I see !!!! Icey

The first time I was asked, “what is different about you since you quit smoking?”  I was asked this question during an interview for a documentary on using mindfulness to relieve oneself of addiction.  My first thought was, “I am a nicer person.” Being interviewed by a professional interviewer type person, that answer was so not going to be enough. I continued on with, “i am able and willing to see other people better or clearer even.  i am more aware of how others might be feeling or what they could be thinking.” Stay Tuned on July 4th. link available July5th

I can see that the way others react or act is not a reflection on me.  maybe they just stubbed their toe 2 minutes before seeing me and it still stings the way i interact with other people is what matters.

So,

I quit smoking.  I have done it using a mindfulness app I ‘accidentally stumbled upon’.  I knew I had to/wanted to/needed to quit. I was in a fog wondering  how to go about it.  then One thing happened that led to another. that thing appeared to lead to another thing which led to another then another and another.  Today I am smoke free and grateful.

I feel as though I have somehow moved from using Mindfulness practice to quit smoking to  Mindful Living.

This was not My Plan.

My Plan was to use Mindfulness in an attempt to better control the ever powerful anxiety I experience.  I needed to get a handle on this monster and pills were no longer a viable solution.  I needed something better.  Apparently I was ready for something better.

Enter MINDFULNESS.  I should add the word Again to that last sentence.  I had my 1st introduction to mindfulness 28 years ago.  second exposure 15 years ago.  I now see that these experiences have prepared me for where I am right now.  Right Now! Right Here! Not worrying about a future that might never happen.  Not dwelling on a past I cannot change.

not the worst place to be!!

Changes…. not in any particular order and not a compete list.  Keep in mind these are not changes I planned. I did not sit down one night and make a list of things I wanted to change in me.  To be honest, i did not know i needed to change.  want to change?  Not even a little.

The only change I desired was to no longer smoke

to be smoke free.

  • i no longer have the need to get everything done right now.    for example : i want to finish writing this post. i am not going to die if i save it and finish it later.  last year or even last month, “ineedtodoit! doitnow! cantwait! mustgetitdonenow! nomtterwht.”  just a tad anxiety provoking from inside.  no outside trigger needed.
  • i smile more.  not because life is so freakin awesome and I have no reason not to smile but because if i smile, maybe someone who is lucky enough to see me smile will smile. then someone else might smile and then someone else….
  • i am calmer. inconveniences and other people’s stupid behavior that would have once throw me into fits of panic/anger/depression/disappointment affect me in a different way.  i am able to take a tad bit o time and breathe.  This breathing thing is not new to me.  People in my life have been suggesting it forever and a day.  Regular, consistant mindfulness practice got me to remember to breathe when I need to.
  • I am nicer.  i already talked about that.  I have always been a relatively nice person, but now I am even nicer and to more people.
  • i sleep better. not longer, Better. I wake up earlier, yet less tired. more refreshed
  • life is the same.  pleasant and unpleasant things are always going to happen. That is Life. That is not going to change, But…. i can change. I deal with life’s obstacles in a new way.  i am capable of dealing with the life stuff in a way that i was never capable of before.
  • i stopped biting my nails while I quit smoking  – it took me awhile to even notice my nails were growing.
  • i eat slower and enjoy what I eat.  quitting smoking definitely makes things taste better, but i enjoy that better taste more.  Food was always just something I ate so I didn’t fall down.  Now I take the time to savor every bite. I’ve begun experimenting with a variety of new recipes as well.
  • I am more capable of thinking before i speak.  I have always either talked too much or not at all.  Now when a thought flies into my brain I am able to stop, breathe, give myself a chance to decide if this thought needs to exit through my mouth or do I let it go.
  • I feel feelings.  this is a direct result of the mindfulness app I used to quit smoking.  The app suggested instead of fighting the cigarette cravings, i might try to really feel them.  Truly feeling the craving and seeing it for what it truly is. Watching it leave without my having to smoke, made my mind stronger, made the next craving a bit easier to deal with. Doing this over and over again helped me form a new healthy habit.  I am now applying this same technique to feelings.
  • I am able to feel what is going on in my body quicker.  i am a diehard jaw clencher. I always have been. Today I am able to notice my clenched jaw quicker than ever before.  Once I am able to identify that I am clenching my jaw, I am able to take steps to stop it.  My jaw, teeth,dentist, and head are grateful.
  • i worry less and Care more

Now, how to end this.  Do I even have to end this?  Do I want this to end?  The answer is so simple.  No.  I am on a new journey and I choose not to end it too soon.  I finally truly and completely believe that I am Going to be okay. No, wait, I AM OKAY!!!!

