Category Archives: meditation

Aside

The decrease in Celexa did the trick.  I’m not as tired which translates to not feeling like a freaking zombie.  When I’m numbed out on antidepressants it’s the worst feeling to forget half of what I or other people say.  I’m so glad that … Continue reading

Old patterns revisited

I like to be upfront in my blog and – as much as I wish I could say all this self-compassion and mindfulness is helping – right now – it’s not.

Things suck. I’m getting over a sinus infection and I’ve been experiencing a migraine for 2 days. These are physical and can wreak havoc on my emotional stability.

I fucking hate being unstable. I fight it or fake it until the feeling passes.

My home life is wrought with anger because I feel burdened with the household chores. I have two growing boys and a healthy husband yet if I go out for the evening, the kitchen remains as messy as when I left. I angrily make clear how I feel, “I’m not the only one in this house who knows how to clean a kitchen. So, why am I the only one doing it?” As you can probably imagine this reaction makes everyone clear the room and grow further in distance from my rage.

My family knows when I’m not feeling stable and they joke about my anger and interruptions. “Not funny,” I say. They really don’t understand this is my worst and I need them the most.

There’s a break down in communication because I never learned how to express uncomfortable feelings. Survivors of sexual abuse either take it out on themselves or get angry with the world. It’s seems there’s no normalcy or middle ground.

I can’t fix my emotional self until the physical self is better. I took charge of my health and called my doctor three times in the last week. Once to get on an antibiotic for my sinuses, the second time because the first antibiotic didn’t work and again because my migraine was not responding to a potent medication that I can only take every twenty-four hours. The medication (Imitrex) lasted 15 hours and I called my doctor. She said I was experiencing a cluster migraine and prescribed a tapered steroid.

So, I’m taking antibiotics, steroids and my usual cocktail of Wellbutrin, Celexa and Klonopin. This is positive because I’m healing the infection, knocking out the migraines and treating my depression.

I wish I could feel optimistic. But, the stress of not being on top of my game has made me lose focus on mindfulness and self-compassion. Somewhere along the way I heard the voices telling me, “You’re sleeping too much.” “You need your doctor too much.” “You haven’t put up one Christmas decoration.” My head has been  full of self-defeating thoughts that I can’t run from.

I fall back on my old way of numbing the pain – both emotional and physical. I self-sabotage with a bottle of Pinot Grigio. I know I binge drink. I hate myself more for the lack of self- control.

My appointment with Lynn this week was focused on my emotional health and how I’m striving for mindfulness. I told her I recognized moments where I beat myself up with an inner critic that no one would want as a friend. She asked about my drinking and even after I told her I am drinking as a way to disassociate, she told me I’m making progress with the work of being present with my feelings.

I cannot believe she praised me even though I feel defeated and weak. Lynn told me to keep working on my emotions and allow those feelings to come to the surface.

I wanted to hug and thank her for recognizing my effort. Never have I expressed all of my vulnerability and had someone say, “Good for you.”

Daylily

Your journey has molded you

for your greater good,

and it was exactly what it needed to be.

Don’t think that you’ve lost time.

It took each and every

situation you have encountered

to bring you to the now.

AND NOW IS RIGHT ON TIME.

                     -Asha Tyson-

Freeing myself from shame

Wonder and astonishment are the best words to describe what I am discovering about myself. I always felt different from the rest of the world. My intellect told me it was because I suffered an incestuous experience that isolated me from others.  However, knowing the cause of an ailment does not make it better. Instead, I suffered more with the knowledge that I couldn’t get out from under my own self-loathing. As many survivors will tell you, we learn to fake wholeness in order to keep up the façade of normalcy. It is painful enough to hate yourself and it would be more painful to have others know those reasons because they would hate you, too. I know that thinking makes no sense unless you’ve learned to protect yourself through self-loathing; then you too would understand how real it feels – so real that others would admonish you if they knew. But, something is shifting and I no longer feel like that girl who is hiding her sense of inadequacy.

I am immersed in a book that so concisely describes my emotional pain that it blows me away. It’s truly extraordinary! How uplifting it is to read another person’s description of my life. If a book was written that matches my struggle there must be others out there who are buying and reading the same book. You have no idea how liberating this revelation is.

