Consciousness, Spirituality

A peek into my inner child

I have been involved in some type of therapy since age 7. This year I will turn 41 years old, needless to say, I’m well versed in all things psychology related. A few of my therapists have even admitted to me that they felt I was more qualified and knowledgeable than they were on certain topics. My major in college started out in psychology but I switched to humanities and later sociology. My main focus and curiosity in life has always been very analytical in regards to myself and the human condition in general. What makes us tick? What is the root cause for an emotion or behavior? I have been fascinated by others around me for as long as I can remember. Sometimes my curiosity and burning desire for the truth has led me down some unpleasant paths. Mostly I am in awe of the human brain, our psyche’ s and interaction with one another.

If you have been reading my two blogs thus far, you can probably draw conclusions has to why I am so preoccupied by humanity. For my new readers, I will tell you the two major influences are first and foremost my family of origin’s pathology, my dysfunctional and traumatic upbringing. Second is my own life as a physical and intuitive empath. These two aspects of who I am have been my ruling forces and have always guided my way. My journey into self awareness started very young because I was constantly being bombarded with thoughts and feelings I instinctively knew were not always my own. I devoured books on subjects including psychology, new age metaphysics, different world religions, different social sciences and even neuroplasticity. Discovering the answers and uncovering the truth were my goals. Three years ago I embarked upon a path on my journey that would lead me inside all of it and most importantly reconnect me to myself; inner child work.

Just another layer of the onion my therapist at the time reassured me. We had been having some very intense sessions of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) when he asked me if I had ever done inner child work. Damn, I whispered to myself, it’s THAT time. I have brushed off and avoided that topic for too long and now was the time to dive in head first. I understand that our society forces us to repress our inner child and “grow up”. The truth is while most adults physically “grow up” they never quite reach emotional or psychological adulthood. This leaves us in a state of childish fears, angers and traumas that fester away in the unconscious mind for decades. Inner child work is the process of contacting, understanding, embracing and healing that original self who we represented when we first entered this world. It is our capacity to experience wonder, joy, innocence, sensitivity and playfulness. At that time my 37 year old self was completely disconnected from that original girl locked away inside.

My therapist guided me in a few exercises to start. First I was to have a chat with my little girl. Now was my opportunity to protect her and care for her like I never felt I had been. Telling myself, I love you, I hear you, I’m sorry and thank you felt silly at first. In time and with the aid of visualizations it became second nature and felt really rewarding. Many of my most intense emotional break throughs have happened as a result of this one exercise, absolute healing. Then I was to search for picrures of myself as a child to remind myself of what I looked like then, not only my appearance but my expressions representing that presence of innocense. Luckily for me, my mother took tons of photographs and I had many albums to remind me of that little girl. I was truly enthralled by the sight of myself and the feelings these pictures evoked in me. My therapist advised me to recreate what I loved to do when I was younger as another way to reconnect. I remember I loved splashing in puddles. The next rainy day I set out and did just that for hours! I also rediscovered MadLibs, as a child I loved creative writing. To my surprise, I really enjoyed creating those silly stories again! Another component for healing my inner child was to go through different visualization and meditation sequences that really helped me focus in on and reflect on what I was feeling at age 7 and 8. That was the age we targeted because that was when a lot around me became too overwhelming to process properly.

Further along down the path of healing, I was asked to write a letter to myself in the perspective of myself at the age I feel emotionally inside (which for me is 17) from the adult (present time) me with my other hand. I’m a right handed person so this would be done using my left hand. I can not express how much this letter helped me. It sounds so simple yet this one exercise left quite a profound impact on me. In that moment I was again bonded with my teenage self and my adult self was my hero. I’m getting emotional thinking about it and writing this.

In the years since putting myself on this path of healing my inner child, I write poems. This poem is an ode to that little girl inside me and how she reckons herself with the world today.

