Category Archives: Stream of Consciousness

Choose Struggle, Choose to Create

Pain is a given.
No one in this life will escape without hurting.
No one enjoys pain. No one orders up tests or trials in this life. No one jumps up and down in line, hoping they’ll get selected to have another trauma or misery, scar or issue to add to their life.
Doesn’t matter.
Pain is a given.

Within this pain, we have two choices. As always, we have to choose.

 

leaf-3716035_1920

 

ONE
Denial. Bury your head in the metaphorical sand. Seek distractions. Never live in your own body, in the present moment. Don’t work on your issues. Don’t face your demons. Never face your secrets. Hide. Avoid. Refuse to believe. Push others away. Refuse to grow, work on your failings (because we all have our failings).

TWO
We do the work. We struggle through our challenges and fail we may, but we get back on. We let go of what has died. We move forward to what we need. We learn from the past but leave it there. We take the punches as they come, and we figure out how to work around them, hit back, or turn everything upside down and create our own arena of war. We face our demons, our failings, our mistakes. We learn from them and we learn how to destroy shame, turn it into something brilliant and vibrant.

If we choose option one, all we feel is the pain of this life.
If we choose the second option – yes, we’re going to feel pain. But we also get this spectacular, miraculous, gorgeous, chaotic, mess of joys and peace, possibilities and these amazing experiences we never thought possible.

We always have the option to either create or destroy our own life.
Pain is never an option in this life. It’s a given. Why not go through pain to grow, change, and become, so we can then experience joy, peace, and the ability to thrive? Passiveness isn’t going to get us anywhere. No one enjoys treading water, playing the waiting game. No one enjoys hurting for nothing. Well, no one enjoys hurting, period. Gather your hopes, dreams, touchstones and friends. The pieces of yourself that anchor to your very soul. Pain will come regardless. But please, don’t allow it to rule your life. Live through it until it breaks open to magnificence. This life is livable if we choose to stretch past what we think we can do.

 

tree-trunk-569275_1920

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Stream of Consciousness

These Moments of Grace

I sat in the support group, glanced down at my health food store protein bar made of plant protein and zero dairy.

There was a third of it left in the wrapper.

I typically eat a large breakfast, filled with healthy fats and fiber, in a soup. It’s ultra healthy because of my digestive disease. I eat it without thinking.

This morning all I’d eaten was a small pouch of applesauce. And now two-thirds of my protein bar.

 

Sitting there, reaching out for my next bite of the protein bar… I realized I wasn’t hungry.

I was full.

I felt full.

 

lily-3763573_1920

 

It stunned me.

I am an emotional eater.

I overeat (which, having a digestive disease, is unhealthily easy to do) and I eat the wrong (read: unhealthy) foods.

I sat there, realizing what I consistently thought of as “hunger” was an urge to fill myself up because I was so empty.

 

I already knew this. But to see the proof of it, that blew me away.

To feel the truth of it, that made me pause.

 

I’d already shared (spoken during the meeting).

I’d taken notes on what I felt and what others’ shares inspired in me. I always do this. I want to soak up, absorb, and store the truths they so easily share among the group.

 

These moments of grace. Where I am filled up with the peace I crave but don’t normally know how to gain.

These moments of grace. Where I accept that food is what I try to fill up on – when I’m not hungry. Trying to fill myself, fill myself, fill myself until finally, finally I feel something other than this terrifying numbness, this void, this empty abyss of nothingness but pain and worry, anxiety, depression, and shame.

So afraid that I won’t get enough food into me. So afraid I will remain empty. Feel nothing but a gnawing monster of never satisfied, never filled, never enough.

Never enough.

These moments of grace. When I find myself, real, solid, completely who I am. Vulnerable and alive and visceral. Safe. Filled with a peace, a harmony with who I am, that I cannot explain in words.

 

autumn-3763897_1920

 

These moments of grace where I write down, “I can choose what to fill myself with” in the little notebook I keep in my purse. In case there’s a fluttering butterfly that I need to capture with my pen, preserve in ink between the pages.

I can. That’s it. That’s the secret.

Fill myself with truth. With self-love that I can then spill over and share with others. With acceptance of what I feel, who I am, what I want, what I need, the secrets I wish to hide from myself but don’t need to. Acceptance that I am only as sick as my secrets. Acceptance that what I resist, persists.

