Learning to Cope – A Life Long Pursuit

 

Learn how to surf

I can do all things that my heart desires.  I am capable of living a life filled with happiness, even though I have a mental illness.  Depression, PTSD, Anxiety, and Bipolar are not going to be dictators of who I am, or how I live as a person.  My capabilities and how I am going to live and go forward in life is all in how I determine to see and experience life in my Journey.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t ever experience hurt, anxiety, fear, anger, or any of those other detrimental aspects of a personality that can bring me down.  It does however mean that with each day I’m trying different ways of coping and moving forward.  I’ve learned to be fearless in areas of my life that would have made me crumble in the past.  And I’m learning to be stronger which has helped me to grow and be able to tolerate day-to-day discomfort.  But I must admit that there are those times when my husband comes home from work, and I just want to cuddle with him in bed, feel safe, and rest for more relief.

I have learned not to react immediately, and try to sit with my anxiety.  This is building up my ability to deal with disturbing feelings, and chronic tension.  Distress tolerance skills are becoming my friend.  Believe it or not, if I just sit with my discomfort and wait, perhaps use distraction and go about my day, the feelings of panic will dissipate.  And , as if magically, the tension disappears.  And this took me how many years to understand?

I continue to grow and learn daily, and this will continue.  Life is too short to waste time being inpatient, unhappy, disturbed, and basically full of ill feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness, or tension.  Therefore, learning and growing are a daily pursuit for me.  The daily pursuit of loving life and enjoying each moment, or at least coping and gaining more strength and skill so that the next moment, or day, or week can be that much better.  I’m in it for the long run, with hope in my heart, and a smile on my face.

Do You Have Any Idea…

 

ID-100105912

 

I expected her to say these words EVERY YEAR.  Sometimes I dreaded them.  Even though I had my own children and yes, I DID know what the experience of giving birth was all about,  that yearly question to me was – NOT AGAIN!!!  My mother would ask both of her children, “Do you have any idea what I went through sixteen, twenty-six, thirty-six… years ago on this day?”  Of course, this day was the day of my birth.  It was more of a joke and a bonding question, and even though I begrudgingly would respond to her question, I had an appreciation and a love toward her and would secretly not expect to miss that question, after she died.  I DO.

Having a child is so much more than ‘That Day’.  But, of course, that day is monumental.  My purpose, passion, and reason for life and moving toward the crazy love that is experienced after giving birth is embraced from this day forward.  And, yes, my mother, and now ME look forward to asking that question every year on the birthday of our children.  It is jokingly made into a torturous event filled with pain that of course ends with their birth.  But accurately, it is the moment that true love arises and life forever from that day is changed into – you are my child, my unconditional love for you will forever be true, sixteen, twenty-six, thirty-six, and forever more.  And no matter what the future holds, I will always be there for you.  You are my child, my love, my life.

So perhaps I should change my question into, “Do you know what happened after this day…”  Nah, tradition is tradition.  “Happy Birthday.  Oh yeah, do you have any idea what I went through today twenty-seven years ago”.  This question today is for my youngest child.

Forever my love.

 

Thought I might reblog for my son’s twenty-eighth birthday.  I love you

 

 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Unconditional Love In The Midst Of Chaos

 

Chaos

She was twenty-one.  She had three children; six, four, and two.  It had been a tough year, while trying to teach the children good morals, character, and to feel the love that was surrounding them, maintaining a “happy” home was a difficult task.  The awesome level of responsibility for raising the children was in her hands.  However to say that her ex-husband did not carry a heavy weight as well, would be ridiculous.  He was the provider, and responsible for bringing in the income for support.  However these polar opposites in raising children caused much discord.

There was a breaking point for her.  She tried her hardest and was crushed down with obstacles and opposing skills and levels of compassion when it came to nurturing the little ones.  This was a hard task, with resistance, to fight.  It was brutal to feel alone and filled with this monumental objective.  And to carry the burden of others mistakes, and being able to present an abundantly loving and nurturing home (in the midst of these “transgressions”) tore at the core of her being.  She was slipping down the mountain she was climbing and clawing with her nails and kicking and screaming to hold on, but the weight of the chaos weighed heavily and brought her down.

