Just Be Lost

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Today at church, my minister asked for stories of times we were lost or felt lost. I’ve been lost about a hundred times so there is too much to chose from. I’m currently still lost from my 2013 crash. My fellow church-goers have front and center seats to someone really really lost.

It’s been good though. I am in year five of a horrific mental collapse. Each year I have laid solid ground on top of the rock I finally hit at my “bottom”. This was my response to my minister’s request. It is were I was, and still am.

Yup. Let it happen. Let it crash. Do nothing, just let it all fall. Sit in the ashes of the last mistake, the poorly executed action, the accumulation of misdirects, the covers for shame, failure, and fear. Yup, just be lost.

Hold tight to the floor under you, close your eyes in the dark, feel the rumble around you and inside you. Eventually the clamor ends, the last vestiges of your life fall away, your phone stops ringing. Silence. Stillness. Aloneness.

And then do the unexpected-nothing. Do absolutley nothing. Sleep, watch mindless TV, stare out the window, take long walks. Sleep some more.
When you are ready, look around and anything left upright, knock that down too. Anything still remaining pushing that former life, tear it up. Dig deep inside and excavate anything that hurts you. Pull it out kicking and screaming. Yank it into honesty and light. Find the dark corners or your being and attend to them.
Now, this takes time. By this point in my journey, I had returned to work. I was trying to drive again. But I remained in the ruble, I explored the losses, I stayed down. Gradually my eyes accustomed to the darkness, slowly I became able to move, eventually I hit rock.
This time I was, and still am in no hurry to “get back up”.  The view from here is the best ever.
bc

Dear Florence

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WARNING: This is a full on rant. I’ve done my best not to use my blog in this manner, but I have cracked.

I came home tonight and literally googled “jobs for people who hate people”. I don’t hate people but I need out of my nursing job because stupid, selfish, entitled, people who think hospitals are hotels and medical staff are wait staff are making my actual MEDICAL JOB IMPOSSIBLE TO DO- YOU WIN!

A twenty year medical person is leaving because my pay is capped, others’ raises are dependent on your “satisfaction” and this is not just the patients’ but also visitors of the patients’, we are under staffed (32 patients to 1 CNA in my ICU) nurses tripled, and our patients in and out averages 14 on PMS. I NEVER get a break in 8 or 12 hours, I can’t pee, and once a week or so my phone rings for 8 hours straight. There is a CBT on “alarm fatigue” but that does not apply to the constant ringing of phones. A long time ago I gave up any kind of routine, goals of patient care or unit orderliness. I no longer try to plan my shift, arrange times with other nursing staff to get care done, or make any promises of help what so ever. I am only there as a “noise abatement officer” or a “runner” or a “customer service person”. Never mind that I have grabbed slippery bloody babies from doctors, escalated a Tele patient’s distress to the charge nurse when the primary nurse was ignored, saving that patient’s life, or performed chest compressions in an elevator from the neuro floor to the ICU (the patient survived) and I was the one to ring the alarm on the neuro floor, never mind that I got RSV from an abandoned infant that I held for 8 hours, or all the hands that I have held while someone died. My 20 years in 5 facilities, home health, and my own grandmother mean absolutely nothing.

Let me clarify, this NOT when we are “slow”, or grandpa has died and 8 people in the room should have water and Kleenex while they cry, or the wife that needs a cup of coffee at 8 am when she comes to fetch her husband to take him home, or the person who is diabetic and has been sitting in the ER with their family member and needs juice Pronto! No, I am talking about unnecessary requests on already ridiculously over-loaded nursing staff.

