Sunday, July 18, 2010

Getting where I want to be

I am not an optimist just as I am not a pessimist. I have always considered myself a realist. When a new situation arises I need to take account of all the negative possibilities before I can prepare for the positive. This way, if it all goes south, I feel more prepared to deal with it rather than having my feet swept out from under me floundering like a goldfish that just jumped out of its bowl. "Hope for the best but expect the worst." A friend told me that. It sounds kinda harsh but it doesn't have to be but it works for me.

To be fair, there are times when I have let the 'expect the worst' part take over. With my anxiety levels whirling out of control, I got trapped in a place that hovered just below that imaginary line of happy and sad. A low-grade depressive state that left me feeling that the more I hoped for the good things, imagined myself feeling great for multiple days in a row, let myself fully enjoyed the good things, the more I would be 'punished' for being optimistic. My punishment was a dark place that was full of anger and self-hatred that I desperately hope my daughter will never inherit.

I've been on and off mild anti-depressants and in and out of counselor's offices since I was 15 or so. The most recent round of counseling was life-changing for me as my mind and body seemed ready to deal with what was at the core of everything. It felt amazing to finally tackle that. I could not have been a good mother to my daughter without working through it all.

Despite this realization and the freedom it gave me, my brain was still chemically and physically predisposed to a mild depression, high anxiety levels and anger when I didn't feel like I was any better. Watching my daughter every day and having an amazingly supportive husband only frustrated me further because I wanted to be present, be "in the now" more but I simply could not seem to get there. (I had read two books over the years that were supposed to help with that. I understood the principles but couldn't 'get' there on my own.)

Then my sister introduced me to this self-help website that has, quite honestly, changed my days. Common sense concepts that are added to my 'list' each and every day (and yes, the checklist sometimes feels much too long) that have helped stop the self-sabotage. It hasn't turned me into an optimist but it has helped me function from a better place. As quickly as the first week and my husband noticed changes. I feel relieved that I can finally take all the concepts I have read about and wanted so desperately to achieve over the years and use the tools that Coach Steele gives to get there. There's a lot of good work to do with it. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed but I do my best to remember to keep at it.

I still have a ways to go - after all I'm not dead and hopefully I'll be learning new things every day. Thankfully, I finally feel like the albatross around my neck is gone. I'm on day 43 and there are 90 in total and I'm really hoping I can keep going. The assignments for this week seem to be the most daunting that I have encountered but since this post has gone differently than I originally imagined, I'll get into that another time. For now, I am grateful that I have finally been able to find a way to function better and enjoy each and every day a little bit more.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love, love, LOVE to hear from you!