I stood on the banks of this shore one early morning while on a mission trip to a tiny little village in Belize while there on a mission trip. I was feeling useless and out of place with the church group I went with. As I stood on the shore with the cool breeze blowing over me I asked God to just give me a glimpse, a peek, if you will, in to what my purpose was here. He surprised me when I heard a little voice in my heart say, “Though you may think you are here to help these women, you are here that I may bring peace and healing to you.”<a href="http://Peek“>
We are a desperate people here on this earth.
Last night I was on the Internet researching. As a person with an issue with focusing this can be exhausting because every page I went to had a link that took me to another page with a link and then another.
This venture always reminds me how much I love books, not the audio kind but the kind with real pages; pages with history. The kind of history that has the markings of others that have held the book and maybe underlined or highlighted a sentence or two, perhaps smudged a bit of chocolate or dropped a hot ash from a cigarette, cigar, pipe etc. Sometimes there is even a dog-eared page here and there or words written on the sides of a page. To some this is distracting; to me it feels like community.
My journey last night on the Internet revealed how desperate we are.
So many of us are searching for answers. We want cures, we want wisdom, we want help because we don’t trust the doctors, or the teachers, or the pastors, the leaders; the ones in days of old we looked to for guidance.
As I searched for answers, I found that most sites that started with “how I overcame” statements ended with a product that promised to fix or heal. Or, if you have time, you can register for a free online class that promises to reveal a secret.
The pages start out with a video or a lot of words that sound like well-versed research on the topic.
I accept that some of these are from people that truly have overcome things in their lives and they truly want to share to help others. Sometimes their issue led them to research because conventional means were not an option due to lack of finances. The problem is that they eventually make their information out of reach to others because they start charging for it or creating products to sell that are way to expensive for the average person to buy. The desperate, hopeful person will go in to debt in hopes that this will finally be the answer to their problems.
So desperation leads to searching, searching may lead to real or “promised” answers.
I went to bed VERY discouraged and feeling a bit down on myself for buying in to some of these “answers”.
When I woke up I was still thinking about it. I decided I was going to unsubscribe from many of the places I get emails from.
I then went to my little space in my house where I read my Bible each morning and this is where I found some solace. I picked up the book that I could hold in my hand, the book with the worn pages and the coffee stains and the dog eared pages and the writing in the sides and the highlighted passages and I asked my Creator to enlighten me. I asked God to help me sift the lies from the truth. I asked God to light the path where my feet should land. I asked to help me find joy in the gifts here on this earth and the answers to my issues with things that are not complicated.
I don’t want to be ignorant and naïve but I also don’t want to live with these fears anymore. I want a reboot, a start over, a life cleansing; I want to cold turkey from life as it is.
Enlighten me Oh God that I may see as you see, love as you love, and shake off the cares of this world that I may better engage in life as you have designed it.<a href="http://Enlighten“>
It’s delightfully quiet now; both in my heart and outside.
The air is just cool enough that I’m comfortable sitting outside.
I have my coffee (yes I am still drinking it)
Nature is on its normal course with the birds flitting to and fro. The only difference this morning is that I am at peace for the moment as I try to just be.
I am here in the moment and the anxious committee in my head is still sleeping.
By the way, for the last two nights I have put lavender essential oil on my feet and I think it has immobilized the talking heads that sometimes keep me awake or wake me up at night.
Back to peace.
I read every morning from the Bible and most times I am just looking at words because I am distracted by my anxiety (fear for what lies ahead in my day).
I am currently reading the Psalms and it amazes me how similar the thoughts and feelings of the writer so closely remind me of my own. It gives me hope to read them because it reminds me everyday the awesomeness of my Creator.
He does not send death nor sickness-we have created the environment that causes death, sickness, trauma, and sorrow through the desire to make life easier. Technology and greed have disrupted our Garden of Eden resulting in weather occurrences and machines and disease that kill and maim.
I watched a video on YouTube called urban agroecoloy. This family grows 6000 lbs. of food on 1/10 of an acre in the city. They grow almost all their food; have chickens, goats, and ducks among other animals. They use solar and pay only $12 per month for electricity and make their own biodiesel fuel for their cars (they get free used oil from restaurants). They make about $20,000 per year from their produce and use that money to buy the food they can’t grow, like wheat. They are vegetarians, no microwaves, and their juicer is hand cranked. They do canning, have bees for honey and only eat what’s in season. That to me sounds like the Garden of Eden we were meant to live in. The Dad calls it their (his family) road to freedom.
