Friday, January 20, 2012

Dwelling in the Amazing

Things with me are, well, different. In a good way. In fact, so far this month has felt almost like a vacation. Let me explain.
   As we are all aware, the past several years have been really rough on me. I look back and all I see is a giant black hole. Or maybe it's more like one of those hypnotizing spiral thingies that aren't really moving but look like they are. Don't get me wrong, I've had some great experiences mixed in with the darkness, but either way...its been really hard. Like take my soul to the edge of my existence hard. After dealing with panic attacks and anxiety on the regular for several years, I finally got desperate enough to try medication. That was back in July. Happy Birthday to me. Since then, an amazing series of events has occurred that has, in a way, set me free. No doubt the Lord is looking out for me. I landed a new job that SIGNIFICANTLY lowered my stress, allows me to have a normal life schedule, a social life, etc. And after realizing that my medication was no longer serving me and probably making my symptoms worse, I decided I was finally in a good position to come off of it. I tapered off over the course of about a month, and then made the leap to being medication free. The first night was rough. My insomnia returned, along with the night tremors and sleep starts I began experiencing back in Utah. So I would take things like benedryl or tylenol pm to help me go to sleep. You know what I use now? NOTHING. It's pretty fantastic.
    For years I have been studying nutrition and how it works in our bodies to promote healing and optimal health. Last year I studied quite a bit about raw foods and the power eating our vegetables uncooked can give us. I felt inspired to move towards this type of lifestyle, but was so caught up in the stress of not sleeping and my job at the time to do anything about it. I just wasn't ready. While I've been studying nutrition and believe wholeheartedly that food can be used as medicine...that our bodies are made to heal themselves if given the proper fuel and other tools like exercise and sleep...I haven't been practicing it. I allowed myself to dwell in the darkness that is "victim", allowing my circumstances to control me. I allowed horrible foods to enter my mouth, even though I knew that my body is sensitive to certain things. All this unhealthiness not only affected my physical and mental self, it greatly affected, or infected rather, my spiritual self and my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Savior. Because I know our souls are the combination of our body and spirit, I realized that what was really wrong with me was that I suffered from an infection of the soul. Body, mind and spirit.
    I normally don't do resolutions at the new year. This year, however, I declared a year of healing. And not my usual declaration that sounded great and inspired but then prompted no action. But a real declaration. That to get healthy, I had to "be" healthy. Thus, I started using food as medicine. I know my body well through trial and error, so I knew that what I needed was 5 to 6 meals a day consisting of lean protein and plenty of veggies. I try to eat them raw (the veggies, not the protein...don't worry) as much as possible. The only fruit I really eat is apples and blueberries (usually I freeze them and eat them as a treat if I crave anything sweet). Right now, my body is rejecting most grains and starches...even starchy vegetables. So if I have them at all its maybe two or three times a week.
   I've been doing this for 3 weeks now and so far my moods have stabilized, my anxiety has become almost non-existent, and my panic attacks are far and few between. While sleep isn't quite where I'd like it to be yet, I can generally fall asleep on my own and am waking up fewer times throughout the night. I also started exercising to see how my body would respond...and it did well! So I've been gradually increasing my intensity, being careful not to over-do it but still pushing and testing my limits.
  All of this to say, I've started to feel like Jill again. And it's wonderful...amazing even. I choose to dwell in that.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I wrote this approximately 8 years ago after coming through a really rough and dark time. And It applies now.


Sickened by such lonesome thoughts
I stand still on my ground
The havoc that this weight has wrought 
Awakens every sound
The crying in the blackest night
The shout of joy and peace
Soothing songs when done what's right
When faith's strength has increased
The echo of my hollow voice
Against blank walls and stares
Reflects again my own true choice
Though some no longer care
And I with my new found glory here
Stand proudly and content
Pushed aside both pain and fear
My soul no longer rent

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Writer's Block

Ernest Hemingway once said “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”

I've taken a curious interest to the lives of successful writers lately. Mainly because I think I would like to be one. Actually it is quite more like a need to be one, an inner stirring that is compelling me to put pen to paper (okay, let's face it. I don't write much with pen and paper anymore. Who does?). Still, despite the fact that I am not yet en route to producing something actually printable, I would still like to know what kind of life I'd be getting myself into.

So far, my findings have been thus: it's hard.

In my mind, writing has been some romantic notion of combining my feelings with the written word. That is how it has always worked for me. It is effortless, like it's seeping out of my heart through my fingers and onto the page. Hemingway also said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed” and up until now I have whole-heartedly agreed. This theory of mine explains why my writing is sporadic in time. It just doesn't happen unless there is some emotion welling up within me that needs escape. However, I am learning that to be true to myself in my desire to write I have to also be willing to trudge through the muck. Sticky, gooey, hard to get through muck. Like these past few months of hemming and hawing over What do I write? Maybe this, maybe that and in turn feeling stuck because I'm not writing something “productive” which then makes me not want to write at all. Stephen King said it best, “ Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel s**t from a sitting position.” Thanks, Steve. I appreciate you making me feel better about the whole thing, even if your books aren't exactly jill-friendly.