7

You know those days…

The ones where brushing your teeth is your biggest accomplishment.

You know those days. The ones where brushing your teeth is your biggest accomplishment. Be proud! Show off your achievements with these embroidered felt pins:

I started a achievements jar when I went through a bad bout of depression lately (slowly coming out of it..)  :o)

Simple things like, got dressed (only if I had to go out), bought food (sneak down to the supermarket late when it’s practically empty), cooked a simple meal (rarely – cooking = mess = dishes), spent 10 mins. doing dishes (not often, maybe once..), paid a bill (if they were on my back for payment..), washed some clothes (if I really had to go out), made a phone call (I’d been putting off), lay in the sun for 20 mins (started looking really pasty from staying indoors with the curtains closed), forced myself to socialize with my anxiety group (felt better!), washed my dressing gown (I’d been living in day to day), fed the dog, flea treated the dog, put the rubbish out, open the curtains and let the light in  .. then at some point   … I made the decision to stop binge eating carbs (gained too much weight), went to my Dtr and got 4 free therapy sessions (needed someone to talk to), got advice from a wise psychic counsellor (excellent!), brought Bach Flowers essences (natural emotional healing aides), started listening to soothing music and tried some new relaxation techniques (instant calmness), poured my heart out on my blog (excellent understanding and healing help from readers)..

These things are hard to do when you’re depressed.. some people can keep functioning .. I really don’t and I don’t always choose the healthiest ways to self soothe..

I should add I watched many uplifting movies, took many long baths, took many long naps, watched TV, ate tons of ice cream, binged on carbs, cried buckets, spent hours on the internet in an attempt to feel connected (find healing answers and alleviate my boredom), wrapped myself up like a burrito, posted positive quotes and articles on my blog, snuggled my dog :o)

Now my depression is lifting (it was about 6 – 12 months of darkness). Even doing nothing was doing something because it was healing my heart and helping me overcome fear. I’ve experienced chronic depression but this was the worst bout I’ve ever had.

Be gentle, do what you can, and do what feels soothing.. add some positive/ healthy self soothing techniques too.

Depression isn’t easy but you do get through and you come out stronger and wiser.

SG x

6

Feeding My Heart

stop stress eatingI’ve been overeating for about a month now. Feeding my heart, not my stomach.. I just allowed it, I was so bloody heartbroken. I haven’t behaved like this for years so I was surprised when my binge eating suddenly came back.

I don’t control my binges because I know something very emotional for me is going on..  I try to be gentle and kind to myself. I only control what food I choose to eat, but never how much . I don’t eat sugar, gluten or processed foods ever.. and bingeing on those make me really sick..

I barely cooked the last month. I’ve been watching movies and resting to tired to function, waking up each morning rolling over and thinking .. ugh.. another f*cking sunrise to wake up to bleary eyed and exhausted.

I’ve been holed up inside, haven’t seen much light, I’ve eaten potato chips by the bagful, rice pudding with honey, rice crackers and dip .. yum..

I ate and ate and enjoyed every minute of it, it soothed me. Sure I’ve gained some weight especially on my stomach and my jeans are now skin tight.. hey a bonus it saves a belt :o)

Anyway today I don’t feel the need to binge on carbs. Last night I made the decision to stop dwelling and take action, my family don’t deserve my tears or to rob me another day of my life.

So today I’m taking action and taking my life back. I’m going to sell my Grandmother’s handmade rug my mother told me I had to keep because it’s special to her, and my party business that my father begrudgingly made the furniture for. In fact I’m going to sell all the things that hold me to my past..

I felt very guilty at first but I know it’s something I have to do, an act of rebellion or defiance, an act to cut the bonds to my past once and forall. I have permission to cut the ties to my past..  my permission.

I know I deserve better, and I’m really looking forward to better :o)

Makes me feel sad but really powerful at the same time. Makes me feel in control of my life and my future. Makes me know the direction I want to head .. forwards ..  and not backwards ever again.

Love & baby steps,

SG x

 

 

5

Addiction And Recovery

Choosing Life

My Addiction

In reality all addictions are the same. Same basis just a different vice.

My addiction was sugar. Sounds innocent doesn’t it.. some would argue whether it’s a true addiction. But for some sugar is poison and as addictive as any other drug. Sugar addiction is cruel and complex because you have to eat every day and food is everywhere. Sugar is not just the white stuff we put in coffee, it’s all simple carbohydrates, it’s everything processed. Overcoming sugar addiction means making choices on everything you eat to avoid high highs and low lows..

In my case I ate for a taste of happiness. I ate for joy. I ate to forget. I ate to numb. I ate to avoid. I ate so I didn’t really have to live my miserable existence.

My weight fluctuated like crazy and my esteem dropped. Stress and binge eating went hand in hand for at least 25 years. If I wasn’t overeating I was dieting and overspending.