He was strong and saw the struggle, as she screamed and was kicking  and emotionally breaking down in front of him.  She no longer could even walk or hold her weight.  The mental torture enveloped her whole being.  He lifted her in his arms, while she continued to scream, cry, and kick.  She no longer could hold back the hidden pain that she had been carrying for so long.  She was fragile, a mere one hundred and fifteen pounds.

Her dad who carried her so strongly into the house and comforted her was always there to support her, but this was life threatening in the sense that her mind was no longer hers to control.  She was lost in her delusions that were there to help her to manage the ever-present fight that she had been living with on a daily basis.  Her mother was her protector, and would mange her illness, take control of her when she was lost within her own mind, and would protect her from any form of abuse or ill-treatment.  They both would take charge in this time when she was unable to even care for herself.  And to have the love, support, and protection, in such a crucial and fragile time in her life, when she could have easily have been disregarded or emotionally taken advantage of was the highest form of continuing love that transcends from parent to a child – even when that child is grown.  The beauty of unconditional love is that it will never fail and can always be relied upon.

I will forever be grateful that God had provided me with these two amazing souls in my life that are forever ingrained in my being.  I truly am blessed that I had all the time with them on earth that was given to me.  And someday I will have the gift of seeing my angels again in heaven.

Unending Love

 

ID-100371692

My eyes were blinded by tears, as I drove down the dark, winding, country back road.  The thought of his inability to fully commit to me was lingering in my mind.  Why doesn’t he want me?  What is holding him back?  Doesn’t he say he loves me?

The past few months had been difficult, with the passing of my dad (one of the best friends I could have asked for).  Now where could I go?  Who could I talk to?  The feeling of abandonment and a total loss of direction was inside of me.  I did the one thing that I knew I could do, where there was a reliable, trustworthy place for peace and comfort.

I called my mom and told her I was on my way.  I didn’t want to show up at this hour unannounced.  She was in bed when I arrived.  It was the middle of the night, and I don’t know what I was expecting.  I walked to her bedroom and told her I was there.  She offered for me to lie down next to her, but the feeling of being a child once again overwhelmed me.  I declined.

I went back down the hall and found a comfortable spot on the couch.  I saw my dad’s prayer blanket, that had so lovingly been made during his bout with cancer.  I put the blanket over me, as my mind raced with thoughts of what to do.

My live-in boyfriend doesn’t love me enough to commit to me.  My twenty-two year marriage had ended a few years prior, and now I was going to be lost in limbo forever.  My life wasn’t meant to be this way.  The stress of rejection and loss encircled in my mind.    I grabbed the blanket and prayed for peace and sleep to come over me.  The only comfort I felt was that prayer blanket, and knowing that my dad had also used that blanket for comfort.  I drifted off to sleep.

I knew that it was my dad talking to me.  I couldn’t see his face, but his voice and his presence were so strong.  I felt lifted and hope.  I so needed him.  His words were comforting and loving, yet persuading and strong.  He told me that I have all the strength that I need.  I am stronger than I know.  I will understand this in time.  He reassured me that everything would work out.  He told me that I needed to be strong for my mother.  She needed me more than ever.  His presence faded and I searched for him, as tears fell.

I awoke knowing that my dad had come to me in my dream.  His spirit was strong.  He was there, and there was a sense of happiness in knowing that I had spoken to him again.  Being immersed in the experience, and trying to take in the morning was my goal.

I heard my mother in her bedroom, and I walked back down the hall.  She was making her soft bed, and pulling up the beautiful  linens.  I had to share my experience with her.  Would she laugh?  I trusted her wholeheartedly.

I told her that my dad had come to me in my dream last night.  There was no laughter, and no reassuring as if I were a child.  She acknowledged her understanding and clearly announced her joy for me.  She said that it was beautiful.  She believed every word that I said to her.

I told her that my dad said that I needed to care for her because he said that she needed me.  I told her that I enjoyed speaking to him.  And that it was helpful and left me with a sense of hope.  Her response was a question in which she asked if I was feeling better and that I didn’t want to die anymore.  Surprised, I asked her how she knew that I was feeling that way, since I never mentioned that to her.  A questioning look appeared on her face, as she told me that my dad had told her that last night in her dream.

