I’m feeling better…the attacks of anxiety seem to be finally lessening somewhat. I think the loving support of so many friends helped.
One reason I share my struggles with abuse and anxiety is that so many struggle alone as I did for so many years. Although I sought counsel from pastors and mentors, the advice I received kept me in the abuse. It’s only in the last couple of years that I have found Christian sites that actually understand abuse and help victims. One extremely good site is called A Cry for Justice. Their goal is to awaken the church to domestic violence and abuse in its midst. They help victims of abuse as well as try to educate the church about how to help them–although few churches listen. I am not anti-Christian (I am a Christian), but I do think that false and dangerous teaching ought to be exposed and turned away from.
Sadly, many families and churches tend to condemn and reject those who try to set healthy boundaries or who speak up about the abuse, typically labeling victims as unloving, unforgiving, and unChristlike. Victims are often told that they need to do more to please and submit to the abuser. This is a total ignorance of the dynamics of abuse: Such advice empowers the abuser and increases the abuse making it even more dangerous for the victims. Some victims have been told that, well, if their abuser kills them they will just go to Heaven and see Jesus. This is heinous. Because my heart is touched by the plight of victims, and as part of my process of recovery, I am becoming more passionate about sharing and informing about abuse and anxiety, and supporting victims.
Although I feel more severe anxiety now than I have ever experienced before, I–and EJ and JJ–are in a much better place than we were before. It seems to me that our previous experiences is much like a experiencing a natural disaster–such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or flood. While it’s happening, you merely try to survive. Afterwards, you have to pick up the pieces and begin to rebuild. Where we were before, we were merely trying to survive. Now we are rebuilding our lives. It’s sometimes very difficult and overwhelming, and there are times in the middle of a panic attack when I really wonder if I’m going to survive. But then I do, and I know that I have fought and won another battle, and it’s a very positive thing.
Getting away from abusive people and speaking up about abuse are two steps to recovery. Another part of my recovery–especially when I’m having an anxiety attack–involves “taking captive every thought” and refocusing my minds on lovely, beautiful, good things, which is very Biblical. So we breathe in the quiet beauty of our surroundings and take delight in simple pleasures and accomplishments. I thought I’d share with you some of the other things that have been happening–the delightful and enjoyable and happy things.
Our house downstate was a cute house, but we bought it because it was a fixer-upper that didn’t cost an exorbitant amount of money. This enabled me to be a stay-at-home Mom. I always felt bad because EJ had to work an insane amount of overtime at his company and he had to spend his few days off repairing or renovating the house–even though he usually was exhausted and suffering from a lot of chronic back pain. I felt powerless to be much help because while I could care for the house and lawn, stack wood, and paint rooms and such, I don’t know how to re-roof the house, or do wiring, or fix plumbing, or hang drywall. When we looked for our new house, I was determined to get one that it was didn’t need fixing up so our lives would consist of more than working on the house. No house is completely without home improvements, repairs, or maintenance needing to be done, but I am able to do several of the minor improvements myself, which gives me an immense amount of satisfaction.
For example, I so very much enjoyed putting up the fencing for the chicken’s enlarged pen. I loved figuring out how to divide the pen to keep the chickens on one side and the ducks on the other. And last week I installed a new knob on the pantry door all by myself. Although it still needs more bookshelves, I organized the library and got rid of a lot of boxes. I also bought a bookcase from Amazon and put it together. It fits perfectly in our library closet, which holds our printer, my shipping supplies, and my craft supplies/items for my Etsy store. The new shelves now keep my supply of yarn neatly organized. I also re-organized our very large pantry/storage room, and I occasionally help EJ organize his garage.
I love our chickens. They follow me around with their expressive clucking noises. One hen–whom I have named “Henny Penny”–seems especially tame and she runs up to me whenever she sees me. I find her tasty grasses which I hand feed her. The two older roosters also follow me around. I’m not sure if they enjoy my presence or are keeping an eye on me. They sort of give me a baleful glare. However, they aren’t aggressive and I think they are beautiful and interesting. I love their crowing.
The ducks….well…they are adorable, but they are greedy little buggers. They will leave the treat I give them to try to get at the chickens’ treat on the other side of the fence. I also have learned that male ducks need about 3-5 females to satisfy them sexually. They aren’t very choosy and will go after the female chickens. We have read that they can seriously hurt or even kill them with their unwanted attentions. Cuddles is such a sex maniac that he even tries to reach through the fence to grab the hens and he’s constantly on Peeper, our female duck. We don’t have space for more female ducks so Cuddles may end up on the dinner table. That sort of makes me feel bad, but we can’t have him hurting the chickens. I remember reading something a while back that basically you have to understand that farm animals are livestock and not pets.
Peeper and Cuddles gave me a scare the other day. Danny asked to go outside and while I waited for him to “do his business,” I walked over to check on the poultry. When I saw the ducks, I gasped in horror because their necks looked as if they were red with blood. I wondered if they had been attacked or if they had hurt themselves trying to reach through the fence. Then I realized that the “blood” on their necks was just the juice from the watermelon I had given them.
We haven’t seen many deer this summer. I suspect it’s because the summer has been so dry that our grasses withered. The deer have probably been browsing in watery areas where the grass is more green and tasty. We have received more rain this last week than we have all summer and the grasses are finally getting enough moisture to turn them from withered to green. EJ and I did see a few deer–with fawns–yesterday on our way home from the store. We now have two turkey “families” bringing their babies up to the house to eat the grasshoppers. Both families, which consist of two adult females, have five babies, but one flock of babies is older and bigger than the other.
With EJ working first shift, he has to get to bed earlier during the week so we aren’t out enjoying the night sky as often as we were last year. However, on the weekends EJ is able to stay up later and we have been enjoying several campfires. I love being outside and enjoying the millions of stars in the dark sky.
A couple of days ago EJ’s long-time friend came to visit. They have been friends since high school, so he’s actually an “adopted” family member. JJ grew up calling him “Uncle.” He spent the night with us a few days ago and then drove downstate to visit his daughter’s family the next morning. After he left, he texted EJ to “tell your wife thank you for making you put your resume on-line last year.” That was the first step in us relocating. Despite our struggles with anxiety, our friends can see how much better and happier our lives are now. Our friend said that even Danny looks happier.
It’s hard to describe how we can be so much happier and yet at the same time struggle with so much anxiety. But, as I said earlier, it’s like a rebuilding after a natural disaster. It’s not always easy, but it’s positive steps.