Tag Archives: Self esteem

What it is like

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Social media can truly be a miracle sometimes. When asked a question you have time to think without your facial expression giving it away or making it awkward. It is a small thing but one I find very helpful. Recently I was talking with someone who had just gotten diagnosed with a chronic pain illness. It would be a matter of constantly managing it. She asked me, “What is it like? How do you do it? I just can’t imagine ever being okay with this. It is so distracting and I absolutely hate it.”  I agreed. I still feel all of that. It hasn’t gone away, more like it is just simmering.
Simmering, yeah that is a good description. Let’s go with that. It is a lot like cooking a meal that will never ever be done but you know it will be worth it.  It is a labor intensive meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It is like you have four pots on the stove and something in the oven.
One pot is emotional/mental health. One pot is physical health. One pot is spiritual. One pot is work and in the oven is the family. Just like in cooking you have to keep adding ingredients and it can simmer on its own for a bit but it needs a stir now and then. Every so often, and often when you feel you have it the most under control, all the pots start boiling over. Sometimes some smoke even starts coming from the oven.  Normally though the boiling over happens one at a time and you can handle it and move on. You take a taste every once in a while to check on it as a means to see how it is coming along. Sometimes tasting can tell you if there is a problem. Sometimes it tastes good but really something has started to go bad you just can’t taste it yet.
Then there is the other problem. Suddenly an ingredient is no longer working. It is no longer bonding with everything in the pot to make it one solid thing. It could be that self-care has fallen off your radar. It could be that you cut back on exercise. It could be that you thought it was self-care by sleeping in on Sunday, but really you hadn’t done anything else for spiritual health so it really wasn’t self-care. It could be that you cut back on exercise–physical health–for good reason, yet it negatively affected another part of physical health, vitamin D.  Sometimes you find an ingredient you thought would work well actually doesn’t and you have to take it back out of the pot.  Sometimes while you are disposing of that ingredient another pot starts to boil over. Don’t forget you changed the dynamics of that one pot you took the ingredient out of so you will need to adjust the temperature!
Yes, but that is essentially life isn’t it? You have to add the chronic pain as well. You are right about that, we are handling that as well. Hopefully each of the pots and the oven are helping that. Chronic pain though, that is the tricky element. That is the part that makes the ingredients suddenly stop working so well. That is the part that says, “that worked for a while, but now, not so much.”
On the really good days the chronic pain is like the background noise of the dishwasher going. You hear it, you know it’s going on. You just try not to pay too much attention to it until it dings. When it dings that is when you find out that suddenly the soap you were using didn’t work or something got gummed up in the hose and the rinse cycle didn’t go off. Sometimes there is not even running water to wash the dishes by hand while all the other stuff is happening. Chronic pain does that. You find something and your brain says, “hey, thanks this is really working,” so it starts focusing on something else more pressing.
So essential pain management just becomes part of your routine. I can’t tell you when it happens, just that it does. I can tell you that I am never okay with it. Chronic pain just adds to depression and anxiety because you are constantly longing for what you cannot have. Things you used to do are no longer an option. It took quite a bit of looking around trying to figure out what I wanted to do. It took even longer for me to realize that what I want to do will always be in flux. Some days I am overwhelmed that my health issues are only going to get worse as I age  because they are degenerative. Degeneration is already an issue as you get older. It is just sped up in my case.
Some days though, I don’t care. I am enjoying the moment for all that it is. Those are the days that make all the above worth it. They balance out all the bad days where all the pots are boiling over there is smoke coming from the oven and the dishwasher just plain won’t work.
It takes a lot of self-analysis to make those good days happen. In the beginning, I fought that. Don’t look too closely. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. If it is hanging on by a thread and still working, it isn’t broken. There comes a time though that it just doesn’t work any more. Nothing about it works and self-analysis is forced on you. You have to sit down and look at it. You have to acknowledge the problem.
Slowly you realize that sometimes you could be a bit more proactive. For a time that is all it is. A thought. You don’t act on it. Then one day you do something proactive and you see it pan out that it fixed a problem you didn’t even realize was coming. I am not saying that before you know it you are doing this all the time. I am not. I know I am not. I know there is always room for improvement.
At the end of the day, that is what I tell myself. I think about the things I handled proactively and the things I didn’t respond to that I should have. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I tell myself, we will try again. We are not going to try harder because we are already trying our hardest. We will just simply try again. I can tell you that if you keep telling yourself this each night you will believe it. I can’t tell you how long that will take. It could take months. It’s harsh to think that, Months! I can’t take months! I need a fix now! So take a deep breath and remind yourself that slow and steady cooks the meal.

