Tag Archives: ptsd

Seasons Change

I keep going back to the turning points in my life. I turn a corner and I realize there’s yet another corner to turn! I build my momentum and excitement to get to the next corner. Sometimes there’s a huge celebration, other times, I’m thinking, “why did I bother?” Every time I think I’m enlightened, I realize there’s more enlightenment or levels of awareness. Lol. Then I realize, I know nothing about enlightenment!

I’m just very excited. I’m excited about all the twists and turns my life has taken. I’m excited because I was stuck in a downward spiral and now I’m just constantly going upward and just when I think I can’t go any higher, I’m lifted even higher! I seem to be constantly gauging my reactions to the stimuli that life presents to me. I wonder if I’m over reacting, overly excitement, or if I’m not excited enough. I’m naturally analytical and introspective mostly towards myself and the things I’m engaging with in my life.

There have been some very defining moments in my life when everything changed. I’m talking about changing from someone who took numerous psychotropics to none; someone who was very depressed, psychotic, and suffering with post traumatic stress disorder. I have recently discovered that most of the changes in my life, although they came about from a specific catalyst, the biggest factor that took me to a mentally healthier version of me, was letting go of fears. I let go of the fears of the unknown. I stopped worrying about what others would think. I stopped worrying about being judged. I stopped wondering what if something went wrong and instead dreamed about things going right. I stopped the fearful thoughts that swirled around and around in my head. They certainly weren’t working for me!

I also decided to believe change is possible. I decided to bet on me. I decided to try anything and everything to radically switch the direction of my life instead of going with the same old status quo. There really are seasons of our lives. It’s important to recognize what season I’m in, in order to switch between seasons with grace and ease, and fearlessly. It’s nice to add a bit of inquisitiveness. What is around the corner? What is just around the river bend? Where is the bend in the road leading me to? Can I just peek a little bit as I hurry over there? I’m not afraid, simply because I’ve turned so many corners, despite sometimes not even knowing what to expect (although I did expect something good, at least).

The biggest factor which effected the direction I took, as the seasons changed, was questioning my fears, my self talk, and fear mongering. I especially like to question when someone else tries to tell me what is best for me. I definitely question prolific fear mongering in all of it’s forms. Pretty soon here, I’m going to start a rant about fear mongering. The biggest fear mongering that annoys me is the fear of judgement. I will be the first to admit that I used to be very fearful of judgement, especially judgment from God. However, I don’t live with this fear anymore. It was a very long season of my life, in which I feared judgement from God. However, the season has changed. I am happier and freer since I let go of this fear and many other fears. Every now and then, someone will do a little bit of fear mongering to suck me back into it, by telling me that God’s going to come judge me, but I don’t buy into it.

The final indication of the season changing is that I’m willing to write and talk about letting go of fears! I no longer fear what people will say about my changing my mind about fears. I changed my mind about God’s judgment. It’s a brand new season! This is a huge step because it’s sort of the precursor to another book I’ve been writing. The message here, right now, is that people change their minds about things, their beliefs and their ideas, and it’s totally okay! It’s okay to question my beliefs. It’s okay to say, “That sounds like bullshit!” I used to be afraid to question things, and I loathed myself.  Now, I love myself and I allow myself to have different beliefs than others. It’s about being true to me and what works for me. I live from the heart. I ask myself, “what would love to do?” I do this because I personally believe, love is the answer.   Seasons change.

Advertisements

Everybody’s Crazy

Many years ago, I was very depressed and taking numerous medications for my condition. It was complicated by personality disorders and PTSD. One time, my sister called me around my birthday and asked me what I wanted. I told her, “what I want, you can’t buy.” She asked, “what is it?” I told her I wanted a right mind. She said to me, “Oh, Sophie, everybody’s crazy!” I quietly cried feeling very misunderstood. She didn’t know how bad I was feeling. She didn’t know I just wanted to die. About 20 years later, I finally understood what she meant! This is about how long it took for me to get myself together, too, in order to start making changes in my life so I could heal. I started to realize everyone was crazy so I wondered, What the hell am I trippin’ on???

There is a difference between someone who is going through a chemical imbalance of some sort and the normal everyday crazy.  However, many people don’t understand this. They don’t understand a person who feels they are not in their right mind feels crazy, out of control, like something has taken over, as if they are lost without a body, just wandering around like a lost soul. So many people throw around phrases like, “that’s so crazy” without understanding how it effects people who think they might be crazy. I used to just go “crazy” when people used phrases like, “that’s so schizophrenic” or would cavalierly call something crazy. It would embroil me and get me all worked up. I try not to use the word “hate” ever because it’s a serious word and I hardly truly hate anything or anyone, but I do hate the “crazy” word. Although, sometimes, I’m known to sing, “boom boom, ain’t it great to be crazy!”

