Thursday, October 27, 2011

Broken

Before I begin each of my blog entries, I say a prayer and ask for guidance on what to write.  Today before I finished my prayer "broken" was so strong in my mind that I knew that it was time to address this topic.  As I have mentioned in the past I have been working on what I call my "therapy boxes."  In my blog entry "Hiding" I addressed one of the them.  "Broken" is another one of my boxes.  I have quite a few "broken" things addressed in this box, but I'm only going to write about the ones that made the biggest impact on my life.

When I was around the age of 12 my sisters and I were all sitting in the living room watching tv.  My mom came in and started yelling then picked up the tv and threw it.  I remember quickly getting my sisters out the front door telling them to go down to the neighbor's house.  I went back through the house looking for my mom.  I found her sitting on the kitchen floor crying and surrounded by broken dishes.  There I was standing in the kitchen doorway looking at broken dishes and a broken mom and I broke.  It wasn't until over 30 years later that I would realize what a defining moment this was for me in my life.  As I stepped through that doorway to help my mom I left the 12 year old behind and a grown-up walked through.  Luckily for my mom and most of my sisters they don't really remember that day.  But I remembered and my older sister remembered, but we never talked about it.  I never had an opportunity to deal with how I felt that day until I started talk therapy. 

Around this same time I had another "broken" experience, but this one was physical.  I was at gymnastics and a bunch of us older girls were alone in the gym jumping on the trampoline.  I was doing a triple back somersault and on the last one I didn't throw my arms enough and ended up coming down half-way through the flip landing on my face with my neck bent and my body on the wrong side of my head before it flopped to where it should have been.  I don't remember much after the initial impact, it was just black.  Then I felt movement on the trampoline as one of my classmates walked over to me, she poked me and then ran away screaming.  They thought I was dead (in fact, they called me "rubber neck" for a long time after this accident).  I lay there not moving, not breathing.  Then finally I could feel my body start to work again as I began gasping for breath.  Little by little I began breathing again.  Eventually I crawled off the trampoline and just sat on the side.  I don't remember much else after that.  I probably should have gone to the doctor, but I didn't.  I don't think I realized then what a bad fall that was.  I didn't even tell my parents about it.  It wasn't until recently working with my Cranial Sacral Therapist that I was able to work through this experience and finally deal with both the emotional and physical pain of that moment.

This last experience I'm going to mention happened just a few years ago after starting therapy, after realizing that I was co-dependent.  I wanted to figure out when the co-dependency started.  I finally realized that it was the day in the kitchen doorway.  I walked through that door as a co-dependent person and I left my 12 year old self behind.  This thought devastated me, if I left myself behind at the moment, who was I?  Had I just become a co-dependent robot?  I left myself behind over 30 years ago and I didn't know who I was.  It is hard to describe what happened to me with these thoughts, it was the deepest, darkest moment of my life.  I honestly didn't know who I was.  I spent almost a week in this black hole trying to get out and hide it from my family.  Strangely enough it was a moment in the grocery store that helped me to begin seeing some light.

I was pretty much on auto-pilot as I went through that week.  At one point I had to go and pick up a prescription for my son.  The attendant at the counter said that they didn't have what I needed and she asked me what I wanted to do.  I honestly didn't know, I just stood there and looked at her and said, "I don't know."  She made some phone calls and helped me to find what I needed at another pharmacy.  I really didn't understand what had happened, I was usually the "adult" and could handle anything, but at that moment I really didn't know what to do.  As I thought about it, an idea started to form, so I called my parents (I really have to give my parents a huge thank you here because they have really done everything they can to help me heal) to talk to them about it.  I asked my dad if it was possible that the "I don't know" moment I experienced in the store could have been my 12 year old self that I thought I had left behind in the kitchen doorway and he said yes.  At that moment the darkness of the past week started to lift and I realized that I had always been me, the 12 year old me was still inside.  I was still all of me, I just had been denying my feelings and emotions for years.  I know now when I can't seem to make a decision, when I just "don't know," it is the 12 year old in me that is frightened and unsure and I just need to embrace that feeling instead of burying it deep inside, then assure myself that everything is okay and to trust myself, I do know what to do.

