Sunday, September 5, 2010

North to Alaska

I have a special treat for you today!  One of my friends is having an adventure in Alaska...working way up North.  I have permission to share my friend's adventure, with the caveat that I don't disclose any personal information.  Deal!!!  You will love this.

Hello, down there in the Lower 48. 

I spent time in Anchorage and then met up with someone from one of the villages and began our drive to Prudhoe Bay: 7 hours to Fairbanks, 7 hours to Cold Foot (only place to gas up for $5.00 a gal) and 7 hours to Prudhoe or Dead Horse. A long drive and no place to sleep.

We crossed the Arctic circle, saw porcupine, moose, fox and lots of Ice Road Truckers passing us at high speeds and calling us 4 wheelers. (We had a CB and listened to them). It was raining and foggy the higher we got. Those steep hills up and down were great fun to drive and the dirt road was really packed with few and small pot holes, the dirt was better than the paved.

We flew from Dead Horse to our Village. As soon as the river freezes we'll have the ice road to drive instead of flying. It was really cold, 40 wind chill 35 when I got here and I wanted to turn around. But since then it's been 45/50 really nice and cool and the mosquitos are gone too.

All the houses are built about 4 to 5 feet in the air on poles above the perma frost, and most have standing water under them. There is a puddle for everyone to fall in if you're not careful. Since I have been up here there have been 4 deaths from drowning in the nearby villages. One man was water bogging on the tundra on his snow machine and there was a deep pond he didn't know about, Father of 7, so sad. They really push life jackets here, that are free.

So far so good except for the fact that my left leg has been swollen since our drive. I went to the clinic (no doctor) and they wanted to take me to Anchchorage for a blood clot.  So I took myself to Fairbanks on Friday and spent all the money we saved by driving. No clot, kidneys are fine, just no circulation, having to take a pill for excess water. So It cost me about $1,500.00 for a $12 dollar bottle of pills. Aggravating!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chocolate Hugs, and Ice Cream Kisses

So I have been getting "the lecture" from my doctors about losing weight.  I can't blame them.  I recognize that they are right. It would be beneficial health wise.  What I wish though is that I could explain to them why it is "not that easy".  It's not that I lack the information of "how" to do it.  Actually, I have what I think would be a very effective and healthy plan to lose weight.  The trouble is following it.  It is not that I lack will-power per se, but that I eat for comfort.  Yes, I know, bad habit.  Let's look at how this bad habit got started.

For a moment think about one of your children, or if you don’t have children a child you have cared for. Imagine a time that child was hurt or upset and you took her into your arms and soothed and comforted her. Soon she was comforted and resumed playing. What would she learn from this?

Now imagine that same scenario, only this time you don’t comfort the child but leave her to comfort herself. What would she do? How much longer would it take her to calm down? What would she learn from this?

Finally, imagine that same child abused, and not comforted…how does that child cope?

Coping mechanisms are learned in childhood. When a child is abused, there is not only the hurt of the abuse, but the lack of being comforted and learning to self-soothe.  One of the signs that a child is possibly being abused is thumb-sucking past the "normal age".  Makes sense right?  It is a form of comfort.  I used that one for way to long. to the detriment of my top teeth, and my parent's pocketbook when I got braces. 

Adult survivors of childhood trauma have more "methods" at their disposal for "self-soothing"....eating, or eating disorders, alcohol, and/or drugs.  For me "comfort eating" has been the most common.  I seriously considered bulimia once, but decided it would be too difficult to hide because of my living arrangements at the time. 

Recently though, with the intense emotions that are seeping out of places I carefully "hid" them in my mind, I sometimes have an intense desire to self-injure.  Sorry, I know that is disturbing, it is for me too.  I have wondered where in the world that came from.  Just as I was writing this post a thought came to me.  What if  as a child, someone I desperately wanted to love me, who as a caretaker, should have loved me, only showed me attention and "affection" by hurting it really any wonder that now when I seek comfort my mind turns to pain?  Self-harm?  Interesting. . . 

Last week in therapy, my therapist told me that the part of me that says I need to be punished was originally created (by my own mind) to help me some how.  I couldn't imagine how thoughts that I need to be punished and to punish myself with pain could be helpful at all.  But I am beginning to see why my child mind would create such a thing.  And perhaps now I know how to talk to that "part" of myself, about some healthier options.

Speaking of healthier options, I am learning better ways to deal with my intense emotions than eating and self-harm.  Journaling, blogging ("gotta" throw that in, but it's true), drawing, talking to my Therapist, my husband and friends.  Today I was really upset and instead of eating, I sent an e-mail to my old doctor.  I mean previous not old...heh heh.  He reads my blog, so to him...THANK YOU!

I always try to end on a positive here it is for today.  Every time you comfort a child...a hug, a kind word, a caring gesture like a hand on a are giving them a gift that is priceless.  Keep doing the great things you do for the children in your life.

You are a hero to a child!