Identify, Acknowledge, Address, Change

Have you ever noticed that along the journey to wellness you find yourself becoming more and more aware of the behaviors in your life that are unhealthy? It is as if, suddenly, you have put on new glasses, and can see the world more clearly. As I am working towards wellness in my life, pysically, emotionally and spiritually, I am becoming more and more aware of the areas in my life in which I need to achieve balance.

When I first took notice of some of these areas I thought to myself, “I am just going to sit on this a while, maybe I don’t have to change that behavoir, I will watch it and see if it is really a problem” Part of me was able to accept that there might be a problem, but another part of me was not willing to fully accept it. As time went on and my awareness developed further, I acknowledged to myself that “yes, this is a problem in my life and I need to achieve balance in this area” but I did not share my newfound knowledge with anyone or even write it down…I did not express the reality of the situation or behavior. And finally,  I have come to the point where I am ready to acknowledge the problem publicly and address it. I think, and hope, that is is a somewhat normal process and healthy process to go through, I am also grateful that I have not been stuck for too long in any one of the first couple of steps, as I am now at the point of being ready to make important change.

The most important issue and behavior that is out of balance in my life right now is my internet usage/computer time. As a person who suffers from anxiety, depression, ptsd, fibromyalgia, etc … I have, over time, become more and more reclusive. I have found great solice and friendship on-line and established some very meaningful and important relationships, but I have also allowed far too many hours and days go by without interacting enough with my family or friends…

I have lost friendships because  of this behavior. I have chosen my on-line life and friendships over my “real world” friends. I have chosen my on-line world over my “real world” and I have neglected my home and family to an extent that is not acceptable to me. I have used it as an escape and as a soothing agent. I have used it as a resource but also as a replacement for the face-to-face interaction that is most healthy for people.

I believe that the resources available on-line for connecting with others, making new friends, finding support, etc are a real and honest God-send, but like anything else, in excess, it can become toxic. When something is toxic in our lives what is that we need to do? Either remove it or find a way to neautralize the toxicity.

So, for now, I have promised my children, primarily my oldest child, and myself, that I will be reducing, by a large amount of time, the amount of time I spend on the computer. I am ready to re-engage in life. I am ready to be a participant in my life. I am no longer willing to stand on the side-lines and watch it pass-by.

In no way am I minimizing the importance of the friendships that I have made on-line, but I can see clearly now that I have neglected my family and some very important aspects of my health because of the ease in which I find social interaction in on-line activities. I also find myself “losing time” on the computer, as do many people, since it is quite easy to lose track of large amounts of time when on-line. And I am tired of “losing time” as I want to make my moments count more.

I believe I have allowed this to happen in my life because it was a way for me to cope with a lot of loss in my life. I believe the fear that was controlling me for so long also led me to this point. But now, I am choosing to no longer be controlled by fear and poor coping mechanisms. There is a healthy balance to be found in most things, and I believe that achieving that balance is key to finding health and wellness for me.

I may not see you on-line as much as in the past, but I will still be visiting.  It will be a delight to be able to focus on what is most important in my life now. I believe there is a great freedom in making choices like this…choices that really matter.

I invite you to take a close look at your life…what are you using as a “crutch” or as a “numbing agent” to keep you from experiencing life the way you would like? I believe most of us have one of some kind and at varying levels of severity. Keep yourself in check and don’t lose yourself, for each moment is precious, and we never know which one may be our last…

7 thoughts on “Identify, Acknowledge, Address, Change

  1. I am amazed you noticed this. There are millions of supposedly ‘healthy’ folks out thee who don’t come to this realization.

    I realized this myself some 3 months back and have drawn the line on usage to be able to do coursework/new book/ cooking/ workout. I was pointed out by my husband. The scale I use is at one sitting I will not send more than 6 tweets on twitter, will write my blogs 2-3 times a months and not check more than 1 email account more then twice a day (morning and once at night).

    I so agree we need online distraction to help us tide particularly stressful times, but they can always be reduced and re-instated later as and when needed. Good friends will understand.

    This realization as I am sure you have others that you mentioned in the opening paragraph of this post, shows clearly how much you have evolved. Also doing something about it (and not just realizing and not doing) is the other 50% of the game. You are clearly a very very intelligent and aware fighter.

    Loads of Love to all at home and wish you all the success you hope for in everyday living:)

  2. Amy –

    You are right – it is all too easy to get sucked into the internet world at the cost of avoiding our “in-person” connections with others. I am also one who spends hours of the day on the internet, however a lot of my “in-person” connections don’t understand my multiple health issues. I do try to balance my time with taking care of my family’s needs as well.