It has taken years of various forms of therapy and finally addressing all my emotions to not feel "broken" and what a feeling it is to feel whole and complete.  It is amazing to feel and acknowledge all of me, it feels light and bright and wonderful!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dreams

I don't believe that all dreams mean something, but I do believe that many dreams do have a message.  Generally, when I remember a dream I feel like that dream is trying to tell me something.  Also, I have had instances of recurring themed dreams such as the one I described in my blog entry "Dream Come True" which is in my blog renaecreates.blogspot.com.  In those recurring dreams I always found myself in my home (the house always looked different) and I would come upon an unused room or hidden room and I would say to myself, "I could use this room as my scrapbook room."  I knew this dream was telling me that I was craving a creative space for myself.  Incidentally, I quit having these dreams when we moved and I did get a scrapbook room.

Lately, I have been having another recurring themed dream where I am work.  I worked for over 15 years as a legal secretary and in these dreams I find myself working at one of these past jobs.  The situation is different in each dream, either I'm wanting to quit, getting fired, or just working.  I checked online at Dreammoods.com about what the possibility of a dream about work might mean.  Here are a few of the suggestions that I felt like might be possibilities:

To  dream that you are at work indicates that you are experiencing some anxiety about a current project or task. The dream may also be telling you that you need to "get back to work".  To  dream that you are at your former work suggests that there is an old lesson that you need to learn and apply to your current situation.

I'm still working on what these dreams might be telling me, but I have figured out other past dream.  During the first few months of therapy I had the recurring themed dreams of clogged toilets, my blog entry "Plugged Up Emotions" describes these particular dreams and what I learned from them.
Several years ago when we were preparing to move, I had been spending many hours every day at our new home fixing all the problems it had.  It was very frustrating and exhausting work.  During this time I had a dream that we had a foster baby, a little girl and she was so happy and easy going, so much so that I forgot she was in the living room in a baby swing.  Then an adult, probably from DSHS or something came by to check on us.  The baby looked fine and so the lady left.  But I knew I hadn't taken care of her like I should have.  I hadn't changed her diaper in all the time I had her or done anything else she needed, but she didn't cry, she didn't complain in any way.  I hugged her and held her and she felt good in my arms.  I knew from that point forward I would take better care of her as long as I had her.  I started a bath for her and then I woke up.  It wasn't until I started writing the dream down that I knew that my dream was telling me that the baby was me, my inner child and I had been neglecting her all these years to get things done but now I was committing to love her and remember her and to take care of her needs.  It was funny as I was describing this dream to my therapist, she just smiled and I said, "you know don't you, you know that the baby is me."  She just smiled and said, "yes."  Here are a few lines from Dreammoods.com describing what forgetting about a baby in your dreams could mean:

[F]orgetting about a baby represents an aspect of yourself that you have abandoned or put aside due to life's changing circumstances. The dream may serve as a reminder that it is time for you to pick up that old interest, hobby, or project again.

I have only had a few similar dreams since then, but I know when I have a dream where I realize I have been neglecting a baby, I know that I have been neglecting my own self-care.

It was my birthday this week and the night before I had a dream that I had a baby.  I was sharing the dream with some friends and one mentioned how interesting it was that I would dream about a birth on the eve of my birthday.  Dreammoods.com says:

To dream that you or someone is having a baby suggests that you are giving birth to a new idea or project. It also represents new beginnings or some upcoming event.

What a great message, a rebirth of my life, even my name means "reborn."  It is so exciting to listen to these inner messages that have been guiding me for years.  I love the thought that I am now having a new beginning and redefining my life.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Affirmations are My New Truth

I pulled out Louise Hay's book You Can Heal Your Life again the other day because I was really struggling with fatigue and my weight loss had stalled for several weeks and I was looking for answers.  The reason why I thought of this book in particular is because I was talking to a friend who had been suffering and through an affirmation was finding relief.  I had forgotten about affirmations, it seems like I learn things that are so important to my well-being and then I get busy with life and forget about them.  I had learned in the past that affirmations are the positive statement that counter acts the negative false belief we have been telling ourselves (see my blog entry "Mistaken Beliefs").

I decided to start with my Problem of fatigue and I looked it up.  I was a little surprised that the Probable Cause said, "Resistance, boredom.  Lack of love for what one does."  The Affirmation suggested for this Problem is, "I am enthusiastic about life and filled with energy and enthusiasm."  Wow, this really was just what I needed.  I have spent so much of my life working, taking care of kids and home and then the last few years working through my emotional and physical issues that I didn't see how I now have more free time.  My time required as a mother and house-wife has been reduced considerably since my son left on his mission and my daughter is on her last year of high school.  The home projects I have been working on the last several years have mostly been completed.  The time required for me to heal my past pain, anxiety and depression is very little now than when I first started the process.  I have more time than I was used to, but I didn't see it, I was still seeing my schedule in terms of the past.  When I saw the word "boredom" I realized that it was true, it was time to redefine my days which I have and doing so has given me more energy than I have felt in quite awhile.

