Taking Care of Me Helps Me Find My Best “Me”

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Sometimes I feel like I am a child, stumbling along in the dark, and often directly into the path of a bright window, where love radiates and I learn a lesson.  I feel as if I have learned many lessons lately, and the most important one I have learned is this:

I need to figure out what it takes to be the best “me,” and then do THAT.

Throw myself into whatever it is that takes me furthest, whatever makes me happiest, whatever helps those I love the most, whatever serves the greater good but also grows me.

I am a seedling, growing under the care of love and the sun and I am constantly changing and growing and breaking through barriers, yet moving slowly and purposefully as so not to bruise my tender leaves.  I have to be patient with myself and I have to ask others to be patient with me, in turn.

At 35, one might think I should be all grown up and have it figured out.  Let me tell you something:

Anyone that tells you they have it all figured out at 35, they are lying to you with fingers crossed behind their back.

We ALL want to give off the impression that we have it together.  We don’t.  I don’t, you don’t, not completely.  Some parts of our lives are stronger and more figured out than others, but life is a lesson that you keep learning new things about until you are dead.  And if you stop learning, stop growing, become stagnant, your leaves fall off and you die.  You die and you walk around as a husk of a person because you had it in your head that you had to have it all figured out RIGHT NOW.

My goal this week is to be kinder and gentler with myself.  I have been criticizing myself harshly because, as of the last few weeks, I haven’t been as productive (at least traditionally so), as I may have hoped.  I’m going to cut myself some slack though, because I am needing time to heal.

I have been physically under the weather for almost three weeks now, and the mystery illness isn’t letting up.  I have a feeling that stress and strong self-criticism and not allowing myself to just rest and to just be, is what is continuing the sickness.  Not that the illness is in my head, because I think it is very real, just that I am exacerbating it by continuing to expect myself to be Wonder Woman and all things to all people and to check all sorts of things off my “to do” list every day.

So I am taking a break from the harshness of my own voice reprimanding myself.  I am going to try and take it easy.  I am going to try and figure out what makes me the best “me” that I can be, and I’m going to run with it.  Some of my very favorite people in the world are going through rough times right now, too, and I want to urge them, to urge you, to be kind to yourself this week.  To take it a little easier than normal on yourself.

It is positive to motivate yourself to do things, but when your voice turns cruel and you stop giving yourself credit and you decide you are a bad person, just stop.  It really is that simple — stop being so mean to yourself, and give yourself a break.  You will come out ahead, in the end.

 

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#reverb14 Day Four: Take Good Care

Reverb BB (2)

We are all lightning rods, conduits for that which

the Universe wants born into this world.

What energies did you channel this year?

As in many years, perhaps every year since I realized I was not going to “beat” the mental illnesses I live with, or even “ignore them into in in-existence,” I spent 2014 “taking care:”  Taking care means a variety of things.  It means I slip-slide from preventing symptoms to managing symptoms to minimizing symptoms to just white-knuckling it.

Taking care, for me, means staying on a time schedule, making sure days are structured, taking medications, attending doctor’s appointment after appointment, keeping up with my physical and emotional health, setting good boundaries, and many other things.

It often means sacrificing what I really *want* to do for what I *must* in order to stay well.  This was especially true when I was younger, as in I couldn’t (without extreme consequences) go out and party all night or drink excessively (without mood shifts and worse).

I have tasted the freedom and joy and peace, however briefly, that comes with a period of markedly fewer symptoms.  If you have lived a life of hell, and are then introduced to a world where the ground is steady under your feet, you will do whatever possible to keep that state going.  That being said, I am highly motivated to do what it takes to find evenness in life, to find a balance, and to sort out the rest of the world when I get there..

Building Rome, Goals for Self-Compassion

It’s that time of the week again where those of us building Rome, all spout out some lofty goals, report on last week’s goals, and maybe throw up a funny picture or memorable quote.  This is all brought to us, of course, by Green Embers who so thoughtfully created and designed and brought this challenge to life.  If at any point you wish to join, just do a Building Rome post and link back to him.

