Experiencing Life!

Over the last week, I’ve been on a wild adventure to Australia! It’s so amazing here! I worried about the 15 hour flight but I managed it alright. I meditated, read, listened to music, and slept most of the way. I was also sneezing a lot. When we got to Australia, I was sneezing and my nose running almost nonstop so I had to pop antihistamine medication. I was just a freaking nose of a wreck! Knowing I have severe allergies and even allergies back home, I wondered if this was even a good idea! I worried I would not adapt to the environment here in Australia.

However, after two days, the owner of a cottage we rented, told me to try the local honey. She said the local honey should help with allergies. I had no idea where I would get some local honey, but she offered to get me some. She brought over 1/3 cup of honey. I took a couple of spoonfuls. It didn’t work right away. I went to bed tired and still sneezing. I also took another antihistamine because I didn’t know if the honey would work. The next day, I woke up to no sneezing and no running nose! I took another large spoonful of honey just for good measure. Literally, over night, walla, I went from sneezing around everything to nothing! I was so amazed at this wonderful turn around! I didn’t have to carry boxes of tissue paper with me everywhere. Hehe.

One day, I was walking through the forest looking for wallabies, koalas, and birds when I suddenly was very emotional. I’m a very emotional person, and highly sensitive. I was filled with gratitude that I had healed from my mental disorders. Years ago, as many of my readers know, I had very severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, and a dissociative disorder. I was a mess. My life revolved around medications, therapy, and doctor’s appointments. I was on so many medications, I was like a zombie. There’s no way I would have gone on a trip like this. I was also very fearful. Just the flight alone, I would have had to be medicated with extra anti-anxiety pills. I had child alter personalities that would have presented and been very scared and crying. People would look at me strangely and wonder why I was acting this way. I just didn’t go many places during a very dark period of my life. Anyway, I suddenly said to my husband, “I’m so glad I healed because I can take trips like this now!” It’s not that I couldn’t experience life, it just took a lot more effort, and it was very stifled.

It was many years ago that I got better, but I still marvel and am amazed at the wonders of my new life. Since I got better, I’ve taken many trips around the U.S. I went to Canada one summer, and now we’re in Australia. What’s next? Oh we’re definitely coming back here again. Two weeks is just not enough time to take it all in but just the experience of being here, taking in new sights, experiencing another culture, and way of life has been absolutely exhilarating. The more I take in life, the more I experience life, the more I want to take in life and the more I want to experience it! Life is truly amazing and it’s a wonderful gift. I love myself by taking in more life. I intend to make the rest of the years of my life, the best years of my life!

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New Year, New Choices

Today, while walking down the street, I saw someone who looked like one of my former Psychiatrists. I smiled as i walked by the person and inwardly felt a great sense of wonder and gratitude as I recalled all that I had overcome. It’s been about 7 years since I took my last psychotropic medication. I used to take antipsychotics, antidepressents, antianxiety medications, including Adderall, a stimulant! I was a huge mess! I took these prescribed medications for nearly two decades. I was a typical mental patient, I had a Case Manager, and I also had Severe Mental Illness status due to numerous suicide attempts.

Today, I’m an entirely different person. I’m no longer plagued by debilitating anxiety, triggers, depression, and suicidal ideation. It was a long road but I am happy to be where I am today. I was like a zombie back then, though. Now, I just blissed out on meditation and positive energy! I had someone tell me that I probably wasn’t really crazy (and I wasn’t), but that I was just misunderstood. I looked at him oddly because he has no idea where I used to be. It’s easy to understand this mentality because I am not who I used to be, at all.

Over the years, I faced my fears, I faced my trauma, I faced my feelings, I learned skills training, and did lots of grief and processing work to get to where I am today. I am not saying that everyone is going to do it the way I did it, but this is how I did it for me. A huge part of it was learning to love myself, talk therapy, meditation, writing, and also letting go of lots of fears.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you are taking any type of medication that helps you to function. Don’t let that trip you up. I know it bothered me for a very long time. Not only that, but I was expected to be on the psychotropics for the rest of my life! Well, I’m not on them and I’m just fine. I’m not suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD or any other mental illness symptoms. I’m just me.

