Tuesday, December 23, 2008

7 Hints to Help You with Your Anxiety

1. Realize that you have a problem-When I was in high school, I could always tell in November that symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) were coming on when the niggling thoughts in my mind became obsessive, and I was on constant alert for the sky falling. It wasn't until my late 20's/early 30's when I began to deal with my anxiety disorder. When anxiety becomes crippling; you can't get out of bed; or your consumed with worry that you can't focus on anything else, it's time to get help.

2. Recognize it's not your fault that you suffer from anxiety-The cause can be physical, environmental, or a combination of reasons. I can tell that my anxiety disorder is part environmental and part physical.

3. Talk to your doctor--S/he will be able to direct you to professional help. You may also need to get testing down to see if there's a specific physical reason for your anxiety. My family physician gave me a checklist to answer about how I responded to certain situations and if I worry a lot. And my OB/GYN tested my thyroid. All of this is to pinpoint the exact source of my anxiety.

4. Get counseling-I found counseling very healing. I learned to deal with my anxiety as well as understanding the root causes of it. I also found compassion. I've had Biblical counselors who were older women, that took me under their wings. They were like mothers to me--comforting me and urging me to grow. They listened sympathetically, and sometimes empathetically, as I cried and told them my story.

5. Join a support group-Get to know others who deal with the same issues that you have. It reminds you that you are not alone. I must confess, I never joined a support group solely based on anxiety and depression. However, I've met people along the way, through books and in person, who've had the same kinds of issues that I did. I sighed a breath of relief as I realized I wasn't a weirdo, but one of thousands who deal with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). We can empathize with each other and share our stories to give hope and opportunities for growth.

6. Journal, pray, join a religious group-Develop the spiritual aspects of your life. It will give you hope when you feel low. Plus, it's another outlet to meet friends and spiritual advisors to be with you during your darkest moments. I know my faith in Christ is what continues to keep me grounded. The Bible has given me hope, and prayer I keep a prayer journal, which allows me to express my feelings to Father God. Plus, a Biblically-based church can be a home to those who suffer from anxiety, depression, as well as many other mental health issues. The key is finding the right church, and that can take time and prayer.

7. Learn more about your anxiety disorder-Knowledge can help you become informed, take control of your disorder, and help you in healing. I'm a journalist, so a big part of my job is research. I've researched my anxiety disorder on sites like http://www.nih.gov/ and www.about.com, which has other helpful links to other mental health websites. And, your local library will have a chock full of books on mental health issues.

Don't be ashamed of your disorder. We aren't perfect and this life can be topsy-turvy at times. There is help and hope out there. I know because I live with GAD. Just don't give up.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Severe Weather Warning

“With boys, you always know where you stand. Right in the path of a hurricane.” ~Erma Bombeck, from Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession.

The hurricane starts at birth. The screaming boy doesn’t hesitate to tell you he’s not happy, and you, mom, are responsible for this error in judgment.

The baby’s scream means, “I’m hungry; I’m cold; my diaper is full of something unpleasant. And it’s your entire fault because you are sitting on the toilet, taking a shower, or folding clothes. You’re supposed to be standing here taking care of me when I call.”

Yet, you could make the argument that the hurricane begins at conception. Or at least say it’s a warning that life won’t be the same once the boy is born. You’re sick, your body changes, and you’re hungry, bordering on ravenous. Is this unique to carrying boys? I don’t know; I only had boys. But I know one thing, compared to women who had daughters, I had a ravenously hungry boy once he entered the world. It seemed that no sooner had I put him down after nursing him that he was crying for more. It was only eight years after I quit nursing him at four weeks that my neighbor, who had always had girls and her third child was a boy, realize that her newborn was more hungry and greedy at the boob than her daughters were. I breathed a sigh of relief because I thought all of my son’s problems were based on the fact that I quit nursing him at one month of life.

The eye of the storm only exists at night when they’re sleeping. Of course, doctors say you should go to bed when your kids do so you get enough sleep. I always laughed at that. I mean it’s the only time I became a person again. CSI, the news, and Everyone Loves Raymond stimulated me back to earth after a draining day of Barney and the Teletubbies.

Watch out, Mom. When Sonny starts walking, all the fun ends. He’s no longer cute and adorable. He’s now independent, curious, and irascible. Gone are all the pretty knick knacks and Grandma’s china. Gone is carrying the baby into Wal-Mart on a rainy December day. No, it’s now, grab the hand and tolerate the wailing when Sonny-boy wants to jump in the icky puddle-filled pothole in the busy parking lot.

