Ritual

When I got home from work last night, my negative self-talk exploded without all the distractions of work related tasks. I simply couldn’t stop all the dark thoughts. I was in a lot of pain. I was reciting the positive things I have in my life, but it just wasn’t enough.

My best friend had what turned out to be a lifesaving idea: write them down and burn them. I got a sheet of paper and filled it front and back with all the stuff that my mind was lying to me about. I put down the darkest, most horrific thoughts that my mind was filled with.

I loosely wadded it up and put it in an old can and lit it on fire. I took a picture of it burning and texted it to my friend. It honestly felt good, and while it was burning, I got a great idea to do the same thing with all the beautiful things I could say about myself.

I did that. I filled the front and back of a sheet of paper with love about myself, with the names of people I know who love me, and with good things in my life. It felt good just to write them down. I did the same thing with this list. I burned it. I released the good energy, and I felt wonderful!

I am so grateful to have a friend who thinks so imaginatively. It was a little ritual that honestly rescued me.

xoxo

Negative Self-Talk

I had a really good session with my therapist yesterday. We were able to work through my anger I was feeling toward him. I was also able to talk more about this enormous loss. Finally, we went through the really interesting dream I had. It had a lot of hope in it.

I’m struggling this morning. My negative self-talk is really loud. I’m combating it by first coming to work. Keeping busy will give my mind less time to wander.

I’m also using a technique I learned: Catch it. Check it. Change it. The first thing to do is catch the negative thoughts. Then check their veracity, and finally to change the thoughts.

With the kind of loss I’ve suffered, my mind is telling me lies about many things. I’ve got a list of ways to counter those thoughts. I’m having to repeat those things a lot, and it’s tiring.

Recovery is tiring. I’m going to keep doing it just for today. I’ll let tomorrow worry about itself.

Long Road to Recovery

I’ve had some bleak days, but I’ve also had periods of calm. If you wonder what has happened, see my last post.

I’ve been using my recovery tools.

I’ve been using the medication my doctor gave me to help with the situation, and I’m grateful to have it. It honestly helps a great deal.

I’ve been meditating. I had a very long one this morning.

I’ve been to therapy, and I have another appointment coming up next week. I’ve also been to some AA meetings. They’ve been helpful. Most importantly, I’ve got some good friends checking on my daily. I cannot adequately express how good that feels.

I have walked some. Not daily, but I have walked. Exercise is a good idea when I’m feeling low.

I’m eating good food. Yesterday, I actually cooked for myself, which is something I rarely do. That’s real self-care. I took the time to wash mushrooms and cook them and eat them over toast. I did it for myself.

I’m making sure I get good, restorative sleep.

Medication, meditation, therapy, exercise, diet, and sleep are the important tools I use to stay stable.

This morning, I’m battling negative self-talk. I know it’s lies, but it’s so loud. Pain in a situation like this comes and goes in waves, and today I’m in a wave. It will pass. Soon, I hope.

The Teens

In 2010, I was living on disability. My life was a mess. I was unable to cope with most things that life threw at me. I had a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a case manager.

I got some medications that worked well, which I changed in 2013 to different medications that work better.

I learned to meditate, and that has proven strikingly valuable. I now meditate between 10 to 30 minutes every morning, and I can’t imagine starting my day without it.

I have been going to therapy regularly through thick and through thin. It has given me a safe place to go and talk about all the things that weren’t working for me and to come away with ideas to try that might work better.

I got on a regular sleep schedule that has helped.

I have been exercising by walking most of the time. I’ve had periods when I stopped, but I’ve been fairly consistent in the ten years.

I changed my diet. I now eat a mostly vegetarian diet. I try to eat as much fresh food as possible. It’s not easy, but I feel so much better.

I was accepted into a training program in 2013, and today I administer that very program. I work full time.

With the skills I learned this decade, I now live a fulfilling life. I have my own place and a car that’s paid for. I pay all my bills every month. I cope with all the stress of living a modern life. I am an out and proud gay man. I have friends.

I am excited to see what this new decade brings.

