A Different Direction

 

 

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So I’ve been absent for a while. I’m going to be honest there have been several areas in our lives (me and my family) that have had several negative impacts and I have been suffering from Depression for months. No one that knows me really knows this. I said to someone – who still didn’t pick up on the red flag that I like to entertain and make people laugh so that no one ever feels as bad as I do. I am not who you would think (if you met me in person) as someone who suffers from depression.

It’s definitely not the first time, and I have had bouts of it since I was 11. People who know me in person always say that I am a positive person. They would have no clue the dark feelings I have on the days I seem most positive.

Right now there are things to be positive about – and I only mention those things when I meet up with people… yes I still meet up with people. I’m not someone who is in my bedroom all the time, although I do have days like that too. I laugh, I Joke, I’ll send cards, and buy gifts, no one asks me how I am and if they do… even if I hint that something isn’t quite right… no one wants to hear it.

I wonder if we are living in a time where we just don’t want to face negativity. That we are more than willing to shove things under the rug because there is too much to deal with in the world.

I am paralysed because I cannot ask for help – I’ve been scared by stories from friends and family about myths and truths of antidepressants – so I don’t bother going to the doctor. I don’t dare tell family – I feel that it’s too much for them if I’m not positive all the time. In fact… that’s part of our problem growing up. It was drilled into us that there is always something to be thankful for, there is always someone worse off than us, and that there really isn’t any reason to feel sadness in any sort of way – so I feel like the sadness is stuffed away until it builds up. Even when it builds up – I can’t say anything but laugh and try to make others laugh because I am too ashamed to let people know.
Can I call help lines? I am scared to give them my name, address or anything else. I have known people who work at the help lines and I would hate for my name to be recognised..  I don’t want people to know.

So, here I am, admitting it on my blog. I suffer from depression. The main reason is that I have suffered from a huge amount of disappointment in one hit lately – for an extended period of time. It’s much easier to believe the bad over the good. I don’t have the energy to think good thoughts about myself or my life. Mainly? I feel alone. I feel alone because I feel that if anyone in real life knew how bad my depression was that they would think of me differently. I would lose respect.

SO what is my new direction? From now on, I Can’t in anyway shape or form to pretend on this blog that I’m here to give you advice on how to overcome when I feel like I am struggling. Instead my blog will be about what I am doing to help me work through my feelings. Books have saved me in the past, along with a lot of other coping mechanisms. Eventually I can pull myself up and get back on the path I need to be. I realise though I cannot blog unless I am being genuine and I’m being genuine with my readers. I am setting myself a goal to read a book on each shelf in the library – I know it’s silly but it’s a goal and it helps me stay focused instead of spiralling. I also am going outdoors more, and finding things that help me work through the hard times in life. I have no advice. From now on this blog is just about working on keeping me mentally healthy.

Thank you for still being here. More explanations to come….

BTW – if you do have depression, and you don’t have friends working at those hotlines PLEASE CALL:
USA 📞 800-273-TALK (8255)

AUSTRALIA: 1300 224 636

P.S. I’m thinking of changing my blog’s site name as well as set a new agenda – hope that works for everyone.

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What is stopping you?

I realize my goal to get more fit has come with some deeper insights into the negative thought processes of my mind. I wrote about some of this in yesterday’s blog. With the help of the words spoken to me from a young age, and my brain allowing myself to believe those words and replay them in my mind… there is just one phrase that pops into my head:

“You don’t deserve this!”

I don’t feel like I deserve success, and every time I make progress with becoming fitter, gaining muscle, losing excess weight there is a voice that says

“Don’t be silly, you don’t deserve to Achieve your goals”.

I had heard it said that people can have a fear of success.., and I would think

Everyone wants success, I don’t know who would be scared to succeed?

However, the negative thoughts in my head are a type of fear, and it is certainly a fear of success. I just was unaware that those words were exactly that – a fear.

Now that I am aware of that fear I am consciously embracing the fear and working on overcoming it.

The majority of what stops us from achieving our goals is fear… but in order for us to overcome it must first be recognized. Have you identified what fear is stopping you?

Good luck in achieving your goals!

Shame and Pain

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I had a revelation this week that was quite confronting and not pretty.
I had brought up to someone how I haven’t been able to handle that they told me that my life was pathetic a year ago. They’re response was “I only had said that out of anger, that says more about me than it does about you… why have you held on to this so long?”
After a discussion the person apologized, but I didn’t feel better. I knew it was said to me out of anger – and that doesn’t make it okay – but it stayed with me. At my worst of times, while struggling with health or sleep or difficulties this year I said “Maybe your life is pathetic”.
Why did I allow something that was obviously untrue to creep into my mind?