Then it’ the playdates. I find a group of boys a lot more relaxing than mixed group of boys and girls. Boys like to jump on each other, go in fives down the slide, and find it great fun to walk in front of kids on swings. Whereas, little girls find it highly offensive when the boys decide to crash into her on the slide; pull her off the swing; or throw sand in her face.

And it only gets rougher as they get older. By the time boys are six, they know how to move the picnic table under the tree to climb onto it. Furthermore, they’re adapt at teaching their friends how to climb trees too. I’ve already had three to four boys in one tree—without the other mothers knowing what was going on.

You know where to stand with a boy—just don’t get in the way—or you’ll get mowed down with the rest of the debris.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Five Random Thoughts on Parenting

1. Parenting is not for sissies-Like marriage, parenting is hard work because you're the adult. Your children aren't put in this world to be your friend, give you love or companionship, to save your marriage, or to shoulder your problems.

2. There are days when you'll want to hang up the towel-But don't give up! I remember when I had two boys, infant and 19 months old. And I thought I was going to pull my hair out. Also, my husband and I have had to deal with behavioral issues in our children that went on for years. Finally, it clicked with the child we have been working with--and we don't always know which method did the trick. Maybe a combination of them all. Maybe the child matured to a level where that particular behavior was working for her anymore. Who knows? The key is to keep going even if you think that you're losing the battle. We're put in charge of our offspring to raise them to be productive adults in society. That kind of parenting takes continual hard work, prayer, and perserverance.

3. Parenting is meant for a team of two, not a team of one-For those of you who are single-parenting because your spouse has died or has abandoned you and the kids, this tip isn't for you. For those of you who are sick of your husband playing Wii rather than talking to you, go get some marital counseling. Your kids will thank you for it. Research has shown that kids do better in homes where parents stayed together compared to parents' who divorced--even amicably.

4. Filter your mother's advice--Mom sometimes does know best--especially when it comes to eating your veggies. But discount that voice which would harm your child, such as putting baby cereal in the baby's bottle to make him sleep longer through the night, or would interfere with you or your husband's values, morals, or the family mission.

5. Remember you're the parent--And that can be a blessing or a curse. You're the adult in the relationship with your child(ren). Your children need you to set boundaries for them, as well as provide consequences for disobedience and disrespect. On the other hand, you can relax at certain times of your day, week, or weekend and snuggle up with your little ones to read and play together.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Keeping It All Together

It's hard to know what to do and who to believe in today's hysterical economic climate. It seems that every morning, we wake up to hear the news that another bank, credit card company, or the automakers are begging the government to bail them out of their bad financial choices.

Meanwhile, news commentators wax eloquently about Barak Obama is the reincarnations of FDR and/or JFK, and how he'll rescue all of us from economic hardship from that "bad" president George W. The stock market continues to take a nosedive downward while folks whisper on the radio about the possibility of another Great Depression.

Being a political conservative rather than a political liberal, I'm starting to feel hopeless about which direction this country is taking. And it's not the fear that the trade magazines that I write for may start cutting back or that my husband will experience a layoff. Instead, it's the whole climate of our culture. Where are we going? What are we doing????

I worry because 50 percent of the country loves the idea of living off the government. Because of their ignorance, these needy/greedy people, who act like spoiled children, don't realize that our taxes will skyrocket due to these federal bailouts or freebies. It's not only the rich that are punished, folks. It's us, the middle class, too. Only the poor, who don't make enough for the IRS to bother with them, are better off with rising taxes.

Food, clothing, and taxes are going up, up, up. How does one raise a family in this climate? How do we keep our family together--cherishing each other, while raising the next generation with the same values that we believe in. This is what we'll explore in upcoming blogs. Stay tuned...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Marriage Isn't for Sissies Part 2

Con't ... did something that could potentially destroy your marriage?

Last week, I attended my first support group for addicts and partners of addicts. While I don't want everyone in cyberspace to know what addiction my husband suffers from, I will acknowledge that we've been stuck in a dark period of our marriage for the past 10 years due to his addiction. It's like that picture of a kitten hanging on for dear life to a branch and asking God to help him/her.