So, sure, let me drop what I am doing when I am the Health Unit Secretary AND the CNA AT THE SAME TIME for TEN rooms and get YOU, a visitor, a friend, not family, out in the lounge where there is a drinking fountain AND a kitchenette, a glass of water because you don’t want to drink from the fountain, take the elevator up a few floors to the cafeteria, or go to the restaurant a few floors down and get it yourself. You aked me “where can I get water?” I told you- and you stood there staring at me. Oh, I’m sorry, you weren’t asking where to get water so you could get it yourself, you were asking so I would make the assumption that I should wait on you. It’s not about a glass of water, it’s about an ICU healthcare worker, dropping what they are doing because you don’t want to take care of yourself. You seem entitled to what you want. My other recent favorite was a young mother holding her possibly four-year old in front of me while I was the secretary for all 32 beds (why a 4 year old was IN the ICU I don’t know), anyway she asked for orange juice. I said that the person she was visiting was not able to eat or drink. She said “no, I need the juice for him” and nodded to her child. So, you think I should drop what I am doing in a 32 bed ICU and walk to a kitchen to get orange juice for your child, for free. It’s NOT the orange juice, it’s the demand and expectation that I drop what I’m doing to do something that is your responsibility and that you seem to feel you should just have it for free. I’m tired of this “give it to me” attitude of not patients, but visitors. GET IT YOURSELF. Get your own coffee, water, or juice. Bring a sweater! We run out of linens- you may not deplete the blanket warmer of blankets- THEY ARE FOR PATIENTS!

Lastly, this week a family member was upset when we wanted to do dialysis on their loved one at a time they didn’t want because “friends may be coming to visit and they didn’t know when, so could we do it when visiting hours were over?” There were several problems with this one. One, this was literally a life saving measure. So, visitors possibly visiting at an unknown time, trumped treatment necessary to keep the patient alive. Okay, then. Two, we have open visiting hours- my hospital thinks that visitors walking around our ICU 24hours a day is just fine. People actually move into the room with their loved ones and just live there. So, no, there is no time when there aren’t visitors. Three, the dialysis nurse was on-call. So, you want us to call the young nurse with a baby, in at your convenience, not when your primary nurse has her labs and is ready for her patient to have their dialysis, and preferably not too late in the evening.

I have few issues with my patients. I am sick of their friends and some of their families. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF I AM THERE FOR THE PATIENTS. I AM A HEALTHCARE WORKER NOT A WAITRESS, BABYSITTER, OR MAID. If I am sitting down, I might be the secretary paging a doctor, I might be in a chart looking for an electrocardiogram order for which I HAVE TO DO because I am ALSO the EKG tech, or calling for your loved one’s meal; don’t ask me to waitress in the family lounge.

LET ME DO MY MEDICAL JOB, if you don’t, I will leave the profession because I am sick of you. I am very very good at my job, your loved one is safe with me, but I guess it isn’t about them, it’s about you. My bad.

bc

My Bad, I was Busy Living and Forgot the Rules.

Happy New Year and I hope everyone onWP is well. Like most people with depression, anxiety, family trauma, addiction and dysfunction; I tend to not really embrace the holidays. I tend to feel shame at the beginning of a new year, and as a January baby and unpartnered; I really just want to survive until past Valentine’s Day- March cannot come soon enough. But – have to share that this year went really well in spite if it’s challenges. Through it all I continued to take good care of mysel. I relaxed, I stood strong for others, and I entered the new year feeling strangly stable. All good, right?

Yes, but I forgot many rules along the way. I think this year I will set goals around remembering that other people, organizations, and simply time need to be better accounted for. As a recovering person, a mental health patient, and even a neurology patient; I need to remember that things are hard for me, I forget, procrastinate, and at times try too hard. I need others to fill things out, file things, send and receive things, and do their jobs. Places close, there are holiday hours, there is only so much time in a day. I get busy living my good life and forget.

Immediately after Christmas my driver’s license got suspended for one or two days. Basically someone at an agency didn’t fill something out correctly, then another person at another agency didn’t file something. I got a notice from my state about the impending suspension but procrastinated and underestimated the time it would take to find the problem. It all went fairly smoothly and everyone, even the DMV, was great; but I still faced suspention. I wasn’t fined because I was found to be in compliance and the errors weren’t mine. Bottom line- I was prepared for and enjoyed Christmas so much that I forgot about the state’s rules. It also occured to me later, that I suck at follow-up sometimes. I should have called my state when I met it’s requirements to double check they had my information. New memo: stop and check.

I got through New Year’s even though I was terribly sad for three reasons. A year gone that I am still not “successful”, my son was not with me (a first), and a friend died on the 26th. I spent all of this time, and I mean all, as it was my vacation week, home without driving and with others greiving. I would have stayed anyway because I finally belong somewhere, to someones. Then, my car failed it’s emissions test.

