Issues, Therapy and Me

I couldn’t write about issues without including this song; it’s been the anthem for my whole life, especially when it comes to love. Enjoy.

I know it’s been quite a long time since I last wrote, but I have been going through an awakening, of sorts. Actually, it may be more of a emergence from a long-term state of denial. I have known for quite some time that there are some deeply seated, dark and painful memories that have haunted me in my weaker moments from time to time. I say in my weaker moments because like anyone who is in denial, there is a certain amount of energy and headspace that you have to maintain, like throwing a sheet over an attacking mountain lion, basically. As long as the sheet stays in place, the big kitty can’t see me and therefore, cannot bite, chew and eat me. But once the sheet slips, the eyes lock, the body lowers and the hindquarters twitch, pupils dilate and the mouth waters in anticipation of that delicious first bite into my sweet, white flesh. Denial is the sheet and the memories are the mountain lion; so long as my state of denial was firmly in place, I was protected from those memories and if they even came up, they were  heavily photoshopped and edited to the point of being unrecognizable. That is another component of not only denial, but basic human survival. Our mind will do whatever it takes to get through whatever is happening, whether that be fracturing into different personalities, wiping the memory entirely from the mind or rewriting the scene to be an entirely different experience and transporting oneself to that beautiful, safe place. At any rate, I have known on an intellectual level for some time now that therapy would be something that could potentially help me to really, truly work through the memories, the events, the recurring thoughts and anxiety that are frequent visitors to my psyche. Having my 50th birthday approaching may have been the extra nudge from the Universe that I needed or maybe I had made an agreement with myself a long time ago (when I thought 50 was basically on death’s door) that I would deal with any demons I picked up along the way well before that specific birthday; whatever the case, I found a therapist named Lisa, had a getting to know you session and now have an appointment to come back and begin therapy.

The type of therapy that Lisa would like to do with me is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy) and I actually know someone who has had many sessions with her therapist and was amazed at the results. It is a relatively new form of therapy and does not involve pharmaceuticals in any form, so therefore there is a belief in some circles that it’s not real therapy. I believe the people’s experiences speak for themselves and there are a great deal of them. It has shown great promise with victims of rape, violent crime, natural disaster survivors and those diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) including but not limited to military veterans. In the book I’m currently reading entitled “EMDR” by Francine Shapiro, there is a woman who survived the Oklahoma City bombing and her story, along with many others are nothing short of miraculous. Should you wish to learn more about EMDR, click on the link below.

http://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/

Now, all that said, there is still a certain hesitation to open Pandora’s box, to remove the sheet and face the mountain lion; there is a comfort in stagnation for me in many ways. Change is pain and pain is what I’ll do anything to avoid even if it means more pain. Funny how that works. These issues have been my unwanted passengers for decades now and have effected my life in every possible way imaginable. Even then, they have not been successful in their desire to see me fold, quit and ultimately take my life. I have dreamt of being free of them all, the burden lifted, the darkness made to light. Well, dreams are all fine and good but at some point, I must wake up. This is my awakening and I’m going to share it with you as I go. I believe that we as a whole have more in common when it comes to dealing with demons and living through horrific events than we are aware. If any portion of my story reaches someone else, causes a shift in thinking, an opening where hope can shine through, I’m all for that. That’s basically why I keep waking up each morning, apparently. I have to believe that all of the negative that has attached itself to me throughout my life thus far has simply been for my education and in return, to share those lessons, revelations or insights.

In the words of the great Malcolm X –

“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”

All that being said, I will be more than happy when I have been able to get the lesson wrapped in a shell of pain, unwrap it, throw away the shell and take the lesson with me as I move forward, a bit more stronger and wiser. I’m happy to have you on this journey with me and as always, amazed and pleased that someone is still reading what I’m writing. Thanks for that and thanks for believing in me.

Wishing you a great 4th of July everyone! May you celebrate your own personal independence in whatever way you choose. A huge thank you, hugs and kisses to all our military service men and women out there. You are the heart and soul of all of us. Words will never be enough to thank those who are with us and those who have fought and sacrificed their lives for what they believed in and what we enjoy today; freedom.

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.

happy

Seriously? 2014? Already??

Hello again, whomever is still out there reading. I’ve been away quite a long time and I must apologize for that. I have had a few changes, some good, some not so good, but I wanted to share them with you and speak on a topic that is timely; namely Thanksgiving and giving thanks.

I moved to a cute little apartment over a garage at a private residence which is 100 times closer than any of my previous dwellings and has the added bonus of having the most incredibly caring and thoughful landlady. She is wonderful and makes the most delicious cake and other yummy items, such as pomegranate jelly….mmmm….so good.

At any rate, that is one of the good. The not-so-good is that my beloved Neko got very sick and I had to have him put to sleep. The good in that is that he didn’t suffer unnecessarily, he had the best 3 years any cat rescued from “Death Row” could have and was loved more than words can say. He saw me through some really depressing, difficult times and gave me the unconditional love that only animals and small children give so effortlessly. I will miss him, but comfort myself with the thought that he is in good company on the Other Side.

So, update completed and on to the “meat” of this post. Thanksgiving and giving thanks. I would like to believe that I give thanks on a daily basis, but I would also like to believe that I will someday win the lottery; in order to win, I would have to play and in order to give thanks daily I would have to take some time from my “Bitch and Moan” fund and use it instead to focus on the positive. Sounds simple and easy to do but trust me, it’s neither. It is very difficult to see past the negative, which I liken to a basketball player trying to block your shot; hands in your face, rocking back and forth, distracting, frustrating and in your face. It hides the good stuff, filling your vision and your mind with Nothing Nice. However, with effort and the right motivation, you can push aside that negativity and reach (stretch – keep reaching, you’re almost there!) for the positive. Sometimes I have to get really creative, but it does work, when I make it a priority. So, this Thanksgiving holiday, I am thankful for my family, my friends, my professors, fellow classmates, co-workers and people that smile back at me when I smile at them in the store or on the street. Basic human kindness is an accessory that never goes out of style and never gets old. Share it, give it away, pass it along; it will always come back to you.

This time of year it’s very easy to get caught up in the mass hysteria that is The Season aka Christmas, Thanksgiving & every other holiday that you are pressured to acknowledge soley by your purchasing power. As if a wrapped present of any kind could help someone who is lonely, struggling to find meaning or starved for simple affection and kindness. Our gifts to each other should be gifts of the Self: our time, our (undivided) attention, a phone call, an e-mail or even an old-fashioned Christmas card in the mailbox, sent snail-mail, like back in the day. Just those things that you can’t get from a store (ok, the Christmas card you could get from a store, but it wouldn’t be signed or mailed) These are the most valuable and most valued gifts of all.

I will do my best this year and into the New Year to remember how far I’ve traveled, who has helped me on my journey and how I can send that kindness and compassion back into the world, every day. I don’t know where 2013 has gone, but it sure did move fast. I hope I will value my hours, days and months in 2014 and know at this time next year that I kept my promise to myself and focused on the positive, even when it was difficult to find or I simply believed there was none to be found.

For all of you who take the time to read my blog and haven’t given up on me, I send you great glowing beams of love and thanks. May your Thanksgiving be filled with family, friends and food; may your Christmas shine the light of kindness on others and may the New Year bring you all your heart desires.

Love and peace to you all!

Michelle