Fill myself with creativity, nights spent typing until the clock tells me staying up any longer would cause me pain, and joy spills over onto my pillow because I never used to feel this, never used to want to be awake.

Fill myself with pillows on my bed, comfy in the middle of all these plushies, eating the words on the pages of a book I love.

Fill myself with hugs and smiles and tears and more hugs. With daydreams and nightmares, conversations, and silence.

Fill myself with the strength to poke at the things I wish I could pretend away, the situations that I wish didn’t exist. Fill myself with the knowledge that looking at and feeling that pain, those memories, these realities – it is worth it.

I can choose to fill myself with prayer and scriptures, fun and silliness. With confidence and joy. Hope and knowing that I am purposeful.

 

I have filled myself with these things long enough.

Felt them in my bones long enough. Stored them in the hollow of my rib cage long enough.

Just long enough, compared to the years of abuse and neglect, self-hate and ignorance.

But long enough.

That I wake up, flinging myself out of bed so I can get to my writing. Wishing I didn’t have to sleep because being awake and feeling this, is what I want.

I have filled myself with healthy emotions and relationships and truths. To the point that I can see how different it is from the pain. The misery. How different it is from filling myself with food. Which always causes more hurt anyway.

I have filled myself with enough moments of goodness. That now I can have these moments of grace.

Sitting there in my support group, realizing I don’t need to fill up on food. I am already full. Filled to the brim with something new. Something better. Something real.

lago-federa-3746335_1920

1 Comment

Filed under Stream of Consciousness

I Change My Mind – Black Lives Matter

That title makes me sound like I was a racist at one point.

Oops.

0.o

Nope! Never have been. Racism is one of those things I never understood.

But anywho – I have changed my opinion on one part of the racism issue.

 

black-lives-matter-1011597_1920

 

You see – I went off on Twitter a little while ago about how I wouldn’t carry a sign reading, “black lives matter”, but I would carry a sign reading, “all lives matter”.

I thought to carry a sign that said only one race of human beings mattered was, in fact, racist.

Now, I’m not saying I didn’t care about black people, nor am I saying that I now don’t believe all lives matter.

The difference between then and now is, I would now carry a sign stating, “black lives matter”.

 

What changed my mind?

A woman.

An honest, open woman, who happens to be black, and also happens to be willing to talk to white people like they aren’t scum. She talks to all people like we’re… all people. *gasps* What a thought! 😉

 

girl-2696947_1920

 

You see, I watched this video on Youtube, with Franchesca Ramsey and the host, Marie Forleo. (And totally fell in love by the way.)

For those of you who haven’t seen it, I will link to it in the bottom of this post.

 

I’ve only watched it one time but I remember the metaphor she gave that changed my mind.

It went something like this.

If I am doing a breast cancer walk, no one is going to come up to me and go, “hey! What about thyroid cancer? You should support and talk about thyroid cancer too!”

Because when we’re supporting breast cancer or the end of something like animal abuse or domestic violence – we are taking a slice of our time out to focus on one specific thing. But going on a walk for women’s rights doesn’t mean we hate men. Supporting breast cancer doesn’t slight thyroid cancer.

In the same vein of thinking, when I hold a sign reading “black lives matter”, I am not saying that I only believe lives of black people matter. What I am saying is.

They.

Matter

 

tic-tac-toe-1777859_1920

 

I still believe all lives matter. But I don’t have to approach every situation or moral issue in a black or white mindset.

I realize that saying one person matters, doesn’t mean that is the only person I care about.

 

I also realize that before I watched this youtube video, I wasn’t entirely comfortable talking about racism. I believe we need a safe place to talk about these things, without people yelling in our faces or telling us we’re evil or ignorant.

We might be ignorant. But we’re never going to change if all anyone brings to the table is hate.

What do you think? 

Would you hold up a sign that reads, “Black Lives Matter”? I would.

 

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Stream of Consciousness

If Life Was a Street Sweeper

It has been a painful past couple of weeks.

One hit after the other. In all different categories of life.

But I will tell you what. Sometimes pain has a way of cleansing you from the inside out. It’s like a fire that burns away all the cobwebs and dust, cleans the gunk that was stuck in the corners, as the flames flick off the outer shell you didn’t realize you’d developed.

