judgment of others is disheartening. And there is just entirely too much of it- on every level whether it is among people in my own profession, politics (which I mentally refer to as polifucks), on how institutions are choosing to either proactively or reactively respond to this virus that we are all keenly aware of at this point, parenting, the list goes on and on.

I am practicing social distancing from what I am bombarded with every time I turn around. I am distancing myself mentally and emotionally ( I already practice it physically because I am naturally introverted and need to rest entirely too much because of my uninvited partner who takes up way too much energy- thanks MS).

I am over sorting and sifting through the bullshit. The hypocrisy. Why can’t we all have our own viewpoints without getting name-called by people within our own circles- and I am talking about professional and political here. As a clinical social worker/psychotherapist or whatever label you choose to use- why can’t we see how damaging it is to shame others in our field who practice from their own authentic perspectives- who ever said we had to all be the same type of therapist and believe the same things politically? Isn’t that a tad bit hypocritical? I can choose to have my own informed thoughts that can be fluid and open based on my own lived experiences, critical thinking skills and innate sense of knowing and intuition- we do not actually all have to be on the same exact page about every single issue- so if there are differences in beliefs and practices ( which there obviously will be because we are all DIFFERENT) let us withhold from judgment of one another. Isn’t that what we teach others? Aren’t we humans as well?

Can we all just take a collective deep breath ( in our own homes) and come back to ourselves- please?

It is possible to respectfully disagree about certain things without shaming and blaming and name-calling. The world does not need more of this. Everyone is stressed out enough. Whether you are privileged or not. Stress can be different and we can all experience it. It may manifest itself differently and that is actually Human. Because we are all humans.

Just look at the parent’s pages of your student’s educational Facebook pages, or listen to your kids, your colleagues, your friends. And if you are “fortunate” enough to belong to a chronic illness club and/or be medically compromised from cancer or other traumatic diseases, do I even have to continue this sentence here…

So I am exhaling out all of the hypocrisy and judgment and stress. And inhaling in the permission to be my own self with my own perspectives and intuition. And I am breathing for all of us as humans to be able to do the same- regardless of whether you agree with 100 per cent of my opinions and beliefs. I don’t expect any other person to actually agree or understand with my own self- because that would kind of be impossible as there is no one else exactly like me. And this goes for all of us- and that is absolutely and amazingly OK.

Inhale. Exhale. Permission. Inhale. Exhale. Respect. Inhale. Exhale. Compassion. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

Let It Be

So today on the way home from a lovely trip visiting our daughter at college, my son suggested we listen to the Beatles.

I have always loved the song Let It Be. It has always served as a reminder to let go of what I cannot control( which is basically most things…) The tears started leaking while the song played. Today is the 18 month anniversary of the Multiple Fuckenings. March is also MS Awareness month- how timely.

So I am currently reflecting on how far I have come since waking up in that Nashville hotel on 9/1/18 and realizing my left arm was “gone”- wasn’t it just a pinched nerve?!

Thanks to the endless patience of my OTs and PTs, I learned how to write with my right hand, put my contacts in with my right hand( SO MANY CUSSWORDS), get dressed an entirely different way( who knew that was even a thing?!), wash my right side and shave my right armpit with my right hand, use pumps for stuff like shampoo and conditioner because I couldn’t grip or make anything squeeze out. Sleeping an entirely different way ( only on my back) with my left arm supported at all times and NEVER EVER sleeping curled up on my left side – my favorite way for 46 years…Then once my left arm and hand FINALLY started “waking up”- this is when all the re-learning of how to use it began. And I had to make it work while always being extremely cautious to not tear my rotator cuff and learning how to maneuver it while it easily subluxated out and/or dislocated itself. So that was fun- still is- it provides endless opportunities for cussing. Thousands and Thousands of dollars went into the partial recovery of this part of my body. For so long, I actually could not Let It Be because so much vital energy went in to recovering and making it work again despite the limitations- PT 3 times a week, PT at home, practicing activities of daily living- always being mindful and intentional of not doing further damage. This is just a part of my normal life now.

Each milestone continues to bring such excitement and relief. Like the first time I was able to shave my right armpit with my left hand- Y’all- this was AMAZING and I was ecstatic in that shower- I still have to do this with intentionality and making sure when I am crossing it over that my scapula is engaged in a down and back position but I can do it! Washing my hair with both hands! Using my left hand to put lotion on my right side- another win! The first time I was able to make pasta for my family- you have to be able to use 2 hands to carry a large boiling pot of water to the colander. The first time I could use the oven with heavier dishes that required 2 hands and not just one to take it out of the heat. The first time I could practice yoga on my mat- modifications are a learning curve but it is still yoga! I could go on and on about ALL of the little things I had taken for granted my whole life.

The last major milestone was just last month- Being able to use my left arm to pay the cashier at a drive-through- at my bank, at my pharmacy, at a fast food restaurant- this is a MAJOR TRIUMPH!! I have dislocated it a couple of times but I know how to get it reset now and I always know my massage therapist can do it when I am fortunate enough to be on her table. And, let’s be real- I am used to pain now- I am a badass sometimes with handling it- not all the time- I have many moments of self-pity and despair and anger AND I am still a warrior. Warriors cry and are exhausted and feel all the things emotionally and physically and are badasses.

So now I am in a place where I am gradually able to Let It Be. My whole left side is always weak and uncomfortable by the end of the day- no matter what I do or don’t do that day. My first OT explained that this would likely be the case for the rest of my life. Its just a normal part of MS symptoms from a huge initial attack.

And sleeping on my back in a supported position is just the way it is now. Thank you to medicine that helps me sleep!

I still struggle with letting this be but I am making peace with it now. What other choice is there, really?

So as I continue to Let It Be, May we all practice Letting Whatever It Is Be.

May we Thank the Beatles for creating such a powerful piece of art to remind us. May we sing it with tears of sadness and joy and peace.

And a grateful thank you to my sweet son who wanted to listen to The Beatles today.