The Magic Crayon.

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“So, there’s vlog post 3 on its way to you, this one right here.

Uh, so the last question I asked was:

‘What is it gonna take for you to own and take responsibility for your past?’

That doesn’t mean it’s your fault. That doesn’t mean you screwed up. That doesn’t mean shame on you. What that means is understanding that the past happens…happened to have happened and you are, set before you…you have these cards at your disposal. They may not be the cards you want..when does…when has that ever happened? When we’re in this pit, this prison, that we built for ourselves, and the prison I built for myself was this illusion, this delusion that things would change for me. Just because I felt it was unfair. Just  because I didn’t agree with literally everything. I was so argumentative, so resistant and extremely combative and what did I end up with…nothing.

An empty shell of who I was or who I thought I was…who others thought I was.  No one’s going to do the work for you. Towards the end, I almost lost myself to myself.

I deliberately created this reality where I was the one that was always right. I was the only one that had any right to feel the way I did. And no one could tell me otherwise. Absolutely not! *laughs* That’s absurd! What do people know? There’s this sheer arrogance that cocooned me and insulated me from hearing what other people had to say. And one of those things was .. I .. I I. I actually realized my addiction to negativity.

My addiction and obsession with being right when things would go wrong. It’s the ultimate catastrophe.

I smile about it now because I’ve learned to laugh it off.

Placing blame didn’t work.For me. Trying to gain justice..for the trespasses I felt, didn’t work for me. Pitying myself didn’t work for me. Um… *laughs*  Taking it out on other people, didn’t work for me. Refusing to embrace and to have the parents I have, didn’t work for me. Blaming my cultural mindset, growing up under a rock, not really struggling in life or experiencing tragedy was not enough of a story or an excuse, for me.

You see, we could go here all day. I could…I could’ve gone the rest of my life doing that but I just hit a breaking point where I…enough was enough. Or rather, enough was not enough anymore. At all.

I can’t explain to you how angry I was. But it was stuffed. Stuffed down! I suppressed it. *in a silly voice* ‘Well, that’s just how I am, that’s how I was taught..’

That’s resistance.

What else….

I know now that all I wanted…all I wanted…was to feel seen…feel heard…and I just wanted to fit in.

I wanted to be that happy person you see when you scroll through your social media.

I wanted to be that person that was “successful.”

I wanted to be that person that had healthy relationships.

I wanted so many things and I denied myself that not just through sabotaging myself and staying in that bubble of comfort and negativity, fueling that negativity. Seeking to tear others down.

I refused to look the “truth” in the eye, which was that I didn’t want to do the work.

I struggled with anxiety. I mean I handled many e-mails. I balanced my finances. I do everything related to my business. I’m a one woman army. I get *laughs* you know, you teleport yourself back 5, 6 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. Cause I struggled just to open one e-mail. I struggled just to look at the dollars in my bank account. I struggled just to decide what I wanted to do. And, you know, what kind of food did I want to eat. What, uh, who should I be talking to. Should I go, should I be using my degree for something. I mean, it was…I was already in my prison.  I was already self-sabotaging, addicted to negativity, resisting at every point and turn to see reason. To listen. To listen to other people.

Resistance was a huge part of my life. And as a result of being married to resistance, rather than being married to awareness, I almost lost myself.

Since then I’ve had moments where I imagine something just, ii it.. it’s just a snap.  Just a snap. Moment. A snapshot. Nothing really triggers it, per se.  But it’s this…it reminds me of this haunting feeling of what it felt like to be in that prison. And when I have those moments where I just fooo , float in. I think of railroad tracks. I think of ..if.. if I just..I live a life of choice without a vehicle so I bicycle, and it would just take…I would just have to navigate my bicycle 6  feet into oncoming traffic. Done.

I have moments like that where it’s just so fast.

When we’re overwhelmed, we’re probably creating more work for ourselves than we think we are. Than we’re aware to. And that’s really something I wanted to shed light on. What I experience as an un-diagnosed person.

