Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Breathe Strategy - J.O.Y.

I previously wrote about how I found joy again (see blog entry "Breathe Strategy - E is for Enrich"), but this J.O.Y. is different.  This stands for Just Own Yourself.  So often I find myself trying to carry other people's problems, challenges, pain, etc.  This acronym is a reminder that I came up with to remember that joy is found when I carry my own problems, not other's.  As I have learned to step back and let the people I love do for themselves I see how it strengthens them.  I am ready to help if they ask me, but standing on the sidelines and encouraging them is more beneficial, for all of us.

Just owning myself is hard for me and my husband can see when I am not doing it.  Recently he was asking me about maybe needing to increase my depression medication dosage.  I countered with, "but, I've been sick, so, of course, I would be down."  But then as I thought about it, it was more than being sick, it was:  Spring Break so my daughter was home, both my husband and son had work off,  my parents were here from out of town for some appointments, numerous activities and, I have been sick.  There has been a lot going on.  But as I was thinking this morning about my husband's comment, suddenly I realized what was wrong with me, its almost as if I have been holding my breath, waiting for things to settle down.  Instead of breathing into each moment, finding some time for myself and owning my self-care, I just held my breath and waited, hoping to get what I needed some time. 

The morning my parents arrived, I woke up with a sore throat.  By the weekend I felt awful, the worst sore throat I think I have ever had.  My husband had been called in to work so only my father and son were home and I had them give me a Priesthood blessing.  I don't really remember the words, I just knew in that moment what was going on.  My body, in its own weird way, was trying to protect me.  Normally with my parents, I become the caretaker, but because I was sick I wasn't able to do that.  It was as if my body was sick to protect me from becoming my usual co-dependent self where my parents are concerned.  Instead, they were taking care of me (well, to some extent, my mom was sick too), my dad was doing my dishes and taking out my garbage.  We had some great talks about the things I was doing and learning in therapy.  I was able to enjoy the time with my parents, but not do any co-dependent caretaking.

Well, that was an improvement, I wasn't being co-dependent, but I wasn't being independent either.  Normally, every morning I have quiet time to myself where I read my scriptures and write in my journal.  My daily time to "Be still" became time to talk to and do things with my parents, kids and husband.  This isn't a bad thing, it is a good thing.  The problem was that I didn't "own" myself and take time somewhere else in my day for me that I need to remain balanced.  I wasn't taking "care" of everyone else, but I wasn't taking "care" of myself either.  If I go back to my teeter-totter analogy (see blog entry "Joy is in the Bouncing") I needed to "teeter" to spending time with my family, then "totter" to spending time with myself.  I just "teetered" so to speak and completely left out the "tottering."  There is no fun, or J.O.Y. in just "teetering" you need the "totter" as well to feel the full joy in the experience.

As I contemplate all of this, I see what my husband is seeing.  Even though my parents have gone back home, my daughter is back at school, and my husband and son are back at work, I'm still "holding my breath."  I do give myself credit for not being "co-dependent" during this time period, but I still have a lot to improve on.  I need to remember that no matter who is around, or what is going on each day, standing still and holding my breath isn't really living.  Every day I need to remember that J.O.Y. is what helps me feel balanced, move forward and breathe.

1 comment:

  1. This was one of those much needed posts today. Thanks for making me feel like I'm not the only one who has to remember to do the BEST things, not just the GOOD things.


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