Monday, October 26, 2015

Dear Diary, My new goals and hopes in life

I thought if I set goals my life would just move back to something more manageable. The thing is I started with goals that were too big for me to achieve. That only made me feel worse when I couldn't do what I had set out to do. So I crashed again. I drank too much, cried too much, and in general, stopped taking care of myself. I got really depressed again. 

This morning was a bit better, though. I decided to start over with smaller goals. I got the idea after reading that book on meditation. It reinforced some stuff I had learned years ago, but I had forgotten. The mind does not care the size of the goal, task or achievement. It really only understands if you were able to do it or not. Every time you are able to accomplish something your brain rewards you. You can get more confidence, feel better, and change your outlook on life.

The best way to do this is to set micro-goals. These are little tiny goals you can accomplish. As you are able to reach your goals, remember to reward yourself even with a simple I did it. You can increase your goals as you go along to give you something more to accomplish. I decided to keep my goals as simple as possible.

Johanna's Goals:

  • Complete 3 tasks a day
  • I will reward myself when I complete each task. 
  • I will start small & take pride in what I am able to accomplish.
Tasks I completed today:
  1. I woke up and cooked food for myself and my roommates.
  2. I took a shower and put on clean clothes.
  3. I made myself a cup of tea.
It may not seem like it but just doing those things and telling myself, "I did this" was a small boost to my self. I feel like I can do complete 3 tasks a day. When I am doing this regularly I will increase my goals until I am back to a place I feel comfortable in. I actually accomplished a few more things, like this blog, but I felt better just having my 3 tasks completed and seeing them in writing. 

To all those who struggle, try something small for yourself. Set your own mini goals. Keep hope alive. Remember you are never truly alone. Someone out there is always feeling like you and someone always cares. I may not always succeed in Life. There is always tomorrow and the Hope it brings with it for a fresh new start. 


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Meditation made easy!

Lately (or always it seems) my life has been stressful. I have been told more than once that I should meditate. When I was given the chance to review The Meditation Beginner's Bible by Tai Morello I took this as a sign. I was given a copy to read and then review honestly.

I enjoyed the book. I actually found myself using some of the techniques described in the book as I read. The chapters were easy to read and understand. I really liked how the information was broken down so simply. The benefits of meditation are presented in bullet form. Scientific studies were provided to give a more in-depth view of exactly how meditation works. 

Morello offers several methods of meditation. This is great for someone new to meditation as the options allow a person to choose the right method for themselves. I really felt like this book was written with love as it is clear the author truly wishes to make meditation accessible to everyone. The entire tone of the book is one of friendship and guidance to allow anyone to meditate. 

The only thing that did throw me off a bit was the title. At first I thought this book would be a guide on how to use the Bible as a meditation tool. The book is strictly a meditation book. I loved how myths were presented and busted. I loved the links to meditation tools. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in learning how to meditate to alleviate stress, anxiety, and pain. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Setting goals and feeling better

Hello all,
As you may well know lately I have been suffering depression, anxiety, and nightmares. I have been under a lot of stress as well, I have found that reaching out to the community of online friends has helped. I have talked to more people online, and chatting on my phone. Little by little I am improving. I have set some small goals to try to achieve daily to help me pull myself up and out of this depression.

When I wake up in the morning, I usually turn on my kettle to make a cup of tea. The goals I have set are as follows. While the water is heating, I will put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher. After I have filled my cup while my tea is steeping, I will put on a load of clothes to be washed. My last goal for the morning is to blog while I drink my tea. These may seem like very small goals but for me it is difficult some mornings to even put the kettle on. That is why I have decided regardless of how I feel, I want to do these 3 goals each morning.

I hope that these goals once firmly established will help me start developing a routine of sorts. I plan on trying what is called 'Opposite Action' as one of my tools to lead a less depressed life. Opposite action basically means feeling one way, but 'Choosing' to do the thing you don't feel like doing, even if it is hard. Now don't start with a huge opposite action. You want your goals attainable. The mind sees each achievement as a success and feels encouraged, regardless of the size, a tiny achievement or a huge one weighs the same to your mind.

