Forever Starting What I Don’t Finish — Except This Time

Cheers to all of the NaBloPoMo bloggers out there!  Blogging every day in the month of November is no small feat, and one I have accomplished only once in my long, but not illustrious stint on the blog-circuit.  I did make an attempt last year, but it was quite pitiful, and, as the title of this post suggest, was left unfinished.

Rather than vowing to blog every day this November for NaBloPoMo, I think I am going to change it up a little and do it Rosa-style.  Knowing that this part of the year can be rife with painful bipolar cycling and ventures to the dark-side of things, I think I will pledge instead to simply blog as much as I can handle.  Because if for nothing else, it makes me feel better, even for a short bit.

My physical at-my-desk space for blogging has greatly improved, and my mood is currently *mostly* stable.  Surely, with those two things in hand, I can hit “publish” semi-regularly.  In addition, I have several people I follow who are participating in NaBloPoMo, and they are all fantastic writers and I’m sure they will leave me feeling inspired, if not just plain itchy to write my thoughts down.

And in gearing myself up for this time of accelerated and enhanced writing, I read back through the last several entries I had made.  I am pleased that, even in times of great sorrow and despair, I didn’t appear to wring my hands and “oh-poor-me” it…it seemed that I often had a solution that I was working on, or at least something of a game plan.

What I realized when I was reading all of these back-entries, is that, without writing, I generally make very little game plan as to how to handle my current mood or situation or circumstance.  Of course, I talk to myself in my head, but it does seem that goals get carried further when they are down on “paper.”  Of course, the other beauty of having things written down is that I can go back and look through these ideas and see patterns, which is ever-helpful in changing how I think and how I behave and how I *do*, in general.

So yes, a bit more writing is in order, because as I have been reminded, dark days of winter are a’coming, and they can be downright tricky.  Whatever I can do to help myself feel better and to help myself figure things out, is what I need to be doing.

For anyone reading, I wonder…have you ever taken a somewhat-extended hiatus or period of inconsistency from blogging, only to come back to it successfully?  I would really love to know, so I can direct myself through this most efficiently and effectively!

 

Bright and Shiny

That’s me, in the moment.  I just came home from a two-plus hour workout (arms and cardio) and am feeling on top of the world.  My relationship with LarBear is going great, I finally have some non-itch-producing laundry detergent and one load down, I am blogging for the first time in five million eons, and Kizzie is possibly done unearthing moles out of the backyard for today.  Sometimes, its the little things.

Yesterday, the day before, the day before, so on and so on, lots of anxiety.  Actually, lots of anxiety since my last ECT one week before this past Wednesday.  ‘Tis a serious death anniversary week for me, one of my hardest, and it has been just as brutal this year as in years past.  I did get to see QoB last night though and do a little crying on my Momma’s shoulder, which helped immensely, even if she doesn’t realize it.

A lot of the anxiety I am having is also because I am having a really hard time remembering things and am also, at times, extremely confused and almost disoriented.  The beauty of ECT, though, is that I have forgotten a lot of the bad stuff, or, at least the details are not so crisp.  Very few nasty and scary memories still play in my mind as if on a movie screen.  Things are either blurry and hazy or not present at all.  I am hoping some of that stuff never comes back!

I think LarBear and I are going to try going to church this weekend.  Maybe.  No commitments but possibly.  We found one that seems promising, just have to give it a shot.  I have been trying to find things to do to build structure, and that would be one of those things.  I am also going to add DBT groups back in, as well as the good possibility of a water-walking class to go along with the water aerobics I am going to start doing at the YMCA.

Lots of good stuff here.  I hope to be back soon, friends!

Long Time, No Type-Type, Friends

I was afraid to look back at my blog and see the last time I posted, but I knew it had been awhile.  No particular excuse, other than living life and trying to get through the mess of the holidays and the mess and aftermath of parental divorce and enjoying the awesomeness of meeting someone new.

I have missed reading blogs for a few weeks now, but am going to start setting aside time to do that again, so you should see me popping up on your page every now and then again.  I miss the interaction on this blog, in the comments, between blogs, what have you.  I miss my blogging friends!

Seems that something of an Internet break was much-needed.  I think it is too easy to get wrapped up in writing and commenting and following and liking and more reading, writing, commenting.  Between WP and FB, I was spending far too many hours staring at a computer screen and here lately have started to remember what life is really all about.