My parents said to me when I was much younger that I appeared confident. I seemed like I had more confidence than the world and I was always trying to make people laugh.
As a result my parents believed that this is why some people thought it was okay to say things to me that they wouldn’t to anyone else… to “put me in my place”. The thing is, I was always trying to make people laugh because I was really sad, and depressed – and I didn’t want anyone to feel as sad as I did inside.  Continue reading “Shame and Pain”

Stress isn’t actually bad for you…

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One of my favorite shows is Todd Sampson’s show Body Hack 2.0. Todd (in all of his shows) displays how amazing the body really is – and really showcases how much the brain has control over. I wasn’t a huge fan of the episode in India – but the most intense and amazing show I have seen to date is the episode where Todd Sampson spends time in the most dangerous part of the world with the Iraqi Army. He shows how the soldiers’ bodies have become used to stress and how his body responded differently to that stress. He sites a study supporting the level of stress the soldiers endure explaining that stress isn’t  bad for you unless you think it is.

This agreed with part of the philosophy I have had in life – which is telling myself “I can handle it”, and “stress will only bother my health if I let it”. When it registered to me I was going through a stressful situation (i.e. when doctors warned me I probably wouldn’t survive very long), I told myself “to bring it on” and that I would get through it because I believe I will. I changed my perception of the situation by telling myself that when I overcame the odds given to me and LIVED that it would be a great story to tell my friends at a pub with a beer…

I found this study published in Forbes, and the statistics linked to it with further examples of the power of the mind. I loved this because I really cannot change the stress that is in my life – I am not sure even if there is a way to cut a lot of stress out. There are just stresses that are so high that I just have to accept or I would be abandoning everyone – including myself. That isn’t an option. So for me to cope, I’ve had to accept that life is stressful – and I just have to think differently about it – and change my perception.

I find this study so encouraging because a lot of us cannot get away – we have to look after an ailing parent or a disabled child, or a death of a loved one. However if we BELIEVE that stress isn’t going to hurt us – that we welcome it and accept it and learn to live with the perception that stress is helpful (which it can be), then this changes the game for us.

I, for one, am so exhausted of hearing how stress can shorten one’s life, with their immune system or toxicity etc etc.  The understanding that my brain actually has control over whether stress hurts me or not gives me freedom – and I hope it does for you too.

You can find out more about your control of the perception of stress in the book The Upside of Stress by Dr Kelly McGonigal. I hope your week is not stressful, but if it is… I hope you have the chance to welcome it.

Have a great week.

Balancing Sensitivity

 

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When I was younger I was told by the majority of people around me that I was “so sensitive” and that I needed to “stop being so sensitive”. I tried to change as I thought this was a problem with me and who I was as a person, but as I got older I realized it was a gift not a problem.

I learned to accept my sensitivity and use it in a way that drew people to me through that sensitivity.
My greatest weakness had become one of my greatest strengths…but with some things out there the opposite can become true. Your greatest strength can become your weakness.

I personally think we all have sensitivities that can be used to attract others as everyone’s desire (whether they realize it or not) is to be seen, heard, and understood. However there are some pitfalls with having a gift. When used incorrectly – your gift becomes your weakness.

One of these examples is if you are TOO sensitive to yourself but not to others. We all know them. People who dish it out, and have no awareness that they say awful things but are extremely sensitive to even the slightest look. They definitely can’t take what they dish. This isn’t a balance of sensitivity. You can be just as sensitive to yourself as you can be to others… but it takes a lot of awareness to do this. This can be classic to some of the Autism community, and I think then it falls on the people with those that don’t have the challenges of Autism to try to understand that this is not a personal thing from Autistic people. The other is that there are just some people out there that have never been taught a “greater awareness” of others, or something outside their ‘bubble’. Some people have never been taught about the bigger picture. Some people cannot put themselves in other’s shoes. It usually isn’t something that the regular person can approach. The few people I know that fit this category have total unawareness of their lack of sensitivity and believe they are sensitive to others. The clue is when you find they can be more sensitive to strangers or people on the news than to the closest people to them. I’m not a psychology expert but it definitely seems like something that hasn’t been fully developed.

The other problem is when you are too sensitive to others more than you are to yourself. My mother used to get quite upset when I was just in Kindergarten and she would see a child do something to me and I wouldn’t say (or do) anything back. After five children she was curious and frustrated about this trait. She asked me why I didn’t stand up for myself and she said she was quite surprised that a five year old would say “because they are hurting”. She says that I knew if someone expressed anger it was because they were hurting. I didn’t want to hurt them back. As much as this is probably admirable and quite intuitive, it definitely turned into a fault. I put my needs behind everyone else’s because I was so worried about others. Even now some of my best friends know me well enough to tell me when I am doing this. In the past, this was definitely more extreme and it really hurt me. I had friendships where I allowed others to blame me if I perceived that they felt better about themselves when doing this. This is unhealthy. This is not something that should be continued. If anything this should be a temporary imbalance for someone helping another person out long enough for them to get on their feet. What is important is to get back on your feet. You taking the blame to make others feel better should not be a lifelong crutch. This is something I still struggle with every day. I have to constantly check in with myself to see if I am giving too much of myself away, or allowing people to cross boundaries just because I think they feel better doing so.

