Mental health, Spirituality

Anniversary reaction and the new moon

This October has been very emotionally draining for me. As I realized the date today staring back at me just this morning it dawned on me the fact that every October and November in the past eight years have unfolded that way. Having Complex PTSD is the culprit because there is this little phenomenon that happens called the Anniversary reaction or effect. My body remembers that eight years ago within the months of October and November I endured tremendously intense trauma.

This month also ushered in the Harvest full moon on Oct.13th and in the past two days we have been feeling the affects of the new moon rising in Scorpio. Google defines this new moon as this:

The 2019 New Moon In Scorpio is about embracing the unknown. It’s rare that life unfolds exactly as you want it to. Often, what results is a mess of both success and failure. Even if you get what you want, it might not feel as fulfilling as you thought it would.”

Boy does THAT resonate with me! Needless to say, the combination of energy forces has proved to be quite tumultuous for me dear readers. It’s required me to put more effort into my self care by closely monitoring the daily reflections I jot down in my journal. My favorite tool in counterbalancing these emotional shifts is journaling. Remaining self aware of my thoughts, feelings and behaviors helps keep me in the moment as much as possible when my ego starts whispering lies and goes into full on protective mode.

Becoming more and more “realized ” as an empath, the rapidly downloaded messages I receive from the universe have also kept me on my toes. Here in Dallas, we expierienced a tornado and lots of thunderstorms that caused severe damage. Thankfully, the area of the city I live in was unaffected but I can definitely attest to feeling the vibrational pressure and sheer force of that kind of destructive power. The only option when faced with such strength is to remain as calm as possible by constantly reminding myself that this too shall pass. These temporary effects in nature and the energy being felt has resulted in an overwhelming amount of heaviness on me. Each day this month I felt a varying degree of extra pressure.

The best defense I have found is sticking to my daily rituals. The more my body can expect the comforting aspects of each self compassion tool I employ the more relaxed my hypervigilance is. Granted, this is time consuming and can definitely put strain on my day if I don’t make the proper allowances. Time management is an extremely important part of planning my day.

Another thing I’ve been reminded of this month is to resist making decisions during this period of intense emotional upheaval. Making decisions based in emotion is something I used to do a lot in my past. Afterwards, I learned that those decisions produced unsuccessful outcomes so I must refrain from those knee jerk reactionary responses. This month I was reminded almost daily to chill out. My best defense is to NOT react.

This month is a good example of growing pains. Nothing changes when life is easy and I don’t challenge myself. In the past six months I have conducted a complete overhaul of my internal story, my core beliefs and reassessment of the painful memories related to the traumas I have survived. My brain pushes back upon the new pathways I have built because our brains don’t accept change easily. My fight, flight or freeze triggers have also been in overdrive as I confront the difficult emotions that have long been cemented into my internal story.

These challenging feelings include an unrealistic sense of being abandoned, unaccepted and unloved. A constant, nagging reoccurring thought of not being worthy has threatened to cripple my behavior and how I respond to uncomforbility. I want to give up, throw the towel in. Pushing through these moments creates a feeling of accomplishment that raises my self esteem. I’ve been reminded that, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I have leaned on this mantra a lot lately. Incorporating breathwork and meditation is essential for soothing the conflicting messages my brain screams at me. Again, this too shall pass…..if I let it!

Relaxing into the natural flow and unfolding of life by consciously releasing my white knuckle grip on how I think life should be is a daily challenge and one that I meet with head on every morning. Positive self talk sets me straight and gives me permission to accept these difficult emotions. Reminding myself that growth is sometimes painful. Change isn’t easy. It’s natural to have bad days while the process of self healing continues. It’s a never ending journey. Eight years ago I attempted to end it all. Even though this month and next stand as yearly reminders of my painful past, it’s also another opportunity for self forgiveness.

Today, I feel more empowered and I know that I have a choice. That’s a fact I didn’t believe I had eight years ago. I am not my past. I have grown a lot and am continuing to heal. A journey I am grateful to of chosen.

Mental health, Spirituality

What silence means to me

Life has it’s ebbs and flows. Lately I feel so connected, balanced and centered in my human vessel. The universe is providing me all that I need. I’m awake and conscious, sharply focused on manifesting my intentions. The best way I have learned to get there is through meditation.