I get the notice to get it checked in October. Again procrastination bites my rear. I have 22 days to clear THAT up or my registration gets suspended. My state is such a pain, rules everywhere. This one I kinda did on purpose because in October I was hot on finishing my kitchen and getting my stove hooked up. I’ve lived in my studio for four years but not used the stove or oven. I wanted to be able to use it by Christmas. So I ran the car emissions close, chosing to use  January’s money. I hope it isn’t a huge expensive repair.

I have been to yet another funeral, returned to work, gotten caught up on things at work that I was not in compliance with and began the next two things that are due. I hit the post Christmas stock up sales, began next year’s planner, and looked at my flex-spending. Then I ran out of the medication that runs my brain. On Thursday I went to fill it.

I am dumb. Clearly there is a pattern here. The pharmacy couldn’t fill my pills for two days. OK. I go back today- four days later, still no prescription. They have refills allowed from the doctor but the insurance company says it needs a “preQualifiaction”. Now, I did not cry or react badly at the  department of motor vehicles over the suspension of my driver’s license. I did not get upset at the emissions tech over a “failed” report, thus I cannot renew my registration. I did however, spurt out that I will withdraw in six days at the pharmacy tech. I did cry in my car.

More rules that I missed because I was in vacation mode. I had been hanging out with a friend, watching movies, and other than stock-up shopping and funerals; I was lazy about life. I failed to request a prequalifiaction letter from my physician to my drug insurance company so that when I needed meds on January 5th, I could have them. I’m sorry, I was busy living my life.

So I microwaved a pot-pie, poured a glass of milk, lit one of my new stock-up Yankee candles, lit a Bath and Body De-stress candle, slapped on it’s matching body cream, and sat on my velvet loveseat to post.

For me, recovery cannot be forgotten for a moment. I cannot lay it aside for Holidays or death or 70% off sales. My short-comings, my mistakes, my under-estimations will bite me in the butt. My b.s. wlll affect others as they encounter me at the DMV, some agency, the emissions test site, some mechanical shop, the pharmacy, and over the phone to the state, the drug insurance company, and the doctor’s office. Recovery says that we take responsibility for our failings. I did a lot of things right this year end. I did many things new to me. I am very different than I was one, two, three years ago. Yet, as many things still linger. They continue to cause me problems and make me a challenge to others.

I can live my life. I can have fun. I can relax. I can have my emotions. But I cannot forget the Rules.

 

bc

Honesty as Related to Balance

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I  have read, “Honesty without compassion is brutality”. My ideas is that balance even balances out honesty. The need to say, “Just being honest”, towards others seems to me to need to me in balance as well. Does that make any sense? I wonder how often my truth is that I am out of balance when I am supposedly being “honest”. Even when sharing positive things like the use of my stove. The honesty of the not having use of a stove seemed to me, recently, to be disturbing to others. I meant it to be a celebratory thing, but is pointed out a serious lack of balance in self-care and was perhaps a bit TOO honest at the time of the sharing. I think that the timing of “honesty” is important and I’m pretty sure I miss this one all the time. But I am making headway through the Grace of others.

Another thing about honesty that am questioning is the need to balance it with just pain shutting up, thinking of possible ramifications, or simply adding burden to the emotional environment around me. Sometimes I think that even the good things can be upsetting to those around me because it raises their awareness to lacking around them, lacking to someone they care about, and may even poke at their own judgement. I’m coming to realize most people really do think the best of those around them, and it seems that if what they thought turns out to be wrong, then it casts doubt on themselves. Certain kinds of doubts about those around you can unravel the emotional fabric that is generally there as a protectant. Good will, inclusiveness simply by association, purposeful commendatory, even the often quoted, “it is what it is”; for me, keeps me in the fold, in the circle of trust, in the social group, in the herd. My honesty at times risks this.

I think some of the words I need to think on to balance this honesty out are: “the work”, certainly “recovery”, “self-accountability”, “productive shame”, grief, motivation, and perhaps “gumption”. I need to rally for myself. I need to shut up and get to work diligently to  push myself forward, up and out of my lackings. I feel like it isn’t to others that the honesty needs to be voiced, but to myself. I honestly need to pull myself out of a life-time of indecision, poor choices, financial irresponsibility, and tolerating deprivation, crumbs, neglect, and dismissiveness form others and my own self.