To summarize.  I exposed myself to mindfulness practice in an effort to relieve self of debilitating anxiety. An App that uses mindfulness to help relieve oneself of unwanted habits found me.  My desire to quit and the repetition of that App not only relieved me of my habit, it opened me up to a whole new way of thinking and feeling and living.

 

 

 

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An Unexpected Path

Hello Folks.  I have been bad.  “Wicked, wicked bad”

roadblock2My plan/path/road was to take the blogging201 course.  I think I completed day 1 maybe day 2.  I encountered a roadblock in the form of physical illness.  Actually there had been a couple of illness crap things going on with me.  While I took the time to care for myself, my blog and many other things were put on the back burner. At times, I have had this blog pop up in my brain, but until today I was unmotivated to write.

“What’s been going on you ask?”

“Shhhh, Don’t tell anyone But, One thing happened which led to another thing then another and another. The result being I started writing elsewhere.    And now I am here.”

“Where is here?”

“On my couch, writing this.”

“Seriously????”

“Yes, seriously.”

laughingfreeI am taking part in a research study that involves using a mindfulness App to help people quit smoking.  When this opportunity arose, I went with it.  Part of the process of quitting is writing down your experiences with this App.  Writing ovah there led to motivation to write ovah here.  Hmmmm. Sharing my experience with mindfulness would not be a bad purpose for this blog. I am still looking for one of those.

A year ago I had an experience that felt almost life changing. I will warn you it is a bit long if you choose to read it.  Looking back, I can see that the experience gave me the opportunity to be more aware of what was going on with me.  To be present. To be in the moment.  Not worrying about something in my future that might never happen.  Not ruminating over something I did or did not do in the past. My soul focus was on whether I could get from the couch to the bathroom without help. I was forced to look at right now and nothing else. I was forced to focus on my body and what I could or could not do. This experience was the start of a journey I did not expect to be on.  This experience led me to My Mindfulness Adventure.

This new awareness led me to a new therapist.  He shall now be known as Dennis.  Dennis led me to a true introduction to what mindfulness is and what it can do.  Learning about it and practicing a bit led me to talk about it.  Talking about it led to a friend sharing a link with me.  That link led me to TheMindfulnessSummit.  I am presently calling this summit my crash course in Mindfulness.  From it I am learning exactly what I need to learn to continue my exploration of Mindfulness.  I am becoming aware (there’s that word again) of how practicing mindfulness can make a difference in my life.  My eyes are opening to the possibilities of what practicing mindfulness can do for anyone who gives it a chance.

roadblockfreedomFor instance, I did not know it could help prevent a relapse of depression.  There are things called Mindful parenting. Mindfulness for business. It can be used to help deal with pain.  I did not know there was such a thing as mindful eating.  Which is a tad odd as I recently made a decision to lose some weight.  I was actually losing weight by using mindful eating techniques that I didn’t even know existed.  The extent of my experience with mindfulness consisted of using it to deal with an anxiety thing.

Back to the MindfulnessSummit.  One of the lectures I listened to led me to a local Mindfulness Center that I did not know existed.  That centers website led me to ask questions about becoming part of a research study. That study was being conducted to see how successful a particular App was at using mindfulness to help people quit smoking.  Odd, I have been thinking a lot about how much I really need to make a final attempt at quitting.  Patches, gum, medication, lozenges – none of that appealed to me.   This appealed to me.  Is all of this one rather large coincidence?  It doesn’t matter as it all came together to lead me where I need to be.  quitsmoking

The first time I quit smoking was a bit unconventional.  The last should be as well.            .

Are Ya Ready for Tomorrow????

Obsessive Thought Soup ====
Start with Numerous Random Thoughts
Add 4 dashes of Fear and Worry
Stir 16 times
Let simmer for exactly 64 minutes
Breathe and Let it Go
REPEAT

I’ve been Wicked obsessing again.  I can’t really focus on random obsessive thoughts today because it is so much more than just thoughts right now.  My brain feels like a family size pot of Obsessive Thought Soup, anxiously simmering on the wood stove. OTS should not be confused with LPS or Llama Poop Soup which in itself can be obsessive, but is a completely different kind of soup.

Okay, my most prevalent recent obsessions are as follows….

  • obsessing over never having finished Photo101.  Life got in the way of that and it was put on the back burner.
  • Obsessing over last weeks Photo Challenge (Close-Ups if you missed it).
  • Obsessing over this
  • that
  • all those other things.
  • And now I am Obsessing over how many cooking references I can accidentally have in one post.

