This month, I am going to feature a new guest blogger each day. I’ll be sharing their personal stories of giving. Each has experienced great joy in giving just to give – expecting nothing in return.
However, they did get something in return – a beautiful reflection of what they themselves gave. Come soak up some inspiration today with a story of giving.
Today’s story comes from a dear friend and fellow blogger Jennifer Solivais. She is the epitome of the word give and still does it all – only now, she has accepted the valuable gift of advice from someone in her life – a life now changed.
Jennifer blogs at Sparkly Poetic Weirdo.
A PRESCRIPTION FOR LOVE
A few years ago, I was in school full-time, working full-time, taking care of my mom and trying to make my marriage work. I ran on energy drinks, a couple hours of sleep and desperation for a better day.
My mom went undiagnosed for quite a while. Her doctors then assured us it was early onset Alzheimer’s and there was nothing we could do. Come to find out months later, her thyroid was seriously out of whack. With the proper medication, she was restored to her former funny, good-natured and sweet self.
Somewhere in the murky middle, before knowing what was truly wrong with my mom, I was trying to take on the world and prove I was strong and I broke inside a little. My spiritual light, quickly fading due to the numerous, daunting tasks I was determined to accomplish on my own, finally extinguished until only darkness surrounded me.
I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to turn. I didn’t know who I even was at that point.
All I had ever been was a caregiver. The caring friend, the compassionate co-worker, the doting daughter, the loving wife, the sympathetic volunteer; that was me.
Since I have a hard head and believed in caring for everyone but myself, my body decided to shut down a bit. I became abrasive, a little bitter, but mostly just tired. Tired of school, tired of work, tired of being the only one cooking, cleaning, and taking care of all the things.
Never wanting to be a burden to anyone else, never wanting to show weakness or that I was just human, it never occurred to me to take a moment to care for myself.
I didn’t think I had the luxury of taking a break. My body and mind had different ideas about that. You can only function on stress, antacids, energy drinks/pills and a few hours of sleep so long.
Eventually, you have to start taking care of yourself or you become fatigued in an ugly way.
I did the only thing I could. I made myself a doctor’s appointment. I white-lied to the scheduler and told her I needed my physical. I did in fact need a physical but that’s not why I wanted to talk to my doctor. I simply could not bring myself to admit I was burning out, even to a stranger on the other end of the phone whose only goal was to schedule my doctor’s appointment so I could get cared for properly.
My hair was greasy yet knotted and my eyes were two burning, blurry sleep-deprived slits. To say my clothes were wrinkled would be kind and my hygiene was less than desirable.
My doctor smiled gently, pulled her stool to the exam table and took a few minutes to ask how everything was going – really going. I’m sure she knew I was off.
She documented my symptoms, pushed away from the computer and held me tightly. I rested my weary head on her shoulder and began to ugly cry all over her pretty embroidered lab coat.
Before I knew what was happening, words were spilling off my tongue, anxious and grateful for her captive ears to listen to my tired soul.
After I rambled and came to an awkward silence, she simply said,
“You’re human, Jenn, you can’t do everything. It’s okay to ask for help.”
She helped me find resources to take care of my mom, advised me to cut back on work (which I did) and had me check in with her every two weeks.
She reminded me it was okay to not be everything to everyone.
The kindest thing anyone ever did for me was to remind me I was simply human, just like everyone else.
It saved my sanity and my soul.
Read more of Jen’s stories at: Sparkly Poetic Weirdo