Tag Archive: Depression


I went into therapy so I could learn to do my own laundry.

English: Wall post with love in different lang...

English: Wall post with love in different languages. Taken in Las Vegas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course it wasn’t just that, but it really was part of it. My mother did everything for us kids. In addition to doing the laundry, she washed our hair for us even into our teenage years and neither my sister nor I learned how to cook because she always chased us out of the kitchen. I was told that I might burn myself.

I guess my sister and I were both lucky that she trusted us with washing the dishes!

One day when I was sixteen I decided I wanted to do my own laundry and asked my mother to show me how to do it. Her reaction was to scream at me and call me “selfish.”

As  with so much of my mother’s behavior, I found that inexplicable and hurtful. I had stored hurt in my heart from my earliest childhood memories. The biggest problem in our family was lack of good communication skills and I was never allowed to speak up for myself and ask my mother to explain her behavior. If there is only one piece of advice I can give to parents, it is to keep the lines of communication open with your children, as it will keep misunderstandings from turning into estrangement.

And that was all this was, a stupid misunderstanding on top of other stupid misunderstandings that at least in part contributed to my first suicidal breakdown at age 16. My thought processes were of course skewed and magnified by my bipolar disorder, but the fact that I had never felt loved by my mother and that I did not feel like I was a good person was the driving force behind it.

My parents got me into therapy, which helped some. The therapist counseled us separately. It certainly helped loosen my mother’s controlling grip on me and after the first appointment with my mother she never called me “spoiled” again. That was her favorite epithet for me.

But the therapist made a big mistake. He never counseled us together. What I needed was not just for my mother to back off, I needed closure. I needed to know why she was so angry with me. Being used to not being able to speak up for myself, I never asked that crucial question from my therapist. He was the authority figure and he ran the show.

The closest he ever came to explaining my mother’s behavior was to say “Your mother loves you but all you feel is her fear.”

The problem was is that it wasn’t fear that I felt from my mother, it was rage and hatred. The statement confused the hell out of me. Again I did not speak up and ask him what he meant by that. If I had he most likely would have told me what I know now, anger is a secondary emotion. It is a cover for hurt and/or fear.

Both emotions were at play in my mother’s behavior.

She did not have a mental illness, I am quite certain of that by comparing my behavior with bipolar disorder with hers. However that does not mean that she wasn’t royally messed up, like 99% of mankind.

It is only at the age of 50 that I have finally gotten a glimpse into my mother’s world with the help of the best therapist I ever had. Unfortunately he has left the county mental health facility that I go to for another job, but I am eternally grateful for what he has given me. I hope someday he may go into private practice and then maybe I can arrange to see him again.

What he told me makes perfect sense. The only way she felt competent as a mother was to do things for us, and when I asked her to show me how to do my laundry what she heard was this: “Mom, I don’t think you are doing a good job, so I want to do it myself. I don’t appreciate anything you do for me.”

Of course that wasn’t what I meant. I was just trying to assert my independence which is normal and healthy. While other kids were doing that by getting into sex and drugs, I just wanted some extra responsibility.

This helps explain many other things she said and did, such as saying to me that she wished she were “like other mothers, who don’t take care of their kids.” Perhaps I was being a bit of a brat, I complained that she was pulling my hair while combing it. After she said that she went to take a bath, and I was so devastated because I thought she meant that she didn’t love me or want me around. That statement seemed to confirm my worst fears. I wanted to walk out of the house and never come back, but I had nowhere to go. I was only 14. Inexplicably, after her bath she was smiling and relaxed, while I was still hurting from the worst thing she had ever said to me.

She passed on in 1997, and I never got to resolve things with her. But I think I finally understand. My therapist referred to the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I have not read it yet but he did give me a good run down on it. Literally people have different languages or rather ways of doing things to demonstrate their love for others. It seems that we all have a preferred style. Her language was to take care of us. What I needed was a completely foreign language for her, to praise me and tell me that I was a good daughter. I could not speak her language and she could not speak mine.

I think this is a great lesson for any kind of relationship. We always assume that others know what it is that we need from them and they think the same thing about us. Then we think the other is deliberately withholding what we need from them and vise-versa.

My therapist also explained that she likely had a limited repertoire to draw from. He feels that she felt incompetent as a mother and so this was all she knew how to do.

The fact is of course that if my mother had not loved me she would not have gotten me therapy when I needed it. But to me our relationship was a confused mess of contradictions. She would say the most horrible things to me and then in the next breath say, “I love you.” I couldn’t process it.