 

 

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Connecting with Compassion to who I am #1000speak

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Everybody dreams what their life will be like when they are older. Especially when you are a teenager and life is so hard and no one even remotely understands you. Life will be so much better when you are an adult and in charge.I would get married. We would have at least two kids but probably more and of course we would have a boy first and then a girl. We would have this nice house which I would always be able to keep clean. We would have success after success at our careers. We would have money for vacations and would be well-traveled. This picture of how it will be drives you on and on and on. Until it doesn’t. Until that is not how your life is going at all, not even remotely. Your daydreams didn’t account for reality. They didn’t account for infertility, job loss, deaths of loved ones, and on and on the list could go. That’s the problem I struggled with for a while, the picture of my life in my head and how it really has gone.

Many days and nights spent berating myself for messing it up so badly. I obviously wasn’t trying hard enough, doing enough, being enough. I had to get my act together. It was past time to grow up and be the adult I dreamed I would be. In time, I added to that. It was time to be the wife I dreamed I would be. It was time to be the mother I dreamed I would be. It was time I had the career I wanted. I was so good at criticizing myself. Really , I still am.

Every month for a week at a time I would beat myself up. It was so easy to get pregnant we had been told. It only takes one time. Every month I struggled with the feelings of not being enough. Not being woman enough to do a simple thing like get pregnant. Made worse only by doctors who said “ah your young it will happen. There is nothing wrong.” Nothing wrong at all with a nineteen year old, a twenty year old, a twenty-one year old trying month after month to get pregnant and failing. Month after month of seeing my dreams flushed down the toilet, literally. Finally when a doctor did believe, I wasn’t relieved. I didn’t feel vindicated. I felt broken. The day came and the test was positive, for a short while everything was back in place. Then it was gone. I was back to flushing my dreams down the toilet. That picture in my head said I should be pregnant with baby number two by now. That picture in my head was starting to shake and tremble. If I was really honest that picture had broken years ago but I refused to see it.

The test was positive. I took a million more. I didn’t really believe it. I was sure something was going to happen. Even as I was in labor, something would happen. My dreams can’t be coming true. I will mess this up some how. We were leaving the hospital with a baby. WITH. A. BABY. For a few days I believed and then, you have eighteen years to mess this up every day. For eighteen months I worried about every single detail. No, I didn’t worry, I obsessed. I question every decision at least ten times. My house could never be clean enough, I could never be doing enough for this precious life. Obviously the only answer was to try for another baby. You know so I could mess it up twice. I mean so I could get at least one right. Maybe. Two months and nothing. So much for the second time being so much easier. Then the phone call. My husband lost his job. Laid off. Back to the doctor I went, for birth control.

At this point you maybe wondering if I had the same issues around getting married. The simple answer is no. The process was not simple at all. Three weeks after we met my husband was in a car accident. He had been taken by Helicopter out to a trauma hospital. Scary words were said, like life support, coma, brain injury. To see someone like that is not easy. To see someone like that and suddenly know they can’t die your suppose to marry this person.The only second guessing I have is , if he hadn’t been in that accident would I have ever known? Would I have messed that up and walked away. For a long time that answer was probably. Probably I would have walked away from the greatest thing in my life. I am sure I would have messed it up.

One day it was clear. I needed help. Therapy started quickly, before I changed my mind. Medication happened. Medication changes and more therapy. It took me years to be comfortable with self-analysis. This was just simply not done. You simply didn’t do self- analysis with someone else. This is what you did in bed late at night when no one was around. Most certainly you never told anyone, let alone discussed it. Slowly progress was made. Until it all fell apart. It like literally fell apart, got laid off then my car blew up and then I wrecked my “new” car. I tried to pick it back up and worked at a new job for three months and then I realized. No my family is more important to me then this. This work and have nothing left, using medications that allowed me to work but ultimately would shorten my life considerably. My family deserved more than this.

