Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Forest and the Trees

I have discovered over the past few months, a method for coping with how overwhelming Rett Syndrome can be, that seems to be working. I really have to think my Mom and Chad for helping me to develop the method. Sometimes it seems like maybe a daughter marries a man like her father, or a son marries a woman like his mom, but I married a man that is very much like my mom. Chad and Mom are generally in a hurry...I am almost never in a hurry. Mom and Chad like to be able to be in control of things most of the time. I can't speak for Mom because we haven't discussed it much, but Chad and I have talked a lot about how he really likes to know exactly how everything in life is going to go, so he can be prepared. That, however, seldom works out for him. So, I have noticed that often Chad and Mom tend to focus on any small thing that they can fix so at least they might have control over that one thing. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying it is a bad way or wrong way to be. It helps them to cope and that's what matters.

However, one day Chad was worrying about some thing that wasn't especially crucial to getting through our day, and I did a little impersonation (that he enjoyed) of him letting all of the passing trees smack him in the face instead of keeping his eye on the forest. He did laugh and agreed that he lets that happen sometimes, but I also understand that is how he tries to deal. Not many days later my Mom came in the house and exclaimed that she couldn't understand how I could leave kitchen cupboards hanging open. It drives her crazy if her cupboards are open. I replayed the forest and trees impersonation for her also. But, I understand that when life in general might seem out of her control, at least Mom can make sure her cupboards are shut properly, and that helps her.

These two interactions have helped me develop a new way of sorting out what I need to worry about in a day. Some examples of TREES might include: laundry, dishes, cleaning, worrying about my appearance too much, making sure the kitchen cupboards are closed, making sure the house is immaculate (which it never is), etc. 

And here is the FOREST:

And here:

And here:

Chad and I have been working on improving our health. In June my insulin level was 76.6. It should be between 3 and 17. I started exercising, list some weight, and we have been eating better, for the most part, and I just had it retested and it is 11.9 now! Chad has lost at least 21 pounds in the past year. Being healthy is part of the forest because we absolutely need to be able to do a lot of hard work to continue taking care of Lu. We also make sure we get a date together at least once a month for some time alone and to regroup. Maintaining our sanity is part of the Forest.

 The Forest is just all that is involved in making sure Lu is at her healthiest and happiest. If something does not directly contribute to that, then it is just a tree, and we can get to it later, if at all. I would never begrudge Mom and Chad their coping skills, but what I have found is that if I can sort things out between Trees and the Forest, then I can remain more calm, and get less overwhelmed throughout the day. If something is a tree, I just categorize it as such and move on. It has been liberating!

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