Lately

Sorry I have been gone for a little while; I am having technical difficulties! (Seasonal affective disorder) Eh, I’m used to it!  We had a hurricane a few weeks ago and it brought cold weather. Add low sunlight and presto! It is obnoxious, but I have tools to deal with it and while  a thorn in my side; it is nothing to write home about. Just know you CANNOT control your thoughts and emotions, but you can deal with them in appropriate manner. NOTHING happens without our permission! Negativity in life is inevitable, but it only overcomes us if we ALLOW it! I challenge everyone to concentrate on the haves, rather than have nots! Example : I have very good health (kind of haha, my labs are great!), 2 cats who love me, love in my life, and a roof over my head. I have my life. I will be grateful and slay the day!

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Currently

Listening to beautiful music; reflecting on my life. It’s bloody amazing! I am beyond blessed! I’ve had a super month so far; I made a great new friend who was my father’s high school friend, am walking again, and was able to increase my exercise by 20 %. I  am going to use an old format that I haven’t used in years. REMINDER! These are merely suggestions! I am not God and am absolutely not telling anyone what to do!

Physical: PUSH yourself, but be SAFE!  Example: I was terrified to walk, but I knew I’d get nowhere unless I TRIED! You best believe I had a wall beside me in case I needed support! When I exercise, if I’m merely tired I continue, but if somethings is painful, I stop. If I seriously hurt myself… well that is NO good!

Mental: It’s perfectly ok to have bad times! Yes, I do,too! Life isn’t perfect; people aren’t perfect! I have found great people I can talk to about my deepest problems! It’s a blessing to be able to tell people my woes (I don’t share EVERYTHING on here lol). It is amazing to be able to use others and that which is for help!

Spiritual: I had a series of horrible events happen back to back last summer. One was something frightening that caused police involvement. I realized the next morning that this person was not well. I prayed for their happiness and for them to be well. I prayed for their inner peace and that they not hurt another person. I cannot describe the relief I felt. Often people carry anger and resentment with them for so long, it causes bitterness and grief. I need not hold onto such or it will consume me!

My story

In early November of 2013, I had reached my lowest point and attempted suicide by overdosing on drugs and alcohol; I awoke from a coma about a week later. Unable to move or make noise, I found myself as one sees a newborn baby. I was extremely anorexic and malnourished; I was also very addicted to drugs and alcohol. What strikes me now as no coincidence is this: my family was holding vigil over Thanksgiving dinner in the hospital cafeteria when I came back to life.

My life had completely taken a downward spiral since my days as a glowing college philosophy student. My dream of becoming a professor had been replaced by the hellish torture of alcoholism, drug addiction, and an eating disorder. While in school, I modeled myself after the great philosophers and truly thought the greatest thoughts were derived from the use of some sort of substance. I imagined myself holding council with the greats in absinthe bars across Europe and sharing my brilliant two cents with those around me. As an adolescent, I was an avid athlete and won many scholastic awards; I graduated ahead of my class and the future was in my hands. My addictions had other plans:  a dentist’s daughter, private school and university taught, I often found myself homeless and at the end of my addiction, living to drink and drug. My dreams had been replaced by nightmares and it all came to fruition that bleak November night. No longer could did I care about my mental or physical health; I was physically addicted and drinking to live. How dark it is before the dawn!

Upon overdosing I found myself in a coma on life support; unable to breath on my own, my systems were shutting down. Recently, I found out that one night, they prepared my family for the worst. It is very important for posterity’s sake that one takes into account what atrocious shape I was in, as you may find the later portion of my story rather uplifting. After awakening, my living nightmare began, I had cut off the oxygen supply to my brain and was unable to move or make noise, due to the large holes now in my cerebellum. I wish I could say that was an a-ha moment, an awakening of sorts; sadly it was not. I did not drink, drug, or practice my eating disorder for  three years, as I was physically unable and due to mobility issues had moved back home with my mother (my father committed suicide in 2002). After three years, I was walking with a walker, and ready to live on my own again… so I thought. By 2007, I had destroyed what little progress I had made; I was once again drinking and practicing the eating disorder, only this time I was severely disabled. In the spring, I found myself, once again, in a psych ward. Guardianship was relinquished to my mother; I know not why, but all of a sudden a switch flipped on inside of me and I decided then and there I would “get better”, so to speak.

