I Have Decided

I have decided that I feel better.

Nothing has changed in my reality. I have simply decided that I’m feeling better. The decision makes me feel just a bit lighter. I’m grateful for that.

Last night, I went to an online AA meeting that was really good. I was able to say what was hurting me. I listened to other people talk about how they were coping with the crisis. The whole thing helped.

I had an unsettling dream this morning. I was in my father’s business, and it was empty. I’m relieved to say my dad wasn’t there like he has been in my nightmares. I went into the back of the place in the dream where a Japanese girl asked me for directions. I speak Japanese, so I answered her fluently impressing her. I tried to look for the place she was searching for on a map, but the map was of another location and not where we were in the dream. I woke with a feeling of emptiness.

I’ve decided I’m not empty. I’m light and feel good.

I have therapy today. That will be very helpful. I have quite a long list of things to talk to him about. I’m going to ask about even more frequent sessions.

I’m not at my best right now, and that’s OK. The negativity will pass.

Or as they say, this too shall pass.

Ten Years Blogging

I started blogging ten years ago today. Wow! Where has the time gone?

When I look at old entries, I’m amazed at the change. Ten years ago, I was beset by despair. Today, I live in hope of things getting better.

As regular readers know, January was hellish for me. On January 4, my dad called me telling me – much to my surprise – that he’d recently discovered I was gay and therefore he and my mother were disowning me. I say I was surprised, because I’d come out to my mother more than twenty years before. I always assumed she’d told my dad, but obviously she didn’t.

Then in late January, I found out that in the reorganization at my work, I was being demoted and would have my salary slashed. January was plain hell for me.

Ten years ago, I would have had dire reactions to these events. This year, I had some strong emotions, I took some days off work, but I never thought of giving up. I have tools today to help me in times of trouble: medication, meditation, therapy, exercise, diet, and sleep. I used all but exercise to get myself through the pain of those events, and I’m not beating myself up about not exercising.

Ten years ago, I wrote about living in the hell that was my head. Today, my head is pretty calm. It’s not great, but it’s not scary. In all honesty, I have to admit that the thought of being unlovable since my parents disowned me did occur to me just this past weekend. I talked about it in therapy yesterday. It’s a false notion. My parents are warped. Hopefully, I won’t date warped men.

I have one thing to say about this anniversary: recovery is real. People who live with serious mental illness can and do recover and lead meaningful lives. If I recovered, other people can, too.

Another Point of Gratitude

Today, I am grateful for a quiet place to meditate. I woke up late this morning, so my routine was curtailed a great deal. I only had time for a very short meditation. I could really feel it at work. I was distracted, and I could feel irritation starting to build.

I finished a task at work, and I walked down the street to the cathedral during my break. I sat in the back row and meditated. I sat there and breathed. The New Moon was last night, so I made some wishes, too. I felt so good when I finished. I’m calmer, and I don’t feel any irritation building.

A Point of Gratitude

Today, I am grateful for the exercise I get from speed walking. I walk early in the morning after I’ve meditated. It’s still dark most mornings, and the world is quiet. It’s really nice. I walk by some gardens, and one has a night-blooming jasmine that smells divine.

I went out and walked during my lunch break, too. That’s not usual, and I got really sweaty. Still, I enjoyed it. I love the feeling of moving. It’s very comforting.

Opening Energy

Yesterday, I woke up and meditated as usual, and then I did something that’s different. I put on my swimsuit, and I went to the water. I don’t do this often, because of anxiety, but yesterday, I didn’t give myself time to think about it. I just did it.

I went in for just a short time and got completely under the water at one point. I floated for a while.

I got out and stood for some time letting the water drip off me with the sun shining on my back through some wispy clouds. I just watched the water and the people around me.

With my glasses on this time, I went back in the water and stood. I just let the feeling of the water surround me. I didn’t have any agenda. I allowed it to flow. I allowed myself to simply be there. A young man and his dog were swimming back and forth together. The dog looked like he was really enjoying himself. It was rapturous to watch. They were full of sheer joy.

I got back out, and though I’d only been there about an hour, I decided to go home. I rinsed off in the shower, and the young man and his dog were there. I told him how much joy it had given me to watch them play. He grinned widely.

As I walked back to my car, I felt amazing. I’d only been in the water a short time, but I felt exuberant. I felt elated. I felt completely open. I used that feeling throughout yesterday, and I’ve recalled it today, too.

I’ve got a lot of stress going on at work, and this feeling of openness is really helping. I can bring it up to the surface by closing my eyes and calling it to return. It’s pure joy. I’m so grateful for it.

I will be returning to the water again soon.

Some Thoughts

It’s the holiday season. It’s the end of a calendar year. Saturn ingresses into Capricorn in about half a day as I’m writing this. It’s a time of transitions.

I’m writing this at my desk at work, and I am enormously grateful for my life today. I am able to work. I was disabled for many years. I have a home. I have a car that runs well. I have friends. In early December, I hosted a Christmas party at my house when we came together to eat and decorate my tree. It was such a special evening.

I got to this place after many years of being in dark times. I was so low that I came very close to suicide. I have had many different changes in my medication regimen, finally settling on one that worked well. I have been radically open in my therapeutic relationships with psychiatrists and psychologists. I have meditated. I have slept when I needed it. I have exercised most days.

There is not one simple answer as to why I have recovered and am in the place I am. It’s a combination.

Each recovery is unique. We each get to search for what works for us. I am happy to share what has worked for me in this blog, and I hope it offers you some ideas.

I wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Life is getting better

Therapy is one of the pillars of my recovery. I have been in therapy for the majority of the past 30 years. I was even in therapy for some of the years I lived abroad.

I don’t remember when it happened, but at some point, I learned to be radically open with my psychologists. I tell them everything. There’s an important benefit from this habit: everything has a chance to heal. My darkest secrets can come up and see the light and either transform or vanish.

I had a session last night, and I had an important breakthrough. It sounds simple, but it was quite profound for me. It amounts to:

I’m okay.

It’s that simple. I have many desires, and many times I allow them to become obsessive. I have one desire that has been dominating my life for more than a year. I realized in therapy last night that even if that desire is never realized in the way my imagination is demanding, I’m okay.

I have a lot of fear surrounding finances, but you know what? I’m okay. I’m better off than 95% of the people on the planet actually. I have a roof over my head. I have a car. I have a job. When I go to the grocery store, I buy anything I want without worrying about the price.

Relationships? I’m okay. I have been making new friends. It took a while after moving to this city for my new job two years ago, but I’m making new friends now. I have a good romantic life, too. It’s not what I want in the long run, but it’s good for now.

The most important point is that I’m okay in my own skin. I’m better than okay actually. I like being me. I could not say that just a few years ago.

Go back through the archives of this blog seven years ago. I lived in a dark place. Fear ruled me. What changed? Me. I healed.

Recovery from mental illness is real. It happened to me.