Saturday, September 24, 2016

I've Stopped Making Plans


When I was in my late teens through early 20s (20-21), one of my best friends and I had a running joke that we couldn't make plans because "the universe" always messed them up. (Side note: this was before my reversion which is why I blamed "the universe.") It annoyed me that our plans started falling apart almost immediately after we made them. The closer I got to my reversion, the worse it got. Of course, I didn't know I would eventually revert. All I knew is that it was a drag that I couldn't see my friends and go out as often as I wanted. I started getting sick. My dad would get sick as well. My anxiety became a pain to deal with. My friend and I had transportation issues; this was before either of us had cars or even driver's licenses. You name a reason for why we couldn't go out -- it probably happened to one of us... and usually to me. Little did I know that this would set the trend for the next decade.

I'm a social introvert. Yes, we exist and it's not an oxymoron. I genuinely love spending time with my friends. Quality time is, after all, my love language. Of course, after spending time with friends I need my time to recharge. As soon as I've recovered from an outing, it's time to make new plans to hang out. That's how it worked for me when I was a teenager right until my reversion -- I made plans with friends to go out and we went through with them. That usually meant we'd go to a concert, to the beach, out to eat somewhere, or on a mini road trip around the city (L.A. is huge and spread out). At the end of the day I was exhausted and took the next day (or three) to recharge. I had no idea it was because I'm an introvert but I knew it was what worked for me. After "the universe" (as my poorly catechized, pre-reversion self used to say) started foiling my plans, friends stopped wanting to hang out and/or, at least, making plans with me, because we never knew if I would be able to go out due to x, y, and/or z.

Looking back at it, it was a massive blessing in disguise. It forced me to stop hanging out with people who ended up being incredibly toxic, false "friends" who -- even years after my reversion -- did all they could to drag my name and reputation through the mud with gossip and lies. It also changed my path in life. I stopped being more preoccupied with things that were hurting my relationship with God (not that I even had one at the time) and I ended up reverting. See? Huge blessing. Still, I didn't see it like that way back then. I just saw it as an unfair "system" that kept me at home. Why couldn't I go out? Why couldn't I have fun? Cue the tiny violins.

If I hadn't stayed home all those times, I would've probably never reverted... or, at least, not as soon. I would've never spent as much time with my father when he was still healthy (during his remission years). Who would've guess that I'd lose him when I was 24? I certainly didn't. I planned on him being around long enough to play with my future kids. As I learned more about suffering and letting go from a Catholic perspective, not going out and hanging out with friends was easier to deal with. Having most of my friends either move away from L.A. or disappear because they didn't like that I was becoming "more religious" helped make the transition easier on me.

Fast forward to a decade later: I still can't make plans. In fact, I've pretty much given up on making any long term plans because it's obvious that I haven't learned to give up trying to control things. Yes, that's the conclusion I came to this weekend; things don't happen like I want them to because I'm still trying to have too much control over them. I'm still being taught that lesson. Now how do I know this? I'm not 100% sure, of course, but I came to the very painful but eye-opening realization that as much as I say "God, I trust in You" and "You show me what You want me to do" I still try to do things my way. Old habits die hard, folks. Not to say that I don't trust God, because I do, but I'm also selfish. I want things to go how I want them to, when I want. I want to have an idea of what the future is going to hold for me so that I'm not surprised. Blame it on dealing with anxiety and PTSD for half of my life.

This week there were plans to finish all my exams early. Even though I got no time to study for a couple of weeks due to health issues, hospital visits, and then a number of other things that popped up, I just wanted to get them over with. I was able to go back to my alma mater (oh, I'll blog about that soon) and take one of the three exams on Thursday. My anxiety was horrendous because I hadn't studied but I still managed to pass the exam. I was scheduled to go back on Friday (yesterday) to take two more exams.

