Last Reverb Prompt for 2013

Reverb13 prompt for the 21st and last day is as f0llows:

Then, without thinking too hard about it, grab a pen and some paper and finish the following five sentences:

2014 is going to be MY YEAR because…

In 2014, I am going to do…

In 2014, I am going to feel…

In 2014, I am not going to…

In December 2014, I am going to look back and say…

This is a hard list for me today, feeling rather down and un-optimistic about the future, but I’ll give ‘er a try.

2014 is going to be my year because…

I am going to try harder.  I am going to backtrack and say, hey, maybe I do need a little bit more therapy to get through to this nastiness I carry around in my brain and body but ignore.  I am going to push through discomfort and take better care of my body…bathe more, loofah where needed, lotion, you know, better self-care.  I am going to try harder to practice self-compassion, giving myself a break, even when I might not feel like I deserve it.

In 2014, I am going to do

whatever it takes to stay quit smoking.  I have worked at this really hard in 2013 and I am not going to let it slide with the new year.  I have so many obstacles around me.  People get panicky and jealous and hateful when you do something like this for yourself.  I’ve had my fill of that.  I am doing this for me and my health, so I can be around for my Kizzer pup until the cows come home.

In 2014, I am going to feel…

like I belong inside my body and my brain.  Changes are a’coming, I hope.  I can’t go on much longer with the status quo.

In 2014, I am not going to

be a doormat, take it when someone yells or criticizes me, allow myself to continue with relationships that break my heart.  Either the relationship changes, or I go.

In December 2014, I am going to look back and say…

I sure got more accomplished than I thought I would.

Self-Loathing in the Face of Self-Compassion

Reverb13 Day Nineteen Prompt, provided by Jill at A Thousand Shades of Gray, is as follows:

The Buddha said, “You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

In the past year, I have been on a mission to understand and practice self-compassion, which is sometimes defined as “extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering,” and what I have learned has made me realize that this practice is at the heart of everything. 

How will you practice self-compassion?

Talking about practicing self-compassion and actually doing it are quite two different birds.  All throughout DBT, there are mentionings of practicing self-compassion.  And really, I’ve never been good at it.  And frankly, I’ve never tried at it very hard either.

Below the surface, there is just so much self-loathing.  Even now, when I’m doing better, I still really hate myself for a variety of reasons.  From the fact that I can’t seem to keep shit straight at home to the “failures” I see in my interpersonal relationships.  I turn quickly in judgement of myself, over and over.  At the slightest action or inaction, I belittle myself in my head.  I am not sure I could be kind to myself, if I tried, and I really am not sure how to try.

My thought is, “S0 what, you let yourself off the hook for things just in the name of self-compassion?”  I guess so.  I don’t really know.  You criticize yourself less, see yourself as more human, give yourself the benefit of the doubt?  I don’t know how to do that.  I don’t know if I can even try.

But I find myself telling people I care about to be kind to themselves.  Be good to yourself, be kind, be loving.  I can encourage that in others but I can’t pick up a torch for myself?  This topic hits a raw nerve, because although I have come so far, I still, deep down, hate me.  I’m sure that isn’t quite right, but it is so.

Reverb Day 18

Today’s Reverb13 prompt is as follows:  reverb13 - 400px

I am often surprised where I find peace, it is usually in the midst of chaos.  In the midst of living, did you find moments to breathe? Were there moments that held you in the embrace of peace and quiet and pure contentment?  Did these moments catch you by surprise or did you create the space for peace to find you?

Ahhh peace, you are so fleeting, yet so very welcome.  I’d say that, in life, I find a lot of moments to breathe.  I, in fact, do quite a bit of deep breathing (literally), just walking through life, sitting in life, talking in life.  Those deep breaths bring me a sense of calm, but they also send off a signal to me in my head that, really, really, REALLY, Rose, it is going to be just fine.  Sometimes I believe it and I can get a little peace.  The rest of it is just unnecessary worry (for the most part).

Moments of pure contentment.  Well, yes.  Kind of.  I can think of many a time, spending time with DSB and thinking, “This could be it and I would be good with that.”  This could be all there is, and I would be happy.  It doesn’t happen every day, but I think it probably happens to me more than most people, or at least the people I know.  And I think it happens more to me because I look for it and seek it out.  I want those moments where I feel safe and loved and cared for.  Mostly, I like to feel safe.  Few people can give me that feeling.  I think that might be how it is for most people.