Opening Up

After feeling poorly last weekend because of the events when I went out, I can say that friends can work miracles. First, I was able to spend most of the day Saturday with friends, and it was so much fun! We went to a local festival and saw the sights. I had two other friends who each had booths at the festival, so I connected with them and offered my support for their work.

Then Sunday, I went to hear a local chorus give a concert. It was cabaret style. We sat at a small table, and the singers moved around the room in between the tables. The songs were all mostly very lighthearted, and the whole atmosphere was so refreshing. I felt so good after eating pizza with friends after the concert. The evening was spent relaxing at home alone.

I left work early yesterday due to lingering depression. I just didn’t feel good. I’m very lucky that where I work values mental health as much as physical health. If I had a bad cold, I would easily take off work. I was no less sick yesterday with a very low mood.

Then a friend stepped in to rescue me again. She just returned to the area after five long months away, and she wanted to watch the sunset from a beautiful spot. I had been to that spot many times in the past, but it had been many long months since I’d gone to enjoy it. I sat and watched the sun disappear behind the clouds, and we had a good conversation chatting and catching up on personal news. It felt immensely gratifying to be back in that splendid location with all the beauty surrounding me. Just sitting there, I could feel my energy growing lighter and lighter. I still feel light this morning. I am completely sure that I will go back to experience that beauty again soon.

I have a best friend who lives in another city, and we chat by text multiple times each day. He is a rock to me. He listens without judgement to whatever I have to say. Sometimes he has specific recommendations. Sometimes not. He always has virtual hugs that he expresses freely. I love him dearly and hope he gets support from me in the same way he gives it to me.

My friends are very important, and I am so grateful to have them.

Just Sigh

I did something daring for myself last night. I went out. I went to a popular gay bar. I struck up a conversation with a young lady visiting from out of state. She was in town to visit a friend. I sat and watched the crowd.

There was a two-person band playing. They were fun and energetic. I got up and danced once by myself. I was invisible. Nobody looked at me. Nobody joined me. I danced the whole song.

This morning, I couldn’t meditate for the first time in four years. I think I’m angry at the Universe, but I can’t feel the anger. That’s not unusual for me.

It took courage to go out alone. It took courage to dance alone.

I went to a LGBT meditation group this week, and part of the time we shared in small groups about how we love ourselves. I shared that I loved my courage. I really do have a lot of it. I live with enormous amounts of fear, but I still get up and keep going. I don’t quit. I love my courage.

This morning I feel damaged, but I know this is just a feeling. It will pass. I have things to do today. I will do them, and I will enjoy myself. I will bravely walk through the feelings that I have right now, and I will be in good spirits.

Life Continues

Things have been rolling along in my life. I’ve had good days and lousy days, so that’s all normal. What I find gratifying in my recovery from bipolar disorder is that my bad days do not feel like the end of the world anymore. They used to feel like that some years ago.

These days, I just feel off when I feel low. I don’t know how to say it otherwise. In the past, I would feel horrible. I would barely be able to function.

Yesterday, I felt wonderful. It was Sunday, and I had a relaxing day. I read some. I listened to music. I wasted some time scrolling through the internet.

This morning, I feel off. I slept well, but I could have slept longer. Still, I’m awake and not really wanting to go back to bed. I feel vaguely dissatisfied with the fact I’m single. The result is that I’m thinking about my ex. Ugh. My thoughts haven’t dwelt on him in weeks. I only think about him when I feel off.

This too shall pass. It always does. I’ll feel fine soon. It may be just a few hours, or it might be tomorrow. I’m positive I’ll be fine soon.

I have hopes and dreams, and they are rolled up into expectations. I also live with a good amount of self-awareness, and when my hopes and dreams are disappointed, I blame myself. So this morning, I went out to get some exercise, and I could only think that nothing is going to work out the way I want, and it will all be my fault since I’m not perfect.

I am feeling very damaged.

Simultaneously, I know I’m fine. I’m absolutely fine.

I am a bundle of contradictory feelings, but I’m fine. I will be fine. I am fine.

I think I’ll just let life keep rolling.