 

pears-1263435_1920

 

Like the new pink, soft skin that grows after the scab has fallen off.

Clears up your perspective.

Shakes loose old habits or beliefs you didn’t realize you’d clung to.

I was planning on doing some fun research into the Egyptian Scarab beetle or Rafiki from The Lion King for my next post.

Sometimes life sneaks up on you in the form of a street sweeper and knocks you off your feet.

I kinda stood around dazed only to realize I wasn’t standing, I’d landed on my bum on the sidewalk and the leaves had already started falling on top of me like an all natural Fall coffin, before I’d become aware of it.

 

maintenance-724760_1920

 

I feel like, if life was a street sweeper, it would have a crazy huge bumper with some wicked sign on the front, plastered atop a smirking smiley. There would definitely NOT be anyone behind the wheel. But I imagine a sweet smile plastered to the back.

Because aren’t we typically better off once life has knocked us off balance?

I am currently dusting myself off, enjoying the Fall leaves about me (yes, I know it’s not Fall, don’t worry I didn’t hit my head), and just glanced the smiley on the back of the truck before it turned the corner.

I’m fairly certain I’m still in Kansas but don’t quote me on that. I don’t know what street I’m on, because hey, life typically doesn’t tell us where it’s going to drop us. There are no tornadoes, small dogs, or sparkly red shoes, so I think it’s safe to say I’m conscious.

The question always lingers at this point. Where to now?

 

autumn-2900166_1920

4 Comments

Filed under Stream of Consciousness

The Monster

“Are you sure?”

*slams head into desk*

*rolls eyes*

*dramatic sigh*

Is anyone, ever, one-hundred- percent certain?

Ever?!

skull-690246_1920

1 Comment

Filed under Stream of Consciousness

How to Talk to Your Mentally Ill Friend

 

If you wouldn’t say it to someone with cancer…

If you wouldn’t say it to an amputee…

Don’t say it to someone with mental health challenges.

 

A person who is missing a limb can pray to God for help all day and night long. I’m pretty certain God (insert your Higher Power here, if not God) isn’t going to grow their limb back. We aren’t lizards. Not how it works.

Mental illness challenges are much the same. Not saying they’re the same as having your arms blown off, but you get me.

 

I get told to pray to God and He will take away my sadness.

One – depression and sadness are NOT the same thing.

Two – God gives us challenges on purpose. So we can figure out how to live with them in the way He wants us to. As well as help others who suffer from the same challenges. These things help us grow, challenge ourselves, rise to the occasion. Pretending like being bipolar is something I can just pray away is an insult to God and to myself. He has trusted me to handle this.

Perhaps it will go away. That happens.

Or perhaps it will be more like getting a knee injury. Occasionally, that knee will act up and I’ll have to deal with it.

There is no one way that mental health challenges work. Different person, different life experiences with mental illness.

But none of us can simply get up, decide to no longer have mental illness issues, and *poof* be healthy. Doesn’t work that way.

A cancer patient doesn’t get the diagnosis, decide to stop having it, and *poof* no more cancer. Uh-uh. They have to fight it. Give it everything they’ve got.

Sometimes the disease kills them.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes it goes into remission and comes back, only to go into remission once again.

 

If you aren’t sure how to approach or talk to someone with mental health challenges, consider how you’d talk to a friend who has fibromyalgia or is in the process of going blind.

Mental illness isn’t a choice.

 

 

Yes, making good choices can alleviate it or even get rid of it. But that’s a process. And is true of all illnesses. Get diabetes or cancer, you’re going to have to change what you’re doing, eating, etc. Get panic disorder and you’re going to have to do the same.

We can all make good choices.

That includes aiming for understanding, empathy, kindness, compassion. Instead of telling someone with devastating depression or a mood disorder or any host of other mental illnesses, to simply “knock it off”, “get over it”, “choose to be happy,” “pray and trust God to take it away”, etc.

Perhaps your Higher Power will take it away. Just as He might take away cancer. But that’s not going to happen without the person trying, working for it, making changes, and suffering through a lot of pain that they didn’t choose to have.

 

We can be happy and depressed at the same time. Because happiness is the opposite of sadness. Not depression. Depression is an illness.