Words for Now and The New Year

Reverb13 prompt for December 17th is as follows:  reverb13 - 400px What word did you select to be your travelling companion in 2013? What gifts did this word bring?  What word will you choose to guide you through 2014? What do you hope it will bring into your life?

Because my brain couldn’t fathom the first part of this year, I read blog entries from earlier this year, and it appears that I was in survival mode, not really choosing any word persay to be a “travelling companion.”  In the latter part of the year, I think I chose to focus on the word “recovery,” because that was what I was doing — entering recovery.  For really, the first time ever.

That probably sounds a little dramatic, but it’s true.  I got this idea in my head that life could be better and that it could stay that way.  So I worked and worked on the little things that made my recovery happen, and now I sit here, a few weeks out from 2014 and I can say that I feel “in recovery” from my mental health issues.  Do I thin k they will flare at some point in time?  Absolutely, but I am doing what I can every day to keep myself under control and do the things that work for me.

The gifts that recovery has brought to my life are priceless.  It has brought me into a much deeper and healthy relationship with DSB.  It has allowed me to be closer to my mom and my dad.  It has meant that most nights I sleep well, and I don’t look for trouble.  It has given me the security to start letting go…of therapy, of worry, of guilt, of fear.  I feel like there are parts of me now that have at leas partially healed, that I didn’t think ever would.

I don’t like to predict the future, but I think in 2014 I will be carrying the word, “hope,” with me.  Hope that I can continue to improve personally and in my relationships.  Hope that I can keep my smoking quit going, that I can lose weight, and start to exercise some.  That I can keep setting goals and achieving them.

I hope these goals bring into my life more structure, happiness, and beauty.  I know I need to take better care of myself, and here I am, end of 2013 already working on it.  And in 2014, I want to see the following stats keep going higher and higer:

Three weeks, one day, 11 hours, 35 minutes and 24 seconds. 1348 cigarettes not smoked, saving $171.32. Life saved: 4 days, 16 hours, 20 minutes.

I simply can’t fathom the number of cigarettes I haven’t smoked.  Amazing.  And it is getting easier by the day.  If you are smoking and thinking of quitting, give it some more thought — I never thought it would be so rewarding or how much better  I would feel.  Sweet success.

Bringing Reality Back

Project Reverb Day Fifteen Prompt is as follows:

Anchor | What kept you tethered in 2013?

As always, there were two people who kept me on track — DSB and Mom.  DSB had a bit of a harder time, because he is with me more, but I know that he and Mom collaborate and put their heads together to keep me afloat.

Many times this year, especially lately, it seems I have forgotten that I have bipolar disorder.  I have ignored it, ignored the signs of an upcoming episode, and lived life like a “free” person would.  You can’t do all of that when you have this issue in your life.

Just yesterday, I read a post about appreciating the severity of bipolar disorder in your life, and how you  have to keep tabs on that to stay upright.  While feeling fine, it appears that I let me guard down and let some old habits come through.  I was not, and perhaps am still not, taking it seriously enough.  In order for me to be successful, I don’t have to wallow in my disorder, but I can’t just forget about it either.

It’s so easy to do, though.  When you’re feeling fine and things are clicking along, you don’t usually stop and think about it.  I had come to a point in my life where I had almost forgotten about it.  And then it comes back to bite me and I have to start over.

The Five Senses

Reverb13 prompt for Day Fifteen is as follows:

Give us a sensory tour of 2013. How would you describe the year that’s passing in terms of:  Sight?  Sound?  Smell?  Taste?  Touch?

Sight:  Kizzie and Rascal playing, DSB smiling back at me, Mom giving me the evil eye, more minnows and goldfish than can be counted, delicate orchids given with love, leeca balls

Sound:  bark bark bark!, laughing around the table with DSB and Mom, DSB and I having our endless talks, the basement filling up with water for the third time, enjoying surround sound

Smell:  pine and eucalyptus while Mom makes Christmas swags for the doors, the lack of scent due to DSB not being able to tolerate my Scentsy warmers, my favorite new dishsoap

Taste:  chicken pho, nicotine lozenges, disappointment

Touch:  DSB’s roughened hands in mine, pet pet pet the pups, dishwater hands

My Extraordinary Ordinary Adventures

Project Reverb prompt for Day Eight is as follows:

Adventure | Did you go on an adventure in 2013?  What sort?