Rediscovering, reclaiming and restarting my meditative practice has been absolutely vital to my whole body health. I was taught Transcendental meditation over 4 years ago but stopped my practice due to larger life stressors and putting my own health on the back burner. Not a great choice but that’s life sometimes, right? Knowing I can start again and get myself back to a place of zen is a beautiful gift that I’m choosing to give myself! It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I’m showing myself grace by allowing missteps to happen.

I’ve really evolved this summer and integrating both Transcendental meditation, chanting and energy balancing meditation back into my life is a huge part of my newly uncovered peace of mind. We humans are mostly living in the subconscious while 95% of our brain functions this way. I believe because of my gifts and the higher vibration that I function at, I definitely use more than the average person. My therapist and I talk about how igniting different parts of one’s brain can definitely benefit those of us who have experienced trauma.

I read a study recently that showed the mental health field is now paying more attention to how trauma has impacted so many other conditions. A great deal of applause needs to be given for Dr. Gabor Mate. He has a background in family practice and a special interest in child development and trauma, and the potential lifelong impacts on physical and mental health, including autoimmune disease, cancer, ADHD, addictions, and a wide range of other conditions.

Basically, most of us think as trauma in the Big T way. The DSM-5 defines a PTSD trauma as any situation where one’s life or bodily integrity is threatened; these are typically large ‘T’ traumas. While small ‘t’ traumas for the most part would not lead to the development of pure PTSD symptoms, it is possible that a person can develop some trauma response symptoms. In other words, the person may experience increased distress and decreased quality of life. Most individuals develop PTSD as a by product of avoidance strategies, being “tough” to avoid the stigma of having a mental health issue yet completely inaffective in actually healing from the trauma itself.

I have been living with Complex PTSD my entire life. I can tell you the latest therapies (EMDR & Acupuncture for me) research and advice about how to actually alter my behaviors due to my trauma responses has proved life altering for my quality of life. I have connected with a great little group of mental health practitioners, empaths and light workers on Instagram who deal with the exact same “stuff” as I do. They have found a way out and are so validating to me while I navigate my own experiences.

My mission with this blog is to shed light upon, connect and share my truth with others whom have similar life experiences. Good, bad or indifferent. It’s all about gathering more positive energy and experiences so we can counter balance the negative ones that are inevitably going to show up during our journey here on Earth.

I recently had another bout of laryngitis. I am a chronic sufferer. When I lose my voice I must commit to at least one day of silence so I can recoup and rest my inflamed vocal chords. On Monday I found myself writing on a yellow legal pad so that I could effectively communicate with my partner. That experience was surprisingly amazing! I retreated into an inner realm that reminded me of meditation. As both a writer and somebody who likes to talk, I feel I have a lot to say most days. My fiance has to remind me to enjoy the quiet more, close my ever flapping lips and just be more often than I care to admit here.

By Tuesday I can admit to having a very rewarding and enlightening experience with silence. This poem was the end result of those emotions and experience. Sending love, light and positive energy to all my readers and fellow writers while we “Triumph over Trauma” ✌💪😊

Mental health, Spirituality

Steadily climbing a mountain

One of my favorite quotes is by Sir Edmund Hillary, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Today this quote really resonates with me. I am acknowledging and giving myself the gift of self love by recognizing how far I have come in only a year. My C-PTSD has been in remission for three and a half years. I have gone from being a mess upon the floor, sobbing and in a dissoactive episode to holding a management position at work while self publishing my own book of poetry. I’m really so very grateful and elated with how truly wonderful it feels to have inner peace and strength within my soul.

On Tuesday my team at work and I witnessed a near fatal car accident right in front of our window. It was the most horrible and terrifying scene I have ever witnessed. The sounds and visuals have left their scar on my heart. The gentleman’s truck looked like God himself crushed it with his hands and dropped it out of the sky onto its roof where it landed. My store is next to the freeway and the driver’s truck came literally flying off the road landing on its roof on the grass across the street from us. Airbags deployed, windows busted out and smoke billowing from it, the truck looked unreal. The five of us dropped what we were doing and immediately ran outside. Three of us called 911 while the my two other younger coworkers ran up to the truck itself. One of them had grabbed our fire extinguisher and used it to smother the smoke and kept a fire from starting. Her heroic actions really moved me. She later admitted that her own father had died in a similar situation so I felt it was a kind of redemption on her part in trying to save this man’s life. The EMT’S pulled him from his vehicle alive and consciousness which is truly miraculous given the circumstances.

