Out of the Rabbit Hole I Go

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The mind is a beautiful, complex and multi-faceted thing; it can transform the humdrum everyday ordinary world that we live in to a place of mystery and intrigue, wizards and warlocks, magicians and Merlin. Simply by picking up a book and delving into the words, our minds bring forth every color, character and conversation in such a way as to make us feel as if we are truly living in the story. This is one of the things I love about the mind and as you can imagine (having such a beautiful mind as you do) that with every action there exists an equal and opposite reaction (shout out to Newton) and with every rose there is a thorn (shout out to Poison).

For every magical, fantastical and amazing journey I travel in my mind, there is an equal and opposite journey, which is disturbing, dark and often in a barren desert of desolation, shades of black and slate. It is a forest where trees of self-loathing and doubt grow tall, reaching for the sky, stretching upwards, blocking out the sun of self-worth and self-esteem. It’s the ocean of hurt caused by living a life built on mistakes and bad choices; the riptide always pulling me under, telling me to surrender, to quit and just let go. That’s the only way out of the pain, it lies with the skill of the Devil himself. It pours salt in those wounds, and the mind delivers memories that come as lightning bolts to my brain, branding the memory, embedding it forever to remember as another loss, another failure, another broken heart. Sometimes I feel as though I’m just an ant on leaf in a roaring river of white water, being swept away, holding on for dear life to the fragile grip I have. The emotions make me feel it, the mind makes me believe it. So, I have often wondered how much control do I actually have over this maniacal mind? I have struggled with my emotions for my entire life (as most people with a pulse have) and while I don’t believe I will ever “master” my emotions, I believe I have a better understanding of why feeling them is so necessary. Not allowing the painful memories to be remembered sets you up to forget the lesson that made it so painful, which sets you up to make the same mistake again and again. Not feeling the bad feelings by self-medicating or denial leads to addiction and a loss of connection to reality, a state of constant effort to suppress, forget and wish it into oblivion. If it sounds exhausting, it’s because it is. The truth shall set you free, yes, but as they say…this may hurt a bit.

Ok – so ramble, ramble. Sorry I think I got a touch off path. What all this is about is what happens after I fall down the rabbit hole of these thoughts, these emotions and the resulting isolation, depression and exhaustion. It’s not as extensive as the aftermath of a really good (bad) manic episode, but it has its own challenges; reconnecting with those you l love and who love me, hoping they will still be around and don’t take the time away personally. Rebuilding the self-esteem, the picture of me I carry around in my mind and validating changes that I need to make. The things I need to do to make my life more of what I need it to be and in time, the legacy I leave behind when I go wherever I will go (shout out St. Peter, with any luck). Time to get out of the rabbit hole and back into the world; open the blinds, let the light in and try, try again.

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Anniversary 2 Me

Holy Moly. I can’t believe 2 years ago I sat down and wrote my first post. So much has changed in these last couple of years but some things (thankfully) have remained; my sobriety, my circle of friends and family who (still) love me and (still) believe in me and my journey. I am thankful and still somewhat surprised to be so incredibly blessed. I’ve learned a great deal about myself, have spent a great deal of time outside my comfort level and have had the opportunity to continually redefine my “New Normal”. Dealing with difficult Life Events, such as death, divorce, sickness and ongoing stress are things that we all encounter and we all have our own unique ways of not only dealing with such issues, but in how we respond to them. Some encounter death and look upon it as just another destination; others believe it is the end of the line, a final destination, if you will. No life after death, no reincarnation, no Heaven (or Hell) just death. They respond in kind, either rejoicing and celebrating their loved one’s “graduation” as my dear friend GG used to say; others mourn and fall into a deep depression, feeling the loss as acutely as they would a severed limb. Some will make this their reason or excuse to overindulge, to fall off the wagon, to stop any and all efforts at creating happiness in their lives. Whatever the way we deal with Life Events, they will be a part of our lives no matter who we are, where we live or what we believe. Faith or lack thereof will either hinder or help one’s quest, for as we well know, positive thoughts bring positive feelings and likewise negativity breeds bad feelings. I have learned it is one thing to have the knowledge, but quite another to put said knowledge into practice. I started this blog with the idea that I could just have a forum to pour out all these thoughts that are constantly on my mind, dashing around in my mind, just like race cars at the Grand Prix, each one hot on the tails of the other, racing to be heard and brought out of the shadows into my conscious mind. What I never expected was that anyone (other than maybe my family and close friends) would read it, much less benefit from reading it. I am constantly and pleasantly surprised with the feedback I’ve gotten and am determined to keep blogging, so long as someone wants to hear what I have to say.
Happy 2nd Anniversary, sunnywithachanceofmanic. Here’s to another year and another after that, etc.

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Friendly Fear

I have been trying to get a handle on some serious anxiety I have around returning to work next week and in the process, I have come to realize just how powerful fear can truly be. In feeling my feelings, I have had the most difficulty with fear/anxiety; for whatever reason, it’s the one feeling that I cannot intellectualize or rationalize my way out of. It is the one emotion that has driven me most of my life. Fear of rejection led me to avoid relationships; fear of failure kept me from following my dreams and fear of judgement kept me from sharing those dreams and even most of my thoughts. Fear of feeling my feelings led me to my addictions, which led me to despair and a great deal of self-loathing.

I wish I could say that I have learned to embrace my fear, but that is not the case; at least not yet. I have come to understand that fear is not the enemy. Rather, fear is the first step on the journey to personal enlightenment and inner strength. If I can work through the fear and learn what is the driving force behind it, then I may potentially be able to develop the skills to see the lesson that it is trying to teach me. For instance, within my fear of rejection, there exists a perfectionist view of what a successful relationship consists of; if I am not perfect, then I cannot have a successful relationship (this is my flawed logic) so the lesson is that nothing is perfect, all relationships have their own challenges and the end of a relationship is not necessarily a failure. Understanding that all successful relationships have at their core the desire of both parties to hear the other out, be willing to be flexible, forgiving and most of all, honest. Not to mention being respectful of the other person, their feelings, insecurities and of course, fears. There is more than one lesson to be learned inside that particular fear. If I run away or close my mind to the possibility of having a relationship, I will never learn and as a result, not grow. But the fear will.

Hence, the title of Friendly Fear. I am learning that Life is a series of lessons and I am the eternal student. I will be a student for the whole of my life here on Earth and perhaps even beyond that. I will return to work with my friendly fear, a plan of action and a whole lot of deep breathing and centering. It will be interesting to discover what lesson is to be learned this time.

Breathe, breathe deeply, breathe out and breathe in. Fear please leave me, hope please come in. Lesson to be learned, show yourself to me; strength to learn and faith to see.