I tried sitting with the thoughts and letting them go. I tried distraction as a way to rid myself of these thoughts. Old negative coping techniques no longer work so I shall not even go there.  I could verbally rant, but I don’t feel like bothering anyone else with my batshitcrazy way of thinking right now. Maybe if I take each named obsession one by one and rant a bit, they will lessen.  If I do this right, I should be able to rid myself of these obsessive thoughts, complete Obsessive Thought Thursday (maybe a day early even), do some work on Photo101, and release from my mind the other close-ups I’ve been obsessing over.

I do believe I am feeling an increase in anxiety which may be causing an increase in obsessive thoughts which definitely is causing more anxiety which leads to compulsions…………….OR did the obsessive thoughts start first which led to the elevation of anxiety which led to more obsessive thoughts which in turn led to compulsions……………All I know is I am obsessing.  Other coping skills did not work, so right now I am attempting to rant them away by writing. I shall write those obsessions right out of me. Write and rant about obsessions in order to rid myself of those same obsessions. Is this making sense to anyone???? I think I may have confused even myself.  I refuse to add to the anxiety by starting to obsess over the # of times I just wrote “right” and “write” or obsess over those run-on sentences I let stay.

Ah, I just took a break for breathing.  Breaks for deep breaths are good AND I completely forget about them almost all of the time.  How come the stuff that is the best for me when I obsess and feel anxiety are the last things I remember to try?  If I didn’t mind bothering other human beings, the very 1st thing they would have told me to do is BREATHE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Each and Every One of them would have said in a firm, yet tender voice, STOP and BREATHE!!!! and not in a loud voice either.  I have been doing very well with firm, yet tender prompts. “No, buts, just STOP and BREATHE.” They may have to repeat it. And possibly repeat it again, but it helps.

Close-Up of Toad that kept jumping out at me

Close-Up of Toad
that kept jumping
out at me

Time to stop ranting and writing and hit save.  This breathing thing is calming me down.  I am obsessing less and think that I just might be able to stop writing for now and maybe eat supper. Who cares when I finish Photo101?  I can’t just pull photo’s out of my ass, I mean hat, to match the subject of the assignment in the order they are assigned. Look at this past weeks weekly challenge.  It just happened to be close-ups.  To start, I went looking for close-ups. After I published my 1st attempt, close-up opportunities kept popping up everywhere. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Day Seven of Photo101 Big & Point of View.  Ah screw it.  I am feeling better. Less obsessive, and no anxiety. I am no longer obsessing over finishing Photo101.  I also did tomorrow’s regular weekly feature today. So that leaves time open tomorrow to work on last months Photo101 assignments. and I forgot my 5:32 PM Ativan again.  So here’s to Obsessing or to Not obsessing.  I much prefer not.

cheating a bit today

Day Eleven of Photo101: A Pop of Color and Last Thursdays OTT

Life has gotten in my way recently. I am trying to get myself back into this Blogging thing. Also, I missed O.T.T. again last Thursday. I did think about it. I just didn’t do it. I am also wicked far behind in Photo101.

So today, Monday, I am going to combine O.T.T. with photo101.  I am going to challenge my OCD by getting back into my assignments, but I will mix things up a bit and do the assignments out-of-order. I obsessed a bit when taking pictures of this Pop of Color I found. A bit more when it came time to edit.  But, It was not to the point that I felt out of control. Just some minor anxiety that was easily managed.

This is progress.  The big test will be whether I can stick with doing the assignments out-of-order. Please note that there are 3 pictures.  Not 4 (down from 8).  This is a big deal to someone with my kind of OCD.

Now that I think about it, had I ventured down to the water I could have taken care of Day Seven: Big & Point of View as well.  Next time I will go to the bottom of the dam and look up.

 

I Really can turn it around

I did it.  I want to shout off the mountain top, “I FREAKIN’ DID IT!!!!”

I will try to make a long story short.

An unexpected not so good thing happened today.  This thing led to what I would describe as an even worse thing, but not devastatingly bad.  Manageable bad.  My hands shook while attempting to use the rarely used cell phone,

First call was AAA.  I just used these guys last Saturday so I am a pro with them.  Despite quivering fingers, I did well with their phone system.  The next call was to my therapists office.  Easy one. Well it became easy after the first number I dialed was a wrong number. Just say hello and ask for his extension here.  No need to deal with a computer.  You know, low tech, they have people.  People you can actually talk to and get to know. 