As I was also struggling with my body not letting go of weight, I looked up the Problem of "fat" and as I had mentioned in my blog entry "Losing Weight," the Probable Cause is connected to anger, but there was one line I hadn't paid attention to, it says, ". . . a resistance to forgive."  This brought to mind a conversation I had with my mom last week where she had mentioned that I need to learn how to forgive myself.  I had been releasing anger, but I had not made that extra step of forgiveness.  A couple of the Affirmations in this category say, "I nourish myself with spiritual food, and I am satisfied and free.  I am willing to forgive the past.  It is safe for me to go beyond my parents' limitations." 

The forgiveness portion of this affirmation isn't always an easy thing to do, but I knew this had to be part of the whole equation the moment I read it.  I also realized that as I hit the punching bag I don't always have to have a specific thing to be angry about, I can just release anger that has built up in my body.  Sometimes I can have something specific, sometimes I can just punch and if something comes up, I will address it, otherwise just the motion of punching can release any built up anger.

After I am finished punching I do some breathing and stretching exercises and the last few days as I have been doing these exercises, I keep in mind forgiveness for others and for myself.  At first I had held in all my anger, then I was letting out the anger in an appropriate way, but not finding the peace I needed after the release of the anger.  By forgiving (if only partially), I am finding balance.  I found that on the one side of the teeter-totter is anger and the other side is forgiveness, once again bouncing back and forth between the two, that is balance (see blog entry "Joy is in the Bouncing").

Writing down, re-reading and saying these affirmations has provided more energy and peace for me over the last several days.  I am so grateful to have been reminded about how helpful affirmations can be.  Living with a new truth is much healthier than living with an old mistaken belief.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Do Something!

I told my husband a few days ago that I was having a problem with motivation.  He reminded me that having no motivation is part of the disease of depression.  His comment reminded me of something I read recently in the book Reaching for Hope An LDS Perspective on Recovering from Depression by Meghan Decker and Betsy Chatlin:

I like to remind myself of the eternal perspective spoken by Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "God, who knows our capacity perfectly, placed us here to succeed."  I think that by "doing" I am becoming.  On those days when your depression seems most insurmountable, there is a small, even thirty-second "do" within your grasp.  The smallest step you can manage is one more claim upon eternity where a loving Savior welcomes every effort -- even baby steps.

Small steps slogging through molasses.  Do something small, but do something.  The operative word for you who are suffering is do.  President Kimball said, "Do it."  If you are struggling with clinical depression, do something -- take a baby step.

The phrase "do something" has been running around in my head for a few days now along with a couple of other thoughts.  One of the other thoughts was from a conversation I had with a friend who told me that she has an idea book that she takes with her everywhere to write down her ideas and thoughts throughout the day.  I love having notebooks and writing things down so, of course, I loved the idea.  Lately I have been writing down thoughts and notes on all different pieces of paper, appointments on different calendars and just generally feeling like I was all over the place.  So I was trying to think about how to incorporate my friend's "idea book" into my life.

The other thought was from a goal training class I took online recently.  One of the first things said in the class was that if you don't have a goal first thing in the morning then nothing will get done.  When I heard that I thought that was exactly my problem lately.  I have plenty of things to do and goals to accomplish, but I couldn't decide which ones to do first and when.

Yesterday morning before I climbed out of bed, these thoughts all combined into one complete idea.  I got up and pulled out a new notebook and titled it "Do Something."  I then wrote the date and my goal for the day which was to do the dishes and go to the store.  It wasn't a huge goal, but that wasn't really the point, the point was to just do something

The last few weeks have been challenging in that my motivation level has been really low.  Some days I haven't even done my basic Breathe Strategies, the items I have put in my Basket A (see blog entry Basketful of Blessings).  But once I wrote down my goal and other thoughts in my notebook I was pretty excited about my day.  Then I actually got up and did something.  I went to the grocery store and the local craft store.  I got some fun new craft ideas and then went home and did the dishes.  The next thing I knew I was outside doing some weeding.  I felt more energized than I had in weeks.

I'm going to keep writing in my "do something" notebook and see how it works.  Some days my "do something" might be very small and some days it may be big.  I'm not exactly sure how will it go, but I do know that I'm looking forward to just doing something!