Once I woke up to the reality of everyone’s general craziness, it wasn’t so bad. I could relax and not try so hard to be “normal” whatever the hell is normal! Lol. Relaxing, I’m able to be a bit more objective, understanding and compassionate towards myself instead of constantly striving to be something or someone else to fit in.

Today, many people strive to be themselves, start their own trends, wear whatever colors they want, do what they want, without checking to see if it’s the current fad or craze, nor seeking anyone’s approval. Everyone is not striving to fit into some category or box. There is a bit of chaos and craziness involved! However, in my mind, trying to look like others or fit in, is a bit of craziness, too! There’s just no other explanation. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be outspoken or quiet. It’s okay to be upbeat or sad. There’s nothing wrong with being human! There’s nothing wrong with feeling your emotions deeply. There’s nothing wrong with not feeling your emotions. Why must we constantly look at someone and judge whether or not they are behaving normally? Normal simply doesn’t exist. I realize there may be some signs that someone’s life is off balance and maybe they need assistance with it, or not.

What I know is that many people suffer in silence out of shame or guilt. They don’t want to be pointed out, don’t want to be judged, don’t want to be called, “crazy” or “insane” so they keep their own opinions and preferences to themselves. I know I did. Starting from when I was little, someone would ask me what I want, I’d say, “I don’t care.” I was afraid to make a choice or to state my preference for many reasons, but that was my general answer. Mainly because I had seen others teased for liking something different. I’d seen people ridiculed, laughed at or picked on for wearing different clothes, liking other music, choosing other foods, etc…

Nowadays, the “c” word doesn’t bother me so much, but back when I was struggling with my mental illness, it was very disheartening. People who are different are not crazy. People with different perceptions of reality are not crazy. People who choose to live their lives on their own terms are not crazy. People who dance to the beat of their own drum, even if you can’t hear the drum beat, are not crazy. People who are sensitive, delicate, or don’t fit into a boxed category are not crazy. People with a mental illness are not crazy. Oh, yet, everybody’s crazy!

Depression’s Effects…

The topic of suicide has come up a lot lately. A couple of years ago, when I started writing, I told myself I wouldn’t write about it. I decided it was something best laid to rest. I never wanted to revisit it. I had attempted it numerous times. Why should I be ashamed of it? There is a shame, guilt and sadness attached to it. It’s not easy to recover from it and it’s no longer my reality. However, I recently had a change of heart and decided to share a little bit on it. It’s not easy to write about it either.

In the many years I suffered from major depressive disorder, there were times when I had happy and upbeat moments but they didn’t last long. I would sink back into the reality of why I became depressed in the first place. It seemed to be a never ending spiral. I did attempt to hide my depression and PTSD from my children. I didn’t want them to have this bleak view of life. There were many good things in life to be grateful for, and I wanted them to see the bright side of life. However, they struggled just as I did to reach those bright days. On numerous occasions, I sank into very dark thoughts and in my despair just wanted to die. I would call a suicide hotline and they’d tell me all the reasons I had to live for. It sort of angered me to tell me to think of my husband or my kids or my family and friends. What if I didn’t have those people to live for, who would I live for then? I know this may sound dark, but if I were alone, would it be okay to go ahead with and suicide? Many people think it’s selfish for a person to take their life, but what if it’s selfish to ask this person to live in their dark despair? They wouldn’t want to if these other people were able to lift them up!

I could never presume to know what someone is going through in their darkest hours, that would make them want to give up because I know it’s different for each person. I do know that it’s a dark space, more like a hole that’s covered in dirt, it’s like being buried alive. There is no tunnel with a light at the end. Who would want to go there? Not many people will dare to tread the darkness searching for light. When I was in this state, I was very lost and alone. I didn’t think my wanting to die or my death would be a selfish act. I thought it would be a great relief. I thought it was an act of love and mercy for those alive if they didn’t have to see me living in this state of living death.

I really didn’t think of the pain I would cause others if I had succeeded, yet I know now, they’d be living in this perpetual state of depression and sadness. It takes a long time for someone to come out of this state though. Medication can help but sometimes it only causes it to linger longer. In my case, it wasn’t just depression but extreme anxiety that I wanted to escape from plus the memories I kept reliving. I hated having flashbacks and just wanted them to stop. I now see that the memories were there to help me heal.  Anytime, a painful memory comes up, it’s only service is to heal, ultimatly to set me free, not to shame, guilt or hurt anyone. The more I resisted these memories, didn’t face the feelings, or allow myself to grieve, get angry, or whatever, the more they persisted.

