Domino Effect ~ 10.3.18
Kindness begets kindness.
Hope begets hope.
Honesty begets honesty.
Support begets support.
Art begets art.
I’ve been thinking and praying.
To start with, I feel like I am a funny, intelligent, loyal, decent human being. I feel like I’m a good mom and wife, though I know that like most of us, I could improve. I’m a good friend. I think I’m a good daughter, even though that’s been a long, rocky relationship.
That word I just used, though. “Rocky.” I was thinking tonight and wondering why I have a few of those rocky relationships that don’t seem to get resolved over time. Problems begin that are not necessarily huge, outlandish arguments that completely sever ties, but are powerful enough to cause a lot of mixed emotions that just compound over time. We go along weary of saying something wrong to each other and causing hurt feelings, but then because we’re not talking, our feelings are hurt in that way.
I think what I’ve figured out is this. I don’t kindly, yet firmly, insist that when the initial problem arises, that is fully and completely settled then and there. Now of course, not 100% of a misunderstandings will be settled and put to bed at the immediate onset. Time is needed to think and settle, and both parties have to be willing to sit down and speak to one another from the heart. Instead of years worth of misunderstandings, avoiding the other, blaming the other, and/or blaming myself, it is my hope in the future to settle things early on, instead of trying to just get out of dodge when it first comes up, with mixed emotions flying all around me, and nothing truly being put to bed with peace and forgiveness found.
In the beginning, when I try to duck and hide, I say some stuff I want to say, though probably not in the best manner, and honestly afterward, I more often than not run away. There is no closure.
Now, I am a big believer in how receptive the person on the other end of the line is, depending on what I choose to say and how I choose to say it. However, if things aren’t settled sooner rather than later, bad memories/thoughts come to the surface any old time they want to, and I experience the same sadness I did when it all first took place.
I need to put my heart on the line in the beginning, ask how I can better our relationship, and share what I need as well. I need to discuss and sort, with respect to what each person can handle at that time, and feel forgiven and that I’ve forgiven them, and that we’re still loving family and friends and are moving forward.
Because I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel uneasy and sad. I want things to be better. I want to do better, and I want others to treat me in the same way. However, over time, if I try to chip away at it with gestures that are not reciprocated or misread, it causes even more pain, and honestly, things get all jumbled up like a ball of yarn you’re trying to roll back into place after the cat destroyed it. Sometimes you give up on that yarn and trash it.
I need to settle up at the beginning, so to speak, and put it to an end. I need to respect my boundaries and those of others, but I cannot go on dragging things out over long periods of time, all the while feeling angry, unloved, undervalued, insignificant, and somehow making the other party feel hurt, followed by a brief time of peace, and then boom!!! we are back where we started.
I need to say and do what I need to say and do in the beginning, because after all, I believe that most people want to get along with others and love them. I believe most people have good hearts and that they do the best they can with what they know at the time. I believe people can misread each other, that folks have bad days, and that as I misunderstand them, they misunderstand me. When I mentioned above that at times I feel anger…come on folks, really and truly, what is anger at its core?
I believe if all involved would try to remember these things and just speak from their heart with honesty and without pointing out blame on the other side (the other person) that there could be such peace and love instead of confusion and heartbreak. Most importantly, even if the other person doesn’t do, think, and feel as I just mentioned, as long as I act and love in that way, at least I can know I tried. Maybe later down imaginary roads, forgiveness and peace can be found. Time runs out so fast, though. So fast.
Tomorrow is Father’s Day, and I lost my dad about 25 years ago. So yeah I know, my sisters know, my stepmom knows, that time runs out so fast. And when that time runs out, I don’t want anything left unsaid, and I don’t want someone wondering if I loved them, or not. I do. I really do care for the people in my life. I just hurt, and that blasted pain gets in the way. Happens to most of us, I assume.
I hope to forgive and be forgiven. In the end, it is truly that simple. Maybe I’ll get my courage up to make a phone call or two tomorrow.
It’s hard for anyone to sit and wait for the opportune outcome during times of crisis.
For me, suffering with Bipolar Disorder, I have heightened and amplified feelings of anxiety, fear, paranoia, depression, hyomania and mania. When there is uncertainty, these feelings kick into overdrive.
My personal BP experience is largely affected by anxiety. Recently, something happened concerning someone in my immediate family. We were, and still are, awaiting news about a serious, possibly life-altering, decision that could change the course of our lives. We have a fair idea at this point that things are going to be okay. Difficult, but okay. Not as earth-shattering as it could have been. My sincere hope is an important lesson was learned.
So, how do I wade through the oppressive tide of worry and fear while awaiting happy endings?
First, I have to rely on God. He really is the bottom line. However, with my mind firing an array of bad ideas, possibilities and potential unwanted outcomes, my feelings tell me that I have to fix this. I must fix it!!
It is exceptionally hard, I’d argue impossible at times, to quiet the random and racing thoughts, or break away from the obsessive thinking.
