10:45pm If I add anything to my tea, it's honey (or, when I can get it, agave nectar) but 100% pure honey is where it's at right now. Tastes better than sugar. I forgot how chemically that particular chemical tastes (yet, I still can't quite kick it yet) but so it goes. Not that I can't but that I won't. I'm realizing there is a difference. It's all about choices, when it comes to things where you get to decide things for yourself.
11:03pm I have this acquaintance friend from a few years back who had a conversation with me today over the phone. He asked some good questions but they're the type that there are no answers that I could give that would necessarily work. I think it's good that he's self-aware enough to know himself and has the wanting within to change things to even be seeking out answers - better than giving up, right?
But I realized during our talk that he's looking for THE ANSWER. I don't blame him for having this idea, that perhaps someone, somewhere out there who has struggled with many of the same demons, perhaps they might know the way out of the labyrinth, the key to everything around their neck that they can hand over to him and say, "Here you go! Now it's your turn to have the answers!" Ta-da!
At the same time, I know he's not that naive. Yes, it'd be nice to ask someone how to fix things and for them to be able to say, "well, first you do this, this and this and then you will be like this!" but it doesn't work that way. No one has the exact right answer for everyone - not even the well-paid specialists in their fields can give a one answer fits all for the many - or no one would suffer through depression, anxiety, addictions and so forth.
Wouldn't it be nice, though? I mean, you see other people overcoming their obstacles, be they of the mind or of physical health, and you have to wonder if whatever they are doing can work for you. I mean, can't it? Why couldn't it? Was it a book? A specific medication? A change in location? What has that person done to do what feels impossible and so very overwhelming for you?
First, let me remind you not to believe everything you see on Facebook (or whatever internet thing you are looking at, including mine or anyone else's blogs / journals / articles) that tell you how YOU TOO can beat depression / anxiety & so on. Don't think for a moment that someone's life is perfectly wonderful and okay by a Facebook status. We never get the full story through the internet - ever - because you just can't, you can't. You can't even get it in person, in real life, not entirely - because there are always other perspectives besides one's own. If yours is skewed, how do you think other people's might be?
If you're comparing yourself to your Facebook friends, stop. Don't do it. You don't know anything. You know what they are posting, that's it. If you really want to know what's going on, you can try talking to them, but even then, depending on the dynamics of your relationship, you may still not ever get the real deal. It's just how it is. Maybe it's the same as it ever was - only now we are being fed through our "news" Feed what we should think / want and believe through our various connections.
That being said, I believe if you suffer from illness - mental or physical or both - it's best to have a doctor's help and to see whoever you need to - specialists, therapist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist - and to take the meds, if that is the path decided upon between you and the medical team supervising you. But something I have also learned through years of being in the system is this: there is only so much they can do. The rest is up to you.
It's not an easy answer. For many people, it pretty much means that as things are, that is how they will stay - the health obstacles are too overwhelming, too much, too difficult to overcome. The best one can do in that situation is to survive, to keep going, to try to find a way to adapt and on the good days (and nights) when they come, to be thankful. I have learned that not all of us will be given the good life.
We're inundated with the messages of how if we only try, we too can succeed / have the good life (what exactly is that anyway, and says who?) / become whatever we want / etc, etc, etc. It isn't so. If this were so, everyone would have it good. Assuming that because someone is poor or ill (or both) means they don't or haven't or aren't trying is an ignorant and elitist belief. If you believe it is so, congratulations, you have eaten a good amount of b.s. fed to you - yummy!
Now, to get to my point and sound like I'm completely contradicting myself, I want to say here what I've been learning, especially over the past 160+ days of typing my words every day, of completing my daily goals since August, of actually following through with things despite my health conditions. I have had an almost constant loop of negative self-talk in the background noise of my mind for a long time. It has been only recently where I've noticed it become less intrusive. How?
Because I am doing something every day, for myself. Are they important to other people? Depends on if you think what I am doing for myself is important or not. Subjectively, nothing is important, but let's leave an existentialism crisis out of this. Let's look at it this way instead: one day, we'll all be dead. It's inevitable. No matter how much money you have (or how little) one day, you will die. It is the most definite thing that is going to happen, no matter what you do, no matter who you love or who loves you, no matter what you accomplish or don't, no matter what standards you live by - society's, your peers, employers, parents, or the expectations you have demanded of yourself - none of that changes the inevitable outcome.
So, the very depressing thought that one day I'm going to die made me start doing stuff?
Is it easy? Am I happy now? Can I do anything? Am I cured?
No. Not always but more so than before. Probably not ANYTHING. Let's just say I won't be going off my meds anytime soon, I will still get more therapy, and I'm not sure now that I should be.
What? Well, I just mean, why is that something I should be aspiring for? Seems a waste of time if it's not something that necessarily can be done anyway. What if this is just how I am now? What if I tried accepting it and then go from there? Maybe the outcome will be aligned with the hopes of what a supposedly healthy person can do. Maybe it won't. Do I need to be focusing on that? Do I really?
Again, one day I'm going to die. I don't know when. For how many years have I hated myself? Hasn't it been long enough? How did that work out for me? Overall, it could've been worse, but how much time did I let go by when I could have been writing anyway? Reading anyway? Loving anyway?
