Building

March 6, 2013

Well, I did absolutely nothing yesterday, and yet the day was full.  I don’t know where the time went.  When I say, “nothing”, I mean nothing I had planned to do.  No vacuuming, no computer work searching for a job.  I did my journaling and self-help work.  I did yoga for the first time.  I talked to M on the phone.  I took P in to have a teeth float.  I met up with dear S for dinner, and then later a nighttime tea at Starbucks.  I got home at 11 PM, and it was too late to even think of vacuuming.  Instead, I glued F’s hair barrette again.  The one that we made during our craft time together last Friday.

My heart is pumping blood at a furious rate.  I can feel it right through my housecoat.  Am I anxious because I didn’t go on the computer yesterday after announcing to one and all that that was my goal?  I realized yesterday AGAIN how afraid I am of failing.  Perhaps it wasn’t so much a realization as it was a pristine moment of clarity where I was slapped in the face with my own reality.  It’s one thing to SAY I am afraid of failing.  It is another thing altogether to FEEL it soaking through my bones, drenching me from head to toe with suffocating completeness.  I also became aware of the fact that I have no confidence.  That seems like a rather redundant statement to make after living a life with the absence of self-esteem.  But somehow this new understanding of my lack of confidence is profoundly disturbing. What do I do to regain it?  Or if it was never there in the first place, how do I develop  something I’ve never seen or felt before?  ‘Fake it ’till you make it’ cannot apply in this circumstance because I have no understanding or innate sensibility of what it is that I must fake.  What IS confidence?  I know some people are born with it, and others are not so lucky.  Can I truly gain something; an entity I have no previous or background knowledge of; and propel myself forward with it in tact, as I motor down the freeway of success?

Success.  It is a beautiful concept, and one that has been absent in all aspects of my life.  I guess that statement is not exactly true.  A few instances do come to mind:  being awarded ‘Most Improved’ ball player at the end of my first year playing baseball in a league, to being named ‘MVP of the Year’ in the same league, in my third and final year of play; moving to LA a few months shy of the ten year deadline I had set for myself to land there; and graduating ‘With Distinction’ in the two University degrees I completed in four years time.  But that is about it.  Oh wait…I should include being my high school Class President and Valedictorian in Grade 12; and giving the Invocation at my University graduation in the spring of 2008.  I should be proud of these achievements, but instead I am achingly aware of what a pathetically short list of accomplishments that is for someone who has been wandering the planet for 47 years.  Blundering and plodding along, blindly and continually stepping into great potholes in the road, and falling several decades into pits of despair.  No sidestepping for me.  No circuitous routes.  Straight down the line, over monstrous mountains and through unfathomably deep valleys.  Why do I feel like taking a short cut is a ‘bad’ thing?  That strategizing and avoiding definite road blocks and bumps along the line instead of tackling whatever comes my way is shirking my responsibilities.  In other words, my attitude is, “Take it as it comes…EXACTLY as it comes.”  It is not acceptable to avoid any grievances that may come up.  I must face whatever confronts me, and confront IT!  It is cowardly to turn my head and look for another option.  I must persevere through each trial, growing stronger with every obstacle cleared.  What a load of hogwash!  Since when is looking for alternative methods of action or responses a negative experience?  Where does it state that tribulations can only be met as they are presented, head on?  Who said that only adversity makes me grow?  My whole belief system needs to be dismantled and retired.  Or abandoned altogether, and thrown into the round file.  I’ve got to start all over and develop a new scheme with which to live by.  But how do I do that?  Where do I begin, and with what do I begin with?  Which takes me right back to my original question:  How do I develop something I’ve never seen or felt before?

