Mind Full

Late Friday afternoon the Gravel Guy brought another 15 tons of unscreened top soil. EJ talked to the Guy for quite some time. Apparently the reason our driveway erodes so badly is because the previous owner used sand, which is cheaper but which easily washes down the driveway. Using topsoil and planting plants will help stop the erosion. The Guy also suggested that we get two loads of crushed limestone for the final step because it will lock together on the driveway making it very strong. We should not have a problem with erosion after we get the crushed limestone in place.

While EJ was talking to the Gravel Guy, JJ hurried out to drive the Buggy to the bottom of the driveway so he wouldn’t be trapped by the piles of dirt and he’d be able to get to work the next day.

Our pile of dinosaur poop.
Our pile of dinosaur poop.

Saturday morning after JJ drove off to work, EJ and I began shoveling the top soil into the last section of the driveway. We finished the job this afternoon. It’s a lot of hard work, but EJ and I both have always felt that if we have to do a task, it’s easier if we can find some way to make it fun. It’s sort of fun having unscreened topsoil dredged from the Manistee River because we don’t know what we will find buried in the dirt. It’s almost like treasure hunting. A lot of times we find various sizes of rocks but we also find plants and decaying wood. Once EJ found a piece of an inner tube. Occasionally we found crumbly clumps that EJ thinks might be clay. He wanted to save them so we put them in a separate pile. They looked sort of like large turds so we started calling them “dinosaur poop.” We’d exclaim, “Oh! I found more dinosaur poop!”

Whenever we found a rock, we tossed it to the side of the driveway so we can use it elsewhere–unless we found a pretty stone, in which case we put it in our pockets to save. We think rocks are interesting and it was very hard not to keep LOTS of them. EJ said, “This is torture for us rock hounds!”

We made a game of tossing rocks into our little channel.
We made a game of tossing rocks into our little channel.

We had noted where the water had veered off the right side and crossed the driveway so we dug a small channel to direct the water away from the driveway and toward the meadow.  We filled the channel with small rocks and stones so the water would drain through them. We’d look for small rocks whenever we dumped a wheelbarrow full of dirt into a gully, and then we made a game of trying to toss the rocks into the channel. The further down the driveway we got, the more of a challenge it became. No matter how close or far away from the channel our rock landed, we always yelled, “Oh, wow! You got a thousand points!”

EJ taking a wheelbarrow filled with dirt to dump in a gully.
EJ taking a wheelbarrow filled with dirt to dump in a gully.

We carried our park bench down with us as well as glasses of iced tea so we could take a break whenever we got tired without having to trudge all the way up the hill. The weather has been very beautiful with gorgeous blue skies and we just sat and drank in the beautiful scenery. The temperature has been just right for hard work–we have daytime highs in the 60s and frost warnings at night. Yesterday I brought my house plants into the house. I keep them outside all summer.

Our new doctor has a “patient portal” in which a patient can go to a website to access his/her medical records, schedule or cancel appointments, request prescription refills, and leave messages, and so forth. Friday I logged onto my account and…click…I canceled the physical appointment which was scheduled for mid-October. Easy peasey.

I canceled the appointment because I don’t think that the doctor listened to me very well. I believe that she heard key words like “victim of emotional abuse” and automatically leaped to conclusions and made assumptions that did not fit me. She didn’t give me time to think out thoughtful answers to her questions. I know myself quite well, and it’s very important to me to have a say in my own medical care. I don’t want to feel pressured into treatment or medication that I don’t feel comfortable with or that I think does not address my problem.

Besides the fact that I think the doctor didn’t really listen to me, the tests and exams were just for preventative care, and not for any health issue that I am currently having. While I think that preventative care can be beneficial, I think that exhaustion and stress is my major problem and it’s the problem I want to focus on. EJ, JJ, and I have been actively working to get stress out of our lives, which among other things includes getting to the place where we are not so terribly busy. The doctor added three things (a blood draw, a mammogram, and a physical) to my already exhausting schedule and as far as I’m concerned, it’s all unnecessary–at least for right now.  Besides, we really can’t afford the expense of tests and exams for health problems that I don’t have.

The doctor did try to address my stress and exhaustion: She prescribed medication for anxiety which would also help me sleep.  I know that sleep is vital to health so I almost took the medication the other night. However, after reading the information that the pharmacy included with the medication, I decided that there is no way I’d ever take it. There was a whole page about the risks of this medication causing suicidal thoughts AND also possibly causing a person to actually act upon the suicidal thoughts and kill himself. Uh uh, there’s no way I’m taking such a medication EVER.