I wish she were around so I could ask her about these things, but I am certain that this is the truth. She wasn’t a bad mother, she was a confused mother.

I hope I have given people some food for thought. There are other things about my mother’s behavior that my insightful therapist has helped me with and I will share those in future posts,

Are We Too Sensitive?

Being sensitive is a double-edged sword, for sure. But without that sensitivity we would not have empathy for others and also would not have the capacity for introspection. Both are necessary qualities for a spiritual path.

Pressure Sensitive

Pressure Sensitive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The key is not taking on that as a harsh judgment against ourselves. It can be difficult. For me it started in childhood with a verbally abusive mother. Every time I am rejected or perceive rejection it takes me right back to that vulnerable place. I have to remind myself that the situation is not the same and that I am not powerless like I was before. And that my mother was screwed up and her judgments of me were not correct.

Therapy is very helpful in this process. At the same time of course I have made mistakes and hurt people so I have to face that and see what changes I need to make. Frankly at this point the best way I can differentiate between situations that are my fault and those that are not is to talk to my therapist. He is very good at helping me to understand other people’s points of view. That in no way means that other people are always right, but they are not always wrong either.

Ironically, sensitive people can come across as uncaring, even when we care a great deal. That is because of defensiveness. We are afraid that what we have done is an indictment against the core of our being.

In order to face the things I have done wrong and not be defensive I have to remind myself that I am a Child of God and that despite what I have been taught I am not evil, I only make mistakes. There is that part of me that is Divine and wholly good and that will never change. I simply need to align myself with that part of me.

Anyone out there who loves taking meds? What? The silence is deafening!

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with our pharmaceuticals. Here is a wonderful satirical piece from the Onion illustrating a innovative way to increase patient compliance. I’ll let you guys read this while I search for my medication, Damnitall:

Wonder Drug Inspires Deep, Unwavering Love Of Pharmaceutical Companies

NewsScience & TechnologyproductshealthISSUE 42•10Mar 6, 2006
 

NEW YORK—The Food and Drug Administration today approved the sale of the drug PharmAmorin, a prescription tablet developed by Pfizer to treat chronic distrust of large prescription-drug manufacturers.

Pfizer executives characterized the FDA’s approval as a “godsend” for sufferers of independent-thinking-related mental-health disorders.

PharmAmorin, now relieving distrust of large pharmaceutical conglomerates in pharmacies nationwide.“Many individuals today lack the deep, abiding affection for drug makers that is found in healthy people, such as myself,” Pfizer CEO Hank McKinnell said. “These tragic disorders are reaching epidemic levels, and as a company dedicated to promoting the health, well-being, and long life of our company’s public image, it was imperative that we did something to combat them.”

Although many psychotropic drugs impart a generalized feeling of well-being, PharmAmorin is the first to induce and focus intense feelings of affection externally, toward for-profit drug makers. Pfizer representatives say that, if taken regularly, PharmAmorin can increase affection for and trust in its developers by as much as 96.5 percent.

“Out of a test group of 180, 172 study participants reported a dramatic rise in their passion for pharmaceutical companies,” said Pfizer director of clinical research Suzanne Frost. “And 167 asked their doctors about a variety of prescription medications they had seen on TV.”

Frost said a small percentage of test subjects showed an interest in becoming lobbyists for one of the top five pharmaceutical companies, and several browsed eBay for drug-company apparel.

PharmAmorin, available in 100-, 200-, and 400-mg tablets, is classified as a critical-thinking inhibitor, a family of drugs that holds great promise for the estimated 20 million Americans who suffer from Free-Thinking Disorder.

Pfizer will also promote PharmAmorin in an aggressive, $34.6 million print and televised ad campaign.

One TV ad, set to debut during next Sunday’s 60 Minutes telecast, shows a woman relaxing in her living room and reading a newspaper headlined “Newest Drug Company Scandal Undermines Public Trust.” The camera zooms into the tangled neural matter of her brain, revealing a sticky black substance and a purplish gas.

The narrator says, “She may show no symptoms, but in her brain, irrational fear and dislike of global pharmaceutical manufacturers is overwhelming her very peace of mind.”

After a brief summary of PharmAmorin’s benefits, the commercial concludes with the woman flying a kite across a sunny green meadow, the Pfizer headquarters gleaming in the background.