We got to the place for the support group. There were all types of men and women there--and all kinds of addicts ranging from alcohol, drugs, and sexual addictions. I took one look in the room for women (they separate men and women) and I backed away. I told my husband, "I can't do this. I'm not like that. I'm better than this!"

Yikes, I was in denial--big time! I tried to back away, running away, anything to get out of there! In my mind's eye, I prepared myself for a perfect marriage--I went to pre- and post-marital counseling, and I dragged John along. I thought we were prepared for any rift in our a relationship, and we wouldn't need anymore help!

The clock got to 6:00 p.m., time to close the doors, and begin group. I finally gathered up my courage, and said goodbye to John as he went merrily to his group. I beelined to the nearest chair to the door. Women kept pouring in...and in...and in...until there were three to four young women sitting on the floor. The woman next to meet was squeezed into the corner, blocking the door. It definitely wouldn't pass a safety inspection, or an easy escape for me. So, I sucked it up.

Everyone went around the room, introducing themselves. When it came for me to say, "Hi, my name is Wendy, and my husband is a ____________." In reality, it wasn't like that...but I was pithy to say the least. I said, "My name is Wendy Komancheck. My husband's next door," indicating that he was the reason I was stuck in this room of damaged goods.

After an hour, I started to relax, and I realized that I wasn't alone. There was another angry wife there; there was a woman who has made it with her husband in recovery (and they're still married); and women who confessed their struggles ... even struggles that I've dealt with. I felt that I was in a room of friends. People who've been in my shoes and have survived the storm. I had hope ... hope that I could survive this trip with my husband. We can do it...

And that's why marriage isn't for sissies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Marriage ISN"T for sissies and other news

Okay, first I put up my picture. Aghhhh! But Molly, my part-lab/part-Border bollie, is a real beauty, ain't she? I think so.

Like most nosey women, I like to look at the social pages. Who's engaged to who; who just got married; etc. And I when I read the blurbs under the photos, I wish all of them the best, but I worry for them too. Do they realize the challenge marriage is? Do you?

Marriage isn't about happiness...it's about commitment. It seems that once you say "I do," life changes for better and for worse. Think about--the work is just starting as you walk down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs. But during the magical times of first meeting, the first kiss, the dating, the engagement, etc., life is bliss. And the realization that reality begins on Day 1 to Day Last doesn't really dawn on the couple until the first fight.

Then it becomes, "It's your fault!" "No, it's your fault!" and the hubby, because this is typical, not gender bashing, is shocked at the yelling, so he walks away. Meanwhile the wife, cries, feels sorry for herself, and calls her mother/best friend/ sister to belittle the husband. And this is just the start...Wait until

  1. The economy goes down and one of you gets laid off...
  2. Your child is born with special needs
  3. Your mother-in-law has boundary issues between her son and you
  4. Finances are tight, and you can't buy your daily grande, skinny, double-espresso at the local Starbucks on your way to work
  5. You exchange Nordstroms for Good Will
  6. You drive an old car rather than a brand new SUV
  7. Your spouse is addicted to alchohol, drugs, and/or porn.

What are you going to do? Stick with the marriage or bail? Sometimes, it's easier to bail, but it's not always right.

See these are the things that starry-eyed lovers don't think about. If they do, they look at it in a far-away attitude that love will cover a multitude of the lover's sins.

But when it hits the fan, after the honeymoon is a distant memory, will you stick it out for the long haul? Will you see it to the end of your life or your spouse's life (and I don't mean suicide or murder).

These issues are dire, and all couples will experience these relational earthquakes. As statistics paint the picture, half to over half will bail out of the marriage, with at least a kid or two in tow. Then we remarry, and remarry, and shack up because we're attracted to the same type of person, but we're the victim--and the new and previous spouses are the sorry losers that we constantly flutter to because we're destined for losers. Wouldn't it be better to stick with the original spouse and work it out---for better or worse? I think so...more on this post later...

For instance, do you ever think about your beloved

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Why I stay married

This is an excerpt from a prayer letter that I wrote tonight. I won't go into the details for this discussion, but if you're suffereing in a marriage, here's some encouragement:

“Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, ‘Why?’ It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. I hate divorce, says the Lord God of Israel, and I hate a man covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the Lord Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.” Malachi 2:13-16.