It’s not exactly something to go through alone either. It required the assistance of a therapist, counselor, understanding friends and family. It took a lot of people to walk through the valley of the shadow of death in order to get me through the other side. It takes the person who is in the light, who has hope, who knows life is worth the struggle and worth living to keep you going. It takes a lot of strength and courage to keep going when you just want to give up.

People with mental illness are not weak, they are the strongest people alive because they live with these images, voices, memories, hallucinations, and extreme emotions, yet continue anyway. They hold on to their humanity, keep breathing, keep reaching for the light, keep trying over and over again despite what life throws at them. They are a beautiful and loving reminder that people are strong, yet they are also fragile, that everyone is important, everyone has a purpose, everyone brings meaning into this world, and to treat each one with kindness.

We all have a breaking point, which is why it’s important to love yourself. If I’m tired, I rest. If I’m sleepy, I go to sleep. If I’m bored, find something fun to do. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I need to talk, find someone to listen. If I need a hug, ask someone for one. Balance my life with work, rest, and play! If I’m working and not laughing enough, find the joy. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, it’s imperative to ask for help and not try to be the lone ranger. Life is meant to be lived in community with others.  When the dark clouds descends at times, it helps to have someone who is above them.

Life is worth living and it is beautiful. Look at all of nature, it is a symbol of life, breath, and renewal despite the changing seasons and what appears to be chaos at times. I take in the breath of life each day. I allow myself to breathe deeply knowing that whatever is going on, it will pass. The seasons change. Engage in life mindfully.  Be in the moment. Do things that brings joy.  Just breathe.

In The Driver’s Seat

Many years ago, I was in such a mental state that someone had to drive me to my counseling appointments. The therapist was about an hour away and sometimes it was a very distressing appointment and I was in no condition to drive home so she made a rule that someone had to drive me. I had forgotten all about that period in my life until recently when I’ve been driving people here and there, and all over the place! Suddenly, I remembered and thought, “I’m in the driver’s seat now!” It was a wonderful aha moment of recognition. Of course, I’ve been there for a while now, but something in my soul wanted me to recognize how far I have come.

There are many people who choose to ride in the back seat for various reasons. Yet, it’s important to know regardless of who is driving, you’re still in charge of your life, you still get to choose the path, and the means of getting from one place to another. Yet there are those who idly sit by and let someone else dictate what they are going to do with their lives. Maybe it’s a parent’s dream for you to be a Doctor, Lawyer or pro basketball player, but you want to have nothing to do with those things. It’s okay to choose a different path
for yourself.

I love to tell people, your past does not define who you are today. It doesn’t define who you are becoming or where you’re headed either! Everyone can choose at any moment who we’re going to be, right now, today. We don’t have to be bound to our past decisions and choices. We also don’t have to believe or do everything our parents did. It’s my life. It’s your life! Make it a good one!

Peaceful meditation

When I first began to meditate, I was just curious about all the hoopla about it. So many people talked about the wonders of it, I felt like I was missing out! I had to find out! I wondered if it could really help me be more at peace with myself. I certainly wanted a lot more peace. I wanted to know if it would help me to sleep at night. I wanted to know if I could really shut down all the anxiety producing thoughts that were constantly running through my mind. The very first time, I concentrated on an LED light and I ended up falling asleep. I did it again and again. At the time, I had extreme anxiety and PTSD. I had inside and outer voices going on. I was coming out of a major depressive disorder. It worked wonders.

At some point, I was able to stay awake during the meditation time. When I’m awake while meditating, I am able to just observe my thoughts without judgment. I can see what is capable of changing. I see my knee jerk reactions, my sorrow, my happiness, and joy. I accept them all. Being in a meditative state brings about clarity. It’s calmness in the storm. It’s looking at life from a bird’s eye view and knowing it’s going to be okay. It’s letting go of all the “I have to”, “I need to”, and “I should”. It’s allowing life to happen at a natural flow. It’s going with the flow. It’s knowing what I can control, which is me, and what I can’t. Meditation has helped me to face my feelings. It has helped me to look at them and understand where they come from.

In the early days of learning to meditate, I was able to forgive lots of people, including myself. I let go of all the anger and unforgiveness by forgiving those who hurt me. I also forgave myself for those I hurt. I let others off the hook and I let myself off the hook. It’s a win-win situation. I let go of feeling guilt and shame for my past transgressions. I allowed forgiveness into my heart. It’s as easy as that! It doesn’t have to be hard or difficult.