PharmAmorin is the first drug of its kind, but Pfizer will soon face competition from rival pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb. The company is developing its own pro-pharmaceutical-company medication, Brismysquibicin, which will induce warm feelings not just for drug corporations in general, but solely for Bristol-Myers Squibb.

“A PharmAmorin user could find himself gravitating toward the products of a GlaxoSmithKline or Eli Lilly,” BMS spokesman Andrew Fike said. “This could seriously impede the patient’s prescription-drug-market acceptance, or worse, Pfizer’s profits in the long run.”

“Brismysquibicin will be cheaper to produce and therefore far more affordable to those on fixed incomes,” Fike added.

The news of an affordable skepticism-inhibitor was welcomed by New York physician Christine Blake-Mann, who runs a free clinic in Spanish Harlem.

“A lot of my patients are very leery of the medical establishment,” Blake-Mann said. “This will help them feel better about it, and save money at the same time.”

PharmAmorin’s side effects include nausea, upset stomach, and ignoring the side effects of prescription drug medication.

Go to the original article.

Laughter is great medicine so get your fix at The Onion.

Heh, heh…I remember when the allergy drug Allegra came out, the ads never got around to telling you what it was for. They just showed a very happy woman surfing across a wheat field. I kept thinking I want what she is having…

Alas, I still can’t find that damn prescription Damnitall, damn it all!   😦

 

 

Synapse. Tweaked version of Image:SynapseIllus...

Oh man, nothing makes me so angry as when people peddle misinformation as being fact, especially when it comes to psychiatric medications. While I acknowledge that not all people are helped by them and that some have bad reactions to them, the anti-medication movement is often riddled with ridiculous statements such as “Antidepressants damage the brain and cause people to become sociopaths.”  My conscience is very much intact, thank you very much. And that goes for others I know who take antidepressants as well.

I am focusing in this post on antidepressant medications, although the same principles apply to many other psychiatric medications as well. But I hear antidepressants being brought up more often than others, and I have studied them more than others as well.  I want to say upfront that I am not a medical professional. I am a mental health consumer who believes knowledge is power, so I have done my own research on this.

There are more subtle charges about antidepressants than what I posted above, that are more believable to people who don’t know the facts.

“Antidepressants work no better than a placebo”

Partly true. The end should say “For mild to moderate depression.”  But for major clinical depression and bipolar depression they do work. The logical conclusion is that many if not most of mild to moderate cases of depression are situational, rather than biological. Antidepressants are not designed to treat non-biological depression.  Unfortunately the overprescribing of antidepressants to those who don’t need them has resulted in a backlash from the public and the media is not always reporting the entire story.

Another charge is this:

“It says right in the antidepressant drug information that they don’t know how it works so the hypothesis that it corrects a chemical imbalance must be wrong.”

Again, partly true. It does say that it is “thought to work” by correcting a chemical imbalance in the brain. But there are many non-psychiatric medications that have the same type of caveat. Just because they don’t always know exactly how a medication works does not mean that it is a useless medication. It is results that matter. Some research has shown that perhaps it causes an increase in neurons which might account for why it may take up to a few weeks to become effective. It may also be a case of multiple effects that are in play as well. Perhaps the medication affects both the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain AND increases neurons. It has to be pointed out that until recently it was thought that the brain could not regenerate and produce new cells. That has been proven wrong with the new science of neuroplasticity or neurogenesis.  My next post is going to go into how the hypothesis of the chemical imbalance came about. It was not an unreasonable idea in light of the knowledge of the brain they had at the time, in the 1950’s. But I want to point out that the “chemical imbalance” hypothesis, while it is being challenged, has not been disproven either. It is up in the air at the moment.

One thing that many people don’t understand is that science progresses in stages and it is self-correcting as well. No scientist will ever claim that they understand everything perfectly. When  I debate people on scientific research, I point out this as an example of how science works. While Isaac Newton was a brilliant man, he never actually understood what gravity is. He was the one who discovered the principle or the theory of gravity and described its mathematical qualities but he didn’t know what it was or the cause of it. Others built upon his discovery so that we have a more complete view now.  But even now there are mysteries because Newtonian physics and Quantum physics should not be able to exist side by side as they contradict each other. Yet they do, not because either one of them is wrong, but because our understanding is incomplete.

And gravity works, whether you understand it or not. The same principle applies with medications.

