Weird

I have a weird thing going on.

I have this knowledge that I am damaged. I carry a lot of pain from a less-than-wonderful childhood and a lousy adolescence. The trauma from my early life caused me enormous problems as an adult that I’ve been dealing with for three decades. It’s no wonder that I am damaged.

At the same time however, I’m not terribly worried about it. I’m not overwhelmed with grief or sorrow.

I think the lack of negativity has something to do with the years I’ve spent in therapy and the fact I meditate. I’ve overcome some truly high hurdles. For example, I quit drinking and came out of the closet when those were monumentally difficult tasks. I survived. If I managed to live through those upheavals, I can live through this stuff, too.

So, I’m not a stellar example of a well-adjusted man. So what?

I kind of like this weirdness.

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Reflecting

I had a number of really unpleasant days recently, and then yesterday morning, I woke up feeling good. The change was literally overnight. What happened? I wish I knew the answer so I could bottle it and sell it.

Here’s what I know.

While I was feeling down, I concentrated on the certainty that it was temporary. I was positive the negative feelings would pass, and they did.

In the middle of that malaise, I continued to use the tools I have to help myself feel better. I got extra help from my therapist. I used the medication I have been prescribed as directed. I continued my daily meditation routine. I ate well. I got as much good sleep as possible. I continued exercising. Basically, I continued doing the things that I know work for me.

I didn’t sugar coat anything. I was hurting, and I didn’t lie to myself pretending I felt good. I allowed the pain to have its space all the while knowing it would pass. The pain was not permanent. I was sure of that. I didn’t lie to my friends either. When asked, I told them the truth. To strangers who asked, I lied. I see no contradiction in that. It’s healthy to maintain boundaries with people. Strangers don’t need to know the details of my life.

It’s quite possible one of the reasons I woke up feeling good was that I did the work to process the memories that made me feel bad. I did that in therapy and by reaching out to a trusted person whom I could share the details with. I let it all come out in therapy, and I told the trusted person the reasons for the pain. I have learned after many decades in therapy that when I share the pain or fear, it loses its power.

That’s it. There’s no magic. I maintained my routine and kept walking through the stuff. I kept walking. One footstep at a time.

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.

Breathing

I didn’t just walk through the stuff. I breathed through it.

Meditation has worked for me once again. This time I combined a releasing visualization that a good friend walked me through on the phone. The result was astonishing. I felt completely better. I was exhausted after the visualization from releasing all that negativity. I also have a much better view of the end of that relationship.

The visualization is not complicated. Here’s a step-by-step guide, if you want to try it.

  1. Sit comfortably, breathe evenly, and relax.
  2. Ask an angel to be near you.
  3. Imagine you are sitting in a shaft of beautiful blue-green light, and breathe it in over and over.
  4. Imagine a cylinder of white light in front of you.
  5. Imagine all the negativity in you about any particular topic. Ask the angel to help you pull that negativity out. Once it’s out, wad it up into a ball.
  6. Place that ball in the cylinder of light, and ask that it be transformed into something positive. I like asking it to be transformed into the laughter of children or nourishing rain on areas of drought.
  7. Finally, breathe more of the beautiful light you’re sitting in.

That’s it. You did it. The beauty is it can be repeated as often as you want about any topic you want. Don’t be discouraged if the negativity returns. That’s not failure. It may take days, weeks, months, or even years of repeated release for something to leave altogether.

This isn’t a race. My healing took decades. It’s worth it. I feel so good.

A Miracle

I’m recovering from a break up that is causing me a lot of anguish. Admittedly, the grief is fading. Of course, I would like it to fade faster.

Yesterday, I had a sudden realization. Through it all, through all the turmoil, I have not once had a suicidal thought. I have had an unfortunate return of negative self-talk, but I have never once thought I would be better off dead.

The absence of this type of thought is honestly remarkable. Just a few years ago, I thought of death multiple times throughout every day. I’m in the midst of pain, but I’m not thinking about wanting the ultimate escape.

I can personally attest that recovery is real. Recovery works.

Walking Through a Day

I had extremely high stress at work yesterday. That is in addition to sleeping very poorly the night before. My sleep has not been very good since the break up, and that very break up does not make it easy to be stable.

After work, I thought of getting some exercise by going for a speed walk. I also thought about just taking it easy and recognizing the difficulty I’d been going through. The urge to exercise in this one case was a misplaced desire to deny the truth that my body needed rest.

I chose rest.

Not only did I give myself an easy evening, I also decided to take an antianxiety medication at bedtime. As a result, I slept very well. I awoke this morning with good energy, and I went for a long speed walk before work. It felt very good.

Sometimes the right decision is to rest.

Interpersonal Relations

Relating to people is the most difficult thing any person does. We maneuver a minefield when we try to convey our thoughts. At best, we can be aware of some of the history the other brings to the communication experience, but we can’t know it all.

We can’t know if the other person is feeling off because they were rushed in the morning. Their personal history may be a factor. Maybe they skipped breakfast and are feeling hungry. It could be a worry about a sick relative.

There are so many variables every time we want to communicate with another person. The best we can do is be sure of what we need to convey and be as careful in how we speak as possible.

I’m taking a long time to set up something that’s simple to say: I had a fight with my boyfriend. I really don’t understand why he appeared so angry. I truly don’t understand it. I tried to keep the conversation light, but it did not work.

In the end, I had to defend myself by stating I did not deserve the anger I was hearing.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I’ve talked to my therapist. I’m willing to accept several outcomes. There’s an outcome where we move forward and try to help each other, and there’s an outcome where I move forward without him. That would hurt a great deal, but I’m willing to do it, if it comes to that.

What’s remarkable is I know I’m going to be OK with any outcome.

I am a person who lives with mental illness. I live in recovery from bipolar disorder. To realize I’m going to be OK is huge. I have spent years in therapy building a core that is stable enough to withstand the storms of life. Whatever happens with my boyfriend, my core is still going to be stable.

Obviously, I want to move forward with my boyfriend in my life. I love him. I love me, too. I owe it to myself to be with a man who recognizes and respects my stable core. I’ve worked hard on it. It’s firm.

While all this drama plays itself out, I get to continue living my life. I feel good.