In May of 2011 I pecked out some of my best words that formed great sentences and clicked 'publish'. It's my most favorite post. For those of you afraid of clicking the link (which has a few photos), you can just read what I did copy/paste style right here.
It was written at a time of great sadness. Joey had the spica cast and huge surgery. Things were looking so worrisome with his leg. I was scared out of my mind but somehow managed to keep things together.
People say things frequently to me that I've never really thought about until this morning. They say, "You are so strong. You are such a great advocate for Joey. God sure knew what he was doing when he chose you to be Joey's mother. How do you do it?
I accept all of these comments and many more because those saying whatever they are saying are speaking from their heart. They are giving me kind words to support me and help me feel better in a time of great stress. A big chunk of the puzzling question of "How do you do it?" is all of you, my family, friends, even complete strangers who offer words of prayer help to lift my spirits and gives me strength to go and tackle our next obstacle. I would have a lot of very dark times and those dark times would last longer than they should, without all of you and those I mentioned and many, many more. Thank You. Thank all of you very much.
But I was thinking about what it was that I do that does get me through. How do I do it, really, so after thinking for about however long I was thinking my thinker I came up with a few tips for anyone who is going through something stressful. What works for me, might not work for you, but it works for me so it might work for someone out there.
Acceptance is a big thing. Yes the circumstances really suck. Yes you were probably given a horrible diagnosis or a terrible accident happened but once it has happened it's over. You have to deal with whatever you've been given. You have two choices, you can fight or you can flee. If you are reading this, you are a fighter. It's time to kick some theoretical ass. Slay those dragons with your bear hands and bury him by shoving him in a deep hollow grave. You just have to deal with whatever comes your way. Take it step by step and chip away at it until you see your progress and take great pride in your accomplishments no matter how small. Yep, you see the spica cast countdown. Every second is a chip off the dragon we are currently slaying. Every chip is a bit of weight lifting off my shoulders. Taking victory in the small things is how I do it.
Acknowledge your fears and stresses and insecurities and doubts. Figure out why you are fearful, scared, worried, insecure and start asking questions. Ask the internet, ask on your blog, ask on online forums, local and national, ask your hairdresser, ask the girl checking you out at the supermarket, ask the mom sitting on the park bench while your children are playing in the sandbox, ask family, friends, clergy. Ask questions all day long because the more you know the better you can handle whatever it is you are dealing with. Yes, I drive all of Joey's doctors absolutely crazy with asking fourteen thousand questions in the span of about eleven seconds. I have asked Joey's doctor so many questions that he has paged the research team to come visit with me. Yes, I ask questions and that is in part, how I do it. Knowledge is power. It really is.
Ask for help, I know it seems easier to just do it all yourself and you might want to just do it all yourself for whatever reasons you've told yourself but people want to help, they just don't always know how. Only YOU have the power to tell them how to help you. If you need to be invited over for a play date just to get out of the house, tell the friend making a blanket offer of help that they can have you and the family over for a few hours of fun filled play. If you don't feel like fixing dinner ask for a pre-made casserole, or delivery of pizza or some other take out. If you don't feel like getting out or having anyone over cause your house is a very understandable mess, then call a friend and tell them you are feeling sad about whatever and you need to talk. Just talk. But the thing is that you HAVE to mention that you feel sad and you need that connection that conversation. They need to know what you need because believe it or not, people can't read your mind. Asking for help is how I do it.
Crying. Why is it that the only acceptable time to cry some big fat salty tears is when a sledgehammer lands on your foot or something physically painful happens? Because our society sucks sometimes? I am a crier. I cry and cry and cry until my eyes are so red you can no longer see red streaks across white. My eyes are completely red. And my face? So splotchy and puffy. I get puffy when I cry, do you get puffy? My eyes swell up a bit and my face is so splotchy it looks like someone used me as a punching bag after I've rolled around in poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak. Yep, I cry. It always varies when all the water works strikes me but it always hits. Always. When I got the news that we'd have to go through the surgery for Joey's psuedoarthrosis again I couldn't help it, I started bawling my eyes out right there. (And cried on and off for about a week) Anyway, I walked out of the office and into my car looking like a horrible mess. But in a hospital I figured most of the people (patients, nurses, etc) have either seen this lots of times before or been in my shoes and understood my pain. There is no shame in crying and crying helps. Try it.
Don't forget to laugh. Go around some young kids and do tickle time or something to get the kids to laughing and you really won't want to laugh with them but just give it a shot. Laugh, even if you have to give a big hearty totally fake laugh. Just laugh and keep doing it and make sure you keep tickling or doing whatever it is that is making the kiddo's laugh because your spirits will be lifted, even if it's just a little big. Laughing is how I do it, even when I have to fake it. It works.