I let go of the fear of what’s going to happen in the future. I accept that there are many unknowns and deal with what’s right in front of me. I can plan and take steps towards the future I desire, but I don’t have to have all the details worked out. I work with what’s available to me at this time while knowing and believing it’s all going to work out. If it doesn’t work out the way I planned, it’s okay. I’ll do something different! It’s okay to not have all the answers or have everything figured out. I’m at peace with myself and the world. I choose peace. I choose to be a peacemaker. I choose to live with the people in my life to the best of my ability with peace and love in my heart. I do what I can each day, then I go to bed in peace, knowing I did my best, and will carry on the next day.

I’ve made meditation a regular part of my life now. It is my number one stress reliever. It doesn’t take a lot of time. Sometimes, it’s just taking a deep breath in, and exhaling. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. I can do it anywhere and anytime. I used to hear people say, “peace is just a breath away”, now I know what it means!  I breathe in peace, exhale stress!  Meditation is healing for the mind and body!

Parental Bullies

I’ve been agonizing over what to write about parental bullying. There is no simple way to say it. Included in the parental bullying are: grandparents, caregivers, uncles, aunts, foster parents, or those in authority over a child and adult children. I’m just going to briefly state different types of bullying:

Verbal berating, criticizing, teasing and belittling.

Physically beating the child with an object, hands, feet, etc..leaving cuts and bruises.

Sexually assaulting a child.

Insisting children share your religious beliefs.

Rejecting the children/adult children based on their career, lifestyle, partner choices.

Threatening to cause harm to a child for disobedience or noncompliance.

Withholding food, clothing, shelter, and emotional support.

I could go on and on but I really don’t want to. My intention of writing this post about parental bullying is to talk about what this type of bullying does to someone. For me, I grew up feeling like I didn’t matter. I felt like I had no say over what happened to me. I felt very disempowered. I felt robbed of my right to life and safety. I didn’t feel safe growing up. Grownups weren’t safe people, neither were some of the kids, but mostly it was the adults who were supposed to keep me safe. I was in a constant state of anxiety and fear. I didn’t know what would happen from one minute to the next. I did not dare speak to anyone of what took place at home due to being threatened. I want to reiterate that I did not dare to speak. Some people will ask, “Why didn’t you speak up?” It was beaten into me that I better not say anything. I had my voice stripped away. Lots of people feel powerless due to not being able to talk about it.

Many people have been bullied in their lives and if you wonder why they don’t speak up, it’s not because they agree or condone with someone’s bad behavior, but it’s because they were taught to be quiet while witnessing horrific events upon themselves or someone else. Many just silently weep in the middle of the night, wishing it will stop. These children grow up to be very depressed, angry, anxious,fighters, feeling inferior, have personality disorders, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

We are the walking wounded, and sometimes we go over the top fighting the system or just being compliant. Sometimes afraid to make the wrong choice or go along with someone else’s plan for our lives instead of what we really wanted. However, some simply don’t know what we want because someone else decided for us and think we’re too stupid to make our own choices. You’re not stupid, you get to decide from now on!

Since I have healed from depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and PTSD now I am here to encourage those who have experienced parental bullying to speak up. Take back your voice. Find your power. Get help from a friend, counselor, coach, or healer. You are worth it. You don’t deserve to live in fear of using your voice. You are allowed to speak your truth. You are allowed to tell your stories. You are allowed to heal from all manner of bullying and abuse. Love yourself!  You are worthy!  One final note, I have forgiven the people who bullied me.  I do not hold any anger or ill will towards any of them.  I wish them love, peace, and healing.  Many bullies were given poor examples of parenting, which is why I can easily choose to forgive with grace and ease.

Hello world!

This is my other blog!  I share my wisdom and stories a bit unrelated to my book Dear Sophia, Love Yourself!  Okay this might sound corny but you know my name is Sophia which means wisdom in Greek.  I feel this great unspoken pressure to be wise.  Yet it comes very natural and flows freely from my pseudo version of spirituality.  I’m probably going to share things you might not have wanted to know me.  However, it will at least sound wise most of the time.   I actually graduated from the SHK, but I didn’t stop learning and I find myself learning on a deeper level and new understanding of things I learned long ago.   For those who don’t know SHK is School of Hard Knocks!  You might find this hard to believe but I am sort of a wizard of wit and wisdom, hence the reasoning behind Sophia’s Wizdom!  I have no plans to quit my day job and become a comedian nor guru.   I just happen to believe I have lots of insight into many things and I happily volunteer my time to share it with the world and my faithful readers.    It may appear I’m full of myself, but I’m actually quite meek and humble.  I’m not trying to brag here, but just rest assured, I have several humble badges.   I share stories of love, joy, laughter and tears.