Why do I think everyone else’s life is better than my own?
I know that these thoughts usually only settle in when I am feeling irritable without a cause or irritable with a cause. So…irritable.
Or when I’m feeling sorry for myself…without a cause or with a cause.
Or when I have committed or not committed to do something in the future that I am often unable to follow through when the moment is now. Actually this particular situation has taken care of itself, for the most part, because I am learning the lesson of NO.. just say NO because it is not something I want to do at this time. Often after I have said NO….I feel very empowered. Standing up for myself…even if I can’t respond immediately because in the moment I don’t know if it’s a yes or no, I do understand that in the next second I may have an answer. I’ve accepted that I have quite a vocabulary and a mouth and I know how to use them.
Often when I’m driving in a new neighborhood, city, state, country – especially on a vacation – I think..ya..I like this area, I could live here or No…I don’t even want to eat ice cream here. Those memories seem to live in my consciousness so I can pull them out when I’m feeling irritable, sorry for myself, put upon, not appreciated. I USE THEM to compare my present moment with the illusion of the moment in my memory. It’s hard to remember the difference between fantasy and what I’m experiencing in the present.
But then…I can find myself when I’m sitting in solitary on the deck watching the water ripple on the pond, see the gentleness of the geese skimming across the water, an occasional ruffled feather, hear the birds tweeting in the wren house above my head, feeling the sun on my skin…reality sinks in and I know that I wouldn’t trade THIS or my life for anything. Which has me questioning sentence number 1 above:
Why do I think everyone else’s life is better than my own.
I had no idea how depressed I was…I had no idea how much of my life had been sucked out of me…I had no idea how I had just given up…..I had no idea how angry I was…
Until the moment President-elect Biden and Vice-President elect Harris were finally affirmed to be the next President and VP! I was overcome with emotion. 100 years after Women were given the right to vote, a woman has been elected Vice President of the United Stated…..Ladies, WE HAVE ARRIVED!
Regular words are not available to me to describe the Hope and Love that surged into my body. I am finally calm and I (we) know I (we) can accomplish anything now! We are here!
I had one yesterday…My work schedule begins very early in the morning and I am blessed that I am able to work from my office/craft room in the basement…so grateful … so very grateful that I don’t have to be “out there”. But with this convenience AND inconvenience of the virus around the world comes restlessness. While eating lunch yesterday, I heard myself “shoulding”!
From my permanent self assigned seat in the living room, I watched the gentle movement of the leafless tree branches in the breeze. I knew the light breeze, the blue sky and the comforting temperature would lift my soul if I would only take that first step…off the couch and stepping out the door.
But I didn’t!
It seems to be where I am right now. Thoughts of my least favorite season’s rapid approach is freezing the joy right out of me. The politics of the US, my dedication to social distancing because of the virus and all of the other depressing stories I am telling myself are what is keeping me down. AND I KNOW THESE ARE ONLY ILLUSIONS BASED UPON THE PAST and not my life in this present moment. I know that I need to take that first step to pull myself out of my perception of what is ahead …. the winter doldrums.
So this morning I am envisioning my dear friends and family locking arms, moving forward in the street, the wind blowing our hair away from our faces as we throw our heads back and laugh at the pure joy in our hearts and the love we have for each other. We are enough…it is enough. We are all in this together…It feels better to feel the love and joy than the feeling of the dead of winter in my soul!
The reality of our virus consciousness is we can be pissed off, we can believe this should not affect “me”, we can go on trying to live the same life we lived before we heard of Coronavirus, we can rip our insides out being internally hateful and angry, we can refuse to trust the government, we are free to read and believe all of the conspiracy theorists to bolster our negative attitudes, we can weep for lost opportunities, we can be devastated by the loss of loved ones and inconsolable because we can’t send them off into “whatever you believe next is” the way we believe we should. But the bottom line is. It has us. We have very few real choices!
This feels wrong! We aren’t use to discipline, we aren’t use to the loneliness, we aren’t use to having to follow someone else’s rules with our private lives. Here in the US, most of us have the American Dream mentality. If we work hard, we will succeed. We can do anything we put our mind to. But that is being taken away from us….just for a little while….just until we are safe…..safer.
There is no doubt, individually, we are going to come out of this with monumental issues….all of those things that you are worrying about right now…some of them may actually be difficult to deal with.
But will we love more abundantly, Will our time out make us appreciate the little things, Will we hug others with heart bursting love and Will we come together as humans on earth helping each other, freely giving our time, energy and love to one another just because we will see how much it is needed and appreciated and generosity will be stylish?
