Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Journey

I am always amazed by how many of my friends comment on how different I am. These are people who have known me for years and know everything I have gone through. It wasn't easy to get here, but I think telling the tale of my journey is kind of important.

For the first few months after leaving CountryTime; Hubby, E and I were suffering from honest to goodness PTSD. Hubby had it so bad that he has started seeing a counselor to help him. We lived our lives in fear of making mistakes. Things are so peaceful here. We have a nice house in a nice, SAFE, blue-collar neighborhood. We can bike ride to stores, restaurants, libraries....the ocean. People give us our space and church members genuinely respond to us in a positive manner. We even have enough money coming in between our TWO jobs (one for each of us), that our taxes are getting totally paid and we are creating a savings account again.

Things were so good that we were afraid we were going to mess it up. We were afraid to say or do anything that might make people hate us again. I couldn't even force myself to see my long-time friends who now lived close to me because I just needed the security of my little home and my little family. I was afraid to mess up my friendships. It's one thing to live in fear of something that is really out there-gang members, crazy congregants, poverty. It is quite another (and even worse) to live in fear of something that might not happen or that you are creating in your mind.

Now don't get me wrong, I truly believe that if we had stayed in CountryTime, I might have actually, physically died. I gained 40 pounds with no signs of stopping in the three years we lived there. I was having horrible arrythmia and chest pains. I was in a major mode of self-destruct and couldn't see any way out. Moving didn't just make all of that go away. I had spent three years creating this big, puffy, protective self and now I had to figure out how to let go of all of that.

It started in January with one New Year's resolution. In January, 2013, I decided to live my life intentionally. That's it. Just that one thing. But here's the trick, it is really hard to always be intentional. I started with my reactionary behavior. I decided that I was going to stop every time I started to wind up and really ask myself if it was worth getting wound up. If it was, then I let myself get worked up and overwrought because I needed to feel it. But if it wasn't (and here's the kicker, very few things ARE worth it), I had to let it go. I had to. No choice given.

Then I started thinking about what I was doing to my body. I was in pain every day and I was suffering just to walk to the beach. I knew it was more than weight, but I wasn't sure what to do. So I started intentionally trying to sleep on a more regular schedule. It's amazing how much easier it is to be less reactionary when you are getting more sleep. And how much more energy you have. But I was still suffering from pain so I knew I needed to look farther.

So I started thinking about my addictions. I was intentionally not buying diet soda at the grocery store because I knew it was bad for me, but then I would intentionally run through a drive thru because I needed diet soda. So I stopped drinking it and anything with artificial sweetener. It took several tries to break the habit, but shortly after it was finally kicked, almost all of that neuropathic pain ceased. I could be touched without shrinking back. I could walk farther and felt better. I could start to exercise again. In August of last year I joined a gym and now go 5 times a week for 30 minutes a day. Yes, I said 30 minutes a day. After working out for 90 minutes, 5 days a week in CountryTime with no changes, I decided to change what I was doing. And it worked.

But I knew before I exercised I needed to get some physical things taken care of. I went back to a chiropractor and he helped with the other pain. I gave up caffeine because I was using it like a crutch for energy. Then I started doing the Naturally Slim program and I started to lose weight for the first time in 10 years. With each intentional step and decision, I was becoming healthier, stronger and more me-like. I was starting to be at peace.

My latest (and hopefully last for a while) intentional decision has been the hardest. I am trying to overcome my bump-on-the-log syndrome. If you put me in front of a tv or let me off the hook from doing something, I will sit on a couch and bromate for the entire day. I will let the laundry pile up, I will not vacuum, I will not empty the dishwasher, I will not go out into the real world, I will just allow myself to be sucked into useless tv programs. Hubby will pick up all the slack and never once mention it to me because that is how we have lived for so long. All of these things I have done to mask my depression can't hind this one glaring fact. I will sit on the couch and hide from life.

So I have intentionally refused to allow myself to watch tv until 8 PM at night. I think that is fair. I need some time to allow my brain to veg. That means I have to find something constructive to do with my time. My house is cleaner. I read more. I try to walk 10,000 steps a day. I cook more from scratch. And I realized, I need a creative outlet. Even though I have been singing more and laughing more and sitting less, it is still a struggle every single day. I truly believe artistic and creative people have something missing and need an outlet. My creativity ebbs and flows with my mood. Depression is a bitch.

So that's my story in a few paragraphs and why I am back. I am taking each day one day at a time and I fail a lot. But I am no longer afraid that my faults or failures are going to cost us this peaceful life we have here on the Island. One day we are going to get moved whether we cause it or not. I no longer seek out drama and when someone comes into my life who tries to create drama, they are quietly let go. I do sometimes still feel the need to make CountryTime suffer, but I am working on that. That is going to take a long, long, long time.


FreeDragon said...

Glad you're back :)

Michelle said...

I'm so happy that you're back. You've been so missed! I can't wait to get caught up on you!