It really wasn’t though, it just seemed like it. Instead it was all falling into place. All that therapy was not for nothing. I have been slowly coming to accept where I am. The first thing I had to do was tear up and burn that picture in my head of how life was supposed to be. Chronic illness had dictated long ago just how clean I could get and keep my house. It dictated a lot of things for a while. Second thing was to tell this chronic illness crap it wasn’t the boss of me, well not all the time. I started writing as a form of self-analysis and as something that maybe eventually one day it would help someone else. Even if it only helped me it was worth it.

Four years later, trying to look back to what really ultimately helped me make the change. The change that took me from a person who had to please everyone else even if it didn’t please her to the one who likes to please others but knows she has to please herself as well. I can’t tell you how much watching tv show after tv show actually helped because I stayed true to what truly interested me. How many Doctor Who episodes I watched at just the right time. The universe was getting its message to me.

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I can’t tell you how much these words stuck with me long after the episode was over. I can’t tell you how much I really just sat and thought about how I feel about these words. There were quite a few others I am sure that I heard but didn’t really hear. I know now that it wasn’t the right time for me to hear them. Somewhere along the way I found myself back to being an avid reader. Somehow I was finding myself. Four years of this, so don’t think it was just one day. I can’t tell you where I was in the journey when I saw this next quote. I just know it stuck with me.

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Huh, yeah. THAT. For a while I just related to this post. I would see it and it would always get a “like”. Then maybe I shared it. The more it sat in my brain just percolating the more I thought about it. Then came the final point, the epiphany if you will. What if I just let go of that picture? What if instead of burning it or ripping it in anger of how it was “suppose” to be. I just let it go. Slowly, I began to actually enjoy my life. I began to start analyzing what I do have about a year ago.

I can’t tell you that voice that always says I am not enough, not doing enough is gone. It is not. It is not always easily squelched under foot either. This is where Buddhism has really come into play for me. Reading some of the Buddhist texts and books available through the Unitarian Universalist Library in our Church I found this quote.  This quote quite often becomes my mantra during meditation.

BuddhaCompassion

I can’t tell you how many times that voice tries to rise and I can only answer Self compassion repeated over and over. I am not quite there yet. I am not quite to who I am yet. I am getting closer and stronger in it every day though.I am trying every day to connect with who I am instead of who I thought I would be.  I hope you are too. I hope you are showing yourself compassion because that voice is wrong. It is dead wrong. You are enough.

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Why must we build them up so high?

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If you have followed us all summer you know the kid has been going to numerous library events. It has been great to give me a break. I normally sit and read. This particular day I forgot my book. I sat and talked with a friend in the teen section. On the table were some magazines. Gamer magazines and then Seventeen and one I had never seen before called Girl Life or GL. I remember Seventeen from when I was a teenager. My first thought was aww look. I glanced through the pages and it dawned on me that the kid would be into this soon. I started looking at it with a parenting eye. How do I protect her from this? Why are we still assaulting the self-esteem with this kind of stuff? I started thinking about how much these magazines damaged my self-esteem.

I have touched on this in the past. A teacher told my daughter she was tired of her mis-matched socks. We discussed it and confidence was restored. She has returned to wearing what she wants when she wants. I rarely tell her she does not match. Instead I often ask her why did you wear that outfit? Tell me about it? Sometimes its ” just because.” but often she has a reason. Some recent ones were : ” This pink matches the pink in my skirt and I like that. ” “because I like both of them and wanted to wear them.”

If you Google Teenage fashion, you get a decent mix. There are sites I would let her get her information from. Then there are ones that just the images attached to it, I know its not for us. She maybe like me and research it via Google. However the most likely is that one or all of theses magazines will get passed around. Why must we tell our teenage daughters they should never ever leave the house without make-up. How about telling them they are beautiful just the way they are. Skin care is a completely different subject. Lets teach them skin care and how to use make-up to accentuate their natural beauty if they so choose. Lets tell them that they don’t NEED make up. Lets remove the need to beat down the self-esteem via make-up. Let’s change it so that if you have to leave the house without makeup, no big deal. Let’s change it to, I am wearing these shoes because I want to. Let’s change it to – This is who I am.