This is just something to keep in mind when people claim that “such and such research” has been “disproven”, many times based on only one study. Studies have to be replicated in order to have any validity at all. And the human brain is a rather difficult organ to do research on. Lab animals can be subjected to medications and also be controlled for variables. Then they are killed and their brains dissected. You can’t do that with people. So studies have to be based on effectiveness, not on a complete understanding of the pathology of the mentally ill brain.

But the one that really “Grinds my gears” is when people compare psychiatric medications to addictive illegal drugs.

“Antidepressants change the levels of neurotransmitters and alter receptors. Cocaine also changes the levels of both dopamine and serotonin, as well as noradrenaline, and alters receptors.”

This is one of the most insidious charges around. The fact is that many medications affect the levels of neurotransmitters and possibly receptors as well.  That does not automatically mean that they are bad for you or are addictive. Many migraine medications, and drugs for Parkinson’s disease for example. In fact any medication that can cross the blood-brain barrier is likely to affect the brain in some manner, such as with older antihistamine medications that cause drowsiness and are still a popular ingredient in over-the-counter sleep medications.

The difference between a horrendously addictive and destructive drug  and an antidepressant is HOW it works in the brain. Cocaine does raise the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain, temporarily, by causing them all to be released at once. That is what causes people to feel high. When you come down though, those chemicals are depleted and then you become depressed and your body craves another high.

On the other hand, antidepressant medication does not cause a high and is thought to work by conserving the levels of neurotransmitters by inhibiting the re-uptake into the cells. It essentially is recycling the chemicals that would otherwise be broken down by the body, meaning more of it is available for use in the brain.

Those are two completely different processes and in fact antidepressants do exactly the opposite of what cocaine does! Cocaine depletes, antidepressants conserve!

If anyone challenges you on taking “happy pills” ask them what the street value for these things are. The answer is zero.

The only psychiatric medications that you need to watch out for are tranquilizers and sleeping pills. Some people do end up abusing them. You and your doctor need to watch out for signs of tolerance, needing more to have the same effect. If you are uncomfortable taking these medications, ask your doctor for non-addictive medications or other ways to manage your symptoms. And please do not get the term ‘major tranquilizers” confused with the term “tranquilizers” as the former is an old-fashioned term for antipsychotics, which are not addictive.

The answer to all this insanity is to educate yourself and others (if they are open to that). Learn what your medications are and how they work. All the information I have supplied here is readily available online and you can also ask your doctor. Read the drug information from the pharmacy too and ask the pharmacist questions as well. Knowledge is power!  😉

 

 

Reblogged from OMTimes:

 

Living Mindfully and Compassionately with Mood Disorders

mood-disorders_OMTimesby Bill Lee

Manic depression, post-traumatic stress, and addiction are all complex psychiatric mood disorders that many suffer concurrently. Those of us who have been diagnosed with one or more of these mood disorders, or mental illnesses, (co-occurring) contend with debilitating symptoms, which may include severe anxiety, dramatic mood swings, rage, ruminations, flashbacks, and nightmares. Our manic episodes are often life-changing and can result in death. Although there are no cures for any of these disorders, adopting a Buddhist practice that includes mindfulness and Tonglenmeditations can augment our existing treatment protocol.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness is simply being fully aware and present in the moment. It’s like having an orchestra conductor inside our heads, who also serves as a gatekeeper—intercepting negative thoughts, such as urges, ruminations, flashbacks, and addiction cravings. When we’re free of these triggers and symptoms, we can concentrate, reach a higher consciousness, and embrace insights, which can lead to emotional breakthroughs and healing.

Belly breathing is the core technique for practicing mindfulness meditation. Also referred to as “abdominal” and “diaphragmatic” breathing, this is our inborn way of respiring and it has distinct advantages over breathing from our chest. Belly breathing enables us to take in more oxygen with fewer breaths—with more carbon dioxide being expelled on the out breath. Increased utilization of our diaphragm to breathe lowers our heart rate and helps to stabilize our blood pressure. Belly breathing stimulates the area just below the navel, where our body stores chi energy. This is where our Buddha nature resides.

A Natural Mood Stabilizer

Those of us who suffer from the mood disorder of being bipolar face challenges that our friends and family often have difficulties understanding. A genetic predisposition and chemical imbalance can result in extreme highs and lows as well as rapid mood swings. A mindfulness practice can help us gain better control—not only of our thoughts—but of our emotions as well.

