Category Archives: anxiety

Doors

It’s been a while since I’ve written, and it’s mainly due to the fact that my focus on writing has been somewhat distracted. A lot has happened, and yet, not so much. Does that make sense?

In my own personal life, I’ve gone through so many things. But on the family front, it’s been just a waiting game.  What are we waiting for?

We are all waiting for me to get a job. I just recently graduated with a Masters in Special Education (no small feat, right?) and now looking to find a job where I can use my degree. I’m working hard to get everything done so I can apply for my teaching license. Looking for a job is a job in itself. I’ve had several interviews, and all were taken by others who are better qualified or have more experience. I’ve been applying to so many positions at so many different schools. I even ventured to other school districts near me.

It’s not easy being “in the air” and feeling discouraged by the lack of getting a job in what I’ve worked so hard for. It’s also vital that I find a job also because of the increasing cost of living in this city. My husband’s sole income isn’t enough to even stay at the apartment we are in for the next year. We’re doing the best we can, yet, it would be even better if I am able to help with the income.

Such is the world we live in.

It doesn’t help when I struggle to control the anxiety that creeps on me like a beast. I’m clinging onto the one hope and promise that I have.

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” – Matthew 6:26

It’s not easy, I’ll admit it! I am anxious and hoping to find a job soon. I have often wondered about applying out of state, but I keep telling myself, “When all efforts have been made here where I am at, then will I start looking outside this state.” Yet, I’ll still have to get some kind of job soon so we can keep our heads above water. That’s the hard part. What will that job be?

I do have one interview this Thursday, and its a job I would so love to have – I would be working and teaching other Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. It’s the ideal job for me, though I wonder if I’m needing a Deaf Education Masters degree. I won’t know until I go for the interview. If they can hire me with just my Special Education degree and give me the opportunity to work towards the necessary Masters degree, that would be utterly amazing and a completely God thing.

It’s hard to hope when the door has been closed on me so many times.

I know… I know… There’s that saying, “When one door closes, another will open.”

I’m just waiting for that door.

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One Word: Perseverance

As I am sitting here on my patio with my two cats and a cup of coffee. I have Rend Collective blasting into my earphones, and I’m reflecting on the past two months.

Let me just say this – It was crazy.

For those who don’t follow me on Facebook, two months ago I was in a car accident that crippled my SUV and damaged the front right end of my car. I’m still feeling the anxiety from that whole experience. I had no hearing aids on when it happened and flew into an anxiety attack as I knew this one little incident would make things messy.

Why?

My vehicle was my only way to help my blind husband to get around. With working on my Master’s degree, I still needed to get around to do my field experience hours, and with two kids, having no vehicle was going to be difficult, to say the least.

“Why not get a rental?”

Sure. That would make things so much easier, but I had made the mistake of not adding that to my insurance plan, and we weren’t in the position to be able to afford to rent one out of our own pocket.

I prayed they wouldn’t take too long to fix the car… But little did I know how much of a mess we were in.

It ended up being a case of severe case of mishandling by our insurance company, and being deaf didn’t help at all. The only people who really took care of us and respected our deafness/blindness was the body shop who worked on our car. (I also had friends who helped us get to the grocery store and brought us food when we needed it, too.)

It took EIGHT weeks to finally get our SUV back.

It was a long battle, and when I reflect upon it, I realize there will always be that battle for me. Being deaf means I have to fight every time I need to make sure I understand and am being understood in practically every situation.

That is exhausting. I questioned God, “Why? Will there ever be a time where I don’t have to fight to be understood?”

I had to fight to get some of my professors to understand my challenge of doing field experiences with no interpreter. I have had to resort to using my lip-reading skills and depending on my hearing aids, which isn’t at it’s best with the earmolds getting old.

Fortunately, I’m almost done with my field experience hours. I will be glad to be done with that.

I just have to worry about who will hire a teacher who is Deaf. Will I be understood and accepted?  Okay. I can’t worry about that right now, but it does poke back into my thoughts from time to time.

On top of all of this, I’ve been trying to lose weight and failing miserably. I need to lose it for health reasons, and it’s been a frustrating journey.

