Depression sucks.

​It really does. It sucks the life out of you, in every way, if not treated. Here is a basic description of depression along with symptoms I found online: The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of emotional and physical conditions. These include inability to sleep or concentrate on tasks.

To expound on this definition, the above is as far as I got in writing this post. I’m not feeling bad now, but I long to be off the meds. I think I have less than a complete range of emotions now. (Eeyore sigh)

It’s beautiful out so I’m gonna focus on the good. 😁

 

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Who am I trying to please?

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I enjoy writing. Sharing my true thoughts can feel incredibly courageous. But more often than not, I measure my success or failure by other’s responses or lack thereof. Even though I know (intellectually) that I don’t have to measure my worth by whether or not anyone else values me or my contributions, it’s still so ingrained in me that it’s done before I know it.

Somewhere I heard an interesting thing about children of alcoholic/addicts. Those whose parents struggle(d) with an addiction look to others to see how they should feel. This resonates with me. Maybe that’s related to my lifelong people-watching habit.

I think it is.

Is that why I figure my worth by the reflection of myself that I see in your face?

I’m a writer. I love words. Heck, my son calls me Word Woman! As important as it is to me to put my thoughts down on paper, I wonder if I’d change it if there was no one reading other than me. But, really, for whom am I writing?

I’m probably not ever going to be a famous writer. I don’t know that that’s even a thing that I want. I want to make a difference in the world, and writing may or may not have anything to do with that. I trust that my God is leading me to find my way.

Following Him will be the answer to my Search for Significance.

What about you? Who are you writing for?

Twist Cap to Vent

I’m pretty sure that anything that I experience can, in one way or another, serve to teach me something. Sometimes it’s several things. 

Really, each friend, each teacher, each intimate relationship, even work relationships have taught me a lesson, or lessons. One taught me that I was not what the abusers and bullies said I was. I was delightful and loveable. 

A few of my childhood friendships taught me that it was OK to be different, it was OK to be awkward, and I when I began this Recovery journey, many of my associates taught me that I didn’t ever have to be alone, again. 

I’ve had a variety of lessons from co-workers. Usually I learn from them how to better accomplish what the job requires, but during break time, I’ve gotten information on things as diverse as parenting a special needs baby and the best place to get a haircut. 

The last places where I worked taught me about how great it can be to work together with people of different educational levels, different colors, ages, intellectual abilities, and belief systems.I have been blessed to work with many hard working, caring, and dedicated people in the field of Human Services. 

On the other hand, I’ve worked with more than a couple of people who were lazy at best, and apathetic about the health and well-being of the clients, at worst. 

I’ve been confused as to why these people want to do this kind of work, and also why the employers allow them to keep their jobs when their care of the clients can blatantly cross the line into neglect, even when co-workers make multiple reports to their supervisors with nothing done. NOTHING. 

So, I think I’m beginning to get it. I would rather not, but over the last several months I’ve started to see what’s going on.  The employers aren’t able to keep the good workers, due in part to the poor workers getting all the same benefits as those who actually WORK, so they keep the poor workers. The good workers see the neglect and laziness of their co-workers and eventually find work elsewhere, after coming to accept that their own efforts are merely drops of water in a crap-filled bucket.

I know why the poor workers are here: no consequences for their actions, and they get paid for literally looking at their phones for 7-8 hours at a stretch. Heck, if I knew someone else would do all the dirty work, I’d be tempted to take it easy occasionally, too. But that’s not happened, even when the co-worker was given every opportunity to step up, just a little. 

I am presently learning more about God’s will vs. my will. 

I was called a few days before Christmas by a prospective employer, and had an interview set up about 2 weeks later. (2 whole weeks to be nervous, right?!) The day before the interview, I was called & told that it would have to be postponed, due to illness. Oh, OK. God’s will is ALWAYS much slower coming than mine, which isn’t to say that every time something takes forever it’s God’s will, but in this sort of thing, I believe it is. So, I wait to get a call back to set another date. And I wait, and time is creeping by (impatience is a difficult thing to conquer!), and while it totally feels like I waited 3 more weeks,  it’s actually been about a week. 
I FINALLY got a call today to set the interview date! I’m psyched! So, maybe in a couple of days? The start of next week? Oh, heck, naw.

 It’s not for TWO MORE WEEKS!! Sigh.

The title of this post came from something on a laundry soap container at work, while filling up the washer for the 3rd or 4th time in a shift. I looked at the words “Twist Cap to Vent” and my immediate thought was “I could stand to vent! But I don’t have a cap to twist! Reckon this will just have to be blogging goodness.” 

I try not to vent to my incredible husband as much as I feel like it, and there’s not really a lot of other choices, so here it is. 

Do you try to see the lesson in experiences, good or bad? What’s something you’ve  learned recently? 

Written in a group home.

Why Do We Procrastinate The Things We Want Most?

Hey, gang, it’s time for another WONDERFUL Guest Blogger! As you know, I only share the best writers with you all, and this girl is no exception. Without further adeau, I give you Christine Hill

Why Do We Procrastinate the Things We Want Most?

By Christine Hill

I think one of the most useful skills that I learned in college was how to write a 10-page paper in one night.

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That’s right. I was one of those students. The major pity is that I kept getting away with it, so I really didn’t have much incentive to change my ways. Now that I’m an adult and there are certain things that simply CANNOT be put off (like the rent check) I’ve learned a little bit more self-regulation. But procrastination is still something I struggle with.

20% of the population considers themselves “chronic procrastinators.” And because it has such a major impact on job performance, tapping into our potential, and creative power, it’s the subject of an awful lot of research. For business start-ups and managers, especially, it can be difficult to decide when to “pull the trigger” and just put an idea into action. Amidst all the research, I think the most effective insights into procrastination are detailed by Tim Urban, author of Wait but Why.

