Sorry for my neglect!

Hello all,

Sorry to be so absent lately! I’ve really neglected my blog!

There are many reasons — some good, some bad. Overall, I’ve not been so depressed lately so I haven’t felt the burning need to write. Also, it has been summer, so I think all the sun has helped and I’ve been a little busier.

I have, however, struggled a lot with anxiety. However, it is anxiety that is very much based on my current circumstances, not my brain acting up.

So I’m okay overall, much better this week than two weeks ago. Also, I’ve been really, really social, which is great.

But there are a few things that are really lacking right now, namely, exercise! I’ve been meaning all summer to get back to running, swimming and cycling and I just keep procrastinating. I’ve done some yoga, but nothing else, so this has to change.

So, to give myself the kick in the butt that I need, I’ve issued myself a 40 day challenge. Because 40 days is apparently the length of time it takes to start developing a new habit.

My 40 day exercise challenge:

I will do some form of cardio exercise for 30 minutes every day for 40 days.

I start tomorrow! Wish me luck or, even better, join me and we can support each other! 🙂

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Today’s yogi tea message

This weekend sucked. It was my first weekend off and I had all these plans. I had to do some stuff for work but I was going to do it at the gym on an exercise bike and at a coffee shop while sipping a latte. I was going to go to the yoga classes I can’t normally attend while training. I was going to rest and I was going to have fun and recharge.

I didn’t leave the house and barely left my bed.

There was a point on Sunday morning where I almost turned things around. But I think I made a conscious decision not to.

Why do I keep doing this?

My only bursts of activity on the weekend came when I was cleaning on Saturday night and, on Sunday night, when I finally showered and tried to figure out how to do all that I was supposed to have done over the weekend.

Unsurprisingly, I had insomnia last night and then I was exhausted and pretty useless today.

But I did go to work. For me, being there in body is just as important as being there in mind, because attendance is a challenge for me. I only have a few more weeks to this contract, so I’m determined not to miss any more time.

I’m hoping that this weekend was to get the blahs out of the way so that I can actually do stuff on Easter weekend. We shall see.

Which brings me my tea. The inspiring message attached to my yogi tea just now is this:

Those who live in the past limit their future.

So I continue to move forward. But I don’t want to keep repeating the same unhealthy behaviour. So please help remind me on Easter weekend to be active, to live in the moment, and to not procrastinate. Rest does not mean turning into a sloth and avoiding things that will make you happy.

On that note, I’d best get to sleep so that tomorrow makes for a much better day.

Goodnight,
DBH xx

All-or-nothing, or the self-saboteur

This weekend I struggled with my old friend “all-or-nothing”.

I’m grateful for the support you gave on Saturday when I complained about my day being a 3/4 failure. But I still feel annoyed with myself and I want to explain why.

This weekend I had two key tasks: prepare for a test on Wednesday and practice the short yoga routine I’m to teach my class on Saturday.

In true form I felt stressed and procrastinated and I froze, unable to start either project.

I know that I was definitely overdue for a break after several weeks with no days off, but my issue is this:

– Why can’t I enjoy a break but also do other things too? Sleep in until lunch but then either start my “to do” list or scrap it to enjoy the nice sunny day? Or take Saturday off, but still do a few things on Sunday?

– Why does the act of not doing my assigned tasks mean that I can’t do anything?

– So the studying wasn’t going to happen. Why did that mean that I also couldn’t do refreshing things like yoga, or simply go outside for a walk? Why couldn’t I go out to the coffee shop for a latte and see where the day went from there? Why did I have to cancel on a get together with my friend?

Now it is Monday and after sleeping all weekend, all I have accomplished is watching a foreign film on Saturday to get ready for the language test and, at lunch today, putting together the skeleton of a yoga plan I still haven’t even tried.

I think that I sabotage myself. Why do I keep doing this?
– If I don’t put effort forward, then I have an excuse if I fail.
– I get attached to what I think I “should” be doing and if I don’t do that, I feel guilty and need to punish myself by doing nothing.
– I think I’m procrastinating on the yoga routine because either (a) I want it to be perfect, or (b) I’m really nervous presenting in front of a crowd and so I don’t want to think about how I will actually do it. Likely it’s a little of both.

Another yoga task this week is to practice non-attachment. I think the practice fits with this situation. I seem to get too attached to my plans. So I’d like to try this instead: I can still make plans as it is good to have some priorities. But I need to balance my plans with where I am at the moment. If I’m not in a place to do anything on the list, then scrap it. Start afresh and just think of the day hour by hour, minute by minute. What can I do? What would I like to do.

For now, I’ll just have to practice acceptance. The weekend has come and gone and nothing will change it. All I can do is hope that I learned something so that I stop the “all-or-nothing” pattern from continuously repeating.

Do you also struggle with “all-or-nothing” patterns? Have you found any strategies to help you break the pattern?

Breaking an ingrained habit

Today I made inroads in breaking one of my worst habits.

I’ve been struggling with fatigue and tummy troubles for the past few days. I’m genuinely fatigued, not oversleeping like in the past. I have a full plate schedule-wise with my return to full time work and my intensive yoga training. It will still be another week before I have a day off.

So this morning I had a really hard time waking up. I was so exhausted and still struggling with my upset tummy. And I was really, really anxious! I had a meeting with my boss’s boss today and I was nervous. I was also meeting up at lunch with old colleagues from my major depression days, who were likely expecting me to cancel. I seriously considered calling in sick.

I mean, seriously considered it. I slept in an extra half hour and it was, I think, only my kitty’s sad, hungry face that first got me moving. Plus, I just really didn’t want to disappoint myself. I haven’t missed a work day since October. So I got in the shower and started to feel better and then drove to work since it was too late for the bus.

