Using a Tool

Every day, I feel discomfort because of events. Something will come along in my day that is stressful, and it causes me to have negative emotions. I have a tool I use in these situations that helps me release the stress and anxiety.

I sit and close my eyes and relax. Next, I try to figure out where in my body the stress or anxiety is being stored. Sometimes it’s in my stomach, sometimes my chest, and sometimes my head. I ask myself what color it is and what shape it is. I try to get a good image of the thing.

After I’ve got a good image of it, I very gently reach inside and slowly remove it. I am gentle about this part of the process. Sometimes it comes out easily, and sometimes it’s got hooks attached to my insides. I’m always gentle, and it always comes out eventually.

Then I give the thing to the Universe, and I always say, “Please recycle this into the laughter of children.” It’s just a little ritual. It’s energy that I’m releasing, and energy never disappears, so I like to think it could be recycled into something joyful.

If that seems like it might work for you, give it a try.

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Enduring Difficult News

The news is full of difficulty these days, and it’s unlikely to become easier in the very near future.

In good times and in bad times, my first priority is my recovery. In difficult times, I must concentrate on the steps I take to maintain my stability.

  • I take my meds as prescribed, because they work for me.
  • I have increased the frequency of my visits to my therapist to weekly. Talking to my therapist is a valuable tool for me to use to keep my mind clear.
  • My meditation has become more important than ever. I use it to clear negativity, and I meditate multiple times each day.
  • I exercise. I speed walk 2.5 miles a minimum of 3 times each week. I am convinced exercise helps me stay stable.
  • I eat food that is good for me. A year ago, I drastically cut the amount of processed sugar I eat on a daily basis. It has made a wonderful change in my mood, and I’ve lost 45 pounds (20 kg). I eat a lot of vegetables.
  • Finally, I do my best to get good sleep. It’s the only time my whole body is shut down in order to refresh itself.

When the news is full of difficulty, my most important response is to maintain my own recovery. I cannot be an effective advocate for my mental health peers if I’m out of sorts. I am my #1 priority.

Walking Through It

Edit to add: We have talked. We have both acknowledged our mistakes, and we are moving forward. I am not blameless, and I took responsibility for my part.

***

I went away on a trip, and my boyfriend took care of some things at my house for me while I was gone. When I got home, I discovered he had not done a good job, and there are problems because of it. The damage done to some things at my home is not the issue. It’s the broken trust. I relied on him, and he let me down.

We have not had a chance to talk face to face about the issue, but we may be able to meet tonight.

The remarkable thing about this whole situation is that I feel okay. I have no idea what’s going to happen. In the past, not knowing would cause my anxiety to skyrocket.

At least for today, I’m okay not knowing. I’ve been using a lot of meditation. I’ve used anti-anxiety medicine twice in the last week, which is very little. My therapist is on vacation, so I have to wait to talk to him until next week. Instead, I’ve been chatting with a very good friend a lot, and he helps me. I’m using the tools to stay stable.

That’s a victory. Using tools to stay stable is a great triumph.

I live with a chronic mental illness, and I use tools to manage it. A number of years ago, it managed me. Now, it’s reversed.

I’m walking through the not knowing.

Telling My Story

This afternoon, I get to go to the state psychiatric hospital and tell my story to a group of nurses. I’ve done this before, and I’m looking forward to it. The nurses there are always very receptive. One of my sisters is a psychiatric nurse, so I have a special love for them.

Each time I tell my story, I’m reminded where I’ve been and where I am now. It was a long road, but I’m glad it happened. Now, I get to share recovery.

I get to share what happened to me. AA taught me and mental health recovery teaches me that my story is the most valuable resource I have. Sharing my story helps others living with mental illness that recovery is possible.

There’s a whole class taught in our Certified Peer Specialist training about igniting the spark of hope. We do it by guiding a peer through their own realization of having a goal, and we use our stories as part of the guide.

The most exciting thing about it is that no goal is too small or too big. All goals have value. All of them.

I have a goal for today: to share my hope with the nurses.

Using Tools

For about the past 4 or 5 days, I was feeling really good. I was having to concentrate hard on staying “in the now,” but it was working. I could meditate and concentrate on walking through my day until I would have another chance to meditate and refresh. At that next meditation, I could do the same thing.

Yesterday, I woke up agitated. I was not in the mood to allow life to flow. I wanted answers to my questions. I wanted to know the outcomes of present situations. I wanted. I needed.

I was not in a good mind space.

My strength is that I recognized it. I knew I needed help, so I reached out for it. I called my therapist, and he happened to have an opening. I jumped on it. I saw him late in the afternoon after work, and I was able to talk about what was going on.

There are a lot of changes happening in my life. I’m dating as I’ve written about here, and it’s the first time I’ve been dating in an extremely long time. There’s lots of new energy surging through my life. All this affects my equilibrium, and I know how important it is for me to stay on an even keel.

I am so grateful for the tools I have as part of my recovery. Yesterday, I recognized I was off balance, and I used a tool to help me regain it. It worked. I left the psychologist’s office much calmer.

My life is changing. Normally, that’s scary. Right now, I’m walking through it.

Rule of One

I only have to do one thing.

I don’t have to feel completely better all at once.

I don’t have to completely heal all at once.

I can take just one small step toward feeling better and healing.

I don’t have to be cheerful and bubbly if I don’t feel like it.

I can choose to smile for just one second. I can choose to feel that smile on my face for just one second.

This morning I get to take one step forward.

Just one. That’s all I have to do right now. Just one.