Yes… I finally deactivated my Facebook account. I’ll tell you why. Because a person like me should not be on a thing, succubus, demon .. whatever you want to call it. It is a huge time suck that frustrates and upsets the hell out of me. I was on there today and thought, ‘Why the frig am I torturing myself like this?”
I have a body image problem and being on Facebook does NOT HELP. Seeing all my boyfriends new recent friends that are female DOES NOT HELP. Airbrushed images of almost nude women posted by groups and friends does not help.
All of it hinders me, makes me feel bad about myself and then I isolate and rerun old tapes in my head about “why I am not good enough.”
It’s bullshit. I don’t need it. I don’t want it. So I am on a Facebook Hiatus indefinitely. I will definitely be blogging more! I landed an internship with a Philadelphia online music magazine so I am stoked about that! I sent my novel to an editor and am still writing for brutalism.com.
I have way too much positive, substantial stuff going on for myself. I refuse to ruin it for me. And since I know me these days (like really know me) I know what makes me happy, sad, jealous, confused, angry, etc… so I am off to work on that and stay away from one of the triggers.
Peace out friends!! You’ll be hearing from me a little more in the near future.
I have always been a thinker… more like an over-thinker. I get something in my head that is pebble sized and before I know it there is a black boulder sitting in my skull that I want to smash out. This doesn’t happen as much as it used to (which is scary, because it happens more than I like) and sometimes when it does, I get sucked into that damaging moment and my program goes out the window. I don’t think about drinking or drugging because I have worked a solid 12 Step Program… but I guess, as much as I hate to admit it, I am human after all.
God has never given me anything I cannot handle. Sometimes I try to handle the hurdles alone, and that is when I find myself sobbing in a little ball on the couch or my bed. A light starts to glow in my head and I realize I need to pray, call a friend and journal.
IN THAT ORDER.
In the last couple weeks I learned that free write journaling does more damage to me because (and someone said it in a comment on my blog) I kinda get locked into that whiny, poor me thinking and get no reflection work done. If I pray and talk to someone before I journal, I can focus on a solution instead of staying in the problem. Which, honestly, my thinking is the biggest problem. I get really worked up over dumb stuff because sometimes, that little eleven year old voice in my head chimes, “How you feel does not matter, Darlene. Shut your mouth and stuff it down. Stuff it down!”
I cannot stuff it down. Also, I cannot go running to whomever I am upset with and start bitching about all the shit they did that offended me, hurt my feelings, made me angry or whatever. This is not a good idea. When I try to communicate to someone before I pray and talk to another sober individual, my thoughts come out of my mouth like verbal vomit.
The gift of interpretation is amazing in my life today. Instead of fearfully viewing an event as potentially hazardous, if I am in a good place, I can step back and sort the facts from the thoughts and go from there.
You’ve heard the sayings… “don’t look back” — “learn from the past” — “the pain heals, but the scars remain” — there are hundreds of sayings that talk about the past. Looking back on the past kept me in a whirlwind of sorrow and misery. I would stay there, dwelling and obsessing like a goat over a woolen shirt. I still do it sometimes and then I think, “what the hell am I doing?!”
Feeling sorry for myself became an art as I sat at the bar, drowning my sorrows yapping about my pathetic life (which was everyone else’s fault, by the way).
I used to be hung up on the “why” of the past. Why did this happen to me? Where did I go wrong? Why me? WHY ME? WHY ME?!
The trick for me is to look back, learn and move the hell on.
It’s true, I have learned from the past. I learned that drinking and drugging were transparent band-aids that masked my misery while pouring salt in my wounds. That is a part of my past I cannot forget. Ever. But, I had to get over it… the pain, the sorrow and especially the feeling sorry for myself. How would I do that? After all, I was great at feeling sorry for myself. I was great at sitting in my own crap while I donned the face of misery and self-pity.
I should bother to look back, but only to learn and share.
Grief. It’s one of those things that is hard to let go of and hard to handle. We grieve loss: Loss of people, places and things; loss of pets. But did you ever consider grieving over yourself? I’ll bet you never quite looked at it that way.
Recovery is a rebirth. We come into the rooms, the doctors’ offices and the out-patient programs beaten and broken. We are torn, tattered and abused; looking for something or someone to save us. We’re either meek and mild or loud and brazen. Some of us are a little of both.
When I first got sober I was a little of both. I was kind of shy (especially around women) and I dressed provocatively, stuck with the men, pulled up at meetings blasting my heavy metal. I needed to be noticed. I needed that attention to flip that self-worth switch on inside. Seeking outside validation is classic in alcoholics and I was (still am!) a classic alcoholic. I made all the conversations about me (I was really good at this!). Gosh, I could go on forever!
This self-seeking behavior (definitely a character defect) went on for years until one day…
I got serious about my program. I started hitting six meetings a week. I got another sponsor and actually talked with her and did step work with her. I listened at meetings and even started sharing at some of them. I started hanging with the women, giving my phone number to newcomers and even hung out with these chicks outside of the rooms. What was happening to me?! Who was this woman who stared back at me in the mirror every day? I didn’t know her, but I liked her.
