Change, Confidence, Learning

Redefinition Revisited: #sorrynotsorry

Someone very close to me asked, in retort of a public apology, why I felt the need for said apology.

I said something about, not being able to give my all relationships, and that I felt it wasn’t fair to other people, which, in turn, made me “feel bad” (i.e. sorry and guilty).

She, then, asked, “Isn’t that for those ‘other people’ to decide?”

That got me thinking . . .

Recently, I realized, . . . she’s totally right. It’s presumptuous for me to assume potential friends, lovers, what have you, would NOT “be able to handle” change in me.

I typed, only a few months ago, “Getting to know me takes effort because I’m never satisfied and always evolving.” (https://mariahrosesramblings.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/an-apology/, An Apology . . . , October 26th, 2015.

It’s not that “I’m never satisfied.” It’s that I’ll always strive for MORE. I’ll  “always evolv[e]” because I’ll always be looking for ways to improve myself. It’s, by no means, not because I’m “not good enough,” but because I thrive with change and get excited at new prospects.

However, I’ve always feared change. I’m afraid of a lot of things.

My “apology” was selfish. I was trying to protect MYSELF. That’s what’s not fair.

I think it took me, actually, failing hard at something to realize that (in a word: school).

One day, I was having a conversation about “perfection.” I WAS a self-proclaimed perfectionist (still working on that but that’s another story).

Anyway, the person I was conversing with asked, “How many mistakes have you made?”

I replied, “Actually, not many.”

Then, he listed off the many, huge mistakes he’s made to get to where he is. Behind success, lurk past failures.

There’s no shame in making mistakes. It’s part of the learning process. “Shame” is, only, a FEELING bred from doubt of the self.

“Nobody’s perfect. Everyone has flaws.” (https://mariahrosesramblings.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/understanding-is-reached-only-after-confrontation/, Understanding Is Reached Only after Confrontation, January 19th, 2015.) They are part of what it means to be human.

Again, mistakes are an inevitable part of the process of adaptation.

Once I get over that initial sense of impending doom and that need for “perfection,” I am in love with that change. It becomes natural.

Therefore, I need not be afraid or filled with self-doubt.

People are drawn to me so one of the other things that I’ve thought about is, “What makes me a ‘good friend?’ What am I physically, emotionally, or spiritually able to do now to show people that I care?” (https://mariahrosesramblings.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/redefinition/, Redefinition, June 3rd, 2015.)

Punishing myself by making MYSELF feel guilty never proved to ANYONE how much “I care.” The only thing that does is make me unnecessarily feel like shit.

I don’t have to explain myself to anyone and nobody owes me an explanation either. And I don’t have to take what people do choose to share with me as gospel.

At the same time, I need to be honest with MYSELF about what I feel. Trust in others begins with trust within myself.

Now, I know that being a good listener, with integrity, honesty, loyalty, conviction, tact (most of the time), and respect, is GOOD ENOUGH.

I am trustworthy.

I can say what I mean, and mean what I say, but that doesn’t mean, who I’m saying it to, will truly understand, much less, believe it’s the truth. And it’s not that I’m not trustworthy. Again, I am trustworthy.

In fact, it has little to do with me. When you’ve been through the ringer, it’s hard to know who’s on the level. I’m just as skeptical as the next person. However, I know how to suss out red flags and warning signs pretty skillfully. I can become less skeptical, sooner.

My point is: these things take time. How much time, depends on the individual situation. Patience is key. Relationships don’t blossom overnight.

I am a good friend.

I need to stop comparing myself to others, including my-past-self. Each individual is different no matter how similar they seem. Comparison leads to madness. Live and let live, and do the best you can.

“The best you can, is good enough.” ~ Radiohead

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Anxiety, Brain Injury, Depression

Triple Whammy

Dealing with depression, anxiety, and a brain injury is confusing and disheartening.

Were my lows this low, before the stroke? Did I always hate crowds this much? Did I overthink things this much? . . . or everything just a little bit worse? I don’t remember so I can’t make an accurate comparison.

