The Power of Unveiling your True Self with Every Emotion
Calling all pajamas...You are cordially invited to attend the lamest party of the year. No need for gifts or even cheer, just draw the curtains closed and let’s make some things clear.
Life is a wave of emotions that can sail us to the top and have us quickly crashing down to the bottom. Sometimes on this journey called life, it seems like we are faced with hurdle after hurdle. One can find themselves doing okay with these tasks until the hurdles become closer, higher and even more difficult to jump over. What do you do when life becomes overwhelming and you can see no relief in sight? After one hit you most probably can get up, dust yourself off, and chalk it up to "Life happens". But after the second, third, and fourth hit, one may begin to check the positivity at the door and question, "Why me?".
Let's face it, we all know someone who seems to live under the umbrella of self pity. Labeled the "Debbie Downer" of the group with every sentence starting with "Woe is me". But what about us "normal" folk, who are going through a bout of misfortune and a realistically difficult time? Is there ever an appropriate time to sign yourself up for a pity party for one? Should we ask for an emergency prescription? Is it fair to plead for a temporary absence from rationalization, deep breathing and progressive relaxation? When is it okay to have a perfectly healthy, analytically approved, feel bad for yourself explosion?
"Kaboom!" Cover your head and take cover, because I'm going in and it's not going to be pretty! I'm equipped with my most trusted pj’s, fully loaded tear ducts, and tipping teapot of emotions..lets just say, I'm ready to "detonate" this party!
Just dressing the part seems to make me feel better. Is this me stripping my exterior armor off, and allowing myself the space and freedom to uncover my most vulnerable self? Being free in this moment makes me want to scream out in the loudest voice I know. The first things I scream is, "Why is this happening? Why me? What the hell have I done to deserve this? This is so not fair! I'm so angry! Ahhh! Ahhhh! Ahhhhh!".
Why is it that screaming is so much better during a pity party? Talking it out is nice, but screaming is so much more powerful and gratifying! If this feels so good, why don't I plan these party's more often? Why am I always working so hard to maintain my composure and keep it all looking pretty, all the while stuffing every emotion inside and suffering? How exhausting and unhealthy! It feels sad to me that I have to consciously give myself permission to feel my feelings. The fact that I can't do this naturally makes me realize that I am so consumed with how others perceive me or how I pride myself, that I am willing to forgo my health and overall emotional well being.
The fact is, feeling happy and bliss is not the only emotion that comes in this life. I think that we go through life with a false expectation of how we should act and how we should feel. If any other emotion comes to the surface we tend to discard it, or stuff it for not even ourselves to see. If we stuff it down, does it not exist? Or does is build, grow and fester until we eventually implode?
What if we change the meaning of a pity party into a necessary time to release and reboot? Giving ourselves permission to be in touch with every aspect of our feelings. What will it look and feel like to face our fears of anger and disappointment in the face and not look away? Changing the patterns of self destruction and judgement into a celebration of awareness and self discovery. Imagine the impact of that!
I declare a call to action and a much needed meeting of the minds.
Could it be that we need to stop stuffing our emotions in and allow ourselves the pleasure of a much needed emotional coming out party? If living a healthier life, one in which we forgive our need to acknowledge even our most unpleasant feelings, disappointments and hardships, can be achieved with a simple invite, why wait?
I say we embrace our inner "Debbie Downer", with a warm "Welcome to the party!". May you feel empowered to release, nourish and validate your truth with no objection or judgement.
Now, get ready for your party... all feelings welcome!
What is it about control? It seems that no matter what area of life that you are in, control is the forefront of either the problem or solution. You may or may not be considered a "controlling person", but it still exists within. When first thinking about control, I go right to the importance of the control driving my diabetes. Every article I read, commercial I saw, or doctor I met spoke of the importance of being in control. "What the heck are they talking about, get in control?" The article, commercial or doctor's appointment either started with "Are you in control?” or ended with "You need to get in control!”
When you have diabetes or are around it, everyone gets what they mean by "In control". They are referencing healthy blood sugar levels, eating heathy, exercising, testing your blood often and taking your medication at a scheduled time. But that phrase has all of a sudden really started to bother me, because it can have such a substantial emotional impact on the patient and family. In the case of a patient who is in complete compliance with their own diabetes, it may be a wonderful confirmation of the hard work that they have put into a difficult but accepted disease. "Congratulations, your diabetes is in such great control!"
Although those words may give the patient an initial ego boost, feeling of pride or success, why is there no one asking what is driving the control? The truth is that living with a disease like diabetes is challenging on every possible level. Every item you glance at is automatically being calculated into the number of carbohydrates minus the grams of fiber to then be converted into the amount of equivalent insulin, delayed by the amount of fat that will be presented hours after digestion. One small portion of the day’s daily food intake now enters the body ...and the hours, days, weeks, months, and years continue on! It would seem that a very important question that should be considered should be, "Is the patient approaching their burn out point?" or maybe, "Are they on their own, or getting support?” Why does the majority neglect the emotional component that is most definitely the driving force to overall success when living with a diagnosed disease?
Yes, being "In control", may just be a phrase, but what happens to the person who is not in compliance and is "Out of control"? I have been on both sides of this specific coin at different points of my diabetes and I can now clearly see how it impacted the way I took care of myself.
My perfectionism at that time was such a strong driving force in my life. When first diagnosed, I can remember being so quick to take on the regimented role required with having Diabetes. But in reality, at seventeen, I wasn't doing it to be a "good patient"; I was doing it so I wouldn't miss a beat with my friends. I was determined to do everything possible to simply keep face. The rollercoaster ride of emotions, that would have been so understandable and even expected, was all pushed under lock and key.