When I first saw this prompt in my inbox, I kind of thought, “Well, hmmm…I didn’t really GO anywhere in 2013.  What will I post about?”  Still in that mindset, I thought about skipping this prompt altogether.  I just couldn’t think of any extraordinary adventures I have been on this year.

Then I started thinking.  In 2013, I started driving on the Interstate again.  After years of not doing so, out of fear and anxiety.  It cuts the travel time to my therapy and pdoc appointments in half and it saves a good amount in gas.  I don’t really remember when I made it a goal to start driving that route again, but I do remember feeling relieved after I made it through, home, there, and back the first time.  I also remember feeling excited, because now I could drive up to see my sister without needing DSB to drive me.

Now that I wasn’t focusing on an adventure as “going somewhere,” more thoughts began to flood in:

  •  I willingly went to group therapy, with an open mind, although it had so disappointed me in the past.
  • DSB and I gave Kizzie a puppy make-over, whereas I had always paid to have it done.
  • I reached out to an old friend, and even though I was disappointed in the end, I was proud of myself for trying.
  • I went with DSB to many a “meet-up” with strangers from Craigslist, making crazy deals along the way that always worked out great.  (He found my pool on Craigslist for over $200 less than you can buy it for new and it is in perfect shape.  We also now are the proud owners of a non-functioning boat. 😀 )
  • I changed therapists mid-stream when I felt my current wasn’t working for me.  Totally my choice.
  • I went to a bar for the first time in years and years and my PTSD was not triggered in the least.
  • I started going to the grocery store by myself again and learned that I can handle the stress.
  • I helped my mom throw a baby shower for my sister and made it through with relatively little social anxiety.

All ordinary things, but extraordinary for this girl.

Landing the Right Job

Today’s Day Eight Reverb13 prompt is as follows:reverb13 - 400px

What went right in 2013?  Maybe you didn’t quit smoking or lose those pounds or go to Paris, but something did work, did happen, and/or was realized. What was it?

In 2013, a lot of things went right.  A few things went wrong, and a lot more fell through the cracks, in between.  They just “went.”  As DSB says, “it is what it is.”  He actually says that so much it is annoying, but I think after reflecting upon this past year, there is some truth to it.

Sometimes we have to accept our circumstances for what they are.  And I have had to do a lot of accepting over the past year.  This coming April will be two years that I have not worked a “regular, full-time” job.  I have been working 15 hours each week for my parents in a very low-stress, flexible way.  I didn’t work much last year (2012) because I was struggling so much with my mental health, but I worked the full season this year, and I think that is definitely something that has “gone right.”

My little job gives me a sense of purpose and makes me feel like I am helping my parents out, which is especially a good feeling, because they do so much for me above and beyond.  My little job gives me structure, too.  Three days a week, I know where I will be and what I will be doing.  It isn’t a glamorous job, but it is rewarding and easy.  I get to interact with people, use my brain a little, and get out of the house.  That may not sound like much, but I think it is a lot of what is helping me keep it together.

Unlike any other job I have had, I have never called-in last minute, never faked sick, never walked off.  I’m not sure I’ve even had a sick day, although I did miss a couple of days when I broke my foot early 2013 and missed a few days when I did my last group therapy session.  That is a new record for me.  I think most of it has to do with the fact that I have a lot of respect for my parents and I don’t want to put them in a bind.

I don’t know what the future holds for me, job-wise.  I know I can’t return to the stress of working in the mental health field, and I probably can’t manage full-time employment.  Hopefully I can keep going on working for my parents for some time to come.

Victory Laps

reverb13 - 400pxToday’s prompt from Reverb13, Day Seven is as follows:

Please post your favourite picture of yourself from 2013, self-portrait or otherwise!

And to Reverb13 and the dear Kat McNally, I have to just say “no, thanks” to this one.  I’d like to think I keep this blog fairly anonymous, and also, I don’t play well with cameras, in many ways.  So, no “selfie” of me, but I’ve already received Day Eight’s prompt, and will be participating tomorrow.  My regrets.  (But you really should go check out the links of people who did participate, because there are some good ones!)

But because I am liking this Reverb thing so much, I found another pr0ject by way of a new blog I am following, Jill at “A Thousand Shades of Gray.”  Apparently there is more than one Reverb host, so I was very pleased when I saw a different prompt at Project Reverb.  I’ve signed up, but haven’t received an email yet and can’t find a button, but I have seen what today’s prompt is on Jill’s website (and later on Project Reverb’s), so I’m just gonna go with it and file paperwork later.