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling more relaxed despite not having studied much for either exam. I ate my usual breakfast, got dressed, and waited for my ride to pick me up. While waiting for the ride I thought "I'll go apply some holy water to my forehead; I can use all the help I can get today." Almost immediately afterward I started feeling stomach cramps. "Nerves," I thought to myself... until they got worse. I had a feeling I would not make it through morning rush hour traffic on the 405 (that's a freeway/highway for you non-local folks) so I decided to stay home. The phone rang; my ride was waiting outside for me. Nope, I wasn't going. My stomach cramps got so painful that my heart started racing. It didn't last for more than maybe an hour or so (chamomile tea FTW!) but I had to reschedule my exams for Monday. Thankfully my proctor was wonderful about it and said it was no problem; to feel better and go in on Monday. Did I mention that this all happened at 5-6 a.m. and I was scheduled to start my exams at 7 a.m. so it was really last minute to make these changes on my proctor?

I originally planned to finish college in 2006-2007; I received my first Bachelor's in 2012. I'd planned to go to college in England; I stayed in Los Angeles for school. I planned to finish this second Bachelor's degree the Spring of 2015; I had to withdraw in November 2014 for health reasons. I went to grad school and planned to finish my MA in Biblical Theology in Spring 2017; I left Summer 2016. I planned x, y, z weeks or even months ahead of time... and plans changed, sometimes at the last minute. Stop trying to make long-term plans, Emmy. ;)

So why am I sharing these stories? Well, like I said, looking back at them I've realized that I need to stop making all these plans that give me the false illusion that I have complete control over parts of my life. I firmly believe that I keep going through this because I haven't learned my lesson. I haven't relinquished my desire to have full control over parts of my life and I really need to. God knows better than I do what needs to happen and when. Me? I just want to get from point A to point B as fast as I can. I don't enjoy life this way because I'm rushing through it. I don't rely on God because I think that I can do things on my own. Also, I live in the future, not in the present. I only think about what will happen in the future but don't pay too much attention to the present. Poor little fool. I have a feeling that, until I stop trying to be so controlling over things and start being more present, the cycle will continue to repeat.

Yes, I'm totally one of those people who believe that everything happens for a reason and this is the reason why I think I'm in this endless cycle of failed plans. That's not to say that I'm never going to plan anything again ever. Short term plans usually work out for me, especially if there's a flexibility to them. I need to go more with the flow and not make so many rigid long term plans until I learn to not want total control over those plans. I planned my exam schedule weeks in advance and look at what happened. Some of the best things that have happened to me have been done last minute or when I've given up total control over it. What's that? God's will and not mine? Yep, that needs to be repeated in my mind more often.

Anyway, just wanted to share these thoughts with y'all. Have any of you been stuck in a similar cycle; where you plan on something but something else happens? When did things change for you?

I think that's enough procrastination for now. I have a quiz due in 4 hours but I'm going to go ahead and do it now. Better to do it when I can than to plan to do it later when it may be harder to finish, right?  ;)

I hope y'all are having a lovely weekend thus far!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

Friday, September 16, 2016

God Keeps Surprising Me


If you've prayed for me recently -- especially in the past couple of days -- I want to say a massive "thank you!" I know some of y'all stepped up your prayers after you read my last blog post in which I wrote about being diagnosed with an acute kidney injury due to the dehydration. After my follow-up yesterday, the first thing I thought of when I was told that my kidneys were back to normal (at 0.9; normal is 0.6-0.9) was that I have amazing friends.

Yes, my kidneys are back to normal though on the high end so I'll have to keep drinking loads of fluids and eating salty foods because my sodium level is a bit low. My red blood count and platelets were higher. White blood cells are in normal range. I hope with the vitamins and minerals I was prescribed, I will continue to recover. My weight has been stable for the past 6 months and has been normal for the first time in 4 years. Recovery mode, on it. ;)

God keeps surprising me in wonderful ways. I was completely surprised and overwhelmed by the amount of love and prayers I received this past week. Yes, I'm tearing up even as I type this because it was a kind of love and support I haven't seen since my father passed away 7 years ago. Words of encouragement, prayers... I definitely felt them. The quick recovery mode? Another way I see that God still loves me, even if I'm stuck on the struggle bus.

