How Archery Saved My Life

I’ve been MIA on here lately. A big part of that is my depression, being busy, and being overwhelmed that it’s been so long since I last posted. I think I got it in my head that every post needed to be perfect. That blogs have to be done just so. But then it wouldn’t ​be mine. My life isn’t just so. So I’m back. Hopefully consistently. 

My life isn’t just so. A lot of people with chronic illness and especially those who got it later in life have a very hard time coming to terms with life not turning out even slightly as one thought it would. Archery saved my life.  Not in the terms of keeping me from killing myself or dying, those belong to my dog, husband and children in that order over the years. But growing up I did everything. My parents are active people, we went camping, fishing, hiking, swimming. We did it. Growing up then as a teen even more was added by doing new things and things with friends: backpacking, mountain biking, snowboarding, 4 wheeling, mudding, dirt biking, horseback riding, road trips, volleyball, softball, canoeing, tubing, white water rafting. I’ve done so much. And I won’t regret it. But realizing slowly over the years that those things that I loved, that in a way defined me was hurting me that night, the next day, when I finally stopped…. Then the pain set in. 

I gained weight. I let my migraines, back problems and fibro tell me I couldn’t, can’t, do that anymore. I tried to fill it with other things but I felt empty. I felt defeated. All I could do was walk my kids to the park or drive them and that’s it. I wouldn’t be the mom who got to show them the world. Show them all the amazing things that I got to do. Then my dad showed me his recurve bow. We started talking about Archery. He tried to show me as a kid, but at the time I preferred my dolls and dress up. In trying to find out how to fill my emptiness I had delved into my ancestry and heritage. I found so much strength from my ancestors, the knowledge that they survived far worse because they were strong, because they were Vikings and being strong was their only option. So I had this fascination with the traditional and when he pulled out a traditional self bow (a type of long bow) and said “here, this should be a good weight for you, let’s try” I had to try. And I was okay at it! I felt connected. Connected to my ancestors and heritage. Connected to my past active self. Connected to my father (that’s a story I’m not ready to tell yet). 

Archery uses muscles but doesn’t pound the body. Mild exercise is good for fibromyalgia. Using those shoulder and “angel wing” muscles is good support and strengthening for the neck muscles causing migraines. I feel powerful. I feel beautiful (except when my dad takes pictures, his timing always makes me look terrible). When we do shoots, the hikes are fairly easy. And I never have to tell people I need a rest because we stop at every target! Because my parents have accepted my fibro, they understand if I can’t go up and back to retrieve the arrows. If I’m feeling good them I do, if I’m getting worn out I wait at the shooting stake. If Brent can’t join us, then Papa will pack Findlay around…………. IF Findlay allows it. If not I pack him, or mum will. Or we switch off holding bows and baby between shots!
Then with camping my mum helps with the meals and clean up. Everyone helps with the boys. At the Western States Traditional Rendezvous, Findlay wasn’t feeling well and would not sleep despite everything I tried. I hear mum outside my tent “can we take him for a drive?” My parents drive around for 5 hours so I could stay with the other two and get some sleep because they know my body won’t function if I don’t get some rest when I push it for these weekends. My body still gets mad at me for pushing it, but not to the point where my family tells me I’m done doing that (like mudding, snowboarding, dirt biking, horseback riding etc)
 

I don’t hit everything. But I’m getting better. Mostly though, I’ve found something that makes me feel normal, feel alive, feel like I’ve got a tiny bit of me still.

What makes you feel normal, empowered, beautiful, alive? I’d love to hear in the comments. 

Dear Insurance Company…

Dear Insurance Company.

All I’m asking for is a real pain management program and treatment.

I’m not asking to be a druggie. I’m not asking for much.

I have tried all those medications for depression that you think will help the pain.

I have tried every supplement that doctors, health coaches, other patients, supplement companies and random people have recommended.

I have tried so many varying diets that are supposed to help pain, migraines and inflammation.

I have tried every over the counter medication that might possibly work….. multiple times. So many times that ibuprofen under 800mg and any acetaminophen don’t work at all, that even Aleve and aspirin now cause GI upset.

I do stretching and yoga.

I do meditation.

I do Acupuncture and Physical Therapy.

I push my body beyond what is practical and beneficial simply so I can lead as normal of a life as possible.

I ask you to tell your children they can’t turn on lights or open the blinds in the house because you have a migraine….again.

Tell your children they can’t go outside because you can’t have the windows open to listen to them or sit out with them because it’s too cold and too bright.

Tell your children you can’t walk 5 blocks to the park because your back hurts too much.

