Pick Me Up – April 6, 2019

Our daily “Pick Me Up” is our gift to you for when you need inspiration or something to brighten your day.  I’ll be using my photos and quotes that I love.  Sometimes we’ll use graphics that friends send to us.  No matter the source, we hope you enjoy the end product.

Hugs, Cee

Pick Me Up – March 24, 2019

Our daily “Pick Me Up” is our gift to you for when you need inspiration or something to brighten your day.  I’ll be using my photos and quotes that I love.  Sometimes we’ll use graphics that friends send to us.  No matter the source, we hope you enjoy the end product.

Hugs, Cee

Changing Expectations

Cee had a revelation a few days ago.  We had a great day, with plenty of physical activity, time spent cleaning up the house, planning the future and working on our business.  And we were astonished by that.

We shouldn’t have been.

She discovered that we have come to expect bad days, low achievement days, sitting in limbo days, because that is all we have known for fifteen years.  Lyme disease, and the grief that came with it, reduced the quality of our lives to barely breathing.  We were couch potatoes, not by choice but by the control Lymes had over both of us.

We don’t have to live that way any more but no one told us to change our expectations.

Drat these lives for not coming with instruction manuals.

Here’s the thing… when the circumstances of our lives change, we have to adjust our expectations, too.  Sometimes that is painfully obvious, like with the death of a spouse.   With something like a disease or illness, that isn’t always so obvious.  Cee came out of a debilitating coma with the expectation that life would return to normal, but it didn’t.

But what do we do when there are good things in our lives?  Do we think to change expectations?  Probably not.  We’ve become hard-wired the other way.  So when, like in Cee’s case, you are getting healthier and more able to move, what do you do with it?  Do you even recognize that there is an opportunity for new expectations?

Nobody ever tells you that when a life pattern changes, you have to change your expectations, but you DO have to change.  Expectations come from your heart, not from your head.  You might know that something isn’t going to happen like it used to, but that comes from your head.  Your head is telling you one thing, and your heart is saying another. You have to get the two of them in alignment with each other again.

Bad things are going to happen.  Good things are going to happen.  That’s what life is all about.

Can you think of a time your heart held onto old expectations, old dreams, good or bad, even when you head was telling you not to?  Did you adjust your expectations or not?

Lots of virtual hugs,

Chris

Chris@Cee-Chris.com

Loss: Independence

My beautiful, smart and wonderful daughter has a  heart condition.  When I asked for suggestions for this post, she wanted me to talk about loss of independence.  Cee and I know a lot about the subject, as do any of you who have a chronic illness.  It also applies in many ways to those of you who have gone through the death of a loved one, and many other types of losses.  I’ll address it from the angle of chronic illness first, and let all of you chime in.

Chronic illness robs you of your independence.  Period.  You can’t get around it.  In my daughter Nikki’s case, she has to rely on her husband and son to do certain things for her.  She can’t carry too many things, or things that are too heavy, so she needs one of them to go to the store with her, or for her.    She doesn’t travel alone any more, just in case she gets too weak or needs assistance.  She can’t work, so she can’t support herself.  She has to rely on her husband’s income.  She has lost her independence in so many ways.  She can’t go running or get to the gym when she wants.  She can’t go out with the girls, just to relax and catch up with them.  Heart disease as serious as hers controls her life now.

Cee and I know what loss of independence is all about.  After the three times she has almost died, she needed me to do everything for her.  After the coma in 2001, she even needed to be fed because she had lost so much muscle mass.  After each significant bout of Lyme disease, she would lose what little independence she had gained back.  Fortunately, she’s so much better now that she can drive herself around, do her own laundry, and help to clean around the house.  I still support her.  She’s not ready to go back into the work force.  That’s one of the reasons she became certified as a Grief Recovery Specialist.  She’s able to start earning money again while controlling her hours and working conditions.  That, and the fact that she’s darned good at it.

You might not have a condition as severe as Nikki’s, or as complicated as Cee’s has been, but if you have any sort of chronic illness, or a long term illness like cancer can be, you have been forced to give up some of your independence.  It’s just part of the package.

Those of us who are caretakers for someone with a chronic illness also give up our independence.  We have to be more mindful of how we are spending our energy and time, to be there for the person we love.  I’ve given up the hiking and camping Cee and I loved to do together, for example.

