Monday, July 27, 2015

AM~Erica and the 'NO' Button

So anyway...

Our summers go by so quickly. By the time July hits, we are supposed to be in the relaxing part of the year. Amm-i-rite?

Not for us. Actually, July has been a blur in our real life timeline. It gets so full of stuff, it's like someone pushing the fast forward button as we keep looking to the next thing...all while trying to enjoy or be IN the thing we are doing at the time.

Here's how it goes:
Around Independence Day, we work trying to get some time in at the lake. Which we did this year.

We are having meetings to prepare for VBS (vacation bible school), then we are trying to get things set &/or finalized for vacation. Then we have VBS for the week (where I've been the storyteller for these past 4 years). It takes incredible set up and possible set changes for these 5 days. Imagine when I'd try to beg, plead, cry & have bribes ready when I was trying to recruit actors. Even doing the story with just me & Teen Girl can be taxing. Oh, and we add in a prep meeting for Creative Arts Camp.

Then, we move into vacation time. When we spent the previous couple of summers in Colorado, though we did several things, we had time know...relax. This wasn't the case this year. Our speedy, information-filled trip to Chicago was a bit harrowing. So, not much relaxing.

When we get back from vacay, Teen Girl & I promptly jump into heading up the dance classes for our church's Creative Arts Camp. It was originally called Worship Arts Camp, but had to advertise it more secularly so it could be shared in the schools. Kids can sign up for the week & take in 3 classes of an array of creative things! Performing, art, playing an all sorts of ways! This is my 5th year doing it with Teen Girl. It's really an impressive deal. It's also a WHOLE lot of work! And usually the crazy in the kiddos is flowing by the 3rd night. Plus there's a showcase of all the things on Friday.

WHEW!!! Let me catch my breath...

As things are finally supposed to be settling down, I've realized something...I've got a whole lot of stuff to do still coming...

Here's the thing...
My "NO" button has been malfunctioning for years. Every time I try to fix it, there's something that doesn't connect. And I have issues saying "no" to things.

In my intensely-seemingly packed schedule, I began to think through everything I'm a part of & have coming up. I keep thinking that I should have said no somewhere! But I don't know where that would have happened...

Then I started thinking about it...I've got a lot of things I'm passionate about. I know where my gifts lie. When some of these things crossover, I tend to get asked to volunteer with things...things I know I can do AND be passionate about! How can I say no?

As I began sorting out everything I have had going on, as well as everything I have coming up, I began to realize these are things I have been invited to do & be a part of!

Between doing VBS, Creative Arts Camp, being on the committee to organize this year's DeFeet Hunger 5k Run/Walk (by the way, you can register now HERE), accepted a position on the Greater Kansas AFSP Chapter Board of Directors (find out about our chapter HERE), getting ready to step up with our church's children's Christmas program, been made a moderator on the Welcome to Steampunk social media site (we have a great group HERE), gearing up to help & plan our church's Trunk-or-Treat event...not counting any stepping up we need to be doing as parents for school stuff. There's a lot. There's so many great things I'm so blessed to be a part of! Things I'm excited about! Things I can get excited about!

But I realized why I believe my "NO" button malfunctions when I'm invited to these things.

See, when you have a history or onset of mental illness, like depression, you have these times of feeling worthless. You aren't, but you sure feel that way.

All of these gifts you possess, all the friends you have, all the things you have to look forward to...and you can't feel them. It's empty. Even if you go thru the motions of doing them...still...just...worthless.

When you are someone with mental illness, you have to become self aware enough that you can self care before it spirals. One of the self care things is to destress; you're not supposed to take on a bunch of things. But... get invited. You get asked. Someone recognizes you for your gifts, your presence, your passions. At times, these invites come in like a tidal wave! And we say yes to all the things...because in the times we aren't asked to do anything...well...we go to a place where we feel empty & worthless again. Even when we aren't.

It's a tough cycle to be in, yo! And it becomes hard to set boundaries when you feel needed; when you feel wanted. You feel awful, but you have things to do! They are supposed to keep you going..

...and then it all becomes so overwhelming! All of a sudden we have too much to do to keep up with! And we long for our barren place of not being wanted.

The cycle starts all over again.

Now then, I just wanted to put that out there for anyone who hasn't been in the position to understand this before. I do hope this help.

Just know that I'm OK. As of this writing...I really am OK. As I was thinking thru everything, it hit me why I have trouble saying no sometimes, and to give you some perspective, maybe.

I'm truly excited for the things I'm a part of! I'm so excited for the things coming up!

I also have ideas swirling in my creative brain that I am not going to act on right now. Some things I would love to...but it would be too much right now.

See? I can get my "NO" button to function a bit...even if it's to myself for the moment.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

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