In all honesty, I still struggle with the spiritual dryness I've had for several weeks but through your continued prayers it's so much better than it was three weeks ago. I know it's a slow process that requires prayer and patience that I'll gladly endure because He is worth it. Eliminating choices that would've pulled me further away from the God and the Church, relying more on prayer than my own (over-analytical) mind, and being surrounded by supportive friends has greatly helped. Forgiving those who've been unkind (and even emotionally abusive) towards has also been a massive help to combat the dryness. Despite all of this, I'm not fully out yet.

I still feel a disconnect between God and myself but a deep desire to remedy it has began to burn. Don't feel like praying? I keep praying, even if it's forced at times. I keep reading books on vocation and prayer. I keep veiling and keeping my head covered during Mass and adoration. I haven't been to Mass for the past three weekends because I've been stuck in bed but I've felt the urge to go more intensely lately. I even pushed myself to drive to confession last weekend when I should've stayed home because the dehydration symptoms were getting worse. Don't drive while dizzy, kids! Though I may feel spiritually empty, I hope that my attempts still show my love and respect for Him. I don't "feel" the love but I know that I do love Him or else I wouldn't even be trying. Feelings (or lack thereof in this case) can be false and misleading so I'm basically ignoring them when it comes to my spiritual life right now. I'm going to keep going, no matter what. Mama and daddy didn't raise no quitter. lol.

Though I can't seem to concentrate on or even "feel" what I'm praying on a daily basis, I still see glimpses of God's love for me. Even if it's for a split second, I'll be surprised by those little moments. I may be praying something (rosary, chaplet, Little Office, etc) without much feeling or energy but then something will happen that breathes life into the rest of my time in prayer. I'll be sitting in the adoration chapel (haven't had the physical strength to kneel), feeling spiritual numb, when a memory will trigger a feeling of love and/or peace. I definitely felt it this week through the prayers that were said for me. I couldn't pray at the hospital (even when I tried) but I still felt His love through the actions and words of others. Keep surprising me when I least expect it, God. I love it. Even if it's surprises like "S'prise! You're going back to your alma mater after saying 'peace out, suckers!' and that you'd never return 4 years ago." lol. Keep challenging me. It's how I'll continue to grow. :D

Alright, I need to go finish two assignments that are due this weekend so I'm going to stop here.

I hope y'all had a lovely week and that you have a great weekend. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

More Hospital Visits (Update)


Wow, what a week it's been since the last update. I've been in the hospital three days for different reasons. If you're not following me on Twitter, you've missed a flurry of updates. Basically, on Mama Mary's birthday I went to the local ER (read: not the one where I'm a regular patient) for palpitations that lasted over an hour. Last time I had them that bad was when I had an infection and my body was fighting it off. They didn't do any tests except the EKG and dismissed it as anxiety when the EKG came back normal.

Fast forward to 4 days later (on Monday). I drove to the hospital feeling very dizzy and fatigued, assuming it was due to a lack of sleep. Still, I didn't want to miss having a heart holster fitted (for the palpitations) so I went in. The cardiology nurse who fitted the holster suggested I go to the ER because I didn't look great and was really dizzy. She also said I shouldn't be driving dizzy. That's true. I did take a lot of side streets and have someone in the car with me so it wasn't like I was being completely dumb. I wanted to wave it off but something made me listen to her. I didn't go to the ER but went to urgent care because I didn't think it was bad enough for the ER. Several tests later we found out my kidneys weren't working properly. Hello two big bags of IV fluids. The doctor said I had UTI and she thoughts my kidneys weren't working due to dehydration. After the stomach bug that lasted an entire week and then spending another week fatigued, I was and wasn't surprised about the dehydration. I'm usually good about my water intake especially when I'm sick but apparently I was also not replacing the sodium lost. Antibiotics given. I least I left the hospital with good news: red and white blood count as well as platelets were better than they were in late June. Still, I have pancytopenia (which means all three are lower than normal) so I have to take the folic acid pills along with vitamin C and iron to see if it's the abysmal folate level and the anemia (which I had for several months) that caused the pancytopenia.

