Sunday, 24 February 2008

My life: the soap opera

I do sometimes feel like I am living in a soap opera. I'm in an awkward relationship- actually, several. Several that are held together by the one thing pulling them apart, and I watch on in horror as if it's somebody else's life unfolding before my eyes- the whole "will they? won't they?", going around in circles, back and forth, to and it ever going to end? Who knows. The cycle is painfully pathetic to watch. The common theme in all of these relationships is ME. An analyst might say that I put myself in these situations out of low self-esteem/self-hatred/whatever. I think I do it purely because it's all that I know HOW to do. I remain pulled towards something that I know is not healthy for me, yet remain convinced on some level that the relationship has something to offer me.

I cling to hope.

I believe the lies.

I believe that it will all work out well in the end.

All evidence suggests that it most definitely isn't going to work out as I hope- yet I stay stuck, working away, hoping that this episode will have a happy ending. Is there such a thing? Really? This is real life. Not a soap opera. I'm writing the script- the same storyline played out in various scenarios. Where do I find some new material? This is starting to get old.

Fast forward 3/6/9 months and I've moved on to something else. Yet I remain watchful of that old flame which still flickers. I can't let it die out- not yet. As long as there is a glimmer of light, there's a chance that now is the right time to rush in and rekindle it. Ouch. Again, I've gotten burned, and I sit surrounded by ashes berating myself for making the same mistake again, and again, and again.

I want it to be over. REALLY over. I hate feeling that I *need* this. I hate feeling dependant. I hate feeling like my whole existence is based upon my expectations of someone/something else. It's so hard to walk away- I don't know if I can. Or how. Or where I would end up. At least with this, I can predict what is going to happen, as miserable as it may be.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Finding my passions...

It was suggested to me today that I think about all of the things that I love doing. The idea being, that if you follow your heart, everything else falls into place. So often our lives are dictated by other people's expectations, pressures from society, etc and we lose a sense of who we are deep down inside.

So, without further ado, the things I really love:
  • my early morning coffee routine
  • long walks with my iPod on
  • watching Scrubs
  • reading anything related to nutrition
  • dancing
  • getting my coffee from Starbucks, "to go" and taking it into a grocery store to look at food (how sad...)
  • making collages of inspirational quotes/pictures
  • making lists (obviously- haha!)
  • listening to people talk about their careers
  • giving diet/nutrition advice
  • copywriting
  • planning relocations that may/may not ever happen
  • soundtracks from Broadway shows
  • bopping around New York
  • sitting in Starbucks with friends, talking about the meaning of life
  • thinking up cool slogans for t-shirts
  • talking to people
  • feeling like I am making a difference
  • feeling like I am important to somebody
  • playing my harp
  • eating with friends at my favourite diner in New York
  • Ellen's Stardust Diner
  • being independant
  • life coaching articles
  • designing ad campaigns
What do YOU love?..

Monday, 18 February 2008

grateful to be alive

I don't know quite how or when this happened. I spent much of last year too depressed to make any rational decisions, my head to foggy to form coherent sentences, my heart too heavy to see anything beyond the pain and despair I felt in that moment. I tried medications, hospitals, therapy. Tried sleeping, meditations, relaxation, exercise. Tried everything that was suggested, but at the back of my mind I really thought I was going to end up killing myself in the not-so-distant future.

I don't know when that changed. I don't know HOW it changed. I don't quite know why it started in the first place, or if it could happen again.

What I DO know is that I realised today that not only am I getting through each day, I am enjoying things again. I'm not going to sleep at night praying that I won't wake up. I'm not being awoken each morning to the sounds of my own cries. I'm worried about the future and what it may hold, but it's not consuming me- I'm taking pleasure in the things I have NOW and worrying less about what lies ahead. I figure, if I take care of the current moment, the next moment will take care of itself. So far it seems to be working.

Life certainly isn't all "ha ha hee hee"- a lot of what I'm doing is plain and simple avoidance. I'm avoiding opening up the can of worms I opened last summer. I'm avoiding situations/people, I'm avoiding giving up the mechanisms I have used to keep a lid on my depression for the last few years.

But something feels different. I feel light. I feel peaceful. I feel free.

I have some important decisions to make over the next few days which I'm struggling with- it's a matter of weighing up pros and cons, taking risks. I'm content right NOW, and not sure if it's a worthwhile gamble to shake things up again and just hope that I end up content in the long-run. Every choice has a consequence- living moment by moment is serving me well right now, but at some point...well...I do need to step up to the plate and make some decisions.

Seems I start to write with one intention, and end up off on some tangent... I had felt an urge to write some cheesy entry thanking the various people who have stepped in over the last few years and (quite literally) saved my life. No matter how much I fought them or tried to run away. No matter how much I screamed and lashed out, I am here today simply because for the last X years, there have been a whole bunch of people who have kept me alive. Often I resent that.

Today I am grateful.

Thanks guys- I've got it covered for now...