I am okay with my daughter learning about make-up, fashion, skin care and such. I am not okay with these magazines telling her she needs to do this to fit in. I am not okay with her being told how to catch a guy. I am not okay with her being told what to wear and how to wear it to be “cool” or “popular”. I know its not new. I know many of us dealt with it growing up. I know many of our parents dealt with it growing up. The thing is- Does that make it okay? I can not help but be saddened that we still feel this is an acceptable thing. This is the thing that becomes gossip and we know how hurtful gossip can be. It took me well into my late twenties before I was comfortable with my fashion sense. All I can say about that now is ….WHY? And how do I fix this for my daughter? Can I fix this for my daughter?

I am not okay with her being told to catch the guy she wants, she needs to show some skin. I am not okay with her being told sexy means scantily clad.  After all , for all her faults, Marilyn Monroe was an extremely sexy woman without wearing scraps for clothes.

Teenagers are learning who they are. Why would we want to tell them who they are or restrict that expression of who they are by telling them  how to dress? Why would we tell them that look isn’t right for them? Especially if they do rock it! Do I like that my daughter dresses to match her mood? Not always. Sometimes I wish she would let me dress her and keep her cute and innocent and adorable.  However of all the things that will damage her self -esteem, fashion and make-up do not seem  important enough to do so.

I really hope she has a self-esteem that can look at these magazines and toss what doesn’t appeal to her. I hope she is able to stay true to herself without feeling guilty about it. I really hope I have built her up enough for her to say to the world, This is who I am and not care what others think.  I really hope that one day, individuality is appreciated and accepted.  I have some hope we will get there.  One day this quote won’t apply anymore.

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(image credit- google images)

It saddens me that we even have to do this. It is not that as a parent I would not build and work on a positive self-esteem with her.  It just saddens me that we have to fill it up so high because we know how hurtful and damaging the world is to self-esteem.  It saddens me we start assaulting their self-esteem so young.

I get her brain

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grasping to keep sane because I am seeing my daughter struggle the same way I struggled when it comes to learning. If I am curious…. I got this. I absorb it like a sponge… When it comes to math. I have no interest… It does not create any curiosity in me. I really don’t care what two plus two equals. I don’t even care that its always the same. It doesn’t fascinate me in anyway. Before she even understood what math was… she was oh…numbers…booorrrriiinnggg….My exact thoughts. It was such a hard thing for me to learn that I learned to hate it. It is not just that though. Our brain’s struggle to retain the information. This actually even applies to the stuff we absorb and seem to master. Two days later. That is like eternity and I seriously can not recall that conversation where you showed me how to do this. Its like I have had Mommy brain my entire life.

When trying to explain it to a friend, I explained it like this. If it takes a normal person thirty days to establish a habit, it will take someone with a learning disability at least ninety days. At this point I know realistically it will probably take me a hundred and twenty days to make something a habit. Even then I can loose it and have to start all over again.  Its like sometimes you have to teach me the beginning  and the end before I will be able to comprehend the middle. It is not entirely about the big picture either. You can try to keep teaching me in the correct order and its like banging your head on the brick wall. Teach me what happens in the end, it falls into place most of the time. The problem is I know this now, thirty years later. She is just starting.

It looks like she has a similar form of Attention Deficit Disorder as I do. It has tendrils of OCD but it doesn’t fit nicely into either category. Right now she is hitting a lot of the criteria for dyscalculia. There is enough wiggle room though. Its not quite just that.

We already monitor her diet. We restrict sugar as much as possible. I stay away from artificial dyes and preservatives as much as possible.  We use alternative medicine for treatment. She has seen only one psychologist and even then she was not the focus of the appointment. I had such a bad experience with being diagnosed I can still remember how teachers changed how they were around me. I can still remember the change in the way the other kids saw me. While I don’t see that being as big of an issue at a Montessori school. I still worry about it. I know how devastating it was to my self esteem. How hard I had to rebuild.