It started as a psychological addiction and as I became more unwell developed into a physical addiction as well.

I was seriously depressed. I was lethargic. I slept a lot to avoid living. It was a torturous cycle and in the end I got very very sick.

It was hellish slow death, and the saddest thing was I didn’t even know I was addicted I just thought I was a failure. I never got seriously overweight, I yo-yoed dress sizes. My life was constant binge period/ diet period then as the physical addiction took hold became binge period / detox period

What It Taught Me

By the time you hit rock bottom the addiction has pushed you (whether by a health crisis or major loss) to make a simple choice..

Do you choose to live or do you choose to die?

It pushes you to start figuring out your life, to start healing the pain.

You ask questions.. Why do I behave like this? Why does this substance have control over me? Why am I not happy? What do I need? Who can I trust to help me?

This is the point where real change starts to happen. In choosing to heal you are choosing to live well.

Allowing yourself the time to make the changes you need for your well-being is essential. For me that meant big changes –  initially safely separating myself from my psychologically abusive partner (we stayed together as a couple but lived separately for the first few years), not working for many years while I worked on my physical, emotional and spiritual health and recovery which involved long term talk therapy, childhood regression therapy and the eventual divorce from my husband and my birth family.

Although the big picture of these changes felt overwhelming and terrifying, I thank God the recovery was so slow .. purposefully slow in order for me to overcome my fears one at a time each step of the way.. sometimes with support, often alone but always in baby steps.

During those years I couldn’t believe how long it took but I had a lot of fears and a lot to recover from, there really was no other way.

Self compassion and patience are essential.

How recovery from addiction happens

For me initially it was less about will power and more about the slow development of self compassion and self love.

I needed support, someone who had experienced similar to what I had been through and had the courage to heal. I found that in a great therapist.

How I found her… I’ve never been religious but I’m pretty sure desperate and a sobbing mess I dropped to my knees, surrendered to God and prayed for him to send me someone who would understand me, what I was going through and be just what I needed.

Shortly after that I met Faith (a counsellor and yes her real name :o)

I thought it would take 6 months of seeing her… I saw her weekly for 5 years.

I was not in a good financial position at the time, but somehow I found the money. I never missed a session because I knew it would be an investment in the long run.

Being supported by those that listen to your story, have compassion and understand you, builds your self esteem.

Because of my personal story (there were things that happened to me in my very early childhood that I didn’t know/ remember) I went on after Faith and saw other therapists to heal those parts of my life and also a very good naturopath for my physical health (I had M.E) – not all the therapists were the best choices but even that teaches you something.

As you slowly heal the pain you have compassion for yourself and stop doing things that hurt you, it doesn’t happen suddenly, it happens gradually. The bingeing, drinking, food, smoking, self medicating  etc.. becomes less and less frequent. You stop socializing with people that hurt you or hurt themselves repeatedly (you’d now prefer to be alone than with self destructive people). During this transition/ healing stage you spend a lot of time alone as you start to respect yourself, your body, your health, your emotions, your instincts and your needs.

You are starting to love yourself and you don’t want or deserve your mind, body and soul to hurt anymore. You’ve been hurt enough in life. You are now experiencing some good feelings and come across some good, brave and caring people (in the past you never believed these people existed only because you were surrounded by dysfunction). Getting healthy means meeting like-minded healthy people, it means having the courage to step out of that unhealthy old system you were trapped in.

You can’t change the system while you’re still in it.

When you’re in pain you can now recognize and process who or what triggered your distress. You are now kind and gentle on yourself when you are hurting, and you now know who/ what is good for you and who/ what is not.

You are learning how to care for yourself, emotionally, spiritually and physically. You are learning what feels good.

You find new, kind and healthy ways of coping with life stressors. Your past is now over, and you grow to fully love yourself.

There is hope for a better future.

I love this that Elizabeth Gilbert posted today,

“May every step of your journey be blessed, and may you be braver than you ever knew you could be. But most of all, may you offer limitless patience to yourself along the way.

Changing your life is hard, and — like all hard things — it requires love and endurance. But you are worthy, and you are strong, and you can do this”.

Courage, love & baby steps,

SG x

0

Big Choices = Big Confusion?

Conflicting Emotions

Have You Ever Felt Full of Conflicting Emotions or Impulses?

Ever heard the saying, ‘we choose to live or we choose to die or.. get busy living or get busy dying.

Living your life or being the ‘living dead’ really is a choice..

Everyday each choice we make we are choosing to live or to die. Think about it..

McDonalds for breakfast or a fruit smoothie at home, walk to the shops or take the car, go to bed at 10.30pm or stay on the net until 1.30am, seek help or drown sorrows in alcohol and drugs every weekend.

In Psychology, the state of being conflicted between two opposing choices is called ‘Cognitive Dissonance’.