For the rest of the day we all kept hugging each other. We used our nervous energy to clean our store to a like new condition. When I closed up Tuesday night I felt a sense of pride for how we coped with the days extraordinary and unusual events. I can honestly say when you witness such an extreme example of life and death in front of your own eyes, while in a job setting it changes your perspective.

Here’s what I took away from Tuesday.

1. Life is too short, each moment is a gift. I will not waste my time with frivolous worries about things out of my control. My time is precious, therefore I must prioritize accordingly.

2. I work with 5 very selfless people who I know have my back in a special way. That feeling is priceless both on a professional and personal level.

3. I am getting stronger. This same situation for my past self would’ve driven me up under the covers for a few days. Left me a puddle of tears and nerves.

4. I can do this……I managed and led people through a crisis. I continued to do my job in a professional manner despite the chaos. We all went back to work serving and assisting our customers.

All in all as I reflect now I can see myself steadily rising up from the ashes of despair and heartache. One foot in front of the other I climb. I keep going even though my mind is screaming “NO” and “you can’t do it”. I’m proving to myself everyday that the challenges I face are all preparing me for greater things. The best is still yet to come which is what gets me out of bed everyday!

I never thought I would achieve success again after so many failures. Attempting suicide, being strangled to within inches of my life on my previous job eight years ago, going through a hell of a divorce, surviving domestic violence and rape, losing touch with my children, being homeless, coping with my fiance’s health issues. The list is lengthy and not for the faint of heart.

Last week I made a life long dream come true all on my own. I self published my first book of poetry. It is available as both an e-book and in paperback through Amazon.com. I have created a small following here with this blog and my writing profile on Instagram called Emotional Musings.

I am currently working on putting together a book signing event here locally with family and friends. Sharing my success with those who have loved, supported and believed in me is such a blessing. It gives me the chills that I have so many wonderfully loving people in my life today.

I’m bursting with positivity and gratitude. And yes…….

I have survived and conquered over myself.

Living my motto, “Triumphing over trauma “.

Mental health, Spirituality

I’m still here

In the spirit of it being a new year and all the possibilities it holds, I have been doing a bit of reflection. I have made huge strides and overcome many obstacles in the last six months. I’m deeply humbled and quite proud of myself for bringing some of my dreams into reality. It’s really important to have dreams and I’m glad I never forgot mine completely. There have been a few forces and situations that threatened even that my life would continue and I’d have the ability to carry on. Yet I have overcome those obstacles and have tasted success in a few key areas in my life.

First and foremost I have the chance to reconnect with my son. In just thirteen days we will finally be reunited and I’m so excited about that moment! For now he is enjoying spending time with my family and having a wonderful time. This last month has brought me so much joy and peace being able to communicate with my boy daily. That unbreakable bond that a mother has with her child is something I cherish dearly. The birth of both of my sons changed my life and molded me to who I am today. God’s greatest gift.

Secondly, sharing my writing and connecting with people all over the world is something I had no idea would impact me so positively! I have engaged with so many fascinating people along this writer’s journey and I have learned so much. One of my blog posts was recently published as an article for a larger blog here on WordPress called Coffee Writers Blog. It’s entitled, “How to push the pause button “. I’ve such gratitude for the opportunity to reach a larger audience and spread my story of triumph over trauma. Another of God’s gifts.

My new job and all of the challenges, responsibilities and new information has proven to me how strong I am and how far I have come. Just six months ago I was unemployed and depressed. Deciding to get out of bed was a huge undertaking for me daily. I was anchored down by guilt, shame and sadness. I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel I found myself in. It was a difficult time and I felt paralyzed by fear. Taking that first step in choosing to get back into the world was one of the scariest things I have ever done. The benefits have been so abundantly beautiful and priceless. Regaining my self confidence and self esteem is the best part. I finally feel like me again. Again, another gift from God.

Lastly, my close personal friendships with loved ones and family who have cared for, supported and guided me along my life’s path make my heart complete. I take so much love and inspiration from these people and I wouldn’t be who I am without my tribe by my side. At the end of the day my soul is happy. I feel at peace. The monsters are gone. I’m still here❤

Mental health, Spirituality

A small tear in the microcosm

Today was definitely one of those days. I woke up knowing I was going to shed tears at some point. I woke up before my alarm which has been happening lately and is annoying because I feel cheated out of my much needed sleep. A strange feeling had taken over my body all morning while I was getting ready for work. I couldn’t quite grasp what was wrong, but something sure was.