I remembered the philosophical teachings of Epictetus, how one creates their own circumstances and of the great psychologist Viktor Frankl who claimed that “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.” I began inpatient hospitalization to nourish my body and uncloud my mind. Once I was well enough, I began working with a nutritionist and attending support groups; I abstained from alcohol and drugs, but faltered with the eating disorder. Honestly, it was difficult to let go of all of my unhealthy habits. Resisting drugs and alcohol, I remained sober for 3.5 years. On December 14th of 2013 I, again, drank; that is an important date for me; that is the day I took my life back. I decided enough is enough and all but wore out my copies of my motivating philosophical books. The next few months found me sober, quitting smoking, halting the eating disorder, becoming vegetarian, and obtaining a gym membership. It’s truly amazing as to the things we can do when we apply ourselves! All this while, I’ve held onto the notion that there is reason for one’s suffering; if anything, it is to share hope with those who may well be fighting their own battles. For the first time in 20 years, I myself began to see hope. I sought refuge in the works of William James and studied Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth”. These works led me to believe there was an immutable sense underlying all; it was not up to me to figure my life out, but I could, indeed, live to show others that hope is for all, not simply the worthy.

In 2014, I was doing so well all around that I set a new goal for myself: to go back to school to be a personal trainer. You must remember that from 2003-2004 I could barely move; so this was a lofty goal. I gained my certification on the first try, joining only 10% of my class; next up, find employment. Believe it or not, I applied at gyms and health and nutrition stores. I secured a position in a health store and took the paratransit bus to work; I remembered stories from my childhood: these helped me overcome adversity. Aesop’s Fables, morals, and abstractions guided me through troubled waters. CS Lewis is another favorite who I studied intensely, not for his religious, but philosophical teachings. I believe now that “Even at night there are stars that shine”.

I have not had an eating disorder or used substances since 2013; neither have I eaten meat or smoked. As I now know, there is meaning in the suffering. Life happens; it is up to us as to its meaning. I know today that I make a choice everyday as to the path my life will take. “I am the captain of my soul; I am the master of my destiny.” Hope is available for everyone; take heart; it is yours if you want it.

 

Watch me go!

I have been very busy since the end of June, for good reason: I AM WALKING AGAIN!! Yes, I use a cane, but the freedom from not having my walker is priceless. I am beyond blessed and grateful. 16 years ago, I was told I’d have to spend my days in an assisted living facility and would be fortunate if I could perform menial tasks. I have lived on my own for 14 years, I am walking on my own, and I went to school 4 years ago to be a personal trainer. I have always been one to not do what I was told; I suppose this worked in my favor. I have very large holes in my cerebellum which drastically affect my motor coordination. However, this will not stop me. I encourage everyone :young, old, minor or major illness to  reach beyond the confines and never allow yourself to be limited. I said no to all medical opinion. I am no super specimen; I just work very hard and refuse to settle for the status-quo. ANYONE can live this life if they just put in the effort. You don’t need to disappear into the ether, simply live your damndest.

Rise above

“If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it.” Epictetus

Some things I have learned thusly: Not everyone will like you and I cannot take myself too seriously. I have (and still do) face criticism. I have found that the best way to stay out of controversy is to completely avoid it. If one does not do anything negative, then when we find ourselves amongst gossip and chaos, we can rest easy and simply laugh it off knowing that it is baseless and completely unfounded. I am indeed overly happy and all over the place, but I am harmless! I have received reminders of myself from 10 years ago and I must say, it’s COMPLETELY embarrassing! I must call myself out (aside from things done to me) I have been a thief, a liar, a cheat, an addict and alcoholic, completely out of control; this hardly touches the surface. If you are any of these things; do not count yourself out and feel damaged beyond repair. There is always hope; I know but little, I do, however, I know something about and believe in humanity and goodness. Trust that I am well versed on current events, much of my life revolves around them. I am well aware of all of the negativity and atrocities in the world; many of which (and I am EXTREMELY sad about) involve people I love. If I do not involve myself, I can laugh off negativity and realize it is not ME, but the other party. I have spent too much of my life spent at the whim of others; we choose this, no person has control unless permission is granted. One need not waste needless energy on worry of other’s thoughts about them, but rather remain secure with themselves.

What will be

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” – William Shakespeare
We are each ourselves up to this point; yet the present is malleable and the future not yet written. That which will be is unknown. We all have a choice as to our situation; one can choose positive or negative. Trust that the former me did not have the present me on the horizon. I knew what I was, which was absolutely a wreck, but absolutely! had no idea what I’d become. Quite frankly (I was told this by medical professionals) if I had continued my lifestyle, I would have been dead by age 24. I did not expect that I’d be healthy and happy at age 37. I realize each day is but a gift, today I appreciate each day I’m alive and choose to live to the fullest. I am no longer in mental anguish; no one is required to be, yet so often are. The philosopher Epectitus held the idea that a person is free if they choose to be, despite the confines that restrict them. I am quite fond of Epectitus, as his values hold court with mine. I truly believe each man and woman cannot control external circumstances, yet has the power of choice regarding their minds. I know well, we cannot control our brain chemistry, yet we choose things such as deep love, gratitude, and whether or not we will be positive in the face of adversity. Whatever we presently may be is subject to change. If you are clinging to pessimism, negativity, and formerly or presently horrible situations; there is no time like the present to change and be what you may be.

