I am feeling a lot better. Meds are kicking in, though I am still struggling with a few things. The change in my thinking has been very welcome; I honestly loathe thinking the way I do when the depression takes hold.
So, after my last post and doing some reflecting – in fact, a LOT of reflecting – I have come up with some ideas about my life that I’d like to follow through on. And, after reading a blog post by Wil Wheaton, whom I’m currently warming up to since we seem to struggle with similar things, I felt a bit inspired to so something similar to what he did recently and “reboot” my life. My ideas revolve around the word “should” and eliminating it as best I can from my vocabulary. As a result, I have kind of come up with a personal “manifesto” of sorts.
So, here are my ideas.
- I only want to eat foods I like, not foods I “SHOULD” eat. So, I like a lot of foods, obviously, and I hate dieting. But I am not, believe it or not, a terrible eater. I am not a fast food junkie, I don’t eat tons of junk food (just a bit here & there), and I don’t eat at restaurants very much. I like my Starbucks but have cut back because it’s expensive. But the thought behind this is this: I hate diet foods, dieting makes me miserable, and dieting isn’t working for me because it’s making me miserable. I do not want to be miserable. I do, however, enjoy a lot of healthy foods, believe it or not. I like fruit & veg, I like smoothies, I like certain salads. I like cooking from scratch and seldom use processed foods. So, I am going to come up with a balanced meal plan full of things I like that are good for me, things that are good for me that I will enjoy. I have already cut a lot out of my diet due to budget reasons (deli meats, breakfast cereal, for instance) and have added a few things I like to my diet, like smoothies. But I am done with “bad foods” and “good foods” and diet foods.
- All that being said, exercise is important, and I actually don’t mind exercise, so I am going to pursue an exercise plan I enjoy rather than one I “should” do based on popular trends and popular “science.” And this is going to involve going back to my roots of 20 or so years ago, and recommit to weight training. I used to love weight training, I was good at it, and it was hugely beneficial to my body, muscles, and heart. Times have changed, though; there are new exercises, there is a new equipment out there, there are new techniques; my weight lifting knowledge is 20 years old. So, I am going to research and read up on more modern exercises and techniques, because the old weight workouts of yesteryear are kind of boring to me, and that is one reason why I have not kept up with weight lifting. I will also do some cardio, but again, not stuff I “should do” but stuff I like. I enjoy walking outside. I enjoy hiking. I do not enjoy boring treadmill sessions. I do enjoy a bit of stair climbing, and I do enjoy a bit of recumbent bike, too.
- As you read in my previous post, I am going to change my self talk and treat myself much better than I have been. I am going to work on my core beliefs. With this will come an investment in my own self care, I am going to engage in activities I enjoy and not as much stuff I “should” be doing. I am going to learn how to value myself the way I value my friends and friendships. I am going to try to be brave with the things that I have feared or been nervous about and feel the fear and do them anyway. Bring on the black and dark and weird coloured lipsticks! Bring on the Goth-y clothing! Bring on the authentic me!
- One thing related to #3 is how I spend my time. Why am I always searching for things to do that I enjoy? Why am I always searching for fulfilment? Why am I so disconnected from the things I love & enjoy? I don’t know…But, I have come to the conclusion that I need to stop the search for the “it” thing that is going to magically make me feel happy & fulfilled. I am going back to the basics, back to my roots. You know what my original loves were? Writing and food. I am going to invest my time in pursuing these two hobbies instead of continually searching for other stuff to keep me occupied and not bored. I have been so out of touch with my creativity and creative outlets (more so the writing than the food…I do have to eat, after all). Related directly to these the more sort of secondary interests of music (and writing about it) and reading, something I have been doing way less of due to attention span issues. I am going to read anyway, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. As Wil Wheaton pointed out in his blog post, his interest in writing waned away as he wasn’t making time for reading. Of course this connection is obvious to some…but I needed it spelled out in black & white on Wil’s blog in order for it to hit home.
- Hopes & dreams are important to me as I recover, so it’s not like #4 is going to preclude me from doing other stuff. I do need things to look forward to, but I need reasonable things to look forward to. So, I am planning a trip in a year from now with my dad to Arizona & California. I am going to get a tattoo I have wanted for a long time tomorrow. I am going to see live music as much as I can afford. I am going to save up for sewing machine because I want to make & design some of my own clothing – something I have always wanted to do. “Should” I have savings? Yes. Will I have savings? I don’t know. I am not getting any younger here and if I don’t do things now, when will I do them?
- My space. I like my little apartment. I want to redecorate it because the person who decorated it for me is gone from my life and it’s time to purge the old energy from that relationship and do things my way around here. Not sure about how this is going to happen, but it is related to self care as I want a nice, relaxing, and zen place for me to come home to and enjoy with Juno.
- Income increase. I can’t accomplish everything on my peer support income. Yes, I signed up for Mary Kay. No, I cannot afford to start that yet because there is a minimum amount you need to spend in order to get the 50% discount. I don’t have that much money right now. So, I am planning on doing a small-scale home-based baking business, complete with a menu I am developing, complete with a name I have come up with, and this is how I plan on not only engaging in activities I enjoy, as per #4, but bring it a little bit of extra cash. More details to come on this soon; I am still in the planning stages.
And that is about it for now.
I posted this on Facebook on Feb. 6, 2016. Just posting it here for posterity’s sake.