I’ve always been quiet and reserved. I’m very introspective and like to daydream. I don’t do life the way other people do it, and there’s nothing wrong with my version of reality. I’m a very sensitive person and sometimes this is mistaken as weakness or weak willed. I’m not that either. I have a tender heart and have no intention of changing it. I’m not going to toughen up, I’m not going to grow thicker skin, I’m going to keep on being gentle, kind and sweet, especially to me! Loving yourself is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and is the beginning to creating a new you, a new life, and new possibilities. Love yourself!

This year, I’m planning to release my second book. (My first book is called, “Dear Sophia, Love Yourself!”) It’s going to have more details than my first one, and will be about my spiritual awakening as I was healing from mental illness. It will be about overcoming a lot of fears, learning to meditate, and use metaphysical tools, like crystals, for my healing. Yes, it will be a lot of woo-woo stuff, and I’m here to tell you it’s not crazy; it’s empowering and liberating! I’m excited for the next phase of my journey, and the positive things I’m bringing into life this year.

This all represents personal choices that I made over the years to assist in my healing by changing my thoughts about illness, learning to master myself, and live consciously every minute. Sometimes I do have ups and downs which is the nature of human life, I just don’t stay down. I learn my lessons and get back up. There’s no shame and blame, I am responsible for what I do with this precious gift of life I’ve been given. Happy new year everyone!

Peace, Love & Goodwill

It’s Christmas time! Miraculously, some people have all their shopping done, they have their presents wrapped and under the tree, the house is fully decorated inside and out! They know what they’re going to serve for the Christmas meal and already baked a gazillion dozen of cookies for friends, family, and neighbors! Me? Not be a long shot! I have much admiration for those people though and wish I could get my act together. For many, it’s chaos, worry, lack of money, resources, friends, family, and loneliness.

When I was a little girl, I didn’t even know about Santa except for the times we watched him on TV if we had a (we were very poor). We didn’t always have a TV. Santa was a made up character from cartoons, like Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, daffy duck, and others. I knew adults used him to get children to behave themselves or Santa wouldn’t bring them a present. I was always good so I knew he was fake! Lol. We didn’t always celebrate Christmas either. I didn’t understand what it was about. My earliest memory of Christmas, I might have been four years old. We might have had a tree, but I remember me and my 3 siblings, received one of those free little bibles. I didn’t know about toys, clothes, decorations, etc…I think people put too much pressure on themselves at Christmas time. My mother did the best she could with what she had for her children.

So many people out there saying, “I just want to give my kids a good Christmas!” What is a good Christmas? What does that look like for you? In my mind, a good Christmas is having a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, and surrounded by the people you love. The message has been sorely lost. The message is peace, love, and goodwill towards all people! Yet we have divisions on this planet by color, race, religion, sex, politics, and all other manner of petty issues. We try to take care of me and mine, and blind to the needs of others. Peace, love, and goodwill towards all people! We try to get that one present we think will make someone happy or make ourselves happy, yet forget about peace, love, and goodwill towards all people.

I know Christmas time is a good time to be with friends and family. It’s a nice thing to share gifts with one another. I’m certainly not downing that part because I’ll be here with my own around my tree, sharing love, gifts, and a nice meal. It’s a perfect time to mend a wound. It’s a perfect time to say, “I love you.” It’s a perfect time to give from the heart. Of course, any time is a good time to do those things, I believe the message of peace, love, and goodwill towards all people should be 365 days of the year! This is the heart of my message, don’t let this perfect opportunity slip by you. Let Christmas be in our hearts year round. The gift of Christ was to remind each other that we are loved, that we can be peacemakers, we can spread goodwill towards ALL people.

Remember, let’s give the gift of a smile, a hug, forgiveness, mercy, grace, love, patience, kindness, time, merriment, and goodwill. Merry Christmas!

Photo credit:<a href="http://unsplash-logoAndreea Radu“>

A Safe Place

I’m stepping forward to shine a little light on the problems of our culture and society today in regards to boys, men and perpetrators. I will be the first to apologize for saying all of that in one sentence, since I know women can be perpetrators, too. I am too well acquainted with growing up in the city where the atmosphere was highly sexualized. This is not going to be a story of my victimhood, I’m quite over that!