I ended up getting very angry over something at work. So much so that I was shaking and my blood pressure was on the rise. My heart was beating so fast and I felt uncomfortable, my mind started flipping through thoughts faster than usual. I felt a bit dizzy and in a fog for more than a few minutes. I immediately started an inner dialogue in my head commanding myself to take mental breaths to calm down. All of these feelings trigger my C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) for fight or flight. Only my family gets me feeling to this intensity. I do a very thorough job of blocking out others with boundaries that I set up in my daily meditations. This whole situation threw me for a loop. I have never been comfortable with anger and I’m uneasy with expressing it. I went in the back room and cried it out.

As an empath staying safe, balanced and grounded is so crucial to my mental health. I have worked so hard at establishing healthy boundaries and protecting myself from toxic and negative energy from people over the last few years. I know I need to check in with myself often to assess my own feelings and to be mindful and present. The energies I can pick up from others can be so strong and overwhelming leaving me exhausted, sick to my stomach and even disoriented. It wasn’t until I was 35 that I learned of my gifts and how to preserve myself to ward off from outside forces. I always thought I was just plain crazy up until receiving this vital and life changing information. I have written about that time in my life in previous posts.

After it was all said and over and I had arrived back home, I sat down to do some soul searching. It was then that I realized I had neglected to get two light therapy sessions in. Last night and this morning’s were skipped leaving me more open to the energy vampires attacks because my level of anxiety is higher. In addition to missing those, I remembered I had not had enough alone quiet time yesterday. It was my day off from work and I had a lot of errands to run. Usually I like to have at least 45 minutes of quiet me time. This special time consists of no technology, no talking, eyes closed and laying under my weighted blanket. Afterwards I always feel rebalanced and peaceful. I visualize the weights in the blanket to be anchors that pull all the unnecessary thoughts, feelings and energies off of me. Laying under it allows me to feel safe and grounded again. Sometimes it feels like having C-PTSD is like being an exposed nerve that is constantly being bumped.

I wasn’t as vigilant with my own self care like I need to be and when I arrived at this conclusion it hit me. I have been getting too caught up and my mind was overflowing not allowing me any down time. The hours and days spill out so quickly and I just got carried away. It’s a good lesson finally (maybe) learned for me. I used to feel selfish about taking me time but then I realized that if I don’t recharge my own life force and energy I will burn out. Becoming no good for anybody but especially for myself.

I have since put in an hour long light therapy session, listened to an empath clearing meditation, rebalanced my chakras and wrote this post. Once again, writing helps me put everything into perspective so I can properly process my intense emotions. I’m so grateful for the reprieve and to be able to distance myself emotionally while putting every paragraph together. Returning to a more wise mind state of being. What happened today was empath overload. All my circuits got fried and I broke down. The important thing is that I’m ok. All my energy is right back at neutral now and I’m more aware of needing to step up my routines.

It’s all still a work in progress. The ebbs and flows,the ying and yang my dear readers. In end I must let it go…..

Mental health, Spirituality

My grateful heart

Since my last post, I’m happy to report that so much has changed for the better!! Two days after Christmas with the help of my ex brother in-law and my sister, my oldest son Tyler finally reached out!! We have been messaging and chatting every night since!! We have our long awaited reunion set up for next month which will include my family too. I haven’t gotten to hug him in over two years and my parents, sister, niece and nephew have been deprived of his company for over six years!

The last time my family has spent time with him he was a kid. Now he is on the verge of adulthood! He sent me a current picture of him that I can’t stop staring at. He really is my mini me in so many ways both inside and out. I’m beyond proud of the young man he is. My soul is at peace and my heart is bursting with joy.

This whole situation has taught me many invaluable life lessons. The two greatest being patience and perseverance in the face of adversity. Retaining my hope and faith that all would eventually work out is what kept me going daily. Living each day without any communication from my sons has been the worst emotional pain I have ever felt. My heart literally felt broken. Despite it all, I got out of bed every day when my brain was screaming for me not to. I sent numerous letters without a response. I prayed for the strength I required in order to carry on and keep trying to achieve my dreams. I was able to push aside the guilt all mother’s innately feel on most days to pursue my new career. Also, I launched this blog and my poetry profile on Instagram of the same name, Emotional Musings.

