Accepting the Fog
I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it hard to concentrate these days. I am generally a pretty focused person and usually it’s not difficult for me to get through my to-do list because I only put things on it that really matter to me.
But, I have tried to write this blog for a week now, and even just this morning it’s taken me several tries to even get these words out. While I am not living in fear because of COVID-19, the changes in our day-to-day living are still a little bewildering, and as someone who likes to know what to expect in the near future, it’s no wonder my brain is a little off-kilter.
The other times in my life that I have experienced this same fogginess as intensely as it seems to be right now is when my boys, at various time, made choices that not only baffled me but went against everything we have taught them. The “fog” in these situations is real and it is 100% okay to be kind to yourself as you make your way through the fog. And, I promise you, the fog will lift… maybe in a few days, maybe in a few weeks, but it will dissipate.
Whether COVID-19 has totally consumed you or you’re still mostly worried and stressed for your son because of his drug use, belligerence, lack of motivation, trouble with the law, draw to pornography or anything else, there are a few things that won’t help you while you’re in the fog.
Pretending you’re not in a fog doesn’t make it any easier to navigate.
Resisting the fog will not make it leave any faster.
Beating yourself up for being in the fog only keep you in the fog longer.
On the other hand, accepting the fog is another valid alternative. Acceptance can look like:
Loosening the expectations you have for yourself and others… just a little bit.
Allowing yourself to be scared or sad or disappointed… just for a little bit.
Getting some extra rest… just a little bit more can make all the difference, especially if you’re sleep-deprived.
Sometimes, when we are in the middle of constant chaos, it can feel like if we don’t keep a tight grip on everything it will all just fall apart. But don’t worry about that because… you already know how to pick up all the pieces. Once you are through the fog you will be able to see clearly and get to work.
But for now, I give you permission to just be in your fog (whether it’s because of the state of our world or it’s because of the state of your son!).
IDEAS TO CONSIDER:
Eventually you might have to make a choice to start making your way out of the fog (because it doesn’t always “just happen”). Something to consider ~ when you are ready ~ is doing something a little out of the norm for you:
If you usually veg out in front of a screen, try going for a walk. But, if you usually go for walks, maybe it’s time to watch a show.
If you usually turn to chocolate or ice cream when you’re stressed, try some yogurt and fruit. But if you usually go for the healthy foods, maybe it’s OK to indulge in a little something sweet.
If you usually get up at the crack of dawn, try sleeping in an extra hour or two if your body needs it. But if you usually sleep more than your body actually needs, maybe it’s time to set the alarm and get up earlier (you can even use your extra time to go on a walk or read a book or watch the sun rise).
If you usually talk things out with a friend, try getting your thoughts out on paper. But if you usually get your feelings out through writing, maybe it’s time to call up someone you trust and let them in on the thoughts swirling around in your head.
Remember, you will get through the fog faster (not that it’s a race!) by accepting you’re in it instead of beating yourself up. It may seem counter-intuitive but trust me on this one ?.
A PIECE OF MY HEART ~ WHERE DOES THE FOG COME FROM?
The mental fog we’ve talked about this month comes from believing things like, “This shouldn’t be happening,” or “I don’t know what to do.” The fog also comes from worrying about the future. Sometimes it seems like these are the only choices available to us ~ and that’s when the fog sets in.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a mental fog it seems so heavy and confusing and stifling. I tend to be a bit claustrophobic and so too much fog or fog that lasts too long can even start to feel like the walls are closing in.
Just this past weekend I went to the store for the first time since our stay-at-home order over a month ago. I dutifully wore my mask but it felt so suffocating, and I was more than ready to take it off when the shopping trip was over. For the rest of the day I was extra grateful for my husband who has been doing all of our shopping, and I was so thankful I rarely have to wear a mask that brought on feelings of claustrophobia, which made breathing even harder.
Are you feeling suffocated by your mental fog? If there was a way to get out of it, would you take that path?
Your perspective about your problems with your son definitely affect your experience through this all. So today I want you to consider something different than the three main thoughts that are probably ensuring your fog stays thick and heavy.
Instead of “This shouldn’t be happening,” what if you consider that life happens the way it does ~ not like it “should” or “shouldn’t”? I wrestled with this possibility for a while when our son started spiraling out of control, but any way I looked at it, I could not find a good reason to keep believing “This shouldn’t be happening” because it was.
Instead of “I don’t know what to do,” what if you consider that you do know what to do today and perhaps even tomorrow? Sometimes we are looking so far ahead that it distracts us from what we can do today.
And this brings me to the last idea I wanted to mention. It can be so hard for us to see anything but doom and despair when we think about our boy’s future from where we see him right now. But none of us has a crystal ball! I often share with you our struggles with our son. I do this because I want you to know you are not alone in having a son you love so much it hurts sometimes because he’s not living how you want him to, how you’ve taught him to.
It has been three years since the first time our son ran away from home. And while he’s not living the life I always imagined he would at his age, he’s also no longer on the streets. He’s a husband and soon-to-be father, working hard to make ends meet in a way that I am actually proud of. There were times when I wondered if he would ever speak to us again, and just last night we played dominoes and corn hole with him and his wife, and I got a great big hug at the end of the evening. So, while he may not be living the dream I once had for him, he is also not living the nightmare that seemed like the only possibility a few short years ago.
Worry can seem so necessary, but it’s not. It just keeps you in a fog. Eventually that fog may just lift but you don’t have to wait for it to happen. When you are ready, you can walk your way out of the fog, one step at a time. It might take thinking about things a little bit differently, but it is so worth it when you step out of the fog, into the sunshine. Remember, peace is possible, even for you, even in your situation. I promise.