I feel like I need to embrace my shame, my lackings, my shortcomings, and the things I grieve privately. My privacy needs to increase and perhaps my honesty needs to decrease. I feel like I need to remember to be within as much as without, to continue to tend to my insides as I develop momentum working on my outsides, and to balance what I share with why I need to share it in the first place. I am seeing that I need to balance the sharing of my recent accomplishments with the concern for others’ concern that any of these accomplishments were needed in the first place. Maybe a healthy dose of embarrassment would be a good thing. Perhaps really FEELING the grief that resides within me, over a poorly managed life, would be beneficial. When I encounter a flash of shock on someone’s face, a drop in their demeanor, a pause in the conversation, a kind of psychological sigh, and often a collective glancing about for help and some silence; perhaps I can learn to take the cue that this honesty was inappropriate and out of balance.

It is hard because they are often joyful shares for me. They are often wins over other things, skills learned, physical improvements to make my life easier, and these day, opens the door for social improvements. I would make me sad to be dampened by my good news honesty shares, but the truth is; I can barely believe all the missed memos growing up that would have taken care of these needs and the social rules of sharing that would have gone with them. Now that Balance is my third core value, maybe now I can begin to fill in the blacks and do a better job throughout most of the areas of my life.

I am glad I took the time to write today. I am out of balance in my writing. Thanks for the visit and thank you WP.

bc

 

 

 

My Personal Values: I challenge you to pick new words for yours

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Per my usual, I am still trying to find balance, routine, and consistency with regard to posting. I am back to writing daily, but my posts are still a long way between. Real quick, my last post, a book really, ended with my personal thoughts on changing a person’s values in order to truly recover from addiction and other mental health struggles. This is my blog and my personal opinions based on what I have done for myself (which is based on reading almost the entire self-help section of my bookstore, mental health counseling, and 12-step).

I do not disagree on the importance of one’s home and lifestyle, of family and friends, of church affiliation,  employment, education, pets, nature, hobbies etc. I find them all important to a well-rounded life. What I disagree with is continuing to value the people, places, things, and situations that made me suicidal, depressed, anxious, shell-shocked, frightened, and generally f*d up in the first place. For me, continuing to “value” what made me this way is dumb. Threading those things back in LATER, when I am much healthier, much more solid in myself, much more discerning for my well-being, much much stronger, and truly ready for what they bring my way; can be done. I am not advocating disowning one’s family. I am not suggesting cutting all ties to the past, turning away from one’s up-bringing, or permanently destroying our place in the Known Cosmos; what I’m advocating it that those things not be one’s core values  if one wants to build a life based on recovery.

Two and a half years ago I sat in a day hospital break-out session on “Values”given by an old white religious guy. Problem number one. Everyone around me was calling out things to write on the white dry erase board. The group contained a surprising spread of demographics. Three different colors of people, three or more religions represented, a decent spread of education, household income, and employment statuses, married/single, gay/straight/, using/clean, veterans to the program and newbies. But despite the diversity, everyone said the SAME THING. They all valued things outside of themselves, things that did not necessarily put a roof over their heads, pay their bills, keep them from drinking/drugging/addicting. My point is that when it came to the “values” session, the dry erase board looked exactly the same both times and every person in both groups of people said exactly the same thing (of those who spoke, I know..). That was problem number two. It was a colossal re-run. And for some of us there, the whole experience was a re-run, and for others a re-run of a re-run. NO CHANGE.

Doing the same things over and over but expecting a different result is “crazy” right?

Here are my suggestions and what I said on my second tour through the day-time mental hospital.

I have five base values. They are for me to be able to take care of myself. They may seem selfish, but I think I deserve self-care since this is where I am sitting for the second time in two years, and on the second major mental break-down in 14. The statistics don’t look pretty after this. This is what I base my life on, and my life depends on it.

1. Safety

2. Sustainability

3. Balance

4. Harmony

5. Stability

The room was silent. No one spoke for a minute or two. Then someone said, “I never thought of that”.

I think they may have meant that they didn’t think of “values” as something for themselves personally. I think most of the people in the room had on rosy colored glasses and I took them off. I tend to point out reality. Many of us were in fact not safely off the streets, not safe in our homes, not safe among our “values”. Even the staff had to think on this. Problem number three. That bothered me a HUGE amount and almost up-ended my time there.

