I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sunset Beach Vacation Day 1 - Time to Relax!

Right now I am on vacation with my family at Sunset Beach in North Carolina.
(lettering on the living room wall of our beach house-we were worried that the place might be a dump, but it's a beautiful and perfectly sized house.)

 I was a little worried about the trip, because Georgia has been having rainstorms nonstop for about three weeks, but fortunately the weather in North Carolina has been perfect so far. The beach house that we are renting has also turned out perfectly too. It is ten of us in total – all relatives in some way – and we are having a wonderful time swimming, fishing, biking, cooking, relaxing, etc. The relaxing really is the most important part for me, as I have been experiencing a lot of anxiety this summer.

Don't these pictures look beautiful and relaxing?  Here are some views from our beach house:

(The house isn't quite at the beach, but in a marshy area.  Still, we're within walking distance to the beach, so that's fine with us.)

I'm labeling this as day 1, but it wasn't the first full day-it took us seven and a half hours to arrive. Shortly later, my cousins arrived and I think they set the tone for the whole trip, or at least the trip so far, by rescuing a bird tangled up in string.  They found a bird - not sure what kind, some type of sandpiper, perhaps? - and cut away the string.  The bird bit them a few times, but surely saving a life is worth a little pain.

It was so gratifying to see the bird start swimming away. The bird swam to a pole under the dock, rested for a few minutes and then flew away, which was such a relief-I had been a little afraid that the bird might be injured and unable to fly.

I think the rescue operation really has set the tone for the whole trip so far.  My first cousins once removed (in other words, my cousin's children) are raised without cable and live on a farm.  They are very active and even though the oldest is now thirteen, he still builds sand castles with his mother and younger sister.  Theirs is a family dynamic that I wish more families would emulate.  Every moment is an opportunity to interact and explore with nature.

Here are a few more relaxing and beautiful pictures of our surroundings, this time in the evening:
(I just got a new camera and I'm enjoying using it!)

Doesn't that last picture look like a pretty postcard?

When I get back from the vacation I am going to take the DBT class again, so that I can refresh my DBT skills. I am actually pretty excited, because I know that getting better at using my skills will help me feel more empowered and less anxious.  Right now, my anxieties seem far, far away, but I know that once I rejoin the real world in a week that most likely some of my symptoms will return.  Still, it's nice to have these breaks in life sometimes, isn't it?  Letting myself enjoy the company of my family and the beauty of my surroundings reminds me that there is more to life than the mere management of my anxiety or BPD.  According to NAMI.org, "Recovery is the point in someone's illness in which the illness is no longer the first and foremost part of his or her life, no longer the essence of all his or her existence."  With so much of my focus being on how to effectively and constructively deal with my anxiety lately, I haven't been feeling like I have been meeting that definition of recovery-this vacation is exactly what I needed to prove to me that I am more than my illnesses-I am a member of a loving and fun family who while on vacation is able to let go and spend the majority of her day relaxing and feeling good.  Blessed be!

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