I look out at my yard and can envision it here. (:
I started this blog in the morning but had to dash out for the demands of this life.
My day started with the peace of the early morning and now 6.5 hours later it is with me again as I sit in my backyard and write. I have about an hour left of peace and freedom from anxiety.
I sit and enjoy the company of my two therapists (my dogs) and the occasional hummingbird that visits to have some sugar water.
My soul is still. No TV, no noise, no social media, just the nature that nurtures my weary soul as I gather up and breath deep breathes of serenity. I savor these moments because it is here that I find healing, answers and hope.
I learn more and more each day how I receive words from others through a filter of anxiety that often lies. It’s like having a bad interpreter. I am trying to catch myself and take control of the interpretation. I honestly believe the years I spent smoking pot left me with a bit of paranoia and when added to anxiety and insecurity…well, what I hear others say and think they do may not always be accurate.
In the midst of an anxious moment it feels like I have a big tangled spider web of thoughts and words and they are all struggling to break free to be the spoken word that comes out of my mouth or be the thought that takes over. So, if you are asking someone with anxiety to make a decision-picture their brain being a tangled spider web and give them a break when they can’t make a decision.
My husband is a logical black and white person. He has finally learned that when he asks me to make a decision that I am going to defer to him but he still asks just in case.
I’m feeling grateful that I don’t have any close friends at this point in my life. It’s hard enough dealing with the people I do have to deal with. Each day I am hoping to grow out of this mess and become stronger internally so that when I do venture out to make friends I can have a stronger foundation of confidence.
I feel content and I am happy for the moment but dang it’s getting hot out here so I will sign off for today.
This journey of recovery has taken me down some VERY interesting paths but at the end of the day they all lead to the same place. The following is just my opinion.
I’ve come to the fork in the road, the kind with more than two directions and no matter which one I go down it APPEARS to end at the same place. They all seem to be connected.
In reading about co-dependency, anxiety, and addictions, a new word has entered the picture: narcissism. When I take the path of co-dependency it leads me to the very familiar place of anxiety. When I read about addictions it ends up at anxieties front door. As any of you that have had a relationship or have known someone that appears to be a narcissist you may not believe what I am about to say but many of his or her actions are a result of anxiety. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that if you suffer from anxiety that you are a narcissist. This is my journey of discovery and I am looking at all avenues to get better.
I currently have 2 people in my life that have been described as narcissists. They both have huge hearts and love to give. They are both very controlling and manipulative and know how to make you feel like you are the slime of the earth.
They both can rage in a manner that would make even the fiercest king of the jungle retreat back to its lair. They are both very insecure but for people that don’t know them well you would think that they are perfect. They need you to think they are perfect. They have all the answers and present themselves as having all they need and that they have everything in order.
Their insecurity creates the anxiety that propels them to appear perfect and in control. Would a narcissist fit the description of being co-dependent? Well, codependents are very self-serving. Many of them seem to be very saintly, in fact, sometimes it even seems they are wearing a halo.
Now, behind closed doors, that is where all the pressure they put on themselves is released.
I was reading about co-dependents in a book by Melody Beattie. As she was describing the Karman Drama Triangle, I could clearly see how these 2 people work their way through the triangle. Rescue, persecute, victim. Since they feel like they are god and have all the answers they will “help” even though they really don’t want to and then they will persecute because the added pressure they put on themselves and then when anyone gets angry with them for persecuting they will retreat into the victim role. How did this all get started…anxiety. I have to do better, be better, seem perfect, and be perfect. Melody says it this way, “However, at the heart of most rescues is a demon: low self-worth. We rescue because we don’t feel good about ourselves. Although feelings are transient and artificial, care-taking provides us with a temporary hit of good feelings, self worth and power. Just as a drink helps an alcoholic temporarily feel better, a rescue momentarily distracts us from the pain of who we are. We don’t feel lovable so we settle for being needed. We don’t feel good about ourselves, so we feel compelled to do a particular thing to prove how good we are. We rescue because we don’t feel good about other people either.”
Right, OK so most narcissist’s demand that they be served, that they be taken care of. In fact it’s probably narcissists that the codependents are taking care of. Here’s a challenge. Try to notice when and who you might see a narcissist helping.
Here is a description I read on a blog:
“You help and you do favors and you struggle to say no, because you don’t want people to be mad at you. Yes, your self-confidence hinges on the well-being of others, but at the end of the day, people pleasing is in service to yourself. People-pleasing—even the Christian kind—is ultimately about you. And soon “you” becomes your focus. Your reason. Your basic motivation. That is my story. The seemingly benign desire to be a nice Christian girl had planted seeds, and put down roots, which grew into a pernicious self-focus. What appeared to be Christ-centered was, at its core, self-centered. My problem wasn’t people-pleasing. My problem was self-focus.”