In elementary school, I recall being chased in the girl’s bathroom (should have been a safe place) by some boys who ran in after me and each held me and humped me! I recall the whistles and cat calls from boys, teenagers and men. I was molested and raped while growing up. I don’t want to bring it all to mind, but I will tell you it wasn’t just one guy! It doesn’t help to demonize them all, but at the same time, society needs to look at how many have been complicit in this behavior by looking the other way, sweeping it under the rug, pretending it didn’t happen or making up excuses why a male would treat a female in such a disgusting and disrespectful manner.

Everyone knows they have been somewhere they shouldn’t have been and have seen things they wish they hadn’t seen. We all know the worst of humanity and seen men do despicable things to women and vice versa. What do we do? Do we lock them all up? Castrate them? Put them on an island away from the rest of the world? Do we forever punish someone for some stupid misspent youthful lusts? Hmmmmm. My proposal is quite simple, we create a safe space, a sacred place for men, women, and children to come forward with their confessions and speaking their truths.

I imagine a place where the men will come forward and say, #Idid, “I did rape a woman.” “I did have my way with her.” “I did molest a girl.” “I did treat her like an object. “ “I chased girls in the bathroom and humped them.” “I participated in gang rape.” “I was out of control.” “I threatened her.” “I held my hand over her mouth.” “I got her drunk or drugged her so she wouldn’t fight me.” What if every guy who ever did it, came forward and not only that but humbled themselves and actually apologized? What if every girl or woman who experienced this, said, “Yes, and I knew it happened to my friend, but I didn’t say anything.” What if we all stopped pretending like we don’t know about this???

What if we created a society where it’s safe to be a woman and not live in fear of this happening to us? What would happen to our collective consciousness? What if everyone talked about how someone they know and love was molested or raped and said how it made them feel to know there are people in the world who do this with no regard for human life or dignity?

I’m quite over the world being silent about this. I’m over the victim blaming and shaming. I’m over the pretending these things aren’t happening. I’m over the demonizing a person who admits they did a terrible thing in a moment of weakness or foolishness or selfishness. Should they be held accountable? Absolutely!! However, there needs to be a measure of compassion and forgiveness when someone willingly confesses to defiling another person. We as a society need to rethink how we treat our girls, boys, women and men especially in regards to sexual behavior. We need to consider the world we have created and how we can make it a better and safer place to live for all, and future generations.

My heart goes out to all the girls, boys, women and men who have ever been violated and humiliated by sexual violence.  My heart also goes out to those men and women who want to step forward and confess, who want to shine a light on this behavior, who want to heal it, who want to heal themselves, who want to heal society and set themselves free.

Dental Woes

Today’s blog is in support of mental health awareness month!  I recently went to the dentist to get a crown.  I have a love/hate relationship with dentists.  I love to have my teeth looking nice and shiny but I know over the years I have had very poor dental care.  Some of my dental problems stem from neglect growing up that continued into my adulthood.  I also didn’t care for my teeth because I was not always mentally aware that I even needed to!  I was very severely mentally ill for a while.  I took Wellbutrin, Zoloft or others, Zyprexa or other antipsychotics, Adderall and Armour thyroid.  I was on some heavy duty medications!   I had a steady cocktail of psychotropics that involved two antidepressants, an antipsychotic, a stimulant and my thyroid medication.  I was like a zombie basically.

When I went to the dentist, it always because I was in some dental pain, I would not intentionally seek out dental care otherwise.   On all of the forms, at the dentist office, they ask if you are now or ever been treated for a psychiatric disorder.  I always answered truthfully.  I could never figure out why they needed to know this.  They even asked if you had ever been in a psychiatric hospital.  Why do they need to know this?  What difference does it make?  I need my teeth fixed.  They’d even want to know the dates you were hospitalized.  I was always a bit embarrassed to admit all the meds I was taking and the different hospitalizations.

There came a time, when I was no longer on psychotropic medications.  I was healing.  I didn’t need them anymore.  I didn’t even have a psychiatrist.  I was still in therapy but I was well into recovery.  I had some dental pain so I scheduled a dental appointment.  I didn’t have a regular dentist so I had to call around to find one on my plan who could see me ASAP.  I found one, they took the xrays and assessed what was going on in my mouth.  I needed a lot of work done and I was in horrific pain.

