Don’t Be a Negative Nelly

My brain is always moving quickly–thinking, planning, reminiscing, dreaming, creating and is actively working. It doesn’t shut down much. It has always been like this and it always will. That is a part of who I am.

Sometimes my thoughts are happy and pleasant and other times they are negative, intrusive and alarming. When negative words and ideas start filling my mind, it is easy for me to become those words. I become angry, hateful and self-defeating or whatever the recording is playing inside my mind. Whatever it is I become it.

“Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.”

For example, before going into work sometimes my brain repeatedly says, “I don’t want to work today. I don’t want to work. I hate working. I hate work. I hate this job. I want to stay home. This job sucks. I hate that I have to work. Hate. Hate. Hate.” I become my words and I begin to hate. Even after reading my comments, didn’t you start to hate my job too? 🙂

The more I flood my mind with angry words the more I become angry and unhappy. This is not how I want to feel and no way to begin my long eight and half hour work day. I will become an ugly reflection of my negative thoughts and will begin to feel the meaning behind those words. It will become more work to hide the negativity inside my mind.

After the negative words seemingly flow from my subconscious and echo inside my mind for a few minutes…

I slam on my thought breaks and screech my negative hateful words to a halt.

That’s it. No more. I must stop this negative thought process. My mom used to say, “Don’t be a negative Nelly.” Go from a negative Nelly to a positive Polly.

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Even though I don’t feel happy or positive at the moment, I start repeating positive comments to myself. It can’t hurt. It is better than feeling angry and negative. Plus, it can be a distraction technique. So, I say things like, “I love my job. I am happy to be going to work. I’m a good person. I will share my love with others. I will let Jesus’ love shine through me. I am happy to be alive. I will be a blessing to others. I need to let God’s love shine me and touch others. Please God, let your love shine brightly through me.”

As I walk into the building, I think, “I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my  job….” I continue to think happy thoughts until I encounter other people. Hopefully, my positiveness will stay inside me and reflect out of me and carry me strongly through my day.

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I am super sensitive to EVERYTHING–people’s verbal and non-verbal language shouts at me sometimes. I must learn to not listen to it and brush it off. I cannot let it consume me or become me.  This is difficult and is a continuous work in progress. It has helped me so much by getting rid of the negative things in my life and by that I mean people. If people brought me down and interfered with my recovery, I kept them out of my life. It was necessary and beneficial for my continued mental wellness.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” ~Mark Twain

I realize positive thoughts do not stop depression, but I have learned after years of living a mental illness life that I must keep a positive dialogue playing inside my mind as often as possible. This is a great coping technique that has worked tremendously for me.

Please give it a try. When negative thoughts fill your mind, say something positive over and over and see what happens. It doesn’t make things end like depression and of course it isn’t a cure for what is ailing you but it sure can help improve whatever state your mind is in. Just give it a try. It helps me stay afloat and combat the demons sometimes, and by demons I mean negativity, intrusive thoughts, past abuse, belittling, shame, hurtful labels and any negativity trying to move into your beautiful mind.

Don’t let negativity overstay its welcome. Negative words don’t pay rent and I guarantee there is nothing gained from the negative words or thoughts so kick out negativity before it becomes a tenant inside your mind. Stay free and clear from any unwanted negative guests inside your own mind and also in your life.

Positivity breeds more positiveness

and the birth of peaceful harmonious joy.

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© 2019 Susan Walz | myloudwhispersofhope.com | All Rights Reserved

Mental Illness, Escapism, and Addiction

I have been on medication for my bipolar disorder – and depression before it – for a great number of years. The most recent cocktail of drugs has been the same since late 2015, when I nearly ended my own life, and it’s been keeping me pretty steady, as these things go. I’m not perfect, but the extremes of mood, the violent anger, and the crushing depressions are lessened, if not gone entirely.

I also drink. Not a lot – not every day – but when I drink, I usually drink too much. It’s contraindicated with my medications, but that doesn’t really mean much to me. I drink anyway. I drink, very specifically, to get drunk. I drink beer, I drink wine, I drink rum and scotch, and I drink quite deliberately, pacing myself over minutes and hours until I fall into a stupor in bed and sleep it off through the night.

I think, deep down, I’m somewhat of a hedonist. I don’t know if this comes from the depression or some other innate personality trait, but I am, for lack of a better phrase, a pleasure-seeker. I very much enjoy physical pleasure, and the sensation of drunkenness falls into this category for me. It’s a form of escapism that requires very little concentration or effort, and when it hits, I can just lie back and let it wash over me.

With medications keeping me level, why do I need escapism, you might ask. Why do I need a vehicle for altering my state of mind, when the whole point of the ‘official’ drugs is to keep my mind from entering that altered state in the first place?

I think a part of it is that I have conditioned myself over decades to avoid misery. I have been so miserable for so long that I instinctively gravitate to anything that feels good, happy or pleasurable. I have very little self-control in this regard; I don’t set rules for myself, like ‘you can have a drink after you do the dishes’; I just drink, and fuck the dishes.

