Monday, April 18, 2016

Stop Looking In the Rear View Mirror, You Aren't Going That Way

I know I've been harping on this whole living in the past / worrying about the future thing, but this is where my thoughts have been lately.

My previous post keeps ringing in my ears and throughout my mind.

It is so true, yet so simply put.  I wish I had really gotten this years ago.

Change is always a progression, but being willing to do so and being open to change is key.  If you stay shut off to bettering yourself or learning a new way of thinking, you will always be stuck exactly where you are.  You can say you WANT to change all day, but if you don't open yourself up to it and be open to learning a new way of living, it simply will not happen.  If you don't do the work and you constantly live your life and long for the life you had in the past, the past is where you will stay.  If you don't do the work and constantly worry or yearn for something in the future, then that's where you will always stay.  Both of which rob you of the present moment.

For me, I have never dwelled on the past too much.  I know that there were things in my past that I didn't deal with like I should have, but I've never dreamed of or spent too much time reliving it.  Or wishing I was still there - for the good parts.  Hence, why I don't think I have ever been depressed for any length of significant time.  My struggle has always been anxiety and fear of the future.  So much so that I wasn't enjoying the present moment.  In my recovery work and working to retrain my brain to focus on the present, I am working past my anxiety.  I am learning to live in the now.  I am truly baffled at my progress I have made just by doing the work.  By not thinking I don't want to worry about the future, but actually retraining my brain to think differently.  I really also like that saying "if you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done".

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  I was insane for most of my life.  Truly.  If the definition of insanity is just that, that is all I ever did.  I always WANTED things to be different.  To react differently to things or to act differently in certain situations or to NOT do something in a certain situation, but I didn't know that I had to do the WORK to actually make a change.

I get it.  Being stuck in a rut is hard.  I've been there and I'm not saying I will never be in a rut again.

I found something that works for me.  Over the past 2 years I have begun to grow into the person that I know that I am and that I know I am capable of being.  I will always be forever changing and growing until the day I leave this earth, but I couldn't be more content on the path that I am following.  I finally feel like I am heading in the right direction.  Not backwards, not too far forwards, but truly living in the NOW.

For the first time in my life, I am becoming content with who I am.  Not feeling like I HAVE to have someone in my life to complete me.  I am not currently in a relationship and I am content.  I don't know if I could have ever said that before.  I have always lost myself in relationships and been so co-dependent on my significant other in the past.  I would have told you that's not true because I am independent and an introvert and I'm ok with alone time, which is all true...although, I did lose part of myself by relying on that other person to fill a void instead of loving myself first and being content with ME.  Just me.  We all lose a little bit of ourselves being in relationships as we bend and flex to the others and it's a beautiful thing, but when you do it for the wrong reasons, it can be a disaster.

Also realizing that I can have boundaries and I don't have to bend and flex for someone who I am not compatible with and trying to force a compatibility regardless of the situation.  It's not being selfish, it's taking care of myself and not settling for anything less than what I want in a significant other.

I ended my last relationship due to a boundary I had set for myself initially and in turn, doing so brought to light many other aspects of this person that I did not see until doing so that I wasn't ok with.  Selfish and immature behaviors, lack of responsibility, complacency, non goal-driven, constantly living in the past...all of which made me realize even more that I made the right decision for me.  It's not an ideal situation in some people's eyes, but it's certainly ideal for me and that's the only thing that matters.  Doesn't mean I don't care about this person and want nothing but the best for them, but also knowing that I don't have to be the one to try and fix this person or to sacrifice my happiness and my growth when someone else is stuck.  I lived my life that way for too long and with too many relationships in my past.

And today I strive to live in the present.  And the more I train my mind and heart to do so, the easier and more natural it will be.

Monday, April 11, 2016

BEING In The Present

I took a lovely meditation workshop 2 weekends ago where we talked a lot about being in the present moment.

I've had anxiety for a long time - truly since I was a little child, but it really reared it's ugly head in my early 20's and manifested itself into panic attacks and excruciating worry.

I didn't know how to deal with it well at the time and the only thing that helped the panic attacks for me was to get on medication.  I've been on medication for roughly 12-13 years.

I've been to psychiatrists, therapists - both individual and couples.  I got a little bit out of both.

I've been clinically diagnosed with 'Generalized Anxiety Disorder' and 'Severe Clinical Depression'.

I became complacent with relying on my medication to control my anxiety.

It wasn't until I had hit rock bottom in an alcoholic relationship that I really started facing my problems.  MY problems...not someone else's problems.  My defects of character.  It wasn't until I got myself out of the "woes me"s that I started feeling this.

What active part was I playing in my own life or in my own relationships?  When we start to take ownership of our own parts we play in situations, our lives truly begin to change.

It wasn't until I gave in to letting go that things started to truly shift for me.  That I was truly living in Acceptance.