Maybe all of this thinking is meaningless.  Perhaps it is just a matter of doing.  To greet each day and do the best I can with what I’ve got, each moment as it comes.  I could recognize each minute success I achieve, and celebrate these moments as they arrive.  For instance, congratulations me for steadfastly making the time to write in this journal.  Good on me for completing the rewriting of my notes from the courses in the hospital program into my Big Blue Binder.  Way to go for establishing a cleaning schedule, and then making a concerted effort to stick to it each day.  Kudos to me for pulling myself up off of the putrified floor of Depression, and struggling to find meaning and purpose in a life that has been devoid of these properties for multiple decades.  Wow!  What a change in mindset THAT was.  Was that really ME speaking?  What a foreign way to think.  This may not be permanent, but I will say, “Thank you”, Universe, for suddenly opening the windows of my mind to acknowledge these realizations in real time.  May this type of thinking be the substratum with which I construct my new belief system on.

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January 14, 2018

As I reread this journal entry, a flicker of hope flashes through my brain.  Five years ago, for an instance, I got a glimpse of what the other side might look like.  It came out of nowhere, a surprise of the sweetest kind.  An opportunity to view an alternate way of thinking, of being, that no matter how brief, did flare into existence.

I continue to compose my ‘new’ belief system to this day.  Sometimes I experience days when a positive truth gleams forth, and a new brick of enlightenment can be placed to reinforce the others around it.  At other times, I am beset with insecurity and I feel like the fabrication of my foundation is crumbling all around me.  In moments of weakness, I worry that the distance I have travelled from then until now is minimal.  In moments of strength, I don’t compare.  I am content in the knowledge that I am in the spot intended for me at this particular time in my history, and that my building, as it stands, is one that I can love and be proud of.

 

 

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Bring It On!

February 8, 2013

Going on my third night without sleep.  My mind is absolutely buzzing.  I’m not even sure what it is I am thinking about exactly, as thoughts are flying around in there at an alarming rate.  It is so odd.  An idea forms and I begin to think it through, and then another thought bombards into that idea, sending it flying into the ether.  Which in turn is replaced by yet another notion…and so it goes.  I feel like I am using an inordinate amount of brain power without having any results to show for it.  I must admit, this is a far cry from where I was in December, paralyzed with inertia.  Now when I sit still, my head is a racetrack.  I am finding too, that I have energy to start tasks that would otherwise have been impossible for me to even fathom when I was in the doldrums.  But again, completion escapes me.  I start with one chore and get it half finished, and then it occurs to me that something else also needs to be addressed, so I leave the first job undone and move on to the next.

I’ve decided to take a break.  It is a gorgeous day and I am out on my swing at 1:10 PM.  T and S have joined me.  The birds are sweetly singing, chirping out the news of the day, and the sky is azure blue.  I LOVE my swing.  It is so peaceful.  The gentle swinging action puts me at ease.  Much like how I imagine a baby must feel when it is being rocked.  I look at my dried raspberry bushes and wonder of their bountiful promise this summer.  My apple and cherry trees stand stalwart respectively, awaiting the time when they will spring to life and be laden with pristinely white blossoms.  My lilac tree behind me displays its branches, that guarantee will hold the heady scent of lilac when they bloom in June.  My wind chimes are tinkling.  Fairy chimes.  There is a cool breeze, but the sun is warm.  The breeze wafts around me, as the sun shines on my face and hands.  The warmth of it spreads through my body to its very core.  My coat is undone.

The East side of my yard is blanketed with snow.  Banked and white.  The West side has some snow as well, but it is melting and there are puddles along the fence and in the raspberry bushes.  The North side against the house is a combination of dry and muddy parts, and the crown of my strawberry rhubarb plant is bravely peeking out.  The South side against the garage is deep with brilliantly sparkling snow.  I must remember to clear those rocks out by the side of the garage so my raspberries can continue to grow.  I can’t wait for spring to come when N will come and finish the backyard!