Early this morning I received a call from one of the doctors that I "basically" didn't have a UTI after all; that I didn't have to take the antibiotics. Good thing I hadn't started them yet -- just got them filled and was about to start them literally minutes before the doctor called. My kidneys are "under the weather" but it might be because of the dehydration. I was supposed to return to the hospital today to get more tests done but was advised to hold it off until tomorrow to see the progress my kidneys. If there isn't an improvement, they'll do an ultrasound to see what's going on. At the moment they're not too worried, especially since I've been feeling better.

It's been a trip. Literally and figuratively. The hospital is a bit of a drive for me (especially since I refuse to drive on the freeways) so I'm glad I don't have any more trips to make in the foreseeable future. I went in yesterday to get the holster taken off but I wasn't there for more than maybe half an hour.

I would be lying if I said I haven't felt sad and frustrated over all of this. I've spent the past two days in tears. Before anyone tells me to trust God... yes, I know. I do but that doesn't mean that my very human emotions can be turned off easily. I do have my moments of feeling like I'm defeated but they don't last too long. Those tears are usually because I see my mother suffering (and it was her birthday yesterday) or because other people say rude remarks or make me feel bad. Sensitive gal over here, remember? Yes, I'm frustrated that it's happened at the busiest time for me. Yes, I'm sad that I can't seem to catch a break when it comes to my health. Yes, I do trust God and I sometimes think I deserve some of what I'm going through. Yes, I remember that Jesus suffered more than I ever will. Still, I feel deeply and tears do happen.

I've also missed a lot of study time. A lot. I've gotten no hours of studying for exams done since the semester began... two weeks ago. Yep. I've gotten my coursework done in time (although I've received some, well, not so kind remarks from classmates for not turning in my portion of what's due in a couple of days; yes, not due for a couple of days and already breathing down my neck over it) but zero for studying on the first exams... which are next week. I hope I still remember some of it from last time I took these courses because I won't get enough time to study like I would've liked.

And that's my update for now. I want to get the group collaboration questions for my very... special snowflake... classmates submitted so they'll give me a break and stop making me feel lousy for being sick and not having had the time to submit anything. Oh, I cried many a tears last night over their very public (read: on the course message board for all to see) comments about what a terrible and irresponsible classmate I am. Lesson for all: never assume things about someone because they may be going through something. Also, never expect anyone to go by your own deadlines... especially if you want to finish way before an assignment is due. Not expecting any apologies, to be honest, and that's okay.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me. I ask that you please continue to keep me in your prayers until we get another update on how my kidneys are doing. I hope they're on the mend and that they were not doing well (medical term is acute kidney injury... don't Google it like I did unless you want to worry like I did, lol) because of the dehydration.

Anyway... I'm going to get some coursework done. No rest until bedtime for this gal. Applying war paint now...

As always, thanks for reading and God bless. :D

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Big Decisions? More Prayer.


Hello everyone!

Sorry for the lack of updates but with the start of classes and a week-long virus (I spent almost all of last week in bed), I really didn't do much. Thankfully, I was able to complete all the work for the first week on the first day of classes last Monday so I wasn't stressed out and was able to sleep and rest as much as I needed. I'm still recovering from too much sleep (yes, there's such a thing) but am back to business.

My prayer life is almost where it was prior to the confusion and the spiritual dryness I had a couple of weeks ago. Concentration was shot because of the virus and now because I have too many thoughts racing around in my head (more on this in a bit) but I'm still soldiering on. I've missed Mass the last two weekends because I spent all day in bed, too sick to stand let alone drive (and I'm the only one who drives in this house), so I have a legitimate excuses for not attending. I still missed it though. I look forward to going to confession and Mass this week... during the week. Have I mentioned that I've missed going to Mass? 'Cause I have. A lot. I can haz Eucharist soon?

