“I’ve had many troubles, most of which never happened!”

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“I’ve had many troubles, most of which never happened!” Great Mark Twain quote!

That summarizes my last few weeks (during which I’ve barely posted). I might say the troubles did come, but the scary visions of what might come of them didn’t. One of the biggest was a phone call out of the blue during which I discovered my landlord had to sell my cozy apartment I’ve been taking for granted for several years. Not that there was a possibility of being out on the streets, thank God, but still it was like someone wrenched my security blanket away, my personal refuge amidst the storms of life (of which there have been many of late).

One has to delve and face one’s secret fears and mine, I realised, was possibly ending in an unpleasant, dark or uncomfortable place. Being older, an artist, and sensitive to my environment I need a clean, bright, warm, inspiring place in which to function well. I also had to face the possibility that my time in my sweet old English town might be at an end (even my time in the UK). There’s been a kind of pattern to my life and I generally end up moving every three and a half years or so for one reason or another, and I realised it had been three and a half years here.

I know it is always good, every so often, to put everything on the altar and seek God’s will in my life… could He be trying to show me something? Will this be a small change or a big change? I know the best thing one can do with change is embrace it.

Thankfully this change turned out not to be so earth shattering in the end and I hope to soon finalise a contract for a new apartment very close to my youngest daughter’s, it’s clean, light, well kept with an incredible view. not so hard lol!

The major change however was to downsize to one bedroom and also put my name on a two year waiting list for over 60s sheltered housing (cute independent studio flats) with a local church association. Looking to the future I wouldn’t want this to happen in my 70’s!

So all’s well that ends well, change happened but not the scary bit thank God!

My “Chill Pills”

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chill pill

It seems the words “depression” and “stress” flood social media nowadays, they even emerge to wave their ugly heads in conversations with close friends and family sometimes.

Odd that as a child and young adult (I’m thinking 50’s – 60’s here for all you “spring chickens”) I seldom heard these words and when I did not with the same connotation. It could be due to the increasing pressures of today’s increasingly fast paced world (though I do think surviving a world war either in active service or bombed out London would have produced high levels of stress for the adults around me – not to mention rationing and housing shortages!)

Part of it was doubtless they didn’t have the “labels” back then and had to pretty much deal with their own problems. When my dad returned from Burma (one of the only 3 in his battalion to survive) having seen his friends killed before his eyes in guerrilla style jungle warfare he was experiencing what would now be termed post-traumatic stress. My mum just had to love and support him out of it (God bless her she won that battle).

I am hugely thankful that such help exists now for those in need and wholeheartedly support their free access to it. My concern is that too often nowadays it’s easier to “pop a pill” than to find ways to deal with the stresses and set backs of life. That might seem the “easy way” but unless the real problems are tackled things are inclined to get worse. Sometimes it takes a change of job, ending a bad relationship, going on the attack to save a marriage or a change of location etc. It’s hard to make such tough decisions in the midst of emotional turmoil though.

I’ve lived what could be termed a “very adventurous life” with sometimes huge elements of responsibility (not to mention severe earthquakes and hurricanes). I’m not by nature that strong stable type one usually pictures for such a role. Old friends tend to describe me as “strong” but actually I’m more like the lion in the “Wizard of Oz” a scaredy cat who is brave only when it comes down to the line and  they have to be, because there’s no one else.

All this to say, over the years I’ve developed some ways of dealing with stress, discouragement (which leads to depression), anger and overwrought emotions which may help others too. They are all rather “old fashioned” but maybe that’s how folks dealt with these things before the days mental health became widely established. Perhaps they may help someone else unwind under stress and avoid having to end up with a severe problem. Rather than make one super long post I’ll dedicate my next few to this topic..

Dog Medicine!

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happy dog

A Chicago physician reports that he had to abandon the use of dogs in an ulcer research program. The dogs refused to get tense & worry, & worry & tension are prominently listed as suspected causes of ulcers.
If you inflict an ulcer upon a dog by artificial methods, says the Chicago doctor, he will sit down & placidly cure himself by refusing to be bothered about anything.