So, next thing, I must try to follow logical steps that I set for myself when I am feeling well and at peace. Basically, the sane and rational Jen has left a letter for the chaotic, frightened, fracture-minded Jen. It’s a letter I must follow when things aren’t making sense, when I’m hyperventilating and when all I see is absolute worst case scenarios unfolding.
The letter mentions grounding techniques. Move to a different environment, such as a new room, or the back porch. Then, the idea is to engage all senses. Smell the air – fragrant like a candle, or freshly cut grass? See the ceiling fan whirl or various shades of green in the trees. You get the idea. Feel. Hear. Taste, but only if it’s okay to taste it. Let’s not test out the freshly painted walls or bite into a shrub recently fertilized. You get the point, though. Be present in the moment. Focus on something other than the big problem.
Distraction can be a good thing, as long as you are not flying a plane, or something important like that. I shake up my routine and instead of catching a tv show I usually watch Tuesday night at 8:00, I listen to a book and color.
Art therapy. Possibly sounds like it might require too much effort or talent? I’m not saying I paint a piece ready to instantly grace the walls of a museum. You can journal with finger paints. There are Bibles now that have images to color with favorite scripture and columns of free space so that you might draw or doodle what you feel reading a particular scripture. Paint by number with watercolors, like we did in Kindergarten. Working out feelings with sidewalk chalk.
Music. Definitely art. Music is art. Definitely distraction. Definitely release. Definitely a huge help. Listening to music. Singing. Dancing. Music can light you up, or help calm.
Light exercise and stretches. It serves as a healthy distraction, and endorphins are released, which cause a feeling of well-being, and you can begin to concentrate more on your breathing.
Guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation help as well.
These are only a few things I use, a few suggestions. Another thing you might wonder, yep, sometimes PRN (as needed) anti-anxiety meds do help.
What I mentioned earlier that might be most key is this. Will frazzled, frightened Jen listen to the wisdom of non-present, rational Jen?
I’d like to say that because I’ve fought this for…well forever, that I’ve found a good medication combo (with my doctor’s help) and have been in therapy, again, forever, and therefore I have it licked. Or at least well under control. Or hey, at least half the time, no doubt. Surely?
Turmoil and bedlam are, more often than not, nearly impossible to overcome. There is such an energy-zapping effort to work my way through a frenzied mind with numerous demanding voices because I’m not doing something fast enough to hasten the desired outcome.
I’m going to be generous and say 15% of the time, I nail it. I beat it. I remember the letter from the experienced and wise Jen. Cue the song of angels and light of Heaven.
That said, 85% of the time, I can almost smell skin burning, scorched from the flames of what can only be described as hell.
Heaven or hell…
Bipolar Disorder battle.
Day Three of Depression, worsening, sinking fast. Aching to find stability. What will I do?
First, I won’t stay down. I will get up, no matter how painful. I always have, no matter the emotional and physical toll. No matter the length of time. No matter how t.i.r.e.d.
So, right now, this is what I’m doing. Please note, I am not doing these things because I feel like they will help. Depression is deceitful. It is a liar. I feel like shrugging shoulders and curling into a ball to sleep.
Here’s what’s key for me. I “feel” these emotions. However, I have to rely on my memory, logic and rationale. Must do the things I know will help me work through the depression. That requires a lot of strength. I’m fighting what the depression is telling me, while I agree and believe what it’s saying. That’s tricky, folks! I do believe, however, people with Bipolar Disorder are strong, intelligent and fighters.
So, I go outside. I notice the various green shades of trees, hear the birds sing, 🦆🐦🐤 watch the squirrels run for their lives (previously mentioned birds chasing them from nesting areas), and take in floral smells. 🌻🌹 Basically, a grounding-type walk. Staying in the present. Noticing beauty. Involving all of my senses, much like cooking, or creating art. I snuggle with my cat. I watch an episode of Chrisley Knows Best – can’t watch it without laughing. I listen to audiobooks, a different voice reading to me instead of hearing my voice. I listen to music. 🎵🎧🎶 I do some stretches and PT. I pray, often, in fact, during those walks that I mentioned. 🙏🙏 I use my diffuser with essential oils – orange, citrus, cinnamon and peppermint are my favs for depressed bouts. Colouring, I do some. Super important, I reach out to family and friends. Support is key. Interaction of any kind gets you outside your head, gets you out of your own way.
What happens is simple. I occupy myself until the winter in my head becomes spring. I distract myself while rain gives way to sunshine. I learn while seeds in mud blossom into flowers. Sometimes, these techniques, and many more, simply hang out with me until I feel better. More often than not, they not only help me in the immediate moment, they actually bring about smiles and beauty, all the while helping climb out of depression’s black hole. Is it as simple as – do steps 1, 2, 3 and poof! I’m better? No. But it helps me make it one day at a time.
What helps You? Would you care to share? ✌✌✌