It's been 2 years since I've been in a program that has saved my life and has helped me more than any one therapist, psychiatrist, self help book, etc. has ever helped me.  In this program is where I have truly felt a shift in my anxiety and depression hold patterns.  It's truly where I've felt like I may be overcoming these diseases in my life.  I know that my core issue has always been anxiety and I've suffered bouts of depression at different times in my life, however, I don't consider myself to have 'Severe Clinical Depression' - as it has always been more anxiety driven for me.  But regardless, the two usually go hand in hand at times or at all times.

I have tried to come off my medication once before a few years ago when I thought I was ready... I thought I could do it on my own and I was sorely mistaken.  I had eventually grown comfortable to the fact that maybe I would have to be on the medication my entire life.

Over the past year or so I have been feeling more confident that I might, in fact, be able to get off of my medication.  It wasn't until I found out that I was pregnant that it gave me the push to do so.  All I knew is that I had made a pact with myself that if I ever were to have another child, I would not be on medication during my pregnancy.

God works in mysterious ways.  My pregnancy and situation is certainly not ideal, but my growth is MORE than ideal.

What I could see as a mistake or a bad situation, or feeling shameful, in turn has me living in a present blessing.

And truly feeling blessed.  Not just 'saying' it and still having doubts.  I feel truly free.  I think this is what they call serenity.

Sure, I have moments of doubt, but those are only moments or feelings that come and go (and do not linger) as opposed to debilitating daily feelings not knowing if I could make it through and living in a constant state of worry and panic.

This program in conjunction with other things I have introduced to take care of myself and my own well-being have changed my life.  Al-Anon is the basis of my recovery.  I have since added yoga and being open to other things to add to my life.  They all tie in together.  It's amazing how God is working in my life when I stop and take a look at where I am and how I have gotten here.  When I remove myself out of my body and look at the person I was 2 years ago compared to who I am today, I hardly recognize this person.

I have learned that it's ok to say I am not ok with something or someone else's behavior in my life.  It's ok for me to make decisions based on my own well-being and to not be in an unhealthy situation just because of a certain circumstance.  I've learned to take care of myself before I focus on any one else in my life.  It's ok to say no and it's ok to have boundaries...all of which I could not do before coming into this program.

Living with anxiety and depression will be a life-long existence for me.  But learning more about myself and staying in recovery is the greatest gift I can ever be given.  It's funny the things you see and the blessings that are shown to you when all you have to do is open your eyes and your heart just a bit.

I am happier in my life now than I ever have been before.  Even as I sit here typing this not knowing what the future uncertainty of life with a newborn baby in a few months and where life will take me.  But I don't feel depressed as I am not living in the past and I don't feel anxious as I am not worrying about the future.  I am making a daily, sometimes hourly choice to live in the present.

I have truly learned what it means to Let Go and Let God.  Sometimes it's a conscious effort and other times, when you make it a part of your life, you automatically let go...without another thought.  And that, my friends, is the most freeing feeling of serenity there is.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Stop Taking Away My Rights To Take Away Other People's Rights!

I saw this written on a meme this morning.  While the meme was a little silly, this statement resonates with me.

It's no secret that I am a bleeding heart liberal.  With that being said, that doesn't mean I am 100% liberal and have no "conservative" beliefs of my own.  Which I do.

BUT, just because I believe a certain way, I do not think that anyone has the right to take away anyone else's right to something or what they believe in simply because it's different from my particular belief.

America is a free country.  It's what we are founded upon.

For example, being pro-choice absolutely does not mean that I am pro-abortion.  I am absolutely not.  Do I believe there would be certain circumstances that I may be?  Yes.  Personally I don't believe in abortion, BUT I am very pro-choice, because it is not my right to tell someone else what their beliefs are or to control what they are allowed to do or not.

Mississippi just passed a very shameful law allowing business owners to reject business to anyone in the LGBT community if they see fit based on religious beliefs.  W.T.F.  Are we back in the slavery era again?  This disgusts me.  And simply out of this inhumane act, I will avoid all things Mississippi from here until my death.

I get it.  Everyone believes differently.  And I respect that.  About anyone.  HOWEVER, that does not give you the right to NOT BE A DECENT FUCKING HUMAN BEING.  There is no excuse for being anything other than decent to a fellow human.  You don't have to agree with someone, but don't treat people different from you like assholes.  You don't have to like them.  But you also don't have to be an entitled asshole.  Last time I checked, you weren't God or Jesus himself.  Besides, Jesus wouldn't treat someone like that, so screw that argument.

I am ill by what is going on in America right now.  Between the political nightmares and the holier-than-thou religious groups I am just sad for us all.

This is why I can't get too involved in any of this stuff anymore.  It's deterring me from my own happiness...but that doesn't mean it still doesn't make my blood boil every once in a while.

Now back to rainbows and butterflies.