For that reason start off with small, tiny, baby steps. Build your confidence and courage slowly. Your depression will improve. This will not happen overnight, but you will start having better days if you do this. So go, have that cup of coffee with friends or see that ballgame. Do something outside of your home at least 1 time every week. You will start feeling better. This is my hope for myself and for you all.

Love & Hugs,

Sunday, October 4, 2015

My life, my shame - Part 4 - potentially triggering[

What I post or write may be triggering. Please do not continue reading if you are afraid you may be triggered.

New post below:

I feel like I have talked in vague particularities. I think I am actually afraid to be as open and honest as I should be. I think at times I can only hit around the bush. My shame is deep and strong. I have decided to post a picture of my deepest shame. The thing that has kept me hidden away recently. It was only seen by my roommates and a few doctors for the most part. I was afraid if anyone knew the depth of my depression it would be the end. Stupid really to come from someone who thought the end was already here. Why am I putting it here, on a blog, in clear public scrutiny? Honestly, I finally talked about it with my sister Brandy. She told me I didn't have to be ashamed. I didn't have to hide. She said I could be a voice to help others like me. I didn't believe her, I have to be honest. But of the people I trust in my life, Brandy is one of them. I finally decided that if the words I can put on a blog can actually reach anyone, then maybe she is right.

This is my shame. This is why I hide these days. I don't want to see the judgement on anyone's face. I am afraid I can't stand up to it. This is what wakes me up in the middle of the night crying. This monstrosity is now a part of me. There is nothing I can do to deny it though I would if I had any way possible. I hate it. It brands me. It hurts. It really does. I wake up to the pain. My left hand is no longer as strong as it once was. I hate facing the truths. I disassociated during a time of deep stress and duress. While in this place I tried to end my life. The only reason that I am still here is for my roommates. They patched me up, took me to the doctor, stayed by my side. They did not give up on me even though I had. Without them, I would not be here today.

I post this because I don't want anyone to end up as I did, feeling alone, and with no options. There are options. There is life. Sometimes it is painful but if we just persist we can move on to a better place. Please know that as long as I have breath in my body I will be here for you, any of you, should you ever need a shoulder, a sounding board, a person to say you matter. I do not know you, but I promise you, I love you. I love you so that you no longer have to wonder if you are loved or if you are alone. I love you simply because you exist and deserve love. I will go on. I will not give up. I will not let you either. Exists with me if it is all you can do, but I wait for the day that you no longer exist but truly live. Those thoughts bring me joy. I have real joy in my life at the thought of people living and knowing there is someone out here who loves them regardless. I have real joy in knowing you will live even if it is hard just like I will. We have to. We can not quit. Too many people depend on us being here, even if we forget in our depression. We matter, all of us.

I may write more along this line but for now this is what needed to be said. Do not take the easy death. Take the hard path and live. Live for yourself, live for your loved ones, live in spite of those who would see you gone.. just Live.
Hugs & Love, Johanna

My life - Part 3 - Potentially triggering

Potentially triggering content. Please do not read if you might be triggered. Thank you.

I have to say here and now that I am lucky. I have very supportive friends and family to some extent. Without them, I honestly would have died a long time ago. Even typing this feels so shameful. I worry what people will think when they read these words. What are they now thinking of me. I imagine the thoughts can not be very good or kind towards me. I am afraid people will say this is a cry for attention, that I am stupid, that I am lazy, that I am worthless, that I should just die and stop whining. I imagine so many horrible things, partially because I have been told each of these things at one point in my life or another.

The people were typically someone I loved, though I also heard it from doctors, and "friends". Even my husband told me he could not be with someone with my mental illness and physical disabilities. He believed I would ruin his career. He honestly could not deal with or handle me. It broke me when he told me these things and other things. I was so broken I have still not recovered from it. I realize now that some of what he said was simply because he was lashing out, he was hurting, and he wanted to hurt me. It is painful for the other person if you are in a relationship. The pains and mental anguish those that love us suffer is probably unbearable. I understand because there are times I would not want to live with me. I can understand why others would want to avoid me. Knowing that still does not take away the pain I feel.