Sounds simple; pretty basic, really. Didn’t I say I always knew what my problem was? And don’t I know that 7 out of 10 women are sexually abused? So what is so special about this book and this moment in my life?

It is as if the stars have lined up perfectly and I am feeling what I’ve intellectually known all along. A new sense of freedom like no other. The emotional work I’m doing is paying off. Practicing mindfulness is putting me in touch with my negative thoughts and emotions in a way that’s allowing me to be aware of the hurt and pain, acknowledge it and then release it. My shame is diminishing and I am feeling stronger.

The following quote is from the book I’m reading.

“As the light increases, we see ourselves to be worse than we thought. We are amazed at our former blindness as we see issuing forth from the depths of our heart a whole swarm of shameful feelings, like filthy reptiles crawling from a hidden cave. We never could have believed that we had harbored such things, and we stand aghast as we watch them gradually appear. But while our faults diminish, the light by which we see them waxes brighter, and we are filled with horror. Bear in mind, for your comfort, that we only perceive our malady when the cure begins.” Francois Fenelon (1651)

Daylily

Confused with PTSD

My therapist confirmed that I was exhibiting classic symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) during the “Radical Forgiveness” workshop I attended.  I guess I put myself too far out on a limb and was dangling by a twig.  I had no way to protect my mind from the onslaught of feelings that got stirred up and I resorted to what I know, to disassociate and shut down.  I told Lynn I can’t remember what I said.  What others said.  What I was supposed to say.  I can’t remember the names of anyone (including the leader) although I said their names many times in the workshop.  href=”https://mydepressionchronicles.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/2188/”>

Radical anything should have been a red flag,” said Lynn.  “Yes,” I agreed.  “But I wanted to practice mindfulness and be aware of my negative thoughts toward myself in order to move on.”

Lynn told me, “You know what your problem is.”

Hmm?  I am wondering what  a person does if they know what the issue is –poor self-image, self-protectiveness skills in abundance and a facade that no one sees through.

I am trying too hard to fix my psyche. I think I know what I need to do.  Share my issues with safe people, open up to my feelings, get healthy in mind and spirit through exercise and meditation.  I’m doing all of that but the acronym PTSD keeps popping up in my thoughts and scaring me.  I fear my own feelings.  I shut down with my own thoughts.  My coping skills are to not deal with raw emotions.  I dissociate. I also drink to escape.

Sometimes, I am strong and can deal with this vision of my life.  Since my medications were increased I was doing well but then I saw my therapist.  She spoke words that I haven’t heard in years. Back 25 years ago, when I was working on sexual abuse issues, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I thought that was in the past.

I wonder what Lynn thinks of me now that she recognizes the depth of my issues.  PTSD is not small potatoes.  It’s overwhelming and I don’t quite know where I stand right now.

There is this general feeling that my whole life is a fake out.  Every “intellectual” interaction is blocking my true self.

Of course, that can’t be true.  My mind is playing evil tricks on me.  It’s those stories my narrative self has taught me along the way.  I blame myself rather than seeing things as they are.

Since I saw my therapist, I have not been able to meditate.  I feel no peace.   I have been preaching about mindfulness but I’m unable to find that stillness in my brain.

I will stay focused on the goal, which is to accept all of me and see that my thoughts are not me they are stories I’ve told myself.

But, again, I must ask, what do I do when the stories take over and feel so real? 

♥ Daylily, who apologizes for this unedited post.  I know it’s all over the place and I sound mixed-up.  To try and intellectualize my feelings would be one more attempt at a fake out.  This blog is the real me and right now I do feel confused. ♥

Doubling SSRI brings relief from depression

One week ago today my therapist increased my SSRI, Celexa, from 10 mg to 20 mg.  The effects are obvious.  My worries have been lifted.  Not kidding.  Peace has befallen me and it didn’t come about from mindful meditation, exercise, cutting back on my drinking or weight loss.  All it took was a little white pill that’s smaller than the eraser at the end of a pencil.

I’m reminded of my “about” page where I assert my depression is no more than a chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters.  For a bit, I lost sight of that belief.  My effort at changing thought patterns required me to look hard at my negative thinking and that in itself caused a spiral downward into depression.