Thanks for your prayers. When we walk with Jesus with live in what I call “Opposite World.” God allows bad things to happen to us to develop our character, which the end means being more like Jesus. I’m reading an excellent book called How to Live Right when Your Life Goes Wrong by Leslie Vernick. She shares, “Sometimes God reminds me that Sydney (her pet parakeet) and I are not that different. I am small. I am limited. I am bound by time, space, and my human flesh. I know nothing about eternity or the bigness of God. All I know is what I experience. But my experience does not define the boundaries of reality. No---there is more to it, beyond what I can see or even imagine. Just because I do not know it doesn’t make it less real or true. God offers us glimpses into this ‘true realit’ (as I will call it) if we will take the time to see through the lens of his eternal perspective.”

And God says in Romans 5:3-5-“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perserverance; perseverances, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love inot our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Amen!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Okay, I know that I'm not a committed blogger, but ...

I'm going to give this blogging thing one more try. Yesterday, I read on Freelance Writing Jobs, that all writers should have a blog. And I surmised from reading that article, that I should blog at least once a day, if not every hour. Well, dear friends, you won't hear from me every hour, but I'll try to get something blogged at least once every other day. My musings will be influenced by the Bible, a novel, or a famous saying. So stay tuned ...

Day #1--Here's a musing that I cooked up after I got out of the shower this a.m.:

Proverbs 30: 7-9 (NKJV)~

"Two things I request of you--(Deprive me not before I die): Remove falsehood & lies far from me; give me neither poverty or riches--feed me with the food allotted to me--lest I be full & deny you, and say, 'Who is the LORD?' or lest I be poor & steal, and profane the name of the LORD."

I pray the scriptures because they're God's Word. I seek His face through his Word, and I feel a connection with the Holy Spirit through this type of praying rather than my 'give me' list of prayers.

And I realized this morning, that God answered this prayer. You see, I've had this dream since I graduated from high school that I would be well-satisfied through a career, and later, when kids came along, my husband would provide nicely for us. Well, my husband is eclectic like me, and I never realized it. He's happy as a clam working in an IT customer service job. Unfortunately, those types of jobs don't pay *well.* And by well, I mean a job that pays the bills and allocates disposable income.

A few years of ago, we moved to an older development. Previously, we lived in a very, very small semi-detached house. Now, our current home costs more (although not as much as some) and the taxes are a little bit higher. But it's worth every penny and an answer to the prayer. But, I didn't realize my answered prayer until last Sunday.

My husband is content in his job, and he's where he belongs. He loves people and can transform technological jargon into people-speak. But it doesn't pay enough. So, for the last 15-20 years--we dated for three years & have been married for 15--I've tried to transform him into the man-provider that I wanted him to be. I've tried talking him into going back to school, applying for different jobs; get career counseling; read more computer books, etc.,etc.,etc.---all to become the one-man money tree like I dreamed about over 20 years ago. But like a good man, he didn't change. He stayed the same. And when I say that he stayed the same, I mean he continued to mature, doing his best, but he didn't cave to my nagging.

Meanwhile, my nagging and impatience with him was driving me nuts! I fretted over money, the house, his job, his job security, & our dwindling savings. Finally, we talked to an older couple from our church, who mentors us. We met with them a week ago to discuss this scary thing called money and the lack of it. This couple helped us put things in perspective, reminded us to write down our long-term goals, and come together as a foursome in the coming months to discuss our goals.

Well, I've been wanting to write down goals with my husband for years. Finally, we got a chance to do it. Once I listed my goals on paper, I knew in my heart that this project defined what my real values were. I was relieved to find that I wasn't that materialistic, money grubbing gal I thought I was. And I realized that my husband is hard-working ... so much so that he's willing to work two jobs to support us. And he's always been like that. I just didn't realize it because I focused on his transformation into my image.

Last Sunday night, I gave up pursuing my husband to become like my dream man. Instead, I apologized for my bad behavior, asked God to forgive me, and remembered that God wonderfully and fearfully created my husband, just like he created me.

And in doing so, I've realized that my prayer has been answered all along. My family has a roof over its head; plenty of food to eat; and clothes on our backs. And nice clothes, too, even if they're bought second-hand. We don't look like bums, like I always feared we would if we needed to sacrifice. So, I can say with joy, "God, you answered my prayer. I'm not rich. Thank God. And I'm not poor. Thank God. I have a great husband, two wonderful children, and a career I can do out of my home so I can be there for my family. Thanks, God!"