Last days Bennett Spring 2018

This particular spot on the stream is my holy place.

Spent many mornings on a bench here watching Phil, Brett and Brett’s dad, Rex gracefully lay their fly lines gently on the water over and over. Its beautiful to watch. This is sacred space for me….peaceful, quiet and a place where I can connect with loving spirits.

Until next time….

Fear and Anxiety

I’ve been wanting to do this blog for quite awhile. I don’t know what is stopping me because in the last 11 years this blog has been a witness to world class disfunction. I’ve spilled my guts over the years for two reasons. Quite frankly, I needed it for my own therapy….write it out, Dear Diary, and heal; and the second reason is I always hope that I will connect with someone who needs to know that they are not alone. I’ve heard you!

Just for the record, I’ve been off anti depressants for 1 year and 8 months…but who is counting. I didn’t just go off anti depressants without a labor intensive backup plan! I’ve continued some in depth self healing….reading and meditating and doing positive affirmations, learning about spirituality and immersing myself in the love and acceptance at Unity Village….and I’ve also been doing some therapy with a licensed therapist who uses EMDR. Using the EMDR protocol, I’ve been able to quiet my mind and relieve my intense fear based anxiety. This treatment is used for PTSD and other flight/fight loops that occur in the brain when you don’t deal with your significant negative, fear based ‘stuff’ in a timely manner.

This treatment was foreign to me when it was suggested…and after one especially painful session, I told my therapist that I have no idea how it works but it works. So there it is. tools that are working for me.

Until next time….

When the scar tissue is too thick

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.

Tripping over the stones

Where I am in my life, tripping over things is okay….the best way I can explain being okay with tripping is it doesn’t hurt as much as falling down or falling over the cliff. I have been on a path of self discovery for many years….mainly because I didn’t like to spend time with myself and my negative thoughts and I knew there was something I didn’t understand about life and living…..I knew that an inner peace was achievable and the journey was not going to be easy. I guess what I didn’t really realize that I would have to take this journey one step at a time rather than trudging up the hill in an hour or a day. It started when I was about 25 and I’m closing in on 62 and every single day I learn a new way of thinking, a new way of being….a new way to live life. It’s like the picture slide projector from the 60s…we would have our pictures developed into little squares with cardboard surround and we would put those in a Kodak projector shining on a white wall or screen and one by one we would view these pictures with a click of a button.

Sometimes a very slow process because if you clicked too fast, the machine would jam. Sometimes we would linger on a certain picture in order to remark about it, reminisce about a memory associated with it or attempt to figure out exactly why we took the picture.

We all start on the road from a different intersection and we meet others at different Crossroads. Sometimes we choose to walk along with them other times we choose to continue alone…..but the bottom line is we must keep moving…up that hill even if we fall down and if we go over the cliff?? Well, it’s a long way back up to where we were but with skinned knees and injured pride, we will know what to watch for as we continue.

Until next time….

Control vs victim mode

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….

I put one foot in front of the other

Made my way into my mind’s rational room where all the figurines are placed in their appropriate place….all in a week where the skies are gloomy and the temps below average.  Every morning, I tried to think of the day’s gloomy weather like wearing an oversized t shirt with my old Walmart sweatpants.  Comfortable, safe and familiar as opposed to having to push myself out the door into warmth and sunshine wearing jeans, boots and a noticeable red shirt!

I’m approaching 9 months of being medication free.  I’ve learned that I no longer have the option of pharm to put me in a stupor in order to not feel anything….I must recognize the signs that anxiety is creeping in day to day or actually just event to event.  Perhaps I’m a slow learner or more likely I just don’t have the discipline yet to work the skills I’ve learned to ease the symptoms when they first appear?

This night time irrational anxiety is a bitch!  but this week, I grabbed it with all of my strength and won again.  Practice makes perfect, right?

Until next time…..

Exactly where I was supposed to be…..

I had a particularly satisfying guided Meditation tonight.  I have my favorites and I usually choose Jason Stephenson…but tonight when I was selecting which You Tube video I was going to use, I didn’t think about it….for some reason I chose This one.  It was the right one….it took me where I needed to be.  it’s almost like hypnosis….he took me deeper and deeper into total relaxation and then successfully guided me into working out some things I needed to learn about myself.

And then when he brought me out of it and the meditation was over, You Tube automatically took me to my next saved favorite Video.

And I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Namaste…..

I have something to say…

But currently I’m working through it.  I don’t have understanding right now.  This is why I journal…both privately and publically on ninasusan.com…For the most part, my private journaling is paragraph after paragraph of thoughts that either would not make sense to anyone else or would, quite frankly, piss them off….it may be a book someday.  This blog is a more polished version of what I think  I know to be true.  Sharing back and forth with others is like frosting on my cake.

I find clarity in meditation and journaling….clarity and healing….  I’m seeking understanding about love and friendships.  From somewhere deep within me, I’m realizing that in spite of the parenting I received, I was unconditionally loved by a grandparent from both sides of my family..maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother.  This has been life changing for me…the little girl who grew up believing that love had to be earned.

Through the years, I’ve had a few faulty relationships with friends and family.  I have worn myself out trying to figure out why some of these relationships don’t work….so I started to simply analyze the relationships that do work.  Here’s what I think….those who have grown up with unconditional love are able to love themselves and are free to share that love with friends and family.  It’s just who they are.  Those close to me who have the same vacant love history also have the need and capacity to love when we are connected with respect and “unconditional” friendship that blossoms….and one step further those who are unable to love themselves and have not learned to trust or respect others, for whatever reason, are satisfied with superficial friendships and just do not have the ability to form honest, trusting relationships?  

I guess my bottom line is I must stop trying to earn love and friendship.  Relationships need to have the right ingredients to form and grow and for me, negativity is not one of those ingredients.

Your turn, Please!

Six Months 4 Days

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…..

Being content just being content

19 to 59 years old, I really could not be stopped!  I look back at those years now and wonder who that person was..59 was just two years ago.    Seems the moment I walked into my first job for an insurance company roughly 40 years ago this month, I began my 40 year energizer bunny phase.  Jobs, kids, vacations, volunteering, senior family caregiving and socializing when I could.  I don’t think I regret any of it.  Oh, sure, in the abstract there are things I would do different.  Several of those “if I’d known then what I know now” moments…and the obvious lineup of old pictures showing my weight fluctuations and hair styles.

I remember as I got older that I craved to dedicate one of my days off just to myself to be able to sit around and do nothing.  Sometimes that helped…sometimes it made me dissatisfied because it gave me the time to ruminate about how to get off the roller coaster and relax…but I always belted back in and continued.

Now that I’m retired, I frequently have to psych myself up to get in the car.  I’m content to do whatever it is I do all day.  When I went to the mailbox yesterday (which is my daily outing), I noticed my retired neighbor outside working in the yard …. dripping sweat…later she sent over tomatos from her garden and I learned that she had canned several tons of tomatoes and salsa.  I thought, ya…I used to do that…don’t wanna!  The fact that I don’t wanna really bugs me.  I’m just content doing what I’m doing….but I want to be content with being content.  I still haven’t been able to cleanse my brain of “should”!  Will this eventually happen or do I just need new batteries?

Until next time…