In the end I was late for work but not too much (no way I could manage the morning without stopping for coffee!). And then I was fine!

My boss is really happy with my work. My input is taken seriously. I have a sort of work plan now so I was busy all day. And my lunch with my former colleagues was really nice!

Nothing to stress over.

Which reminds me: I was obviously too much into the future when I woke this morning! Borrowing worries for things that hadn’t happened.

Anyways, I feel like it is a pivotal day because of this: I faced a situation where I was exhausted, sick to my stomach, and really anxious. It was morning, when my defenses are low and I have a tendency to hide under the covers. And I broke through my habit! I’ll likely have other days when I struggle, but the fact that I won today will be very encouraging the next time I’m tempted to hide under the covers.

Also, more important than the actual fact of missing work, if I had called in sick I would have felt so guilty and ashamed. And that would have affected my comfort level at work. I would always face my colleagues with that shame hanging over me.

So for these reasons, what started as a pretty bad morning ended up being a great day. And now I’m taking the evening to just rest and take care of me. I was juggling too many things last night and will be again tomorrow, so today, I just need to chill…. That, and treat my psoriasis. It’s been having a field day with this underlying stress! 😛

Television Therapy

I ordered a pizza at 5 o’clock. It’s something I wanted to cut out of my diet, but today I’m grateful that it inspired me to get out of bed and to have a bath before it was delivered. It tasted better than ever, as did the coke that came with it. (Another no-no.)

I watched a movie on HBO with some actors I like. And that is the end of today’s accomplishments. I know I was supposed to go to the gym today, but we have a winter storm warning and it is -30C with the windchill so I’m hibernating instead. Hopefully the roads will be clear tomorrow and I can go. I want to stop feeling like a blob.

I’ll have to think of a way to make up missing my friends’ gathering. In the meantime, I think I’m due some self-help reading. Today has been a crappy day. I hate setbacks.

Another Wasted Weekend

I thought I had good problem-solving skills. But this weekend showed that I really struggle with certain types of stresses and that my response is terrible: avoidance.

It wasn’t even a bad thing that happened. It was just something that I didn’t know how to address. Do I or don’t I want to become a freelancer? Can I handle being my own boss? Finding my own work? Negotiating my rates of pay? Dealing with contracts, legalities and administration? I got a bit scared as this became a stronger possibility and a company asked me to set my rate. Anyway, it really stressed me out and I buried my head in the sand… Or rather I stayed in bed all weekend with my head under the covers.

How is that going to solve anything? It doesn’t provide answers. It is pure avoidance with the addition of guilt and stress. Ugh.

Finally this evening I pulled myself up and moved on with things. I showered, ate, left the house. I went to the gym to take care of an administrative thing, and then went shopping for groceries. When I got home I set about researching my options.

As much as I think it would be great to be my own boss (the flexibility of setting my work hours, the ability to choose what I work on and who I work with, etc.), I worry about taking on that responsibility. As someone prone to depression and anxiety, is this even something I should consider?

Anyway, the only conclusion I’ve come to today is that my coping mechanisms really suck. I have to stop hiding from life and burying myself under the blankets.

We won’t talk about yesterday, but today I managed to do my daily challenge.

Get out of bed – check (though really late in the day!)
Go outside – check
Career stuff – check
Financial management – check
Hmm, I need to do one more thing. I’ll do the dishes – check.

I think I’ll get over the weekend quickly. Tomorrow I meet with my therapist for the first time in 6 weeks (she cancelled the last session), and I also have two social things planned for the evening. (I was really set yesterday to cancel them, like I cancelled today’s, but luckily I decided that I would leave that decision until I was in a better frame of mind.) Then a friend from out of town will be staying over for a few days, so that should help keep me from falling again next weekend.

That’s it for now. Good night!

The RAIN Meditation

This evening I continued with the next installment of Tara Brach’s Meditations for Emotional Healing CD: The RAIN Meditation.

RAIN builds on the “Yes” meditation. It is an acronym that stands for the following:

  • R – Recognize
  • A – Accept
  • I – Investigate with Intimacy
  • N – Not Identified, Natural Presence

The first two parts, the R and the A are essentially the “Yes” meditation. You recognize how you feel in a difficult situation, and you accept that that is the way it currently is. But then you go deeper. You investigate why and how you are feeling this way. I continued with my scenario of being fired because I missed work when I was depressed.The memory made my heart speed up and made me feel ashamed and unworthy. More deeply, it is because I believe I am unworthy and this is a confirmation of that. It is my belief that I am unlikeable and unloveable. That if anyone really knew me, they would come to that same conclusion. The fear is that no one will love me and that I will always be rejected. No one will accept me for what I am… Even me. Physically I felt a throbbing in my head and my heart.

The N means taking a step back from those intense feelings and look at them from the eyes of your wisest self or, if you can’t, then from the eyes of some one caring and compassionate, like Buddha. I did the latter for I obviously have difficulty with being compassionate with myself. At this stage you are supposed to comfort yourself that that is not who you are, that you are something larger than this small segment you keep focussing on. You are to place you hands on your heart, accept and comfort yourself, and arrive in a larger non-identity or natural presence.

I have to admit that I got a little lost between I and N. I think it was a useful meditation for starting to look more deeply at why certain patterns keep being triggered, but I couldn’t reach the next stage. So, I think I’ll need to try this meditation again on another day to see if I can absorb more. I believe it is an important one as that critical factor of self-acceptance is, I think, the only way to move forward emotionally and spiritually. She mentioned that each time we have these negative thoughts about ourselves, it is like we are breaking our own hearts. I really want to stop doing that.