Reflections

Struggling Against Anxiety {part 2 in a series of poems}

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As I said in my last post, May is Mental Health Awareness month. And it seemed like the perfect time to talk about some important topics.

Stemming from the subject of mental health is a variety of topics. Mental health can be everyday stuff. It can be things like phobias, or illnesses like OCD, depression, panic disorder, anxiety. The list goes on.

And I just want to say…I am not a mental health expert. I only know what I’ve experienced. This series of poems on mental illness are meant to bring awareness and share what these things really feel like.

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It’s hard. It’s hard to live with. It’s hard to share. And if you or someone close to you struggles with mental illness, then you know exactly what I mean and where I am coming from.

Today’s poem is about anxiety and panic attacks. The very words “panic attack” steal fear into the hearts of people. They don’t know what to say about it. They are…unsure. Uncomfortable.

And it’s ok.

It’s ok. But for the people that don’t know, and maybe want to know…and yet don’t, I wrote this poem. It is a description of a small piece of my world when anxiety comes in and erases much of what I know.

 

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Invisibly Visible

 

I’m invisibly visible

You see me

And now you don’t.

 

You see me

And I’m fine

But you can’t feel

My heart

 

My pulse.

My mind.

 

You see

And yet you don’t.

 

Fear makes fear

Afraid

 

And so you turn

Away.

 

Afraid it is contagious.

Afraid you’ll catch my pain.

 

And though I crave

Your understanding

 

I hope you never know

This invisible

Disease.

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Important Note: If you or someone you love is dealing with intense anxiety and/or panic attacks, it is important to remember these 2 things: 1) you are not alone and 2) there is help for you. You can call the suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255. You can call your doctor and get on a prescription, you can call your mom, your spouse, your bestie. You can dig down deep and find therapies and healthy ways to cope. There is help, I promise. And it will, it will, it will get better

For more on how I cope with anxiety, see my post Bravery in Motion: 10 Ways to Help Overcome a Panic Attack

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All photos are from pixabay. The poem is my own.

Reflections

Letting Go {amidst the purls and the knits}

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I must confess…

Letting go has never been easy for me. I hold too tightly, keep myself from change.

But in knitting…

If you hold too tightly, if you don’t let go, then you will never make a stitch. You can’t make any kind of progress at all.

It’s a simple enough concept, but I keep coming back to it. When I started knitting, my kids were sick with the flu. My son got it first. He was so sick. Sick with a high fever every night until Advil calmed it down.

Holding tight to our babies-that’s what mamas do best. I’m not suggesting letting go in any sense. 

But for me, I had to let go of the fear. The worry of, “Will he be ok??”. I wasn’t in charge of his healing. I had to trust that my prayers of petition to God and my limited ministrations would get him through.

And he did. He got over the flu. In spite of my fears and the paranoia fed by constant news updates telling me how horrible the flu is for children. (Thanks NBC.)

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But back to knitting. I know I’ve been talking about knitting a lot. And that’s just because I’ve been doing a lot of it.

On vacation I knit square after square. It’s so grounding and therapeutic and easy to do while riding in the car, visiting with family. As a person who fidgets, knitting is bomb.

When I began learning how to knit, my work was a tangled mess. My stitches were loopy. I couldn’t figure out the direction of the needles. I would get nervous once I had formed thread on the needles, dreading letting go. Dreading the wrong stitch.

Isn’t that just how life is? We don’t want to mess up. So we hold on to things. We hold on and hold on, telling ourselves,”I can’t do that. I don’t want to fail. I don’t have what it takes”. 

But that’s wrong. I’m in the wrong for thinking that. I can’t is powerfully debilitating.

I can’t

It can cripple your life.

Your will.

Your desire to grow.

To be a stronger & better version of you. 

I’m not saying that who you are is not good enough. No, never. 

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What I mean is that you will fulfill whatever prophecy you proclaim for your life.

If it is “I can’t do that“, then you won’t.

If it is “I’m afraid to try“, then it will keep you from new experiences.

I say these things from experience. I say them because I’ve believed “I can’t” about things for far too long. Because I’ve allowed fear instead of a desire to be vulnerable and different and broken to pervade my life. To control me.

I’ve feared letting go.

And I can fear it no more.

It’s time for change.

Bring on spring.

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This poem is my own.

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Reflections

The pain in the quiet, healing flow

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Good afternoon everyone! I mentioned in my last poem post that I wanted to share some more recent poetry.

So today I’m opening up and sharing some of the difficult moments and emotions of motherhood.

Motherhood isn’t all hard days. But then wow. Some days hit you and the emotions are through the roof.

I wrote this last November when I was going through some very hard moments. Internally all these emotions were fighting to get out. To be heard and dealt with.

I never write to be pitied. I write to put struggle to page. Sorrow to ink. I write so that what is broken can begin to be mended.

Maybe this will strike a cord with someone. I hope this sharing of personal struggle can minister to someone’s soul and spirit.

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Still Mother

 

In real pain

Do we mother.

Do we act

And do we slumber.

 

A hot tear dashed away

When no one can see

The pain that it is

To mother.

 

When the days stick

Together.

Mind wrapped in fog

Thicker and thick.

 

Yelling names

Crushing my heart

Over and over

I endeavor to teach.

To teach what it means

To be kind.

 

Be kind to me.

For my job is not easy.

I’m full of wounds

But I know how

To heal.

 

He taught me once

He teaches still.

 

The pain that it is to mother.

Oh child, be still.

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This poem is my own. All pictures are from Unsplash.

The Great Outdoors

What’s That Plant? (Symphyotrichum pilosum or Aster pilosus)

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“They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere

When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here…

But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze

Of a crisp and sunny morning of the early autumn days”

-From When the Frost is on the Punkin, by James Whitcomb Riley.

