Can’t Find the Beat

The blog experts say you’re not supposed to apologize or try to explain away absences.  I feel that I want to talk about it, because it seems to be a recurring problem that I don’t want to have.  And since my blog is where I talk about such things, the blog experts will just have to go criticize elsewhere.

I must say, I had felt pretty committed to blogging every day after my therapist had recommended it and QoB and a few friends seconded it.  I did ok for a couple days, and now have had this big dry spell again.  On the days I don’t blog, I do try to blog.  I sit in my chair and I type and I type and I absolutely hate everything I write.  Hate it to the point that not even I want to read it.

I do better when I blog every day, and I don’t exactly have a lack of things going on, but I feel like I am lacking in brain-power, if that makes sense.  There is a fog that has been cast over me, and things don’t add up, not inside my brain, not between my brain and my heart.  And I can’t find the right words.  And I find myself not being able to string any sort of sentences together.  It is very frustrating, and I am not going to post the three or four sentences that I do manage to get out, because, well, they don’t make sense!  At least not to me.

I think another major thing holding me back is this sadness that is currently cast over life right now.  It’s not something I will blog about because of privacy c0ncerns, but it is hitting me hard and is pervading all areas of my life.

I am not depressed and don’t feel like I am headed that direction.  I am having a lot of anxiety, and I am sad.  Both tend to immobilize me, but on many days I am still getting out and doing social things, going to work, taking care of Kizzie, and taking care of my health.  It is nearly a pattern that, on my days off, you would think I would work at being productive and spend time going to appointments and seeing people, but its the opposite.  On those days off, I have jampacked my days on so full, that I am wiped out.

It’s like I literally need my days off to recuperate from every event, party, dinner invitation, and lost night’s sleep.  I am over-doing.  Over-doing is increasing my sad and anxious feelings.  It is immobilizing my writing.  It is taking over my happiness and my good feelings.

To end on a high note:

Two weeks, three days, 6 hours, 49 minutes and 42 seconds not smoking. 1037 cigarettes not smoked, saving $140.00. Life saved: 3 days, 14 hours, 25 minutes.

Hooray for that…that, I am still doing well on.

Does Better Mental Health Equal an Easier Quit?

You know, when you get ready to quit smoking, you can find some of the most unbelievable “facts” and opinions on the Internet.  Everything from “the only way to quit and stay quit is xyz” to “blood pressure returns to normal within 24 hours” to “the first few weeks are the hardest.”

Well, it might end up, further into my journey, that I call the first few weeks the hardest, but that just isn’t how its going for me right now.  I am on Day 12 and counting, and I am finding it to be so much easier than any of the other times I tried to quit, and much more similar to the last time I quit for an extended period of time (1.5 years).  It just feels easy, it just feels right.

Maybe it is because my mental health is in such a place, that I’m learning once again to focus on the moment, to not dwell on negativity, and to do the things that I know keep me well.  Although over the past month, things have been hit or miss with my mood, I have had several straight solid days, where I felt great, happy even.  Not manic, mind you, just centered and at peace with things, in general, in my life.

I owe a lot of that to be open, willing, mindful, and completing meditation practice every day.  It is amazing how much all of that opens you up to a more beautiful world than you see when feeling poorly.  It feels like the sun is shining down into my brain, my heart, and like any problem I am having right now, is a problem that can be put away, worked through, or I can be made to realize it isn’t as important as I thought it was.

I know I have quit smoking, temporarily before, and I realize I am at 12 days only, and while I will obviously be much more comfortable when I am months or even years from my quit date, I can’t help but feel super confident that this will last.  I have had so many new “revelations” since I quit, so much has already changed, and I just keep waiting for the next surprise to come up.

Before quitting, I was always (no exaggeration) very out of breath.  Even just sitting, I had a wheezy pant going.  Walking across a parking lot was difficult, and walking around a grocery store or any store for that matter, was next to impossible.  I barely moved at home, sitting for long periods of time and neglecting daily chores.  Of course, it didn’t help that I have been sick for the longest time, but I’m talking the most extreme inactivity.

I had forgotten how bad certain things smelled, and now my sense of smell is coming back.  Burnt popcorn smell all throughout the house, stinky fish smell coming from garbage, the smell of smoke steeped into the whole house from years of smoking inside.  It’s all really terrible and, while I am grateful that I can smell these things now so that I can address them before they become a real problem, it’s really kind of gross right now and has been making me quite nauseous  here in the last couple of days.

When I find myself wanting a cigarette, usually after a meal or when driving, I tell myself to wait five minutes, and if after those five minutes are up, I still want a cigarette, I can go buy a pack and have one.  And quite honestly, usually by 2 or 3 minutes, I can’t believe that I was actually entertaining the idea of having one.  Mindfulness really helps with cravings as well, along with deep breathing or rhythmic breathing.