I am already seeing it out there…”out there” outside of where I shelter. The neighbors are checking on each other, able neighbors are offering resources, time and energy to help each other. In between the angst on social media, there is love. We are starting to step up for each other…it’s actually kind of beautiful!
When I was in the grips of pain, depression, and overwhelming anxiety which I blamed on my job, my role as caretaker of my elderly mother and Aunt, feeling like an outcast in my husbands family and hating who I was because of the way I was thinking and the way my body looked…whew…I felt like at every opportunity, I needed to tell my story. My story had no happiness but involved my upbringing, my loneliness, my familial burdens as well as every other thing that I considered to be my negative personal affliction. By telling my story, at least I got attention, I had a line of people who felt sorry for me, I had friends who would get down there in the mud and wallow with me. I thought I was fortunate *fist on forehead, that I at least had that!
Each step forward I thought I could make myself feel better by changing my surroundings and my personal appearance but the brick wall I was running into got thicker and thicker. Finally a therapist led me around the brick wall.
Today…I woke up feeling like I was going to have a sensitive pre-holiday day…but I started out mindfully feeling gratitude…I took my oldest grandson to school this morning and he chatted as if he was in my head and knew I needed to hear what he was saying….gratitude. I’m babysitting my 3 year old grandson today and he’s laughing and full of joy…gratitude. I was thinking about Christmas past and I felt gratitude….I was loved and I have friends and family who love me. When my grandson pushed the button on the paw of a toy dog that sings Blue Christmas over and over again, I felt gratitude. My mom bought this stuffed dog for herself a couple years before she died…I felt an unusual thankfulness for my mother and her gift to me of memories of those cherished christmases past. For a moment, I felt myself wanting to rethink my story…the familiar story I used to tell myself… but I just stopped and realized gratitude was my new story and here I am. Right here and right now, I’m so thankful!
A few months ago, I participated in an applied kinesiology session with a massage therapist. It was a technique to dig deep in your soul writing down specific words in color degrees as you talk about a troublesome issue…followed by an alternative muscle massage therapy to determine where you are physically hiding these emotions. The dam broke for me approximately 5 minutes in because my emotions about my childhood are always right under my skin. I did a follow up session one month later and was given the large poster board size sheet of paper marked in Magic marker of my words and was told to hold on to it and then one day burn this page. I was ready last night.
I spent most of the evening on the deck with my headphones watching a movie on my iPad….alternating sips of coffee and water. I found myself distracted several times by my flowers and the serenity of the pond. I put a quilt over my legs and felt the cool evening breeze in my hair…I felt I was totally at peace with myself. I shut down any intruding thoughts and focused on my blessings.
Then I grabbed the “words” off the ironing board where they had been laying for months, grabbed the fire stick and in the dark over an old tree stump, I burned the words in preparation for Mothers Day. I didn’t do it for her….I did it for me!
If you have been reading my blogs recently, you understand that I have chosen to discontinue my use of antidepressants. I began taking them 15 years ago after the death of my dad. I had been experiencing some mild anxiety and depression for several years before that but his death sent me over the edge. Since then, I have taken 6 or 7 different antidepressants…who can keep track. The reason for so many switches was because some would work for a time and then seem to fizzle out sending me into daily crying and a lot of other feelings I won’t go into now. Also I gained over 90 pounds. medications and lifestyle? I believe that the meds kept me from spending my days crying but they also numbed me and I already had an unfortunate relationship with food.
Finally I found celexa….I thought I had finally found the cure. We both retired, moved to Missouri and I felt I was getting it together, I dropped 60 pounds wanted to get out and walk and wanted to be healthy. But then, damnit, late last summer I felt I was losing ground…gained some weight, was having crying jags and anxiety was my middle name. dr doubled my dosage. Crying stopped but so did everything else. I could not get off the couch to do anything. No interest in traveling or being sociable and I could not think. Sometimes I could barely finish a sentence because I couldn’t think of words. Another trip to the doctor and a new prescription, Cymbalta. The worst one ever! High anxiety, insomnia and felt I was spinning out of control. After nearly 4 weeks, I decided I was wasting my life drugged and I was going to get off of this ridiculous roller coaster. so, I decided to detox. Well holy shit, Nina, hang on you haven’t seen anything yet.