In my mind’s eye my 1st message to Dennis was panicked.  I could not remember my cell # , and rambled on about how “with my old therapist I had not missed an appointment and here it is Day 3 with you and I cancel…. WTF”

I stopped.

I put my phone down

I took a big sip of water.

I took a deep breath.

I called my therapists office back and left my cell phone number with them.  I then took another good deep long full breath and drank some more water.  The phone rang and it was Dennis.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned him yet.  He has the best voice. I thought my Doctor had a good voice when it came to helping people calm down, but Dennis’s is even better.  Hearing his voice and easily rescheduling my appointment continued the calmness I had started to feel.

Instead of feeding the all too well-known anxiety and anger, I took a few more breathes.  I realized this was the perfect opportunity to take a suggestion of my new therapist.  I did something Dennis mentioned.  Listen to how your body feels.  Feel the feelings.  It doesn’t just happen right away, but eventually I am able to let these feelings go.  The first time I tried it with Roy, I thought “yeah, right, just let it go, so simple yet so wicked hard”  But I have been practicing this with less important life crap.  When I really needed it to, It worked.  Surprised even me.

I had the calm time I needed to realize, “there is not a darn thing I can do to fix this situation.  I will miss my appointment no matter what I do.  It is so out of my control.  I can either focus on the bad of the situation or try to find some good.  I thought it would be fun to try to find some good in this life crap.  So I chose that.

I spent some of my time chatting with the Veterinary Tech I had just spoken to.  I laid down on the green grass and felt the warm breeze.  I drank some water.  I thought, “I should come back and steal some of their lilacs.”  Eventually I met D.J. and Rich.  Turns out Rich knows my husband, knew exactly who I was talking about when I mentioned  ‘the beagles guy’, and did everything in his power to take care of me.  And take care of me he did.  My car will be ready today by 5.

I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason.  Part of the fun is figuring out why things happen?  It’s not often that I am able to figure it out, but when I do, it can make me smile.

Maybe my pleasant attitude and conversation turned D.J.’s day around. Maybe my expression of appreciation to Rich, on GM’s Appreciation Day I might add, made him rethink quitting his job, leaving his wife, and moving to Alaska.  Maybe someone who was passing by, saw me lying in grass, and it made them think “yes, I need to relax too.”

I forgot the point of why I started writing.  I will end with, despite having a lifetime of mental health issues, I am okay today.  I am not great. I am not perfect. It can be a struggle, but I can be okay.

I just realized my goal today was to answer this question, “If there was one thing you could tell people about your experience with mental illness, either in a family member, friend, or yourself, what would it be?”  Thank you Shirley’s Heaven.

Every day I get a reminder to feel gratitude.  Today I am grateful that I took the extra time to make myself look presentable.  I was expecting a simple trip to therapy, not running into the whole Chevy dealership.

I am going to go watch my humming birds.

he attacked my husband’s bright yellow and red shirt, so we gave him 2 brand new feeders. now we have 2 birds and boy do they fight.

 

Day 20 – I treasure Awareness, and Family, and dogs, and the ability to pee by myself, etc.

I might or might not know what happened.confused-on-the-computer

I may have accidently hit publish when I 1st started writing this story way back when. That may explain why it says it was published on January 20th, when I published today. It became my First post???? Not my last of writing 101.

With a lot of work I was able to get it to fit with the last assignment.  All I know is that I finished it today. and published it today.

life as seen by me

Day Twenty: The Things We Treasure Today’s Prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession. Today’s twist: We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now, let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to longform writing. Let’s celebrate the drawn-out, slowly cooked, wide-shot narrative. Good luck to all who read the whole thing and I promise never to write this much again!!!! 4189 words

It all started innocently enough.  I first noticed I couldn’t feel my fingers. As things progressed and I told my story over and over again I realized it actually started weeks before.

I couldn’t feel the cigarette smoke go into my lungs.  I remember telling Jax, “I can’t suck. I suck at sucking.”  I was also eating a lot of Tootsie rolls.  Every time I generated some Tootsie roll flavored saliva I would cough, sputter, choke almost.  I blamed these…

View original post 3,854 more words

Day 17 what do you fear?

Day Seventeen: Your Personality on the Page. Today’s Prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears. Today’s Twist: Write this post in a style distinct from your own

.

haha No commas!!!!  I have been afraid of so many things for so long it is hard to pick just one.  But I will. I fear losing My Home

.

Right now.  I have My Home.

