Tag Archives: mindfulness

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

I miss my therapist

I never thought in my (almost) 50 years I would gain enough trust with a therapist that I could actually miss her. Hesitant, guarded, cautious and restrained are more like it. This is not because I didn’t want to trust a therapist; I have just been uncertain about whether I could trust anyone.

Childhood sexual abuse caused undeserved feelings of shame, self-blame and guilt that I didn’t want to show anyone. How fucked-up would I look if someone knew the depth of my sense of unworthiness? In my head I felt sure that I had to protect my vulnerable self from being exposed. Those feelings are my weakness and I am defenseless around them.

But recently the tide is changing and I can feel it. Facing those exact feelings with compassion and mindfulness are causing them to lose their potency. I am not that negative voice in my head.

I haven’t seen Lynn for one month and I eagerly look forward to our session tomorrow morning. Well, okay, maybe eager sounds a bit strong since I’m rarely able to admit positive feelings so let’s say I’m feeling more willing to go to therapy than usual. For once, I don’t have an agenda. I feel calm and okay with the idea of her asking me questions about how things are going. My answers won’t feel “wrong” or indicative of some serious emotional issues. I don’t have to be guarded. There is nothing to hide. I am ready to kick my inner critic to the curb. The way to do that is to talk about emotions that I often judge as wrong. I will share my feelings without judging myself.

This is not an easy post to write because I typically don’t feel or write with encouragement and positivity; but somewhere in this post is a person who feels hopeful about the progress she’s making and who is feeling supported by her therapist. (Apologies for the 3rd person point of view in the second clause of the previous sentence; it is the only way I could express optimism). 🙂

—–Daylily—–

Incest sufferer or survivor?

The past is coming to the foreground because I disclosed the fact my oldest brother molested me when I was a child.  This time I told my step-dad who was not around when it happened.  We’re talking about forty years ago and yet it still has the power to derail me. Twenty years ago I told my siblings and confronted my brother.  The dust had settled (or so I thought) until I talked to my step dad this weekend.   My step dad cried and hugged me and today I got an email in which he wrote that I’m brave.  I won’t go into all of that except to say I felt loved and supported.  It was the right move to tell him.

However, I am inundated with images and feelings that continue to have a firm grip on me.  The incest, the shame and guilt, the ways I misbehaved in the aftermath.

I wish I had the courage to do more.  I should be protecting others.  Courageously speaking out in public.  Sharing my story to help others.  Stopping the pattern of childhood sexual abuse.  But I can’t because I still carry shame and a prevailing sense of unworthiness.  I should, I should, I should… Oh, the guilt of it all.

Here are some examples that hurt deeply because it is not fair that I still feel guilt around incest:

I stole from my brother’s coin collection when I was 10 or 11 years old.  Just as he snuck into my room at night, I would go into his room and unlock this tool chest that had stickers all over it saying, “Keep Out.”  I took the coins that were old but still in circulation such as silver nickles, dimes and quarters and used them at the local penny candy store.  My heart fills with shame for my actions.  It was not me doing that.  It was the violated girl getting her payback.  Sometimes I feel he deserved it but other times I get this surreal feeling that I was driven by outside forces and I feel shameful. I never ever would have done such a thing if I hadn’t been sexually abused and so the shame in intertwined.  What I did and what he did.

I got into a car accident and totaled the vehicle my brother was to get for his birthday from my mom.  He was so mad at me and I felt guilty for it.  I wonder if I subconsciously wanted to screw him out of the car.  Again, I can go between feeling vindication and feeling shameful for crashing my mother’s car.  What I did and what he did.

There should not be any sense of shame or guilt on my part when it involves the brother who committed incest upon my prepubescent body.  But there is and I’m struggling right now.

Each time this brother brought up the things I did (and he did have the nerve to blame me!) I wish I had the courage to say, “You took away my innocence which is worth more than any coin collection or vehicle.”

I never said that.  I should have.

My life is in a flashback.  I feel weak.  I was abused and I should not carry shame.  This fight with myself that I judge what I feel is the inner critic speaking.

I’ve written about my desire to be mindful and compassionate and it must begin with me.  I’ve got to quiet the inner critic that allows for a continuing sense of shame and guilt for something that happened so long ago.

Tears are bubbling at the surface because my feelings are so raw.  Fuck the shame and guilt.  I want them out of my life.  2013 is the year I recognize the ways I make myself suffer and focus on how to rid myself of feeling like a failure.  I will be the survivor I like to call myself but right now I do not feel.