The wonder and enlightenment in that space of time when we both instantly realized that my dad, her husband, had come to both of us in spirit, in our dreams, during this  new unfamiliar time of need when he was not physically present to help, was pure astonishment.  There was no way that my mother would have known those thought were in my head because the  words were never spoken, yet my dad had told her what I was thinking.  And I had felt the need to confide in my mother about my dad’s spirit talking to me in my dream.

I believe that this was a beautiful witness to the divine spirit of unending love, and the power of God and angels who walk with us everyday.  I have again seen my dad, and now my mom who has also passed since then, in my dreams, but rarely.  This is truly a beautiful gift from beyond, and within the power of possibility, that is an awesome and abundant power from above.

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Enduring Life to Joyful Living

 

ID-100146414

 

It is possible to change your everyday thought pattern.  To be able to change from always seeing the fight, to seeing the positive in all that is around us causes one’s perspective and growth patterns and thoughts about life to be altered so amazingly into a state of beauty.  Changing the way we think IS possible.  Each day is a beautiful new beginning.  Time to work on seeing the world positively with the possibility that it has.  Time to be happy and filled with hope, and to live in the moment.  Don’t be bogged down by the past, and let those memories own what the present is able to inspire and see.  The future will unfold itself, in its own time.  Be present, be mindful, and enjoy each moment.  So, yes, it is possible to live in the bright, fully encompassed joy of happiness – and to escape the fight.  The journey is yours alone.

I was able to change my thought patterns in just this way.  It took about one to two years time, but it is possible.  I remember when my mother was alive the daily struggle I lived with.  My mother was my guardian angel, at that time.  She was able to lift me up and help me with my walk in life.  The heartache was always present though.  The fight was always to be felt.  It was when my mother passed, and I was left to fend for myself that the true battle began.  My parents were no longer there as a life-preserver, and standing on my own two feet and LIVING and surviving was now what I needed to do.  Yes, I still had my husband and children, but a sense of “I need to do this on my own”, prevailed.  It took a lot of work and struggle.  I read a lot about living in the now, positive thinking, and I wrote frequently to get my pain out which in turn helped me to heal.  Also, my wonderful counselor (social worker) was always there to help and guide me to stand on my own two feet.  The only regret that I have is, that I wish I had this mindset when my parents were alive.  It would have made them feel more at ease (I believe) when they passed.  My mother feared for my well-being and safety until the day she died.  I was able to tell her that I would be alright a few days before she died, and I believed this helped her, but my heart says that she would have loved to have seen what my mind was able to do when it healed.

I am sure, with my faith, that my mother is smiling down on the progress she sees now.  I still feel her around me often – and my father, as well.  So do it now, and don’t wait!!  Live in Joy, work on changing the struggle that envelopes you into the beauty of the moment that surrounds you.  It is never too late to live in happiness.  It is possible!

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Enjoying My Own Company

 

Alone Time

A learned, absolutely necessary skill that I have recently not only became aware of, but feel more comfortable with, is being alone AND enjoying my own company.  I have learned to be at peace with myself, enjoy the day as it comes, and to not get bogged down by unnecessary chatter in my mind.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle from time to time with keeping in the moment, and enjoying the day as it comes.  This means that it is a skill that I’m still working on, and it’s becoming easier with time and practice.  I do enjoy my peaceful time.  I also enjoy my time with friends and family.  It is knowing though that I can be alone, and not feel lonely that gives me a happier, more fulfilling outlook.  It is knowing that I am not reliant on someone to be there for the sake of being there that has released me from keeping people in my life that are dragging me down, or not uplifting to my spirit.  It certainly is a give and take in friendship, love, and being a support to one another.  Therefore not needing someone to be there because I feel lonely, is a liberating feeling.  And mastering the skill of enjoying my own company is quite freeing!

 

 

 

Image

Courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Maintaining Health or Living in Illness

Floating looking up

Living each day with a sense of what can I do to stay happy, or to be at peace, or perhaps to turn this awful dread around today, is a terrible chore to live with on a daily basis.  Living in a feeling of illness and looking for peace or “normalcy” requires an astounding amount of effort, and is exhausting.  The havoc of writing to get out the pain, to focus my mind, for guidance, or maybe for talking with God and asking for guidance is like living in a tornado with the massive spinning and wreckage abounding.  There is never peace, just a sense of needing to acquire a homeostasis just to stay afloat.  How exhausting!

