Three Goals

I went to the creative writing course at the VA today.  It’s not exactly a journaling. We have a topic we write about.  Some are more therapeutic topics than others.  Today’s topic was “three goals.”

Goals 

I have no goals; none at all

Look inside to find the call.

When there is no focused life

Heart and soul are filled with strife

Finding hope in darkness lost 

Breaking free from chains’ high cost;

Maybe I will a path find

From fear’s chasm to faith sublime.

To grow my goal is to try

To revive what inside died

To hold to the future fast

To leave behind what has passed.

———————————————————–

Goals come in all forms.  Mine are getting prepared to identity and strive after goals.  It’s funny: my goal is to have a goal.  

Quote of the Day- December 16, 2016

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” Dalai Lama 

It is so easy to lose inner strength and be  crushed by hopelessness.  I’m there right now.  I don’t see a meaningful life right now.  Yet, living though this requires inner strength.  There are days all I want to do is give up.  I spend hours, even days, wondering about ways to commit suicide that will be fatal- not just an attempt.  It’s been worse since November.  

For me, a self destructive habit is isolating and withdrawing from people and activities.  Discipline leads me to take to the road-or treadmill- to run.  The focus on breath, concentration on form, and losing myself in the passing miles is relaxing.  My feet striking the ground roots me to the present moment.  I am present in a manner I no longer have off the road.  I am connected to myself and my spiritual senses.  Running is still a solitary activity.  Recently, I connected to a friend I used to work with.  We run together a couple times a week.  We don’t talk about serious things but I am drawn out of my silence and the jangle of my own thoughts and attempts to make sense out of the unexplainable and unchangeable. 

 I have been experiencing more serious depression for about a month.  I spent several hours before Tai Chi yesterday  sitting in my friend’s office.  Being alone was not a safe thing for me at that moment.  Funny thing, a serious conversation ensued.  Inner strength manifesting in reaching out to someone.


Tai Chi is another acitivity that helps me find a sense of peace and grounding.  Movement, breath, concentration on form and poses- it’s easier to focus on something positive during class and be in the moment mindfully. I’m also around other veterans.  We may not talk much but there is a  connection.  

I do yoga at home. While it is a solitary activity it is another one that I find a sense of peace.  Breathing, form, focus, exercise.  My mind stills for that time. To a lesser degree, I find relief in strength training as well.

I wish I could be physically active 24/7/365.  

Physical activity is what helps me through the harder times.

Maybe one day I’ll find inner strength, my balance,  and peace without needing the acitivity at the same time. 

Grief and Bargaining 

Initially I thought bargaining was a stage that I either hadn’t experienced and probably wouldn’t.  Grief is different for everyone.  It is possible to skip a stage.  One can also cycle back to earlier stages.

I considered bargaining as quid pro quo from a spiritual standpoint, “Give me this and I’ll do that.”  While researching the Stages of Grief (Kubler-Ross), I found the Changing Minds website.  They summed up bargaining as seeking a way out of the situation.

It continues with  an in depth definition:

After the fires of anger have been blow out, the next stage is a desperate round of bargaining, seeking ways to avoid having the bad thing happen. Bargaining is thus a vain expression of hope that the bad news is reversible.

Bargaining in illness includes seeking alternative therapies and experimental drugs. In organizations, it includes offering to work for less money (or even none!), offering to do alternative work or be demoted down the hierarchy. One’s loyalties, debts and dependants may be paraded as evidence of the essentiality of being saved.

I actually experienced bargaining and denial at the same time; the behaviors and thoughts overlapped.  I kept working at reduced duties and kept trying to move to harder work before I was ready.  (denial/ bargaining) I was convinced if I just worked hard enough I would heal fully in time to deploy with my unit. I’d be an outstanding Social Worker and therapist, making a huge positive impact (bargaining). When it became clear that I wouldn’t meet that timeline, the goal  became deploying with another unit later.  I sought after every damn therapy under the face of the earth for years. I kept pushing. When all this failed, I fell into anger and depression.