I firmly believe that my youngest isn’t too far behind his big brother. Once he sees him talking and visiting with me I think he will come around too. Divorce is terrible for any family. Parent alienation is both real and devastatingly traumatic for the children and the parent that is being shut out by the other parent. I agreed to divorce my ex-husband, but I DID NOT agree to divorce my children.

I’m really proud of myself because I didn’t allow the guilt and shame to shallow me up alive. There were days I didn’t think I would make it through. In the end though the saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” holds true. Again, I’m reminded of how strong I am. I have conquered over many situations and conditions, some even threatened to end my life for good.

I took one of those psychological quizzes today on PsychTest.com

Here are my results:

Both your right and left hemisphere seem to have reached a level of perfect harmony – rather than trying to dominant each other, they work together to create a unique and well-balanced “you”. Your spontaneous, impulsive, and free-flowing right brain creates an exciting and adventurous world, while your left brain helps you make sense of it and keep track of everything.

When faced with a problem or a tough decision, you’re not only able to break things down and make an informed and sensible choice, but you’re also not afraid to go with your gut when necessary. You tend to express your individuality both in words and actions, and although you’re perfectly comfortable running on a schedule or planning things ahead of time, there are occasions when you love to throw in a little spontaneity.

Your balanced outlook and approach to life creates a desire in you to not only understand the world, but to also take it in your hands and mold it as you see fit. With both your right and left hemispheres working together to guide you, you are able to understand yourself and life in general from so many wonderful perspectives.

So my dear readers, my message is to never give up. You are stronger than you think you are, even at your lowest points, there is always a reason to keep going. This too shall pass. Everything is temporary and tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. I am a lover, a giver and a fucking warrior. I believe in you. Thank you for following me and reading this blog. It is serving as a timeline for my children and I. I hope it also serves as a beckon of hope for you all who read it.

I’m very close to finishing my book of poetry that I am self publishing through Amazon. Stay tuned dear readers for more I information on the release date and how to download it. I wrote this poem this morning to reflect my grateful heart.

Spirituality

All about energy

Many of my posts on this blog are about my interpretations of spirituality and energy. I recently wrote a poem entitled, “Energy flows” describing exactly how this phenomenon works. I’m always amazed by how karma occurs and plays out in real life. Recently I have been feeling on top of the world in most areas of my life but yesterday life threw me a curve ball and I’ve been scratching my head about what it means. I bet my dear readers can relate.

I overheard a conversation that I don’t believe I was intended to hear. It caught me off guard because it was very cruel and about me. I’d like to believe this person didn’t know I was there and was talking freely behind my back. The problem is I heard it all, now I know this person’s true feelings about me and I feel awful. I’m unsure what caused this person to say such hateful things about me and in order to avoid a confrontation, I now have to change my routine to stay away from this person. I’m so uncomfortable and upset over this. I know that when somebody reveals their true colors I should believe them but I’m very perplexed over it. It doesn’t make sense and all I have been doing is replaying the hatefulness over and over again in my mind. I know that it changes nothing and keeps me feeling badly.

Hate and cruelty towards people sometimes has its roots in jealousy which is what I suspect in this instance. Women can be so overly competitive with each other and so petty. I have been through too much over these last several years to act in a fake and phony way. Wearing masks was something I did in the past to cope. I can no longer employ that tactic in life because it doesn’t work for me any longer. I believe in myself now and I honor that by always being genuine. Yet this situation is pulling me into a gray area. I live by some standards now in life that I feel very strongly about. In regards to this situation I refuse to treat this person as they have treated me. Hence why I am so uncomfortable today.

Instead I am choosing to be quiet about it, pray and reflect. I don’t wish anybody any harm and I live by my ability to show kindness, ALWAYS. I’m admitting here that however I feel about my previous statement, I am struggling with how to correctly handle this in order to move forward. I want to get to a place of forgiveness but unfortunately, I’m not there yet. Not even a little bit.

One of my favorite books on life is by Don Miguel Ruiz entitled, “The Four Agreements”. In it Mr. Ruiz outlines the four principles to live by in order to have peace within oneself:

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

By adhering to these principles, I know I shouldn’t be taking any of what was said about me personally. In this case it is truly challenging because it IS about me. Intellectually, I also understand that this person is probably projecting their own feelings upon me. It is something I used to deal with regularly from my own mother. She was so uncomfortable in her own skin that she would project those unsettling feelings about herself onto myself, my siblings and our father. When I was younger, I would soak it all up and internalize those feelings about myself in a destructive way. I would beat myself up, doubt myself, employing self hatred etc. It was ugly and left me feeling worthless and empty.

