My daughter put random pictures on line last weekend of her cousins playing and posing for pictures over the years. Looking at those pictures, I was filled with so many memories. It seems like just yesterday.
In 2013, we had one daughter living in Ohio and one in Missouri. HE had already officially retired and was working part time waiting for me to retire the next year when we found out the Missouri daughter was going to give us a grandchild. We made the decision to leave everything we had ever known and move south . We loaded up 2 dogs and 5 cats and made the official move on the same day I was free of a job I had for 30 years. Where had those 30 years gone? It seems like just yesterday.
The first part of March we really had no idea how our life was going to change. It seems like just yesterday. Life as we had known it…family, trips back to Iowa to see family and friends, planning babysitting activities, going out to eat, shopping and our activities at Unity….they just stopped! It seemed like everything just stopped! I can’t wrap my head around how life has changed for the world…not just my little corner.
We are coping. That means whatever it means for each individual and the circumstances of their lives! I have to remind myself that we are a strong people. Most of us will survive. My prayer is we can show love and kindness to each human we cross paths with while recognizing the gratitude and thankfulness for all of those little acts of kindness. A few years from now we will remember this time as the moment everything changed. It will seem like just yesterday.
……and by mental, I mean what is the story we are telling ourselves. As I wander around the house seeing things that need to be done, I tell myself I don’t really want to do them. These are the exact same things I had all kinds of excuses for back in January and February…you know….the good old days.
Now because the “powers that be” have instituted new rules to keep me safe, I feel like I’m being disciplined. This is in no way a Pollyanna commentary that everything is just fine…there is a lot of suffering. But I am trying to just watch the back-of-my-mind running narration telling me that if this was my choice….a stay at home vacation….needed down time from the busyness, I would not be complaining at all. I would be breathing in the solitude…I would be enjoying the guiltless time to read a book, catch up on TV series I had recorded, settling in for an afternoon movie. It’s not like we are without any options for our leisure time.
Is it safe to say that the angst, anger, boredom in our required downtime is more the story we are telling ourselves than reality…saying “I can’t” rather than “I won’t”. Because of the fear of “catching” the virus and the uncertainty of available health care or for me….mortality, I choose to not have any physical association with others. But if that were not a fear… I have the choice …. like so many others are doing …. ignore the rules in order to satisfy immediate gratification. Theoretically this makes it my choice!
This may be activity day for the egoic voices in my head. This thought pattern was only the first 15 minutes of coffee in my hand, on the couch, waking up….buckle up!
Last year when I had foot surgery, I remember laying in bed with my foot propped. Often out of my ever loving mind thanks to pharmaceuticals. Attempting to have some understanding of the book I had been wanting to read. Watching the same episode of a recorded show several times because I could NOT keep my eyes open or my brain awake in order to have any type of comprehension! “What did he say?”
Soon I was up clomping about with my big black boot….and soon I was wanting to sit around and read and watch movies and I thought …wow I wish I could go back to bed and veg without guilt….of course I didn’t…I planned for the next day, the next week, the next meeting, thinking about the forecast for tomorrow, griping about future events…thinking and worrying about everything I had to do….so much thinking….
Fast forward a year. Here I am in my theoretical bed again. This time there is no planning into the future because I have no idea when the future will begin. I have very few choices. Decision revolve around my eating schedule and remembering if I brushed my teeth?!?!
I am living in a place of acceptance because my only real choice is what I’m doing right now. As uncertainty and unsettled feelings present themselves, I know I need to let them wash over me and then watch them recede. The waves will continue to come, sometimes noisily crashing. But what I have right now is the solitude, the silence and the gift of this moment to learn a new way of living my life.
I’ve been watching, ahem, muting and fast forwarding TV political ads with skill and ease for the last few weeks…but even with my dedication to avoid the paid political BS, a guy named Jason Kander has slipped through a few times. He was running for Mayor of Kansas City and has a sweet little bio.
I was shocked to find out, while watching the news last night, that he is withdrawing from his mayoral campaign because of depression and PTSD….before he goes another step further in life, he’s going to do some therapy and work through his demons. I was very surprised because judging from his public and on air personna he’s a walking, talking, laughing, smiling, articulate man who realized the world was his oyster kinda guy.
NOPE! They are walking among us…and you can’t tell by looking, you can’t tell by listening….you can’t tell!
Be kind…you have no idea what your friends, your family, the people you pass just doing the daily life stuff are really enduring and feeling.
Until next time….
I remember the first time I felt bad enough to seek out therapy, I was a well functioning mess! That was many years ago. The nice face and laughing, loving personality was a facade. I should have been in Hollywood….pretty much everything people saw was an act. Therapy helped…I was able to dangle low and could reach the bottom to tie on the knot. I got better and was on anti depressants…I felt like I had seriously dealt with my demons.
A few years later after an anti depressant change, I was going under again so same place, different therapist (a woman this time), I blistered the walls with fire and hate. I unloaded. I discontinued therapy sooner this time because I felt like I had seriously dealt with my demons. But I remained on anti depressants.
If you have read previous blogs, you know that in February 2017 I stopped anti depressants. It was difficult. It was ugly. It was good. But I’ve had to learn to live unmedicated. Mild depression waves in and out….anxiety seems to be my most serious complication. I chose to change my behaviors…I started meditating, living more spiritual and learning to be more mindful. But I also realized that there is sill more crap I need to deal with which I will describe as needing to do plastic surgery on the scarring left behind. It’s different. The scars not the injury is the best way I can describe it. So, I’m back in therapy. I feel good about it. I’m probably not going to share a lot about it. I’m more vulnerable now and not full of hate. It’s called recovery!
Thanks to you who have been along on my journey so far.