Mental health, Spirituality

Having myself a Merry little Christmas

This time of year used to bring me such joy and happiness. From November through early January I dove head first into decorating my home, visiting with friends, baking cookies, seeking out the best Christmas lights displays and watching my favorite Christmas movies. Since my divorce six years ago and my move away from where my children live, each holiday season has gotten tougher and I don’t participate in any of my traditional holiday activities. It’s simply too painful and I can’t bear the memories of being with my children in years past. The breakfasts with Santa, the shopping for presents, decorating the tree etc. just make me sad and yearn for those happier times.

At the request of both of my boys, they don’t want me involved in their lives any longer. We haven’t had any communication in over eighteen months. I also haven’t seen their sweet faces in over two years. Just typing these two sentences leave tears running down my face. Despite the swirling of my emotions, I get up everyday and go to work, smile and engage with my customers. Lead my co-workers and try my best to lend a hand where I am needed. This is something I’m deeply proud of because in the past I would’ve let this destroy me. I would have crawled under my covers and quit. This year I have decided to overcome my sadness by living my life to the fullest. Writing about it too is completely liberating because of the tremendous guilt this entire situation brings.

I’m also proud that however I have been feeling over these past six years, I have never once uttered a bad word to my boys about their father. I refuse to destroy their image of him. He is a huge part of who they are as people and I understand that. My own mother would tear into us as children with negative comparisons to our father and it used to make me feel so terrible about myself. I believe it’s emotional child abuse to purposely alienate a child from one of their parents. I have tremendous faith that one day my boys will see the truth and want to know me again. We have an unbreakable bond and no matter how many miles separate us I will always be there for them. They are the two souls on this journey that I love the most.

Recently I came across some of my old journals. I have used writing as an emotional outlet for processing and healing since I was a young girl. I’m so thankful that no matter how many times I have moved I always keep my old writings intact. I enjoy looking back and rereading my work because it’s a great way to assess how much I have grown and evolved emotionally from the things that cause me distress and pain.

This week has hit me harder than any of the last six years. I have recently taken on more responsibilities at work and that is a welcome distraction emotionally. I haven’t been sleeping well the past few nights because my mind is in overdrive between work stuff and all these memories. I don’t feel creative and I’m concerned that my passions will be neglected because of it.

I do however have this weekend off because I will be working both Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I’m actually looking forward to it. Making others smile and feel joy even though inside I’m crying. It’s opposite action for sure (a DBT principle coping skill) and my former therapist would be proud of my choice to triumph on over my feelings.

Here are the three poems that I found in that journal stuffed into an old bag under a chair in my apartment. I have come a long way emotionally from where I was when I wrote them. I’m stronger. I’m a survivor. I’m a fucking WARRIOR. Happy holidays dear readers. If I can do it, believe in yourself and you can too ✌💖

Mental health, Spirituality

Nothing can hold me down

There are so many negative cliches about aging. After my 21st birthday, I could care less about celebrating my birthday. Now at 40, I fully embrace my years on this earth and am proud of where I am mentally. I feel that the challenges I have faced created many opportunities to learn, grow, evolve and helped me to gain more wisdom. When somebody asks me how old I am, I’m glad to tell them. For me this is a stark difference from how I felt even ten years ago.

A few factors contribute to how our society views age, most especially how each gender ages. Men become distinguished looking when their hair turns gray and women are described as old. The beauty industry drives these ideas about aging by producing products to stop or help freeze time from affecting our looks. Many of us subscribe to the idea that aging is bad and not something to be celebrated based solely upon our outward appearances instead of what really matters which is how we feel on the inside. Granted, I sometimes feel more tired or sore after doing activities that in the past didn’t faze me physically. Lately however I have become more interested in how my mind works, specifically how I cope with life’s struggles. My age has definitely improved my over all outlook and I feel more positive that I will overcome whatever life throws at me.

In my youth growing up, when a problem arose it felt like the end of the world and impossible to overcome. I was much more pessimistic with even the thought of facing dark times. Experience has now shown me that things can always be worse and with patience the light will eventually prevail. I trust in that because I now trust in myself.

I have had a few people in my life that were determined to break my spirit physically, mentally and emotionally. I have endured harsh abuse from those that were supposed to love me. Initially these situations left me doubting, blaming and hating myself. I was allowing these people to own space in my mind and ultimately control me. I passively accepted whatever they projected upon me and internalized their evil which had me spending years in a heavy depressed state suffering in my own mental prison.