I don’t know how to use line spacing (and a bunch of other things) on WP so this looks long and I want to keep this post short. I want to leave time for anyone reading to ponder my suggestions. It isn’t that my mother, or child, or best friend, or education isn’t very important to me, or that I don’t value them; it’s just everything else has a place AFTER my safety needs are met. I let things back in when I can sustain them in balance with my life as a whole. I spent an entire year on each value, this year I am on Harmony. As I get along better with myself, I get along better with others, but it is hard with my desire to disconnect (hence my previous post). Next year I hope to be living in a place of stability. I’ll let ya know.

Over time I discovered that each value has an accompanying character trait that I have had to develop to solidify the value. This has been perfect for 12-step work.

I advocate for people to come up with their own words, their own core concepts that will give them a place a safety, mental health, a ground zero to start from perhaps again and again until it works for them. I’m a DIY girl. I believe the ground underneath us is stronger if we lay our most solid work ourselves out of the most solid parts we create in ourselves. I know what heals me, and I believe that most people know what heals them. I think the thing mental health needs the most is CHANGE.

 

None of the values on the dry erase board worked for me. They actually kept me trapped in co-dependency. They took the focus off myself and my development, even my personal physical safety.

Thanks for reading and I wish you safe.

bc

 

uncertainty of moving on…

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As I move on, out of a huge major depression, I don’t know how. I don’t know how to live with the idea of my life not directed by navigating the b.s. of those around me. I don’t know how to direct myself without the immediate energy of others. I don’t know how to move my day along with thoughts and feelings at the same time. I know there is much to do, emails to read, appointments to make, help to get to make my BlackBerry and my laptop to talk to each other again, swimming to do, cleaning my refrigerator, cashing a surprise check, thinking on a second job….. my question is how do I do these things without losing myself again. I am a late sleeper, a slow waker, a dawdler; until my brain realizes that time is ticking and I need to move along.

This is different from my long hatred of mornings. I no longer hate mornings. I no longer dread them, wish I didn’t have to endure them, or fight them. These days I wake up peaceful, okay with my life. I wake up safe in the life I have built on my own, for myself. Most mornings my mind is actually blank for awhile. My a.m.routine is written down so that I stay on track whether I am thinking or not.

It is after this that I have questions. And they are questions, not angst, drama, or even that much anxiety. Just, “How do I stay with myself this day and do some of the things I really should do to participate in my Life, as it is and where it is headed?” I think it is a question of balance. How do I love myself, love those so supportive around me, remain connected to it all? How do I cling and continue to grow at the same time?

These are things that get missed in abusive, neglectful, dysfunctional, addictive, and traumatic homes as we grow up. These are developmental steps that get ignored, forgotten, destroyed, or damaged; and to me, it seems, they need to be made up. I am repairing in myself those connections in my brain that say, “Hey, connection is important! Hey, yes I know you need to move on but don’t forget me now that you have found me!”

My questions are things like, “Do I just throw myself together and go swim, because if I don’t, I won’t swim today? Or can I write in my journal, maybe post, and then go?”

Then there are questions of efficiency. “If I stay with myself and write first, should I throw in some laundry or soak my dishes?” If I write and don’t have those things going at the same time, is this good focus or license to go down the rabbit hole?

Issues of time arise for me WAY TOO OFTEN. I hate my struggle with time. I hope that someday it goes the way of my struggles with mornings! Rabbit holes suck up a metric crap ton of my time. BUT I have found that I have also grown-up about 4 years in 8 months of pursuing myself through my own rabbit holes. With regard to time, I feel that time to grow-up the natural way, in the time that I should have had, was mostly taken from me; so I am doing it now. I feel very firmly about this.

So, I guess my questions of good decision making, efficiency in running my own home (for 4 years now), how much I exercise, and whether I post or not; will get answered as I muddle through my quiet solitary days. Days like today I can chose to connect with interested parties on WP as I sort these steps out. As I have shared through photograph, I can connect with my fur-babies, allowing them to demonstrate their dependence on each other. My black and white rabbit is old and frail, she clings to my young brown rabbit who is patient, kind, and quite frankly assertive if she doesn’t like something new near them. They are peaceful and happy with their lives, a good reminder for me to follow suit.