She was different. She didn’t want to wear “hoochie mama” clothes anymore; felt comfortable around other women. She liked the image in the mirror.. sometimes.
Yes, I still blast my heavy metal but I definitely notice a change in me. So do a lot of other people. I like who I am these days. I no longer hide behind the insecure mask of “LOOK AT ME!” I know that sounds strange, but insecurity leads to external validation which is a band-aid that never heals internal wounds.
And I did take a moment a couple of years ago to grieve the old me. I sat down in a park with my journal and nature and wrote a letter to myself. I said, “Goodbye, Old Darlene. There are some parts of you I shall miss, but ultimately, not much. This is my new path, with my new life and a new me. I’m sure you’ll visit sometimes, Old Darlene, and that’s okay, but you cannot stay.”
Have you ever given any thought to an “old you” and “new you?”
What a cliché, right? The first time I actually heard this saying was in the movie “Kiss of Death” with David Caruso. David’s character was the one who said it and the phrase kind of echoed in my brain every moment since then when things got a little (or a lot) rough.
Also, “Stronger” is a great uplifting song by Kelly Clarkson. Check it out of you haven’t heard it. You’ll like it, I’m sure.
But I’m not here to talk about Kelly or David. I am here to talk about the hurdles we face, the doubts that creep and the life stuff that keeps on happening even when we just want to slam the door shut and get five minutes of peace.
You see, I feel like God keeps testing me and my faith. Is it a test of how sincere I am in my willingness to change and hand stuff over? Maybe. I don’t know. I do try to hand stuff over on a daily basis. I pray every morning and every night and I always ask God for the knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out. That is another blog post entirely, because I still struggle with that. What is God’s Will?
I always try to do the next right thing, keep my word and help others. There is a lot of truth in the fact that if I always do these three things, I will always have a great day and will feel truly blessed. And it really happens that way for me, until something upsets me.
Usually I try to figure the crap out by myself through journaling or talking with friends. Tonight I tried something different. I called my al-anon sponsor.
That was the best idea I had in the last three weeks.
The things that won’t kill me and have the capacity to make me stronger are those life events that I think I can’t handle, but wind up handling. I then look back and say, “Wow. How did I get through that?” You’ve said it, too. Those painful, disturbing chaotic life events that happen to us – sometimes gradually, sometimes immediately – and take us to a realm of being we’ve never experienced before. We get through them; all of them. And when we come out on the other end, that’s exactly what we ask ourselves: how did I get through that?
I think analyzing such things is pointless. To reflect would be okay, but analyzing kind of kills the element that you did get through that thing you thought you never could. Basking in the moment of triumph would probably feel a whole lot better. Analyze later.
Was there ever a moment you thought you could not go on but managed to get through? How did you feel afterwards?
So I was watching the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) this morning and there were all these fascinating episodes that dealt with “self.” Like, how we treat the self, how outside events impact the self and so much stuff I went out and bought a book by one of the people Oprah was interviewing. “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer. The book is to liberate us from a contained self-image.
Based solely on the interview, the information I gathered from the show and snippets of the book I scanned, I have hope that this book will break me through my final barrier… me.
I have always tried to keep it real. I’ve tried to remain grounded in all I do, say or feel along with trying to be there for anyone who crosses my life path. But there are these things, these feelings, that get in the way on a consistent basis. And when I let my head get the best of me, I am no longer keeping it real per say, but getting sucked into a myopic array of disillusionment which takes me back to that dark room of self-loathing.
Yeah, pretty messed up stuff. The more messed up part of all this crap is that I project this putrid bile onto other human beings. Instead of just being in a moment or looking at things for what they are, I tend to read deeper into whatever is going on and then I project my thoughts, insecurities and the like others.
This leads to:
feeling less than
That is a pretty hefty list of awful feelings, ideals and all around yuckiness.
Lately, I have been way up in my head. This is a tough place for me when I am trying to live a life of peace. My head is not peaceful. It is constantly chattering, whispering and telling me rotten things. I believe these things. I give my thoughts weight and that is when the horrible list above comes into play. I used to drink and drug to get rid of these thoughts and feelings. Drinking and drugging is not an option for me.
This is why I bought the book. My thoughts (and yours) are so automatic, I never question them. You’ve heard the saying, “I think, therefore I am.” UGH!!! How awful is that? I certainly do not want to be what I think! My twelve-step program helps ( a lot!) but lately I just feel like I need an added tool.
As I go through this book (highlighting sentences and paragraphs like I always do) I will be updating my blog with what I have learned and if any of it is making sense. It made sense on Oprah’s show, therefore, I am sure it will make sense.
Sharing my story openly and honestly about living, surviving and thriving with Bipolar 1 Disorder and PTSD to increase awareness, educate, reduce stigma, prevent suicide, inspire, give hope and let God's love shine through me and touch you...