While proofreading this entry, I realized that I did bargain with the Deity in a slightly different form. There was a lot of pleading for healing so I could return to my career.   I still ask for this.  I can use what happened to me to help others with a greater level of understanding and skill. Grieving can be subtle.

Expanded Stages of Grief

  1. Stability
  2. Immobilization
  3. Shock
  4. Denial
  5. Anger
  6. Bargaining
  7.  Depression
  8. Testing
  9. Acceptance


I’ll explore the rest of the expanded grief cycle during future posts.
Grief hurts but it’s the only way to find the “new normal” (acceptance).

Random cuteness and reducing anxiety

One way to deal with anxiety is to find something you appreciate and enjoy…

Bridhid

Bobby

Kaliyah


Brighid brings me joy and affection.  I am not as anxious around her.  She has a way of keeping me calm.  She is my familiar.

Bobby and Kaliyah are both at Rainbow Bridge now.  Although I miss them, I remember the lessons they taught.  Eat healthy,drink water, play, and get enough sleep.  Doing these things helps with lowering anxiety. They also made me laugh.  Ferrets are inquisitive by nature.  Watching them get into mischief and look totally innocent was fascinating.  I just couldn’t get mad.  They’re also fun to watch play.  They don’t worry about what people think.  They’re totally in the moment.

Reducing anxiety can be done in many ways.  I’ll write more tomorrow.  It’s now time to sleep 

Socializing 

I haven’t socialized much since the brain injury.  There are three friends that I socialize with at all.  They understand the brain injury and the issues the challenge me. 

I decided to go to a picinic by and for pagans in a park.  The Diversity Say celebration was going on in another area but it wasn’t crowded or noisy in the picnic area.  Sensory overload wasn’t a major issue.  

The picnic was horrible. I was invisible.  Two people “saw” me- one was the organizer.  I tried others but it was awkward and short.  

I went up to the Diversity Day.  The politicians running for office, the people at the Baha’i and Muslim displays talked to me. I didn’t stay long as I was getting  tired and the area was more noisy and busy.

  The Baha’i and Muslims were the most open and patient.  They spoke to me and saw me as a person.  The conversations were interesting.  They didn’t treat me like I am stupid. Well, honestly,  the pagans didn’t treat me like I pm stupid.  I was just invisible.

 The politicians were fine too- but that was all politics.  I bought a couple of bumper stickers.

When I got home and thought about the experience at the picnic, I cried.  I felt so isolated and alone.  Rejection sucks.  I’ll stick with my friends here in the community and on Facebook from now on.  

Challenge of the Day

We all get caught up in the stress and busyness of life.  At times, we power on, feeling a vague sense of “there must be something more than this.”

For those of us struggling with mental and/or physical health issues- breaking out of the rut, helping someone else, taking care of ourselves, and/or stretching our comfort zones can help in healing.

Challenge of the Day: Choose one or more activities from this list to do.  

  1. Hold the door open for someone
  2. Say hello
  3. Send a letter or card to a friend, family member, or someone else p
  4. Do something nice for someone
  5. Donate to charity 
  6. Volunteer in the community
  7. Carry a plastic bag and pick up litter 
  8. Kiss your significant other
  9. Tell someone that you love how you feel
  10. Give someone flowers
  11. Exercise
  12. Practice meditation, mindfulness, or yoga
  13. Take a relaxing bath
  14. Read something for fun
  15. Go to bed at a reasonable hour
  16. Do something silly like skipping down the street
  17. Tell a joke
  18. Pet a dog, cat, or other animal
  19. Try something new 
  20. Take a drive 
  21. Have a picnic
  22. Hike
  23. Go to a museum
  24. Cook dinner and clean up
  25. Do something you like

Taking care of yourself makes for a healthier and more balanced life.  Doing for others takes you outside yourself and makes a difference for another person. Small things make a difference.

Healthy living to you

My offering for the night: a stupid joke.  Enjoy