This got me pondering, which is actually why I’m writing about this tonight: I think most battles are fought first in the mind. It doesn’t matter what the battle is–a struggle with abuse, addiction, anxiety/fear, weight loss, a disability, an athletic contest, or one of a million other things–a person has to first believe in her mind that she can win, she can overcome, the battle is winnable. If she thinks she can’t, she has already lost. I learned this one summer years ago when I challenged myself to walk to the next town. Every day I would walk a little further than the day before. Some mornings I would wake groaning that I just couldn’t walk far that day–and because I felt I couldn’t, I knew I didn’t have the strength to do it so I didn’t attempt it. Most days I woke determined that I would reach my goal–and because I was determined, I knew that I would. And this has been true of many situations in my life: I win the battle in my mind first, and then I carry out my goal. It might take a while–like it took weeks of daily challenging myself to walk longer distances before I could actually make it to the next town–but eventually I get there.

I have battles I am fighting now: effects of damaging abuse, PTSD, anxiety, exhaustion, etc. There are damaging thoughts that have to be confronted and overcome and the last thing I need is for a medication to add another weapon of attack–suicidal thoughts or attempts–to the struggle. I want to confront the challenges of my life with a clear mind.

Ugh. When the doctor heard that I found medical appointments stressful (I was trying to tell her that I didn’t need more stressful things added to my life), she prescribed a pill for me to take a few hours before my physical “to relax me.” She didn’t listen to my protests that I really didn’t need medication to give me courage for a medical appointment–and I never have needed medication to give me courage. And that’s another thing I pondered: I think there are times a person legitimately needs help, but I think it weakens a person to always rely on “help” to get through difficulties or uncomfortable situations. For example, a person who has a broken arm physically can’t lift weights and trying to do so could cause permanent damage. However, if a healthy person never attempts to lift heavy weights, he will never get strong. It’s only when a person works to lift heavier and heavier weights that he develops muscles. So I refuse to take any medication when I know that I can handle a situation without it.

Thinking about battles being won first in our minds made me think of all the verses in the Bible that talk about renewing our mind, taking captive every thought, keeping our minds on Him, thinking of things that are good, remembering that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear…

And I was reminded that I really am fighting a battle in my mind, and it’s in my mind that I must battle it. That sounds like “duh,” but just as I sometimes get physically tired when I work really hard, I also sometimes get emotionally tired when I’ve had to endure many difficult things. Like abuse. And cancer. And the stress of moving. The whole awful visit with the new doctor and the medicines she wanted to give me caused me to ponder these things, and pondering helped remind me again–as 1 Peter says–to get my mind ready for work, keep myself under control, and fix my hope fully…

After I canceled my appointment on-line, the receptionist called me to tell me that the doctor was ok with me canceling (not that I needed her to ok it) but wants to see me in 6-8 weeks. At that time, I think I will have to set a few boundaries.




3 Comments on “Mind Full

  1. This is an impressive post. Thank you for sharing, and good for you to have the courage to say no to the “expert medication” of the Dr. We need to be pro-active about our lives, our bodies and our treatments. We have had some suicides in the community where I Pastor a church. None have been any of our members, but we are so small that we all feel the loss. One young man is rumored to have been on a drug to help him stop smoking. Our drugs have so many scary side-effects. I am glad you were wise enough to check into what you were given and that you could make a good decision for yourself. Love your picture of the bench and the story of how you and EJ played the game while working so hard. Sometimes, good old fashioned hard physical labor does us more good than anything else, and now I am heading to the kitchen for a cold drink. Your story made me thirsty. HA!! Have a great week, and blessings to you.


    • I’m so sorry you have experienced suicides in your community. That is sad beyond words. 😥

      I think doctors can be a tremendous help, but they aren’t infallible. There are many cases of doctors declaring a drug or food or procedure as good or bad or necessary, only to discover years later that it was just the opposite. In addition, I think it’s very important for abuse victims to learn that they can say NO, they can have their own opinion, they can take control of their own lives because abusers try to control their victims’ thoughts, beliefs, and actions through intimidation, manipulation, guilt, shame, deceit, and other methods. This is where the battle begins–in the mind–believing that it’s ok to be yourself and then actually doing it. I have fought many such battles in my mind and I’m always glad when I notice myself setting firm boundaries.

      Liked by 1 person

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