Sleep is that elusive thing that that no one discriminates against. Without counting, I can only guess at the millions of studies conducted about sleep, it’s effects on people, about lack of sleep, etc.
Needless to say that anyone in a stressful situation loses sleep. Everyone knows that as a parent, sleeplessness seems almost like a rite of passage. For anyone living, anxiety, relationships, environment, pretty much everything that makes up your day and life can lead to lack of sleep or provide a basis for good sleep.
Either way, may the force be with all of us in pursuit of this elusive creature because as we all know, sometimes even when we do get sleep, our physical body is revived but mentally we are still exhausted from all the things running rampantly in circles in our minds.
Today’s Challenge: In the words of my retreat team from 9 years ago, Let Go and Let God.
I wish the ideas running in my head revolved around settlers of long ago who were establishing homes and just trying to survive. My battle right now is along the same lines though with a modern twist. I am trying to separate myself and boys from an unhealthy home situation and establish a new home for ourselves. We are blessed with an abundance of family support but I am still working through the frustrations of not having a true household to call my own and I know my boys sense this frustration in me as well. In essence, we still are simply trying to survive but the terms and conditions of this survival look a bit different but we are still better off than we were 8+ months ago.
I am reminded by my best friend of something vitally important that I am currently lacking:
Prayer & Patience
Today’s Challenge: Sit myself down, be still, pray about the problems, dump them on God’s lap and then try to step back and be patient.
The definition of Churn fits my mood & situation quite perfectly in this moment. For those with any kind of experience dealing or operating within the legal system, with each motion, communication to your lawyer or anticipation of communication to opposing counsel the liquid in your stomach becomes agitated and no matter how much peppermint you ingest, there simply is no cure.
In the meantime, all the possibilities and ramifications of each choice and stop churn about in your mind and all you can think is that a dark quiet space with no technology is really the best option for the moment or next many moments. In spite of all the deep breathing exercises and self care moments you take or do, there never seems to be a way to settle what is churning around in your mind and heart because as an abuse survivor, especially in situations of prolonged exposure, you continually fight the battle of trying to figure out if what you are feeling is your feelings or what your abuser trained you to think.
Today’s Challenge: Take just 5 minutes to BE STILL. 5 minutes doesn’t seem to terribly long but when you have been physically, emotionally and mentally agitating/churning, that 5 minutes can seem like FOREVER! Try it though, I dare you.
The first thought that popped into my head was that there are all types of patience and then that there is a fine line between patience and procrastination.
Let me explain…
Patience & the Legal System: For anyone who participates in the legal system for any reason (because I am sure what I am experiencing is not specific to divorce), will understand that this is prime time for a person’s level of patience to be tested. The fastest part of my divorce to date is the day I walked out of the house and submitted and was awarded an ex parte. For what ex parte orders involve, these have to move fast. After that though, things move a lot slower at least for my case. I know it is in part because of the protection piece of the order put in place while everything for the divorce gets ironed out but, HOLY SMOKES people!!! Should you ever have to work within the legal system for a divorce, especially one involving mental, verbal, emotional abuse and marital rape, be prepared for a Marathon because that is what it is. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
Patience & Your Abuser: During the 1 year of dating/engagement and the 11 years of marriage, many times I excused behavior with the following thoughts/theories/etc: “I love him and this is just how he thinks”; “He feels this way about family because of having to move while his parents were in the Marines”; “His group of friends when he was young made fun of him for an injury and that’s why he feels the way he does”; “He just wants to keep me safe”; “He’s just looking out for me and the boys”; “This is part of marriage and working together”; “He knows best”; “Let him decide since he works in an office while I am home with the boys during the day”. The list could keep going. The point being that after rationalizing his behavior for so long and listening to him put me down in very subtle and controlling ways, I realize now during recovery, I extended all levels of patience, grace and mercy to a man who did not love me for me. Ever.
Patience & Relationships: I realize now just how patient my immediate family as well as extended family was during the time of my marriage and now during the process of divorce and recovery. My support network is large and not one of them have judged or criticized how I handled the past and the present. I remember my paternal Grandmother and the abuse she was subjected to and her lack of support due to the isolation she was subjected to as well as the hands off, don’t ask, the wife belongs with the husband don’t interfere culture of the time. For that, I know that I will never truly understand how she not only survived with non existent support but limited financial resources and six children. To you Grandma, I extend all my love and overwhelming need to try to live up to the loving example you set for my dad and all his sisters and brothers.
Patience & the Mind: For any survivor of a traumatic incident, you know just how delicate this balance in your mind plays out. Mental recovery is not like physical recovery. I remember from reading in a book that with a physical injury, there are set steps someone can take to get better. There is a well documented process from the time of the injury to full recovery and maintaining that health post recovery. This process works for everyone. If you follow the steps and are patient with yourself, then you will get there. Recovery of the mind does not work quite the same. For person A, they can follow steps 1, 2, 3 in order to reach the end but for person B, maybe they have to do 3, 4, 1 to recover and even then the recovery is not guaranteed. With surviving a traumatic incident, there is any number of little or big triggers that could change your mood in a second. And yes, it happens just that fast.
Patience & Offspring: I think that pretty much covers what I could say.
Patience & Yourself: For me, I struggle with this a lot. Because some days I do well and other days, I feel like I am swimming up stream. Other days, I feel like I am using being patient with myself as a crutch to take a break from getting things done not just for my boys or myself but to help me reach who I want to be and what I want to accomplish for myself and my boys.
With all that being said, Patience is one of those words bandied about quite readily by just about everyone. But for each individual, patience looks and means very different things. Amazingly, patience can create all sorts of fine and not so fine lines in your life.
Today’s Challenge: I know this may be hard but take a few quiet minutes to ponder just what Patience means to you and what that looks like in your life. If you can’t seem to find a few minutes to ponder it, than just let the idea roll around in your brain, or draw a picture, or write about it or as I like to do a lot these days with my 3 boys, make up a song about it.