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I am practicing gratitude.

Every morning when I brush my teeth I speak three things I am grateful for and why I am grateful for them.  In addition I am sending one message a day to a different person to tell them why I am grateful to have them in my life.

Our brains are trained to constantly scan for the negative.  It takes work to be positive.  I have had way too much negative in my life for too long.  I want to change that.   I will be reporting back here on how it is going.

Things are going good for me right now.  I have made the choice to live my life doing what makes me happy.  If you are going to judge me for my life choices I don’t want to hear it. It’s my life and I have lived too much of it pleasing others and being drained and abandoned.   I can’t live that way anymore.

As the leaves turn colors and start to fall from the trees I feel the urge to make some changes.

I was having a discussion with a friend the other day and she said something to me that really stuck with me.  She said that her therapist told her that most people spend 80% of their time thinking about themselves and 20% thinking about others but she was the opposite.  I know that for almost all my life I have spent 80% or more of my time focused on other people.  I constantly would be thinking about what someone else would think about me, how I look, what I said, do they care about me? what can I do to make them happy?  etc etc..  I did that so much that I lost myself in the process.  I have been in more than one relationship where I gave all I had out of love to be left standing completely drained as they walked away without looking back.  All that time, energy, love and money wasted on someone who used me until they had used me up.  I gave up doing things I loved because I was criticized by lovers and friends for being “too busy”.  I did not do things for myself because I was too busy doing for others.  I bought for those I loved and went without myself.  I want to be clear.  It was not always asked for.  It was just what I did.  It was my identity.  I was not happy unless I was doing for someone else.  I have had no balance in that area.  The last two relationships I have had almost did me in.  I did everything to please and ended up hollow.

But it is time for change.  I know it will not be easy.  When people love me I am suspicious of them.  I struggle with feelings of not being good enough.  When I do things for myself I feel guilty.  When I allow myself to feel rage because someone has harmed me I feel like a bad person.  When I take up for myself I feel I am doing something wrong.  This is going to take some work.  I was thinking this morning about how it is important for my own mental health to forgive and I have forgiven some people who hurt me deeply.  But here is the important thing I was missing.  I can forgive but that does not mean I have to open my life in anyway to someone who will only damage me if I am around them.  There is one person in particular that has shown me zero respect or compassion that I have chosen to forgive even though they have not once apologized for their part in what happened.   I do not have to allow that person to have any part in my life.

Its time to turn the page and move on.

The box of darkness I was handed last year is on the floor empty.  The contents are no longer scary.  I can look at them one by one and be reminded of the lessons I have learned over the past year and a half.  When I first opened that box I was overcome with darkness and sadness and I let it overtake my heart.  I was in a dark place for many months.  Today it is hard to believe how far I have come.  I have grown in so many positive ways.  I have wonderful people in my life.  Some of these friends I gained throughout this process.  I never dreamed I would have friends who would just come and sit with me on the couch or sleep next to me just so I could rest.  One in particular has become a sister of my heart.  I am so incredibly blessed.  So universe thank you for this box of darkness.

 

In my case, everything.

I do not understand why people are so afraid to use the word love.  I can love in so many different ways.  It is a good thing to open your heart to allow love in and to give it in return.  It seems that people are afraid that by saying the word love they are locking themselves in.  Actually it may be that those who are afraid of using the word love aren’t really afraid at all.  They just know you are only for the moment and when something or someone shinier at the moment comes along you will be forgotten so why waste such a powerful word.     Either that or they are easily bored and have to constantly play roulette with people’s hearts.  I have found that people who are bored easily are the most boring people.  It has been a frustration of mine in the past.  I will not let it happen again.  If a person whether friend or lover cannot use the word love I will take that as a sign that they are not open to a give and take relationship.   I will never be with another man who is constantly looking through me at someone else.  I will never date another man who uses me for what he can get while chasing other women.   It is humiliating and damaging.   No woman should be treated that way and neither should a man.  I will not allow myself to be friends with a man or woman who contributes to the pain of someone else for their own selfish desires.  I need ethical loving people in my life.  I need completely honesty not fake bullshit.

That being said I want to say I do have ethical, honest people in my life.  I have friends who practice true ethical poly.  I have friends who if a guy I was dating approached them for sex or dishonestly would say “fuck off” and  tell me immediately.   I have friends that would come to me to talk if there was ever an issue rather than sneak behind my back.  I trust the people in my life who have proved themselves.  These are the kinds of friends I need in my life.   If the same happened to me, if your bf or gf was trying to be dishonest and I knew about it I would tell them.  I have been hurt deeply by treacherous people who were not grown enough to be honest.

So I am on my third week of being back to work and things are great.  They are not great because things changed for me or because I got what I thought I wanted months ago.  Things are great because I changed my perspective.

I no longer am suffering with intense grief.  I made the choice to embrace my shadow and allowed myself to grieve for months.  It was cathartic and close friends were there holding the light for me the entire time.  I was not able to see that light for the longest time.  I was deep in the earth surrounded by dirt feeling I could not move but in fact I was growing just like a seed.  That final push out into the light was incredibly painful, just like birth.  So here I am finally on the other side and feeling incredibly blessed.  I have learned that I can no longer give my love to people who do not love me.  I need to give my time to those who show early on that they truly care about me.  It is better to walk away with love than to settle for less than what makes you happy.  I have also learned some more red flags to look for.  If someone tells you by either words or actions that they are emotionally unavailable and will most definitely hurt you, believe it.  You cannot change them.  Do not waste your time.  I have come a long way with this lesson.  I do not think I will have to repeat that one.   I am glad this chapter is finally closed and I have moved on.