So what appears to be a halo is actually hellacious. It’s self-seeking, self-rewarding. I’m not thinking about that when I’m doing it but in the end it is about me. It’s about self-preservation and reducing the anxiety.
There is definitely a difference between helping and care-taking (rescuing). I’m still learning the difference.
Are all codependents narcissists? I don’t think so. Are any codependents narcissists? Possibly. Of course I look at me first. Do I fit all the qualities of a narcissist? No. I don’t rage and persecute others, but I do rage at myself. I turn it inward. I punish myself. Do I help others in order to feel better about myself-not always. Do I do things for others because I feel they are incapable-sometimes. Do I feel like I have all the answers? I feel like I have to have all the answers. Do I get upset if someone criticizes me-yes the mama bear in me comes out to protect my very fragile self-esteem. But it’s because I do try so hard to be perfect.
Although it’s said that narcissists are very egotistical I think it’s a façade they have worn for so long they have come to believe it. I think they are much like the beast in Beauty and the Beast. They have had people in their lives that have catered to them, out of fear, for so long that that is what they expect and demand. They have learned how to manipulate and control their environment in order to ward off anxiety.
What I do know for myself is that many of the actions I do or don’t take that later cause me grief are motivated by anxiety. The anxiety of impending rejection, abandonment, and criticism…the list goes on and on. I have also come to learn that my anxiety lies to me ALL the time and that the fear that arises is totally unwarranted.
So, for me I will continue to research, look at possibilities, look inward to reveal the demons so I can kick them the hell out of my life. I will continue to seek out alternatives to medicine to increase my serotonin levels. I think anxiety has been hiding in the shadows of so many other mental illnesses that it needs to be brought out for what it is so that it can be destroyed. For me, I want to unzip the cloak of anxiety that’s attached itself to me as a second skin and walk in freedom.
Anxiety vs codependency vs normal
Okay, so no such thing as normal so maybe the better word is healthy.
It goes like this. My mother was in the hospital for pneumonia. Prior to going in the hospital she was driving, going to the grocery store, cleaners, etc. She is a spunky, feisty, and very stubborn 90 year old. She has been in and out of the hospital 3-4 times over the past 3 years. Sometimes she comes home on 24/7 oxygen and sometimes she goes to rehab and then home. She always goes home and she always regains her independence. Being her only adult child that lives in the same state as her, she has played a big part in my anxiety.
She is home from rehab from a nursing home and she is back on oxygen 24/7. She was offered nursing visits, physical and occupational therapy visits. Everything was going well until she had to sign a consent form saying she agreed to having these professionals come to assist her. She declined to sign.
I wrote in my previous blog about when I was 5 years old I used to get caught in the “spin cycle” of a wave; spinning, spinning, out of control until the wave lost it’s power as it crashed into the shore.
The moment my mother declined to sign I went into an emotional “spin cycle”. It felt like the contents of my stomach were now at the top of my esophagus and standing in the ready position to launch onto my mother and the very patient nurse that was interviewing her. My heart was pleading for my mouth to release the expletives that had been storing up as I listened to my mother lie about her time in the nursing home. I could hear the committee in my head yelling, “REALLY, REALLY?”.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy and grateful that my mother is still alive. I don’t mind visiting her on my days off to help her. But not signing meant I would have to be over there ALOT more and I work full time. I have time available for parental FMLA but I am almost maxed out. I can’t imagine life without her. And yes, there is a BUT at the end of that sentence.
Not only is she spunky, feisty, and stubborn but also very manipulative and controlling. If she were an actress she would have a houseful of Emmy’s, Oscars, and all the other acting awards. She lies like nobodies business and gets a quirky little smile when she gets away with it. As the youngest of her 6 children, I am the only one that can bear spending long periods of time with her.
Therefore I ask, what is codependent, anxiety and healthy.
Since she declined to sign, I have been advised to leave her on her own and visit her, at the most, one time a week. This advice is from people who have heard her humiliate me in front of the various medical providers she has had.
“Why do you keep helping her when she is so mean to you?”
Well, she’s my Mom. I can’t leave her to fend for herself. Besides, I get it. She has had control for all her life and now she is finding that she can’t do everything and it’s hard to accept that.
