Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Helping those With Long Term Illness or Problems

There seems to be two opposing views that persons of faith, any faith, seem to have when it comes to illness. The first is nature is the cause. This view that many Wiccans and Christians will subscribe to says that an illness is not because God or the Goddess made you ill, it is because in nature illness happens. It is the same as death and life. Death happens and life happens and neither is something to blame divinity on or even the person who has passed away for. Death is. In this view, the person experiencing the illness is blameless. They simply are ill.

However, no matter how often I hear someone tell me this view, I can't help but pick up the psychic undercurrents that suggest that an illness was caused by the person who is ill. Wiccans will never tell you to their face that they think a person is experiencing some karmic retribution that has manifested in a physical way, but they are happy to discuss this in the abstract or behind your back. Having been raised in a Southern Baptist church, I heard plenty about how those who were righteous and within the will of God prospered physically, financially, mentally and emotionally. The undercurrent was if you have problems physically, financially, mentally or emotionally, then you have some how gotten negative attention or even are simply being ignored by the Divine Creator and therefore these problems have manifested themselves in you life.

I was recently chided for not being a firm believer that I could "think myself well," especially given that I was a Wiccan. It has been a long time that I have had someone tell me that I wasn't spiritual enough. The last notable time was when I was a Christian and accused of not being saved because I didn't agree to church doctrine. It was later described as a "willful disobedience and unwillingness to subject her [my] will to the Church." Faced with the suggestion that I was not Wiccan enough to over come my disability, I was struck silent. What can I say to that, exactly? Worse, the person who suggested this wasn't even Wiccan. I was left wondering about how we, as mere humans, have earned the right to pass judgement on others' spiritual journey and it's inferred impact on our phsyical one.

In this same conversation minutes earlier, there was a deep discussion about a friend's cancer not resulting from God's punishment. The cancer was because something went wrong in their body. They couldn't think themselves well, they needed to take advantage of the medical advancements God has provided.

Moving from a Christian perspective to a Wiccan one, the introduction of spells and what some term "magical thinking" comes in to play. I firmly believe and have had first hand experience with a spell being sent to me and then rebounding on the person who sent it making them physically ill. I found this out because I eventually got a complete confession by the party that cursed me. They literally said, "You *&$% you were supposed to get sick, not me!!!!" OK, wow. So I was well and they were sick with a very specific affliction.

This incident taught me that the laws of karmic retribution does include physical aliments. The question then becomes is every illness, every sickness, every genetic disorder, karmic retribution, familial curses, God's reituation or God ignoring the unrighteous? More importantly how can the afflicted tell the difference?

This line of thinking can also include the ideas about mental and emotional suffering. Having been raised by a rapist, abusive pedophile, I was told once that I chose to be that man's child during my time between reincarnation because I wanted to gain the lessons living that life would give me. I have also been told that the abuse is a magical familial curse. Of course, it therapist have insisted that my abuse was part of the cycle of abuse creating a monster who then took out his predilections on me.

I think, then, this is the conclusion I have come up with. It is true that sometimes things happen. Cancer develops. Children are born with genetic birth defects. A child is born into an abusive home.

It is also true that sometimes things happen because something is a precursor. Cancer develops more frequently because of the carcinogens we are eating and exposed to in our industrialized society. Genetic defects are occurring with more frequencies because modern medicine is allowing those with these latent genes to live and be able to reproduce where in years before they would have died before being allowed to do so. Children who are beaten, raped and abused are nearly always abused by a person who was exposed to and forced to participate in the same behavior by another adult in their life. It is why abuse is often refered to as a cycle.

It is also true that the spiritual world does interact with the physical. It is completely possible that someone gets sick because the Law of Three bounces back on them after they attempt to curse another. It could be true that children are born with some defect because someone places a familial curse upon a descendant line. It could even be true that some children choose to learn specific lessons between reincarnations and then are born into abusive homes to learn those lessons.

I think, we, as a faith and/or magical based society lose our way when we decide to assess for another which of these root causes are at play. To suggest that someone has a better perspective on another suffering than the person who is suffering is to belittle and undermine the confidence of that person.  In a way you are suggesting that they are not in touch with their own pain enough to come to some understanding about why they are in that pain. It is dangerously close to playing God and/or Goddess.

Most of us don't want to play God. We just want to find a way to support another human being. The woman who spurred this blog is a great hearted person who only wants to help. She was making suggestions without malice of intent. However, assessing judgement on the reasons someone is disabled or sick or having financial problems is not helpful. It is harmful. Which leads this disucssion to what is truly important. How can others help those they see suffering with long term illness or problems?

Recently, my sister and best friend, has been having a rough time, and I have found myself restricted by distance and financial constrictions in how I can help her. One day I asked her what I could do and she said, "Be present." Nothing more, no elaboration...just a simple request, "Be present."

After hanging up with her I wondered at her request. I couldn't show up at her house. I couldn't send flowers and gift baskets (although I would if I was financially able). I couldn't baby sit her kids, even though I know she needs that. So I racked my brain thinking about her request. "Be present."

I went to my phone and looked at how often I texted her. I then checked Facebook to see how often I had FB with her and whether or not I was up to date on her posts. Did I really know what was going on in her life? Why did it seem easier for me to keep up with my other best friend because she and I lived ten minutes from each other?  That's when it struck me.

Be present.

Text her and say, "I know you are there. You are important. You do great things. You're a great mother. Keep going."