I’m a bit worried because this time was the worse yet.  I gave into a sense of helplessness like never before.  But, on the flip-side, for years I’ve envied people with mental illness who are able to express themselves and put it all on the table.  I’ve lived a closeted life of depression and it’s been quite isolating.

Last Monday was a first; I exposed that part of me to a few close people in my life and I felt embraced and supported.  I feel liberated!  It feels like a miracle has taken place.

In-a-nutshell, I do not feel anxious about anything.  I am my calm, rational, even-keel self.  When I was on Paxil I enjoyed this feeling for about 3 years before I got tired of the weight gain and lack of sex drive.  Let’s not go there!

For now, I will enjoy the calm waters.  I need a break from the turbulent ocean I’ve been crashing around in.

“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson
I take credit for making this reprieve occur.  Whether it’s seeking my therapist’s help, calling my mother or doing a shit-load of grief work at the radical forgiveness workshop, it happened because I am actively pursuing a better state of living.  I am determined to continue exercising, meditating and easing up on the alcohol. ♥ Daylily
Aside

A succinct post is in order due to my limiting sense of self-disclosure.  I’m struggling with inner-demons and can’t reach out to my followers. The basic issue I’m dealing with is self-forgiveness.  About 2 weeks ago I took a women’s … Continue reading

Breaking away from self-hate

My blog is a bit quiet lately because I am digging deep into my unconscious attitude in order to find the source of my pain and suffering. I know the answer lies within me and I’m on a mission to expose my pain in order to stop living under the veil of a sense of negative self-worth. I must dis-identify from the self I’ve created through “stories” I made up during a painful childhood of sexual abuse and misunderstandings. I created a self that feels unworthy and inadequate but, there is the real me, whole and perfect, just lying in waiting for me to rediscover.

Mindfulness meditation and therapy are my tickets to this place of rediscovery. Unfortunately, the path to get there requires me to stare down the stories I’ve made up and recognize they are wrought with an unnecessary sense of dissatisfaction, longing and suffering. I’ve learned many bad habits that I must break. I tell myself I’m not worth it, that I’m different and that no one will ever understand me. This keeps me unable to truly love another person and leaves me stuck in a self-fulfilling prophecy. My stories are self-limiting and I’ve had enough.

Mindfulness will allow me to see my pain with compassion and forgiveness. I am going to try to be a witness to it but not participate in its negative effects. Once I turn toward my suffering I believe I can better understand how I came to feel deficient. Ultimately, my goal is to live wholly in the moment and stop the negative behaviors of self-harm that have allowed me to be distracted from the recurring suffering I’ve learned to put upon myself.

These ideas are from a wonderful book, Living with Your Heart Wide Open (Stahl & Flowers).

Your heart may break, but it breaks open, and this is where the light shines through.

I’ve worked on a lot of issues in my life but never how I developed a sense of inadequacy and how this comes up in my daily life. This seems like the ultimate emotional work in order for me to realize the peace and happiness that has always been with me but that I’ve never had the privilege of feeling.

It’s going to be a long process that will be worth it in the end. For now, that’s all I can say. Daylily

Rested Mind

As I said in my last post I have begun meditating. It’s been 5 days and I already see a remarkable difference. The biggest proof is that I slept through the entire night, 12am – 7am without waking up once. This is atypical behavior for me because my habits of wine and naps typically wreck havoc with my natural sleep cycle.

Early in the week (Sun, Mon, Tue and Wed) I listened to my newly purchased hypnotic CD which is helping to release negative thoughts that have been buried since the day I learned them. But, last night I listened to a different CD called P.M. Yoga Meditations by Gael Chiarella. The narrator’s soothing voice helped me recognize all the events in my day that caused feelings of sadness, joy or judgment. After focusing on my feelings, I released them. This was so relaxing that my sleep was transformed. I don’t recall a dream and I never woke up until morning came.

I haven’t had a drink for 6 days and I skipped my daily nap for the last three days. I’m on to something here. No alcohol/no naps + meditation = a good night’s sleep. And of course, I’m still taking my antidepressants as prescribed.