T is in amongst the raspberry bushes.  One of his favourite haunts during the summer months.  S has just scaled a snow drift mountain, and is perched on top, sniffing the air.  It feels and looks like spring, but I am afraid we have lots more winter left to experience.  It’s hard to believe on a day like today.  A jewel of a day!  I just took a deep breath of air into my lungs and it even smells like spring!  That fresh, slightly dank aroma of mulched leaves and dirt.  Why, I see a few sprigs of green grass!  Hey…I see LOTS of green grass sprouting up!  Oh, wouldn’t it be amazing if after all these years of having Phil the Groundhog see his shadow, that this year he didn’t and we got an early spring instead?  What a time worthy of celebration!  An early spring and an extra long summer would fit the bill perfectly!  Perhaps I should send out some wishes to the universe to bolster the possibility of this happening.

The universe…God…whatever is out there.  I have felt for so long that It/He/She doesn’t like me, or rather cares little for me, but likes to challenge me for its own entertainment.  And not JUST me.  A score of us purple sheep the world over,  A universal entertainment troupe.  The folks on the planet who struggle, or suffer, in varying degrees, for what benefit?  For whose benefit?  It’s hard to make sense of all the pain that exists in the world.  To justify why it is present.  Why IS it present?  What purpose does it serve?  It’s easier to think that someone or something up there is simply watching a television program that we have all been cast in.  And ratings are always higher when adversity is featured.  I have always said I wanted to touch people.  To make them laugh, or think, or cry, through my acting and my stand up routines.  Maybe I got my wish.  Just not in the way I thought I would.  The audiences that I had hoped to enthral have been diminished to one being…or one entity.  And the time that I was meant to be on the stage is actually my life as I live it each day.

Today I am feeling positive.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it is because I am riding a tide of delirium that has occurred because of my lack of sleep.  It doesn’t really matter why.  How long has it been since I felt this way?  Can I even remember a time?  I just feel like I can handle anything that comes my way.  So if there IS a being out there that wants to be entertained, I am ready and willing and standing by the stage door.  Bring on the events as you see fit!  But this time, I am writing the final script, and I will be the one that enjoys the show!

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July 2, 2017

Well, that passage is far removed from most of  the others that I have penned earlier in 2013.  At the end of it there is a cocky challenge that I sent out to the universe.  Something that I wouldn’t necessarily do today.  But unbeknownst to me, I was sailing along on the high at the start of a manic episode, and such behaviour is common at this time.  Although I think it is wise to have an attitude of confidence, I have learned that too much of a good thing can get me into trouble.  On the other hand, I don’t think with my life-long history of self-loathing and depression, that I could EVER reach a point where I was overly confident!  Hah!

As I read, I am taken back to this time.  Despite the fact I was just recovering from a debilitating bout of depression; that I had no job; that I had no way to pay my bills; that I had lost most of my friends due to my illness; and that I struggled daily to feed myself and maintain a weight that would be substantial enough for me to survive on, I was happy IN THAT MOMENT.  Whether it was derived from a chemical imbalance in my brain or not, there is no denying the contentment in my voice as I described my treasured back yard oasis.  What I want to remember about this important fact is that rain is followed by sunshine.  So many of the memories I have in my life are difficult, or shrouded in pain and sadness.  I seem to have forgotten most of the lovely and happy times I have shared with my family and friends.  Whether it is due in part to the ECT, or because I wasn’t really present in the times as they were occurring, I do not know.  It’s very unnerving to be so blank about my past.  But that day’s writing is a reminder to me that I have had good days.  That I will continue to have good days.  And for those that are less than that, I now have strategies in place that will assist me in finding my way through any darkness that may come.

 

Facing the Day

February 6, 2013

Another sleepless night for me.  I am weary today, but I am afraid to take a nap in case I don’t sleep tonight.  I haven’t followed my schedule today, or for that matter, in several days, as I lay in bed for a long time willing myself to get out of bed.  Getting up each morning is still so hard.  I don’t hate the day the minute I wake up anymore, but I just don’t seem to want to get going.  I guess I am still hiding out from the world.

