Life is hard. I tend to get caught up in the things that I struggle with and forget to take care of myself well + focus on the positive. I dwell on what I wish was better. Through that, my health is worse, my cough is worse, my anxiety is worse, and I have a hard time enjoying the good things in my life.
The other day, I was complaining on Facebook again then a sweet friend messaged me some words that I’m grateful to have heard… even though they were a bit hard to swallow.
Is Happiness Okay to Strive For?
Something I have always struggled with is the concept of happiness. I guess my Southern Baptist teachings catch up with me often, and I have had this idea that happiness isn’t something that I should strive for. I need to be humble (of course!) and suffer through this life because Jesus suffered. If I’m to be like Jesus, happiness isn’t something I should hope for. I don’t “deserve” to be happy. Also, loving myself is selfish and wanting to pour into myself is as well. All of these thoughts stick with me.
But this friend told me that I deserve to be happy. She also reminded me that I have a say in that. I get to decide if I will be happy or not. I could focus on the things that are so hard in my life 24/7 which causes severe anxiety, which increases my cough, which makes everything way more difficult, or I could focus on the things that I’m grateful for. I can focus on the things that bring joy, the things that God has blessed me with, and the understanding that things always get better over time. My cough has brought me down for almost 4 years and I’m so over it. But I also know that when I’m focused on it, it’s so much worse. When I’m focused on it, I have a huge amount of anxiety and a fear that it will last forever.
I met with my counselor earlier this week and we decided to try something new. First of all, I got off the Gabapentin, which I realize now was causing me MORE anxiety and exhaustion and I was in a fog for a long time. I think it is helping my cough to be off as well. Definitely not 100%, but I’ll take what I can get! Also, she started me on a new med which seems to have lifted my depression a bit and I just feel overall less out of it. I have a spring in my step.
We are also trying a new treatment.
I told my husband earlier this week that I’m not sure what it feels like to not cough and I’m afraid it’s going to be a process. My body has sort of developed a “tic.” My counselor told me that over the years when people had some sort of ailment, she tried out the placebo effect on them, and in a huge percentage, it actually works! So this is what I’m doing: I have a placebo in this bottle and I have labeled it “cough cure.” I am to take it seriously, 3 times per day, for 10 days. She even told me to set an alarm. She said even knowing it’s a placebo, it will work. I just have tell my brain what to believe. Our brains are powerful! So instead of moping around with my cough saying “it’s never going away,” tell my brain that it IS going away. I have been cleared from every medical specialist, so what do I have to lose?! Brains are weird and cool and amazing and all the things.
I Believe It’s a Combination of Issues
I saw my PCP today and we talked for a long time. She is so glad that things have been working out with my mental health in a lot of ways, but she does think there probably is a physical component as well. So, per the allergist’s recommendation, she sent a referral over to a different ENT than I’ve seen before. We’ll see how that goes!
The Covid Vaccine
I received it on Tuesday and I didn’t realize what I was in for. First of all, my arm hurt so so bad. Second of all, I felt miserable on Wednesday. I was terribly achy all over, extremely fatigued, and just felt like I had a bad flu. I had to teach while feeling like that and it was a really hard day. But! It’s so worth it if I can contribute to life becoming more normal again. I also felt about 90% better yesterday, so it lasted a very short time. I’m super nervous about the second one, but I also decided to take off of work the next day to avoid having to work through it again.
My Wonderful Job
Some days are extremely hard. Some days I struggle to make it through. Some days I have extremely bad anxiety. But overall, I love my job more than I’ve ever loved a job. I KNOW I’m supposed to be there… even on those hard days. And I always go back to why I started. I didn’t decide to do this job. God decided. I don’t fight it much because I know that He is doing a new thing in me, and He is doing a new thing in my students. I have a great relationship with most of the parents as well. I have a lot of growth ahead of me, but I also see all of the growth that has taken place already. I have realized that I’m a dang good teacher. It is what God has gifted me to do. For His glory of course. But I also deserve to love and enjoy my job. The job that He placed right in my lap. And now that I’m off of Gabapentin and am on a new med, I feel less foggy, have more energy, and am more able to do a good job.
Our Little Homestead
It is growing! We got 8 new chicks! 4 are Easter-Eggers, 2 Barred Rock, and 2 Golden Sex-Link. And the adult chickens are 2 Golden Sex-Link, 3 Olive-Egger, and 2 Black Sex-Link. I LOVE my chickens. They bring me a lot of joy.
I also just got a bunch of seeds and soil for a garden. I have wanted to do this for a long time so I just bit the bullet and bought the stuff! I have been doing a lot of research on building raised beds, and I plan to start doing that soon. I told Robert that I will need some help, but I want to do most of the work. I have quite a few plants on my back porch in containers as well.
When I started teaching again, I thought I would have to give up having a little homestead. I mean, isn’t that just for stay-at-home homeschooling mamas? And I decided that I get to decide what I do and who I am. Not some role or title.
Along Those Lines…
I have taken up a few new things! I started rock-climbing recently and next week Robert, Karis, and I will be paddling the Rio Grande river through canyons! I have wanted to do these things for a long time, but I just always allow excuses to get in the way. Just like my desire for other things, I have also decided that I get to choose what I do adventure-wise and I’m breaking out! And I feel like a badass. I’m not good at a lot of these things, but I am not going to let that stop me anymore. No fear of heights, fear of people’s opinions, fear of the what-ifs, or anything will stop me from trying new things. I’m making adventuring a priority. And Karis is coming along for the ride! She turns 15 on Monday! She is so awesome. I love my family.
After all of this that I have written, the big things that I am learning and remembering is that I’m strong, courageous, and can do hard things! And remembering who I am and why I have started hard things keeps me putting one foot in front of the other despite great struggle. Everything in life has challenging things, but the WHY is the most important part of anything. And I’m here for it!