On the thread of connectivity, and now that I have written to know what I think, perhaps I will read the email from my insurance agent and then give her a call to make an appointment for a sit down. This goes to meeting my budget needs, so perhaps it should be my first priority. Maybe then a swim will be the right thing. I don’t know what I will do after that, but later tonight is my 12-step meeting, then my Monday night Backgammon game and beer.

I am learning that gentleness with myself, structure, and hope are as important coming out of depression/anxiety/trauma as they are while in their midst. I am learning that honoring connections the entire time, is critical to sure footing and avoiding going seriously backwards. Staying with myself in the face of economic, employment, social, and societal pressures is vital to my recovery. What would the point be in any of it if I lost myself again? And of course I need to continue to push myself to authentically engage with others to really thrive.

Thank you, WP.

bc

The Struggle for Independence is not Brief

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I give to Myself: Inherent worth, dignity, and individuation.

Because I bestow these by Myself, for Myself, I am obligated to uphold them for Myself.

I will do this by providing Myself with healthy, appropriate defense strategies to protect Myself from intentional/unintentional harm by my own or anyone elses’ hand.

I will also provide Myself with as many healthy, appropriate means of acquiring comfort as I can, to protect Myself from further internal harm, and continue to heal old wounds.

Experience has taught me that I also need to give Myself the freedom to declare at least to Myself: That anyone who denies my inherent worth, dignity, or individuation; and/or denies or belittles my need for protection and comfort; in violation of my unique Personhood.

 

This is my personal Declaration of Independence that I created in February of 2013 while hospitalized for a mental breakdown. I was seriously suicidal again after fourteen years of mostly fleeting suicidal ideations.

In writing this, I gave Myself a Self. Over the years as I encounter the variety of people that I encounter, I have noticed that lots of people don’t seem to have a sense of Self. I mean with a CAPITAL S as I write. I believe that in a persons’ early developmental years, this inherent worth as a human being gets destroyed or damaged to the point where they are unable to see themselves as a separate, autonomous person, with needs unto themselves. I know people who exist only because their physical body keeps generating electrical impulses that maintain the flow of mortal life, but they don’t really live. Unfairly, they don’t know why they can’t live, and certainly not for themselves. I think in this situation, a person has to give themselves a Self. I decided in 2013 to give myself a Self. I get to be a person, just like anyone else. I believe it can also be called the rise of “the Will”. I get to have a will of my own, long last in my forties. Usually, this comes along in the toddler years and gets reinforced through childhood, but mine was f’d up so it either didn’t happen, it was extremely weak, or repeated trauma killed it. Whatever. I decided I needed a Self.

I capitalize “Myself” and “Self” and other words in my writing for emphasis, to bring damaged people “up” to other human beings because we Are, and to encourage thoughts about the words I have chosen. I am a word person. 99.9% of the time I have agonized over writing (often saying) the exact word I want to use to convey the exact meaning I wish to convey.  I am also extremely literal (think American TV show BONES.) I think of recovery this way: my child’s mind was broken, often my mind still runs in a broken, sometimes primitive manner, and my job now is to find, heal, and assimilate these broken bits so that I can live rather than exist. I had to have a Self on which to build a life.

I believe all living things have inherent worth and a place in the web of life, indeed the Cosmic plan. I simply took this basic belief and applied it to Myself.

I believe all living things have inherent dignity as well. I have a very old rabbit. She falls and can no longer bathe herself. Her facial expressions appear to say “damn it!” when she falls. She struggles a bit until I pick her up, then she fervently licks my hand as I reset and block her back up with a rug. When I reach down to pet and reassure her, she “butts” my hand, closes her eyes, and sorta smiles. At bath time, she is nervous and seems embarrassed, but then is clearly happy to lay on the bed grooming herself as she dries, then seems cheerful now clean again. I think people deserve the same dignity we afford our pets. I expect from here out to be treated with as much dignity (and respect) as my mother’s cats.