It’s about love and family and friends.  Dogs and movies and conversation.  The little things, the big things — life doesn’t happen solely online, although you can live a mostly online life if you would like.  I started to recall the last few years of my life the other day and realized I had spent quite a a bit of it online.

I don’t regret any of that — the reading, the writing, the friendships.  For me, however, I have to have more and I wasn’t really allowing that to happen.  Over just the past few weeks, I feel like I have come alive.  Granted, there was some mania in there, but lately I feel like I have made some really good decisions and I feel good.  That’s right.  I feel happy and content and (mostly) free from anxiety.

Prior to my Internet departure, I was taking Klopin PRNs daily, but since, I have only taken one or two.  I have re-learned how to soothe myself and have remembered how to look out for numero uno.  I have reintroduced openness, love, and hope into the equation.  I am seeing someone very dear to me and am having the best of times with it.

Who knew I could ever do these things or feel these feelings again?  Nearing the end of 2013, I made a resolution that I was done with men.  They were all jerks.  So, I stopped looking and stopped caring, and lo and behold, the loveliest relationship is now blossoming.  It seems that the old wise words are true — when you stop looking, it will happen.  When you least expect it.  Indeed.

 

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

Building Rome, Revisited

It has been since my birthday on August 11th since I have participated in Building Rome (which is brought to us by Green Embers, and you can get started here).  Building Rome focuses on small goals that lead to big goals, and I must admit, I have been lacking in the goal department here lately.  Sure, there are things to do, but they all seem so big and insurmountable.  I thought it might do me some good to spell things out every week again, in a relaxed and simple manner.

I won’t be reporting on the last week’s goals, because I am looking for a clean start.  They were too complex, too big, too whatever.  Instead, I’m going to review my top “Do or Die” goals and then end with new goals.

Rosa’s Do or Die Goals:

1) Take care of all  Kizzie’s needs, including play with Kizzie every day for at least 30 minutes.   I am failing horribly at this one, especially at the playing with Kizzie card.  That, and she went one 12-hour period without food, because I just didn’t notice.  Story of my life at this point.

2) Hygiene/Self-Care.  I am struggling with this.  Instead of showering every day, I am showering when I know I really need to.  I am, however, keeping my hair clean on a daily basis.  I have some very rough patches on my feet that really should be taken care of, and I am not using lotion like I should, and that really drags me down.  I do need to take better care of my body — its almost like I feel I don’t deserve it.

3) Take all medications as prescribed.  To a “T.”

 4) Eat healthfully.  Some days are better than others, but mostly, I just suck.

Rosa’s Goals Week of 9/1/2014

1) Keep taking Wellbutrin in attempt to quit smoking September 13th.  Continue cutting back and doing what I can to minimize the fallout when I actually do quit.

2) Get back to reading again.  Even if it is just 15/min per day, that would be better than nothing.

3) Do one nice self-care thing for myself every day, no matter how much I think I don’t deserve it.

4) Blog more regularly.  I have been blogging about once a week and really do miss it.  I need to stop flailing and start doing.

Building Rome: It’s Not For Sissies

When I started Green Embers’ Building Rome, I reminded myself that I am not very good at goal setting — that is, I set unrealistic goals that should really be broken into smaller chunks.  Over the past several weeks, I have tried to do that, and have in many cases.  Unfortunately, it is usually the goals that I really want to accomplish that are the ones I don’t.  And it’s because they’re TOO BIG.

Following are last week’s goals:

1) Blog every day.  This proved overly difficult.  I even posted my new series twice because I failed to have anything better to write about.  What happened to the writing, thinking Rosa?

2) Continue path to quitting smoking.  I continue to cut back on the number of cigarettes I smoke each week.

3) Find new music for MP3 player (suggestions are welcome)  Didn’t even try.  It seems that listening to “The Band Perry” every night as I drift off to sleep for the last three months has been soothing enough, that I am not super-motivated.

4) Get 25% through my new book.  I am 14% — and don’t think I’ll finish the book.  It’s just not very well written and has a lot of grammatical errors which are really driving me crazy.

 

The “Do or Die” Goals — all the same as last week.  Apparently, consistency is key.

1) Take care of all  Kizzie’s needs, including play with Kizzie every day for at least 30 minutes.   Done!

2) Hygiene/Self-Care.  Satisfactory.

3) Take all medications as prescribed.  Getting much better.

4) Eat healthfully.  Relative to the diet the doctor currently has me on.