Tell your children you can’t tickle them because it hurts you too much.

Tell your children they can’t talk or make noise because of your migraine.

Tell your 7 yr old child to watch his 1 year old little brother because if you stand up you’ll throw up from pain.

Tell your children they can’t hug you or sit on your lap for story time because it hurts too much.

Tell your children you can’t take them to indoor play places because the noise and fluorescent lighting triggers migraines (if you don’t already have one).

Tell your children they can’t invite friends over because their friends are too noisy because they weren’t raised with a migraine parent.

Do your children under 7 years old know how to completely load and unload the dishwasher, do laundry start to finish or make themselves breakfast and lunch because standing causes your feet to lose feeling and makes you lightheaded from the pain?

On your good day, try not to feel like a terrible parent when your child get exuberantly happy because you are making “real breakfast!”

Stop treating me like I’m a drug seeker. My pain won’t ever go away. Never. It’s called permanent chronic pain because it’s always there. Always. I don’t want to be so medicated I can’t enjoy my children’s moments and childhood. I just need the pain managed to I can be their mom. So I can be the wife who is a partner to my husband. So I can help take care of my failing grandmother instead of her taking care of me because I’m worse off. So I can be me. I’m not asking to climb mountains. To run marathons. Just manage day to day pain without saying no to almost everything. Without crying myself to sleep because my body hurts… if I can sleep.Thanks,

Me 

Today Took Me Back

At points throughout our illnesses we have highs and we most certainly have lows. Many lows. Yet, we’re amazingly resilient and climb and claw our ways out of despair time and time again.

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Most days I manage on a Meh Level. I’m existing. I’m functioning (my version, not a healthy persons). But that’s about it. Other days I’m able to feel like Super Mom and well, almost “normal”. But then life has a way of reminding me, I”m far from normal. Though, if you ask my husband, its the only reason he married me. “I don’t want normal, I want you” Today was a crashing day. A day that took me back to high school.

It started out badly, like most awful days. Its rarely one bad thing, its usually “the straw that broke the camels back”. Today there was lots of straw. Findlay has been On-One. Any parent will understand. Continue reading

Adjusting to a New Normal

Life is full of ups and downs. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, life is quick to remind you it’s been playing this game far longer than you’ve been alive. I was feeling like Chronic Super Mom. Obviously not the a normal Super Mom with a perfectly clean house, makeup and hair done, but hey, I think still rank up there in the chronic mom world.

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Raising 3 boys, homeschooling them, having a small quilting business, walking a mile every night so the boys can play at the park and then doing the archery events thoughout the summer. I felt like I was managing.  Some days were better than others. That’s life as a chronic mom. But then life screeched to a halt. My happy whatever you want to call it came crashing down and I all I want to do is disappear. Its taken everything in me, all my years of experience with depression and fighting anxiety to keep from becoming that person again. 8 years ago when life crashed around me I didn’t have anyone who depended on me but last time I didn’t have support, this time I do. Continue reading

Being the Support

In my last post I mentioned that my husband is an alcoholic and is in the detoxing process. This is a fantastic thing. Now before you get it in your head that he’s this Hollywood movie version of an alcoholic that sits in front of a blaring tv with a beer gut yelling “woman, get me a damn beer!” and I’m this haggard woman with a child on her hip trying to keep the house and everything else from falling apart…. Its not like that.

More often than not, alcoholics are fully functioning people ……. To a degree. They can only function for so long before the alcoholism catches up with them. Usually they find a level they can maintain normal functioning that calms their demons, helps them function “normally”, whatever their reason is for their addiction whether it be ptsd, anxiety, depression, racing minds, you name it. However, that level slowly doesn’t work as well, especially when there are bad episodes or weekends, parties, social events, basically any excuse. Because trust me, they will use ANY excuse to over indulge.

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Alcohol becomes their best friend, their pacifier. So just like when you take away a toddler’s pacifier, when you take away an alcoholic’s beer they throw tantrums. There are various forms of tantrums just like in children. Mood changes from sullen and quiet to explosive rage and back again. They don’t always understand what’s going on inside of themselves any more than you do, and really, sometimes I think they understand it less. They’re finally forced to deal with unaltered reality which can be a very scary thing.

Continue reading

I wish I didn’t exist

As May is not only fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue awareness month, it’s also mental health awareness month.
I saw a beautifully written post by Taylor Jones of Mom Wife Lady about being suicidal which is something so many people deal with on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. I’ve had depression since I was a young teen, and until I met Brent I was in the “I have a plan” and self harm through anorexia and cutting phase. Really saw no point to life, I was just a failure and a burden. Continue reading