Go with the flow


Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.  All life is an experiment.  The more experiments you make the better.  What if they are a little course, and you may get your coat soiled or torn?  What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice.  Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Last week I posted: Depression hits. Now What? = Love Yourself! I discuss the importance of self-love and the ability to treat and love yourself like you would a child or your best friend. This week I want share some of the strategies which help me with coping with certain fears, thus, often removing the feeling of overwhelm when I begin a new task.  Overwhelm, really makes everything bigger in perspective, so I need to break down tasks into smaller steps.

Dealing with depression and anxiety has been a challenge and a huge awakening at the same time. (see:  Let The Truth Be Known:  I Suffer from Depression) I realize, after some great reflection that depression, anxiety and panic have been part of my life since my early 20’s, maybe even earlier (according to my therapist) However, with this latest onset, I have discovered self-loving ways to overcome some of the challenges I face. These self-loving ways are things I didn’t do in past recoveries.. I mean yes, I started, however, I never took them as serious as I do now. There is the little voice inside of me (which I call my higher self) which guides me through. This “voice” is beginning to replace the “negative voice” which ruled my life for 20 years. These following strategies helped me “unlearn” the old and experience new and loving ways to be gentle with myself.

The two (2) things I needed to work on (huge mountains) were: 1. Self-care (Taking care of my body and showering) and 2. Going out / socializing. These 2 things, if I didn’t pay attention to them, could send me into a deep downward spiral. Think about it.. Looking yucky would lead to more self-hate, and not seeking support or running errands would lead me to feel alone and my kids wouldn’t have food to eat. So, during my treatment, these two areas of my life need to have some sort of plan. A flexible plan.. but a plan.

Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!  ~Allison Gappa Bottke

Plans help me shape my world. I for one, was never really good a making plans and sticking to them. Even with the post today, I had a plan to find some terrific article to back up my post, however, I cannot find a single thing which I find “inspiring”. Being too rigid does not work either. “Go with the flow within guidelines” is my new motto! If I were to stick strictly to adding “facts” from an outside source, it just wouldn’t work. This gives me some control over certain situations and help me feel safe. Just like one would devise an “escape plan” in case of fire, I devise an escape plan in certain situations. Take going out for example:

Lets say I must take a bus to go to an appointment. Taking the bus is quite scary, because this means I am going to be far away from “home base”. Home base, is my safe zone. So I usually devise a plan before I leave giving me a 100% right to change my mind at any time. Meaning, I give myself permission to return to home base.

The first thing I do is to make sure I have my cell phone on me. Then, I stash a $20.00 in my purse. This allows me to take a taxi home if ever panic really strikes. Then as I walk out of the house… I talk to myself. I give myself support throughout the journey. Last week, I had to do this and I told myself I had permission to get off at every stop. This permission allowed me to go all the way!! Get it! When I know I have a choice.. it eases my anxiety.

Choices, we all have. Giving ourselves the right to choose differently allows for freedom. So in the end, I always end up where I wanted to go, or do what I planned to do, because I had a choice! I didn’t feel like I was choking on “I must” or “I have to”.. I felt alleviated with “I can, but I can change my mind at any time”…

As for taking a shower, I now get in the bath! I prepare everything around me. I may even break out a few candles and some bubble bath. I wash my hair with clean water from the tap and rince. Giving myself this “motherly” love is exactly what I need!

You can Google “Anxiety busters” or Depression Strategies to find tons of strategies which will work for you.

Yet, the message here is. Give yourself choices. In most instances, you’ll stick to the plan. However, if one day you don’t, that is ok too.. since it is part of trusting yourself, you can take yourself back home. Just like a mom who promises her child she will pick him/her up right after the first day of school, keep those promises to yourself too! I know I did, and it makes things easier.

Its going out and taking a shower still difficult for me; OH YES! However, now that I have “escape plans” and “mothering techniques” these tasks are much more manageable..and will get even more manageable as my recovery continues.

Keep on moving and smile!

 

 

21 days


They say (and I really never found out who “they” are) it takes 21 days to create a new habit.  It takes 3 weeks to settle into a new way, a change, a transformation of sorts.  A couple of months ago, I blogged about my truth, that I was looking for my new place in order to begin a new adventure.