I am opening my heart to allow others to love me again.  I deserve love.  I had convinced myself that I did not.  I told myself I was broken and not worthy of devotion.  I believed that I should just take what I could get.  Wow…what a load of bullshit I was feeding myself.  All along there have been people around me who love me.  I was suspicious of them because I did not understand why anyone would love me.  I felt uncomfortable when someone shared how they felt about me and I am not just talking about romantic love.  I am doing my best to just accept that some people truly love me.  I still struggle with it at times but my heart is singing again.  I am no longer hiding out and feeling I cannot go to places I love.

I love my life.  I love my life because I shifted my perspective.  What I once thought would kill me has saved my life.

 

 

I have returned to work and things are going great.

I feel like my life has started over.  I am motivated and happy.  I no longer think about things that were ruling my life for the past year.  I am over and done with it.  It has been a long road but I have learned so much about myself.  I am grateful for the lessons.

Once this first week of work is over I will start blogging about my new life…. It’s a new day.

 

 

It finally happened and it was like someone walked  into the room and turned on a light.  All the pain and longing I was struggling with is gone.  I think it happened for a couple of reasons.

1. Being able to share my heart in a meaningful way and feeling I had been heard and respected and hearing positive words in return.

2. Making the choice to go off a medication my doctor had put me on 1 year and 4 months ago when all this anxiety and angst started.

The talk was a wonderful thing and I am glad I did it.  It made me realize that things happened for a reason and I am not less than because I am no longer in that relationship.  I hold no grudges or anger any longer.  I have moved on, finally.

The medication issue is something that I have struggled with for a long time.  For years I was totally against any psychiatric medications because of what I learned in my college courses and what I had seen first hand.  In addition I did some of my own research and I was not impressed by a science that is not exact in anyway when it comes to these particular medications.  When I was in so much emotional pain that I just could not function I gave in and agreed to try something.  It worked for a few months and gave me the courage to end my relationship but then it went terribly wrong.  I began having intrusive racing thoughts of killing myself.  I could not sleep and I cried all the time.  I blamed it all on the breakup.  Yes, I was mourning but this went way beyond that and I could not understand why I was suffering so much.  I felt embarrassed and I was full of anger and resentment.  I was sharing some but hiding so much more.  This is not my normal personality.  I am a forgiving person who has never been one to carry a grudge.  I chalked it up to me finally getting in touch with my inner warrior and working on anger but that is not what was happening.  This was pure hatred that after awhile had no rhyme or reason.  So one morning I got up and decided that my medication was no longer helping me and I stopped.  I do not recommend this way of stopping.  It was not a fun withdrawal and I was sick for weeks but then it was like the light switched on….the racing suicidal thoughts stopped and I was no longer obsessed in my head with thoughts of regret, hatred and revenge.

About two months before this my doctor had also given me something to help me sleep which I continued until a week ago.   I made the choice to discontinue it and use CBD and other natural means which seemed to be working very well so far but this past week has been scary as hell.  The drug I was taking for sleep was Lorazepam.  I would not recommend this drug to anyone.  It is the strongest and most dangerous benzo.  I had been telling my psychiatrist for months I never wanted to take a benzo and when he gave me this drug he made me promise that I would not look it up because I am super sensitive to drugs and he was afraid I would have symptoms just reading about it.  I was desperate for sleep so I trusted him.  If I would have broken that promise I would have immediately have known that I could not take this drug even for a short period of time.  I took it for a little over a month and I did sleep but drugs are not a long term answer for me.  I stopped one week ago.  I had no idea that such a short time on the drug would bring on such a strong reaction from my body.   Within 24 hours I was sick.   I was dizzy when I moved at all, headaches, body aches, sweating, nausea and my brain felt like it was crawling and shocking me.  I could not sleep and my ears rang constantly.  It has gotten better day by day but I am still having issues.  Yesterday I got dizzy and the next thing I remember is my granddaughter Lizzy yelling to her sister Lilli that I had fallen.   I was ok, but shook up.  I am super pissed about this.  I will never take another psychiatric drug under any circumstances.  Some people may feel upset and defensive reading this but this is my experience and I am not judging anyone else for taking them.  I know this much for sure.  If you have been on them long term do not try to just quit.  I have read many articles about them and people die from withdrawal sometimes.  It is not something to mess around with.   I am having withdrawal but long term use withdrawal is the reason some people end up on heroin or other drugs.  I truly believe that 100 years from now they will look back at this time and shake their heads at the “cures” that were handed out.

So where am I now.  I feel like I have woken up from a long nightmare.  I feel hopeful again.  I cannot believe I came so close to taking my own life.  I have a bright future ahead of me no matter how long that may be.  I am grateful for my life and those who have stood by me.  I am returning to work next Tuesday and I am looking forward to it.  I feel I have so much to live for.