it feels like i have been searching for peace and contentment forever. i don’t look for happiness – if it comes, it comes – but simply ease. ease from the depression and anxiety that have plagued me for most of my life. i need peace within so i can have peace without, so i’m don’t feel like i’m plugged into an electric current that unpleasantly stimulates my body and brain. i want a state of being that makes my insides feel okay.
consistency is part of the problem. i have a tendency to abandon attempts at healing in the early stages before i see results. i had the same attitude with therapists. prove to me you’re good at your job. prove to me you “get” me. prove to me i can trust you and do it within our first fifteen minutes, otherwise, i’ll reject you as incompetent and there’ll be no progress.
so too went my studies of crystals, yoga, and chakras; the group therapy and twelve-step meetings; music and art therapy. the results simply weren’t fast enough. if something doesn’t work instantly, i react as if it won’t work at all, ever. over the last year, though, something has shifted. the part that is ready, the part that wants to get better has gotten stronger and is starting to hold her own against the parts that consistently self-sabotage. i’m the healthiest, physically, i’ve been in a long time and no doubt that helps.
so i’m at the wanting point and the acting point. i’m at the “so very much beyond tired of life being this way” point. i’m working with my therapists, not against them. i’m trying to do the things they tell me. i’m reading.
there are so many good books on anxiety, depression, wellness, self-care, inspiration, meditation, and philosophy that i now have a great many thoughts and ideas racing around my head with respect to the same. there’s been much learning about myself, a topic i’ve apparently avoided my whole life.
there’s been so much anxiety.
in an odd quirk, healing causes me almost as much anxiety as not healing. i get to hear a lot of “stop”, “go back”, “you can’t do it”, “you’ll fail”, and “you’re going to get fat”. countering those thoughts consistently is one of my greatest challenges to date. i have a lot of history pulling me back towards old patterns, and the familiarity of the known is tempting. i also seem to minimize how bad things were when i look back, further supporting the voices inside that urge me to give up and stop trying.
“as every fancy and imagination presents itself unto thee, consider (if it is possible) the true nature, the proper gratitudes of it, and the reason with thyself about it.” Meditations. Marcus Aurelius, Bk 8, XII
i find it exceptionally interesting that what you need will often appear when you are in a receptive state of mind. it’s certainly true of books. when i’m struggling with something, and pick a book up to read or re-read, i frequently find passages that help me to reorient both myself and my feelings. i find ones that remind me of things i’d forgotten.
this passage reminds me of the saying about offering an opinion: “is it true? is it kind? is it necessary?” except here, you’re asking those questions of yourself, you’re querying your own thoughts. when i do, i start to realize how constantly ugly and oppressive my thoughts, fancies, and imaginations are. how unkind. how unnecessary. it’s a sobering realization to come to, that i treat myself far more harshly than i treat anyone else in the world.
quotes like these ones make me remember that i’m in control of what happens to the thoughts that show up in my mind. i can’t seem stop from having them; i don’t know if that’s something that will ever happen, but i can do the next best thing. i can evaluate the thought, comment, judgement, or criticism, and either choose to accept it and the actions that fall from acceptance or identify it as false and unhelpful and let it go.
if i let go of enough of them, if examining ugly thoughts before they take root and become harmful actions becomes a habit and routine, then i think that the ease and contentment i look for will be much easier to find. so, consistency this time. stay the course.
(march 29, 2018)