I try to do good things and be a good person, but always on the inside I feel it is never enough. I feel like I am a bad person. I feel I am being punished in some way for something I don't even know. It is hard to understand why I must feel so much pain when others seem to just roll with life's blows. It shames me that I can not be like other people. I feel guilty that others even have to tolerate my presence at times. I try to just keep the body going and pray that the mind and spirit will eventually catch up. I have been merely surviving for years. I feel like somewhere along the way I just stopped living. I don't know how to start again. 

The state of my life lately - Part 2 - Potentially triggering

This post may be potentially triggering & to graphic for some. If you feel you might be triggered please do not read. More under the photo. Thank you.

 I woke up so ashamed and filled with guilt. I have been afraid to speak about it. I have decided I am through hiding.
I have been suffering, with depression, anxiety, and pain. I have felt the need to hide away from everyone and everything. The shame and guilt I feel are so deeply rooted. Even writing this blog makes my panic start. I feel the pain in my chest. My breathing is harder. My eyes are watering and I have started to shake. The panic I feel is not a passive or passing thing. It is very real. I am writing this because I know others feel this too. I want you to know you are not alone in your suffering.

I understand what it is like to feel panic so deeply that it hurts. Panic causes us to avoid people, places, situations.. anything that could trigger us. Still the panic comes. I don't know why it has to happen. I don't understand why I have to feel this way all the time. Most times when I interact with others, I put on the happy social Johanna. This Johanna is easy to talk to and does not make others feel uncomfortable. If I am the real Johanna people have no idea how to respond. It is hard to deal with a person who shakes and cries when she feels extreme anxiety and panic. People would rather hear everything is fine.

Everything is not fine though. It has not been fine in a very long time. I suffer from Chronic PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, and DID. Those are just my mental disabilities. Physically I suffer from Chronic Pain due to ongoing injuries sustained as a child through early adulthood. I also have Peripheral Neuralgia in my head, neck, arms, and legs. I have been labeled with Fibromyalgia. The pain I feel on a daily basis is severe and depressing. There are many times I don't want to live my life in pain. Between my anxiety, depression, did, and pain I have ended up in the hospital many times.

I have scars that I have no way to hide. I feel they brand me. Label me for anyone who looks at me. My scars shame me. I hate them. These are only the scars people see, the ones they don't see shame me even more. I feel deeply ashamed that I can not be "normal". I feel guilty that even though life is looking up I stay so very depressed. I pray for it all to end at times, not even knowing what I want to end. It is a horrible thing to wake up, at home or in the hospital and realize you have tried to take your own life. The thing that shames me most is the regret I feel when the attempts have failed. Sometimes waking up is so unbearable. The weight of my depression crushes me.

Continued in part 3.

The state of my life lately - Part 1

So life constantly stays in flux. I realize now that when I decided I would reopen my shop I was extremely idealistic. I was totally unprepared, thinking I could open with my shoestring budget.That is why the date of the opening keeps being pushed back. I have a lot of personal things happening in my life that have caused me stress and mental anguish. I am going through a painful divorce, to a man I had once believed I would spend my life with. I have been through the wringer these past 2 years. I am finally feeling both hopeful that it should be over completely by March and also deeply saddened by the loss not just of a husband, but of the life we planned. It has not been easy.

I wanted to reopen my fiber arts business for so many reasons. I wanted to make art again. I wanted to have the fiber community back. I wanted my life to restart in any way possible. I believed starting my business again would give me that fresh start. I have had so many unexpected (and unplanned for) issues that at times I have wondered was any of it even worth it.

I have come to realize the fiber arts business that was not the problem. The problem lies with me, my spirit, my will, and my drive. I had completely given up, more than once. I have grown so depressed that at times I could literally do nothing more than lie in bed, fearing if I got up I would do something I would regret. So I hid away, from the people in my life, and from myself. I actually ended up in the hospital several times. I woke up so ashamed and filled with guilt. I have been afraid to speak about it. I have decided I am through hiding.

Part 2 will have more graphic details and could potentially be triggering. If you feel you may be triggered please do not read Part 2.