I know if I go through our insurance , which would be a deductible thing, they will miss it. She won’t fall into anyone “treatable” diagnosis. She will kinda fit multiple diagnosis and not really meet the criteria for one of them. I remember years of I.E.P meetings and hearing people talk about me and about how I learn or don’t learn. Remembering that they never once asked me to explain any of my thoughts. ever. They knew all the answers. When I did grasp something they said I didn’t and changed the way they were teaching me, again. I know because I remember struggling with the same things she struggles with. I get her line of thought before anyone else, because its mine. Not just because I am her mother. We have a very similar brain chemistry.

As much as this shatters me, I need to pick up my shattered pieces and figure out how to help her. How to help her without hurting her self esteem. How to help her without being a detriment to her as well. It may take me to the beginning of the school year. I have a friend who will help me with tutoring her. I have to keep myself together when I see her struggle the same way I did and take a deep breath and help her. Help her quietly and firmly and most importantly calmly. I have to set aside the anger at teachers who for the past school year did not listen. Did not see her struggling. It is done, I have to go forward.

I have to go forward with my mom intuition and be extremely picky on who tutors her , how and when. When we do get to a professional, I need to have all my senses engaged. I need someone who does not just intellectually understands learning disabilities. I need someone who gets it. Who follows her line of thought and understands how she got there. For now, we repeat math lessons over and over and over and over. For now, we work with what we have. For now.

Don’t be so hard

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It occurred to me today that I have been unreasonably hard on myself. I have been wondering why things I used to be able to do are such a struggle lately. It was only in discussion over some of this with a friend that I realized the difference was medication. I am not on prednisone, soma and Lortab. That I have taken steps that means I can do less but will live longer, and healthier.

When I went off the medications it was not by choice. I was sure I was going to be back right on them as soon as I found a doctor that would listen. Between the weight gain and how sedentary my life had become, I knew I needed to make changes. I just didn’t want to think about it too closely.I dealt with it slowly and piece by piece.

Sometimes just realizing that you are being unreasonably hard on yourself, that allows you to relax a little. I am going to try and focus more on what I have done each day than what I have not done. I am going to try and remember that being off those medications is a good thing and that it just makes self care even more important.

I have realized that I have depended on certain activities to relieve stress. The problem is they are not relieving stress. It took me a while to notice this. It is time to switch up some of my self care things.  Summer is coming. Well really in Florida Summer never leaves but the kid is out of school in a week.  There is going to be more variety. More embracing what and who we are. There is just going to be more.

I know I have said this in the past. I have done it in the past. Each time I am a step closer to where I want to be. I just have to remember that and not get frustrated that it feels like I am back where I started. I am not. I know that I am not when I really stop and look back.  Its a process. Sometimes its the process that is frustrating. Sometimes just acknowledging that makes it a difference. Gives us a fresh perspective and renewed motivation.

Tomorrow I turn a year older. Here is to understanding the process and embracing it all, the good  and the bad!

A lot going on in there

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On the tail edges of my cymbalta withdrawl, I have been completely off of it for four days. I will be starting prozac on monday. All that to say, I have not been able to handle my normal amount of stimulation. I can’t have the tv on while I am on the laptop while also sending texts, while having at least ten tabs open on the laptop. I have been reading more. Sometimes it is my current books that I am reading,yes books as in plural..I have three going right now. Sometimes it is blogs. I have taken the time to go a bit slower. Really digest what each blog I read is saying. You know I have been really big on #Depressedbutdressed in collaboration with It’s not my workout.  For once I have been taking the time to follow embedded links. It is where I stumbled upon One Little Word (http://aliedwards.com/shop/one-little-word-2014). I have been thinking and reading other blogs that have posted their word.

What would my word be?

Sorting through words that describe me, or that I want to focus on, or that I want to be better at, I come across these.

Love

Honesty

Integrity

Courage

Thrive

Inspiring

Starting to break these down into what I could do with them on my own since I can’t pay for the workshop right now, it was interesting to me. Even a little eye opening.

Love being the first one. Without love I am nothing. If I don’t love myself I can’t love others. Love must coat and cover everything I do without smothering at the same time. There is one song that I will always always always sing out at the top of my lungs when it comes on. It is the one that when I am having a bad day, it starts to turn it around. Love is all you need by the Beatles. It is not by coincidence that the very next song on my playlist after that is Eight days a week. I may have a thing for the Beatles huh. I mean those two songs just say it all.