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

(not so) creative writing

Slowly, she starts to eat. She tastes nothing but bitterness as she forces her food downwards, fighting the waves of anger that ripple upwards from her solar plexus. The food threatens to choke her as she struggles to swallow, her throat constricted, crying out in rage. It sits in her stomach like a brick. She feels nauseaus, dizzy, afraid. It is not just the food, but the swallowed emotions that seem to brew within her, bubbling up as if they might errupt.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

emotional mind, yo...

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) operates on the basis that there are 3 states of mind one can be in:-
1) Rational Mind (disconnected, cold, detached)
2) Emotional Mind (ruled by feelings, impulsive)
3) Wise Mind (present, in touch with feelings AND the reality of the situation, collected, in control, thinking clearly/calmly- basically a combination of emotional and rational mind)

There's more to it than that, but that's enough for now.

I seem to spend the majority of my time in "emotional mind". This serves me well when it comes to creative projects (dance, art, music) but not so well when it comes to living a normal* life. When it comes to other people, situations that don't directly affect me, etc, I am perfectly capable of staying calm and "wise". With myself though, I find it impossible to disentangle myself from my high-flying emotions and The smallest events trigger intense reactions. I over-react, make impuslive decisions and generally just do a lot of stuff I come to regret later. I know this about myself in theory, but IN those moments, I genuinely believe I am being completely rational/reasonable.

I'm also learning that I leave myself open to becoming overwhelmed. I don't get enough sleep, I consume insane amounts of caffeine, my diet is pretty appalling, I exercise far too much considering my diet/health status- just overall don't take care of myself properly because something inside makes me think that those ways of handling situations are what helps me hold things together. It's a viscious cycle (and one that I'm not quite sure I know how to break, though you'd think after godknowshowmanyhours of therapy, I'd have some answers?.)

Note To Emotional Self from Rational Self: look after yourself better and stop winding up in this same situation, again, and again, and again...

* I'm not entirely sure what "normal" is

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Who Am I?

For a really long time, whenever anybody asked me to tell them about myself, I immediately referenced dancing. It had been years since I'd touched my harp, years since I had done anything remotely interesting- nothing that could define me in a somewhat-positive light (yes, I have self-esteem issues!) Without dance, what is there? It's really hard to define yourself when you base your own self-worth on external activities/acheivements. Because nothing external is guaranteed.

So now, I find myself thinking about who I am inside. Take away dance, music, illness. Who am I? I have absolutely no idea.

I am passionate. I am determined. I stand up for what I think is right. I am creative. I like to be in control. I have unrealistically high expectations of myself. I spend a lot of time daydreaming- creating elaborate plans which I attempt to follow through, then realise I didn't really plan it all that well. I like to run away from things. Life scares me. Responsibility scares me. I think of my world as a juggling act, and all-too-often the balance gets tipped and things fall apart. I'm sensitive. Highly critical of myself, but (too?) accepting of others. I often jump to conclusions. I like to plan things in advance. I like adventures- adrenaline. I like short-term fixes. I am impatient. I love to make people laugh. I love to explore things, understand, learn. I get confused easily, frustrated easily and bored easily. I am scared of being tied down to any one thing/person. Anything which requires commitment is immediately on my "no-go" list (which is why I like the "one day at a time" idea... I can really only function if my goal is to get through that one day/hour/moment). My priorities change at the drop of a hat and have a habit of turning themselves on their heads.

I am more than an ex-dancer. I am more than an illness. I am more than the words I write/think. I am more than my emotions. I am a whole person- whether I believe that or not is irrelevant right now. At this very second, I can see that I am a human being who is starting to look beyond the surface and discover what lies inside.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

an introduction...

It's been 5 years since I was first diagnosed with osteoporosis. I've lived much of that time in denial- what I couldn't see/feel, I could ignore. I took my calcium supplements alongside my morning multivitamin, and really didn't give it a second thought.

It wasn't really until this time last year (after cracking a bone in my ankle just walking along the street) that I started to think about it- and now, it's been confirmed by x-rays/scans, that my bones are continueing to deteriorate. I can feel pain, and therefore can no longer deny that my body is suffering.

I swing back and forth depending on the day- between denial ("I'm absolutely fine- I'm just imagining this all"), anger ("WTF? This isn't FAIR! Nobody WARNED me!"), depression ("what is the point in anything? I'll never be normal and it's only going to get worse..."), and acceptance ("what's happened has happened...I'll just take each day as it comes and address this as I go along").

I like denial best. I like to pretend I'm fine. I'm just like everybody else. I can go to a dance class, run for the bus in heels, ice-skate, horse-ride, plan my abseil down Ayers Rock. I don't WANT to accept this. I want to stamp my feet and cry and have somebody tell me that everything is going to be just fine, but really...acceptance is the only option I have. I can't change what's happened. Resentment/anger isn't going to get me anywhere, and denial...well, so far that's earned me several more stress fractures and not a lot else to show for it.