Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Maiden Meditation

I am not a health professional by any stretch of the imagination. I am however something of an expert patient. When I find something that works, has no identifiable side effects, enhances my sense of self worth and well being I MUST SHARE!

I have been doing my own research and have always thought meditation to host many desirable outcomes in its practice. I have not been one to practice. I take information in bits and pieces as it suits me and for the longest time this was suffice. You know, a peaceful thought here, an intriguing quote there....

'What we think, we become.' ~ Buddha

Today, I have started a meditation practice project. I will attempt to "meditate" for about 25-30 minutes 2-3 times per day. I will use an audio sample my psychologist has provided me with which is in line with the EMDR therapy created by Mark Grant . I rate my anxiety on a scale of 1-10 before my meditation and then record my anxiety afterwards as to assess my specific success with this approach to well being.

My first session saw me incredibly overwhelmed. I was actually ANXIOUS about trying to RELAX. I couldn't even press play on the audio sample at first. After allowing myself to accept there were no expectations of myself to perform, merely just to EXPERIENCE, I fell into an amazing 15 minute journey.  You may have noticed I was hoping to do 25-30 minutes per session but only did 15. I still consider this quite a success on my maiden voyage.

My journey was halted suddenly by a succession of tears. I don't think they were happy tears or sad tears but as some have suggested perhaps I was merely purging some excess emotion inside me. It certainly felt cleansing. Who knows for sure but I will tell you- it was a thrill.

I was very uncomfortable at first, fidgeting about like a child told to sit still.
I did manage to find a position of relaxation.
I had moments of extreme sadness and conversely, moments of profound joy.
I had sensations of being outside my body (which startled me at first).
I was confused and scared and AT PEACE.

I am not going to pretend to think that after one session I am the Dalai Lama. I don't want to tell you what will work for you or what won't work.... but I do want to share that after only 15 minutes of dedicated time spent on this practice I am now HOOKED. I want MORE.

Do you think you would ever consider meditation? Do you meditate? Share your experience with me!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Love me As I Am

I had given myself a weekly goal of writing this blog and have been achieving this for several weeks now. I want to add a new challenge or habit to my roster of well being. In keeping up with the momentum achieved by asking myself "If I were totally healthy what would I be doing" I thought it wise to reflect on this again last week. I decided daily physical activity was my best next step.

I'm coming clean. I have not been able to keep up with creating a daily intent on completing some sort of physical activity. I'm not sure if blogging about this will make me more accountable or what but it is what it is - now out there in blog land.

What I consider a success about this whole not-met objective is I have identified and I am willing to accept that I am unfairly worrying about how others perceive me. I am letting my mind take me to a consciously ridiculous place... okay, okay - I'll be nice to me - just keep reading.

Subconsciously I am sure this has served me as a great defense against more pain and hurt as I had become accustomed to expecting. I want to accept this part of who I am and let go of it. Sounds like a simple action but it is tedious. Identifying this as even being an issue is quite humbling and not always immediate... see the example of my taking a week to acknowledge I wasn't moving or shaking my ass in any sort of fit direction...

I now acknowledge that a big part of my self esteem issues are because of physical limitations and a way to get my energy up would be to get fit again. This is not a lost concept to me. I crave the energy and will to go out just walking. When my Dood asked me if I wanted to go for a walk to the park today I promptly responded by lurching into full blown panic and dread. I pictured me huffing and puffing and trying to keep up while wishing I was more fit as to be out just enjoying the air rather than struggling to accept myself... Ok I was focusing on non important events, amplifying and experiencing them before they even happened. If they would happen at all. Maybe, I would feel great being out and about.

Somewhere in my mixed bag of attacks of myself I did feel embarrassment or shame for being judged as overweight or gross by others who see me. I'm worried that I'm so out of shape I'll make a fool of myself once I start kettle-bell training (more on this another time). In my reasoning I am fully aware that if other people want to judge me thats good for them. I'm not out gawking and judging every person I pass (and when tempted I do try my best to let it go). So why would anyone be doing that to me? And if they did what would it matter, what affect could it have? Not much.

I will accept that worry and anxiety may come and thats OK. There is a part of me that is in shock and disbelief that doing something so simple is causing so much turmoil in my heart and brain. I have considered going for a walk today and decided I want to go very much but even more than that I don't want to go. I have been sick over it. Thats OK too. It's all OK. Comforting myself is sometimes needed and accepting that - while difficult - may save me in the worst of times. So today, smothered with self loathing and hate, I will comfort myself with warm tea, wonderful movies, and in a couple hours a delicious meal. I will drown my bad self esteem in pampering and treating me right. Eventually this little brat of a worry monster that lives inside of me will learn to trust me enough to bugger off and let me take the reigns a bit but for now, I'll love me as I am.

Monday, May 16, 2011

If you were totally healthy what would you be doing?

Part of my recovery after mental health crisis is to develop new habits that foster a more positive SELF PERCEPTION and as a result this blog was born. This blog, I am learning as I go, is filling the gap for many needs I have in learning about myself, my diag-non-sense, and life in general. Seriously!

I was asked:

"If you were totally healthy what would you be doing?"