♥ Daylily

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

Child’s Pose

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

I can’t complain about my life right now. My depression is being treated with the medications I take and I’m becoming a spectator in much of what can bring me down through my own ruminations and self-defeating thoughts. Suggestions from the book, Living with Your Heart Wide Open, are helping me practice being “AWARE” — allow, witness, acknowledge, release and ease up. These are simple words that pack a lot of power.

My body has been fighting an infection since last week. I’ve been low on energy and not as productive as I would like. I couldn’t take being sedentary any longer and I went to a group exercise class, even though I knew I was not feeling well. During the exercise class my body would not perform to my expectations. I literally fell over with a balancing pose and I opted out of much of the strength training, preferring to lie on my yoga mat in Child’s Pose. I was so pathetic that my inner critic berated me.

I felt the weakness in my body and then I witnessed my thoughts belittle my effort. I heard: Try harder. Be stronger. Listen better. You are the only one not doing the exercises. You are different. You are inferior. Stop being weak.

I wanted to cry right there on my yoga mat because I wasn’t living up to my own sense of who I should be.

Then, growth unfolded.

I wiped my brow with a soft hand towel I’d brought with me, took a few sips from my water bottle – all while others where vigorously doing Sun Salutations, Warrior Poses and leg lunges – and curled back into child’s pose. I offered myself compassionate thoughts: Its okay. You are sick. Your body is fighting an infection. You most likely have a fever. Don’t judge yourself by others. Do only what you are capable of. Eventually I joined the class in Downward Dog, modified the difficult poses and went on to enjoy the restorative exercises.

I was fully present in my body when the class ended. I recognized my illness and gave myself compassion for my suffering as I never have before. My history would have had me hating myself and ruminating about how horrible I acted in front of others. Typically those feelings follow me home and, when there’s too much of them, I eventually spiral down into a pit of despair.

Not this time. I offered self-love, compassion and mindfulness. This capacity to be AWARE is completely new to me because in my childhood there was no focus on how I felt. I take pride in my emerging ability to acknowledge and ease up on myself. I like the feeling of responding to my needs and being kind to my inner self.

Daylily 

P.S. My doctor prescribed an antibiotic so I should be healthier for next weeks exercise class!

Learning self-compassion

I will attempt a post about self-compassion, for the sake of growing in my ability to focus on being mindful. My tendency is to be unaware of emotions which allowed for my inner critic to have full reign for the past 40+ years. The patterns have repeated themselves since my childhood, within a family of intellectual perfectionists, I felt less than perfect due to my personal experiences with incest and depression. It is time to stop carrying shame and blame and expose them in order to limit the power they have over me.

Am I losing some of you? I will find a quote that describes this better than I ever could.

Mindfulness is “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, p. 4). When we begin to make contact with the present moment using the tool of mindfulness, the world gradually begins to look and feel different.  It is as if we are slowly becoming awakened to the reality of the constantly unfolding present moment in a new way.  Worries about the past and the future begin to fade away as you realize that you are only truly alive in this moment… right now.

My life is on a positive path. I have been exercising, meditating, drinking less and practicing mindfulness. I am beginning to recognize my marriage triggers negative emotions. My pattern has been to close-up and walk away, never to acknowledge my feelings. Yesterday an incident occurred and I pushed aside my instinct to escape and I stayed with a challenging topic. I tried to see my husband’s side, as well as my own and ultimately realize the result doesn’t matter as long as I allow myself to feel things. This is not easy, if you’ve been married, you know what I’m talking about. Conversations can easily metamorphasize into a blame-game.

So, yesterday Husband brought up our finances.  I felt like running away and not partaking in or being responsible for his worries. He rightfully complained I avoid the topic of finances which led to an argument where he became so frustrated he was throwing around the f-bomb in close proximity to our children.

I have this tendency to react without emotion when anyone gets angry and this time was no different; I built a fortress around myself. My husband was saying if the finances were up to me we’d be living in squalor and we wouldn’t have money for retirement. I fought back by blaming him for needing everything bigger and better. Our house is 5,000 square feet and I tell him let’s downsize. We don’t need so many flat-screen tv’s, a swimming pool, 3 acres to live on. It’s way more than I wish we had. He argues back we can afford all of it if we stay on budget. I dig my heels in and stubbornly believe he’s entirely at fault.