 

Green Embers suggests this week to “find Neverland.”  Finding and celebrating that inner child.  I do this a bit, because it is related to Sacred Self, but I really should do it more.  So this week, I’m going to:

1) Watch “Frozen.”  My niece is obsessed, my friend’s daughter is obsessed.  I really think I just need to see this movie.

2)  Do something about my hair.  It is big, it is frizzy, and I have bangs.  There must be some solution.

3) Find a quiet place, away from the realities of life.  Go there at least once every day.  I’m thinking more Netflix is in my future.

Building Rome: Slightly Tardy

Here I am, five whole days past due on my Building Rome post, the challenge post related to identifying and accomplishing short-term goals, developed by Green Embers.  This week’s challenge is to enlist goals of  “Flying the Flag of the Freak.”  In GE’s words:  “find something this week that will show the world just how awesome you are, no matter how freaky you think it is.”

First, though, I’d like to report in last week’s goals:

1) Get out of the house at least once a day.   Hooooley moley, have I ever accomplished this.  I have been out more than I have been home.  This may have attributed to both my extreme fatigue and low stress level, so I’ll take it.  It feels good to be out seeing people.

2) No matter what I am doing that day, be dressed, showered, and ready to walk out the door at a moment’s notice by 11:00AM.  I did pretty well at this, although it wasn’t always by 11:00AM.  Sometimes it was much earlier, sometimes much later.  The  point is that its getting done.

3) Stop isolating.  Now.   I socialized every day the  past week.   I am whupped.

 

My Do-or-Die Goals:

1) Take care of all  Kizzie’s needs, including play with Kizzie every day for at least 30 minutes.   Done!

2) Hygiene/Self-Care.  Satisfactory.

3) Take all medications as prescribed.  Getting much better.

4) Eat healthfully.  Relative to the diet the doctor currently has me on.

 

This week’s goals:

So, since I’m so late, this will basically be from this moment until Monday when I write my new goals:

1) Blog every day.

2) Continue path to quitting smoking.

3) Find new music for MP3 player (suggestions are welcome)

4) Get 25% through my new book

 

How a Day-Planner Keeps Saving My Behind

That might sound a bit dramatic, but it’s true.  This past winter, I was in the midst of a terrible depression.  I was unmotivated.  I couldn’t make myself do anything — no household chores, not visiting anyone, I could barely go to work.  I had the most atrocious therapist at the time, but she did finally hear me as I tried to tell her how bad things were getting, and she put me into a group at the local mental health center.

I don’t recall the name of the group, but for all intents and purposes it was a DBT group, because it was based on the DBT idea of “building structure.”  Building structure is the idea that, by putting tasks and events into your life, you can improve the quality of your life by things seeming less stressful, less depressing, and you isolate less.

With bipolar disorder (as with many other disorders), having a routine is important.  As I have mentioned before, getting out of my routine or not having enough things lined up to do can really get me out of whack.  The DBT-ish program at the mental health center was intended to do just that.

It started out very simply.  Week one, you take a grid that you label the day at the top, and it goes from 12:00AM — 12:00AM.  The first class, you simply write in the things that you did that day.  As the classes progress, you begin to pick out goals and insert them into your schedule.  For example, one of your goals might be to knit more often, so you would write “knit” at 3:00PM for the next day.

There was and is no punishment for not meeting your daily goals.  Sometimes you have to cross things out and put them at another time or another day.  The important thing is that you just keep working on inserting goals, events, appointments, and daily activities into your schedule.

I did not initially think this class was going to be helpful for me, but it turned out that it really was.  I bought the cutest little (PINK!) day planner for $3 off Amazon, and I each night, I would write down my goals for the next day.  As the next day went on, I would check things off that I had accomplished, or move things around, or even add things to the list that I hadn’t anticipated doing.

It became a routine for me.  A part of my evening routine, writing and checking and reminding myself of things.  It felt really good to check things off and it felt really good to write things down, knowing I had the ABILITY to get these things done, because I had done it before.  When we are depressed, we question our ABILITY to do almost anything.  With this system, you had already proven to yourself that you could.

As the class ended, I was back to feeling like the old Rosa.  The happy Rosa.  The goal-oriented Rosa.  And I wasn’t missing any appointments, either, with the  help of my planner, which is just another side-benefit of this exercise.

After DSB and I called it quits, the day-planner got moved here and there, and now it’s sitting in my desk.  Having felt quite unproductive (with good reason) for the last six weeks, I think it’s time to pull it out and start the exercise again.  Building structure isn’t just for people with mental health issues — it’s for everyone.  Everyone can learn and make gains with this skill.

