Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Upside Down, Sunny Side Up

UPSIDE DOWN CAKE: you can not get me to any place I am not willing to go.

For years, I've been blaming others for my own unhappiness. It is only recently that I've been able to see that the upset I've felt by others truly, unduly stems from within. It has always been that I've felt upset by something "they" did, or said. Or didn't do, or didn't say. Slights came easily, and I guess that's come from a life time of practice.

It was only in working with a loved one's issue of poor mental health, that I saw what I have been doing to myself. That I too, had been sitting on a lifetime of savored wounds, hurts and unhappiness. That in spite of it all, what each situation had in common, was (wait for it) ME. Tah-dah.

In fact, if I traced the chain of my own unhappiness like a trail of breadcrumbs, it went way WAY WAY WAAAAAAY back to early childhood. Maybe even sooner. Soooo, how can X be the root of me being hurt or unhappy, if the bruised and swollen feeling of neglect originated before the CAUSE?

It was a humbling moment, when I followed the pain all the way to the first time I felt it.


Oh don't get me wrong. I have also felt a tremendous amount of natural exuberance and joy. So perhaps that is why I have externalized any sort of hurt and unhappiness to outside sources. It was DAD. It was feeling overwhelmed and insecure from moving every year of my life until I was 12. It was the chain link fence pressing against my face while being punched in the back by the school bully who would single me out every day after school all my second grade year, and nobody ever thought to stop him.

IT WAS THEM. The boss who flirted with me and when I didn't succumb to his advances, down voted a raise and a promotion. The unfortunate habit of falling in love with dudes who just didn't seem to love me back. The bitterness and anger was directed at OUT THERE. And what THEY DID.

Knee jerk anger and self righteousness and a bleeding out of joy.  Because of THEM.

Only, well, you know where this is going don't you? Only I traced back the pain and the hurt and the sorrow to before them, and what I found was me. Me being unhappy.

I never saw myself as unhappy though. Me, fun loving, made of sunshine MOI? Naw.

When an intense bout of depression hit a couple of years ago, and I sought treatment with medication, I thought, well it's because I have good reason to be depressed. I had suffered some unfortunate circumstances, and had been under  a constant yet low grade stress FOR A VERY LONG TIME and it was taking its toll on my health. I had almost lost someone very near and dear to me. VERY CLOSE, and it was so very painful. I just sort of crumbled, mind and body, like old vintage foam turning into devil dust, just an irritating cloying powdery thing, possessing no malice but in the way and useless.

I "suddenly" was unable to function at a normal level My thoughts were hard to corral, I seemed to have lost any ability to trouble shoot, and could not have been able to problem solve my way out of a paper bag. It was embarrassing and there didn't seem anything I could do about it.

Thankfully, I had a handful of folks who were kind and supportive, and without their supplemental love and support, it is unlikely I would have come out in as good of shape as I did. Thank goodness, ya only need a handful of helpful people around you, as the likelihood of more than a few friends sticking by you during tough times is pretty slim to none. Trust me, I've seen it, sadly not only in my own life, but in the situation of others- WHEN YOU'RE IN TROUBLE, YOU'LL KNOW WHO YOUR TRUE FRIENDS ARE. The ones who show up are rare, and seldom the ones you'd predict.

With my brain chemistry somewhat improved, I was able to think more clearly, and did come up with some strategies for improving my life. Not only in action but in perspective. I did some spring cleaning on behaviors, actions and habitual thoughts that were no longer serving me, if they ever did, and took it upon myself to weed out weedy patches of my life.

Weeding is a work of progress, is it not? So there's no actual ending to it, if you are really commit to growth and improvement. BUT here is where I am now. In the thick of it, devoted in being the #1 advocate for myself, and my well being. There are struggles, constant, as depression can be treated but never really fixed. I am now working on improving my body health by addressing issues in my diet. I have taken to daily self appraisals in terms of re-training my thoughts to support health rather than suppress it.

Part of the weeding process however, is discernment. I accept the empowering act of selecting the PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS that I keep- it's my life and I am the head gardener. By eliminating the people who do not have it in themselves to "be a cheer leader" or be there for me when I've reached out for help, I've made more room for those who do. This was a huge A-HA moment for me. I cherish more than ever the experiences and the people who nourish and enhance my life. This is the garden I now tend to.

Perhaps the turning point was the realization and the acceptance that my good or bad times, all fall to me. It's up to me to trouble shoot, problem solve and cherish. My life, my party. My roses.

What about you?
Do you have a trick to turn your upside downs to sunny side ups?