I had hopes that with having no vehicle that losing the needed pounds would be easier as I would be forced to walk, and walk, I did, but I didn’t lose anything.

angry-penguin

I realize now that it’s another thing I have to overcome.

I’ve been walking with my husband every morning to the light rail, and I have yet to see any loss. I keep telling myself it takes time… But it’s hard to have hope when you’re exhausted emotionally.

What do I do?

The only thing I know how – I hold on. Like everything else I’ve gone through, I will just push through and PERSEVERE.

Paul, my favorite writer in the Bible, puts it best in Philippians 3:14 –

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

It’s an uphill climb right now, but I have a small bit of hope right now. I’m going to hold on to that. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for one of my goals. I’m not far from graduating with a Masters degree and will soon be able to teach.

Today, I am taking a muchly needed respite and will be creative. I have some art in my head that needs to get out on a canvas.


Moving at His Own Pace

Lately, I have been so amazed at my husband.

I struggle with my own monsters in life – Anxiety, Depression, Deafness, and other little things.

But, I look at my husband, and his resilience amazes me. He doesn’t always have a positive outlook on his growing blindness, but he still fights through.

Yesterday, as we walked three miles to our favorite shopping center, he walked along side me, laughing and teasing me as he held my hand while using his other hand to feel the path before him with his cane. He didn’t depend on me completely, but my eyes and words of what was going on around us just supplemented what he had sensually.

Before we had begun the walk,  I noticed him focusing intently as he stepped down the stairs of our apartment. I thought, “He must be counting the steps.” I counted as well. When we reached the ground level, I shared my discovery of each flight being 6 steps. He then shared, “Yes, and the very bottom one in the back flight of stairs has 7.” I never knew that.

An ambulance siren went off by us, I couldn’t hear it, but he did. I could see it, and I told him what direction it went and guessed which hospital it was probably heading. He agreed and hoped it was not a serious situation.

He signed to me, as I had left my hearing aids out. The warm day and the sweat that would likely come makes it hard to keep my loose ear molds in, thus making it even harder to hear. “Leave them out,” he encouraged, before we headed out for our hike. “I can sign, and the kids can, too. You can put them in your backpack and put them in once we get to the mall.”

He wasn’t afraid of my Deafness, and it was fortunate that I could speak clearly enough despite it. That was a huge asset for us, although, he kindly informed me in a tease, “You sound a bit like a pirate when you talk without your hearing aids.”

“Argh!” I teased back. “Now I just need to dress like one!”

My kids loved the idea… Maybe one day, I will.

An overgrown bush edged the sidewalk, and his hand was on my shoulder as I guided him through the narrow passage way. “Duck!” I ducked down to let him feel just how far down he needed to go to avoid the overgrown branches. We cleared it. “They really need to trim those branches on that bush!” I exclaimed.  His exasperated expression showed his agreement. Running into branches unaware is not something he liked doing.

We walked and I shared with him of the scene around us. He was having a good vision day and could see bright colors, but no definite shape. “The sky is so blue! I’m loving it! I haven’t seen such a blue sky in so long.” It’s moments like this where I remember to appreciate my sight.

I notice horse manure on the sidewalk, and I tell him. It wasn’t too surprising to see this, as there was a horse showing arena not far where we were. He laughs, I didn’t know why. I was chuckling for a different reason, though I don’t remember what for. He later told me of something the kids had said of the discovery of the horse manure on the sidewalk. “Who pooped in the middle of the sidewalk!?” one of them had said. It was my turn to laugh.  I tell them, “It’s horse poop!” My daughter looks at me precariously, and signs, “A horse walked this way?  Why?” I reminded her of the Rodeo/show grounds now far from us. “Oooh.” She signed. “That makes sense.”

My husband then signs to me that my eight year old son is cracking jokes about poop. I rolled my eyes. He’s being such a typical boy.

We get to the shopping mall, and I tell him of a new Italian pizza place that opened up. “Want to try it?” I ask. He signs back, “Sure!”

At the restaurant, I described to him what the place looked like, and we shared an amazing pizza, which the kids each had their own opinion of the Italian flair of their American favorite. My husband and I loved it. His sense of taste and smell had heightened since he lost his vision. He signs to me of what he can taste and can smell. I smiled. My sense of smell had long been muted to many sinus infections, and I appreciated his perspective.