The planner is out of the drawer and so far I have written laundry, clean kitchen, blog, and have ice cream with Dad.  What would you write down for tomorrow?

Building Rome: Get Happy

Green Embers’ Building Rome theme this week could not have come at a better time.  This week’s theme is:

SETBACKS ARE NOT ROADBLOCKS!

And yes, I really did feel it was that important that I screamed that at you.  Sorry for any ringing eardrums.  🙂

So, anyone who reads this blog knows I’ve had some major “setbacks” lately and have even blogged about the incredible sadness and loneliness I have been feeling, that have been created by said roadblocks.

After some discussion with the ever-so-wise QoB, my unhappiness problem can be eased by three things, which are going to be this week’s goals:

1) Get out of the house at least once a day.   Even if it’s just to sit out on the back patio or get in the mini-pool or drive down to BP and put gas in the car.  I think this goal is particularly important because it causes one to have to shower and dress, which are altogether motivating in themselves, which leads me to my next goal.

2) No matter what I am doing that day, be dressed, showered, and ready to walk out the door at a moment’s notice by 11:00AM.  I mean, this probably sounds pretty easy to most people, but it just isn’t for me.  Not when I’m feeling bad.  But what I do know from experience is that it DOES work.  Doing all of that gets you motivated to do more stuff, and doing that stuff motivates you to do even more.

3) Stop isolating.  Now.  This could probably go along with number one, but is really is distinctively different.  People are seeking out my company, and I am sometimes saying “no,” all the while whining that I am so lonely.  I do have opportunities to get out, but I am not going because I feel like I’m not good company, because I worry what to talk about, I worry what people are going to think of me.  I just worry.  I have let this problem overcome me before, and I literally turned into a hermit.  Not happening again.

My Do-or-Die Goals:

1) Take care of all  Kizzie’s needs, including play with Kizzie every day for at least 30 minutes.   It amazes me how much happier and relaxed Kizzie is now that Rascal is gone.  She definitely is loving having more time with me and I am (I think) doing a good job at taking care of her.  We have been playing a lot and she’s back to sleeping in the middle of the bed.  🙂

2) Hygiene/Self-Care.  Satisfactory.

3) Take all medications as prescribed.  I sucked.  I’m working on it now.  That is all.

4) Eat healthfully.  Still on a very carb/protein diet.  Not sure that’s quite healthy, but it’s the only thing that keeps my tummy happy.

 

Last Week’s Goals:

1) Continuing to read two hours every day.  Doing it and LOVING it!

2) Ask some friends for feedback about lack of blogging.  Asked, answered, and advice put into effect.

3) Start reducing cigarettes smoked in an attempt to quit which will be upcoming.  Day One was today and I did not meet my exact goal, but I did pretty darn good.  Hopefully Day Two will be easier.

Building Rome: Back to Basics

This week, this Monday, I have started to feel just a bit better and so some of the fuzzy thinking is gone.  I know what I need to do is go back to basics and then build my strength back up.  I don’t want to set a bunch of goals, not to accomplish them.  With Green Embers’ Building Rome series, several of us have been setting goals around the blogosphere and sharing with others.

We all report on past goals, some of us report on the same every day or week goals, and we all set new goals.  You do it how it works for you.  And I only say this because I have been trying for the last 24 hours to come up with a way to do this post, that I wouldn’t fail.  I’m tired of not meeting my goals and it is clear that sometimes I am setting unrealistic expectations.  I hope to do a bit better this week.

Last week, I vowed to:

1) Help someone do something difficult for themselves, through support and encouragement.  I think I accomplished this with flying colors.  Yay!

2) Take downtime to set long-term goals.  I didn’t sit down and write a list, but I have been doing quite a bit of thinking about it, so I’m gonna give myself partial credit.

3)  Take joy in unexpected benefits.  I have really been finding my knee keeps getting better.  I have been able to get around better and be in less pain.

Do-Or-Die Goals:

1) Take care of Kizzie’s needs.   I have been trying to pay extra special attention to the Kizzer and have been able to do so with all this extra time.  She has not had a moment without water or food and the treats have been given in decent amounts.  She seems to be very happy.

2) Daily hygiene/self-care.  Check!

3)  Take meds as prescribed.   Check!

4) Work on healthy eating.  Does lots of Ramen and Sprite count?  😦

This week’s “back to basics” goals:

1)  Set aside one to two hours to read everyday (two if I am not working that day).

2) Go back to work or somehow be more involved with the shop.

3) Start driving again.