I get anxious just thinking about it. I feel like I should do so much more. Is that the co-dependent in me or is it the heart of a child for her mother. I’ve heard about people quitting their jobs to move in with an elderly parent. I’ve heard of people giving up their life as it is, putting it on hold and serving their elderly parent.
My husband and I lost our house to a short sale because we were going to move in with my mother. We sold most of our stuff and put the rest in storage. Two days before we were to move in she said she changed her mind and refused to have us move in. We made a special place in the new house we bought and she refuses to move in with us. The only thing I haven’t done is quit my job.
When she declined to sign the papers the anxious committee members in my head said she was trying to force me to quit my job to care for her.
Codependent, anxious, (normal) healthy response; what the hell do any of them look like cause I just can’t figure it out right now.
I’ve heard it said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
I need to add a bit of a tag line on to that….but not always.
This good intention has actually lead to the beginning of my redemption.
I started this blog with the good intention of addressing addictions and a source of help for those involved with addictions in some form or another. That’s still my intention-eventually. It has sort of evolved into a blog about my road to recovery. Well to be honest it is now about my recovery. My blog title “Recover Me” was supposed to be generalized for all of us in whatever form of recovery we find ourselves in.
At this point in my recovery I have come to accept that I have a diagnosis of anxiety and I am co-dependent (although my understanding is that the mental health field is getting away from using that term).
I have come to accept that I am where I am today because of anxiety and that I am not the only one in the world that struggles with feeling like I am “different” than the rest of the world.
I was watching a video of Dr. Kelly Brogan regarding anxiety. She is a holistic psychiatrist in Manhattan.
She said over 100,000,000 million prescriptions per year are filled for anxiety medications.
She described anxiety as a sense of discomfort in your own skin, a sense of unease and that you feel you can’t meet needs.
That’s me for sure. I think the last part is what developed the co-dependent part of me. When people are talking about a problem they are having or that something I suggested didn’t work or how someone else gave them “the best advice, present, help, etc” I feel I have to be better, do better, make it better. This leads me into a tailspin of how can I help, what could I have done better, I have to fix this, why wasn’t mine good enough. In other words, I get very anxious.
She also talked about a new division on mental health called psychoneuroimmunology. It says the immune system, brain, gut and hormonal system are all related and must all be looked at when addressing symptoms. She went on to say that the root cause of anxiety is linked to blood sugar imbalance, thyroid balance (I have underactive thyroid) , and food sensitivities.
Before I get to what she suggested I want to be transparent with one of my panic episodes. I’m not saying we all have the same issues with anxiety but I’m sure there must be others that have had similar experiences. If we can begin to recognize that some of our thoughts are the irrational interpretation of life at the moment that’s brought on by our anxiety then we can begin to try to take a moment to think before we act.
When I was a child my father loved to go to the beach and therefore alot of time was spent at the beach. My family learned to love the ocean as well. Often my mother would takes the six of us to the beach with one of her friends. (When my Dad was working). I was the youngest of six so when we went to the beach my older siblings would venture off into the water with their friends. While my mother was involved in conversation with her friend I would wander off to the water. As a 5 year old I did not understand the power of a wave and current and would eventually get pulled under into what I now refer to as “the spin cycle”. When I finally arose from the torrent I wanted nothing more than to run to the my family. Oddly enough the spin cycle carried me far enough way from the point I entered the water that my family was nowhere in sight. My thought was that everyone went home.
The summer before I entered 3rd grade my family and I were traveling to Morocco because my father was stationed there. We got on a train in Spain to get to our next destination. There wasn’t enough room in the compartment my mother was in for me to be there so she told me to step into the next compartment and she would come and get me when we arrived. I must have fallen asleep on the bench I sat on because the next thing I knew the number of people in my compartment had doubled and I could no longer see my mother or any of my brothers and sisters. I got up and people were staring at me and talking but I did not understand due to the foreign language. Again, I thought I would never see my family again.
As a result of these and other experiences like it, I have issues with abandonment. I tend to get panicky (anxious) with arguments and losing sight of people when out on an excursion or vacation. I can tend to be a bit overprotective and clingy. So, as a co-dependent I do not like confrontation and do not do well with people in emotional pain (unless it is a non related person). My first priority with related people is to avoid confrontation so that they don’t leave me and to alleviate everyone’s pain so they always come to me and never abandon me.
When I can realize that the irrational thoughts and potential reactions are anxiety based I have a better chance of looking for the healthy response and reaction.