When the time came to move out of my life and into this new one.  I was so excited.  I was counting down the days to freedom, and boy oh boy I couldn’t wait!  I would finally be free!! … I had no clue what I was going to face once in my new place, yet I was so sure it would be much much better than where I was..  Yet, to my surprise I was faced with something even more scary:  Myself!!!

Don’t get me wrong, my new place is great!  It’s clean, fresh, and full of light.  We established our space, the children and I, and finally got to the point that YES, this feels like home.  Yet, something inside of me was screaming!  With no internet, limited cell phone use, and no cable tv.  I had no place to escape from what was going on inside me.  My support system online was gone, and my family and friends had limited time for me.  My adult mind understood that, however, inside of me I was angry, hurt and felt so alone.

I tried different ways to ease the discomfort I was feeling.  For one,  I started buying the newspaper (something I haven‘t done for many years) but I couldn’t sit still long enough to read it or do the crosswords (although the crosswords did become a good distraction week 1 and 2).  My stomach was in knots from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep.  The movement in me felt dark and cold and I thought I was going crazy.  Literally!

Speak the truth to yourself about what you feel, about what you need, about what you see, about what you want. So many of us don’t tell ourselves the truth. We don’t speak the truth into our spirits. And then we can’t understand why there’s so many dishonorable things going on in our lives. This is about you and your voice and your truth.  Iyanla Vanzant

One day, after calling a local health center for help, I was put on a waiting list for therapy, yet thought to myself:   “How can I wait 2 and a half months when I need help NOW?!!!”  I was determined not to take “wait” for an answer.  So, the next morning I followed an instinct I had previously to go to the community center.  I put my coat on and walked across the street, opened their door and walked right in.  I was in tears when Sylvia (a kind woman) greeted me and she asked how she could help.  I wanted to know if there were any support groups for separated/divorced people.  She led me into her office and listened with a gentle ear.  I felt welcomed, I knew right there and then I walked into the right place.

Sylvia, referred me to a licenced life coach/psychotherapist, who called me that night to set up an appointment for the next day.  I was so relieved.  I went promptly the next morning and she greeted me with love.  We immediately set goals for myself, but most importantly, she listened to me, she valued me and acknowledged me.  That was exactly what I needed.  To be seen and heard!!!  She also urged me to keep contact with my online friends, however, I didn’t know how since I didn’t have access to internet very often. So I got creative and asked two of my online friends if they would be so kind as to keep my company through texting.  They accepted and I felt even more connected spiritually to them and the outside world.  Thanks Ladies!!

Being unplugged for 21 days was a gift in disguise, it helped me face the darkness I was experiencing to an intensity that I couldn’t handle, which led me to seek help (thus the reason it is important to seek help when your gut is telling you, mine told me years ago).   I am now taking responsibility for my life, and facing my truths.. YES ALL OF THEM! One at a time.

In order to do this, I must be kind and gentle with myself.  Right now I am reading In The Meantime by Iyanla Vanzant (for the 4th time) yet, every time I read it, I work on something even more deep.  This week I was reading this passage which is extremely powerful:

She writes:

“With the old you gone and the new you emerging:  when you find yourself in a situation similar to one you faced in the past, you can create a new response.  …. Love those who come to wallow in your stuff with you.  As you are loving them, you can fogive you.  FORGIVE YOU FOR MAKING IT SO DIFFICULT ON YOURSELF… Forgive you for having such bad feelings about the people who have been trying to help you.  Forgive you for asking and allowing other people to help you hurt yourself.  This is the ultimate demonstration of responsibility and just about all you will need to propel you up…” p 278

I cried at this point, because I know, I am the bully to myself.  That is the truth I was seeking.  From now on… no more bullying:  I am kind and gentle with me and that my friend is a promise I am making to myself.

Being back online is wonderful!  I do not think I want to go 21 days unplugged again.  I am a true believer support through spirit and even though my online friends come from everywhere around the world, they are my friends and I need them.  However, I will take more time offline to focus on things which I need to work on, and that is what I call balance!

So, if ever you are experiencing a life crisis, go unplugged for 21 days.. You would be surprised at what you will find.

Blessings!