Om Mani Padme Hum
The last year of my life has been challenging and transformative. I am a work in progress and that progress ebbs and flows. I feel more authentically me and have found some quiet in the midst of chaos, but I am still struggling to do the things I need to do daily to stay in a state of mindfulness and peace.
I lived for many years with a misunderstanding that how I felt was how I would always feel. I didn't understand that how I felt, that all of the OCD tendencies, that the constant low level of sadness were not necessary.
I started an anti-depressant in December. It took time to adjust but it changed me for the better. It didn't make me happy, it didn't make me anything. What it did was change my brain chemistry so that I could function in a healthier manner. I have been able to focus and meditate, I have been able to be aware of a compulsive urge without giving into it. I have been able to mange my RA flares and pain better. And I have been able to incorporate an almost daily yoga practice. I also wrapped up my most recent stint in therapy. It was the most productive to date.
My personal history is peppered with experiences that led to a clearly genetic pre-disposition to anxiety and depression being manifested. I recognize that we all have our stuff, our baggage, and that we all deal with it (or don't deal with it) differently. I feel empowered by my decision to take the medication and to work hard on living well, choosing joy, and building a lovely life. I also recognize that it is challenging to choose joy, to accept that one may need medication for mental or physical health, and to make the choices that allow one to live a lovely life. Joy is not easy, as counter intuitive as that may sound. For many of us, it would be easier to wallow in the depths of dispair, to live in the dark and sadness. I have been tempted at several points in my life to sink into the sad and exist there, but I found my way out. It took work...it takes work.
For years I over compensated for my internal sadness, anxiety and fear by being everyone's "sunshine". I took care of everyone else because that is what I thought I was suppose to do. I never really took care of me. The level of denial I lived with was absurd. I watched those I love sink into the darkness and lose any sense of how to survive in the light. It seems they are even afraid of the light. I felt that the deeper they sank the brighter I had to shine to compensate. It wasn't genuine. It felt genuine, but it wasn't.
I carry a heavy load, many of us do, and for me one of the hardest things is asking for help. This is something I still struggle with, this and the ever elusive idea of forgiveness.
When finally discussing this with people I love, they have been surprised, some even shocked because I was, apparently, a master at disguising the truth. I have found comfort in honest conversations with a few trusted friends. I have found comfort in my own strength.
It is a journey, a work in progress. Yesterday was tough. I have been in pain due to my RA, and am disappointed that the infusions, shots, and daily meds simply aren't quelling the disease activity like they did for three years. I got filled up with frustration and felt defiant. I didn't do my yoga, then when I tried to do a meditation, I couldn't get a chakra chime app to work so I just tossed it aside and watched TV. I didn't sleep well and was late this morning. The only thing this accomplished was my not feeling well today and being more tired and frustrated. I know this. So today I choose to acknowledge this journey and set an intention: I will honor my body and mind and will do some restorative yoga and a meditation tonight. I recognize that I am still able to get where I need to be, to eat when I am hungry, to sleep in a soft bed, and have love in my life and I will honor those things too.
I will finish my day and choose gratitude. I can do this while acknowledging that my hip hurts like hell, my feet are stiff and swollen, and I am frustrated by those limitations.
I will breathe in and out.
I will be.