That question pretty well knocked me on my ass. I've been so busy trying to "survive" I'd forgotten whats its like to just LIVE. What is it like to live a healthy and ENTHUSIASTIC life? 

I have ALWAYS loved to read and for most of my life I have enjoyed writing. Over the last few years I have slowly waned my enthusiasm for both. Well, if I'm being honest with you all I've lost my enthusiasm for most things in my life hence the developing of new habits to foster a more positive self perception. When I was asked this very simple yet thought provoking question it still took me a couple weeks to really want to answer that question (with depression's ugly cousin's anxiety and worry letting my poor self esteem run amok making me believe I'd never be healthy again).

If I were totally healthy I would be learning and teaching. That is what life is ALL about to me. Learning and teaching, reading and writing, hearing and speaking, loving and being loved. It's the give and take in life that super charges me with that certain joie de vivre. Thats a pretty expansive answer. I needed specific behaviors that may be developed to measure my success with living my life in line with my ideals. (psycho-babble translation= eliminate some of this cognitive dissonance ruining my self worth).

I decided to write weekly, preferably Mondays (when I most needed the reminder to smile despite the tears) and outline my success with finding my way out of this lull my life has taken. I decided that I would keep a certain amount of anonymousness as to not put any undue pressure on myself to perform (not letting social anxiety take this away from me!). I knew there would be obstacles and decided a head of time no challenge would keep me from this very modest yet important self interrogation. 

Sharing my personal hell in a positive light would be my saving grace. Learning to develop my talents into a constructive project with real and immediate results (look Ma, I'm on the interwebs!) would help me believe in myself when hope was lost. 

Ya know what? IT'S WORKING! The best part of my week is sitting down in front of my computer and hacking out some words that resemble a story and posting it online for the world (a very small portion of the world) to see. Don't feel sorry for me for saying that. As depressing as that might sound it's actually PHENOMENAL. For the longest time the highlight of my week resembled sleeping or zoning out while a movie flashed colors in my face. I might even LET MYSELF write more than once a week! I'd like to develop some sort of structure to my blogging before slapping up my crap daily but for now its something I ACTUALLY LOOK FORWARD TO!!!! So I ask YOU:

If you were totally healthy what would you be doing?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Privileged Pain

Despite all the trials and tribulations of life's problems I believe there is ALWAYS a solution.
Identify the problem and construct a solution.
It's good advice and even better when I take it myself. 
I didn't intend on using this blog to air all my 'dirty laundry'. 
I really want to share hope despite all the pain. 
What I'm realizing today that in certain instances to have hope you kind of have to put it all out there. 
Through the pain hopefully I can identify the problem...

Mother's Day is always a little hard. I have at best a very strained relationship with my mom. It was an abusive upbringing. Horrible at times. Insanely 'normal' at others. Either way I have not yet come to terms with the effect an alcoholic abusive mother has had on me.
I feel guilty that I am not stronger than I am to overcome the effect my upbringing has had. I love my mom and want nothing for the best for her. I just have nothing left inside me to give her. I have no capacity for any more lies, manipulation... it's exhausting just thinking about it. I am embarrassed I don't even know how to get a hold of her... no number; I'm not even sure where she's living these days. 

There were many great opportunities my life has given me. I always had a roof. I always had food. I was clothed. There are some basic needs not being met all around the world that I took for granted. Hell, most days I still do. I always had the internet and power. I have a decent education... SO MUCH GUILT. I don't feel guilty for my advantages. I'm guilty that I haven't seemed capable of capitalizing on them. I feel guilty I am depressed, socially anxious, on leave from work, not more available to family, not more available to myself...

I KNOW my mother makes her own choices. It is not be responsibility to maintain a relationship with someone who is hurtful. I am not a bad person for wanting something else. It's 'normal' to feel the way I do. I know all sorts of things about how I feel. Knowing something and feeling differently is a major source of anxiety for me. 

I am going to a psychologist tomorrow who specializes in helping people with backgrounds just as such. 

And I just HOPE that this time.... this time it helps.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Depression or Common Sense?

Sometimes I don't know if my doubt and worry (OK... despising myself and everything I do) is a symptom of my depression or just plain old common sense. Sometimes I even try and figure out the difference. Then the old brain starts to spark and stutter. With a bit of smoke pouring out of my ears I'll lay it all out for you.

Take this blog post for instance. As a sat down to write my intended topic was "Mental Health Monday". I started to write about blah blah blah. It was fairly pretentious. I decided common sense to toss the topic. If I couldn't re-read what I'd written as to edit it maybe no one else would either. 

I moved onto a new topic and a similar sort of battle ensued. Except this time it got personal. The "self talk" started to become less about the quality of the blog post (still uncertain at this time as I write my third for the day) - and had more of the tone:

Why are you even writing a blog. (not question, accusation)
No one reads stupid blogs. 
You have nothing unique or of interest to share.
Other people have their own photographs, you just steal them.
This is not a self help group, stop over sharing.
Write about whatever you want. It's not going to be any good anyways.


I know its depression when it gets personal. When my worry has nothing constructive to add to the assignment I know the monster inside me is trying to ruin this project too. 

And you know what? I won't let it.