At home, he can’t do a whole lot, but he does try.

He helps by doing his laundry, which he has a system to doing. He washes his shirts and pants separately. I help him fold his clothes in the way he likes it. He wears only black and white shirts and has only five to six button up shirts for work. His shirts are alternated black and white, and I tell him which one is on the top so he knows. When he hangs up his shirts, I tell him which one I give him, and he hangs them in order of the days he likes to wear them.

Lately, he has also been exploring his Scottish heritage, and he will ask me to search for something online. I will find a site and share with him in what I find. I read out loud to him, and if there is a picture, I try to describe it to him.

This is one thing he struggles with. He wishes he could see pictures. Even when he inverts the color, which works well for him when he wants to read something enlarged, the pictures don’t look like something he can recognize. Even a picture I took of him, he struggles to see. “Do I look good?” He asks. “Of course, you do!” He had lost a tremendous amount of weight over the past year. I was proud of him for doing so. I explained this to him. “Even my hat looks good on me?” I can tell he struggles with his image. How can you not when you can’t even see yourself?

Another thing about him that I admire –  He is still working. He has kept his job for the past ten years, even despite his gradual vision loss. They’ve, thankfully, been accommodating.

Yet… He’s facing another mountain now. He might have to look for another job, which scares him. He is fighting despite it. He is also now accepting the truth. “I am going blind.” He shudders at the thought of not finding something he can do with his blindness. He hates the thought of going on Disability, but he’s now realizing that might be a reality.

Despite all he’s facing, I still admire and love him. He is trying, and there are people out there who won’t try as much as he does while having a disability.

As I end this… I ask you to please pray for him. Keep him in your thoughts. Ask that God will lift him up and give him hope. He has yet to experience that.

Thank you.


God Sends Angels through People

I’m sitting here amazed at the generosity that comes when times become rough.

My first experience of this was when we hit a really rough patch back in 2008. The resession was in full effect. We found ourselves over our heads in debt as hours at work were cut back. The only choice was to file for bankruptcy. The one price of it was we had to lose the car. I knew it was going to be hard, but it wasn’t hopeless. Little did I know how hope-FULL it was going to be.

I told my group at church in Virginia of our pending loss of the car and of the bankruptcy. All I asked was for prayers. I was stubbornly set on not being a burden, and make it work with an almost 3 year old daughter and an 18 month son. It was going to be tough, I knew, but I wasn’t without resources. But my group stunned me by finding a double stroller and gave me food to take home.

When the car was finally taken away, we had just been hit hard with the loss of my mother-in-law, and even then, people reached out to us with encouragement and aide.  By the grace and blessing of God, we didn’t have to be without a car for more than three weeks. He provided a way for us to get a car paid in full.

When we went through little rough patches… I remembered those days.

So when we were in a minor car accident a week and a half ago, in the midst of anxiety and uncertianty, there was one thing I held on to- We were going to be fine in the end. I just didn’t know how it was going to happen.

I’m going to say it’s all a God thing, because, sure enough, he sent people our way to help us through this rough patch.

We have been without a car since then, and, again, I stubbornly believed I would be fine just getting by with the skin of our teeth. “The store isn’t too far away.  We can walk. It will be good for us!”

My husband was more on the realistic side, “Do you think you can carry the groceries we need home?”

He had a point. A family of four needs quite a bit of food. Especially when my son has been hungry and eating a little more food than usual lately. It’s growth spurt time. Fortunately, I didn’t have to worry about it as a friend and neighbor chastised me for being stubborn.”I can help you get groceries home! Let me know when you need to go, and I’ll take you.”

We were able to get groceries for this past week, thanks to her.

Another friend gave me a ride to the body shop for my car the next day, and when he had to get to work, as we were running a little late that day, I was able to walk a block down to a really wonderful church where I had a lot of friends, and there, I found someone willing to drive me home.

Even after all these past blessings, I was still pretty content in the idea of just buckling down with just what we could on our own. I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone.