Honesty is the second one I keep close. I love the TV show Bones primarily for Dr. Temperance Brennan. I admire her ability to be honest,even if it is socially painful sometimes. Really we need more of that. Maybe a little less of the ego but, I have to say she has earned her ego. When I was in the midst of teenage years and untreated ADD/OCD I was really horrible at honesty. For me this word still circles around love as well. When you love someone you want to be honest with them. When you start by loving yourself, you tend to be more honest with yourself. Even when it is not pretty.Once you do that, being honest with everyone is a natural next step.

The third one may catch some of the people who know me off guard. I have been told over and over I am so courageous to deal with what I deal with everyday. I am glad I project that. It is not however how I always feel. Most of the time I feel like Piglet. Piglet doesn’t even realize that sometimes just the fact that you keep going is courage. It is something that escapes my notice a lot. Yet again I find that this word ties into the first two. Because I love myself, I can be honest with others when they say I so admire all that you do on a daily basis. I can tell them, thank you it means a lot to hear that because I rarely feel I am doing anything really major. I am again forced to stop and think about what exactly I am doing everyday. What I am doing that they admire.

Thrive has really what the last year almost two years has been about for me. Finding ways to thrive in spite of everything that is going on. Finding happiness during hard times.  I am not letting go of thrive either. It is an ongoing pursuit and goal.

So the last word I came up with is inspiring. I didn’t start my facebook page or this blog for anyone other than me. It was more of an attitude of this is for me and if it helps someone else great. It has been slowly shifting to , I want it to inspire others. I want it to show others that we are not just our illness. I want it to show others that there is no reason you can’t thrive in the life you are living right this very moment.In an odd way this started about me, became about others and is slowly becoming about me again. Becoming about me as others inspire me or ask for advice, I tend to go back inside myself and look at things. I have made progress in areas because others asked for advice and I had to really look at something. Often times it was something I knew I was sort of dealing with but not really. Others have become my inspiration to keep making progress on my own issues.

I don’t really think I could find one word that I would stick to. I will keep thinking about it and I have followed some specific blogs that are participating in one little word. I want to make sure that my ADD does not let this project fizzle out of my head and get lost in the 1,324,4545,4591,342,528 other things that my brain likes to bounce around.

Shoving off the negativity

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This last week of 2013 I have dedicated to sloughing off stuff that I have stubbornly held on to. A good portion of that stuff is negative.

One of my favorite guided meditations says let go of the things that do not help me. Let go. Sometimes I just repeat that over and over in my head. Sometimes I visualize letting go of the word negativity. Sometimes I think of specific things that have been bothering me. It is either a feeling of too much negativity, or it is something specific that I need to analyze and let go.It could be a feeling or a way I react to a situation.

I like visualizing golden light or white healing light the best though. I visualize it burning out the negativity and replacing it with warm happy thoughts. This one is normally the most effective for me. If I am really struggling I go outside earbuds in, and sit on the ground. Rest my hands on the ground.Even in the dark. Often these are just five minutes or so. It is truthfully the longest I can sit on the ground like that without hurting. Plus the longer I sit there, the harder it is to get back up.

I found meditation to be the best way for me to leave negativity behind. It helps me in so many ways. I found the more I practice the more I can take advantage of little snippets during the day.

It took me many attempts to get into meditation. It took many times of starting one and trying it out, only to be frustrated and give up. It took reading about meditation. It took analyzing exactly what I was looking for in meditation. Still even after that it took more trying out different meditations. Finding what voice , what music worked for me. It was a process.

Still sometimes the best meditations are ones I do without even trying, like when I am out taking a walk.Not focusing on anything in particular. Taking every second as it comes. Enjoying the beauty around me. Getting lost in the wonder of the Forrest.

My natural first reaction to anything is to complain. I hate that. I really do. However I have learned that if I try to squash it I feel worse. Instead I embrace it and then say okay now lets find something good in this. I have also started changing the wording I use when I am complaining. You would think that would not be a big thing but it is. It not only makes a difference to me but , also the people around me who hear it. Instead of grumpily saying ” I wanted it to be like this this and this.”  I can say ” It would be nice if it had this but, this is a different approach and maybe I will like it better.”

