Thursday, May 29, 2014

wise mind

i have been thinking a lot about this quote by maya angelou ever since i read it yesterday : "listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of god." i think it is so wise. it reminded me of a post i did a few years ago on silence and how much i enjoy quiet time to myself to think, write, and just be.

there can be so much each day that competes for our attention but we need to learn to give time for ourselves to be still. i like to use this time to commune with god. it refreshes my soul and helps me know that he loves me.

the dbt term for this is 'wise mind.' it is when you connect you body, mind, and soul together and dig into that well of knowledge that is in you. it is more than making a good decision - it is making a sound decision. knowing the facts of a situation and listening to your heart. wise mind is something that is difficult - at least for me - to describe. it is something you have to experience to really understand. i think to some degree we all have experienced wise mind - that moment when we're really pleased with a decision we've made because it fits our values, the situation, and makes sense in that moment. to me wise mind seems to go a step further. for example it can help us when we are being overly critical of ourselves or when we are caught up in the emotions of a situation.

susan has helped me many times get into wise mind during our sessions by calling my attention to my breath. i breathe in and out until i am calm. i hold my hands open, palms facing up, signifying 'willing hands,' and once my breathing is still and my mind is calm, usually very quickly a one sentence answer will come to whatever question i am being asked. i am sure the experience is different for each person. for me it seems to come straight up from my core into my head from left to right across my forehead like i'm reading the answer. it's a very neat experience. 

do you have a question or problem you can't seem to find the answer to or solve?

tonight, let's all find a quiet place, gently place our willing hands in our laps, take a few deep breaths until our minds and hearts are calm, ask god our question, and then wait quietly until he answers.

i promise if you wait, he will answer.

Monday, May 26, 2014

take a brief vacation

saturday was a great day.

my sister, b, decided she wanted to go to the beach. we live in the dallas area so the closest beach is galveston which is a 4-5 hour drive. those of you who have been readers of mine for a while know that i don't do heat or the sun or the outdoors in general :) that's just the way i roll. i've gotten a little better with this as time has gone on but that could be because it has been winter-ish in texas.

soooo, when b decided she wanted to go to the beach, she didn't even think of inviting me because she assumed my answer would be 'no.' and normally it would. but i learned a new skill last week from susan called 'take a brief vacation' and i wanted to practice using it. to use this skill you mindfully take a break from your life and do something different. it can be as simple as reading your favorite magazine in an easy chair for an hour to getting a manicure/pedicure, going to the zoo, visiting a museum, going to a new restaurant downtown, going on a walk in the mansion area of town, going shopping in another city, visiting a cute boutique, etc etc, but the point is to do something different and unique that is not part of your daily routine. this gives you a break and helps you feel like you have had a 'brief vacation' from life.

when the opportunity presented itself to 'take a brief vacation' i wanted to go to the beach for the experience of going. b was surprised - and frankly i surprised myself a little lol! - but we got up early saturday morning and she drove us down to galveston while i slept and we spent a lazy afternoon, her soaking up the sun, me slooped under the umbrella, but still enjoying the breeze and the ocean-ie smell.

funny story -- i get migraines easily when i get too hot so i could feel one coming on when we got to the spot we picked out on the beach, so b had me sit under the umbrella while she tried to figure out how to set it up. well 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes, all roll by with really no progress -- i always say i'm more in the supervisor roll. i'm not really any help when it comes to setting things up/taking things apart because my brain just doesn't function like that - and i was the official holder of the umbrella so it didn't fly away while she was trying to stake it down. so this young father of three - with a very pregnant wife - took pity?? mercy?? on us and came over with a shovel and said, "need a shovel??" and b was like, "no i need help!" and basically roped him into setting up our umbrella while we watched his kids - his wife had gone somewhere to get something. nicest guy and so helpful! anyway - he got it up for us and b put some more string-ie things around it to stay and all in all it stayed up while we were there :)

it was very pleasant and i got to people watch which is something i really enjoy. people are fascinating! and on the beach they are so active and engaging. b and i had some really good and funny conversations - we decided no one will understand us as well as each other. we had plenty of water, dr pepper, and gatorade, as well as snacks to keep us happy and later in the afternoon we decided to drive back home. i did the drive home while b slept. we stopped at in-and-out for dinner and sang our little hearts out to some fabulous tunes!

it was a great girls' day trip and a wonderful 'brief vacation.' i recommend everyone take a 'brief vacation' -- it's rejuvenating for the soul! 