Being sensitive is awesome, but it takes skill, a lot of practice, and a balancing act to make sure it doesn’t turn into our weakness.
Hope your weekend is awesome.
Jenny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I’m not going to treat you like a victim…

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So I’m sure you know from experience by now that life isn’t easy. The Scottish author Ian Maclaren (aka Rev John Watson), is known for his words “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”.

Some of us have been through difficult trauma and life-altering circumstances. We need to own these feelings that are a result of that trauma. We need to express them somehow. Holding it in makes it worse. As Maya Angelou says “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”. We sometimes are under the impression we must convey that we are “fine” all the time. Why? Because not being fine makes others uncomfortable and how dare we make others feel comfortable with our truth, and our feelings right? So we bottle in those emotions and feelings in. Not to be extreme but harboring those emotions can lead to an early death.

If you have trouble opening up… writing your feelings in a journal helps to process them. Either way, in order get through the effects of trauma – we HAVE TO, we MUST talk about our feelings and own them and not feel guilty about them.

The problem is, I’ve seen people respond to these situations by treating the victim, like a victim for the REST OF THEIR LIVES. Treating people (or even yourself) as a victim robs people of the feeling of having control over their lives. Yes, something out of your control happened to you, but you actually have a choice to not let this moment of trauma define and control you. However I want to be clear, people cannot get through trauma until they are at a point where they have owned their feelings about it first. Otherwise it never goes away.

Being a victim should be temporary. The state of having a victim mentality can last forever. The victim becomes prisoner to a traumatic event and victim mentality leads to worse situations down the road which cause a greater ripple effect of others getting hurt.

If you are a parent – it is VITAL that you empathize with your child over something that is unfair, or painful that has happened to them, but it is NECESSARY to give them tools to help work through those emotions, and help them be free of the pain by encouraging resilience. If this means that you too need to learn how to get out of your own victimhood, then getting help for yourself first may be the first step in being a better parent. If you yourself do not have the tools to work through your own emotions and demonstrate resilience – there is no way you can help your own children in this area.

There is a lot more to this, more than can be written in a blog but a lot of hurt that is being done in the world are people who not only have been victims, but have been encouraged to see themselves as victims or have not received the support needed to show them that they can learn to move on and be resilient.

Hope your week has been amazing!

For more resources on this subject click here.

 

You just have to go through it….

 

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After some pretty stressful times (Physically and emotionally) people are asking me how I am doing and I keep responding “fine”. Or I say “yeah, dealing with stuff but I’ll be okay”. This is the only way I know how to respond to the majority of people who surround me with their own version of support.

Honestly I have been dealing with a lot of crappy left over emotions of some difficult years (and possibly more to come).  I’m usually very social but lately I have needed to be alone. I just don’t have the energy required to hold up conversations like I normally do.

If I am in a conversation I try to keep conversations on topics that have nothing to do with me.
I did worry one person around me when they couldn’t understand some of my behavior. I explained I haven’t slept well (part of that has to do with the schedule that the hospital keeps you in – constantly waking you in the middle of the night). Not sleeping well doesn’t help you process your emotions clearly or help you recover your energy easily.

The thing is, I can’t escape going through these feelings. I can try to avoid them but eventually I have to face them and they aren’t fun. There are a lot of traumatic thoughts, and feelings that I need to own. I have expressed them like they are no big deal “Oh yeah sure, the doctor told me my chances weren’t good for survival and warned me several times that they may not be able to do anything for me would not have not long to live”.
I almost laugh at myself internally when I say it so casually when inside I know that I have avoided facing the aftermath of surviving that.

I went through a period of time beforehand when I tried convincing myself that I was totally okay with not surviving because ‘”I’m sure everyone will be able to step in for my children and husband and the community will come together and it will all be okay”. I know deep down it is not okay.

  • I know also I cannot avoid it forever
  •  I know I have to process those thoughts and feelings.
  • I have to acknowledge the considerable toll that has taken on my energy, emotions and how it’s changed me.

Our whole family and myself included are more than thrilled that I survived and am alive but there will be a time to really digest what really happened and the emotional toll that all those words and feelings took on me.
Yes I can focus on the positive – I do most days – but that doesn’t erase the burden of the stress that was placed before this.
Those feelings aren’t pretty – I can’t make them sound “good”, but they are feelings I just need to go through so I can focus on what’s next.