I’m sharing my story because I’ve talked to a few people who have their own story to tell about their pharmaceutical nightmare and are desperately seeking relief. I started reading, how-to, other blogs of folks who have bitten the bullet, how to withdraw with the least amount of agony etc. if you don’t know and/or want to know, read back a few blogs. It’s been HELL. Before I tell you how I did it, I want to tell you that you can do it. I really can’t think of one pleasant piece of advise other than buckle up!
I started weening myself on a Friday night, Feb 10 because I was back in Des Moines to enjoy a girls weekend. I knew that I would not be able to keep a schedule and have a good time if I took the cymbalta. So didn’t take the pill on Friday night. did pretty well until evening on Saturday night approximately 44 hours since the last dosage. Took away some of the weird head experiences I was having and I was able to drive back to KC on Sunday. Sunday night I felt I had to take one… lots of I’m going to lose my mind if I don’t. Really got serious Monday night and decided to ride it out and made it exactly 48 hours between doses…I kept a semi log of what I was feeling….constant movement in my brain accompanied with brain zaps. These are like electric shocks in the brain that would occasionally fire. I knew to expect this from what I had read…but I was back and forth between I can’t do this and yes I can. Got 3 hours longer between doses the next time and lost track …. took them every other night trying to make it a little longer each time. Until Saturday. Ended up in the ER Saturday for a whole host of reasons…dehydration. Low potassium etc etc. Saturday night I was on the warpath and committed to NOT ANOTHER PILL. so here I sit tonight 6 days after going cold turkey. the brain zaps are gone, I think I only experienced the weird brain movement a few times today. I have clarity like I haven’t experienced in years, I’ve been active…actually wanting to get out of the house and participate in my own life. I expect each day from here, to get more of me back…I have hope.
Ending. I have two things to say…if you need to be on anti depressants, don’t hesitate…they probably saved my life back in 2001. If you know that you must get off of them, try to taper dosages down over weeks…cold turkey is not the way to go…it is a very bad experience…but most important YOU CAN DO IT. Don’t let the Internet scare you and I’m more than willing to talk you down and talk you through it. All you have to do is ask!
When he died back in 2001, I felt that grief that takes your breath away…that pain which reaches so deep into all of your muscles and nerves that you are pretty sure you will never feel alive again. His death was the most important thing that has ever happened to me. It changed me from the person I thought I was to the person I am. I called upon all of the stubborness and determination and a little of the eccentric personality traits learned from him to change myself from being a victim of my life to being in charge and having chutzpah (which I like to refer to as balls) to stop the insanity.
After the initial grieving, I was relieved that his life was over – I knew my dad and I knew that my dad was ready to go. I now know that he suffered severe bouts of depression. He verbalized many times to Phil and to me that he wanted out – I know and knew that he really wanted away from my mother…but I will not crucify her in this blog…this is about my dad. His mind was finally quiet…it was over…and this is exactly what he wanted. My love for him was able to allow me to be happy that he was finally dead!
We all have those outline bullet points or the A.1.a. in the outline of our life or the events which we always refer to as before this happened or since this happened. My dad’s death is the capital A in my life.
In today’s chapter, the heroine made it through another anxiety ridden spell to wake up having accomplished another level of fear of the unknown, insecurity and inner turmoil which I should probably just call not loving herself. I told him yesterday morning that I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I couldn’t fall asleep, I woke up pissed off and getting myself up off the couch and away from the TV was impossible. In a week, I watched more movies than I have watched in many previous years. Kate Winslet and I had a relationship and every day with Kate Winslet was a struggle of epic proportion. Not Titanic proportion but close!
I had a ridiculous number of things I needed to do but I was unwilling to dig in and just get them done, I was totally overwhelmed. I’m not normally a procrastinator…one of the things I’m normally proud of…but for some reason, I shunned my responsibilities and felt like I just couldn’t tackle it. Yesterday, I donned the gear and took care of all of them. One right after the other. Done…no more thought…one step at a time…done! In the evening, I watched a little TV, did some laundry, straightened up the house, watched the first Housewives of Orange County reunion show and started reading a book……
This morning I woke up and immediately took a shower…just prior to stepping in the shower, I weighed myself…40 pounds! I was able to think in the shower this morning…something I’ve been having difficulty doing. I felt strong…I felt secure…I felt like this is who I am and no one knows my struggles…I am strong because what I have been through aka life. I am me. I like me. I really want to hold onto this me…but I know – because this is life – I will find myself in the other place again. I must remember they are bad days but good days are just around the corner depending if I’m willing to work at it or just bask in the ugliness.