The Thoughts

“The Thoughts”

The thoughts ebb into the dark with the undertow and flow forth, swelling up, curling and crashing into themselves

The thoughts twist through the night picking up planks and sidings of houses and throwing them through car windows.

The thoughts crackle and rage through the trees in the dark, illuminated with flames consuming pine needle carpet and canopy.

The thoughts rumble in the dead darkness shocking and pulsing and breaking the houses tumbling into heaps of trash and rubble.

The thoughts tie my mind into knots and loops into a tangle from which I’m unable to breathe.

Time Goes By

Time goes by, and I forget. The highs and lows come and go. I press on.

I remember yesterday like a year passed by. Removed. Details blurry.

Common for me, I’m unphased. Patterns, hidden from sight.

How do I know what happened anymore? Forever gone. Forever past.

Time wandered into the wilderness.

A path leads back. Only through a slip in the fence.

A memory sneaks in. Tarnished, rough, and broken.

Details lost behind. Emotions screaming now. Left with the haunting.

They shout. They cry for attention. And I am lost. Removed from it all.

I forgot why I feel. But I press on.

Anxiety on High

Today has been rough. And it’s only noon.

I woke up somewhere around 4 or 5 times last night. My sleep was messed up.

I had plenty of caffeine. I forgot food. I wasn’t hungry but I ate a chocolate muffin for lunch.

I was in a daze driving to school. I almost cried in the middle of class this morning. I bought a book and a sweater to lift me up. I skipped tutoring because I would have cried.

I still have another class to go to. I tried to read a book. But I can’t do it. This is all I can do.

Anxiety is on high.

Technology Experiment

For school, I had to do this experiment where I either did a “technology fast,” for example “no twitter for a week,” try a new technology, or do some kind of mindful activity. I chose to do a mindful activity–running. For five weeks I had to journal about running each week. During the course of my experiment I learned something about myself. However it wasn’t about how technology affects me. It was a new diagnosis that changes the way I understand how my body works. A lot of things make sense now, but at the same time it makes it much more difficult. I constantly have this feeling that I’m making it all up because I’m just lazy. I want to tell myself that it’s not true. I’m kind of lost to be truthful. In any case, here is my log. 

Week 1 – This week I decided that my experiment would be to run 15 minutes a day without my phone. In other words, I won’t listen to music, I won’t try to map my route, I won’t share about my run. I will simply run for my own good. I’ve started out slow. I realized quickly that I won’t be able to run, so instead I will have to walk. I walked two days this week. I walked on the treadmill in my house. I felt so good about walking that I did a full workout at the gym too. I went to the gym with my mom. We weren’t sure where to start, so we simply did some of the machines. We started with 10 minutes on the treadmill. Then we went to the machines working our legs, arms, and back. It felt pretty good. And it was a good kind of sore afterward.

Week 2 – This week I continued my walks, walking only 3 times this week. I walked around my neighborhood instead of on the treadmill. I found that it was rather difficult. I did my walks with my mom. We did about 20 minutes each time. I found that it caused my whole body to ache quite a bit. And it didn’t seem to lift my mood at all. I just felt drained. I went to the gym one day at the end of the week. I did a really great Crossfit-style workout with the rowing machine, kettlebell swings, and push-presses with the barbell. I was sore for two days afterward. But I still felt kind of drained. As far as technology, it felt good to be away from my phone. I didn’t miss it at all. And I didn’t feel the need to share about my accomplishments with a picture or video or anything.

Week 3 – Walking got even harder this week. So difficult in fact that I didn’t walk on the treadmill or in the neighborhood, or do any workouts. I had been feeling exceptionally drained. I was feeling a lot of fatigue. I was able to muster enough energy to get to school, pay attention, get home. But then crash. I went to the doctor. I thought that maybe I had some kind of arthritis, inflammation, or something. The rheumatologist examined me and determined that I didn’t seem to have any kind of inflammation. She didn’t see anything wrong with my joints. But she had determined that my pain, stiffness, and fatigue were due to fibromyalgia. She explained it to me, gave me a pamphlet, and got me a prescription to see a physical therapist. Since I was already on a major medication that helps reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia, she didn’t prescribe any other pills, which I was so glad for. This was a very difficult week. I spent a lot of time on my phone researching this condition, what to do, how to deal with it, and simply resting. I knew that even walking was pushing myself, so I stepped back even from that.

Week 4 – I couldn’t bear to think about walking, I was so tired this week. I finally got a call from the physical therapy office to set up my assessment appointment. I went and did a little bit of exercise there. It felt kind of easy because in the past I’ve been so used to working out really hard. I’ve always pushed past the good pain. I used to do Muay Thai and CrossFit, both on the same day. I worked out every day and really pushed myself. In the recent couple of years I always felt like I couldn’t get myself to workout. Now it all makes sense, it’s not a fault of my will, it’s my body. I thought that setting this goal of just walking would have helped me get back on track, but it turns out that my body really can’t do it right now. I’ve been so bummed out about this. It’s not in my nature to want to step back, I usually want to step up and work harder. Anyway, I’m hoping that working with the physical therapy will give me strength and help ease the pain and fatigue in order to get fit again.

Week 5 – This was the second week of physical therapy. I go two times a week. She got me started on pool therapy. So I walk in the pool for 6 minutes, then do various shoulder and leg strengthening exercises. Then I do some other exercises outside of the pool and finish with heat therapy, and these electrical stimulation things on the back of my neck and my back. I’m feeling a little better in that I’m getting some exercise. By being in the pool I realize how weak my body is and how much harder this would be to do outside of the pool. I’m glad that I’m going through physical therapy, and I’m thankful for medical insurance. This experiment morphed completely from being about changing the way I use technology and to get into healthy physical habits to learning about the limitations of my body and glad that we have technology. Without technology I wouldn’t get the medical advice, I wouldn’t have the medication, the physical therapy involves a lot of technology as well, and I’m glad for all of these things.

An update.

Six months since I’ve written. What can I say about that time?

I finished my first semester of seminary school.
I was in Death Valley for three months.
I started my second semester of seminary school.

That about sums it up. Chronologically and factually.

What about emotionally? Oh, I’d say it has been a roller-coaster. More like a kid’s roller-coaster. You know, the kinds that just slightly has it’s ups and downs, nothing major. Still a roller-coaster though. Death Valley was a dark place emotionally. I felt lonely and separate from everything. Most of the time I kept my emotions in check. It was hard work. I’m lucky that I was able to mostly keep it together.

Now I’m going into this second semester of seminary. I’m feeling mostly good. It feels amazing to be back home. After my summer experience, it really feels like a huge blessing to be where I am right now. I have the stress of school. I have the stress because of my current weight. My body doesn’t feel well. My mental health is suffering as a result. I have to put in the hard work for my body. But at the same time I have to put in the hard work of school. It’s already a month into school, and I haven’t quite gotten into the rhythm of anything. I better step up fast.

My prayers are just that I can keep myself together emotionally and do what needs to be done. And there is a lot to be done!

Brazil

Got back from Brazil this week. Our church does a short term mission trip there every year. It was my first year to go and it was incredible. I’m still trying to process everything.

It was so cool to see how God answered prayers while we were there. We even got to see some of the fruits of our work while we were there. There were some rough times for me personally but overall it was just wonderful and I can’t wait to go back next year.

I might write something more detailed about the trip at some point in the future. I’ll have to plan it out.

“Prayer for Spiritual Strength”

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Eph 3:14–19.