Friday, July 14, 2017

A Thank You

Almost two weeks ago I lost my sweet kitty Puppy. She was my PTSD therapy animal as well as my fur baby and best animal friend. I have been struggling severely to feel anything other than her loss since that day. I had one day, this past Monday, the I felt somewhat productive as I added just under 4700 words to my two current books. That feeling of accomplishment was short lived but it was an amazing refresher from the incredible sadness that has dominated me for over ten days.

I have a number of bad habits that without constant watching I fall into. Most of them are emotionally driven so dealing with this pain has caused them to surface with force. The two most easily recognized is my lack of activity and my emotional eating. I don't have great eating habits to begin with and when I am feeling anything (I mean anything from intense joy to devastating sorrow) I tend to eat. This usually results in large amounts of chips, cookies, ice cream, cake and a personal favorite, cheese. There is no such thing as moderation for me when I am consuming for the sake of drowning feelings. Food is my version of alcohol abuse.

Just as that brief moment of productivity fueled a desire to do more leading to me cleaning my house and making a delicious and healthy dinner, my frustrations have a tendency to compound dragging me further down day after day. If I spend a day getting nothing finished I will feel more overwhelmed the next day causing me to have less energy and motivation. Things truly can spiral out of control so quickly that I feel like I am drowning without realizing I was even getting wet. 

Life in general I believe is a mind over matter situation. The problem is I am so rarely in control of my mind. I fight with my depression and stress. I get bogged down trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel and feel like I will never escape the darkness. I am fortunate that I do not make the journey alone anymore. I opened up about my problems a few years ago and have found a support system that has been invaluable. Without them I would have fallen long ago and never recovered. Through my friends and family I have learned to celebrate any victory and use that to push me forward for more. I have also learned to make small changes slowly instead of trying to tackle every issue at once.

Something as simple as eating better for one week and only focusing on that can make a dramatic difference. When I see those couple pounds come off and feel the energy that comes from eating fruit instead of candy it makes me want to be more active. I take that small win and add a class or two at the gym that I enjoy such as Zumba, yoga or water aerobics. The sense of accomplishment there gives me the boost to go home and quickly do some chores around the house and then I sit down to write just 500 or 1000 words. I reward myself with being able to sit and play games on my phone or watch some episodes of a show on my DVR guilt free because of everything I was able to do. 

The next day when I get up I remind myself of everything I was able to complete the day before. This is used to help me push forward and have another good day. When the good things become habit and replace the bad ones things are much easier but it can take weeks or months to truly program yourself to reach that point. With my health issues and dealing with emotional setbacks I find I fall down way before I get to the habit stage. It can seem impossible to fight back from that and it is so easy to just give up.

That is the other part I have worked to handle better on this path, setbacks. My insecurities and a large part of the conditioning I went through in my previous relationship make me feel that any small slip is a total failure. That stops all of my productivity immediately. It has taken over a decade of my life to acknowledge and accept that it is ok to fall. It is important to get back up and not let a bend become a break. Life is hard but if you can embrace the good times and use them to support you when the hard times bear down you can find that mind over matter I struggle so much with. 

Writing has been a huge joy in my life and having that outlet has saved me one numerous occasions. I cannot begin to explain just how much I appreciate the support of everyone around me. When I opened up with Survivor I received more understanding and help than I ever expected. It is still hard for me to admit when I am struggling but I am reminded day in and day out that there are others out there just like me. Together we are stronger than we are alone and we can accomplish anything.

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