My Story and the Top 5 Reasons You Want to Hear It

My story wasn’t always very interesting.  In fact, I’d say it was uneventful and very boring until I made some interesting choices.  Then my life exploded and, in turn, my story became very exciting.  I was raised in a stable home by two loving parents and a sister.  Our daily routine was very consistent.  You could almost set your watch by our daily activities.  I went to college, graduate school and a job in my field.  The only thing “missing” was a husband and children.

Eventually, I met my special someone.  She came with a son and we eventually adopted two more children.  That was when my life exploded.  I realized there was a purpose to my life.  It’s also when the stress really kicked in.

I'm Fine.

My Top 5 Stresses

               1.  ADHD, PTSD, LD, but no PHD

My son has been diagnosed with a number of mental health issues.  We adopted him when he was 2 years old.  He was fetal alcohol exposed and had already been in six foster homes.  He had also been neglected and abused physically and emotionally.  The result is that he has learning disabilities, behavior and social issues.

Are you wondering what the acronyms stand for and what the behaviors are?

  • ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
    • Can’t  focus on the task at hand
    • Overly active
    • Impulsive
  • PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • Caused by a traumatic event
    • Your daily activities might be interrupted by reliving the event
    • Avoid dealing with the feelings that are brought about by memories
    • Constant sense of danger
    • Anger
    • Inappropriate reactions to current traumatic events
    • Anxiety
  • LD – Learning Disabilities
    • Difficulty learning according to standard methods
  • PHD – Doctor of Philosophy
    • Highest academic degree one can earn after years of study and research resulting in an original written dissertation in a field of expertise.

     

2. Autism Spectrum  Disorder (ASD)

My daughter has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  She has difficulties with:

  • Social Interaction
  • Communication (verbal and non-verbal)
  • Repetitive Behaviors

These symptoms interfere with her daily living activities, making friends, and normal development.  People who are diagnosed with autism can have any of the above characteristics in varying degrees of severity,

3. Auto-Immune Disorders

My partner started having severe joint pain many years ago.  She was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.   She started taking medication to control the symptoms and was able to function and lead a normal life.  Over time, things got worse.  She needed more medication to control the pain.  Other parts of her body started to hurt.  There were days that she could barely get out of bed.  And then the flood gates opened.

Autoimmune disorders come from your immune system deciding that your healthy cells are foreign and attack different types of body tissue and organs.  They are difficult to diagnose, can disappear for a while (go into remission), and  re-appear (flare ups).  Autoimmune disorders cannot be cured.  There are about 80 autoimmune disorders.  My partner has the following:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – severe joint pain
  • Fibro Myalgia – musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, memory and mood issues
  • Primary Biliary Cirrhosis – destruction of the liver’s bile ducts
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – inflammation of the thyroid gland that can lead to hypothyroidism.

4. Elderly Parents

My father started showing signs of confusion about twenty years ago.  Over the next few years, his confusion and ability to communicate got worse.  My mother would call me and tell me that my father was showing signs of dementia.  She didn’t know what to do.  His doctor didn’t see the signs for many years after the symptoms started.  About ten years ago he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

My mother had a difficult dealing with “losing” him.  She did everything she could to “manage” his life, but refused any outside help.  Eventually he wound up in a nursing home.  It was as if her life had ended.  A half –year later, she had a stroke and died 70 days later.  I believe the stress of caring   for him all those years killed her.  My father survived for more than 4 years after her death.

I live in California and they lived in New York.  My mother had relied on me to help her make decisions.  I continued to make decisions for my father after she died.  I traveled to New York as often as I could during all those years, while worrying about my family in California.

            5.  Working Full Time

My partner and I had our own business for years.  After we adopted our first child, we closed the business, my partner stayed home with the children, and I got a full time job.  I work in the tech industry, so my hours are more than 9-5 and working on weekends is normal.  I’m expected to keep the systems I’m responsible for available at all times.

Emotional stress can lead to illness.

When we deal with problems, we have to emotionally deal with the situation.  Serious problems can be stressful if we don’t have the resources to deal with them.   It can lead to psychological and biological changes to our bodies.  These are stressors that can lead to illness.  You’re more susceptible to colds and other diseases.

A simple example is this:  traffic jams.  You are trying to get to work/school/home on time, but you’re stuck in traffic.  Your nervous system goes on overdrive and your adrenal glands secrete more adrenaline which releases fatty acids.    Your digestive system can be affected by your nervous system and hormone activity.  Blood sugars increase and your heart speeds up, pumping more blood to your muscles.  Getting the picture?

I have had to learn how to deal with the stressful events in my life.  This is a daily occurrence for me.  In future blogs I will tell you how sharing your story can help you stay healthy.

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Longing for the In-Between

Do you get up in the morning and think “another boring day.  I wish my life were more exciting.”  Many of us get tired of the hum-drum our every day activities.  We believe that our lives will be more fulfilled if we had more “adventure” in our lives.  We might emulate Walter Mitty, imagining ourselves as a someone who is  more exciting such as a war-time pilot, a dashing killer, or a surgeon in an emergency room.  Maybe you see yourself as Indiana Jones having dangerous adventures or being an international spy like James Bond.  We don’t always see ourselves as worthy of greatness.  We want to leave a legacy.

The In-Between

The In-Between by Jeff Goins

But consider this.  It is more likely that your legacy is just to be yourself – the best you can be with-in the mundane.  Jeff Goins calls this the In-Between.  In his new book, The In-Between, Jeff describes how some of the best moments of your life are the ones that people often overlook.  Yes, there will exciting experiences in your life, but stop and cherish those in-between times.  They might be the most perfect of all.

Top 5 Reasons Why Everyone Wants to Hear Your Story

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Everyone has stressful experiences – daily.  Some are more mundane than others.  That doesn’t make them less stressful than the unexpected or traumatic events. Sometimes they can be even worse.

For instance, your child doesn’t always want to eat at mealtime. You’re visiting relatives and little Johnny would rather play than eat. He sits at the table and fusses.  You don’t want to make a scene but you know that when you get in the car to go home, he’s going to say he’s hungry.You’re already stressing about it and you haven’t even finished dinner.

You look over at your sister-in-law who is having the same problem with little Janie.  It doesn’t seem to be a problem for her. You wonder why not.  Does she know something that you don’t?

And then you think – what would happen if she told you her my-child-doesn’t-eat story?

That leads us to:

TOP 5 REASONS WHY EVERYONE WANTS TO HEAR YOUR STORY

  1. I might get a suggestion as to how to handle the problem.
  2. If that suggestion doesn’t work, she might have others.
  3. I’m not the only one with this problem.
  4. I know where I can go the next time I have a similar issue.
  5. It validates how much better their life is than yours.

This seems to be a trivial example, but it isn’t.  What might happen if you asked your sister-in-law if she’s concerned about her daughter not eating?  She might say any of the following:

  • I put some snacks in my purse for when she gets hungry.
  • I put her plate aside and give it to her when she says she’s hungry.
  • I gave up trying to get her to eat at mealtime.  It is a big problem for me and I have a hard time dealing with it.

So what did you learn.

  1. I got a suggestion as to how to handle the problem.
  2. Actually, I got 2 suggestions as to how to handle the problem.
  3. I’m not the only one with this problem.
  4. Next time I need some parenting tips, I’m going to call my sister-in-law.
  5. I feel so much better knowing that I will be able to handle this problem next time and I will be as calm as my sister-in-law.

The bottom line is this:  Why bother to stress at all?  It saps your energy and alters your mood.  Instead of feeling relaxed and enjoying yourself, you feel anxious and unhappy.

You always have stories that will help others.  Share them.