When my focus was readjusted and I was given the gift of seeing myself as living in a healthy state, while trying to keep out of the dips into illness I turned my thinking around.  I began staying on top of the water, floating on the waves of the water with ease, while looking at the sky and focusing on the beauty around me.  It is so much easier to maintain health, than it is to claw my way out of illness.

I am a capable, smart, persistent human being.  I have made it through some dark times and have gained more strength each time.  I live with mental illness – bipolar, anxiety, and PTSD.  That does not mean that in anyway I am ill.  I am living in a state of health and maintaining my peace, happiness, physical and mental health, while going about each day in gratitude.  I am eliminating any dips into illness by being healthy and doing all that I can to stay happy and focused.

I try to exercise regularly which is good for my physical and mental health.  I eat a balanced diet and refuse to ever diet for weight loss again.  The balance and maintenance of a healthy body for me is eating healthy and exercising, not acquiring the PERFECT weight, and then gaining it back.  My body is going to be where it should be.  Exercising for my mental health is important also because the physical activity is great to reduce stress and anxiety.  It gives me a sense of purpose while doing what is good for my body and mind.  My focus is being more healthy.

I read a lot and try to stay positive.  Learning healthy coping skills and doing them, staying around healthy and positive people who have mutual love and respect, keeping my environment organized and clean helps with my mind as well, and trying to stay in the present and enjoy each moment is the key.  I also write so that I continue to grow in my daily walk, and gain a better understanding of who I am – while also trying to help others in their journey.  This all brings me peace and purpose.

Learning that I am not a perfect person, and to let go of the flawless ideals of perfectionism has been helpful to help me be more peaceful.  My granddaughter and I talk about how nobody is perfect (except God), and I’m working daily to do my best, but not to be perfect.  I’ll never be able to live up to that expectation.  Also living with spirituality in my life is helpful and needed for me.  That doesn’t mean I am rigid in my thinking.  The days of being the ultimate “perfect” Christian are gone for me too.  It’s time to enjoy life, and to do my best.  I have good morals, integrity, faith, and character traits.  I trust myself, and am gaining more trust in my intuition.  Moving forward with these attributes that are ingrained in me is a beautiful place to be and a good platform to be successful.

So just because there are people living day-to-day WITH an illness doesn’t mean they are living IN a state of illness.  Whether it be a mental illness, fibromyalgia, lupus, high blood pressure, diabetes, a recovering alcoholic, etc., etc…  The list is endless – we are all capable of living in health.  Maintaining health and preventing that illness from sneaking to the surface is the goal.  The tools are available.  Be bold, be brave, be brilliant.  Enjoy the journey.

 

Writing As A Form Of Therapy

 

A Brave New Ending

It was exactly one year after the death of my mother.  I decided to start writing a blog that the public could see.  It was primarily (in the beginning) to be used as a tool – a sort of therapy.  I was going to write about hardships in my past that perhaps others could relate to, and that these trials could possibly help or inspire others.

The fear of keeping things hidden from everyone was slightly still there, especially with the domestic violence and emotional abuse, but I would persevere.  My husband helped to give me the courage to be bold and put my words out in the open.  What did I have to lose?

Things that are the hardest to do, give the highest reward.  And that, I believe wholeheartedly.  So yes, I was fearful to write about my trials, but the ultimate reward was that within a years time I developed a beautiful sense of peace, the ability to rationalize, and see the bigger picture.  I have learned a great deal about how to deal with the past, and to move forward.

The past has taught me how to be strong, and now it is to be kept back there.  A mindfulness and living in the present is the goal.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t have future goals – because I do.  But I’m enjoying each day for what it is, and each day I’m continuing to learn and grow.  I’m learning to see the silver lining in everything, and to look out for what is best for me and for those that I love.

Writing as a source of therapy has proven to me to be one the best actions that I have taken in my life.  I have kept journals for many years which have helped to keep me sane.  But to grow in my journey and to learn coping skills, I have had to put my words out to the public, and ultimately I have to be responsible for all that I have to say.  I have matured and I have learned to stand on my two feet.  What a beautiful blessing.