Are these the ends of the spectrum? Back when I was a young-youngish woman working a full time very demanding job, raising kids, trying to be everything to everybody I was strong. At least I had the illusion that I was strong and in control. I say illusion because really we don’t control anything in our lives…we make decisions and react to things which come our way. I look back and realize that I needed to always be and feel I was in control was out of fear of the unknown. What you don’t control will getcha! For the most part, I didn’t listen to my more rational inner voice…I heard it, but I seldom had a conversation with it. Fear of the unknown and protecting myself and my family was my rally cry. With that in mind, I also had a confidence that I could and would handle everything…..if I was on a deserted island, I would survive.
The day I retired, I began the soul searching and started tearing down my own personal brick wall. With each brick, I found some inner joy, peacefulness and the ability to act on my compassion for others. Awareness of vulnerability made me uncomfortable….but on the flip side I began accepting love and compassion from others. I actually starting depending on others…..and I’m not overly comfortable with this reality. Sometimes I find myself pulling back with no incentive to step out on my own and make a difference. Perhaps circling the victim mode…things happen to me instead of I happen to things.
It’s hard to find center which is my ultimate goal. A lot of understanding, bandaids and axes find their way to the inner me through meditation. I’ve also noticed that if I skip a few days, I start feeling vulnerable. Without listening and understanding my inner self, I cannot find the balance I need which is Finding my true self…not who I want to be, not who others think I am, but ME
Until next time….
Just seems like a strange thing to feel in light of past Christmases when actually serious things have happened. Interestingly, I haven’t had my one wrenching Christmas cry this year, rather it has been chopped up between a range of emotions that have made the tears slip from my eyes from pure utter delight to all encompassing rage. I was actually sitting on the floor earlier in the week and thought…oh holy crap…maybe I’m just old and it has caught up to me? Then, I’m really not THAT old.
Fast forward to this morning, when I broke down looking at historical pictures of a shopping mall in the town I lived in for 35 years that had closed down in 1994 and the tears started flowing. This is not normal.
…..and then it hit me. This is the first holiday season in 16 years that I haven’t had anti-depressants numbing me. I’m feeling usual holiday cheer with just a little more delight, I’m feeling nostalgic now in my heart rather than just my head, my sorrow of the absence of past friends and family has hurt me in little bursts rather than all at once producing that sobbing Christmas cry.
I don’t know how or why this realization has given me peace of mind but Understanding seems to have made it reasonable and doable.
Until next time……
Life lessons are just like peeling an onion, those of us who have finally grown up realize that …. to put it nicely….we just don’t have tolerance anymore. The drama and other people’s bad manners is just not appealing and crowds the emotions and patience inside our heads. I didn’t invent this theory, I’ve heard it over and over. “I just can’t deal with BS anymore”.
My childhood job was as referee for my parents relationship as one and then the other would come to me each bitching about the other. As a child, I realized my parents didn’t like each other very much and I didn’t think I could stand not having both of them living in the house so I spent copious amounts of childhood energy trying to make everything better. I am very good at it! I also learned that kindness was equivalent to a fireman’s hose on a house fire so I learned to be a good girl and shove my emotions down and not let them manifest in anger. I knew what anger felt like and sounded like.
I’m now 61 years old and I’m finally recognizing and peeling that onion of anger in my gut one layer at a time. I’ve learned coping skills for the depression and anxiety that fueled my life and now, now I’m taking on the anger. I’m finding that I have to work through each layer with internal questions…why does this make me angry, what actually is happening when I’m feeling angry, how do I appropriately deal with this anger and then take action to work through it….things past and present must be quieted either by speaking up or cutting off the offending hand.
….as soon as I worked through this plan of action, I felt lighter. My first challenge is to no longer consider myself a victim. I have choices.
Until next time….
Are we just harming ourselves? I’m not sure yet if I believe in the karma theory but I know in the past from my mental flapping, I’ve entertained lots of negative hopes for those who have been on the other side of my personal battle line. It is starting to sink in that you are what you think…in other words…negative attitudes and gossip or bad mouthing others is nothing more than a show of your own personal insecurity. Continually trying to drag someone else down with your words and attempting to incite YOUR jealousies in others really only feeds your own negative agenda. ESpecially if your opponent is wearing the shield of love and their own personal acceptance and self love. It’s unflattering and harmful only to the person doing the bashing!
We have no control over how we were treated and loved or not loved as children. We have no control over how other people treat us. But we do have total control how we receive the information and more importantly our reaction to negativity. After a conversation with a friend today AND my own personal experience, I’m convinced sometimes we must just cut ties with those people who hurt us with their words, actions and intentions. As a people pleaser, it is often hard to stop the cycle of trying to force people to love us and respect us. For the most part, these relationships bring us pain, sadness and personal retreat in order to save ourselves! These relationships are not worth the angst experienced in your mind and in your heart!
Until next time….
This blog has been taking up space in my head for 4 days now. I’ve been off antidepressants for 6 months and now 4 days.
- I no longer feel drugged. I’m able to function in the real world like everyone else.
- Now when I look back at those 2 weeks of Hell going cold turkey, I have no regrets. Kind of like childbirth!
- I don’t sleep as well…I think I sleep as deep…just not as long. I seldom get 8 hours now.
- The anxiety is now manageable. I have been meditating every day. It is as important to me as my morning coffee.
- I finally am able to feel emotion…things make me laugh and I can tear up nearly on demand.
- My thoughts seem to be more rational. I credit meditation with opening my subconscious to assist.
- I have had some moments of irrational anger…or let’s say I’m no longer medicated so I feel the anger.
Every day is a lesson to be learned. I missed out on a lot using pharmaceuticals for a long as I did 15 years. I wish a doctor had given me encouragement to try real life!
It is an empowering experience.
Until next time…..