I've been a little preoccupied with school lately. Not so much the coursework (which is, basically, a repetition of what I did two years ago since all four classes are the same classes I had to withdraw from in Fall 2014). My current dilemma is figuring out whether grad school is an option that I need to pursue next month. Long story short, there's encouragement to continue straight onto grad school and become a fully licensed SLP after I complete this degree. It would mean 2-3 more years of intense coursework but it would also mean a lot more flexibility and options in the long run. However, grad school admittance rates are extraordinarily low for those who apply to the programs the first time so I don't know what to do. I literally cannot afford to apply to grad school and take the GRE AND do my SLPA license hours in case I don't get accepted to a grad program. Even if I decide to do my SLPA hours and forego grad school, I have to wait a year to do them since the waitlists at the two local accredited universities that offer them are currently at capacity for the next two semesters. I have a lot to think and pray about in the next couple of weeks; October is when grad school applications for Fall 2017 open and I need to figure out if I'm going to take that risk of applying and potentially not getting accepted.

At this point, I'm not going to stress over any big decisions even though it's my "default setting" to get problems worked out ASAP. I'm going to have to have a lot of patience, a lot of trust, and park myself in front of the Blessed Sacrament as often as I can in the next couple of weeks because I've resigned myself to doing what I think I should be doing. As we've seen in recent years, I don't rely enough on prayer and on God to help make these big decisions and I'm tired of wasting time and money and not getting anywhere. I think I've done the minimum when it comes to praying about big decisions and I want to change that. My way of doing things has not worked so I'm taking a new approach to things -- more prayer and a lot less over-analyzing things. I know I live too much in my mind and I confuse myself in the process. I also don't want to be impulsive. I need prayer. Lots and lots of prayer. I'll get there... I just have to work on patience along the way.

Anyway, that's really all that's been going on with me. Like I said, because I was sick all of last week (and I do mean the entire week) I mostly slept and tried to rest which is very hard for me to do at times because I don't like "wasting time" when I can be doing something. Who knows, maybe I needed to get sick as a reminder of what happens when I don't take time to take care of myself. It truly was a good reminder that I shouldn't just focus on coursework because without my health, I can't do anything.

I'm feeling a little lightheaded and blah today because I couldn't sleep well last night (depression symptoms are slowly waning) but I'm going to try at get some work done for my classes, even if it just means printing out the materials I need to study for my first exams in a couple of weeks. Gotta do something. ;)

I hope y'all are having a great week thus far. If I can pray about anything for y'all, please let me know. ;)

As always, thanks for reading (and praying for me)!

God bless,

 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Spiritual and Physical Updates

Just a quick update for y'all.

Spiritually I've been feeling a lot better lately. Ever since I made the decision to not return to the entertainment industry (writing screenplays and acting), I've felt more at peace and my spiritual life has been slowly getting better. I also made a decision regarding my personal life that has helped this tremendously since I figured out that this particular thing was the cause of my being pulled away from the faith. I'm starting to feel connected to the Church again. I feel as if God is still with me, even through the crummy times. That's something I couldn't have said a couple of days ago. Prayer isn't feeling forced any longer (though there are still temptations to do something else rather than pray) but I'm still having trouble concentrating but it could be caused by my physical state.

Physically I've been feeling worse. I was on the mend for a while -- even looked into taking dance classes since I missed dancing and I was doing well -- but I've suddenly become weak and fatigued like I've never known. The last time it was this bad was when I was about 19-20 and I had dairy for the last time. Not sure if the anemia is back, if the platelets plummeted, or if it's something else (food allergies will make me feel like this for a while; could be possible cross contamination with food in recent days). It's gotten to the point where even sitting is a struggle for me because of how weak I feel. It's only been in the last couple of days that I've felt this -- less than a week. I have my next doctor's appointment next Tuesday so we'll see what's going on then (most likely get blood drawn). Right now I'm going to guess it could be depression since I am displaying some of the physical symptoms and I did just go through an emotionally charged month. Yes, an entire month see previous paragraph as well as this post.

Anyway, like I said, just a quick update. I'm going to go pray a little bit more since I'm home alone and it's quiet -- good thing about the kids having returned to school, peace and quiet. lol.

I hope y'all are doing well!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless. :D