Now I need to dig deep and see if I can keep this behavior going. Daylily

Meditation/Mindfulness = Self-love

Saturday was a miserable night for me. I drank too much and cried while doing it. Usually drinking blocks my feelings but on this night I felt like a total fuck-up. I also took 2 Klonopin because I just didn’t give a shit. I wanted to be numb to my feelings. I tried to block out the disapproval I felt at my last session with Lynn. I felt she was judging me and I was disappointed in myself. For a long week I carried her words around and debated about whether to cancel my appointment for this Saturday. I’ve decided I will go and tell her I don’t feel supported. I will also admit that the progress I’m making with her feels slow and it’s disappointing. I blame myself and sitting in her office is painful because I must look and speak about my failings.

I apologize for the negativity that abounds in the beginning of this post. That was not my intent but it is my Truth as I’m living it.

I made an effort to do something good for myself on Sunday. I left behind my husband and kids and drove to the Natural Living Expo, which touts itself as being New England’s Largest Holistic Event. I was dressed in an old pair of jeans, a comfy t-shirt and barefoot in my topsiders, with my hair pulled completely back because I didn’t bother to shower before leaving. I was far enough away from home that I wouldn’t know anyone and I didn’t which was a relief because I looked like I felt. Very down, depressed and looking for answers.

I carefully observed the mystics, channelers, tarot readers and psychic mediums who offered everything from divine healing to spiritual guidance. Some looked like witches, others like gypsies and some like princesses. They all tried to draw me in offering a 15 minute reading from $20 all the way up to $45 (the higher-end offering a CD of her reading to take home). I didn’t see how they could feel my spiritual presence in a gigantic exposition hall and I wasn’t comfortable sitting in their tiny booth/table area practically knee to knee. Shit, I can barely stand my therapist’s huge office. Needless to say, I didn’t participate in a reading. I did go to a presentation by a healer who has written books and claims they are on the best seller list up there with Deepak Chopra’s books. She gave card readings to members in the audience but I wasn’t chosen. Secretly I was glad because her husband was taping the whole thing on his iPhone and I didn’t want to end up in any publicity. Not looking the way I did!

I tried to feel comforted by the herbs, gems, stones, jewelry and other frills that abounded. I walked about feeling empty and not receptive to the things that I saw. I heard people asking about how something could help them lead a better life; I saw people meditating and believing they were being healed with light, sound, massage and mystical words. But, I was a skeptic. I decided I knew what my issues were and so I wasn’t going to pay anyone else to tell me. But, I kept my options open and continued through 3 exhibit halls. Close to the last row I was to walk down I spied a woman who looked smart and friendly. Her table was simple. All I saw were CD’s with different names. I asked her to tell me about what she had. She said she offers hypnotic CD’s. She asked what the issue I was looking to work on was. I glanced to my right and saw a nosy guy eavesdropping on our conversation. My guard went up and I answered, “Depression.” She responded, “It’s never just about depression. Depression is the result of something. What is it that caused your depression?” I quickly answered, “Childhood issues.” The woman picked up a CD titled Transform “I’m Not Enough” (I’m Not Enough Beliefs– I’m Not Enough Suggestions). She told me the CD’s are hypnotherapy and will take me back to the time in my childhood when unhealthy thoughts developed. I’m not sure why but I trusted this woman and I asked, “Will I be scared?” She answered, “No you’ve already been through it once.” For $12 I walked away with the CD.

I copied the CD to my iPod and for the last 3 nights I’ve been listening to it in bed before I fall asleep. I have a collection of other meditation CD’s and put them all on a playlist. It’s time to find inner peace so that I can tackle my drinking. I drink when I’m stressed so I’m trying to live in a more mindful way. But, I’ve tried this direction before. Yoga, meditation, therapy, EFT – it never seems to stick and I end up falling back to my old ways. It’s been quite a few years since I actively meditated and I think it’s what I need to do. I must find the quiet place in me that is worthy. I want to feel good enough.

Lastly, on the same day I went to the expo, Sunday, I bought a book for my Kindle called Living with Your Heart Wide Open: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You from Unworthiness, Loneliness, and Shame. I hope this complements the meditation I’m beginning. I discovered the book on an upbeat blog I highly recommend http://mindfulbalance.org/recommended-reading/

I hope this is the right path for me to heal my sense of unworthiness. Undoubtedly, it would be nicer to live in this world liking myself rather than hearing voices from my childhood telling me I’m not enough. That path is getting old and tiresome and I’m ready to blaze a new trail.   Daylily