As it is at least twice a month minimum my meditations are on cleansing the negativity from me.  I don’t plan them out. I go with how I am feeling. When I need to clean the negativity I know. I know without a doubt.  Make it part of your bedtime routine. Whether you are asleep at the end of it or not doesn’t matter. However you would be surprised how many times you will fall asleep during it.

The world likes to shove negative things at us. Over and over and over. Shoving it off of you is therefore something you have to also do over and over.  Taking small steps each day towards the goal of wrapping positive things around you. It is not easy. It is however yet another thing that is deemed worth it.

Here are some of my favorite meditations remember, they may not work for you. They may all work for you, or only some. Find what resonates with you. If you find yourself getting frustrated with this process, try chants.

This site gave me some of the best meditation advice, When I am struggling to find the right one I go back here… :    http://www.fragrantheart.com/cms/free-audio-meditations

1.  Mind Silence-remove negative blocks –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1RdEVXWXbU

2.  All chakras- meditation balancing and tuning http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4GtPb3Y3vQ

3. Vital Energy: Meditation Music for Depression, Anxiety and Chakra

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POR-U76g7Lg

 

4. Full Chakra Healing Meditation ★ Binaural Beats

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DsjaXRbrMc

 

5. Extremely Powerful Pure Clean Positive Energy – Raise Vibration – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l1Oy9T7-S8

Mental health acceptance..a personal choice

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Accepting you have a mental illness is hard. It is really hard. It takes different people different lengths of time.Some never get there. Its a process. Its even scarier when you have a family history of mental illness. Of multiple mental illnesses. It is always looming there. You wonder if it is actually happening or if you are just so afraid of it happening. Family says ” oh we are just a family of worriers. Nothing wrong with that.” There isn’t. Until that’s all you do.  Worry is different from anxiety.  I was even at one point told by a doctor for years.. Mother’s worry. Its what they do. It is not a concern. When worry keeps you up at night, wakes you up at night, interferes with work its a concern. It’s a big concern.

I was lucky. I had a change in insurance.  I was forced to change doctors. I am not sure if I had not changed doctors if I would have made the progress I have made. I am actually pretty sure I wouldn’t have. I would have continued burning myself at all ends and continued to destroy myself. My next doctor did medicate… that is all I did for awhile. I didn’t need help. I had this. It was just a chemical imbalance. I didn’t need counseling.

Then one day I was sweeping my daughters already clean room. I barely had any dirt to sweep into the pan. I remember that day so clearly. My eighteen month old daughter was clapping saying. Clean room. I knew something was wrong. This was not what an almost two year old should be happy about.

I don’t think I made any progress that first year. Not really. Tiny little baby steps.

I made progress. Four years or so in therapy. A lot of talking. Walls came down slowly.

Strangely enough I was not able to do some of the things until my therapist retired. I was suddenly at a loss. I didn’t want to find someone new.  I had  enough therapy. Stuff was still not completely fixed. I burned some bridges I know that. I don’t think for me it could have been done any other way. It was messy. It was quick. While it happened. It was the longest time of my life. Ugly cry does not even touch what happened. I was sure I had just destroyed my life. My daughters life. I had just destroyed my marriage. I was sure of it.

None of those things happened. I have a wonderfully supportive husband who said we will make it work. It will be okay.  My daughters life is not ruined. In fact I think it has been enriched by the experiences we went through. In ways I could never have imagined. Instead of destroying my life I had found my life. Again.

I thought about all this as I talked with a friend about mental illness.  In a lot of ways she gets it. She understands. She has supported me in some of that rough burning bridges patch. In some ways, not so much. They take things personally when its not personal. It astounds her.  They know that they take it personal. I agree with this and I disagree with it. Someone who has been through therapy may know they take it personal. However being able to tell when you are taking it personally and when you are not. THAT. That is much much much harder.