Never had a diagnosis. Ever.

And sometimes I tell myself, “Well, you don’t have a diagnosis. So, you’re fine! You don’t have a problem. You don’t have issues.”

NO. It’s still part of my health. And for those of you that haven’t gotten, or taken a step in that direction, I feel you, in my own respective way. I feel like I have no merit to be speaking in such a way about my health. I struggled.

I wasn’t always this way [facing my “truth” and owning my past].  I find it so much easier to smile and look past my own insecurities to get along with people from all walks of life, with all different kinds of experiences.

That’s that…benefit of the doubt is something I give out…in truckloads to other people. And I struggled to do that for myself. To give myself the benefit of the doubt. To give myself permission to feel bad and years later here I am. I finally get it. It’s not the ‘bad’ feelings that were tearing me apart, it was my judgment of myself  for having them in the first place.

So, question. I always like ending with a question.

‘If there was a way…to feel…at peace with your past and say…I gave you this magic crayon…and you can use it to re-write something that’s happened in the past and just, ‘this is what happened and now I feel better,’ what would have changed specifically about you for the outcome to be different?

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So, if you could take this crayon. This magic crayon, go into the past and rewrite a memory, er, incident, what is it specifically about you that changed the outcome?

I like asking these questions because there’s not much more we can control outside of ourselves and the sooner we embrace that ‘truth,’ the easier life gets. I don’t want to say easier. The better life gets.

A lot of you are probably really good at weaving a bullshit story. I definitely am an expert at doing that. *laughs* So, catching myself before it gets..too long. You’re weaving that story? Stooooop. Stop it. It’t not worth it.”

Kim Johnson 
Thought Founder of Grounds For Clarity, LLC

When You’ve Gotten Comfortable Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I’ve always managed to work through any depression. I may be completely down for a couple days, but I force myself back up and keep going. I recently hit another depressed time. A few things built up over a couple weeks. It all happened fast, and I didn’t have time to process one thing before another kicked me down. I was ready to start dealing with each thing and I got another blow. I was negative for a couple days. Given the circumstances, my reaction was normal, but it was a strain on those closest to me. 

One of my friends told me they needed a break from me and my negativity. That’s when I broke. I knew it wasn’t forever. I knew they weren’t telling me to stay out of their life. But it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had never felt lethargic before. That night I learned what lethargy feels like. My whole body was numb, and I walked on auto pilot. I cried until I ran out of tears. I spoke with another friend for a couple hours. They told me I had been more negative recently.

They noticed a considerable change. I hadn’t noticed. I didn’t realize how far into the sludge and the darkness I had gone. All the other things that pushed me down looked like a result of my negativity. I felt none of it would have happened if I had taken care of myself.  I had an opportunity through the company I work for to receive six free counseling sessions. I don’t have medical insurance which I always used as an excuse for not finding treatment. I admitted that I need help and I’m trying to find it. 

I threw out the alcohol in my home for fear of becoming like my alcoholic father. I’m giving my loved one’s space, so I don’t drag them into my misery anymore. Looking back, I can see how I’ve been moving towards this point for the last two years. I did so much for my healing and still managed to lose myself along the way. This reminds me of the story of a toad in hot water. Put the toad in hot water, it jumps away. Put the toad in cold water and slowly heat it up, the toad will boil to death.

I’m the toad and the negativity is the water. I didn’t realize how bad it got. I didn’t realize how much of it was my own fault for not taking care of myself. This is less about blaming myself and more about holding myself accountable. Now that I know I’m accountable, I have to be accountable for my happiness as well. I don’t know how long this will take. I’ve been sharing my personal stories on blogs for two years. It’s helped me heal. I will continue writing, but I need to focus on myself and my own goals. I still have stories to share. It’s my favorite things to do. Fair well for now. Don’t stop fighting.

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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