Mental Health · Self

Sunburnt: A Sensitive Life

I have been pretty busy with life, work and service that I have not had much time to write something here in quite a while. I feel, as I have in the past, that there are just times that I need only write for myself in my private journals. I’m constantly on this road to progress and get myself to certain high point, where I feel pretty great and then everything falls apart again. This is the human condition playing out. I just want what I have always wanted, to not have those bad times be so so bad and allow myself to enjoy the good times, too. Sometimes the good times are hard for me, too. At the end of the day, we are all seeking some sort of balance in our thinking, behavior and emotional range. During this period of blogging silence, my emotional range has been all over the place. Every day, since the beginning of the year, I have been working hard to come back to the home that is within me. I feel like I am recovering from a really bad sunburn. Each day I get a little more desensitized. (That is not my metaphor. but one created by my therapist.) I need to soothe the skin with aloe. That aloe for my mind is everything from exercise, crosswords, taking photographs and mumbled prayers throughout the day. I must also apply aloe to my brain and its strange thinking. Many times it rejects the foreign substance. So I struggle with the negativity in my head, questioning it, reframing the thoughts and assumptions I encounter. My mother is always saying, “Assume positive intent.” I do not do that. I do not ever assume anything will be positive for me. I can take something wonderful, turn it around and around, and use it against myself. I am so wonderfully, self destructive.

My focus is on that aloe balm for my mind, body and soul. Many of us call it self – care. This is often times overlooked in our lives. I have learned, over these 32 years on the planet, that I have a lot of needs. They are not selfish needs, nor are most of them of my own creation. Many of them are things affecting various systems in my body, my stomach, brain and energy level (though I don’t know what organ that originates from, so it is probably a glandular thing). I guess what I am trying to say is, I need to learn how to care for my special needs, so that I can care for the needs of others. Like when they tell you on the airplane “in the event of loss of cabin pressure” to place your mask on FIRST, before you assist your child or “person seated next to you.”

I have the freedom to work on that now, and it is a wonderful gift. Funny, that I should phrase it in such a way. It is not a gift, it is a necessity.

I hope that if I am able to practice self-care, then I will be able to move other areas of my life forward. But before, even that happens, I hope to move myself toward peace and away from chaos. I never read the book “The Secret,” but I do know they talk about the concept of “like attracting like.” If you want chaos or you embody chaos, you will get chaos. If you want peace and you embody peace, you will get peace. Right now, I am still struggling with how to find peace. Restless would be the right word. Cognitively and emotionally, I am questioning things and turning them around in my head, because let’s face it, my initial thoughts and feelings are pretty horrible. For instance, let’s say we are going to spend some time together. I’m nervous as usual and you are not sure whether you will be available. I can be both feel afraid about taking up your time and angry at you for assuming that you will not be available. Thanks to my magical powers of destructive thinking, I can want to spend time with you and be angry that I have to drive somewhere to see you, because I am totally incapable of negotiating a middle ground (literally and figuratively) for us to meet. This has been the way my brain has worked for 32 years. How can there be peace when I am arguing with myself? How could I ever involve anyone else in this equation? Why would anyone want to be part of an equation with me? Because let’s face it, it is both going be your fault and my fault at the same time. Whoa! Talk about bad dialectical thinking and practice.

So I’m working on it. And yes I need extra help. Defining the problem is only the beginning. Solving it is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. Every day I am moving closer to the solution, hoping that some day the problem will completely go away.

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