It is me.  My partner.  My beagle.

I have had other similar homes.  Some included my partner and beagle.

Others did not.

This is My Home.  I am content here.  It is peaceful.

Life can be hard.  I do it anyway.

It is quiet here.  I can hear me.  I can hear you.  I can hear my partner.

I do not always understand him.  I know this.  I listen anyway.

I can hear my beagle.

Today.

He has less to say.  He still talks.

I listen to it all and to nothing.  I hear the quiet.  The noise is gone.

I fear the noise will return.

I am vigilant.

I could easily lose my home if the noise returns.

My goal.

Listen.

Do not let the noise get loud.

who or what will inspire me next?

I was taking a day off from writing.  I was gonna do nothing, but maybe read a bit.  Yah Right.  I read a friend’s blog post.  I left a reply to that friend.  This is my reply.

Sorry I do not have any questions about the hospital, but do need to know more about the chair room.  I have never heard of such a thing(It’s been 2 years since I was last in hospital).

Who pays for it? If the insurance pays, how is it billed to them? Who originally thought this “room” was a good idea? Is it just the hospital you went to that has it or are there many similar ones across the country? Could you have left if you chose to? I’m sure if I thought longer I could come up with many more questions, but right now I just have 1 left. Well It is more of a statement.

There is something seriously wrong with the mental health system in this country if you spent 2 days in a chair because there was no bed available to you.  I’m not saying they need more beds, I am saying they need to figure out a way to need less beds. Obviously something is not working somewhere. And don’t look to other countries for answers.  Their systems are different but just as messed up. I think they need to listen to us.  The ones who need the beds.

I was taking a day off from writing and look at me go. Thank you Lily. I just might have to go back to my blog and vent about this.  Oh look I already did vent 😀

I hope you have as good a day as you are capable of having.

I kind of have the feeling this is not going to be the end of me talking about “the chair room” and just think I wanted to get drunk and forget today was even happening.

Take that depressive brain!!!!  I beat you today!!!!

Reach for the Mother Fin' sky

Reach for the Mother F in sky !!!!

 

word on page 29

Day Fourteen: To Whom It May Concern

Today’s Prompt: Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration Today’s twist: write the post in the form of a letter.

There are just so many different uses for the word.  It has had quite a history and I am sure a very fine future.  It has been used as titles of movies, a magazine, and music albums.  There is a whole series of books and many working in the crash test field.  The word that jumped out of me on page 29 was dummy.  I chuckled as I realized I could definitely work with that.  The definitions I am going to focus on is a stupid person; idiot; jackass; moron; and to keep silent; refuse to answer; as in ‘dummy up’.wpid-images-7-jpg

Hey dumbass,

haha I laugh at you today.  Did you really think you could get rid of me forever.  You know I may leave temporarily but I never go far.  You are a true idiot if you think that just because I have been gone so long this time that you start to think I could never return. I am here to remind you of me.  Remind you of what I can do.

What a moron you can be sometimes.  You were getting too smaht there for a while.  I had to change things up a bit. I came at you working with agitation and irritability this time. Wasn’t I the smaht one? Remember, I always return. I may look different sometimes, but I guarantee it is always me. 

I may have stayed away too long this time though. You had time to work on other things. Get better in other ways. Find more support. I am very powerful and will always be able to make you do what I want. I am sneaky and unrelenting.

Have as much fun as you can for now.  Because I am coming back.  I am coming back stronger than ever.

– See you soon – Your depressive brain

Hey Jack ass,

Guess what. The jokes on you. I see you coming.  Too much time has passed.  I had time to do things. Time to change things. The biggest thing I have done was become more aware.  So aware that I already see you messing around with my sleep.  You are trying to fool me by doing it slowly, but I am not fooled.  I can see it happening.  So guess what?  I did not dummy up this time.  When I saw you playing with my sleep this month, I got voice to talk about it.  I and other folk are aware of what you are trying to do. They all know.  They are all watching.  We have ways to make you lose control of sleep. When we sleep, you lose your power.  We are not letting you get so out of hand that you get strong this time.  We will stop you and stop you now. 

We are no longer the dummy you thought you had to work with.  I played it smaht. I learned new skills, tried new things, became more courageous, and voice worked with mouth to open up. We have the power to kick your dumbass.

Bring it on Depressive brain this is the new and improved, strong, mighty, healthy brain you are messing with this time.  And, I have control of voice. Boy, she has loved talking.  I almost forgot, we found hope too.  We found her and we are not letting go of her this time.