Self-care in turbulent times.

dog-walking-in-snow

The trendy term “self care” irritates me the same way other trendy terms tend to irritate me, but it’s actually a good phrase and good advice.

I had two days off from work this week due to the snow, and I could have spent that time glued to the news, scanning Twitter for the latest Trumpian outrages (I can’t even keep up with them anymore), and making myself angry, depressed, and scared.

For a year I have struggled with retriggered C-PTSD because of this president and his abuse of vulnerable Americans, which includes myself because I am not rich or conservative.

I could have worked myself up into a righteous tizzy and returned to work feeling exhausted instead of refreshed.

But instead, I took a moratorium from the news and from the Internet.   Reading my Kindle copy of “Fire and Fury” (I’m almost done) was about the extent of my politics-related activities.   I cleaned my house (really well for a change) , organized a couple of closets, and actually cooked.   I spent time catching up with friends on Facebook and reading funny or inspiring websites, and watching funny animal videos.  I watched part of a “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” marathon, and even walked in the snow.    I read one of the novels in the list of books I posted the other day, and was actually able to concentrate on the plot.   I’m almost finished with it now.

readingabook

I have to admit I felt a twinge of guilt for burying my head in the sand and choosing not to follow the news for a couple of days.    I’ve always believed if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, but taking mental health breaks from all the chaos coming from the White House doesn’t mean you’re ignoring the dangers and becoming complacent and complicit.  It means you are a human being and need time to take care of yourself.  If you’re active in the resistance, whether as an actual activist, or just protesting online, you’re not going to be any good to anyone if you’re depressed, deflated,  apathetic, terrified, or unhealthily enraged.   All you’ll be able to do is spread negativity instead of inspiration and ideas.

So it’s absolutely imperative, especially if you suffer from PTSD, C-PTSD or a depressive disorder, to give yourself breaks from all the chaos and negative politics and take care of yourself.   It’s still possible to enjoy the simple things in life and even have fun, yes, even in the darkest times.   I can’t help but think of Anne Frank, a young girl confined in a German concentration camp, but she never let that reality break her spirit.  She was still a happy, positive person who spread joy and hope to others, even knowing she and her family were going to die.   Even today, her legacy still inspires others.

After my two days off spent staying away from politics and the news, I actually felt refreshed and ready to fight again.    So don’t feel guilty if you need to take breaks to concentrate on yourself, your friends or family.   Spend time doing things you like or that relax you — listening to music, watching a funny movie, meditating, praying, doing Yoga, reading a novel, cooking or baking, or spending time in nature (nothing is more healing than nature, if that’s your thing).   You are not abandoning your ideals or becoming complacent.   You are just refueling.

*****

Further reading:

12 Ways to Resist Without Losing Your Mind

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“Why Therapy is Not Working” (Ryan Liberty)

I love this guy and his videos.  He has a fun, upbeat style.  Follow his channel on Youtube.

You can also follow his Emotional Trauma Support Group on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/ryanalysis

This is helpful to me right now.  Not that therapy isn’t working, but I feel stuck and powerless because of the political situation.   This has never happened to me before.

How writing every day has changed me

journaling

Before I started to blog, I was stuck in a quagmire of self pity and resentment. Most of you know I’m a survivor of abuse and hence suffer from depression and PTSD as a result of my abusers’ mental and emotional shenanigans and mindgames.

Even though I disconnected from my abusive ex-husband almost a year ago, my negative thinking patterns remained. Every day was the same as the one before; I was bored with my life and bored with myself, and felt like there was nothing else to look forward to, ever. I felt like I had lost my writing ability, creative vision and intelligence. I tried praying and it wasn’t helping very much–because the faith in myself and my future wasn’t there. It just seemed like a waste of time.

For a long time I had wanted to blog, but several things were stopping me: first, I was terrified to find out I may have forgotten how to write (since I hadn’t written anything besides a forum post in years). Second, blogging seemed like something you had to have computer or technical savvy to do. People told me WordPress and Blogger were hard to use, and I assumed they were right and that I was too stupid to learn (because I really truly believed I lost my ability to learn anything new). Finally, I couldn’t seem to get motivated. I was stuck in a rut and wanted out of it badly, yet couldn’t seem to pull myself out of the murky quicksand of my own ennui.

I really thought there was no place for me in this world and that I was simply too old, too tired, too dumb, and too boring to make any sort of meaningful impact on the world or even on just a few people. Actually it turned out I wasn’t any of those things–people with depression and PTSD often feel this way about themselves.

I thought about suicide because the prospect of just getting up every morning, going to my boring, low paying job, coming home, spending a couple of hours on other people’s websites before turning into bed, then having to repeat the same thing the next day and the next day and every day for the rest of my life until the pain of illness and old age finally took over was something I just didn’t want to face. But as depressed as I’ve been, I’ve never seriously entertained the idea of suicide because, well, I’m just too scared of it. Death scares the shit out of me. Not so much the state of death itself, but the process of dying.

But guess what? I was already dying. I was walking around like a dead person, spiritually and emotionally numb.

But writing has changed all that.

One day about a month ago, some spark of motivation came out of nowhere and momentarily penetrated the stagnant murk inside my brain. I don’t know if it was God, or the better part of myself doing it but it doesn’t matter because there it was like the beam from a lighthouse first seen in a stormy sea. Rather than ignore it or tell myself I’d act on it later, I didn’t even think about it, I just obeyed it. I opened up my laptop, found WordPress, and immediately set up my blog. It was much easier than I’d been led to believe, and by my third article I felt like I knew what I was doing.

There’s been no turning back, and I feel so much more alive and optimistic about my future and what I can contribute to the world. Blogging is certainly helping me, but maybe I can even help others too. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have a purpose, a place in this world, and that I’m here for a better reason than just marking time until death and have more to offer than just providing an example to others of how not to live their lives (which is something I used to really believe).

But writing is a discipline, and sometimes I have to talk myself into it. It was hard at first to commit to writing one post a day. But for the most part I’ve not only managed to write a post a day, but sometimes two or three a day. I find that rather than being a chore(as I had feared), the more I write the more I want to write, and the ideas just keep coming. I thought I had no ideas. I was so wrong.

How to Deal With an Adult Bully

I just came across this article about how to handle adult bullies. There are more of them out there than we realize. Sadly, bullying is NOT just for kids, but we don’t have take their crap either.
Also, the blogger who wrote this is one of the many who deserves to be noticed a lot more than they are. I’m a new blogger and was having the same problem (and may still have it). Earlier today, I had the good fortune of a popular blogger reblogging my rant about not having enough followers, and now I’m getting so many comments, likes and new follows I feel like I’m dreaming. So I hope this blogger doesn’t mind if I pay it forward, even though I’m not exactly a “popular” blogger yet.
Enjoy!

Latter Day Left

Just don’t.  Standing up for yourself will not stop them.  Reasoning with them will not stop them.  Even ignoring them does not stop them.

I have many conservative friends on my Facebook account.  I know some are right-winged due to their repeated political posts which I often disagree with. However, I rarely feel attacked when I respond. But one (I’ll call him “Buck”) was blocked some time ago because his comments are often hateful,mean-spirited, flat out cruel, and always politically motivated. I decided I was best not seeing his posts, so I kept him as a friend and blocked his activities. That was not the smartest thing for me to do, because I could still see his responses to politically motivated posts of mutual friends.

I’ll call one mutual friend Ed.  Ed’s a great guy; I’ve always liked him, and even when we disagree, we remain friendly.  Buck has never been this way. I think Buck bullies…

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