You wouldn’t tell someone to just knock it off and quit sneezing when they have a cold, would you?

 

SO IF YOU’RE UNCERTAIN whether or not to say something to someone who struggles with mental health issues (anxiety, depression, personality disorders, dissociative disorders, mood disorders, etc.) a pretty good guideline is:

If you wouldn’t say it to someone with cancer…

If you wouldn’t say it to an amputee…

Don’t say it to someone with mental health challenges.

6 Comments

Filed under Stream of Consciousness

Where Is Your Head?

 

Where do you choose to put your head?

What do you choose to put in your head?

 

What goes on in our heads makes A HUGE difference.

What goes on in our heads can change something amazing and wonderful and beautiful into something boring, stupid, horrible, ugly, and painful.

What goes on in our heads can bring something ugly up to something possibly gorgeous.

 

 

We don’t know everything.

We don’t know what everyone is thinking, wanting, needing. We don’t know what everyone else has been through.

Half the time we don’t even know OURSELVES. What we want. What we need. What needs we’re getting met in unhealthy ways. What dreams and hopes we’ve buried alive.

 

We can program ourselves. Our minds.

We can’t control what emotions zing into our heads and bodies and hearts.

We CAN control what we feel. About emotions, about others, about situations, about ourselves.

Let me repeat that one again.

WE CAN CONTROL WHAT WE FEEL ABOUT OURSELVES.

 

Emotions are signals FROM OURSELVES being sent TO OURSELVES.

We need to look at what our emotions are telling us.

Are we angry because we need to say no? Because our ‘no’ was ignored? Because we need to draw some lines in the sand and set some hard boundaries? Because we’ve got loads of suppressed emotions we’ve not dealt with, tried to ignore? There are loads of reasons.

 

We most likely already know what the emotion is trying to tell us. We know and we ignore it because we don’t want to feel it. We don’t want to slide up beside Reality and be like, “hey, what’s up dude?”

Oh no, we’d rather hide from Reality inside the nastiest sewer and peek out to see if Reality can see us. Only, eventually, we’ve stopped even realizing we’re in a sewer. While we in the bottom of the sewer drowning and hating life.

Well, gee. GET OUT OF THE SEWER AND DEAL WITH REALITY.

 

Now, we all get their in our own time. But sometimes we stay in that sewer of our own making for far too long.

Why?

Most often, to avoid pain.

Guess what.

Life comes with pain.

If you feel it, it goes away pretty fast. If you try to ignore it, you feel it every single freaking day and pretend you don’t. Until it gets so bad you have to deal with it or die for one reason or another. Let’s not forget stress really can kill a human being.

Let’s not get their, k?

And if you are there, don’t forget you can back away from the edge of the cliff at any moment. Your feet, your brain, your body. Your decision to make.

 

What most people do with emotions is avoid them.

If we don’t feel anything, we’re going to end up exploding eventually. We’re going to go numb, which is a next level pain, and THEN we will end up exploding, but we’ll get there eventually. Or you know, die.

Or we try to just keep feeling our emotions over and over again as if that’s going to do something.

Sometimes we really just need to get over it. Or reframe it. Or make a decision to not know what we’re doing in life and just move forward in a healthy direction we want to go in. We need to do something new. Make a different decision. Ask for help from a safe, trustworthy source that knows what they’re talking about.

 

What we almost always have control over is what goes on in our mind. I’ve got a bipolar mood disorder, intense bipolar anxiety, and depression. Along with a host of physical medical conditions. Like a digestive disease that causes me to need a prenatal vitamin because my body literally will not accept the food with the nutrients it needs. So I eat a limited amount and work with what I’ve got. What are most social settings revolved around? Food. I’m an emotional eater. I eat something my body doesn’t want and I’m in Hell for a week at the very least, not to mention I then get stuck in negative thought loops about how stupid I am for doing what I knew would hurt me. Again. So guess what Daphne doesn’t do a lot? Attend social gatherings.

Life is bloody hard. It’s hard for all of us. We ALL have something or multiple somethings that CHALLENGE US. But we can either see these things as problems or puzzles. It’s either the end of the world again or a challenge.

This can be hard when you grow up brainwashed into believing that the world was ending every moment of every day. I understand. It takes A LOT to change the way our brain is wired. Especially if we’ve been abused in such a way that we didn’t know we were being abused/brainwashed.