Friday, May 23, 2014


i sit here. starring at the computer screen. and one word keeps going through my head : fear.

over and over and over again.

fear - fear - fear.

with growing intensity, over the past two weeks, i have felt this fear escalate. in my mind i feel like i'm in a box that has shadows creeping in on every side. slowly, i'm becoming encased in blackness.

the fear holds me hostage as i try to move beyond it and back into my life. i'm not exactly sure what the fear is about but i have an idea. i think the fear is about returning to work as a speech therapist assistant. from my perspective, i left on such a dissonant cord - thursday i saw all my patients like every other week and friday i was in the hospital - tuesday i quit. it happened so quick, the spiral was so fast that i didn't see it coming. i am afraid of returning to work because of the disastrous way - to me - it ended. i found myself last night writing "i don't want to work with kids." that was so sad and so insightful if it's true. i don't know what to believe anymore. i don't trust myself.

i texted a the other day, "i have this crushing weight of fear that seems to be paralyzing me. i'm afraid of all the choices i need to make and i don't know what to do.i feel like a ship without anchor tossed in a storm." when i'm out of susan's office i'm extremely hard on myself. she agrees. when i'm in her office i have better clarity. she presents the other side of my life that i'm not always willing to allow myself to see (ex: all the good i'm doing in-spite of the suffering and hard days). even still i feel like i'm struggling to be skillful in the choices i'm making and the actions i'm taking. 

i was talking to my aunt e this week and she said, "life is not for sissies." that's for damn sure. 

s and i were texting yesterday and we had a delightful conversation about this movie clip :

s - "I saw something online that caught my eye and imagination recently. Prolly an Alice in Wonderland thing ~~~ "anxietea party" man that would be a crazy 3 act play. Like the tea party in wonderland. Right now I would be the mouse in the tea pot dosing off. Who are you? The rabbit? No, not the rabbit? Alice ?" me - "I could be either : the rabbit running around late late late but prolly Alice starring off into space wondering what life holds in this strange land. Yes that fits." s - "Yes, it does."

Monday, May 19, 2014


i've cried off and on all day.

lately i've been struggling with some really powerful emotions.

i almost - almost - wish for those mind numbing days of strict depression where i felt nothing but endless seas of sadness. almost. (but not really - even they came with a price)

today i feel really hurt. someone very close to me touched on a sore subject and in effect poured lemon juice into my raw, emotional wound. i went to counseling distraught. susan and i sat on the floor and the first things out of my tear stained face were, "i'm such a loser." she listened and gently urged me on, eventually got me ice for my face to help me calm down, and later we were able to talk about some things in my life that i can add to help me feel like i'm doing more and add happiness to it. 

i left her office feeling ok but soon the tears took over again. i decided to do some opposite action - where you act in the opposite way of how you're feeling (as long as it's skillful) and so i went shopping for some presents i needed and then took myself to the movie belle (which was sooooo good!!) and finally out for some dessert. but still, i found myself huddled up in my dad's office crying, telling him what happened.

deep breath. i don't understand this time in my life. i've begged and pleaded with god to grant me understanding. little has come. breathing. and i feel so frustrated asking him for something that doesn't seem to be coming anytime soon - if at all ..... no, understanding will come, but why the wait? what is there for me to learn in the waiting when i have waited for years - literally years - to finally have dbt, to finally have answers to my seizures, to finally have some hold on my depression, to finally have my anxiety some what under control... isn't the wait over?

i feel so lost in my life - like i'm swirling around in a twister - a rag doll at the mercy of the winds. purposeless , drivenless , mindless , just a drifter . there have been times in my life where i have felt emptier, broken-er, but it was muted or dulled by the depression - it was like going through a tunnel and hearing the echo - you know that's not really what the sound sounds like - i guess i didn't realize i needed to brace for the impact of the real sound. because with the real sound comes the reality of the pain and the hurt and the frustration in bright, sharp, zinging colors and feelings. am i making any sense? am i painting this picture for you? or just painting the canvas black?

i feel the sadness of the day in my body. the weight on my chest. the pounding behind my eyes. the throbbing of my temples. the feathery lightness of my hands. all signs that i'm not well. not me. not here. 

i'm tired.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


tears. stream down my face. tonight, i'm sad. not the depressed kind of sad i have been. but the sad that comes from disappointment and lost dreams; a life that has turned out much different than originally thought.

i am at the age where most of my friends and family members of similar age are getting married, having babies, buying houses, settling into jobs, growing up. and i feel like i have been 'put out to pasture.' i would NOT take the happiness and joy i see in my friends and family away from them. that happiness is theirs. they deserve it. they have waited their turn for it. and i want them to have it. 

it is just, haven't i waited, too?

i am having a very hard time having the motivation to participate in my own life. i do not want to. i am willing to do certain things - but not all things that would make my life better. perhaps susan would say i'm being too hard on myself, i don't know. (i just slumped down in shame) yes, shame has reared her ugly head and is paralyzing me with fear. she has been one of the main reasons i have not written in over two weeks.

i am shamed by the pcos. though not my fault i am still shamed by it. i am shamed by the weight gain from the pcos and depression. susan explained it to me in very technical terms - i want you all to know the tears are pouring down my face - and that though i did eat the food that caused the weight gain it is not all my fault. but still i feel great shame. i feel great shame over not working full time. i feel great shame over the acne on my face. i feel ugly. i feel great shame in how my life has turned out. tonight, shame is my worst enemy.

i feel exposed. usually writing is therapeutic for me. tonight, i feel like i'm standing naked in front of millions. 

how do you trust the process- of living, of moving on, of going forward - when it's not what you expect?

and i'm not asking rhetorically - really how do you?