In my early 20s, for continuing self-improvement, I would identify facets of myself that I felt needed shifting. Perhaps an attitude to something that I realised I would be better off thinking differently about. I found that through the desire to change I would swing from one extreme to the other side and after experiencing that, eventually settle somewhere in the middle – a good place to settle.
When my depression got worse requiring medication and professional therapy, I struggled a lot with acceptance of myself, seeing this person as faulty and broken. Some of these feelings persist still, although I am currently breaking through that wall of self loathing.
Later on in life, with more experiences, differing therapies, differing attitudes to myself and my mental health, I really started progressing on my journey of self-realisation. Therapy required daily homework, sometimes difficult, but I wanted to move myself out of the depressive experiences that had defined most of my life to date.
I believed changing thought patterns and mental habits that were 20-30 years old would be difficult and would take a long time. But I was ready for the journey and determined. What I discovered surprised me. I believe the first major mental shift only took about 4 months, when I expected a year or more. And the more that changed the easier each change became, because they all built on the positives of the previous. Within the past year I have seen shifts that only took a few weeks to overcome a lifetime of negative patterns!
By setting my mind to it, by being determined to change for the better no matter what, and by learning to trust myself and rely on my abilities and the support of experienced others, I have surprised myself with what can change for the better.
Be hopeful for your own journey.
She was looking at me
Although I couldn’t hear the words
I could see a face shape
Her generous hair
But the haze of my semi-dream state
Left particulars indistinct
Lie to me
Tell me everything will be ok
Make me believe you
Say anything that will take me away from here
Guide and transport this lost soul
Then a voice came
“Only you can make the changes you need to, Whatever they are.”
I took a leap of faith
But a ragged edge caught something
Now I’m spinning and falling
Can’t make sense of where
I am now, or where
I am headed
And this feels most unpleasant
[ my response to a question posed by Leanne Rebecca ]
This complete mind body
Trapping me here
In exhaustion and sleep
I heard it slip out
“Triggered by anger”
But not willing to reveal
I accept and understand
Therefore it is my choice
To be here, my decisions
To keep the peace, on one hand
Leaves the other side in turmoil
My body is saying
“There is no peace”
Not acknowledging this
Perpetuates the battle
Raging hidden in me
The honest way forward
Is to reveal the carnage
Open up to peace negotiations
And not count the cost
Just find the way to end it
Without further casualties
[ Today, after two days of mind/body exhaustion and struggle, writing it out to survive, I listened to myself and heard the quiet answer. The guidance I need. ]
The trauma of my childhood
That no-one was ever there for me
Consistently, patiently, lovingly
No-one to talk with
About the confusion of life
Trying to learn what it all meant
And how it all worked
I developed my own coping
But now those inexperienced patterns
Are more harmful than beneficial.
35 years later
I am relearning healthy ways
Helping myself most days
But still sometimes
Falling into a deep hole, where
Blinded by darkness and isolation
I am lost.
The difference now is friends
People I trust enough
People who care enough
Fully respond to my cries
Support me through the terrors
And gently pull me out afterwards.
Finally feeling love
Enables self-love to grow
Is a terrifying new experience
But the backup from my friends
Lends me enough strength
That no matter how much I slip backwards
Each day steps forwards can be made.
I shared this with a select few of my friends, those that have been of big assistance in the past year, to express gratitude in my own way. These words are like a photo or picture, conveying a snapshot of one moment’s relevance to my whole life. There is so much more, there always is, just as there is a world beyond the edges of a photograph. But taking it all in is overwhelming. So this little view tells a story, makes a few connections, and leaves the rest open for interpretation.
“When you have only felt able to truly rely on yourself, real friendship can seem strange.”
Something other than what we feel right now
But what is that feeling?
Look around it
What can we learn from it?
Is pushing at our heart
Something we need to learn right now
I asked myself “why do I need to know others feel good, to feel good about myself?”
Am I relying on other’s responses to me, to feed me positivity?
Am I sensitive to discomfort, such that when seeing it in others, I feel it empathically?
Yes to all of these, and many other answers.
So, I asked myself “what does it take to feel good about myself, from and within myself, without outside influence?”
It takes courage, love, daring, foresight, hope, compassion, optimism, caring, persistence
There is no quaint, quick, rhyming answer that’s easy to read and easy to forget.
There is hard work, in changing the patterns of thought. But much of the hard work happens within. Physically rewiring brain neurons, which takes up a lot of physical energy.
So when you think about change, and plan change, and wish for it to happen
Also give yourself space for rest and recuperation
Because the invisible changes may be the most challenging of all.
What’s up, she said
Dunno, he said
Just laugh, she said
Fuck off, he said
You’re cruel, she said
You’re mean, he said
‘Fraid not, she said
You’re hot, he said
And back and forth the conversation goes
With both sides standing their ground
They wonder if they will becomes foes
Or a friendship that will stay sound
He wants to explain about all the pain
That comes and goes through his head
But no understanding becomes such a drain
That he shuts down and shuts up instead
“Oh, how I wish…” and “If only she…”
Are frequently upon his thoughts
But expecting a change in someone can be
Leading too death of a sorts
Sometimes I wish that I was blind
To prevent the diversions that effect my mind
My eyes pick difference in all that I see
Sprouting preconceived judgement and criticism for me
While my heart and mind are totally caring
No prejudice, all inclusive and loving
You see, the visual process dominates
Inner feelings struggle to communicate
I know from inside we are all the same
Our atoms and sharing the air we breath each day
I wish for many things to change about me
But if they came true just who would I be?
Those Saturday nights where the whole world is up or out doing something and it’s all you can do to not completely lose it, when you’d cry yourself to sleep except that it feels like the tears have also left you alone.
The darkness that threatens to take over, a certain craziness that seems perfectly normal at the time.
Every day you are changing, in such small ways that you won’t notice it now. But it all adds up over time. The smallest realisation or thought today, will mean something more to you, one day.
The ups and the downs are all the journey you are on. Even though you wouldn’t choose this for yourself, you are moving somewhere better, one thought at a time.
My response to the post Textbook Living. by APARKS330