Every person is unique, irreplaceable, belongs in this world, has a reason for their stay, and a story of their very own. Many stories are similar, suffering is often a shared experience, all humans bleed red; but absolutely nothing is identical outside a lab. The human story is also about perception. Perceptions can be as tangled, and layered, and lickity-split as the neurons that pass along the messages. Recovery/healing to me, seems to need to be an individual endeavor, who knows one’s self better?

 As children, if these basic human needs are not given to us, I think we have to give them to ourselves, the sooner the better, because life can be long. They need to be firmly for ourselves, as a gift we give ourselves. I needed to learn that I need to put myself first- always. This is tough to swallow, especially for parents, but it is true. The parent that cares well for themselves is far better equipped to care for a child. I believe that whatever the stage in life a person gains in recovery, they can begin to pick up the pieces for their children and move on in a healthier manner. For me, when I stopped arguing with the Universe and took care of Myself, my child also began to take care of Himself.

As an addictive type person, healthy and appropriate means of defense and comfort is vital or I will just keep up the same crap. I have found that now that I don’t spin, and blame, and play the victim, and run around, and pretend that I have “a life”, I actually do. I weigh out and CBT seven ways from Sunday every-single-time I feel I need defense, protection, comfort, some kind of action or attention. My first impulse is usually bad on the budget, a drink to an emotion, some kind of avoidance, or something to cover Shame. Over the last three years I have developed an arsenal of safe, inexpensive, self-contained, productive, sustainable, inexhaustible, satisfying, and replicable defense and comfort strategies. My secret is to STOP. Just freakin STOP already!

I use my arsenal to limit self harm and keep from being victimized by another person while I am in whatever state I am in. I have learned to soothe Myself. Moving ahead, some of my struggles are to not be bitter that I have to soothe Myself, not be frustrated that I need so freakin much soothing, and to come to terms with the Shame I feel about my soothing activates. (I color A LOT. On my bed. While watching a DVD or listening to soothing music. I feel 6 next to busy professional running all over with their families. Who sits on their bed and colors because they are overwhelmed? Me.) My thinking is I will “outgrow” this, increase my tolerance for stress, and someday teach this to others. My thinking also is that I am no longer hurting myself if I am on my bed with crayons.

Finally, I think good declarations need teeth to enforce them. What good is it to give yourself a Self with inherent worth, dignity, and the right to your own individual needs including what is Kyrptonite to you and what makes your heart sing; if you don’t also declare what the consequences are for not upholding the declaration. And not just that, but MY declaration says you cannot even belittle any of my defense or comfort strategies. They are mine. Unique to me and MY suffering. Nobody is allowed to violate my declaration that I created out of violation, to end my violation.

Once my personal “Declaration of Independence” was in place, giving me a Self, with rights, a clear directive to maintain those “rights”, and teeth to bite back against any violations of my D of I, I was free to begin a personal “bill of rights” or institution of NEW core values.

I think sometimes people don’t heal because they try to keep the same values that keep them injured and sick. I believe that where a person puts their spirit, thoughts, feelings, energy, care, time, money, resources, and vision for the future; is where their values lay. If all these things keep going to other people who are not around, or are unhealthy/addicted, or the ones who broke them in the first place; then I don’t see how the new Self, the new declaration of independence, and it’s enforcement could be maintained anyhow. I think that if core values aren’t changed, the person themselves will violate their own new contracts and the cycle will just continue.

Values have to change. The rules have to change. It’s not fun or easy or fast or sometimes understandable; but if done consistently long enough, the Self will heal. We are biologically designed to do so.

bc

Taking it on the Road

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I’ve done it. I am back on WordPress to tell who ever cares, that I have mostly beaten my depression. It’s not that it isn’t there at all, ever, or a danger lurking for an opportunistic moment; it just doesn’t reek havoc on my life anymore. I’m sure future posts will discuss depression, but anxiety is now the issue.

My definition of anxiety for myself is like subtraction. It is the difference between what I want to do, what I need to do, what I truly ought to do, and the spiritual, emotional, and physical energy needed to do it. It is this difference that is anxiety for me. I have a lot I want to accomplish now that I have a will to live and the comfort that there is not indeed a Saber-toothed tiger outside my door that’s gonna get me if I step outside. So life is about anxiety management right now.