A death in the family often results in a loss of independence as one person now becomes the sole bread winner, or surviving parent or caretaker.  It might mean that you have to give up your house or apartment and move in with a family member.

How have you had a loss of independence?

Keep those questions coming!  Feel free to suggest topics!

Lots of virtual hugs,

Chris and Cee

 

From Head to Heart

The longest journey you can ever take is from your head down to your heart.  I know, because I’m a master at getting stuck in my own head.  I can chew things over, analyze, script conversations, and generally make myself crazy trying to figure out how and why some of my life experiences happened.  Some things just don’t have a “how” or a “why” that we can ever understand.  Cee knows when I get quiet and withdrawn that I’ve worked myself into my little mental hamster wheel and I’m running in circles as fast as I can.  And I’m getting nowhere but tired.

What we do in the Grief Recovery Method is learn special techniques that you can use to get out of your head and move down to your heart.  The heart is where the real healing begins.  So many of us tend to hide behind our intellect as a way to avoid feeling pain.  We’re taught that from childhood.  Don’t cry.  Be brave.  Be strong.

Our hearts are broken.  Our hearts hurt and are sad.  We are taught not to listen to our hearts.  We are taught not to feel sad.  We are taught that time will heal all wounds.  But those are intellectual words that take us back out of our heart and into our head.

To heal the heart you have to take a leap of faith, feel what is in your heart, and then you can begin to heal it.  Then you can begin to enjoy life, to live life, to look forward to the new day, to walk out into the sunshine and be happy.  To smile.  Just because it feels good.

Feeling out of touch with your heart?  We’ll be putting out a list of feelings tomorrow that will help you get back in touch.

Hugs and blessings,

Chris

Chris@Cee-Chris.com

Loss: Chronic Illness

Cee and I have uncovered a lot of new ideas as we’ve been doing our Grief Recovery work.  We’ve had some huge “Aha!” moments.  But we haven’t started doing a deep dive into the “elephant in the room”, her journey through Lyme disease and the impact it has had on our lives.  That is going to be an epic saga, I think.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve done a lot of processing of it through the years.  We couldn’t be the happy, sane, caring people we are if we hadn’t.  But chronic illness has huge ramifications, with many layers of losses.

So what is a chronic illness?  A chronic illness is a health condition or disease that is persistent in its effects or a disease that comes with time. The term chronic is often used if the condition lasts longer than 3 months.  Examples of chronic illnesses are:  heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, COPD (lungs), lupus, MS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and our not-so-favorite, Lyme disease.  These conditions are just the tip of an ever growing iceberg, and often bring with them depression, anxiety, insomnia and a host of related problems.

Chronic illness affects the person with the illness, and also the family members who provide care or live with them.  In general, here are some of the most common losses:

  • mental and emotional wellbeing
  • physical comfort
  • a clear mind, because brain fog is normal with chronic illness
  • personal dignity and physical privacy, as people are always examining you
  • control over your body
  • financial stability
  • the feeling of having a future.  When it’s a struggle to make it through today, tomorrow doesn’t matter any more.
  • friends, as they give up on someone who is always cancelling on them at the last minute
  • independence
  • happiness, as pain and physical struggles replace it in life
  • fitting in, as you park in the handicap spot, or need a walker, or have visible scars on your body, or wear a head scarf to cover your bald head
  • the security of having loved ones in your life.  If you suffer from illness, there is the chance your spouse/child/parent will give up and walk out.  If you care for someone with an illness, there is the fear of death of your loved one, sometimes coupled with the guilt at hoping the end will come peacefully and quickly.

Cee will be applying the new techniques we have learned with the Grief Recovery Method to resolve some of these losses.  I will be working on my related ones as a caregiver at the same time.  We’ll be talking about how it feels, and what it means to get some resolution around these losses.

It’s going to be an interesting adventure.  If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic illness, please join this blog and participate in the discussions we’ll be having.  Feel free to share your own story in the comments below, but please be safe when you do so.  Remember that you are sharing with a lot of people, almost all of whom you don’t know.  Or email us privately.  We will never disclose any communication we have from you without your prior consent.  We treat your privacy as a sacred trust.

Much love and very gentle virtual hugs to all of you,

Chris and Cee

chris@cee-chris.com

cee@cee-chris.com