Being attentive from moment to moment enable us to be fully conscious of changes in our mood, which may occur suddenly. Mindfulness serves as a potent coping mechanism for us. When we find ourselves in a stressful situation or sense that we are becoming anxious, overly sensitive, irritable, hyper, fearful, or aggressive, implementing mindful breathing immediately helps us to pause and focus, instead of panicking, retreating, acting out angrily, or resorting to high-risk or excessive behavior—such as compulsive gambling, hypersexual activity, or wild shopping sprees. This brings our mind to a relaxed state, where it can rest and recharge, while maintaining full awareness. Mindfulness meditation reduces our anxiety and acts as a natural mood stabilizer. It is a great way to cultivate loving-kindness for ourselves.

The Four Noble Truths and 12-Step Recovery

Buddhism and the 12-Step Recovery Program have a lot in common. Both traditions promote community (sangha), spirituality, humility, accountability, making amends, ethical behavior, and of course—abstinence from intoxicants. In fact, most of the literature used in recovery fellowships is in accordance with the Eightfold Path.

One major difference between 12-Step fellowships and Buddhism is that the former advocate surrendering to a higher power, while the latter emphasizes the power within each of us. Those unfamiliar with Buddhism may be surprised to learn that Buddha presented himself as a teacher and instructed his followers to think for themselves and not take his words at face value. He did not wish to be worshipped. So addicts who are atheists or agnostics can adopt a spiritual practice without any expectation to turn their will or their lives over to anyone or anything. The solution for our suffering lies in our true nature….Read more here

 

Reposted from Tiny Buddha:

 

Why We Don’t Need to Feel Bad About Feeling Bad

Sad Man

“Feelings are just visitors. Let them come and go.” ~Mooji

I once thought that the goal of meditation was to reach a state of constant positivity—a natural euphoria in which a person simply does not get angry or depressed.

I think that a lot of people begin practicing meditation thinking that their teacher has reached this euphoric state of being. I have learned, though, that these negative feelings are never permanently banished from anyone’s mind.

As someone that has been struggling with anxiety and depression disorders since early childhood, I turned to meditation as a teenager as a means of treatment.

I assumed that one day I would master meditation and never feel depressed or overly anxious again. I have been practicing on an off for eight years and have completed a meditation teacher certification course, and guess what—I am still human. I still get angry, depressed, and anxious.

What meditation has taught me is that there is no such thing as a negative feeling. All feelings are natural and necessary, no matter how unpleasant they may be.

Instead of resisting your feelings and the circumstances leading up to them, accept them. Only after you accept your feelings can you let go and move on. Resisting and stifling your feelings only keeps them with you longer.

I realized this after reading The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

I tried to do everything that the book said to do. Making lists of things that I was grateful for was easy, and so was saying “thank you” all of the time. One thing that I could not agree with though, was the author’s assumption that negative feelings are a result of being ungrateful.

Even on my worst days, I am grateful for the life that I have. I am grateful for who I am and the people around me. My negative feelings are caused by a chemical imbalance in my brain, and listing things that I am grateful for doesn’t help because I already know that my life is good.

For some people, depression comes the same way as a headache would, and accepting the feeling and letting it go is much more effective than trying to stifle, resist it, or act like it isn’t there.            

Look at the Earth, for example. Should the Earth try to resist winter, simply because summer is more pleasant? Wouldn’t it serve the Earth better to accept winter, trusting that summer will come again?

If we weren’t meant to feel anything that is unpleasant, winter would not exist.

Nature is beautiful; think of blue skies, flowers, beaches, and hot summer days. Nature can also be scary. For example, volcanos, hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, thunder and lightning destroy towns and cities and kill thousands of people.

There is good and bad in everything and every person on this planet. You, like the Earth, are a Yin Yang. Do not feel bad about being angry or upset. Instead, celebrate the good things about you.

Accepting your feelings and letting them swallow you whole are two different things, though. That is where meditation comes in.

You sit there and focus on your breath and the sounds around you and the present moment. If feelings of sadness arise, notice them, let them be, but do not attach yourself to the feeling.

Do not think, “I feel sad. I should not feel sad.” Instead, simply let the feeling exist, and before you know it, it will be gone. You are not your thoughts and feelings; they are simply experiences. Just because it is happening in your mind that doesn’t mean that it is a part of you.

Before I came to realize all of this, I felt bad about myself for not being able to reach this superhuman state of constant positivity that a lot of yoga and meditation teachers seem to purposely project in order to glorify their practice and attract new customers.