Read her Facebook posts and make sure on the rare occasions that I talk with her I know what she has been up to. What were her most recent triumphs? Was she sad, tired, frustrated that day?

Find quotes that I can send that demonstrate to her I have an understanding regarding the struggles I know she is facing. I have read those blogs and posts and privately without anyone knowing, I am going to be present in the face of her personal fire and do what I can no matter how far we are parted.

I have suddenly learned that to truly help others, you must lay down your judgement of them in any form. You have to come to some understanding that someone else is not for you to fix. If they are sharing their pain, your job is to hear it, accept it and let them know you are empathic to it. If you want to be a good friend, then be supportive. Know what is going on with their life. Know what their triumphs are and know when they are struggling. Offer help in any way you can, via text or Facebook or even a call where all you do is leave a positive message.  If you are present in someones life, you become a pillar of strength that begins to help hold up the burdens that person faces. You become an integral part of the structure of that person's life and the long term impact you have can never be quantified or measured.

Don't judge. Don't suggest. Don't fix. Be Present.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little Victories

I have been tired today in a way that makes me bone weary. Sluggishly I have managed to cook dinner, fold laundry and pick up and deal with Sam. I even took a 20 min walk with Tony. And I am TIRED. It is the fatigue that is killing me. I lay down to rest and get up feeling no better. I wish I could SLEEP and wake up and think to myself, "AHHHHH that is what good sleep must feel like."  Even on the B12, I am not feeling much change in my sleeping.

I had the EEG this week which didn't help the sleeping as they made me stay up and get only four hours of sleep before the test. I tried to schedule the last test my neurologist needs today and spent an hour on the phone before my weariness forced me to admit defeat and lay down before I had to go get Sam from school.

That being said I weighed in at 184 today and put on a size 14 for the first time in months. It was nice to feel that my body is getting back to the way it was before my spiral down to complete dis-ease. I went to the grocery store and promptly forgot why I went. If Sam hadn't been with me I don't know that I would have remembered. We got home and he helped me inside. I hate seeing the look of concern on his face and it was what motivated me to rest for about a half hour and then make his dinner. I am determined to be as strong for him as I can.

My other small victory is that I am coming under my Fat limit every day but my carbohydrates are nearly always over. I am trying and I feel like the fat is more important than the carbs.

Alice sat on my feet most of the day another sure sign that something in my body is noticeably off today.

The other thing I found out a few days ago, was that I was taking the wrong medications. Tony and I have decided that he is going to have to fill my box until my mind is better so that it doesn't happen again. It was likely why I was so depressed when I wrote last. Today it isn't depression that is my battle, it truly is the fatigue. If I could only rest, deeply, soundly, then I am almost certain my mind would come back to me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Feeling meh

I am feeling meh. It's something someone on line says all the time meaning not bad, not good just meh. I am tired. I am sooo tired of being tired. I am also having my moon time which doesn't help. I am worried about my son. Really, really worried that my husband's home is seeming like the "fun" place and my home is the sick and strict place. I would like neither distinction.

I do think the B12 therapy is helping. My head seems clearer like a fog is lifting. Which is kind of nice, unfortunately, I am finding that I battle these same demons in my un-fogged brain. I read some posts I wrote and I have no recollection of writing them which is disturbing. So I took them down. I have a constant feeling of not being enough. I am not enough of a mother to keep Sam here - doing what he needs to do to be healthy and successful. I am not enough of a person to contribute to society in any tangible way that is productive. I was not enough of a daughter to be worthy of no abuse, verbal, physical or otherwise. I am not enough sick to warrant a real diagnosis.  I am not enough sane so I must be a hypochondriac. I am not enough cool to find people to chat to, because my brain is not enough functioning to actually really carry on a conversation.

The only non meh thing is I am loosing weight steadily, a few ounces everyday. I am scared tomorrow they aren't going to find anything wrong with my brain and that I will be back to feeling like I could do something about being sick if  my brain was just strong enough or if I had more resolve or if I did something I don't even know to do....

I know that lots of this is the hormones. I know it will pass and yet, is it?

How much longer will I live with the question in the back of my mind, "Am I really just crazy?"

Monday, October 11, 2010

In the Tornado's Center

Nearly a year ago now, I got very sick. They removed my gallbladder and then my appendix or it might have been the other way around. Over the past year I have lost my job, my mind and even some of my mental and physical abilities. No one could tell me why.

Then my doctor said, in passing, "You've never had your cholesterol checked." That innocent enough statement lead to the test which lead to another test which is leading to more tests. My cholesterol was bad, really, really, really bad.

Jokingly I told my sister today that I didn't wake up one morning and think to myself, "I know what I will do. I will risk my heart and my brain - literally - by stuffing myself so full of fat that they won't be able to measure it." Yet, in a sense, not meaning to didn't stop the result from occurring.

I wasn't over weight.

I was active before I got ill.

My doctors, I think, wanted to resurrect the diagnosis of Hysteria.

All that time, I was eating without concern for what my intake may do to my body on down the line.

Well, I am in it now. The center of the tornado named Chaos. Where questions about my current health and future health hang in the balance. Where questions of the affects of my current and future health on my very way of life hang in the balance. All the while I struggle with memory loss, confusion and disorientation while I worry about my husband working overtime to pay for my medical bills.

Maybe I am crazy. I don't think so. But I invite you to do two things: take this journey with me AND get your cholesterol checked immediately.