I have a backlog of months of writings all over the place. They are hand-written on anything that will hold graphite and ink, in digital format that I can’t easily pull from, or on my computer but not well organized. I continue to struggle with IT at home. I share this because I am getting so busy now that I am fully engaged in life again; that I will need to post from this backlog. Additionally, my backlog is my journey and should be posted as that is why I have this blog in the first place.

All of that is to say that I have been very busy actually living my life, rather than spending all my time understanding how it has become as it is. I have enough recovery, rest, CBT skills, changed behaviors, emotional sobriety, safety, sustainability, and balance to “take it on the road”, and I am.

bc

 

The Beauty of the Blank Mind

My mind is blissfully blank. It is quiet, peaceful, uncluttered. It feels unaware of surrounding demands. Pictures of rolling royal waters, cool green shade, nature living as unhurried as it does; is all I see. The sensation offarm and water air still pressed to my skin. Memories of the ease with one’s neighbors, a new pal made for the day, the season, and just small town mannerisms tugs at my heart. What could have been. Sepia pictures of old friends, former family members, occasions past; slide like a video short through the front of my thoughts, yet don’t prick me like they used to. My time spent on these days away was casual, unrushed. Absent was fear, fear of deprivation, fear of failure, fear of appearances. This was a break from agenda, routine, normal worries. I was mostly unplugged for 96 hours. For four days the world had to wait. Mom needed to breath. A co-worker needed to get her head on straight again. A friend needed to step out of herself. My mind needed to not be needed.

I took a brief vacation from my lovely city life, frought with it’s grittiness, over-work, over-stress, over-demands. I stepped away to step back in with appreciation, love, gratitude, and desire to connect. I went home to see how far I’ve come, what I over came, what don’t like, what parts of me still really struggle with those miles. I went home to give life to the parts of me that only get life from going home. A large part of who I am is rural, is counrty, is boondocks. My wild needs a glimps that it’s soul is still there. That when the tme is right, when the money allows, when a whole can be built; I want to go home, wherever that home may be.

I feel stronger. I feel happier. I feel much more balanced and complete. I need to be able to see my child and exercise my parenting muscles. I need to be able to visit the past to put the present and future in proper perspective knowing that I am indeed one strong cookie.

Now I am home. I am at my employer’s and while still on vaction, duty called and I picked up the phone. Time to turn my brain on. Time to be grateful for plenty of hours. Time to connect to those that like me and those we serve. Time to embrace my lovely city life for a short shift. A princess for 4 hours.

Then I am down with Pixar! I want to know what Fido does while I work. Or in my case, Thumper.

bc

Mechanics! Oi!

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I am in the process of researching better ways to do EVERYTHING. I am Safe, living a Sustainable Life, Balanced, and working on Harmony. These are my new Core Values instituted in 2013. Number five is stability, which I have yet to reach, but with dedication to my recovery process, I hope to be there within the next 18 months. To do this I need to master living in harmony with others as I pursue my own needs and dreams. I am massively unorganized and this horribly hinders me.

While I write daily, I need to  find better ways to write, organize, and publish. I also don’t like it when things don’t go as I want them such as my last post. I don’t know why the line spacing got messed up. I don’t understand WP so I either need to figure it out or find another way to post.

In my search for ways to to everything better I found Abby at http://justagirlandherblog. I love her user-friendly approach to her products, her energy, and her over-all cheery attitude toward managing the chaos of life. My mind snagged on a comment she made about her print-outs being a way of coping when things got crazy or some such thing. Coping is huge in recovery, whether actively fighting addictive urges, maintaining sobriety from something, or doing really well and moving forward in large strides; I think solid organizational tools can help people stay on track in any thing in life. I also think they need to be large, colorful, written, personalized, and interactive. Recovery involves personal action and Abby is all about this in her print-outs. She has inspired me to buy a new printer and go to town with print-outs and binders.

I love this on-line blogging community! I feel like Cher in Burlesque, You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me (youtube this); thank you WP, those who “like” my posts, and Just A Girl and Her Blog; I am rising.

One final note, if you like up-lifting, folksy, fun music, I just met CeliaRose, http://www.celiarosemusic.com and she is amazing. I cannot BUT be happy blasting her FOUR  beautiful albums. Seriously, if you want to be happy, give her music a listen. Let’s get Zig-Zag on the radio everywhere. This album should make her a household name!

Open a Door!

bc