Worldview: The Rambling Road: An advent

It’s been a while since I’ve written here, mostly because I came to resent the fact it seemed like I only came to these pages to complain. Recently, however, something very positive has happened to me, and after debating when and how to share it, I decided to share it with everyone all at once.

About six weeks ago, I started taking an antidepressant after consulting with my healthcare provider about some things I had going on, including rampant insomnia and some ways of thinking that lead nowhere good. For those of you who know me well enough, you may realize how important and difficult a decision this was for me.

I wish I had pushed this issue decades ago.

In the past six weeks, for what seems like the first time in my life, my head is clear of so much of the noise that has plagued me most of my life. I have slept full nights for the first time in years. The change is beyond remarkable for me, and has contributed to a host of realizations about myself and my behavior that were, for me, clouded until now.

Granted, I am just at the beginning of a process, and we’ve already had to make adjustments to my medication to accommodate symptoms and side effects, but the fact is I can see where I need to be going and how to get there for the first time in a really long time.

I’m telling everyone this for two reasons. First, because, especially as a male, it can be hard to admit something is wrong and to ask for help. Second, because it’s important for all of us to remember that the brain is an organ just like the liver or the pancreas, and if you’re willing to take medication to help them work better, why not consider doing so for your brain too if you need it?

The bottom line is that I did ask for that help and got it, and for the first time in a really long time, I am optimistic about being able to improve. I can’t say for certain where this will head, but I know it will head somewhere. Stay tuned for more as time passes.

DLH

Read more at my The Rambling Road weblog...

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Worldview: The Rambling Road: It’s been a while

I figure it’s about time for an update if anyone is still paying attention. This year has been a roller coaster health-wise, but in general things are improving, so there’s that.

Recently, I started to re-engage myself with something I haven’t done in a long time: active accountability. In general, that means making a minimalist list of what I want to accomplish over a given period of time so as to be able to check against that list whether I am doing what I said I was going to do.

Some people will probably nod sagely at that confession, but my style of active accountability isn’t quite what most people do (is anything I do quite what most people do? But that’s a different conversation…). For example, rather than having a notebook or a calendar, I have a private blog. I use that blog as much as a checklist as I do a project management system. I tend to limit myself to five tasks a day, even if I know I have time for more because I realize that the stress of over-expectation is the second biggest reason I don’t get what I plan to done (the first being physical incapacity to do it).

The moral of the story is that I use this system to keep the things I am working on fresh in my mind and focused. I can tend to wander off if I don’t only to discover long periods of time have passed without getting anything demonstrable done. Active accountability helps me stay focused when I won’t otherwise be.

Updating this blog is now part of that accountability. I hope to make at least monthly updates, as much because I promised myself and others I would as because the act of writing is both invigorating and cathartic for me.

More will follow.

DLH

Read more at my The Rambling Road weblog...

Read more at my Worldview site...

Worldview: The Rambling Road: Invisible disease

For better or worse, it appears I’ve joined the ranks of those suffering from invisible diseases. Invisible does not imply non-existent as so many people imagine; rather, it states that it is a disease that does not manifest itself with outward visible signs others can identify.

“But you look fine,” is one of the worst things you can say to someone fighting the diseases no one can see, because, while that person may look fine, they’re often exhausted, in pain, and dealing with physiological effects hidden from your view.

Being told you don’t look sick makes trying to weather being sick that much harder. What’s worse is that far too many people take their view that no outward signs means no inward disease as an excuse to harangue and ridicule, making life even worse for the one who is sick. This has not happened to me, but I know far too many people for whom that is true.

For me, the greatest manifestation of my invisible illness is fatigue. I simply don’t have any stamina, which means that I have a limited reserve for things like getting out of bed and staying upright throughout the day, let alone exercising or doing the work that I need to. But, I don’t look sick, and that’s frustrating even for me.

I can assure you, however, that I would not be enduring regular visits to doctors complete with blood draws, taking piles of medications, and inflicting daily pricks and injections if I was not sick. Unfortunately, what’s wrong is inside me, and nobody’s quite sure what that is yet.

I’m not saying any of this to get sympathy for myself, but to help anyone who knows other people complaining of invisible illnesses see that they’re telling the truth. They are sick. They are in pain. They are exhausted. They are struggling.

Have compassion. They need it.

DLH

Read more at my The Rambling Road weblog...

Read more at my Worldview site...

Worldview: The Rambling Road: Listen to your…

Perhaps I can’t speak for everyone, but I suspect that most of us have people in our lives who, for all sorts of reasons, constantly look out for our wellbeings even if we are not. It turns out I have several people who fill that role in various capacities, and I am learning that their support, advice, criticisms, and warnings are some of the most valuable tools I have available.

It’s often easy to ignore someone else’s advice when we become convinced we already know what we’re doing, can’t change our circumstances, or have stopped trying. It is at those moments those other people become most valuable to us because they won’t back down from pushing us even as we might resist what they have to say.

My advice now is to listen to them. I am not saying we always have to do what they have to say, but we should at least give them a fair hearing. Consider the advice they’re offering. And even if you say no, we need to be certain of the reasons why.

I think we will all find we’re better off if we heed their advice. It’s often the case those closest to us can see things about us we cannot. And, if my own experience is any guide, more often than not, they’re right. We would be mistaken to ignore that kind of help.

So, we should listen to the ones sometimes telling us things we don’t want to hear. They may be the most important words anyone speaks to us, and will help us avoid hurt down the road.

DLH

Read more at my The Rambling Road weblog...

Read more at my Worldview site...

Worldview: Keeping things alive

I’m a big fan of direct support. Hence the reason I support things like Kiva, Kickstarter, and Indigogo. Hence the reason I actually donate to WordPress plugin developers. Hence the reason I shop and eat local.

My point here isn’t to guilt you into doing something. My point here is to get you to think. Every time you spend a dollar, you vote. If you spend it at a corporate big box store, you’re voting for everything they stand for. If you spend it at the local grocer or hardware store, you’re voting for what they stand for.

If you’re reading this blog, the chances are that you think the way I do. I am not saying you agree with me on matters of faith or politics, but we share a certain kind of common philosophy.

So, here’s a chance to put your money where your mouth is: Chris Muir writes a web comic called Day by Day. Yes, it leans conservative. Yes, it sometimes annoys progressives. But also yes, it is a directly supported expression of free speech. If that matters to you, go donate.

I will disclaim that I cannot donate this year as I have in past years. Innisfree on the Stillwater has consumed all of my resources, but I can still use this space to encourage others to fill in the gap. Consider it.

DLH

Read more at my Worldview site...