The quote that next springs to my mind is by Maya Angelou.
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” “The question is not how to survive, but how to thrive with passion, compassion, humor and style.” “When people show you who they are, believe them.”

She really hit the nail on the head with those words! I’m also reminded of this quote by Ms. Angelou,
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude“.

In regards to my situation I know my only choice is to forgive and change my own attitude about dealing with this person.

Upon reflecting about all of this I must admit I’m beginning to feel a bit better. That’s what writing provides me. It allows me a positive way to process and heal emotionally. I’m so grateful for this outlet and I thank you my dear readers for coming along with me on this journey.

Tell me, how do you handle stress caused by other’s opinions about you? Please comment below or send me an email privately at mariaswan1209@yahoo.com

Here is my poem…..

Peace, love and light to you all✌💖

P.S.

I highly recommend reading “The Four Agreements.” I received it as a gift about fifteen years ago and I reread it often to remind myself of its message. It gave me such a great perspective on life’s struggles in relationships and I gained so much insight.

Mental health, Spirituality

The truth about secrets

Keeping secrets can be destructive to your mental and physical health. It can also be very stressful. Now I’m not talking about ALL secrets, some can be really great because they are meant to boost our loved ones life. This post is about holding in negative secrets and what that does over time to ourselves. Most importantly it’s about learning to truly listen to our bodies by tuning into our authentic selves.

As an empath, I am an extremely honest person and because of that I am a bad liar! I always wear my emotions on my face, sleeve and wherever else one can decern what I’m feeling from. Since studying and learning about human behavior I have also developed ways to decipher truth from fiction through body language. These clues go past my initial gut feelings that stem from being an empath. There have been plenty of times that I feel a situation in someone else’s life is about to go south and yet I must remain quiet until the person wants to admit what their truth is. It is a real struggle for me. I’m referring to a certain scenario happening right now and for confidence and trust reasons I can’t disclose too many details here yet I need to write about it for my own sanity.

I understand that each person I encounter must realize their own truth in their own time. I know what it’s like to live in denial, how that felt and how it feels now to live my truth. Denying who you are is thoroughly exhausting and counter to everything I believe in yet I had to learn from that mistake. It’s a very personal journey that I know I can’t intervene in. Even though I love this person with my whole heart and it hurts to see them in so much emotional pain, I must still observe and remain silent. Here’s where patience comes in because no matter how we advise others on their life choices because we feel we are trying to help them, it is ultimately their choice in the end. It is their lesson to learn and I need to detach myself with love and just listen. I’m sorry for being so vague but I am struggling right now with keeping someone else’s secret. I want to keep their business private and yet I want to scream it from the rooftops at the same time!! My role in life as an empath can feel like a curse at times like this. I wish I didn’t feel or have thoughts about this person’s future. At the same time I must trust the forces that be because I know my purpose is to heal others. It takes on different forms but that is what I am here in this world to do. Sometimes this comes at my own expense healthwise. I’m still learning and working on my boundaries. Granting myself permission to detach with love is a challenge because i cate so much about everything. Emotionally for me it feels like I am abandoning the person I love yet intellectually I know I’m preserving myself. For most of my life I chose to be the one who got hurt instead of the person I loved. I would gladly take on their emotions thinking that I was “saving” them from the pain. In truth I was just suffering and they remained unaware. It’s a work in process.

I have listened, advised, cared for and sacrificed for this person. I have willingly kept many dirty secrets for this person too. I keep reminding myself I can only control myself and my behavior yet the urge to “fix” this person can feel overwhelming at times. Sometimes too I have to remind myself not to expect others to respond the way I do when faced with a challenge. At first I am fearful but lately I have been trying to push myself past that feeling to implement positive change and growth. It is really scary yet I refuse to go backwards or remain locked in negative patterns that don’t serve me.

I know whatever the outcome I will be alright. I must trudge down my life’s path alone because at the end of the day each of us must live with ourselves alone. No amount of love can save anybody we love from themselves.

I wrote this poem a few days ago about what it feels like to be this person’s secrets holder. I entered it into a poetry contest and won honorable mention. It is amazingly humbling and I feel so honored to be recognized for my writing.

As always my friends, I am so happy to have this outlet to share my inner most thoughts. Let me know if you can relate to this one…..

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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