Your teachers get angry and upset sometimes, too; some of them just don’t want you to know it. The standard of constant positivity that I was trying to reach actually hindered my progress and made me feel worse after a meditation session.

If you are experiencing this, stop trying to be perfectly positive. It’s impossible. There’s no reason to resist your “negative” feelings, or feel bad for having them. You are a Yin Yang, as we all are—and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Photo by David Goehring

Avatar of Andrea Ulrich

About Andrea Ulrich

Andrea is currently working on a novel, getting into blogging, and working at a restaurant. She is certified to teach meditation and believes strongly in minimalism.

Go to original article here 

Read more inspiring articles at http://www.tinybuddha.com

 

 

 

the cargo

the cargo (Photo credit: fallsroad)

 

I started this blog as an inspirational site. However there are times when I just don’t feel positive or even spiritual. Because of that I have not been posting much here. That may sound silly, but I do not want to bring people down. On the other hand, I am human and perhaps my pain can also serve a purpose in helping others. So today I do not feel “enlightened” Today I don’t feel God. Today I do not see myself as a”being of Light and Love” (as we all are). Today I feel like crap and I guess that is okay. I wrote this poem today:

Walls

The walls fall down

And it is just me

Naked

And screaming at the sky

Can she hear me?

I can’t get rid

Of the ugly image

Of me

The unwanted

The undeserving

She may hate me

But if you praise me too much

I hate it

Don’t want it

Can’t accept it

You don’t know me

And I won’t let you know me

I think I’ll ruin your life

I can’t bear the responsibility

I can’t bear the rejection

I think I am doing you a favor

By keeping to myself

What good am I?

Thank God I have no children

Thank God I have no husband

There is just me

And she is not good enough

Never good enough

Run away from me

Run away…

Enhanced by Zemanta

Pain, Pain, Go Away…

Day 37 - Pain

Day 37 – Pain (Photo credit: DJorgensen)

I haven’t been writing lately, maybe because I feel like I should be doing better than I am, which is really nothing more than pride. I do not look down on others when they are having a rough time, but me? I am supposed to be the inspiration for others! I am supposed to be enlightened!

Forget that. I am in horrible pain with  fibromyalgia and I am mad at myself and fate.  I don’t want this. Last night I tried to make my body go numb to help stop the physical pain. It is a spontaneous thing I have done at times when mental pain has gotten too bad, a form of checking out. It actually helped this time, but only for a little while. My nerves are sensitized to pain and I figure that maybe through my mind I can “unsensitize” them.  I try to envision waves of light healing me, but it doesn’t help.

I am trying aromatherapy baths with Lavender oil and sometimes it helps and other times it doesn’t. Or it only helps for a little while. I have bought other essential oils to try, but they can be expensive. I have just made a call to set up an appointment with a massage therapist, another expense I don’t want to pay, but I am desperate right now.

The combination of having a mental disorder and a chronic pain and fatigue condition is overwhelming. A favorite author of mine, Kathleen Crowley knows about this first hand. I became familiar with her writing when I worked at a mental health social center. We used her book, The Power of Procovery in Healing Mental Illness, in one of our classes. Her first book, The Day Room: A Memoir of Madness and Mending, chronicles her journey through dealing with the effects of nerve damage due to medical malpractice. Nothing helped the pain and she ended up with a mental breakdown. Somehow this woman managed to recover her sanity and deal with the pain, which she has to this day. Although I found her book an inspiring read, I still feel something is missing because she really did not get into specifics about how she learned to deal with her physical pain. I actually met her a long time ago, at a mental health training I went to, and I wish I had ask her about that, but then I was not in bad pain at that time.

Still both books I recommend, especially The Power of Procovery. “Procovery” is a word she coined to express the idea that we need to let go of our old life in order to move forward and it’s mantra is “Just Start Anywhere!” This is good to remember now when I need to remember that I just need to take small steps to help myself instead of being completely helpless.

I have to confess that while I am very good at teaching others, I am often a bad student. I need to get back to the basics. It is hard though, because I want that magic formula that will give me my life back.

I hate having to push myself to do anything at all. Going to the mental health center where I get support is a challenge when I am hurting physically and mentally. But what other choice do I have? I am not going down the road of self-destruction again. if not for myself, at least for my family.