Project Reverb’s Day Seven prompt is as follows:

Victory Laps: What was your biggest accomplishment of 2013?

I like the idea of doing a victory lap.  It’s fairly cold out right now, but perhaps if I were wearing different shoes or hadn’t just eaten a huge bowl of chili, I might make a lap around the neighborhood.  I had many accomplishments in 2013, but the one I am most proud of is somewhat vague.

My biggest accomplishment of 2013 is to have lived a whole year with the least bipolar disorder symptoms I have had in decades.  Decades, people.  I am not sure if that sentence makes sense, but life doesn’t always make sense.  I wrote what exactly what was in my brain when I wondered what my biggest accomplishment was, and this was it.

Some people might say it’s not an accomplishment because it can’t be measured.  I would argue that it can.  I have cried significantly less tears, had hundreds fewer breakdowns, gone on zero manic spending/sex/self-destructive sprees.  I am taking care of my house and it is a home.  I am a better girlfriend and partner in crime.  Now I can support DSB when he is going through a rough time, instead of the focus all being on me.

I am more in tune with myself.  I know when I need to take a “people break” and I do it.  I go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time in the morning.  I take my meds like I’m supposed to.  I play with my dogs, clean the kitchen, and go to the grocery store.  I organize the laundry room and put clean sheets on my bed and visit with family and friends.

These don’t sound like big things, I know.  They sound like everyday, normal things.  And they are.  But to me, they are huge, because a year ago, two, three, seven, ten, fifteen, and so on years ago, I couldn’t claim any of the above, at least not for any length of time.  And now it has been a year.  I year that I have kept my head screwed on, asked for help when I needed it, and have generally felt successful at life, if there is such a feeling.  I have even gutsed up the motivation to quit smoking.  I will be two weeks quit on Monday at 8:50 a.m.

I think I’m about ready for that victory lap.



Slightly Overdue Memories

Reverb longDay Six Reverb13 prompt is as follows:

There are so many “precious things” that are presented to us each day; discoveries and treasures found in simple moments, memories we wish to store in our hearts and keep with us forever.

What precious things have you gathered in 2013?  Which memories from this year do you wish to keep with you always?

This didn’t get completed on the 6th because, well, I was too busy out making memories.  A dear old friend of mine, who I have known since grade school, came back to town for a couple of days and I had the chance to catch up with her.  She is exactly the same…kind, beautiful, funny.  I truly wish we lived closer, but I have to treasure that precious time we had together and can only look forward to the next time our paths meet again.

While seeing this old friend, I caught up with her mother, who is also a good friend of my mom, QoB.  We had such a good talk and I left that little bar feeling light and happy, thankful for the friendships that I have, which sometimes I lose sight of.  It is so easy to feel alone, but yesterday reminded me that I am not.

Many precious moments this year between DSB and I, memories everyday.  Us laughing, talking, discussing, debating.  Kissing, hugging, smiling at each other.  Every moment we have had together is burned into my memory, even though some may be slightly hazy.  We have a good life, despite it all.  Life has thrown many curveballs at us, but we just keep on going.  And we can, because we have each other.

My sister’s pregnancy over the last seven or so months has been wondrous to behold.  From watching her little bump grow into a big belly, to feeling her stomach at Thanksgiving, to her little updates about the baby over text message.  It has all been quite lovely and heart-string-tugging, and I can’t wait until that little boy is here.

Like any year before, my time with QoB has been priceless.  From being on a mission to laid-back chats, she is always there for me with a word, a smile, an obnoxious song being sung.  As always, she is my rock, my foundation, my heart.

Not forgetting the pups, both Kizzie and Rascal have made many imprints on my memory this year that I want to remember forever.  Kizzie is eight years old now, but is still a pup in many ways.  Sometimes I forget just how small she is, but am reminded now and then and look at her in awe.  Because she takes up so much room in life, she literally is larger than life.  And the blessing of Rascal in my life that came with DSB, is nearly as wonderful.  That pup knows how to give kisses and always climbs into my lap when I am in tears, looking to make it all better.

2013 was not the best  year, but it was not the worst.  Writing this post, I am reminded of all the beautiful relationships and loves I have in my life.  Which, I suppose, was really the prompt author’s intent, right?  😀