Another part is, almost certainly, a dangerous level of chemical dependency. As I mentioned above, I don’t drink every day – but I do go through phases where I might drink daily for several weeks straight. I usually drink until I’m out of alcohol. It rapidly becomes habit. The same is true of other vices; I recently acquired a small amount of pot from a friend, and against my original intention of maybe once a weekend, I’ve been smoking three or four times a week.

This all leads me to question my behaviors, and the more fundamental motivations behind them. Do I smoke and drink because I’m miserable, because I’m addicted, or because I really kind of just … like it? Like all behavior affected by mental illness, it’s a difficult question to answer, because the very nature of mental illness is changed behaviors … but there comes a point where illness ends and addiction takes over.

I’m not an alcoholic; I know people who are, and I don’t ‘need’ booze to function. I’m not a drug addict; I don’t blow hundreds on weed, and I don’t smoke before, during and after work (for example). But I am dangerously close to this level of functional need, and I recognize it when the thing I look forward to at the end of the day is getting high and watching Family Guy reruns.

That’s usually when I stop – when I see the signs of tipping into the abyss, and take steps to right myself. So far I’ve always been able to come back from the brink, but I worry about one day …

Yet I continue anyway. I refuse to stop permanently. I refuse to relinquish the physical pleasures of drink and drugs. I don’t ‘need’ them, but I want them. Like, a lot.

And sometimes, I wonder if it’s really so bad. I’m aware of the long-term physical and mental changes and harm caused by alcohol and drug use, but I still can’t help believing that the immediate reward is worth it. Intellectually I know that liver damage, lung cancer and mental deterioration are some of the absolute worst ways to die, but emotionally … I kind of just don’t care. I’ve had people tell me that my health is all I have; I’ve heard the arguments before. But when your mental health fails you, you couldn’t care less about your physical health. And whilst the two are most definitely related, it’s difficult to have the second without the first.

That’s when I wonder if the escapism of physical pleasure isn’t worth it after all. The mental toll each day takes, whilst variable, is still a harsh one, and the ability to use a substance – of one kind or another – to forget it is dreadfully tempting. And I recognize this as a controversial perspective – why, you ask, don’t I deal with my problems instead of avoiding them – but I truly believe life is for living, and should be enjoyed daily, if at all possible.

What do you do, when your brain refuses to let you do just that? What do you do, when your own mind is a battleground of misery and despair? What happens when you wake up and simply can’t get out of bed? What is there to look forward to?

And in those trying times, is self-medication justifiable? Is it even self-medication at all – or just an excuse to escape from reality?

And is such escapism really so wrong?

My Dear Old Friend

You use to help me when I needed you the most.

Dependable. Reliable.

Confident. Creative.

Sharp. Quick with the wit.

You helped me find the perfect words to say.

Reminded me of memories from my past,

reliving beautiful images and making them last.

You helped me understand a movie I watched

or comprehend words from a book,

so I could interpret the words in a way that I should.

I loved you.

You were always there for me,

until you vanished and betrayed me.

You left me. I was left to defend myself in a world all alone.

A world that is not kind to people like me, living without you, after you left.

People did not understand that only part of me had left.

That part of me missing was you, but the rest of me was still there.

Parts of me were still intact.

They just couldn’t see the real me hidden from the rest of me, after you left.

I was not the same, but I was still there.

I was still the kind and caring person I have always been.

I was in there somewhere.

Trying to be strong and get out again.

I needed a gentler world to see me and guide me through,

as I tried to live in a world without you.

I missed you

and needed you desperately.

I can’t live without you.

The world was a scary and difficult place to live without you.

Then slowly you came back to visit.

Not all at once and never exactly the same.

But, still you returned.

I began to see the world as a better place again.

Nothing changed, but yet everything changed.

Images became clearer and more vivid.

Words came back quicker, some memories restored.

Information recalled. Functioning and living returned.

I began to enjoy life again.

My light became lit.

My spark ignited.

Joy and love filled my heart,

because you came back.

You are my dearest friend.

You,

my friend,

are my mind

and you left me.

You left me when I needed you the most.

Never leave me again.

I need you.

You complete me.

You make me whole.

I cannot live without you.

A mind is a terrible thing to lose.

I will do everything in my power and control

to never lose you again.

You are always a friend of mind mine.

Never mind.

We will always be BFFs,

best friends forever,

my mind and I.

~written by Susan Walz

Copyright © 2018 Susan Walz | myloudbipolarwhispers.com | All Rights Reserved

Mindful, a poem

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I oughta give you a piece of my
One-track
Of the same
Back of my
Presence of
Take a load off my
Bored out of my
Blow one’s
Nobody in their right
Do you
Bear in
Keep in
A frame of
Peace of
Never-
You read my
Be of two
Speak your
Change your
Out of your
With someone in
An open
If you don’t
Lose my
A lot on my

Where is my…