I spend a lot of time scrutinizing things like, what to do with my time, who I’ll spend it with, where I’m comfortable being from moment to moment, and how I’ll get there.

I make mistakes, but they’re not as drastic or detrimental as they used to be.

I have no regrets because in each wrongful act I’ve committed, or mistake I’ve made, I’ve learned more about myself and human nature.

As humans, what we want and what’s right, don’t necessarily coincide.

On top of that sentiment, it’s all relative to who you’re surrounded by, what your beliefs are, what takes priority at the given time, what makes you tick, what resources are at your disposal, etc.

That being said, I’d like to strive to be a better person, while minimizing emotional pain across the board.

A few of my goals for this winter are to remain seizure-free and to combat my impending, debilitating depression. That means staying away from stressful, demoralizing situations.

Part of this quest for salvation is having to battle my inner demons and win. It can be done but it’s not easy and it’s a never-ending struggle.

So, after a week of serious thinking, in early December, I decided to try remain to sober.

My neurologist okayed me to have ONE alcoholic beverage per day. However, I can’t ever predict whether I can stop after one.

For instance, on a Wednesday night about a month ago, I thought, “A glass of cabernet sauvignon would pair nicely with a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie,” and it did but . . . Then, I had two more glasses of wine, only one glass of water, and forgot to take the evening dose of my anti-convulsant.

The morning after the “wine and pie fiasco,” I had a seizure.

I was treating the site where I bit down on my cheek during said seizure. It wasn’t healed after a week. This, among other things, solidified my decision to try self-restraint.

I’m really good at justifying things to myself. I never, really, considered sobriety before because I’ve never believed in abstaining from something. I believed that telling yourself, you can’t have something is just . . . cruel. But, in weighing pros and cons, at this moment, allowing myself to drink is more cruel because of the imminent domino effect.

Overall, I need to take better care of myself.

It’s been a solid month of sobriety. The more time passes, the prouder I am of myself. I’ve been treating myself the way I’ve always wanted to.

I figured, if I could just make it through the holidays, the rest would be cake.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve wanted to drink within the past month to deal with stress, to make myself comfortably numb, to “fit in,” to not remember, etc. But, I realize that those “coping mechanisms” are temporary, counter-productive, and NOT healthy. Again, one drink would be alright, but I never can tell if I’ll stop after that one. It’s better FOR ME to cut it out completely.

It took a few weeks but, now, I feel better than I have, in a long time.

I’m more in-tune with my body. If I feel “off” I think, “Did I take my meds? Do I need food? Do I need sleep?” There’s no ignoring, or guessing, or forgetting.

For about a year or so, I was afraid to leave my apartment; afraid I’d forget my morning meds, worried I’d have a seizure or a panic attack at the gym or on the bus, stuff like that. Irrational fears, really.

I people say, I’m sharper and my speech has improved. I think it’s true. Even if it’s a placebo effect, I’ll take it!

I’ve been having weird, embarrassing dreams where I slip up and do something stupid. When I realize it’s only a dream, I feel relieved and reminded of what could be or has been and I’m like, “No, thank you.”

I’ve had more energy. I still NEED my naps and I still crap out from general fatigue, but it’s less frequent and doesn’t last as long.

 

It helps that everybody in my life has been so supportive.

They say, “Do you!”

And I say, “Hmmm . . . Okay!”

 

I don’t know. Something just feels right about 2016.

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Adapt, Overcome

“Understanding Is Reached Only after Confrontation”

I’ve been struggling with depression my whole life. Every time I think I’ve shaken it, it creeps back up again. I’ve tried to get a handle on it any way I can.

I was, first, diagnosed with it, about, 7 or 9 years ago. You see, I’ve been seeing my head-shrinker, off and on, for close to ten years. Without divulging too much information, something happened to me, at that time, that I couldn’t deal with on my own. She’s a psychotherapist, which in layman’s terms means she’s a councilor. When I found her, I just wanted someone to talk to. I was ashamed that I needed professional help but didn’t want to talk about my feelings with just anyone. I needed an unbiased ear that I could talk to, objectively.

