Discovering my Vulnerability

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I am a diabetic, type 2, which has been more of an inconvenience than a crisis. I take medicine and watch what I eat. Less sugar, of course, and also fewer carbohydrates. But I am sensing a change. My sugar numbers are creeping up. Medicines will need re-evaluating and I will have to stop cheating.

Today I had a bit of an epiphany. My mental and emotional health is rather like my diabetes in that it is something I will need to monitor and probably treat with medication for the rest of my life. That came as a shock. It shouldn’t have, given that I have been hospitalized for depression twice in the last three years, but it did. You see, I feel great when I get out of hospital. I get back to my normal routines and ignore any signs of escalating stress. “I’m better now,” I tell myself, “soon I’ll be able to get off all these damn pills.” Well … no! The truth is in fact much more complicated. I am better now, oh boy am I better now! But my body is still my body; my psyche is still my psyche. For better or worse, richer or poorer (and these medicines are not cheap) I have to continue working on my emotions.

I am vulnerable to sugars and carbohydrates; I am also vulnerable to depression and anxiety. Neither of these truths are going to change. Even if I lose 50 lbs and my sugar numbers become great, the vulnerability and need to monitor will remain … forever. Likewise, even if I have reached an emotional stability through a period of intense trauma work, increased medication, and daily therapy for five weeks, my vulnerability remains, and again it is forever.

Since admitting this to myself I have felt more hopeful not less. I am committing myself to routines of emotional hygiene: journaling daily, repeating my morning and afternoon affirmations like a mantra as I drive to and from work, admitting to my anxiety when I find my body reacting, and even admitting it out loud so other people can respond. Who knew that I could do that and get support and not feel like a failure? It has been a revelation.

So I have returned to work and am getting back into my routine. But it is, like after Hurricane Katrina so many years ago, a “new normal” for me. A normal in which daily emotional hygiene is practiced along with (reasonably) good eating and every now and then a bit of exercise. And a normal in which I engage other people in my life more without pretending to be “fine, thanks” all the time.

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About Mona

I am a wife and mother, a once-Catholic now UCC Christian, with a degree in Theology, a Masters in Religious Education, 27 years of theology teaching experience -- mainly High School, some College. I am now working as a Hospital Chaplain and feeling humbled and privileged every day. I love my family and I love to write; writing helps keep me sane. Published writing: • From Hurt To Healing, Publish America 2004, ebook on Amazon, 2011; •"Forgive and Forget," America Magazine, September 16, 2002; •"From Victim to Victimizer," Human Development Magazine, Summer 2005; • It's Just Not Fair, Introducing The Fairly-Good Mother, ebook at Amazon, 2011; • Traces of Hope: Surviving Grief and Loss, March 2015, St. Johann Press http://www.amazon.com/Traces-Hope-Surviving-Grief-Loss/dp/1937943275
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