However, the dentist saw that I had been a psychiatric patient.  She asked about why I wasn’t on medications.  I told her I didn’t need them anymore.  She said I had to get clearance from a psychiatrist before I could have the dental work done.  I was beside myself.  I told her I didn’t even have a psychiatrist, and sometimes it can take more than a month to get in with one!  She informed me there’s a special place for people like me to get dental help.   People like me?  People with former mental illness or someone you think is not in their right mind because they have a history of mental illness?

I still get sad when I recall this story because this is the plight of people with mental illness.  They get looked at funny or judged and misunderstood.  People with a mental illness are still people, they are worthy of dignity and respect from all health care providers.   No matter what healing modality you are serving, remember these people are special, they are sensitive, and need your services.  I went to another dentist.  I also found a psychiatrist who gave me clearance for the dental treatment.  She did offer an anxiety medication that is commonly prescribed for people, whether they have mental illness or not, who fear seeing the dentist.

Believe it or not, I do not have major depression with psychotic features anymore.  I do not have post traumatic disorder anymore.  People do heal.   There’s no reason to treat someone as if they are going to be mentally ill for the rest of their lives just because they had a mental illness at one time.  Even if I did have a mental illness, there’s no reason to treat me like I’m a freak, or crazy, or like I’m just a lost cause.  I healed.

In The Blink Of An Eye

Yesterday, I went to the river with a friend to perform a releasing ritual.  We basically talked about the old patterns, attachments, beliefs , pain, and habits that were holding us down and released them into the river with the nearby rocks.  I would pick up a rock and say something like, “I release the pain of rejection,” then I threw it in the river.  I stood in the cold water, watching it flow as I let my pain go.  I also threw away an old broken fluorite heart.  It broke in 3 pieces a few years ago and I just kept it in my dresser.  Yet, I didn’t want it around me anymore because this no longer represented how I feel about myself.  My heart is whole and healed and I didn’t need this imagery of a broken heart in my dresser.  The things we hold onto matters.

The more I released, I felt lighter, freer, happy, and my head didn’t feel so cloudy.  I had more clarity to see more issues, pain, and memories that I needed to let go of.  As we were leaving, I remember telling my friend how easy it was.  It was so easy to go to the river, and to let the water wash my pain away.  Sometimes we make things so complicated!  Many times, people will tell you, life can change in the blink of an eye.  Normally, when they say this, they’re talking about when tragedy strikes.  They’re talking about a bad accident that leads to serious injury or even death.   How come no one thinks your life can change for the better, in the blink of an eye?

Every day, I think about how I can make the world a better place by being introspective.  I look inside of myself.  I ask my heart if I’m getting better or bitter.  I contemplate my own actions or inaction.  I strive to self regulate.  I don’t look at someone else and judge them, I look to myself.  This I know, for me is true, life can change in the blink of an eye.  I can release my old pain and hurts which will create a huge shift in my energy, and my heart.  Life flows easier when we’re not holding onto broken things, toxic relationships, negative attitudes, and pain.   Let it flow!

Conscious Living

Years ago, I was in a support group for people who had suffered various childhood traumas.  I had severe depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder.   Frequently, we’d all share how we spiraled down due to the negative voices going on inside.  One woman, called the voices, “The committee.”  The committee would call her names.  The committee would say she’s ugly, not trying hard enough, a failure, dirty, embarrassing, unlovable, evil, unworthy, and so on.  We all were fighting our own negative messages.   To a certain extent, everyone has to fight negativity, even those who don’t have a mental illness or have not been abused.  We each have a shadow side to contend with.

Since I have healed from my mental illness, I have learned to live consciously, and  set up a new committee in my head.  This committee tells me to keep going when I feel like giving up.  This committee reminds me I am loved, I am beautiful, worthy, and I am strong when I start to feel otherwise or life is getting me down.  This is the beauty of living consciously, I set my own messages and I disregard any that do not agree with me nor serve my highest good.  Any messages now, that brings me down, they’re instantly tossed away.  In doing so, I don’t spiral down.  I use the positive committee, instead, to spiral up!