The truth is that I really don’t want to die, I just don’t want to live like this anymore. But there is a part of me that knows that my time here is not finished and that I am meant to accomplish more tasks. Last week I was sobbing to my therapist, saying “I want to matter!” Of course the truth is that I do matter, in some small way to others and my work isn’t done. But there is fear, a lot of fear, not only about my physical condition but because I am afraid of life, of reaching out. I hide my pain because I do not want to burden others and also because I am afraid of rejection. Even rejection by my readers, whom I think will condemn me for not being “spiritual enough.”

Okay I tell myself “You are human. Get over yourself!”

Any thoughts and advice would be welcome. 😉

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Poem About Recovery

 

Here is an insightful poem from Kati Morton’s Mental Health Social Network:

A Poem About Recovery

small-&-greedy_658985

Today I do not want to recover,
Today I want to curl up in my bed of addiction and sleep in.
Tomorrow I may put the razor away, and eat my lunch..
But today,
today want to I fall down.
Today I want to become a quitter.
Today I want to tuck my resolve into a corner of my dresser,
And dust away the remnant’s of my confidence
from the picture frame of friends who left me.
Today I am willing to crumple my origami heart just for a bit of relief.

Today I learn the meaning of strength,
Today I define struggle.

Recovery isn’t what I keep telling myself it is.
Recovery is waiting in a rainstorm because you have faith that a rainbow will appear.
Recovery is walking through a haunted house of my demons, and believing that I’ll find an exit.
Recovery is taking off the blindfold, and being blinded by the light.
Recovery is your eyes adjusting to the light.
Recovery is moving on.
Recovery is learning.
Recovery needs tears to water it before it blossoms.
Recovery is the caterpillar in it’s cocoon, waiting to become the butterfly it was promised.
Recovery isn’t an accident, a coincident, it isn’t luck.
Recovery is faith.
Recovery is work.
Recovery is slow steady healing.
Not an eclipse of the heart,
But a changing of the seasons,
And I’m still waiting for spring.
Recovery is being vulnerable.
Recovery is forgiving.
Recovery is acceptance.

Recovery is a lot of poems.
Recovery is a lot of crying.
Recovery is a lot of nostalgic songs.
Recovery is a lot of late nights on tumblr, or on the phone.

Recovery isn’t a dream,
Recovery isn’t made up
Recovery is giving me my future back.

Recovery is my high school diploma.
Recovery is learning what love really is.
Recovery is 5 years clean.
Recovery is my wedding day.
Recovery is holding my first child.
Recovery is growing old with a man I love.
Recovery is a future.

Today I do not want to recover,
But I’ll try anyways
That is Recovery.

About The Author

          Just me trying my very best to recover
Enhanced by Zemanta

Periodically I have kept a gratitude journal reminding me that even if I did not feel grateful that there were things in my life to be grateful for. When I was suffering the effects of depression it was not always easy to come up with a list and I often wrote down the same things day after day. Did that make me feel better? Yes and no. What it did give me is the strength to go on, hoping eventually that I would feel better. And after a long journey in the darkness I did finally see the sun.

Gratitude Journal

Gratitude Journal (Photo credit: limevelyn)

Of course the gist is to write down your blessings. I had only one person in my life who was supportive and caring and I focused on that instead of worrying about those who had abandoned me. So that was what came first. I lost my job due to my bipolar disorder but I could focus on the fact that I was able to get on disability and was not starving in the streets. Again I did not actually feel better at the time. It was just an acknowledgment of the fact that things could be far, far worse.

There are ways though that get better results than what I did, and I found this great article from The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. I will share an excerpt from “Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal

Emmons, a professor at the University of California, Davis, shared these research-based tips for reaping the greatest psychological rewards from your gratitude journal.
•Don’t just go through the motions. Research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky and others suggests that journaling is more effective if you first make the conscious decision to become happier and more grateful. “Motivation to become happier plays a role in the efficacy of journaling,” says Emmons.
•Go for depth over breadth. Elaborating in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
•Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.
•Try subtraction, not just addition. One effective way of stimulating gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings, rather than just tallying up all those good things.
•Savor surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
•Don’t overdo it. Writing occasionally (once or twice per week) is more beneficial than daily journaling. In fact, one study by Lyubomirsky and her colleagues found that people who wrote in their gratitude journals once a week for six weeks reported boosts in happiness afterward; people who wrote three times per week didn’t. “We adapt to positive events quickly, especially if we constantly focus on them,” says Emmons. “It seems counterintuitive, but it is how the mind works.”

Read more of the article here. Also visit the Greater Good Science Center