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First I want to say that I’m not a psychiatrist and the only psychology background I have was a class I took in college many years ago.
Second I can only tell you what my experience has been and offer a few helpful tips that have allowed me to get through some difficult times.
Maybe you’ve experienced some traumatic event, illness, death or some other loss, or maybe it’s just a burnout from stress. Whatever the reason your body will do what it needs to do to protect you and sometimes we find ourselves in survival mode.
I’m not talking about your plane crashing in a remote jungle… even though sometimes that might seem like a better place to be… I’m talking about the struggle to get through your day to day activities.
Most of us can handle a certain amount of grief and stress but there comes a time when a switch flips and your brain says enough. That’s when we go into survival mode. If we aren’t careful it could send us into a deep depression.
Some of us are pretty good at hiding the fact that we are falling apart inside. Some of our friends and family may try to help but they just don’t know what to say or do. Others may just tell us to ‘Snap out of it!’. This is easier said than done.
I’ve had several events happen over the past few weeks, months, and years that have totally changed my life. The most recent was the passing of my Mom-mom (grandmother). That hit me a lot harder than I expected it too.
A lot harder.
The past couple of weeks I’ve been in full blown survival mode. I had gotten some kind of bug while out of town and that didn’t help matters. Plus a major hurricane that was barreling down on us last week.
Thankfully we missed the brunt of the storm but our neighbors to the west were hit hard. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers as well as all of those out helping like my son who is with the National Guard.
We didn’t homeschool for two weeks after I found out the news. I pretty much quit doing everything except the basics. I wasn’t even making my bed… which seems like a small thing but people who know me would know that I like to have my bed made every day.
The kids were fed and bathed on a regular basis and some basic cleaning was completed. The laundry was washed and dried but left in baskets for a day or so. Again people who know me know that this is a big thing I try to avoid at all costs.
For those people who don’t know me, well they probably just think I’m a bit of a slob. I am usually one step below a neat freak but my house says otherwise right now. The clutter and unorganized chaos wasn’t helping me at all and I really didn’t care.
Then there comes other areas that I’ve just given up on. I really haven’t done a lot with my blog over the past couple of months. I haven’t checked my emails in over a week … probably since the last post I wrote about how many I had. I haven’t been doing club newsletters or updates for the past couple of months either.
I really didn’t have the energy to do anything more than what I was getting done. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and watch TV. Another thing that I almost never do.
Isn’t it crazy how life can be going along pretty good one day and something as simple as a phone call can change that?
Well over the weekend the state of the house had really gotten on my last remaining nerve and it was just a matter of time before it really got to me. I can’t function when my house, or my life, is in a mess.
Sure a vacation with a custom made pink sparkly bedazzled straight jacket sounded nice but I really don’t have time for that right now. I’ve got kids depending on me and I knew things had to change. I decided I would allow myself the weekend to ‘mope’ or do whatever it was that I was doing or not doing.
So on Monday we started back to our normal routine. Thank goodness for my FlyLady app on my phone as it helped me get started. We also picked up with our Little House on the Prairie studies.
We didn’t get as much done on the list as I had hoped but we made progress which was more than I had done in a while. The next day was better and by yesterday I was completely through my daily routine plus I had all of my weekly tasks and the majority of my monthly tasks caught up.
It just so happened that this week was our ‘Bathroom’ week so I took a few minutes to deep clean our poor neglected bathroom. Surprisingly this made me feel a whole lot better and motivated me to get a few other items taken care of. After that I also did a good cleaning in the kitchen.
I can honestly say that our little house looked and felt 100x better when we went to bed last night. It was still a bit cluttered but at least it was a lot cleaner and more organized.
This week we also had a shed delivered from Sheffield portable buildings which is a local company. There are lots of ideas that we have for it but for now it’s gonna hold the remainder of my belongings that have been stored on the porch as well as some of the ‘extra’ items we have in the house. It may also serve as a workshop for Mr. Awesome and some of his many projects.
So far I’ve only managed to put a few totes of clothes in it and an extra mattress. I planned to do more but today has had a rough start so the ‘more’ will have to wait until this weekend.
I’m glad that we had our routines in place and that I have been able to use them to pull myself out of survival mode. I know my family needs me and I need them. I also know that I want to provide them with good memories and my mom-mom wouldn’t want me just moping around doing the bare minimum.
Reminding myself of these things has also helped me to find the strength to push past the darkness that was hanging over me head the past few weeks. Today has been rough already and it isn’t even lunch time. Sometimes I feel like I wasn’t cut out for this job but I know there is a reason God has put me where I am.
Just like I know there is a reason each and every person is where they are right now at this very moment. We an learn from each and every experience that we have whether it is bad or good. Each event will help us grow into the person that God wants us to be and will make us stronger and wiser than we were before.
I encourage you right now, whether you are in a funk or life seems peachy, to make a list of all the things God has done and what you are thankful for. Put this somewhere safe so you can look back on it when the days seem dark.
I have found it so helpful to journal also. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I use a simple spiral notebook. I hadn’t journaled for a while but sometimes just writing down whatever is going on can help tremendously. Later we can look back and see what God has brought us through.
Then, if you have time you need to make a list of your priorities and start developing some routines. Trust me when I say there will come a day when you will need them.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I need to get started on some lunch for the kiddos and then back to work on my routine for the day.