Now on the other side of that hell, I realize that what changed was a shift in my perception of reality. I believe experience (age) has been my best friend in dealing with how best to navigate whatever life throws at me. I refuse to suffer and take on the negativity of others actions. As an empath this is one of the most important lessons I have had to implement for my own safety and peace of mind. For years I was easily confused by all the controlling energy and aggressive emotions swirling around me. I have had to learn boundaries to protect myself from these unwanted effects from certain people. When I encounter these people I am now keenly aware of how my body responds to their energy. I feel like I’m suffocating and I instantly feel nervous and unsafe. Becoming aware of these changes to my own well being has become key to successful breaking the cycle.

I use positive mantras, meditation and essential oils to ground me. I have learned to check in with myself and become mindful when assessing what I am feeling. Trusting my gut and listening to the clues I am given. In the past I was either unaware or unwilling to question these internal clues. I feel age has taught me that when something doesn’t feel right I need to pay attention to it and not ignore it. Mostly I think I was fearful of these mystery feelings. I only became aware that I am an intuitive and physical empath a few years ago by the guidance of my long term therapist. Before her insight  directed me to my truth I just thought I was crazy. I didn’t know how to explain what was going on internally, distracting me and pulling my focus away. I lived in a perpetual state of fear. I didn’t discuss these feelings and thoughts with anyone because I didn’t think anybody would understand. I was trapped inside this enormous web of complex emotions without any idea of if what I was feeling belonged to me or someone else around me. I also get what I call “visions” which I see in my mind like words on a banner. These can be either a premonition for the future or the thoughts of someone I am close to. These days it’s most times the thoughts of my fiance. I have only recently become able to properly handle this phenomenon going on inside me 24/7.

These thoughts and feelings used to absolutely exhaust me, terrify me and depress me leaving me completely clueless as to what was going on. I am so grateful to my therapist and to my friend who is a fellow empath who educated me on ways to protect myself. Life lessons that are invaluable. This poem reflects how I feel today!

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Anxiety, Depression, Grief and loss, Mental health

Gathering hope, one more try

I have overcome many obstacles in my life that I thought at the time would break me. Ten years ago, while I was still married, I lost my house in the housing crash of 2008. Even today I still struggle putting that experience into words that accurately portray how that felt. In the three years following that catastrophic event I endured a few more deep losses, the horrible death of my beloved cat, having to give away my dogs followed by my divorce that ultimately broke my relationship with my boys. Shouldering the blame for it all, now I realize just how naive I was to the pain and sadness I was truly feeling. I had to make some tough decisions in order to survive. The financial ruin is still something I haven’t fully recovered from. In true C-PTSD fashion, it has taken me years to heal from grief. At the time I wasn’t hopeful God had opened a window in response to the many doors that had been slammed in my face.

Today however, it is these experiences that have reshaped me. I had to construct an overhaul of my thinking in order to get out of bed everyday. The heavy seriousness of such stark change was absolutely suffocating at times. I attempted to stuff and swallow it all by drinking to excess, over exercising and restricting my food intake. I have a terrible knack for kicking my own butt and punishing myself when things go wrong in my life. My resistance to accept what was going on around me proved completely futile. Something had to change and the only thing I had control over was myself and my responses to the lemons I was receiving. I learned how to make lemonade by redirecting my thoughts and gathering hope where I could find it.

Throughout all the heartache, my faith in humanity was tested. I have some wonderful lifelong friends that put their arms of support around me and guided me back into the light. I’m someone that prides myself on being there for others and I don’t ask for help often. During these years my priorities shifted when I made the decision to wave the white flag of surrender. Swallowing that pride was one of the hardest and most fruitful choices I made.

There are many misconceived notions about what it means to be strong versus weak. We all go through dark times and our ego’s will lie to us by telling us, “I have got this.” I was forced to realize that I most definitely didn’t “have it” and I needed help. My friends uplifted,  guided and at times carried me through a time I was sure would destroy me completely.