But we can change ourselves.

It takes time. But it happens. Baby steps.

We can assume responsibility for what is going on in our own mind, for what we do, for how we respond or react to ourselves, our issues, other people, situations, etc.

We cannot control others. But WE CAN CONTROL OURSELVES. We are responsible for our feelings. Our words. Our actions. Our decisions.

 

 

 

Today I went into exercising without having a routine pinned down. Which was irresponsible of me because I know that irks me. I like to know what I’m doing, how many reps of each, and what muscles I’m targeting. I like this because then I can hit it hard and go, go, go (with healthy resting periods of course) and I really feel like I’ve accomplished what I wanted to.

Instead, I ended up agonizing over what I’d do next, how many I needed to do, whether or not that would be too much since I’d just used that muscle group pretty heavily yesterday with weights, etc.

And I got pissed. Frustrated. There’s a physical and emotional rage that just hits me and sticks into my pores with grappling hooks made of steel and stubbornness.

So I went for a jog.

The entire jog I was just negative in my head. That rage just building and building until the jog was no longer satisfying.

I got almost all the way home and realized what I’d done.

First, I’d done something I KNEW would upset me.

Then, I’d gotten stuck in negative thought loops and made it worse.

I started attempting positive self-talk. And guess what? I felt better. I came home feeling great. I did some yoga, thinking positively. I meditated for like three minutes (which is better than zero minutes and it was my first day back to it in months).

I am by no means saying I am a pro or even good at positive self-talk. And I can’t even say that I always believe it. But I’m trying. And I believe that if I want to change my beliefs and what I believe I’m worth and deserving of… I believe that if I want to achieve a quality of life I can enjoy… then I need to change the way I think. I need to change my decisions about how I feel about my emotions. I need to change the stories I tell myself, about myself and others.

I truly believe that if I can rewire my brain with positive thoughts, I’ll live a positive life.

I mean, why not? Negative thoughts have given me a miserable life.

 

What goes on in our head is paramount to the quality of life we live.

 

 

We laugh about positive affirmations. We get snarky, call it ‘woo-woo’ or ‘new-agey’ or whatever else.

But let me ask all of us this question…

How did we get miserable?

NEGATIVE THOUGHTS. NEGATIVE FOCUSES. NEGATIVE FRAMING. NEGATIVE FEARS ABOUT THE FUTURE. NEGATIVE MEMORIES REPLAYING OVER AND OVER AGAIN, BRINGING UP THAT INSTANT NEGATIVE AND DISGUSTING EMOTIONAL FEELING ATTACHED TO IT.

We tell ourselves we’re ugly, fat, stupid, not good enough, too skinny, too loud, too quiet, too pale, too slow, incapable, not capable of doing what others can do, yada, yada, yada.

BLECH.

We feed ourselves negativity.

So we feel terrible.

Shocking. Really. *heavy on the sarcasm there*

 

We can reprogram our minds. I love what Kristen Lamb says.

“The mind cannot tell the difference between truth and lie. What we tell it, it simply accepts and obeys.”

WE CAN UNDO NEGATIVE BRAINWASHING.

And we can brainwash ourselves.

Into having a positive mind.

 

it

makes

all

the

difference

 

I promise.

 

And while we’re at it, smile. Physically. I know it’s goofy but just do it.

Get up. Move. Do some squats. Do some pushups. Even if you think you stuck at physical fitness stuff, do it. Do jumping jacks.

It’s pretty hard to be full-blown miserable when your body is in a motion that reminds it of joy, sex, etc. When we exercise we release endorphins, we FEEL better almost instantly. Try it. We no longer feel stuck or stagnant or trapped. Because we’re moving.

 

Try other healthy stuff.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

If we really WANT to feel better, live a different life – we will figure out a way to do it.

That doesn’t mean we don’t need help. Let me be real with you.

I DON’T CARE WHO YOU ARE, WHAT YOU ARE, WHAT YOU BELIEVE, HOW YOU IDENTIFY, WHAT YOU WANT —– WE *all* NEED HELP.

From the right people. The right support groups, therapists, books, videos, etc.

Never feel ashamed for needing help. We need each other.

Leave a comment

Filed under Stream of Consciousness