Feeling all that clean air push through my lungs, the irritating cough I have right now while getting all that stuff out my chest, and the ability to smell both good smells and bad smells — well, all in all, I’m loving it.  It is that immediate positive reinforcement for breaking bad behavior that works so well, and I know I would be able to do any of this if my mental health were in poor shape, and for that I thank DBT, mindfulness, and Loving-Kindness.

 

This and That

I believe I am committing a sort of bloggie faux pas right now.  I have a day’s worth of comments that I have not responded to yet, and I really need to blog, like right now, because I am starting to drift off and must get this daily blog thing in.  One shouldn’t put up a new post before making sure all comments are answered from the previous day, or should they?  I’ve never understood the appropriate protocol.  Please, other bloggers, leave you thoughts on that bit in the comments.  Maybe now we will get some truth!

I had a very nice day at work, hanging out with BlueCat.  We didn’t make a lot of money, but we made it fun, and that’s what matters.  Ok, so money, yes, is important, but we have to realize that we are in a seasonal business and the “fishing season” is over for everyone except the die-hards.  Like BlueCat and Snickers — they will fish until you can’t get a boat out over the ice, usually early January.  And then there are the ice fishermen, and, well, that’s just a whole different kind of man.

Realized today while looking at the odd ticker tape on my dashboard, that I have not smoked for one week, one day, 10 hours, 39 minutes and 7 seconds. 506 cigarettes not smoked, saving $68.39. Life saved: 1 day, 18 hours, 10 minutes.

I mean, if you think about it, 506 cigarettes is a TON of cigarettes.  There toward the end, I was probably smoking a good three packs/day.  That is just grossness…in my mouth and in my lungs.  Another thing about quitting is that you start to get your sense of smell and sense of taste back.  I have bad news folks — coffee is disgusting.  No, I mean it, its foul.  Tried it with my usual creamer, tried it with milk.  Coffee is a no-go.  This makes me sad because I really loved coffee and the zip it gave me, but I am going to bust out the Iced Tea Maker that Mom and the Big Dawg got me for my birthday.  I can’t possibly have lost my taste for iced tea…surely not.

So, on Tuesday I get to swallow a camera.  Yeppers, it’s not sci-fi, it’s my life.  Unfortunately you have to do all the prep work for the procedure, although its not quite as bad as colonoscopy prep.  The bonus of all of this is that I was able to talk myself into buying a couple extra Gatorades since I can’t eat anything tomorrow and can only drink clear fluids (Gatorade totally counts, they just don’t want you to drink any red or purple).  Keep fingers and toes crossed that this whole little episode goes well.

great sisters get promoted to aunt

That’s right…Auntie Rose in the house. :)

Ten Things of Thankful, Turn-it-Around Edition

This past week has been one of true growth, new realizations, (somewhat) painful lessons, and most of all, a focus on turning it around.  Turn around my perspective on health, both mental and physical, and revitalize and begin to use DBT skills again, like mindfulness, meditation, and willingness.  I am pretty sure I can easily bang a TToT out of the past week’s events.

1) Began meditating on a regular basis again, remembering that, for me, the easiest and most gratifying meditation is any form of the Loving-Kindness.

2) Turning away from wilfulness and embracing willingness.  Making the committment to be more open, to people and change.

3) Baby O still just rules my world.  His momma keeps me in pictures and I am basically getting to see him grow up everyday even though I can’t actually be there every day.  Everything about that little boy is so right and he has motivated me to do so much!

4) So what has Baby O motivated me to do?  Well, he is one of the many reasons that I quit smoking on September 13th.  I have hung in strong, and I have motivation from a lot of other places as well, mostly my health.  I know it’s not a “big deal” till you’ve done it for awhile, but I am proud that  I have not smoked for:

One week, 10 hours, 14 minutes and 21 seconds. 445 cigarettes not smoked, saving $60.15. Life saved: 1 day, 13 hours, 5 minutes.

5) Making a decision to not get mired in feeling sick.  Yes, I feel sick, but there must be something I can get up and do, even if it seems small and insignificant.  Then, if you might feel halfway decent, you slowly add another task and another over a course of a few days, and the to-do list that has been rotting  away in your hand, can be thrown away.  It is totally true that a body at rest will stay at rest, and a body in motion stays in motion.  I “get” that saying now.

6) My realization that a “family member” did not have my best interests at heart, and cutting that relationship out of my life.

7) Having grown to the point where I don’t have to spread juicy gossip, really don’t even WANT to.

8) Mom found a bunch of really cute clips for my shorter hair (with bangs…ugh).  I think this will all be workable in the end.

9) It is amazing the things that you find your postal mailbox.   No, not EVERYTHING gets emailed or texted.  :)

10) The biggest thanks to old and new readers that were supportive this week I restarted blogging.  I realize some of it is absolute drivel, but like Marilyn says, it keeps getting better as you keep going (I paraphrase).

Now it’s your turn to head out to the TToT link-up with Liz over at Considerings.   If you don’t feel like writing a top 10, consider a top 5 or a top 3.  Or just go check out all the other crazy writers on this train!

