Want

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I recently came across something I wrote years ago. This was before I started therapy, and it’s beautiful to see how things have changed. I still struggle with most of these things, but not to the extent I used to. It’s become easier to reach out and open up. To be honest about my feelings, needs, and wants. I’m still a work in progress, but then again, aren’t we all?

Want

You want to reach out. Instead, you keep it inside.
You want to know whether they care. But you don’t ask.
You want to be seen. Instead you hide.
You want to be heard. Yet you silence your voice.
You want to feel real. So you hurt yourself again.
You want to tell someone you want to die. That you can’t imagine living one more day. Instead, you smile, because you don’t want to be a burden.
You want to cry. Instead, you hide behind humour.
You want to open up. Instead, you put your shield up. Afraid you’ll be rejected and cast aside once again.

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At Peace

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I wrote a post earlier today, which got me thinking more about the situation I’m currently in with Elizabeth and Jasmine. I realized that I make things more complicated for myself than they actually are. I see a crisis where there isn’t one.

I was sitting outside a few minutes ago, and saw a shooting star. The biggest, brightest, and longest lasting one I’ve ever seen. Wow! What an incredible, beautiful experience. That one little star lit up the whole night sky, as I was focused on that light, so could no longer see the darkness surrounding it. Such a great metaphor for life, isn’t it?

My relationships are precious to me. I value them. But I can’t control them. There are two people in every relationship, and I can only focus on my part. So I’ve decided that I’m going to give Jasmine the space she needs. I’ve done all I can do for now. I hope that she comes around sometime, but it’s out of my hands.

I’m going to continue giving my all to my relationship with Elizabeth, and allow myself to just go with the flow, and be myself. Express myself without fear, or worrying about what anyone else thinks. I can’t be responsible for other’s thoughts, feelings, and decisions.

Worrying about what may or may not happen only serves to take my focus away from all the good in my life, and from being mindful in each moment. When I first learned of mindfulness, I thought it was a bunch of Buddhist nonsense. But I’ve since discovered just how powerful this practice actually is. It has the potential to change our entire life. It’s already slowly changing mine.

So, I choose to focus on that star, not the darkness surrounding it, and be present for each moment in my life. There’s a time and place for everything. If being present means sitting with painful emotions and letting the darkness be experienced, then that’s what’s needed during that moment. Tomorrow is tomorrow. But right here, right now, I’m exactly where I need to be.

And I feel at peace.

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All Around Me

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Can I see the wind?
I can see it move through the trees, but I can’t see the essence of it.
I can feel it blow across my face.
The effect is there, all around me.

Can I see my growth?
I can see it in my life, but I can’t see the essence of it.
I can feel it in my heart.
The effect is there, all around me.

Kindness & Gratitude #1

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It’s so easy to get stuck in the darkness, and feel that we’ll never get out of that place. To feel like the whole world is against us. Which is why it’s so important to notice the kindness and compassion that exists, and focus on those things for which we are grateful. I’ve decided to start a series of posts to remind us that there is hope. I don’t know how often I’ll write a post for this series, but I’ll try to do one at least once a month.

A little while ago, Jasmine and I went for a walk through one of the many forests in the countryside. On our way back to the car, a guy came running after us. I froze, my heart pounding. Until I saw what was happening. My driver’s license had fallen off my key holder, and he had picked it up to give back to me. I was so relieved. And exceptionally grateful. I had my driver’s license stolen in a smash and grab last year, so I know how much of an inconvenience and hassle it is to get a new one. The kindness of a stranger.

After our walk, I drove Jasmine back to the clinic where she was staying. Sitting with her on the bench just before I left, so close. Not talking. Just feeling. I felt sad. She wasn’t feeling too great, and lay her head on my shoulder. It was a bittersweet moment. I realized that we might have lost some of the things we had being in an intimate relationship, but the connection and love is still there. It’s the simple things that are the most important. Not taking anything for granted.

I was sitting on the beach a few weeks ago, enjoying my alone time, and watching the sun set. These words came to me:

If you can look at a sunset and feel the beauty of it in your heart, there’s still life and hope inside you.

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Never Thought I’d Be Here – Part Two

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My experience at the clinic was a positive one, excluding the Friday of course. Once I settled in, I started feeling better. Friday evening I slept straight through, as well as every night I was there. Which isn’t normal for me. Usually my first night sleeping out I barely sleep at all. What made it different this time? Maybe it’s because I felt taken care of and safe. That could be it.

The first night I got room service, since I had a lot of social anxiety, and didn’t want to be around so many strangers in the dining hall. The food there was better than I thought it would be. I lost a lot of weight last year, and from a healthy weight, I’m now underweight again. I’ve always been small built and skinny, and I hated it. I’d get mocked about it in school. While others were worried about gaining weight, I was desperately trying to pick up weight for most of my life. Four years ago, I finally achieved a perfect weight. But last year, I lost it all, and more. For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to go back to that weight. I’ve started eating 4 meals a day (including a protein shake). So the 3 big meals a day and 2 snack times (and hot chocolate in the evenings) at the clinic have made a difference.

