Self Study

I should probably call this “Studying My Self.” I’ve been in therapy for 32 years. Off and on. More on than off, but there were some short periods when it wasn’t possible. Therapy is basically the study of self.

I’ve learned a lot, and therapy has helped me put some demons to rest that were the result of a messy childhood and adolescence. It has been very valuable.

I tried to cope with all the crap in my head by drinking to excess. That did not work, and I eventually had to get help to quit drinking. AA taught me well, but it did nothing for the demons. Therapy helped me unmask those and take their power away. After 19 years of sobriety and 32 years of therapy, I can honestly say I never think about drinking. During the pain of the break up last summer, drinking never once crossed my mind. I’m grateful that’s over.

I saw my ex yesterday, and it brought up a lot of emotions that I didn’t know what to do with. I had therapy this morning and was able to talk about them.

Last week, my therapist recommended a book that I bought and devoured: Wired for Dating by Stan Tatkin. I highly recommend it. It talks some about the biochemical processes that happen during dating, but the bulk of the book is about how we attach to people in our lives. I learned a lot about my way of attaching, and I was able to see my ex’s way, too.

In therapy this morning, I was able to see how I had triggered my ex, even though that was not my intention. I was also able to practice some ways of saying things that won’t be as triggering.

I was also able to see that I tend to get very hot in the early stages of the relationship, and that might scare a partner. Since my ex and I are talking again, I’ll get to practice moving slowly. We’ll see what happens. It might work out; it might not. I can’t predict.

I am really grateful to have my best friend who reminded me yesterday that emotions aren’t permanent. I’m grateful to have a good therapist who helped me work through how I can trigger other people. I’m grateful to have meditation that lets me release so much fear. I’m grateful for all my tools.

I’m grateful for you readers. I’ve had some comments in the past few weeks, and it really is nice to know that a few people really connect with some of the stuff that gets written here. Thank you.

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sigh

I feel awful today.

I’m grieving, and I’m not being kind to myself about it.

I have therapy tonight thankfully. I’ve got lots of notes to talk about. I take notes in my phone for my therapy sessions so I don’t have to try to remember everything. I’m going to talk about these feelings.

I meditated this morning, and I got some exercise.

Grief is not fun.

A Question

Grief comes in waves, and yesterday, I was experiencing a wave of grief for my relationship that ended 2 months ago. I chatted with my best friend about it. I had questions about my ex-boyfriend and his feelings that, of course, my best friend could not answer. I didn’t expect him to. I simply wanted to express my thoughts. He answered with a question:

Why is everyone broken?

And it stopped me in the middle of my stream of thoughts. It was the perfect question.

We are each one of us broken. We have all experienced pain.

My next question is more important:

What are we doing about our brokenness?

Being broken is not the real problem. What we are each doing about it is. I have been actively working on my brokenness for more than 30 years. It has been a long process. I can honestly say that I’ve healed some truly big traumas. I can say to anyone who needs to hear it that healing is possible. It really is. I did it. The work is worth it. There were times the work was painful, but the reward is so good. I feel whole today.

I’m still healing more broken bits that I find under the healed places. It never ends, but it truly does get better.

My healing comes through meditation, therapy, medication, exercise, sleep, and a healthy diet. Your healing will come through ways that are appropriate for you. If you need guidance about how to start, I recommend talking to a doctor or therapist first. You’ll know what’s right for you. Use that.

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.

Walking Through the Stuff

My psychiatrist warned me that this break up would likely cause old feelings to resurface. He was right. I’m experiencing a resurgence of negative self-talk that I haven’t had in many years. It feels lousy.

I’m happy to report that a short meditation usually eliminates it, until it resurfaces again, and I have to meditate again to release the negative thoughts.

It’s temporary. This too shall pass, but it’s a pain right now. I’m walking though it. I have good moments and bad ones.

I think it’s a matter of perspective. I have lived through a lot of pain, but the important point to understand is that I lived through it. I lived. I survived.

I survived pain in the past. I can survive this, too.

Walking Through It

In my last post, I wrote about my recent break up. I’m still experiencing varied moods due to the end of that romantic relationship. I have good days and bad ones.

I’m happy to say I’m using the tools I have, and they help a great deal.

My most important tool is meditation. I am able to release a lot of difficult emotions very quickly and thoroughly by doing some simple meditative techniques I’ve learned over the years. I wrote about one technique in that last post.