A friend gave me an offer for a ride to a job interview to a store a mile away, which, to me, walking to was do able. But with rain in the forecast, I knew that would be wiser to do. I took it, and she brought me and the kids home (They tagged along and hung out with her while I had my interview). As I came home, it dawned on me, I could have taken care of something I needed while I had the opportunity.  It was one of those “Face-plam” moments. I could have gotten my allergy medicine right when I was done with my interview. I was at the place of just accepting that I would have to live through the itchy eyes and itchy skin until my other allergy meds kicked in.

But God wasn’t done yet…

My husband had been walking to and from the light rail train, which takes him into Denver for work, since we don’t have a car for me to take him or pick him up from the station, and I was sitting at my computer playing a game to pass the time when he came through the door and immediately signed to me, “I want you to meet someone!”

In walks this sweet woman with this bright smile spread across her face. My husband introduces me to her with sign as he voiced for the woman. I could tell she was immedately nervous with the sudden realization that I was deaf. I calmed her fears with a smile, and told her that I could lip read. My husband then explains that this woman rode with him everyday from Denver and had been taking care of him. Little did we know, until today, that we live in the same complex!

“If you ever need anything, my husband and I would be more than happy to help!” She had known about our car accident and the lack of having a car, but with the new knowledge of us being nieghbors, she now felt she could really help us out.

“Well…” I hesitated. She looked at me intently. “I do need some Benedryl for my allergies. I forgot to get some at the store when I was there today. That’s all I need right now.”

She apparently had no clue about dealing with allergies, as she didn’t know what they looked like. I explained to her they were pink and little. “No problem! Let me go get you some right now!” I told her to get the generic brand if she was going to do that for me. She left with a smile.

She came back with two grocery bags instead of just a small box. “I got you guys some ice cream, if you don’t mind. I hope there’s no allergies.” I had to laugh. She went out for allergy meds for me and she asks us that. Fortunately, the allergies are all dust and pollen in this family. When I saw the allergy meds, I saw she had gotten the name brand.

I was completely surprised and blessed. She didn’t even want any money as I was ready to pay her back.

After she left us, the overwhelming sense of blessing came over me. I had not expected this at all.

God does send his Angels to watch over us. Sometimes it takes shape in people around us.

All I can do is be thankful and know He is in control.


Finding my Safe Place

Today was a rough day for me. Allergies bombarded my senses in the worst way. I struggled to hear, even with my hearing aids on. Breathing was harder as I felt my chest feel congested, which set off other symptoms leading to anxiety.

I felt my heart beating harder and harder as I tried to lipread the speaker at the mom’s group I was at. I couldn’t talk when the other moms began to discuss what was going on. I felt like I wasn’t there. I got up to get a breath of fresh air with hopes of calming my racing heart. I got myself something to drink and finally resorted to taking some medicine to calm the symptoms.

It seemed like I wasn’t there. No one noticed.

I quietly picked up my purse and left.

I admit, I was angry.

I am an introvert in the worst way. I don’t feel like imposing myself on other people. I just wait for people to approach me, and when I drove home, I couldn’t understand why people couldn’t approach me.

After having a cuddling time with my cat, who seemed to know that his mama was not feeling good, I wrote an email to my husband, who works from a computer all day. His response was very encouraging.

“… always remember that they are humans as well, … forgive them…” 

He reminded me that those women didn’t know what was going on. They can’t read my mind or read my body like I can. I probably can hide an Anxiety Attack pretty well.

I couldn’t bring myself to open myself up to them and share my struggles. There are times I wish I wasn’t that way.

He also reminded me that the reason for some of them not approaching me is because of their possible intimidation of my deafness and my partial blindness (I can’t see in the central part of my right eye, and it has caused it to become “lazy”). He deals with it all the time with his blindness. People don’t approach him to be a friend but to “help”. They pity him, and all he has wanted was someone to talk to and be a friend with.  He has it harder, as it is not an invisible disability, but he probably has a good point.

I am just writing this as a gentle reminder for my readers to think about your introverted friends or even those who have a disability. Maybe they’re in the same place I am and don’t know how to share those deep struggles. As much as I do, they need to know of a safe place to share those struggles with.

Be a safe place for them.

Thank you.