Cognitive Dissonance can put you in a complete state of stress and inner conflict.

It happens when you have a very big decision to make and two opposing choices. (For example deciding whether to stay in an unsatisfying relationship).

On one hand you dearly love your partner, so your heart will be saying stay, and on the other hand, you are deeply dissatisfied and not a good match for each other, so your head is saying leave.

Generally very big personal fears come into play in making these life decisions, so be gentle on yourself – this is not a small thing.

Sometimes neither choice feels good but you still have to make a decision and it may seem easier to avoid them both and just go to bed, bury your head under the covers and take no action or keep yourself really busy, working, drinking & socializing (again, burying your head in the sand). People suffer from chronic depression because they avoid painful decisions.

This is not the answer and will only prolong your pain. Even if you can’t make the decision yet, be kind to yourself, be gentle on yourself, accept that this is hard or heartbreaking for you, it’s big, it’s life changing.

If necessary try relaxation techniques. 

Healthy ways to deal with the stress and to self soothe your inner conflict:

Warm comforting baths

Rest and keep warm

Watch inspiring movies

If you are over eating… go with the flow, accept you are going through an emotional upheaval that will be short lived – choose what you eat wisely though – healthy food over unhealthy if you cannot control your emotional stress and hunger.

Fruit smoothies with added raw cashews and fresh dates if you crave sweet & creamy

Comforting meals that you love and that are healthy. Fresh fish, mash and vegies, warming soups etc..

Remember to go with the flow, be easy on yourself, you’ll get there – even if you’re changing your mind like you change your underpants! – it’s ok.

You are going through a deep process, and your head, heart and conscience are all involved and all putting in their piece ..

You will it figure it out. You will get there and you will feel strong & confident again.

Ask yourself these important questions:

 What does my heart want? What does my head want? What do I need? What are my fears? Am I ready for this? Is this the right time? What do I need to do right now? What are my priorities – (what do I need to do first?) Can I do this in baby steps?What ‘feels good’, What feels ‘right?’ What is best for me? Do I need emotional support, money, support, guidance? Where can I get this? Do I need a plan, a goal or a strategy to succeed? Do I need time to gain my strength?

Which decision feels like I’m taking the easy path…and which feels the harder thing to do..?

Does this feel like a life or death decision?

Do you feel like the living dead…?

You may be scared… you may be confused….you may be judged for your choice …or worse be ostracized by loved ones …you may be terrified…you may feel you aren’t strong enough.

Finding the Right Help 

 If you find you’re paralysed and feeling depressed, or your conscience is keeping you up at night, you’re not sleeping well and you’re swapping back and forth with choices , you’ve been stuck for too long, you’re over indulging in alcohol, food, drugs etc..consider seeking professional help, a guide, a role model or someone who can boost your self esteem and help you find the inner strength, confidence and support you need.

You need to find someone who’ll listen & care but will not in any way judge your actions or influence your decision because of their own fears or belief system. Someone who has experience and has changed their own life for the better, someone you trust and someone who believes in you and you ability to find your own answers.

If you can’t find the right person for this, pray for the perfect person to help you to enter your life.

‘Letting it Go’

Another suggestion is that after you’ve processed everything is just to ‘let it go’..

Have faith that when you give your head a much needed rest and ‘let go’ of your logical mind trying to control your intuition that the answer you need will indeed surface and you will just ‘know’ it is the right one for you.

Radical Acceptance

This whole process is part of you radically accepting and coming to terms with what you need to, not necessarily what you want to do. 

The decision you make may not be what you want, but it may just be what you need to become healthy, strong and happy.

There are times when we all have to make heartbreaking decisions for our own health, sanity and happiness.

We have to love ourselves first, because we can not continue living if we are suffering and don’t be afraid to disappoint others especially those who are not living their own lives happily due to their own fears and insecurities.

Have faith that in time the pieces will come together.

It’s Time For You to Live and to Live Well

We all deserve a fantastic life – you deserve amazing love, happiness and peace, a career that is your passion that you can’t wait to wake up and start everyday. A career that gives your life purpose and meaning and that is unique to you.

During this process, stay in the now – don’t look too far ahead,

and remember baby steps, change takes time, it’s a process, be patient, be courageous, believe in yourself, have faith… you’ll get there in the end, and when you do, it will have been worth all the struggle..

You will be proud of yourself that you made the best decision.

Silver Girl

Cognitive dissonance is the excessive mental stress and discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time. This stress and discomfort may also arise within an individual who holds a belief and performs a contradictory action or reaction. For example, an individual is likely to experience dissonance if he or she is addicted to smoking cigarettes and continues to smoke despite believing it is unhealthy.

Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals largely become psychologically distressed. His basic hypotheses are listed below:

  1. “The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance”
  2. “When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance”

Extract from Wikipedia