He storms to his office and I go talk to my 14-year-old. I recently heard of a study that reported children who live with parents that argue have a greater probability for depression. Son 1 is particularly sensitive but thankfully he is confident and driven (unlike me, depressed at 14). I say to Son, “I know you don’t like it when we argue and I’m sorry.” He says, “Why do you get Dad riled up? You know he is a finance guy and spends a lot of his time making spreadsheets and xls documents.” As I listen to the wise words of my son, I busy myself picking up laundry on his floor while he plays Xbox and we continue the talk. I admit I don’t understand finances and I tell him that in a marriage, couples balance each other by taking on the areas they are good at and allowing the other spouse to take care of other things. Son tells me I should at least try to listen to him and look at the budget. Son says, “I hate it when you argue.” I ask, “Don’t you think all couples argue?” Because to me the fight with Husband was nowhere near as bad as the way my parents fought. Son surprises me by answering, “When you and dad argue it is much worse than other parents.” This gives me pause. Wow, I feel like I hold back and remain calm during the fights. Son continues, “You egg him on by the things you say and how you say it.” I tell Son, “I will go and talk to Dad right now and learn all about his financial plan and our budget.” He seems pleased and puts his Turtle Beach headphones back on as I carry the laundry basket out of his bedroom.

My eleven-year-old is not as sensitive and, as I walk by him on my way to Husband’s office, I joke, “Wish me luck as I go learn all about our exciting finances.” Son 2 says, “Have fun. I’ll see you in 3 hours.” He and I smile knowing this is not far from the truth.

I pour myself a rather large glass of Pinot Grigio and head to Husband’s office. (The tidbit about the glass of wine is not really part of the story except, in a way it is.  I recognize I depend on alcohol to cope but that’s a whole other post). There Husband sits, in front of a giant flat screen, working on a self-assessment for work.   Husband is pleased I’m there and gives me the full tour of everything, from tax bills, our paperless accounts, his retirement plan, our projected social security income and how many more years he must work in order for us to retire comfortably. When he shows me how little I contribute I get defensive and feel like a non-essential member of this family, in fact I feel insignificant in every way. (I do work but nobody could live on the social security I will receive at retirement). 

My self-loathing is pervasive and I say something depressing about how little I contribute. He immediately gets angry and says, “I’m not saying that so if you want to go there that’s all in your head.” He knows me too well. I am the queen of feeling bad for myself. I explain that my mom always wanted me to be more than I am and I feel depressed looking at those numbers because it shows just how worthless my life is.” Husband says, “If you want to get a higher paying job, go ahead but that’s not what I’m saying.  I’m just showing you what we have right now.” He takes all of the emotion out of it and so I stop my pity-party while he continues to discuss the giant spread sheet on his flat-screen.

The bottom-line is he wants to live debt-free and we spend way too much on sports, compared to the amount allocated for that line item on the budget.  I take responsibility for my part in loving all things sports and getting my boys into every opportunity that comes up.  Husband points out Son 1 didn’t have to participate in the winter training, for which I recently wrote a check for $540.  This option hadn’t occurred to me until now.   I say, “Fine, I will tell Son 1 that this is his last year with a club soccer team (where the fees are outrageous – close to 2 grand a year). Husband tells me not to do that – it will give him nothing to strive for this coming spring (which we already paid for). Then I tell Husband Son 2 wants to join a club basketball team. Now, instead of saying no, he says, “Son 2 needs something like that” and tells me I should look into it. WTF? Where will that money come from, Mr. Financial Wizard?”  (Excuse my sarcasm but I couldn’t help it.)

About an hour later, with his anger diffused, I manage to cut him short and go toward the office door. Husband is visibly relieved after sharing everything that’s been on his mind. I, conversely, feel like crap. My fervent hope is that once the kids are grown I die first so he can have his carefully planned retirement and I won’t have to be a burden.  I say something about how I will tell the children we made-up and he says, “Not completely yet.” He gets out of his office chair and hugs and kisses me. I go through the motions but I am emotionally shut-down. I feel like a useless human being that nobody could really want to love and be with and all I want is to get away.