I have made some good strides forward.  Dr. F is amazed at the big leap I have taken.  But I fear that this supposed progress is only temporary.  I hope I am not falling back.  I couldn’t take that.  Being on my own is difficult, as I no longer have an enforced set of activities I am required to complete.  I am my own boss.  This is a role I am not comfortable taking.  More truthfully, this is a role I have not a clue how to adopt and take on for myself.  How can I not know how to manage me?  How is it that I have never learned this basic survival technique?  It is unfathomable how I could have gotten so far into my life without grasping this simple premise.  And yet here I am.  Blindly making a muck out of experience after experience.  Terrified to step out on my own.

How do other people manage themselves?  Why is it that I have never thought about this crucial piece of reality until now?  What a simple concept, and yet it is one I don’t understand.  I have been ill so much in my life.  Hospitalization after hospitalization, to the point of sometimes becoming institutionalized due to the length of my stays.  I think of all the help I have received and the care that has been given me.  I have required this attention because of my illnesses, but at what cost?  Is it any wonder that I have difficulties standing on my own two feet?  Couple that with the fact that my family sees me as being fragile and unable to cope.  They have tried to protect me from what?  Myself?  The world that surrounds me?  Whatever the answer I am left lost and alone.  Feeling unprepared and unable to face each day as it greets me.

OK.  My heart is pounding, my chest feels constricted, and I have a nauseous feeling in my gut.  These physical signs are telling me that I am panic spiralling.  Never a good thing.  I must do some breathing exercises and focus on the moment of now.

I look at my luscious plants.  They are so beautiful and green.  Such a variety of different shades of colour.  It’s quite remarkable and spectacular at the same time.  Like me, they love the sun!  Basking in it each day brings me warmth and satisfaction.  A comfortable feeling of contentment creeps in as I feel the subtle warmth of the rays on my arms and hands.  This morning it was cloudy.  A greyness permeated the sky that suggested snow was on the way.  But now it is delightfully sunny with a slight haze in the sky.  It is like the clouds from this morning haven’t completely burned off.  I look up into the depths above me and marvel at its perfection.  With all of its different moods, the sky remains constant.  Something I can count on seeing each day and night.  If only I could learn to count on myself, then I, too, would be able to take care of me and face each day with dignity.

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May 27, 2017

I like most mornings, now.  I arise very early and then relax into my day by luxuriating in the downy folds of my cotton bedding while repeating my positive mantras at a lazy pace.  I am then able to eat breakfast, and although I cannot say I enjoy it particularly, I like the idea that I am feeding my brain and my body for whatever comes my way.

There are still days when I struggle to get out of bed, dreading what awaits me.  During those times, I strive to think of what I have to be grateful for, and I do my daily affirmations with a blind fervour, trying to occupy my mind with positivity, as opposed to focusing on what is negative.  This can be a challenging activity because for so many years my brain has been bent in the direction of negativity that I naturally navigate towards it.  But the more work I do establishing new positive neurological connections within myself, the better able I am to reach and remain on the bright side of that spectrum.

Now the grand question is whether I have learned how to take care of myself.  Anorexia has shattered what little self-esteem I possessed before its onset, so many decades ago.  It has not been built up significantly to date, despite my concerted efforts in this area.  And I remain rail thin, which would indicate that my ability to care for my basic need of sustenance is one that is sketchy at best.  But I AM functioning in the real world.  I have maintained a career for several years, and although I would like to have a partner, I live somewhat successfully on my own with my dear doggy and kitty.

True happiness still eludes me, as countless years of self hate have taken their toll, and the ability to be kind to myself is grossly impeded by my inner critic.  But I have learned to accept most days as they come, and to do my best to focus on the moments that occur, in real time, regardless of whether they are moments to remember, or ones to forget.  I hold onto the belief that with continued hard work on myself as a person, I WILL find total peace, and even true happiness.  In the meantime, I welcome contentment as my companion as I face the days that come before me.