I’ve used medication, too. I have some medicine I can take for anxiety. I have used them occasionally. I used them daily just after the break up.

I’ve spoken to my therapist often, and that helps give me clarity.

I’ve chatted with my best friend multiple times each day. He’s a rock in this situation, and I’m grateful for his love and support.

I’ve exercised a lot, too. I’ve walked and walked. I enjoy speed walking, so I do it daily these days.

I’ve been careful with what I eat. I allow myself some junk every once in a while, but I’m careful. I eat an almost completely vegetarian diet. It feels like the right thing for me to do.

I’ve been getting good sleep most nights, which is an enormous help. Sleep resets me, so I can start fresh every morning.

Yesterday was a rough day, but I used the tools, and I survived. Today feels better except for the fact I didn’t get enough sleep for some unknown reason. I’ll be fine.

I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Surviving a Break Up

Yeah. It happened.

He got very angry at me, and I asserted that I was not deserving of his anger, so he left. I’m glad he left. I didn’t feel frightened, but he clearly could not control his anger.

I had decided that I would require couples counseling to move forward with the relationship, but he chose not to contact me again. I was uncomfortable with that lack of closure. It left too much up in the air. It meant I was unsure whether he would choose to contact me at some point in the future. Being unsure was causing me anxiety. So I took control of the part that I was capable of and blocked his number.

That’s the first point I would like to draw attention to. I did not have control of the whole situation, and I think that’s completely normal. There are two people involved, after all. Each participant has some control over some aspects of the situation. I looked at the situation, and I studied what part I could control, and I used it.

It’s quite possible that choosing not to contact me after he stormed out was his way of breaking up. It’s not a clean way of doing it. It leaves too many strings dangling.

The second point I’d like to stress is that I did not avoid the sadness. I allowed it to wash over me. The grief came in waves. There were times I ached. I would meditate and release it. It worked for me.

If you want to try it, find a place to sit comfortably. Begin by stating that you want to work through the highest light for the greatest good for all concerned. This sets a nice intention of keeping things as clear as possible with as little animosity involved as possible. Shut your eyes, and breathe deeply for as many breaths as you can. Simultaneously, relax. Try relaxing from head to toe or vice versa. Do the best you can. Now imagine you have a layer of energy on your body where the bad feelings are located. Call on an angel to remove this layer. Breathe deeply while the angel removes the layer of energy. Just breathe. Give it some time. It may take a few seconds or a few minutes. Let it take however long it takes. If your heart aches tremendously, ask the angel to bathe it in purple light. When you feel like it’s complete, thank the angel, and then breathe and open your eyes.

I had to do this many times over the course of about 3 days, and it worked for me, I felt relief each time. Repeating it after the grief returned is not a sign it’s not working. Grief comes in waves. It’s not a failure. That’s just how it works. Allow the sadness its space each time it comes. Allow and release. There is no limit to how many times you can do this exercise. It’s not finite. It’s limitless.

The third point I’d like to mention is that I always kept in mind that this sadness was temporary. No matter how strong the sadness was, I reminded myself it would pass, and it did each time.

The fourth point is that I reached out for help. I chatted long with my best friend. He’s a rock at times like these, and he listened to me without judgment. He offered virtual hugs, and he reminded me of my own strength.

The fifth point is that I used medication. I live with a mental illness, and I took the antianxiety medicine my psychiatrist gave me just for times like these. It worked to help me sleep well.

The final point is that I used professional tools. I saw my therapist twice in 3 days. The second time I saw him, I was assertive and told him that in his office I sometimes felt like he was suggesting some of the anger that was directed at me by my then boyfriend was my responsibility. We had a frank discussion about these feelings, and I was clear that any assertion his anger was my doing was false. My therapist agreed. What he was trying to direct me to was seeing that all encounters are a two-way street. I am responsible for being clear in my communication and being open to hearing clear words. I agree.

In closing, I’ve got to say that breaking up a romantic relationship is not fun. I went through about 3 days when I honestly did not know what day of the week it was. I had to repeatedly look at my phone to see, and even then it often did not register. My thinking was very disoriented.

Today, I know what day of the week it is. There is a sadness in the background, but I can recognize I’m healing.

I don’t know what the future will bring, but I am stepping into it one step at a time. I have tickets to see a play this weekend. I bought two, and now I’m wondering whom to invite to go with me…