The beautiful month of October is here. In my corner of the globe in the Midwestern US, this means that fall is in full swing.

It is a time of harvest. Of slowing down. Of bidding summer goodbye. Of bonfires and cozy sweaters. Crunchy leaves.

In my mind, I see the green landscape slowly fading from green to autumn hues. Some plants, like my basil, are fading fast as the days and nights grow cool.

And others, like a plant I’ve recently learned about, are still in their prime.

It is a goal of mine to learn more about plant life. I want to know the names of everything. What they look like, where they are found, if they are edible. I want to learn as much as possible about the green world around me.

And so I wanted to share a plant I found that has a few interesting qualities.

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Name

This is frost aster. It’s Latin name is Symphyotrichum pilosum or Aster pilosus. Why 2 names?

Well, Urban Ecology Center explains that:

“As if to keep things fun and interesting botanists have decided to split up the genus Aster and there is now another genus, Symphyotricum. Consequently a newer name for A. pilosus is Symphyotricum pilosum.”

Appearance

Frost aster has alternate, smooth edged leaves that are long, thin and pointed.

It has composite flowers, with yellow disk florets (center) that change to redish-purple or redish-brown and 15-35 white ray florets that surround the disk florets.

This plant is quite tall, at least 4′ before the stems began to lean over. This is a bit taller than what most sources say this plant’s height range is but it’s likely so tall because it is a more mature plant.

Edible?

As far as I can see the answer is no. However, according to sources listed on Common Sense Homesteading, in the past the heath aster (not frost aster, see below) was used by Native Americans in teas, lotions and to “create a herbal steam” in a sweat lodge. Kinda like a herbal sauna. Sounds cool. Always secretly wanted to try the whole sweat lodge experience.

Unique Qualities

Two facts of interest:

  1. Frost aster is aptly named because it continues to bloom into the frosty days and weeks of autumn long after other plants and flowers are spent.
  2. For this reason, many insects rely on this plant for nourishment. I saw quite a few honeybees and bumblebees browsing busily amongst the flowers.

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Same plant, different location.

 

Also Frost Aster?

I found another plant that seemed to be similar to the frost aster. But it was much smaller and looked a bit different.

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I did a bit of research and narrowed it down to 2 kinds of aster.

Was it

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (also called Aster lateriflorus) or calico aster?

or

Symphyotrichum ericoides, (also called Aster ericoides) or heath aster?

I decided it was heath aster because it had:

  • very short, narrow leaves
  • a bushy appearance, very short. It reminded me of rosemary somewhat.
  • no colorful flowers like described for the calico aster.

 

I enjoyed learning more about this unique plant. Isn’t it amazing how much variety and beauty there is in the world?

~Rachel

All photos are my own.

Reflections

Poet’s Heart.

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I’ve been looking through old poems and came across the one I wanted to share today. Well. I didn’t want to share it initially. I felt the nudge, the push to share it but I fought it for awhile.

This poem means a lot to me. It was written in my early 20’s not long after my Grandpa passed away. I was already familiar with depression. But this was different. This was worse. I was dating my (later-to-be) husband and the joy of our relationship was a deep feeling in itself. In spite of this I found it difficult to balance my emotions.

There is no correct formula in life. But sometimes I like to sit down and ask myself deep questions, figure things out. This is how much of my poetry is written and I imagine other poets might think the same.

I enjoyed sharing my other poem “Nothing Is a Mystery” (you can read about that post here) so I thought I would share another. I need to get back to writing more poetry so I can share some recent ones.

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~*~

Perspicuous Heart of Mine

 

Bleeding heart,

Bruised heart.

I’m suprised you feel

A thing.

You sort through

All my thoughts.

You sift through

So much pain.

Where is your limit?

Does sorrow

Have a bottom?

Does happiness

Have a boundary?

Is grief eternal?

How many wounds

Does time heal?

Only some…

Or none at all?

Why do you suffer so?

Why does happiness

Or joy

Not stay long with you?

How I wish you weren’t so sad.

Moon

And sun.

Sorrow

And perfect ecstasy.

It’s ying and yang

But not with you.

Can’t you open up?

Sorrow and Love.

Keep them equal.

Mirror images

Dancing on a line so thin.

-*-

~Rachel

Reflections

A Rainy Day Poem of Yesteryear

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We have had an insane amount of rain lately. At times one of my old poems comes to mind as it did today. So I wanted to share it. It is truly from yesteryear…written over a decade ago in my teen years. I did alter it slightly for clarity.

This poem is about storms, mysteries and my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

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Nothing Is a Mystery

The sky

Is 42 shades of grey

Come what may

A storm won’t make me cry.

I smile when

The clouds break

Then in a minute-give or take

The earth soaks in H²0.

Thunder dispels my fear

God’s power is in the storm

This is my refuge, my dorm

To know the God of all the earth

Holds me dear.

How I love

This moment, how I hold it dear.

My Creator-God

In all majesty.

A redeeming Lamb

He died and shed blood for you, For me.

I’m not a scholar, but I know this key…

Jesus took all the blame.

Romans 8:1 is a breath of peace

I was shown the way, a place

To release.

How I love You, God, how I need You.

I know not what to do.

Lord, our lives seem so full of trouble.

But really, we’re so enclosed in

A bubble.

Break us free.

So we can be

Everything You set us out to be.

Please change me.

Bring me beyond

All the boundaries

Make me free to

Live.

See the rain,

I’ll never know some things

But I know Someone who knows all.

I have a long line of questions

One day I will see the One

Who knows all mysteries.

Job 36:22-33

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~Rachel