I tell the kids I talked with their father and everything is okay now.  Then, I go to my own office and try to stay in the moment. I recognize that my inner-critic is coming down hard. I feel my old pattern of self-blame and become aware I don’t feel worthy of all that my husband does to support me and the children. I barely feel like I’m worth a dime. I recognize how awful it feels to encumber myself with these negative thoughts.  But I also know that my feelings are real.  Not realistic but nonetheless, real.  I consciously release them and turn my focus to right now. The good things I do have.  My marriage of (almost) 24 years. The love my husband and I have for each other. Our wonderful children. I see how I contribute to the household. I am worthy of having a good man who loves me. I don’t need to carry around old stories that just sabotage my self-image 

I must appreciate and be grateful for who I am.  These baby steps of self-awareness are monumental in terms of the long-term benefits.  If I can re-learn how I think of myself, life will be good.

Daylily

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. ♥

Changing my thoughts for the better

Here I sit, at a round table within a historic stone library nestled in a small New England town. The library is having a book sale today so I had to climb an old wooden staircase in order to get away from the frenzy of people searching for bargain books. The librarian and I are the only people in this cozy children’s room. I’ve never been to this library; however my son’s soccer club has brought me here. I intended to write report cards but I don’t have the necessary form so I feel unhurried, with time available to focus on my blog.

I saw Lynn at 8:00 am this morning. She fits me into her private practice on Saturday’s. I’ve been descending the stairs to her home office for about a year and I cannot believe that it’s taken me so long to build a trusting relationship with my therapist.

I could go 2 ways with this post:

  1. What the fuck is my problem that it took me so damn long to have confidence in this particular therapy? The post would focus on my blatant and ridiculous flaws.
    Or
  2. Recognize my progress with therapy. Celebrate the giant steps I’ve taken and look forward in this journey of healing my spirit.

The precedent would be to choose #1, based on historical patterns that I can easily list negative thoughts about how fucked-up I am. I will not entertain this old pattern any longer. It is self-sabotaging and not productive.

Oh, what the hell? For old time’s sake I will give short due to these feelings, if nothing else but as a way of distinguishing them from my newfound “mindful awareness.”

Here goes:

  1. The self protective walls I’ve built around myself are impenetrable. I never learned to expose myself to others for fear of being hurt and rejected. If I let someone in, they would see my flaws, my shame and guilt and surely I’d be judged as harshly as I judge myself. These thoughts are so imbedded in my brain that even when I voluntarily seek therapy, and go each week without someone twisting my arm, my fucked-up self does not know how to get the help I need.

I have this crazy thought, I should just fix what’s broken. I know exactly what my problem is. I grew up hating myself. I should just let it go. It’s simple, right? Maybe for you and them but it’s not as easy for me.  I’m beyond help.

My thoughts and feelings are deeply entangled in my mental illness and I’ll probably never be cured.

I’m on a roll with this train of thought. It’s so comfortable for me to berate myself. I want to continue. I want to write about how long it took for me to construct my sense of self and how nearly impossible it is to untangle fact from fiction.

STOP! I must learn to see these thoughts for what they are and so, I move onto #2;

  1. (#2 really, but I can’t edit it!)I have fabricated my life with amorphous things called thoughts and feelings but what are they, really? There is no truth to my thoughts of guilt and shame and yet I have allowed them to shape my life. I have conditioned my mind to hold itself separate from others. This has affected the way I connect with others, including the relationship with my therapist.

Truthfully, it is okay that it’s taken a year to let down my guard and share vulnerable feelings.

I will go further and boldly venture to say, I am making progress. I am beginning to see what is before me and not believe my historical interpretations that are riddled with self-judgment and negativity.

The practice of mindfulness is helping me investigate how I look at things and how I view myself.

The book I’m reading teaches me that my thoughts lead to emotions and my pattern of self-blaming thoughts has caused an undeserving feeling of guilt. I must begin to recognize my thoughts don’t represent reality. I will learn to recognize they are only thoughts; that these learned thoughts are arbitrary, nothing more.  Not realistic.

Ultimately, awareness of these thoughts will cause them to lose power. I will no longer be swept into a miserable psychological state of mind.

Realistically speaking, I will also depend on antidepressants to help me on this journey. Every doctor, therapist, psychologist and psychiatrist has told me so. The chemicals in my brain do not properly fire the right neurotransmitters in my synapses. Whatever the fuck doctors mean when they say this shit, I really have no idea except it sounds so technically correct – who can argue?

I hate to end on a bad note but, here’s the million dollar question, Is it the right antidepressant cocktail or my wilfulness to change my thoughts in a way that will transform my emotional health?

Daylily 2012

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