Cherish The Good Times

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I get really nostalgic at night. During that hour that I can’t fall asleep, my mind manages to cycle through every possible thought that will make me as sad as possible. It got me thinking Maybe, just maybe, life is designed to make us miserable. Personally, I have two sets of memories, the sad memories and the happy memories. (My neutral memories tend to end up not being that memorable for me). So I remember my sad memories, I think about how awful they made me feel and these emotions come rushing back, making me as miserable as ever. Then the happy memories start floating around. I think about how great they are. And then immediately, I become more depressed then ever, thinking Wow, the best moments of my life were right there. Now they’re over. Nothing like that will ever happen again.

When something like that happens, I get in my “stay in the present mindset”. People always tell you to live in the present right? Because its not worth it to dwell on the past or worry about the future. I try my best to shove down all those memories. I try to forget because it hurts too much to remember knowing that they’ll never be back. But as I was lying in bed last night trying to crush all these memories, I realized that it didn’t have to be that way. Honestly, life isn’t designed to make us miserable. I know it because there are so many positive people out there, people that have been through horrible experiences and manage to still keep their head held high.

And I thought. No, I’m going to cherish these happy memories. Because they’re mine and no one can take that away from me. And I feel like in that moment a weight was lifted. There’s no need to push away wonderful happy memories because its too painful to remember them. Instead, I’m going to tuck them away in that album in my brain. I’m no longer going to feel guilty for remembering something that made me happy. I’m going to take them out for walks in my mind and cherish the delightful emotions associated with them. I’m not gonna pretend that they weren’t great because they truly were. And so from now on, I’m going to focus on that. I’m going to be thankful for the fact that I was able to experience something so wonderful, I’m going to stop mourning their loss, I’m going to stop trying to recreate the memory because life doesn’t work that way. The best little surprises are the ones that you don’t expect. No matter how hard you try, you can’t capture the perfect view on your camera. You can’t replicate the scene. But you can seize the moment, pocket the happiness, and just be grateful.

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Coping With Change (A very ranty rant)

I moved back home from college on Sunday with the knowledge that I wouldn’t be back on campus until 2015. Packing everything up, it struck me that half of my college experience was over and I remembered everything that had happened in the two short years that I had been there. I had built up quite a collection of memories, both good and bad, but I had also grown very accustomed to my life on campus. I was safe there. The end of the semester gave me the realization that time was still moving forward and that was something that I had been avoiding for so long.

Part of it was also the dread of going home. I love my family and spending time with them, but being at home also carries an overwhelming set of memories, something that I didn’t realize until I spent a significant amount of time away. The past few days have been really hard for me. My grandmother’s health had deteriorated pretty rapidly and on Friday she is returning to the hospital to have another procedure done. It brought back memories of when she was first diagnosed with cancer last spring and I had to start on antidepressants because my anxiety began to be debilitating. Just about two weeks ago, I finally came off medication. I couldn’t really take the side effects anymore and I hated the idea of being dependent on drugs.

Yesterday, I had a pretty bad panic attack. I’ve never actually had a panic attack that bad while I was sober, but I was just really overwhelmed. I had been avoiding a lot of things while I was at school, but at home, everything came rushing back. I also don’t really have anyone to turn to when I’m at home, and I hate burdening my family with the idea that I’m not okay right now when they have so much to deal with on their own. Ironically, I get the idea that me staying strong at home is part of what is keeping everyone together. I keep thinking that if only I were still at school, everything would be okay, but I know that that’s really not true. I’m also burdened by the guilt that I’m so much more stressed out being at home and around my parents and I know that that’s not what home is supposed to be and that’s certainly not what they want for me.

I honestly just wish that time would stay still for just a sec. I just need a moment. One moment.

For now, I’m just trying to hold myself together. I’m practicing piano a lot because that seems to be the only time my mind stops designing horrible scenarios for myself and deciding I’m constantly on the verge of a panic attack. I’m also spending a lot of time in bed because it feels safe there. I feel guilty about wasting precious time, but I’m also trying to remind myself that it’s important that I take as much time doing what I need to do to make sure I’m okay.

10 Steps for Fighting Harmful Behaviors and Getting Over Addiction

It was such a simple move, but simply acknowledging my addiction has changed my personal outlook quite dramatically. It has helped me understand why I do some of the things I do and how to consciously make a decision to stop reverting to all these things that end up harming me in the end. Nevertheless, I am a plan it out kind of gal, and I feel like writing down a plan will make me more accountable to myself. So here are my 10 steps for fighting harmful behaviors and getting over addiction:

 

1. Pinpoint actions and behaviors that you turn to when you stressed, depressed, or in a generally negative state of mind.