I know I am not the norm. I know I am hyper aware of a lot of my mental health issues. Much more than most people. I talk about it easily, openly. Its just how I work. It is NOT how all people with the same diagnosis as me. It is a very personal choice and it happens at different times for people to be open and honest about mental health issues.  It doesn’t mean it doesn’t blur for me. It doesn’t mean I am always making progress. It doesn’t mean I take a few steps backwards. If I hold myself to be honest then I can say I have done all of those things.  I will probably never stop doing them. I don’t know about accepting that but I am okay with that.  I know when I try to tell myself that I am past that, that is when I get into trouble. Truthful acceptance , its a work in progress.

Don’t forget to renew yourself

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I think I am on top of it. This whole self care thing. Then I realized that I was trying to find things to do other than take a walk by myself. My phone app had told me it had been three days since logged my activity…Still I didn’t want to walk.

I got the kid to school and then found myself driving to a park down the street I had not walked the trails for awhile. I don’t even remember making a conscience decision to go there. Then I thought, well its just a short walk. I can walk it a second time if I feel up to it. I started off by the little pond. It did not disappoint me.

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It was early and the locals were out and about.

I spent the first bit of my walk……possibly five minutes with my head down.

It was not a bad view

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Once I realized I had been walking looking down and was still inspired to snap a picture. I realized maybe I needed this walk. Just me. My phone camera. Nothing else.

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Pretty sure this path leads to Narnia. Pretty sure. It sure feels magical.

I have walked this trail many many many times. I am still captured by some spots. I am still amazed at how the seasons change the same spots.

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Then I saw things that really truly made my heart happy.

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The red on the tree is called Red Lichen. It is a good indicator of good air quality. Breathe deep take it all in…this is the good stuff here. By this time I was feeling pretty good. Not the mess of pain that I woke up in. Why do we put off self care things we KNOW we need? The pain was less, not gone just less and slightly easier to deal with.

So I decided to see if I could locate how to get onto this other trail I could see but had not found the entrance to.

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It was worth looking for.

It was exactly what I needed. I even saw a black racer snake. I didn’t scream…..big win for me. He saw me and took off.

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This is when I realized THIS was what I needed. This was my sanctuary, this was my temple, my heart was full again in this moment.

Although I had a good walk. It was time to go back. I did reach the end of that new trail. I was shocked and disappointed it deadend at a golf and country club neighborhood. The way I felt it should have ended with picnic tables and a serene lake. It was that magical feeling.

I got back to the main trail. I look over at the other trail.

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A different local was seeing me off. Don’t worry he was down on the shore. The trail was above this. Besides for the most part, gators don’t like humans. We don’t taste right.

Not always the happy sunny Gratitude you think of.

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Sometimes Gratitude is not being so happy and cheerful and saying all the positive things in the world.

At least for me it isn’t.

I am thankful for what I have. I am. Really.

But I also have a little bit of Eeyore in me.

A little sarcasm , a little cynicism.

I have to reach for gratitude. I have to search for it. I don’t naturally think of the good.

Gratitude requires us to not think about just ourselves. Which is really really hard to do.

BECAUSE IT IS ALL ABOUT ME!

Wait…it’s not? Well crap.

 So Its not til I look at things without me as the center focus that I can be grateful.

Grateful that  even though our government is far from perfect, we are free in ways others are not.

Grateful that even though I have pain, I have good days too. Others have worse pain.

Grateful that even though I have depression, I have help. Others are lost in the grip of Depression.

Grateful that even though we don’t have all that we want, we have enough. Others have nothing.

Grateful that even though food is not in surplus, we have food. Others do not.

Grateful that even though I only have one kid, I HAVE ONE FANTASTIC KID, others want and have none.

Grateful is not something that you can think about and not feel just a tad bit better.

When I am in a real funk, I sometimes challenge myself to think of one thing every HOUR to be grateful for. BECAUSE seriously sometimes it is that much of a struggle.

Deep down in my dark little hole, I don’t want any sunshine in here.

But maybe I need some sunshine in here.

Maybe just a tiny little ray here and there.

Sometimes I want ALL THE RAYS OF SUN in here.  Sometimes I am so full of gratitude that  my happiness exudes onto everyone else.

Sometimes I am not.

Sometimes on really special days you get both sides.

So excuse me if I like my hole, it doesn’t mean I am not grateful, not thankful for what I have.

Its just who I am.

I am not Pollyanna after all.

I am however grateful.