People tell me often how strong I am. Most days I am proud of where I have come from and what I have achieved. Understanding what is truly important, what I need instead of what I want. My route to these realizations was a hard lesson to learn.

In the United States, we live in an over consumption culture fueled by the myth of the more you have the happier you are. In reality, I have learned this is false. Bigger, better, faster, more of everything is a sure fire way to disappointment because the emptiness we try to fill with those things provides a false sense of security. The depressing reality of materialism causes one to feel secluded, lowers human interaction and socialization. We must work more and spend less time with family and friends in order to maintain what we think we “need”. I believe this driving cycle is a self fulfilling  prophecy. We gain real happiness from our connection with others which is not something that can be bought.

Today, I don’t have many possessions and I live more of a minimalist lifestyle. The things I have lost can never break me because I choose to invest in relationships with the ones I love. I now understand that if I hadn’t experienced loss, I wouldn’t have gained hope and faith. It is the people around me that continue to support me, proving to me that as long as I keep trying and never give up the sky’s the limit. My dreams can become reality and I definitely have more than one try left in me.

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Mental health, Spirituality

A new chapter and more life lessons

This week I have started a new and long awaited chapter in my life. I have a new job doing something I have always wanted to and finally the opportunity presented itself. For the very first time I am able to focus on myself and what I want to do career wise. I have struggled with that concept my entire life for many reasons. Mostly because the fear of failure has always plagued me. My natural instincts and caring for others has always been my main focus. These past two and a half years have taught me many lessons. My fiance was diagnosed with a challenging medical condition that has required so much of my support. He and I had our own business that ultimately failed due to his health issues. Our life went on pause mode while we worked to get him healthy.

If I had to choose one virtue that I relied upon during this time, it would be patience. There is no truer act of love than patience. The innumerable amount of unknowns he and I have encountered, all the wait and see periods involving new medications for him and how much his diagnosis has impacted my life were extremely challenging. Bearing witness to his journey of adjusting, learning to cope with his new “normal” and acceptance has been very inspiring. This process  has also proven to me my own strength and endurance for coping with so many difficult situations. During these years he gave me the nickname of, “Tephlon”. In truth we have both become incredibly strong mentally because we support each other with love. I have spent 99% of these past years never leaving his side. The trust he has gained in me has allowed us to grow closer emotionally which is so beautiful.

During this darkness I try to recognize the positive lessons I’m learning. I am a firm believer in everything that happens to me is for a reason. I’ve become acutely aware of how shifting my attachment can decrease my suffering. Within every troubling situation we encounter there is a choice to be made about how much or how little mental energy we should grant it. The impact on me, how much power am I willing to give it until I start to crumble under it’s pressure. I have learned it’s far better for my sanity to not allow a lot of negativity to hang around in my mind for too long. I achieve this by meditating and compartmentalizing. Looking for the silver lining. We create so much of our own suffering by the way we frame our thoughts. It’s one of the few things we do have control over in life. Many terrible things around us will happen all throughout our life’s journey but it’s up to us how we handle it.

My friends have ask me a lot, how do you deal with _______? It’s all in how I choose to attach myself to it. At times I can get bogged down in depressive episodes where I can’t make sense around any of what’s going on. My mind becomes so foggy and I get physically cold, all I want to do is lay under my blankets and hide from the world. I believe this too serves a purpose. I have learned to accept that my mind has been traumatized for so long by fear and sadness. In order for me to accept any challenge I must reflect upon who I am and what I have overcome. By giving myself time to explore within what has worked for me in the past, I am able to see the choice I should make. Most of all, I refuse to give up or quit because my will to evolve is so strong. These are all choices we must make when we can claim that power.

I am absolutely grateful for all of it. The good as well as the bad stuff. If everything was easy and nothing changed I wouldn’t have grown. I wouldn’t have acquired so many important skills. In a past blog post I wrote about how I have a hard time believing and trusting myself. If I didn’t choose to go through these hardships with a positive outlook, I wouldn’t have discovered that has now changed.

For the first time in awhile I think I’m gonna be ok.

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