    I’m not sure what I use now as a crutch to get me through the days, but I do know that I used to have a lot of trouble with now accepting my illness as an answer as to why I needed to slow down. Despite the signals my body was telling me, screaming at me, to take time to heal, I would push onwards and not accept my newfound physical limitations. It only made me more unwell. Even now with being on modified bedrest due to the complicated pregnancy, I still feel the need to “get up and do”. Yesterday for example, it was the laundry. The result was that my legs swelled so significiantly that my knees rubbed together when I was walking and I couldn’t take a step without bad pain.

    Thank you for your words, perhaps it’s time I again listen more to the messages my body is trying to send out.

    Take care,

  3. Amy,

    This piece is so honest and refreshing. Excellent insight and challenging introspection.

    Thank you.

  4. Love your honesty! I love you. Keep moving one step at a time Amy, We all are doing the best we can with what we have. That’s why God made Unconditional grace and mercy. Like that old jazz song, “pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again.” To me doing the hard stuff afraid is courage to keep trying again. What we may think is small compared to others, to God they both are courage and is proud of you for making that small (Big to us) steps in moving forward.

    When we notice our imbalance in our life it’s the light of God that shines down upon us and lovingly shows us a healthier way. It’s not about shame or guilt that we didn’t know what we didn’t know. It’s loving us back to who He created us to be in Him and most of the time that process is painful but with a purpose. You are a God purpose!!

    You are doing good Amy, imperfection is what i want in a friend because it means that God must complete what you lack and what i lack in my life too. We keep each other humble by imperfection, it keeps us walking side by side with understanding and empathy (even through the dark valleys) through this mess of a world we must learn to navigate with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    Thank you Jesus for Amy she is your child and I praise you for the work you have done and will continue to do. Thank you for not giving up on her when others may have, Thank you for loving her and seeing the beauty of who she is within when she hasn’t been able too. She is on your potter wheel and you are molding her to a vessel that will be used for your glory. Keep strengthening her, guiding her, and protecting her mind, body and spirit during this process of growth and healing. Keep helping her build on your solid rock, and helping her use the tools that help her build on you, Our Rock. We both have emotionally built on sand far too long and it wasn’t healthy. Thank you for your continued mercy and grace for us to make mistakes, repeat unhealthy choices and love us through the trials of our lives that are painful as we learn to give our self grace for the learning process of using your new life tools. In Jesus name – AMEN.

    Hang in there, I am a witness of God in your life and can see the God work in you.
    Your sister,

  5. I admire your courage, strength & honesty, Amy!! Good for you for realizing what was becoming a stumbling block to your healing, for admitting it out loud & for taking action!! I too have felt at times that I use my online relationships & time as an escape from my ‘real’ life…of course, all the while, making excuses, that if I was posting about my everyday life that it was okay… But, when it means that I’m not fully present in the moment, especially with my children or at work, then it’s not a healthy choice for me. I, too, am going to watch myself and guard against using what can be a wonderful tool to make new friendships & keep strong connections with old friends near & far, to become an escape from reality/numbing agent. We can learn a lot from our pain, but we first have to listen and then stand up and face it! Thnx again, Amy, for a wonderful post & for just being yourself!! It was a good in my face reminder, to watch for the crutches/obstacles in my path to healing! It sounds like you are on a good path leading to your own healing!! Hang in there!! One step at a time… 🙂 *hugs*

  6. Amy, Thank you for speaking what has been on my mind for weeks. Slowly and steadily I have eliminated many of my online activities, replacing them with reading or crocheting for charity or anything other than tweeting. I have alerted most of my FB acquaintances that they will hear from me less often, and I actually deleted my Twitter account! When it boiled down to it, I was just another noise.

    There was another reason though beyond lost friendships or time spent with family that prompted my change in habit. I was not spending time moving forward. I was dwelling on my illness all day long instead of tending to living. The tables are turned now. Here *ow* I *ow* come….

  7. And now you understand my Twitter tag line “mother of 3, seeking balance”. Most of the time, I think I’ll never, ever get it right. I see my failures every day: too busy, too reclusive, too gone, too…everything. Its good to see where you need to let up, and especially with on-line usage, I think you will immediatly feel so much better when you cut back a little. More productive, more alive. I hope this is working for you!

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