I had two awesome roommates. One of them was a lot like me … The two introverts. We’re still in contact, and she refers to me as Psychologist, which I secretly love. The other one (Roommate #2) is a complete extrovert (I’m still in contact with her too), and would drive me and Roommate #1 crazy (but she knew that and was proud of it). Being in that environment, no one judges, and no matter how ‘weird’ you are, they accept you. After all we’re in the same place together, and there for somewhat similar reasons. I liked most of the people there. So many different characters. It felt like a big family. I miss the environment and the people there. Even the nurses were great.

Then there were the groups. The groups are focused exclusively on DBT, so I went to a few of those. We also had art therapy. I miss the routine there, so I’ve been trying to stick to it at home now. Lot’s of self care, eating better, having a mug of hot chocolate before bed (strangely enough, it helps me sleep), and a host of other things. It’s bound to become habit as long as I keep sticking to it.

If I could, I would have stayed for the entire three week program. At least I know that when I really need it, I can go back again.

Here’s what I learned from my time at the clinic:

It’s okay to reach out for help, and accept it when offered. It’s not a sign of weakness, but rather one of strength.

Just because I feel ashamed of doing something I never thought I’d do, like going into the clinic, doesn’t mean that I have to give in to that shame.

Support groups are valuable.

A non judgemental environment, where I’m accepted, is so important. I want to surround myself with such people, and spend more time with those who make me feel like I matter, that I’m accepted and loved just the way I am. I need to find those types of people too.

I need to keep my heart open. Because the most unlikely person, might just become someone really important. Go out and meet more people. You never know who might be going through similar challenges.

Routine is valuable and important to me.

I can’t just help and support others all the time, I must also allow others to help and support me. I can’t be responsible for everyone to the detriment of myself (thanks for this revelation Therapist).

Some people are just draining. Spending more time with those who lift me up and make me feel good, is so healing. Limit my time with people who deplete my energy. I say “limit” because I don’t want to not spend any time with them, as there’s a difference between those who drain my energy due to a difference in personality (introvert vs. extrovert), and those who are a negative force in my life.

And most important of all…
The clinic isn’t as scary as I thought it would be, hence my avoidance of them my entire life. Making assumptions and judgements about things, from other people’s accounts, or from what I see in the media, is a recipe for disaster. Everyone’s experiences are different, so why fear those things that might end up not being scary at all.

Hello 2017

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It’s here. A brand new year. And with it, a fresh start?

I’d like to believe so. With the new year came a pleasant surprise. My therapist sent me a text wishing me a happy new year. She had sent me two texts during the therapy break as well. She didn’t have to do this and I wasn’t expecting it. So that makes it extra special. Thank you (Therapist).

I’ve never really been a fan of new year resolutions. People are so eager and excited about them for the first few weeks. But then it all just goes to hell, and we end up feeling like failures.

So this year, instead of making the usual types of resolutions, I’m going to do it a little differently.

What do I mean by “the usual types”? It looks like this:
This many hours of exercise a day/week.
Read this many books by the end of the year.
Etc…

Many of these resolutions seem too ambitious to maintain consistently. If you’re one of the lucky few who can do this, all the more power to you. I admire you.

Here are my goals for 2017:

– Work on building (and maintaining) healthy boundaries.
– Work hard in therapy.
– Work on my book.
– Get a job. Taking mental health days when I really need them.
– Explore more of this amazing city I live in.
– Take more photographs and improve my skills in this area.
– More self-care, and putting myself first more often.
– Continue studying Psychology in my own time.

I won’t always get these right or do them consistently. But I’m not going to look at it as failures, since I didn’t commit to reaching these milestones in a specific timeframe. And it’s a work in progress. In my case, pressure leads to procrastination, overwhelm and frustration. Which then leads to self-hatred. So I’m going to be gentle on myself, with a little push now and then.

Happy (and hopeful) New Year everyone. We survived, we made it through 2016. We’re warriors. I hope this year will be better than all the others that have passed. I believe in each and every one of you.

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Struggling With The Faceless

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I thought I was fine.

So then why have I been struggling so much these past few days?

The worst part is that I don’t even know what I’m struggling with. It’s like there’s a dark hole somewhere in my mind, and I can’t grab hold of anything specific. Anything that makes sense.

My girlfriend woke me up last night with the words “what’s wrong?” or “what’s going on” (can’t quite remember which), and holding tightly onto me. I had apparently been thrashing around in my sleep and shaking. Did I have a nightmare? I can’t remember. I was just aware of my physical body in that moment of waking up. I had no emotional reaction at all, other than being disorientated.

I compare how I’ve been these past few days to last nights experience. Sensing something or more than one thing inside me, in my body, my mind… Yet unable to actually emotionally distinguish or feel what’s there. It’s as if I’ve fragmented or become disconnected from myself. I can’t even call it dissociation. Even ’emptiness’ doesn’t seem to explain it.

It feels like I’m suffering, but I have no idea why. It feels like I’m being tortured. But by what? I have absolutey no idea.

Have any of you experienced this, or know what might be going on? Also, I’d just like to know whether it’s possible to feel suicidal even when not feeling ‘obviously’ depressed or low?