This is the essence of conscious living whether you are struggling with mental health issues, negative influences or messages from relationships and society in general.  There is negativity all around, but I don’t let it bring me down, instead I consciously choose where my thoughts will go, because thoughts direct our actions.    It means I’m choosing where I go, who I spend my time with, what programs on TV that lift me up and which ones take me down.  It’s choosing what I eat, where I live, and what I breathe!  There clearly are negative influences in this world and then there are the lifegiving ones.  I choose the lifegiving ones that support me, my lifestyle, my personality, and quirks.  Remember, there is always a choice to react to negativity or respond with grace and compassion.

So when the dark clouds come, and sometimes they do, I listen to my new committee, who I sometimes call my higher self, my inner self or soul.  I listen to the voices that give hope, life supporting and ultimately leads to my freedom from darkness, and into the light.  I spiral up, instead of down.    Another aspect of conscious living, is trusting in my heart.    When I’m sad and feeling unlovable and unloved, I place my hand on my heart.  I feel it beating, and tune into it  The heart knows a lot more than my mind.  My heart’s message is, “You are loved.” “You are worthy.” “ You are strong.”  “You are enough!”  “Love yourself!”  As I love myself, I spiral up even higher!  Live consciously by loving yourself, and trusting your heart.

What We All Want

I was standing in my kitchen, sipping on a fresh cup of coffee, when I glanced outside my kitchen window.  I saw my two granddaughters outside laughing and swinging.  I smiled and went outside to have a closer look.  The lawn had been recently mowed and looking fresh.  However, I couldn’t help but notice the dog had recently done his business!  So I got the doggy doodie tools and went to pick it up.  I noticed a couple of others.  I just wanted my grandkids to play in safety without slipping or falling in dog poop!   Just wanted them to have a grand time and not worry about getting poop on their shoes.  I wanted their play experience to be pleasant, even though there’s the occasional fall or cry when someone’s feelings get hurt.  I am well aware of the little trauma moments that children can experience.

As I went around the yard, making sure it was clean, I thought about the recent fear of my granddaughter going to school.  I worry that she could be caught in the crossfire of someone’s shooting spree.  I thought, what has this world come to?  What are we doing to our kids?  Why is everyone so sad, angry and stressed out?

Learning is supposed to be fun!  I remember teaching my kids to use a crayon because it was fun to color a picture.  I remember teaching them to hold a rattle in their hands so they could hear the funny sound.  I remember giving them different toys to see what they would do with it.  Yes, naturally they progressed but still the best learning atmosphere is one of fun, lightness and curiosity.  These children nowadays aren’t having fun!  They are worried for their lives.  They are worried about stresses that they should never ever have to experience.  Let’s not forget adults also work in toxic, stressful and competitive work environments.

Why have we forgotten the meaning of life?  Why have we forgotten to have fun?   Why have we forgotten to laugh at the silly worries of life?   Life can be serious, but the seriousness should not permeate our hearts and souls.  We should be able to relax, knowing that we are safe from harm.  We’re safe from bullying, and we’re safe to be ourselves.  We’re not under judgment, condemnation or an unfair grading system.

The goal in school is not to produce human working machines, but happy and confident young adults who can stand on their own two feet, make tough decisions, and create a life of meaning for themselves.    In order to do this, we must change the environment of our schools, homes, work, and institutions.  It’s not enough to recognize when someone is having a problem, it’s important to intentionally raise our children to be sensitive, mindful, compassionate, and caring human beings, not in competition with one another.    The quality of our lives depends on it.  We all want to live happy lives.  We all want to live in safety and security, but not at the expense of another!  Remember to love one another.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  It is very simple.

We can do so much better.  We can create the life we want for our children, and future generations.  It starts now with consciously choosing to be the difference, to be the peace, to be the love and compassion we all need right now.   It starts by living from the heart.  The heart knows the way.   Let your heart direct your thoughts and actions to love one another.   Just be love.

Love for Every day

A lot people wait until they’re death bed to finally forgive and let go.   They wait until they’ve been given their last few months and go out to make amends with people, get their affairs in order, tell everyone who is important to them how much they love them.    I wonder what would I do if I was told that it was my last year, my last month, my last hour, or last minutes.  What would I do?  I’ve lived sort of a full life.  I don’t exactly recall anyone I need to go and forgive or someone to go love.  I have strived to live every day as if it were my last one.

