Self-Talk

Acceptance

I was partaking in some retail therapy this past weekend and lo and behold as I rounded a corner in the department store to check out the racks of sunglasses, I saw this lovely note tucked away:

lovethislife

Someone clearly intentionally put this reminder out to be found. I was the one who needed to find it.

My emotions have been all over the place recently (as if you couldn’t tell, haha!). Obviously I’m working out my grief over the loss of my father 3 years ago, but for whatever reason, my soul chose this past weekend to start grieving the end of my marriage.

Let me be clear – I do not want to continue in this marriage. It has run it’s course. While everyone always has the same question, “What happened?” anyone who has ever had a long term relationship end knows that there’s just not a simple answer to that question.

For the past several years I’ve felt nothing for the most part. The anger and resentment would rise and I would stifle it back down (with booze – SURPRISE!).  I didn’t feel heard or appreciated but I sure did feel lonely.

This weekend, maybe due to the flood gates already being opened by grief, I started to feel it all. There was so much pain coming from every direction it felt like.

Then I saw this sweet reminder in the middle of a department store.

I won’t lie, I didn’t turn my life around suddenly and decide to be happy right then and there. That’s not fair to my soul.  That quote from The Fault in Our Stars says it all…”That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.” So I spent the rest of the weekend and some of today feeling it.

Then this evening I was thinking about how miserable I was making myself. I scrolled through my photos and saw this, remembering how I found it.  That’s when it clicked.

It’s okay for me to not be okay concerning the end of my marriage right now. This is uncharted territory for me and the future is unknown.  There are so many questions racing through my mind constantly about what will be.

But I’m here now. I have two beautiful children, a job that I love, a few good friends and I’ve given myself the best gift ever – my sobriety. How could I not “love this life?”

So tonight I put on my big girl panties and I sent my ex an e-mail apologizing for some hurtful things I said over the weekend to him.  Things are not all rosy now between us just because I sent that e-mail but that’s okay. I know I did the right thing and that’s what matters. I know I will try harder to be the best person I can be, even in my dealings with a difficult situation such as divorce.

I have to accept my life as it is now. I have to accept the choices that led me here and how I choose to react to it all. Acceptance is something I know I need to work towards and I’d prefer to get there with some grace and dignity this time around. I’d prefer to get there with a positive attitude.

So that’s what I choose. I choose to own my life and work towards accepting and loving it just as it is because I only get one.

Self-Talk

True Things

WhatIKnow
Glennon’s list from Love Warrior.

I recently read Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton and it was a wonderful read. I took away so much from it.  I took a photo (see above) of one page in particular that really resonated with me, one that displays a list of 5 things Glennon wrote that she knows for sure. It’s a beautiful list that I’ve read and reread multiple times since I finished her book to help keep me grounded.

There have been several things that have thrown me off balance over the past few weeks.  Nothing life shattering but enough at once that from time to time I feel shaken.  I think it’s important to have a set of beliefs that you can cling to in these times.  Right now, as I figure out myself and my own beliefs as a sober woman, I’m borrowing Glennon’s list to find my balance again until I am ready to make my own.

The one thing I would add to her list, the one thing I do know for sure to be a true thing at this point is this:

6.  You will survive. You may not want to, but you will and that will be enough.

We may not end up where we wanted to be, but we will always end up where we need to be.

Mental Illness · Self-Care · Self-Talk

Talk it out

wellness2

Recently I was in a meeting for work and the topic of employee wellness came up.  We were asked to share the ways we partake in self-care. Everyone said similar things…run, take a bath, read…and then they came to me and I boldly announced that one of the ways I show self-care is by making time to attend therapy at least 1-2 times a month.

You could have heard a pin drop.

People quickly averted their eyes and it took an extra second before moving to the next person.  While I definitely believe there’s been an improvement in the acceptance of mental health issues over the past 20 years or so, we are nowhere near where we need to be.  There’s still a stigma attached and that makes me sad and angry.

Tonight I had therapy and it was a great session, which was very much needed. I didn’t make any huge realizations or figure out the meaning of life, but I word vomited all the things going on that have happened over the past week or so that have been making me crazy and upset and angry and have just completely thrown me off balance.