I wonder what it would have been like to cry for a while? How about scream to the top of my lungs, "This is SO UNFAIR!” But no, the tears and screams never came. Looking back, everything just happened so fast, and for me in that moment, I would receive top honor of an "A" for "Being in Control".
It's interesting how no one really asked me how I was "feeling". The conversations were more like, "Hi, how is your sugar (levels)?” This would become the question that was supposed to tell everyone exactly how I, a whole person made up of mind, body, and soul, was "feeling". This would also become the very question that I despised, resented, and eventually turned my back on.
How could "Trisha", the person so much more than this awful disease, be missed? Not only did I neglect her, but my doctors, nurses, family, and friends did as well. I put the doctors before my family because my family looked to the doctors for guidance. Diabetes was all very new to us, and we all looked to the doctors in how to approach the "new" me. At that time, Diabetes was not a common term to the public and most definitely was not advertised on 3/4 of commercials. My only reference with the term Diabetes was from the movie Steel Magnolias. I could remember how Julia Roberts's character ultimately went against her doctor’s wishes to have a child and suffered a devastating early death. This was the worst representation of the reality of diabetes, yet at that time my only source of reference. That kind of knowledge coming anywhere near what I thought might be my reality, blindly motivated me to move quickly beyond my emotions and dive directly into multi tasking in every other area. Being in control at that point in my life, enabled my seventeen-year-old self to steer clear of the deep fears I buried inside. I was going to hold on to my image as a whole, healthy, and "normal" person at all costs. "Everyone step aside and please don't ask me how I feel. I am fine, and I am "In Control!"...or am I?
Looking back now at my love/hate relationship with control I have to laugh at even the thought of the word. They don't say that life is a journey for nothing! The idea of control is an unrealistic expectation and should be more effectively replaced with a set of baby steps that first begin with a deep inhale and long awaited exhale.
As we journey along our personal winding road, we need to remind ourselves that the goal is not to be the controller or be controlled, but better yet to be flexible and forgiving for the hidden bumps in our path. Making ourselves a priority by stopping for maintenance, accountability and support along the way is crucial for becoming an advocate for the lead role we desperately desire and deserve in our own life. Knowing what you need to do to pick yourself up after a minor or major "fender bender" is the secret to your journey. The most powerful sense of control we possess lies more in the choices we make after the bump, so we can then figure out the next step to move ahead successfully.
Our healthy inner voice now begins to echo, "This is the information I possess right in this moment and I have the knowledge and support to figure this out and move on with success". This secret grants us the license to drive our own personal path, feeling healthy, secure, and supported, no matter what the terrain.
Welcome back to your powerful sense of self, who is inspired and unafraid by challenge and no longer craves the constraints of control.
A Love That Knows No Bounds
Do you ever feel that your love and support go unnoticed? That no matter how hard you try to reach your child that your words fall on deaf ears? Will they ever realize that you push so hard because you want them to live their healthiest and happiest life?
As you well know, a diagnosis of any kind is not an easy feat and has an impact on every relationship involved. But so often, it's the people we feel closest to that feel the greatest of intensity, both good and bad. Sometimes we rebel, other times we embrace, but what keeps a relationship bonded together for the long haul is trust.
I dedicate this article to all of the parents who wonder if their love and support ever really gets through.
Fly Baby Bird, Fly
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age seventeen wasn't the best timing for my mom and I. I was just beginning to spread my wings with her blessing and then, BAM! Diabetes puts me right back in the nest, feeling like a baby bird again.
Over the last twenty years, my mom and I have tested every boundary you can imagine. A snap shot memory has me screaming out to her, "When are you getting out of my life?" To which she immediately replied ..."NEVER!" Not another word was spoken that day and with that I walked away with feelings of both frustration and deep rooted security. From then on, no matter what happened between us, I secretly knew that I never had to question if she would be there for me, care for me, or love me. And for that I am always grateful.
Mom, I love You!
Spreading Our Wings
Could we have done things better ... of course! Could we have been kinder and more patient ... yes! Did we do our best with what we were given ... absolutely!
Even though sometimes it seemed like nothing was getting through and that I couldn't care less, I have to say that I heard and felt everything my mom was saying. I knew how much she cared, but at the time, I just wasn't able to express it. I needed time to process my own feelings and thoughts about my diabetes. In good time though, we both found our best place, our best role, and our best relationship.
My mom has been my greatest supporter through the lowest of lows and highest of highs and for that and so many other traits and qualities, I want to scream an echoing, I love you!
Mom, I love you!
A Little Bird Says Thank You
As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to say thank you to my mother. To this day she sticks by me through every one of life's little bumps. Her strength has inspired me to never give up. Her determination has empowered me to keep focused on achieving my goals, no matter what the circumstance. The trust we have built has always allowed me to be me, no matter what that sometimes has looked like. Her laughter and love warms my heart every day and encourages me to do the same for others.
We have grown so much since my diagnosis, both as individuals and as mother and daughter. We celebrate and share our strengths, while supporting and honoring our weaknesses. Sometimes I wonder if we would have ever gotten this far on our own. Would we be this close? Would we be able to laugh at our hysterics of the past, like we so often do? I'm not so sure. I believe that we really did find our strength from what was once our weakness. Do I dare thank my diabetes for this opportunity to challenge and expand us on every possible level?
I have to say the SWEETEST yes!
Mom, I thank you and I love you!
Keep on Singing Your Sweet Song
There is nothing more valuable than the love and support we get from our parents. Sometimes it is the simple action of just showing up that stands out louder than any words spoken. No matter what the situation or mood at the time, I beg you to listen intently, ask with curiosity, and continue to love unconditionally. Your presence is needed, wanted, and loved more than you know. Thank you for being an amazing example of what love is. You are adored, admired, and cherished beyond words can express!
Mom, I love you!