So I’m going to ask you, what are you waiting for?  What did you always want to go do?  Who do you need to call?  Who do you want to reconcile with?  What was that argument you had which ripped your relationships apart?  Could you do it?  Is it important to you?  Do you absolutely love your life and the people who are in it?   Is there someone to invite over?

This is not a fearmongering or doomsday type message.  It’s simply your wake up call.  It’s your permission to go and do what is meaningful and important to you (so long as it doesn’t infringe upon anyone’s right to pursue love, liberty and happiness.)   I’m serious here!  It’s okay to call someone I hurt and say, “ I’m sorry for my actions or inaction.”  It’s really okay to take personal responsibility.  It’s okay to say, “Can we start over?  Can we try again?”  It’s okay to say, “I was wrong, please forgive me!”  It’s okay to say, “I forgive you, I love you, whatever it was doesn’t matter right now today!”   It’s okay to say, “I’m sorry for the words I spoke.  I’m sorry I judged you.  I’m sorry I let trivial things get in the way.”

See how easy it is?  See how easy it is to love your self and then love others?  See how simple the process could be?  Maybe the other person won’t be ready to forgive or move on, but that’s a reflection of them, and not on you.  We can all stop with the guilt and shaming of ourselves and others in the name of being right or whatever you want to call it.  I’m telling you, my dear, when the final curtain drops and the lights go out, some things in this life just won’t matter.  What are you making a big deal of right now that won’t matter when this life is done?  Go ahead and fix it now.  Fix it for love’s sake.  Fix it for compassion sake.  Fix it because you really want to.  Fix it because you are ready to move on to other things.  Fix it for no reason, but because you can!

Love is always ready to love again.  Love is always ready to forgive.  Love is compassion.  Love is forgiving.  Love is getting up and trying again.  Love patiently waits and willingly forgives.  Go ahead and give out that compassion, forgiveness and love like candy!  Just pass it out and give it away to those who matter to you.  Give it to the brokenhearted and those in need.  Give it freely from your heart.  Love is always standing by to love some more.  Love is the answer.  Love yourself.  Love your life.  Love is the most important thing.   In the end, only love remains.

The Good Years Outnumber The Bad Years

Many years ago, a good friend told me, “Sophia, someday, your good years are going to outnumber the bad years.” I had no idea what it would look like but I looked forward to the day. The measure for me was that the first 18 years of my life were hell, so I figured after I turned 36, they would start to get better. However, by then, I had full blown major depression and PTSD, and there didn’t seem to be any end in sight. It took me many more years of healing before I finally saw the good years outnumber the bad ones. Sometimes I lost hope, and I forgot about what she said. I just didn’t even want to try anymore. I’d give up, but then a spark of hope would get me going again.

During those years of trying to overcome my past, I had no idea what I was reaching for. I thought maybe I just didn’t want to be depressed. I didn’t know what true happiness looked like. I thought maybe I didn’t want PTSD but I didn’t know what exactly was the alternative? When you have been living with a condition for a long time, it can easily seem like it’s been this way since forever and it’s never going to end. Time doesn’t really heal all wounds, but after a while, our perspectives do change, for better or worse. No one really knows what another person is going through unless they’ve been exactly in the same place and feel the exact same way. We all do have pain and suffering in common but everyone deals with their issues from their points of view, their own life experiences, and sometimes other people just cannot go there with us.

This is why it’s important to let love, compassion, and patience be your guide with loved ones if they’re going through something that you don’t understand, or you think they should be able to snap out of it. It took me decades to reach the other side or to finally get to the point where my good years did in fact outnumber the bad years. Have a little faith and trust in the process. Eventually, I did heal from my past, the depression, and PTSD, too.  For years, I took different psychotropics to manage my illnesses.  I no longer take any medications except one for an underactive thyroid.

Sometimes you’ll have a bad moment, but don’t think it’s going to last.  Or it could be a bad week, month, year, or even a decade or two.   Life really does change.  People do change.  Don’t ever give up. Keep hope alive.   Love yourself!