My therapist didn’t get to say much since I was speed talking my way through the session so I could mention everything but that’s okay. As I told her tonight, many times I just need her to listen because once I just say something, most of the time I feel at least a little bit better. So talked…and talked…and talked.  I told her about how last Thursday was just an overall shitty day but what made it worse was that I was blindsided at work and told I’ll be in a different position soon (one I wasn’t ready to move to yet). Then I had an argument with my estranged husband (I don’t even know if I am using estranged right and frankly I don’t care at the moment) Friday evening while decorating Easter eggs with our kids, then I said good-bye to my childhood home where my dad also passed away in on Saturday since it just sold and then a few days later there was more arguing with the husband-ish and financial woes and HOW THE FUCK AM I STILL SOBER?!?!

How am I still sober? One day at a time. 10 minutes at a time. By doing the next right thing. By breathing. By checking in with myself.

That is something new to me, this checking in with myself, and I find it very peculiar. I’m not really sure how it started but I just noticed that I’m doing it A LOT this tough week in particular. I am so grateful that my head is clear without alcohol so that I notice when my thoughts become unhealthy – negative and driven by anger or anxiety or shame – and I ask myself, “What are you feeling and why are you feeling this way?” I acknowledge whatever I’m feeling then figure out how to make it go away. Sometimes it’s simply taking a couple deep breaths. Sometimes it’s running through the tape of, “Here’s why that is completely irrational, now move on.” Sometimes it’s writing here. Sometimes it’s just praying to whatever God is above to please, please, please just help me hold on until this passes.

Whatever the cause, whatever the case, I’m doing it. Is this what they call managing your emotions in a healthy manner? Changing your thought patterns? I’m only being half-facetious because I really don’t know. The thing is, I think most people in recovery look to replace their unhealthy coping mechanisms with healthy ones but the truth is, I never learned healthy ones to begin with and that’s an entirely different blog post on its own. I’m learning them now.

So here I am. Sober. Breathing. Writing. Going to therapy. Reading books written by people in similar situations. Trying to navigate life in a new way, a way in which I’m in recovery not just from addiction but from everything that’s ever happened that has broken me.

Self-Talk · Uncategorized

I Am Enough

iamenough

Merriam-Webster defines mantra as “a mystical formula of invocation or incantation” which I find totally appropriate considering I’d always thought of a mantra as being something whimsical that yogis or hippies invoked during a meditation or while smoking pot.  Had someone told me years ago that I’d be using mantras as a tool to work through my recovery from alcohol addiction and manage my anxiety I probably would have laughed and rolled my eyes. Yet, here I am.

My therapist actually introduced me to the idea of utilizing a mantra.  I struggled in the moment to come up with one and when I left that session, I didn’t think much about the idea of using the power of words to change my thoughts and beliefs.  Days passed and the negative self-talk continued – my thoughts were consumed with all the bad decisions I’d made while drinking, things I thought for sure made me an awful mother, a horrific wife, a terrible human being.  Then one night as I lay exhausted but unable to sleep, once again beating myself up over and over again in my mind, I consciously stopped myself and thought, “I am enough.” Despite my past, despite who I once was, despite my flaws and imperfections…I. AM. ENOUGH. I repeated those words, without believing them, drowning out all the hateful thoughts I typically had about myself, until I fell asleep.

The next day I acknowledged to myself that it had actually helped to tell myself that I am enough just the way I am, no more, no less. All these experiences, all this life I’ve lived, both good and bad, have made me enough.  So that day I once again fell asleep while telling myself, “I am enough.”

At some point it occurred to me that I had given myself a mantra. I began to recite these words that once had no meaning but now held much power when I felt my anxiety take hold.  As my heart raced and my hands shook and my eyes welled with tears, I would tell myself over and over, “I am enough” until the anxiety subsided. When caught off guard with a snide comment from a coworker or realizing I mixed up some event date, I paused and thought, “I am enough.”  As it turns out, in my humble experience at the very least, just like you will believe the lies you tell yourself, the same occurs when you begin telling yourself the truth.

I’d be lying if I told you that I believe that I am enough every day, all day. I’m not there yet and I’m not even sure if that’s possible, anyway. I still have those moments that my anxiety overwhelms me and the awful noise from my brain telling me what a fuck up I am for all I’ve messed up is just so loud and the tears come and I just want it to all stop, stop, stop stop stop stop stop….and so I take a deep breath and tell myself quietly that I am indeed enough. Then again and again and again. As many times as it takes to calm my spirit. Because I am enough, I really am.