2. Answer these questions: Does this make me feel better in the short term? Does it have harmful long-term consequences? Am I becoming dependent on this? Do I know how to cope with my stress without this? And finally, am I addicted?

3. Acknowledge the addiction and make a conscious decision to get over it.

4. Make a list of reasons why it is harmful. How is it affecting your life in a negative way? Reinforce your reasons for quitting so that when you start to relapse, you remember why you committed in the first place. Write these reasons down and keep them accessible.

5. Make a list of your triggers so you are aware of when you are most vulnerable and when it is most important to steer clear of your addiction.

6. Find a hobby, or a make list of activities to fill your time with instead. Personally, I am trying to start meditating more regularly. I’ve also been practicing piano much more, as creating music is something that builds my confidence and allows me to be comfortable with myself. Going for a walk or listening to music are also great activities. Something my therapist suggested, but I’ve only tried once is listening to an audiotape to keep thoughts from going astray.

7. Reward yourself! (Albeit not by giving in to your addiction) Treat yourself to a meal at your favorite restaurant or buy yourself something nice. Set personal goals for your addiction, be it number of days, weeks or months, and when you fulfill these goals, give yourself a little something.

8. Get in touch with your feelings. A large part of meditation is understanding your emotions and mental states. When you are sad, acknowledge your sadness and try to understand what it is that is making you feel this way. By becoming more aware of what is going on within you, these emotions have less control over your actions.

9. If you have a relapse, don’t give up. Acknowledge that relapse is natural and happens to the best of us. It is not a setback. It is simply a reminder of how difficult recovery is and how strong you are for having come this far. Keep chugging forward.

10. Celebrate yourself. Acknowledge the little victories. Did you get out of bed today? Did you smile at least once? Did you make someone else smile? Did you check off something on your neverending list of tasks? Did you fight off an urge? Did you remember to celebrate yourself?

Metta.

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Addiction

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Addiction is more common than we realize. It goes beyond alcoholism or drug addiction. Much of our society is addicted to the internet, to being constantly online. Other talented folk are addicted to practicing their sports or their instruments. But these things aren’t necessarily bad or harmful. I’m talking about the addictions out there that mimic the effects of drugs or alcohol, that make you feel deceivingly good or at least numb for the smallest amount of time, but ultimately leave you in a much worse state then before. I’m referring to our addictions to certain emotions or actions or even people. This may not be the case for everybody, but as someone with an extremely addictive personality, I am starting to see how addiction has been manifesting in my life in ways I never realized.

Every person has their own way of dealing with stress or depression (the emotional trigger). Some turn to drugs, drinking, or sex, which are okay in moderation, but not in large doses. Other stress relievers are cutting, undereating, or overeating. These behaviors often come into play because people feel like they are losing control over their life and they reach for the one thing that they believe they can control. I have a tendency to deal with stress through impulsive behaviors, whether it be getting piercings or tattoos, or any of the above. While engaging in these behaviors gives me a sense of control and short-term elation or just numbness, I always end up at the other end feeling no better and often times worse, especially since I am aware that my body physically can’t handle some of these things.

My worst addiction is something that I’m not comfortable discussing online, but it is something that I never even realized I was addicted to. On a good day, I don’t even think about it and I’m always proud of myself for being able to control myself. But in times of stress or depression, its nearly impossible to get it off my mind. And every time I give in, I find it harder and harder to stay away the next time I am stressed out because I haven’t learned to deal with my stress in a healthy way, without this fall back.

So this post is my acknowledgement of my addiction, my first step to recovery. And my promise to myself that I will start addressing this addiction, and any other addictions I have in my life. I know that it won’t be easy, but I want my actions to be things that I want to do, not things that I need to do.

I believe in you

Hey. Hey you. Everything is going to be okay. You’re doing amazing. I’ve been watching you. I’ve been with you every step of the way, and I am so proud of you. I know you struggled. I know sometimes you saw what was in front of you and you looked away or hid, but in the end you made it through. And that’s what makes you so strong. You looked fear in the eye and gave it the middle finger. You know how I know? Because you’re here right now. You are what inspires me every day to put one foot in front of the other. You make me believe that no matter what life throws at me, I can make it to the other side. I believe in you. And you should too.