The Beauty of the Loving-Kindness Meditation

I have some good, and perhaps unexpected news tonight.  I, Rosa, have had a GOOD day here this 19th day of September.  Really an all-around good day.  Physically, I woke up feeling relatively fine and only had issues with some crazy awful nausea during the day.  I find that if I sit very very still, this helps.

In the not-too-distant future, I can see myself functioning again.  I can see it and I can believe it and I have taken that photograph with me in my mind’s eye, so that I can keep referring back.  When I meditated this morning, it was a sort-of loving-kindness meditation that I had adapted to do what I wanted it to (my favorite kind).

My words for myself were:

May my body heal.

May my soul straighten.

May my mind be free from other’s drama.

May I live my life today, easy and carefree.

My words for others were:

May you be at ease with your  pain and suffering

May a great joy come to you today.

May you realize I always forgive you.

May you be free from the pain of life, if just for a moment

 

You can really make a meditation into anything you want it to, save that it is helpful to you and/or someone else.  I like the loving-kindness meditations, because “to self” words always soothe.  You must pick them out as particular to you.  These words you are putting into the world, they find people and knock them down and pick them back up again and set everything on course because, well, you are using these words to express love to yourself, which will set everything else afire.

The “to others” words can be particularly strong and powerful, to someone else and to YOU.  The best thing I like to do when starting “to others” words, is to picture a person I don’t much care for, or, even better, one who has caused me pain.  You say these words over and over, to a flawed but perhaps, deep inside, tortured person.  Your words may never mean anything to them, but the words help you to see this person in a different light.

My apologies for interrupting the status update with a little note on mindfulness, meditation, and loving-kindness meditation.  I still have quite the fog circling my brain, but I think I am coming through it.

Moments of Willingness

namaste

 

We can choose to react to any one thing, any one person, any one task with either willingness or willfulness.  We can greet people, ideas, solutions with open arms, giving at least one first open-minded chance (as in willingness).  Or we can refuse to get up, refuse to examine our reality, and refusing mostly, well, for the sake of refusing.

There is generally little rhyme or reason to willfulness, and when you think you can put a reason or an explanation to it, it is still wrong and any explanation doesn’t “fix it.”  You are staying closed-off, staying silent (or being really loud), you are complaining instead of accepting your fate or listening to the advice that might make it better.  You are not giving anyone or anything (including yourself) a fair shake.

Having spent most of my life in a willful state, I had a huge breakthrough in an intensive DBT program.  I think this particular breakthrough was in the neighborhood of 2007, but I’m not sure — because DBT has saved my skin over and over, and there is always a new realization, it is difficult to keep track of the specific “when’s” which is really fine, because why and how matter much more than when, as it comes time to freeing yourself from negative coping patters and interjecting brand new ideas into your mind about how you could possibly cope, if you tried.

My particular breakthrough was simply this:  willfulness made my life dark and painful and difficult, and mindfulness set all that negativity free, made me a happier person.

Unfortunately, these lessons don’t always stay stuck in the brain, so every now and again, GoM gives a gentle nudge or QoB will say something or I will read something that sets my chest to loosening.  And I remember, just how much happier I, Rosa, am, when I set my heart and mind on being willing, becoming willing, practicing willingness.

Freeing myself from willfulness is perhaps as easy as just practicing.  It’s not hard, and now that I’ve been quite willful for the last several months, it is time to make that tiny adjustment, and tweak my mind and heart back to willingness, back to progress, back to believing that I can save my own emotional skin with the power of mindfulness, meditation, and for me, writing.

Yesterday’s goal, to blog every day no matter what, was validated by several  commenters and I really do appreciate that.  I think it will be helpful, and can actually already feel it helping.  If you can just get the awkwardness out of the way, and start to write what you believe in your mind, you can go places.

Having been heavy into not accomplishing and not working on goals lately, it struck me that I wasn’t listing anything that I personally felt was important.  They were the goals of other people.  From today forward, all new goals will ones that I personally desire to achieve.

In keeping with the necessity of mindfulness practice in DBT, and the importance of practicing practicing practicing, I am making the small goal of setting aside at least ten minutes every day for mindfulness exercise.  I know it will grow larger than that on its own, but it’s where I wanted to start.

cherry blossoms mindfulness

Getting Back on the Road of Posting, No Matter What

Am I expecting too much or needing more than is available?  I really don’t think so; I don’t believe these negative feelings are simply the tapes of depression.  I think that what I FEEL is happening, truly is.  And even if it weren’t, it’s my perception and my head and my body and my brain, so I get to decide.

We create our own realities.  I have certainly molded and formed the most quiet and dark box that I could have.  Any small amount of pain I have, I try to wear on the inside, because it seems that people grow weary of the usually mental emphasis on things, but now it is physical AND mental pain.  I would not wish the last five months of my life on my worst enemy.

There is that, all of that, and now lately my brain isn’t working.  I can’t find the right words, I forget things immediately after they are told to me.

I am numb, through and through.

I am being told by my therapist that every little bit of blogging will help, even when I don’t want to,  even when I have nothing to say.  So, here I am.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.