When I had my stroke, in October of my 28th year, I, among other things, lost my ability for communicating, what I call, “abstract thought,” for a time. Slowly, getting it back, for me, meant facing all I was previously denying because I WILL NEVER TAKE IT FOR GRANTED AGAIN. There was no guarantee people would even be able to understand me, verbally, again. At one point I was convinced I’d be stuck in my own head, with little outlet, forever.

Let me explain further. This may get convoluted because my cognition is still a bit off but, as I mentioned in my ramblings previously, working it out, via text, is helping me “unlock” things, even as I type.

They say, “Hindsight is 20/20.” I’ve been trying to figure out the meaning of “life, the universe, and everything,” since I-can’t-remember when. I’ve, unintentionally, hurt so many people along the way and I was like, “Why you mad, bro?”

I understand now.

I’ve been living according to my dual nature. I don’t, by any means, have a split-personality disorder or anything like that but I’m, constantly, at odds with my emotional self and my logical side. I’m, constantly, battling with my id and super ego. I’m my own worst enemy. I suppose that’s true with most people but it’s hard when your center of gravity is off and you know it, but you sense that everything you do to combat that feeling, is approached . . . just . . . wrong. For the first time, in my life, I’m trying to find a balance and find peace within myself.

So, I’ve been REALLY analyzing myself. One thing Kevin Smith taught me at a young age was that, “Understanding is reached only after confrontation.” That phrase always stuck with me. It’s tough when you want attention but to be left alone. You love supporting your friends but hate crowds. You want to move forward but fear change. You hold onto grudges, while letting other things slide. Understanding and patient with some things, yet like, “WTF?!” with others. Angry, yet apathetic. Codependent, yet independent. Empathic, not sympathetic. Et-fucking-cetera.

I realized, recently, that, in trying to be unlike the people who’ve done me wrong in life, I was doing the opposite, so much so, that I was doing just as much damage. I was so unaware and in such denial. How could I not have known?! I became, through the years, so hellbent on protecting other people that I was only deceiving myself, thereby, doing what was adverse to my intentions and leaving myself even more vulnerable. I knew something was off within me but I couldn’t pinpoint what it was.

One of my pet peeves is when people break promises. In trying to only make promises I can keep, I appear indecisive or uninterested.

I hate being patronized or lied to. So, I’m either too truthful or say nothing at all, depending on the person or situation.

In past months, I’ve dug deep and have been thinking about what got me here; to this point in my life. I’ve realized that what I’ve suppressed and tried to move on from, is at the root of my passion, drive, self-destruction, anxieties, dreams, nightmares, maternal nature, my insatiable appetite, my desire to be loved and never left . . .

Before my stroke, I didn’t have time to think about all those things. I made sure of it. If I wasn’t working, I was traveling or partying. I was running on empty, and I didn’t care because I was trying to make other people happy.

There’s nothing wrong with living life by the Golden Rule but I was doing it at my own expense. Now, my body won’t allow it. I was running around like a chicken with my head lopped off, before. Now, I can’t even imagine having the energy to do a fraction of the things I used to do, day-by-day. Oh well.

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to become the person I always knew I was capable of becoming. I BELIEVE I’ll do great things.

When I first had the stroke, I thought it broke me. I was emotionally back where I was ten years ago. Just . . . lost and in a dark place. But, I’ve learned so much throughout that time, that I’ll be back on my feet soon. I know I will. My bouts with depression, I feel like, will always be an issue but, they’re getting more manageable as time goes on.

I think part of ANY recovery is asking YOURSELF the hard questions and being honest with YOURSELF, before anything, about the answers. Only then, can you start to rebuild and IT’S NEVER TOO LATE! Nobody’s perfect. Everyone has flaws. It’s human nature.

Do your best. If you’re having trouble, regroup. “Dust yourself off and try again.”

The name of the game is, “Adaption.”

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