The theme of this week’s “Building Rome” is “building passion.”  My life definitely lacks passion right now.  In fact, I can’t even come up with any passion related goals because I don’t have anything I feel passionate about.   All the things I love to do — read, blog, interact with other humans, watch bad TV, learn new things (crochet!), drive, work — I am unable to do at present.

My brain is so foggy, I can’t concentrate, focus, stay in the moment for any of it.  This is very frustrating.  I’ve basically stopped blogging because I know I sound like a confused ass.  I can’t drive anywhere because I’ve been in a couple near-accidents (because I failed to pay attention).  I can’t read because I read the same paragraph over and over.  I can’t even pay attention to bad TV!  And then there are the long and extended crying spells.  Gah!

What I can do, however, is set some goals for self-compassion.

THIS WEEK’S GOALS — SELF-COMPASSION

1) Get out of the house twice this week.

2) Play in my pool every day.

3) Find a magazine or two I can flip through.

4) Walk Kizzie every day.

LAST WEEK’S — FOUR OF ALWAYS

1) Take meds as prescribed.  Check!

2) Take care of Kizzie’s needs.  Check!

3) Take care of personal hygiene daily.  Fail!

4) Work on healthy eating.  Somewhat check!

LAST WEEK’S — DO OR DIE

1) Keep up with my “always list.”  Check!

2) Spend at least two hours outside every day.  Check!

3) Walk Kizz for 10 minutes ever day this week.  Fail!

4) Finish getting house in order.  Kinda check!

Understanding the Severity of the Issue

I have been giving some thought to my most recent slip-slide toward depression, and have come up with again the article I referenced yesterday.  I want to expound a bit more upon it.  An excerpt from “The Biggest Lesson I’ve Learned From Managing My Bipolar Disorder,” by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. is as follows:

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to take bipolar disorder very seriously,” said Julie A. Fast, a bestselling author of books on bipolar disorder and professional coach who works with loved ones of people with the illness. Fast was diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar disorder II in 1995.

“It’s not like other illnesses. It’s sneaky and dangerous if you don’t watch it all of the time.” She compared it to type I diabetes. “People with diabetes one can’t mess around – ever. I can’t either.”

You can’t  mess around with bipolar disorder.  I hear that, I get that, and I forget it.  I get off my schedule, I stay up too late, socialize too much, put too many or not enough things on my to-do list, skip taking some meds, use my sunlamp too much or too little, and I am left picking up the pieces of what was once a really well held-together Rose.

I’ve been doing all of the above lately.   I need more down-time, and I know that’s a lot to ask around the holidays.  I need more time to just read or watch TV and decompress.  All of the social activity of the season drains me.  Just thinking of the two different Christmas celebrations that DSB and I will be going to makes me feel a bit faint of heart.  Do I want to go, yes.  Will I go, yes.  Will it take a Klonopin or three to get me there, probably.

Over the last few days, I have had to take Klonopin because of insurmountable anxiety.  When things are going well, I take a PRN maybe once a week, every other week.  When the anxiety bears down, it can be an everyday thing, until it’s not.  I know that I have that medication available to me to use when I need it, and I don’t feel that I use it when I don’t need it, but it still bothers me to have to regulate my emotions with a pill.  You would think I had become used to that over the years.  I sometimes see it as a personal failure that I am looking for my Klonopin bottle.

As the article references above, comparing bipolar to Type I Diabetes, you have to stay in constant check with it.  That is hard to do, and it’s even harder when you’re feeling better.  You want to forget that things were ever bad, or that they could head back that direction at the drop of a hat.  The desire to stay well has to be constantly pushed into action, by checking up on oneself.

Have I taken my meds correctly today?  Do I need to be kinder to myself?  Do I need more down time?  Am I getting enough sleep and eating properly?  These are all questions I should ask myself on a day-to-day basis, and I don’t.

Just like so many out there, I take the good times for granted and forget that things were ever bad.  It is only while quietly slipping into ambivalence and then apathy and then depression, that these things come up again.  And then we just hope it’s not too late.