“I spent a lot of time on the bus today, going about my business, so I had a lot of time to think. Today my thoughts were these: I would NEVER EVER in my entire life talk to another person I cared about, or a person I worked with, or anyone (other than a few select people on my “loathe list” and really there are only 2 people on that list – those two women I lived with in Maple Ridge), the way I talk to myself. I talk to myself with an enormous amount of self hatred. I tell myself I am ugly, unworthy, defective, a waste of air and resources; that I am unlovable, unimportant, stupid, invisible, incapable; that I don’t deserve happiness, acceptance, love, and the good things in life we are all entitled to; that I am of little value and consequence to the world and the people in my life. I tell myself this ALL THE TIME. That is how I speak to myself. No one is responsible for these messages other than me. No one in my life treats me this way, and no one in my life treats other people this way. I would not associate myself with someone who spoke to or treated others like that. Yet, this is my internal dialogue. These are my core beliefs. I carry these with me like an anchor. I have accepted bad messaging about myself from my past: from bullies, from people close to me who loved me, from the Wasband, who traumatized parts of me I didn’t know existed until the damage was long done. My acceptance has been my choice. Now I need to make different choices. I need to get out of this pit, and I need to do it immediately or the shitty and miserable future I foresee for myself is going to become a self-fulfilling prophesy. And the crazy thing is that there is NO evidence whatsoever that any of these beliefs are truth. In fact, all the evidence tells me that the opposite of what I believe is the truth. I don’t know how I’m going to change this, but I do know that it’s a matter of life or death for me.”
On Sunday night the police escorted me to the psychiatric emergency services. I was assessed, kept overnight, and reassessed, and sent home the next day with some new information on dealing with suicidal thoughts.
I am going home to the Kootenays tomorrow on the Greyhound. I have made arrangements for Juno, work, volunteering, etc.
I am exhausted.
…And then today the universe chose to kick me in the teeth. I have interpreted this as a signal to give up, close myself off, and become hardened.
Today has been really rough, as was yesterday. Nothing feels like it’s going right right now. I just want to give up. I’ve had enough. I’ve cried on the phone with two support people and it didn’t help. I feel like a POS.
I grapple with this concept a lot. In my work, one of the things I’m supposed to do is role model hope to my peers, hope that they are just as capable of a successful recovery journey as I am. But then I feel like a fraud because I actually question my commitment to hope on a regular basis.
I hope for many things for myself, and I also hope for many things for the people I love. In fact, I’d say I hope harder for the people I love than I do for myself.
Perhaps that is about my own self-worth, but it’s also about having hoped for things for so long…and having them not pan out.
All my life, I’ve needed some kind of carrot strung up in front of me to motivate me along. That illusive bloody carrot! It’s changed form so many times over the years, but right now that carrot is hope. It’s a puny, shrivelled carrot and it hangs by a flimsy thread – but it’s there.
And I really think at times that it’s the only thing that keeps me alive.
I am starting to come around to believing a couple of things about my life and the things in it that are not working. While I SAY I want things, I am frustrated that I’m not getting them. I am starting to believe that I’m not getting these things because I am not fully committed to them, and I am not fully committed to them because I have a lot of fear around them.
Men/relationships. I am not going to rehash everything here because what I have to rehash is, ultimately, irrelevant. I am now starting to accept that this is an area that scares the hell out of me, and because of that, I have only partially committed to the work of creating this in my life. By partially, I mean, yes, I have done a lot of online searching and done some dating, but I know I could have taken more risks and met more men and been a lot more confident.
What am I afraid of? Honestly ALL OF IT. I am afraid of the usual stuff: rejection, getting hurt, etc. But I also look back at my marriage, and I am afraid of repeating the same things in a new relationship that I did or had in my marriage. I am afraid of the depressions I experience ruining things. I am afraid of vulnerability. I am afraid of having to hide myself. I am afraid of losing self-determination, control, and individuality. I fear intimacy. I am afraid of tearing down a wall I am just starting to realize I have built. I am afraid that I don’t know how to “relationship” any more after over 11 years alone.
What am I going to do about it? I really have no idea. Insight, acceptance, and knowledge is one step in a process that I fear could take the rest of my life. I don’t know how to change these beliefs, I don’t know how to not fear these things any more because they are so ingrained. But, what can I commit to? I can commit to not closing myself off any more. I can commit to trying to be vulnerable more. I can commit to being authentic with everyone and the world. I cannot do anything about my wonky brain chemistry except committing to manage it as best I can. I can commit to not hiding. I have to challenge all my many cognitive distortions about this, which is no easy feat.
On to weight/dieting. This is going nowhere, and it’s no one’s fault but my own. I have not lived fully committed to losing the weight, dieting, and exercise. I know I have not pushed myself. I have not made good decisions.
What am I afraid of? Well, for one thing, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of weight I have to lose, and I fear failure. I hate working hard for no success. I fear making room in my schedule to exercise regularly because I tire out so easily, and I hate being tired. In a weird way, I also fear success, too, because I doubt it will make much difference in how I feel about myself, though of course, I realize the health benefits would be huge. I fear the struggle, the setbacks, I fear the process, which I know from previous experience is long, hard, and taxing. I fear it’s not going to be worth the effort.
What am I going to do about it? I have to break it down into manageable pieces. I have to make a series of smaller commitments instead of looking at it as one huge commitment. I have to recommit every day, if necessary. I have to do my best to change my thinking and focus on all the benefits and gains instead of the potential barriers and pitfalls. I have to challenge my cognitive distortions around this issue, like I have to with the previous issue.
I have a lot of work to do.