Approach life gently. Treat life kindly. Live life fully and with enthusiasm.
Respect life--always.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mental Health Day, Please

digital 2009 417“It’s a great life, if you don’t weaken.”

That’s what my wonderful hubby always says. It is usually said when I am blubbering, bawling my eyes out, yelling and screaming, or otherwise having an emotional breakdown of one kind or another. I do have moments of self-pity. They usually last a whole ten seconds, until worry of others takes over my life again. One cannot spout constant “why me’s?” when others need her. I guess it is called being a mother, being an adult. Priorities and responsibility. Okay, sure, I do have self-pity sessions that last longer than ten seconds. It is called depression, and it strikes hard and fast sometimes. But that is not what this is about.

We all need to vent once in a while. To cry on someone else’s shoulder. To scream into a pillow. To have a mental health day, as it is now politically correct to call an otherwise unapproved day off from work. To just be alone for half an hour without being bothered. Or just to get a hug. We all have a need to be weak every now and then.

Life. It is great. But about weakening? Sometimes being vulnerable is a good thing. It shows we are human, that we need each other, and needing each other is definitely a good thing. That is how God planned it. That is why God gave Eve to Adam. Even Adam, big, strong, first-man, needed someone.

But do I have to be needed so much, sometimes? Don’t answer that. It is rhetorical.


Two days ago, my seizure prince, my son, had another grand mal. Usually I can see them coming, if I am there. He blacks out first, just stares off into space, and conversation ceases. This time, we were watching television, and he took a nosedive sideways off the sofa. He got himself into quite the predicament, with his head stuck between a piece of furniture and my totes of craft projects, and his legs became jammed under the couch. If I had seen it coming, I may have been able to safely guide him to the floor, as usual. This feat isn’t easy, guiding a seizing, hulking young man to the floor safely, but it tends to be a whole lot easier than fixing the situation after he goes down alone.

But that is where adrenaline comes in. After all, a mother has been known to lift the car off her husband, run back into the burning building three times to make sure all her kids and the dog get out safely, and face down an armed robber trying to steal what she managed to get onto the lawn before the building exploded—all in one day—and still have a wholesome dinner on the table by six, with a smile on her face and a sparkling clean kitchen to boot.

Wow. Talk about stretching it. What I am trying to get at is that adrenaline can kick in, and we can do miraculous things when we have to.

My problem is that I don’t make enough adrenaline. I have enough for that initial surge, but with adrenal insufficiency, it doesn’t go very far. I can guide my 6-foot-5-inch, 260-pound son to the ground safely, and I can even pick him up enough by the waist of his jeans to pull him out of trouble, as I did the other day, but that is as far as my adrenaline goes. With adrenal fatigue, I then don’t have enough to keep me going the next few days. My brain stays on high alert, and I don’t sleep that first night after he has a seizure, and then my brain is still on high alert the next day, causing panic attacks at every noise, every phone call, every knock at the door. But my body has given up at this point. There isn’t even enough adrenaline to carry out the normal functions of daily living. I spend the next day or two in bed, trying to recuperate.

I don’t know how adrenaline junkies do it. Sure, I used to love the rush, too. I used to tempt fate as a teenager like so many other young people. Who doesn’t at one point or another in their life? It is the thrill of knowing you are alive by facing your fears. An adrenaline high is like no other. But do the adrenaline junkies have a letdown after their thrill seeking adventures? Does their adrenaline eventually run out?

I wonder.

Even though vulnerability is seen as a weakness in this modern world, I will remain just that. Vulnerability and needing each other are vital human qualities. We are not robots.

Responding to the vulnerabilities of others is also vital. God gave us compassion and empathy so that we might help each other in times of need.

And adrenaline is there to help us face our fears, initially the fear of hungry beasts or marauding savages. Today with our penchant for bungee jumping and parasailing, we forget why God gave us that all-important fight-or-flight hormone.


Survival. But survival of humanity, not just the fittest. The strong are there to help the weak, not just take home the prize.

Do you see yourself as weak or as strong? Or are you the perfectly imperfect, weak and strong, human whom God created you to be? Think about it.

And thanks for listening to this imperfect human.

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