Things don’t just happen

Let it be clearly known; I did not just suddenly become good. It has taken years! of extremely hard work to become who I am today. I have a horrible past, writhe with substance abuse, cheating, lying, things done to me, self-mutilation, serious eating disorders, disabilities, death, etc., etc. I am not my past. Yes, it affects me, but I had to realize; either I live in my past and wallow in misery or I learn from it and move on. I have spent enough of my life feeling sorry for myself; I know what it’s like to dwell amongst the weeds. I choose to live in the sun, with the flowers, today! There is no magic pill. Often, we seek out a quick fix for our problems. I can use alcohol and drugs and food and sex and love and psychotropics as a temporary solution, but it is just that; temporary and fleeting and I am thus left with myself, after all is said and done. It is not until I search within, am honest with myself and others, and do not hide and suppress my true being, that I find solace. If I am not doing well, I don’t hide it. These days, it is rare that I’m not. For example, one of my very dear friends passed away a month and a half ago; this was followed by 3 other friends dying and the anniversary of my father’s suicide all within one week. Needless to say, this took its toll. I did not, however, take these things to heart and use them as an excuse to feel sorry for myself; how I meet challenges is a choice…these things only stop me if I give them power over me. My attitude is more powerful than people and events in my life. I am not Superwoman, I have flaws; I am perfectly imperfect. Love yourself despite your past and your flaws and I challenge you to be patient and honest and kind to yourself and others!

Just alright?

I was at the gym this morning doing balancing exercises (I had a stroke and recently stopped using my cane, I have neurology and balance issues); I am supposed to do them for 30-60 seconds. I reached 60, stopped and thought, “Do I want to be alright or do I want to be great?”; so I did another 60. It is the same for everything in our lives :mental, physical, social; doing the minimum or average is fine… if you want minimum or average results. It is tough to go beyond the basic (no one said it is easy) but, if done, you will get better results than otherwise. Try to push beyond, just ask yourself “Do I want to be average or AWESOME!?”

Mental: If you are having problems in this area, if you are gloom and doom or using negative self talk…TALK TO SOMEONE!!! Do not stuff it down and carry that burden alone. As it relates to pushing yourself; if you see the glass as half empty, and tell yourself you cannot do something, you won’t try.  Other people can carry you, push you, in the right direction.

Physical: Don’t stop at the minimum; push yourself. You do not improve by half assing  it or staying in the same place. Think of your goal; now think of how fantastic it would be to exceed it. Do  not put limitations on your physicality; I know if I did I would be very far behind. YOU make your physical situation up to you; do the best you can with what you have. People have issues that might impede them; even non-disabled individuals (injuries, health problems, etc.), but even this (with medical guidance) cannot stop you from doing your best possible.

Social: Use society to lift you up, not drag you down. Yes, there are things wrong with the world; it’s impossible to view the news without hearing of the woes of the world; you rarely hear good news. The world likes to pull on your fiery side and get you riled up, but (believe me) there is good in the world, often you have to seek it out. There is a good program on CNN, called Heroes; it airs at Thanksgiving, but if you don’t have cable, you can probably get it online or see snippets at YouTube; and I will give a link to the website. Even if you don’t agree with CNN as a news station, this program allows you to see truly inspirational  people, from all walks of life, appreciated for their contributions to society.CNN Heroes

Last years nominees

Hey!

 Sorry all..have been doing work all morning. I’m learning a lot. Call me a dork…I love to learn about everything I can! And yes,I do love to read 🙂 Thanks for remembering! My head is swimming with bits and pieces of new terms. I think I need to bring out my thinking cap and study habits!

Mental: Regression is no excuse to give up. Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t do your best. Just learn from whatever you did and try to do better next time. I know I stayed stuck in this cycle for a very long time. It can cause one to stay stuck on a “woe is me” and “doomed” setting. Do NOT give up if you falter. Get on the horse and keep going!

Physical: This is mental and physical. Let your mind push you. Stay positive, instead of saying “this is too hard,I don’t want to even try” try saying to yourself “this is a CHALLENGE. It’ll be hard and scary, but I know I’ll feel GREAT and ACCOMPLISHED when it’s over.”

Social: Try not to get dragged into futile things. The world is yin and yang. Positive and negative. It is so EASY to get sucked into negativity without even realizing it. I am constantly having to pull myself back. Do not think something’s wrong with you if you find yourself in a negative situation. I try to just think of how bad it feels and of how I got there and try my hardest not to “go there” again.

What you allow