Now for Dr. Brogan’s initial suggestions
Eliminate coffee. Did I get that right. That in itself raises the sleeping anxiety dragon. I did it before for about 6 months or maybe a year but I did it by choice and now I am being told. For some reason that makes it different. That will be a hard one. She also suggested a really weird breathing exercise. I’m really not big on this kind of activity but hey why not, it’s worth a try. I just hope no one catches me doing it.
One of my own practices as I spoke of before is I made an essential oil blend and just smelling it makes me happy so I know it is at least releasing some of my own happy hormones.
OK, so I am listening to my logic side that tells me I don’t need to keep writing so that I get EVERYTHING in here.
See you next time!
Leave a comment if you’d like about your own experiences. Or you can email me at email@example.com
Staring so hard that it feels like if I continue I will fade into a dimension that will take me away from the conflict within me.
My brain says that I am very very sad and stressed and anxious. So sad that my heart is crying, no it’s sobbing, but there are too many layers between my heart and my eyes so the sobbing stays shut within my heart.
Which came first
Did the anxiety cause the weakness known as co-dependency or did the co-dependency rob me of the serotonin necessary to keep anxiety at bay.
Did the anxiety cause the addiction or did the addiction cause the anxiety.
Was I born with a predisposition to anxiety or did the conditions I grew up in create an anxious heart within me.
As I venture backwards, I move forward.
I was told one time that I didn’t need to try to figure out why I am the way I am, why I think the way I think, and do the things I do.
But when new words are added to my personality description, I need to know when and why it happened.
I must tell you that when one feels SO abnormal, it’s imperative to know.
With my new diagnosis of anxiety and having tried to fight it, I have found that by accepting it, I have chosen to learn more about it.
I have learned that co-dependency and addiction are common by products of anxiety. Lets just say they are BFF’s. They are besties.
When you have anxiety and you don’t know it, all you do know is that you aren’t the same as everyone else. The struggle to try to fit in is exhausting.
I misinterpreted people’s intentions, words, and actions and as a result I alienated myself.
I avoided parties unless I was high. I made very poor decisions, left jobs, self sabotaged.
Going to parties and social events sober I feel very awkward and I can usually be found helping to clean and replenish empty appetizer trays or doing something productive, I am not at all well versed in the art of small talk
I listened to the lies that told me I was less than everyone and therefore had to do more, be more.
When the nurse psychiatrist told me it was anxiety I had and not ADD, I was furious.
My whole purpose in going to see her was to get meds for ADD.
I know now that it’s not an inability to focus, (ADD) it’s choosing to focus on the hundreds of thoughts clouding my brain while I am trying to listen to someone or learn something, or clean the house. Wait, did I just say clean the house.
I know about the house cleaning because once when my husband and I were trying to get our house ready for an open house, he had 3 rooms vacuumed and dusted and I was only halfway done with one room.
It looks like this: I’m in the bathroom getting ready to clean the sinks-oops no cleaner. I go in the kitchen to get my homemade cleaner and it’s almost empty so I have to go to the laundry room to get my baking soda. While in the laundry room I see the mop and my dusting rags. Now I have to figure if I should dust first or vacuum. Oh yeah, I was hoping to shampoo the carpets. I should probably do that now so there will be time for the carpets to dry. Well wait, I should throw a load of laundry in so that can be going while I am shampooing the carpets.
Yup, that’s how it works. Can you relate, Can I get an “amen sister”.Are you exhausted yet?
So yeah, I quit using over 30 years ago but took on a co-dependent lifestyle to manage the underlying culprit…anxiety
People saw me as compassionate, empathetic, so helpful, nice, sweet. You’d think a person with a description like that would have a lot of friends. Nope, no bff’s, no besties. Well that is not exactly right, I am married so I do have a best friend. Oh yeah, and I do have my dogs that love me SO unconditionally.
Since starting a group at work and getting involved in the world of essential oils I have begun to notice personality traits of successful people. Now, I’m a not saying they are the definition of normal but they are highly functioning individuals.
What I am finding out is that it takes hard work, DISCIPLINE, and sacrifice.
It takes focusing on ONE thing at a time and making lists and being organized.
Having anxiety is not conducive to being disciplined, organized, and focusing on one thing at a time. But, I have found some essential oils that I am going to start experimenting with to help me with focus and clarity.
Now that I know what I know I feel a bit liberated but know I have a long way to go.
I still have triggers that absolutely paralyze me, areas I drive by that bring back vivid memories and make me feel sick but the knowledge I have gained so far gives me a something stronger to hold on to. The tiny little thread that was holding me up is beginning to look a bit more like a solid rope that won’t unravel and drop me into the deep dark abyss.