Does this mean I'm not going to try and do more work toward dealing with my anxiety issues and any other health issues? Of course I will still try! When I needed to have two blood transfusions last year, did I not go to the hospital? It's the same thing. Of course I am going to continue to get the care provided and to accept help and build a support system.
Still, I have come to realize that the stuff that matters is not decided by anyone else but me. If I've decided something matters, then it is my responsibility to make that a priority in my life. In doing so, I honor both that thing that has my attention and my inner self. That is what is overcoming the negative loop, at least in my case, at this time. Each day that I follow through, I am rebuilding something within myself, like a backup power source that was waiting for me to remember it was there, that needed me to give it this, that waited.
Will this work for everyone or even anyone else? I don't know. This is where I think it comes down to having to do a lot of thinking for yourself, accepting yourself - as you are, no fixing required - and then making decisions based on how you are doing as to what you may be capable of - realizing that there is nothing that needs to be done except to figure out for yourself what can be done, if anything, to make your good days outnumber the bad ones.
How did I get to this point? I will be straight-up honest with you. Several factors have come into play. They do not apply to everyone and who knows if they would even have applied to ME at any different point in time - because I think, like everything, one thing can affect another causing various reactions and outcomes.
What has helped me?
* Money. Having my basic hierarchy of needs met has made a world of difference. (This is why I believe that everyone deserves a basic income but that's just the humane part of me.) My w.s.i.b. case being settled and receiving an income helps immensely. Waiting for that decision and suffering in poverty was not good. It's hard to be all zen about things when you are struggling with these issues. It affects one's health on so many levels and likely for the rest of one's life. It sucks. So yes, having that cleared up and resolved helps, no doubt about it.
However, having an income has not / did not make me immediately better. In fact, even now, though I think I'm doing well, others may say I am not because I still do not live a life set to the so-called rules of what some believe I should be doing with my life. (my life, not theirs.)
* Support. I have a husband who, while I do not need his permission to do anything (in fact, go ahead and tell me to do something and I may do the opposite, ha) it truly does help to have someone who loves you and wants you to be happy - even if that may be an impossible thing to want for someone, it's better than having someone in your life who wants you to be miserable. We're both supportive of one another and that also helps. An unlimited supply of hugs is wonderful.
365 Days (2015): Day 39
arm out baggy sweater selfie
The above is not what makes me sit every day (or night) at the computer to write. Hugs do not make me write. Love does not make me write. A supportive partner does not make me write. Then again, all of the above doesn't hurt, either!
* Realizing that I'm getting older and that one day I will be dead. This is the big one. A lot of my years are gone (even though I'm still young, I'm not as young as I was - none of us are) and if I want to get things done - like writing every day or whatever it is that I have my mind or heart set on - then I've got to give myself the chance to try. My daily goals checklist thing has worked for me. It surprises me that it does, honestly, because it's so simple. It could be the timing. It could be that I am sick of the days getting away from me. I am not to the point where I am writing things that I could send out for submission anywhere (if publication is my purpose) but I am much closer to that goal than I would be if I weren't writing at all.
Time is what we make of it. If you struggle with health issues of any kind, you have barriers that other people don't. Same with the money thing. There are those who have a far more advantageous position in life than we could ever hope for - and look at how many of them are still messing it up anyway! - so does it matter so much anyway? Whatever is in our way, whatever we have chosen to put before ourselves (because most of what stops us IS ourselves, or choices we have made where we now have to put things before us) but regardless of all these things, we make decisions.
So, basically, you work with what you've got. What else can you do but that?
* I don't know what I'm doing. What am I actually doing with my life? I don't know! I'm just taking it one day at a time. I'm learning as I go along, just like everyone else. I'm aware of my limitations. I'm aware of what I still must face within myself and externally if I want to improve further. I know that I am quite capable of tripping myself, of getting discouraged, of being overwhelmed, of how certain stress factors can shut me down. I know myself.
* Forgive yourself. Keep going. Keep trying. Don't hold yourself to the expectations of others if it doesn't ring true to your situation or to you.
* Give myself some credit. For too long, I could only berate myself. Horrible mean things said to or about me could not compare to the things I would tell myself for every single thing I could or couldn't have done right or wrong in my life. This was a terrible thing to do to myself.
Yes, it's good to hold yourself accountable for your actions. Yes, it's important to learn from your experiences and to alter your behaviour based on lessons learned. But it's no use to punish yourself forever for everything - especially the things you had no control over - I notice a lot of people with health issues or who live in poverty that blame themselves while also having to deal with this sickening misplaced blame put on them by society. Enough of that. If you are here, if you made it through whatever you had to survive (or are going through right now) give yourself some kudos, a pat on the back, even just a second of "good job, you're still here!"
If I had given myself one second of kudos for all the hours (and years) of negative self-talk, who knows how much better off I could have been by now!
* There is never going to be an answer that will work for you, that can be given to you, that you don't already know or hold within yourself. If the answer is, "this is the best that you can do" then it might be best to learn about self-acceptance. This isn't the worst answer. The best you can do is the best anyone could possibly hope to do. Self-acceptance isn't defeat unless you view it to be an end. Acceptance isn't resignation. It is allowance. Once you allow, you open yourself up. You open yourself to possibilities - in friendships and relationships, in (re)discovering your passions - that is already more than what you thought you had before.
I wish I could have given the searching person a better answer.
But I think it goes back to that simplistic adage, "There is no spoon." * *