A vivid dramatization of the procrastinator’s struggle is the subject, both on his website, and in his TED talk. Check it out below. It will strike a dramatic chord with anyone who has found themselves panicking the day before a major essay is due.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arj7oStGLkU

Because so many people tend to procrastinate, it can be hard to share a one-size-fits all solution. Instead, I’m going to share a few different ways to look at it, and you can decide which one strikes a chord for you:

Connect with the Future Self

One study at Stanford monitored the neural pathways of subjects when they were asked to envision themselves, a stranger, and their future self. For some students, envisioning their future self was much closer to envisioning a stranger than to envisioning their current selves. Others felt a closer kinship and continuity with the future self. Can you guess which group held the worst procrastinators?

Many behavioral theorists believe that procrastination is caused by a disconnect between the current and future self. We prioritize immediate gratification over long-term rewards. There are a few ways that you can trick yourself out of this mindset, though. A study at USC found that when people phrase future plans and deadlines in terms of days rather than months or years, they’re more likely to take action quickly. For example, 3 months away feels a lot farther than 90 days or less. So, in order to connect with your future self, or overcome the divide:

  • Think in terms of days, or even hours.
  • Be realistic about your future expectations.
  • Make a habit of visualizing your future self and the consequences you’ll need to deal with.

Focus on One Step at a Time

Another study on procrastination observed that students procrastinated less if the deadlines were closer and the projects were smaller. In other words, dividing a big task into a lot of little tasks can motivate you to get a project done better. This might sound really obvious, but the science–and the actual implementation of it–is always more complicated than it seems at first.

Breaking down a large task into numerous small ones takes advantage of our natural tendency to value immediate gratification over long-term results. After all, it’s hard to look forward to the reward of working out every day when it could take months for you to start seeing results. However, if you start anticipating a reward that you get with every workout, it can be a lot easier to motivate yourself. Even the rush of completing a task can activate our brain’s reward center. So, in order to use your natural instincts to your own advantage, try breaking down large tasks into small ones with lots of deadlines. Instead of getting overwhelmed with a colossal task, take it one step at a time.

Confronting Fear

I saved this approach for last because for me, it’s the most striking and motivating. It boils down to one cold hard fact: we procrastinate to avoid pain. To be completely blunt, procrastinators let their life be ruled by fear. Look back at the Wait but Why illustration. Only when the fear of turning in nothing overwhelms the fear of turning in something crappy (i.e. the Panic Monster kicks into high gear) does anything get done.

Phil Stutz and Barry Michels shared an excellent parallel to help procrastinators overcome the habit. They theorize that every procrastinator procrastinates simply in order to avoid pain for as long as possible. Think about the things you put off; they’re unpleasant things that you don’t want to face. It’s a social situation that could be awkward, a time that you risk rejection, something that will require effort and sweat from you. Phil came to know the star runner on the High School football team and came to learn something profound. This boy wasn’t the star runner because he was better at running. He wasn’t stronger or faster than anyone else. He was the best because he ran toward pain instead of trying to avoid it.

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He knew that when he tackled someone, it would hurt for a minute, but afterward, he would feel on top of the world! So he learned to run toward pain because on the other side was his actual goal.

Megan Mcardle posits an interesting theory in her article “Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators.” She points out that kids who were good at English class tend to have a “fixed mind-set” instead of a “growth mind-set” and believe that tests and challenges aren’t a way to learn new things, but rather it’s a way to sift people into their fixed values. Therefore, the true fear behind procrastination is that ultimately, we’re not enough, and now it will be proven to everyone.

Therefore, when you’re tempted to procrastinate, you need to ask yourself one simple question: are you going to be ruled by fear?

Christine is a professional writer and an avid reader who’s passionate about storytelling in all its forms. At any given moment, she’s in the middle of at least three books on anything from human psychology to ninjas. Although she’s a marathon swimmer and enjoys camping in the mountains, she believes there’s nothing better than a carton of ice cream and a Dawson’s Creek marathon.

I need to tell you all, that during the time I was trying to get this post up, the biggest problem I encountered was, you guessed it, procrastination. (Thanks, God!) I guess this is a timely message for all of us. And P. S., Christine, I am a firm believer in the power of a pint of ice cream to make all things better. 🙂



Who am I, really?

I’ve been wrestling with this question- well, not really wrestling, more like thumb-wrestling-for a while, now. And I will likely be thinking about it for some time in the future. 

OK. Who am I?

Obviously, I’m a person in long-term recovery. That’s been pretty well established. I’ve been a Mom (for a while), a student, a Recovery Coach, a Direct Support Provider, and countless other nouns. But, my question remains the same: who am I? 

Do you know me?
I am a middle-aged Caucasian woman, a brunette, and not as tall as I once was. But that’s just the things you can see. 

I’ve been married, divorced, homeless, thought I was a tree for a moment, a miserable young adult, and a frightened child through it all.

I am an advocate for those who have no voice, and for those who do but are afraid to speak. I am a Believer in Christ, although I don’t represent Him as well as I could, which is why I’m reluctant to mention it. I know people (myself included) have often judged the Lord by how His chosen behave. I hope no one looks at me as anything but an example of His grace and mercy. For real. Even on my best days, there’s nothing good in me, save the Spirit of God.

Where do I fit?

I’ve been considering my place in the world, basically, since I was abruptly released from a certain position…one that had me smiling every single day. One where I KNEW I was right where I was supposed to be.

The situation (the termination, frankly) had me convinced that it would be far too risky to ever get a job again that meant THAT MUCH to me. The devastation and loss I felt were palpable, and lasted for weeks.

Life goes on…

I am a writer, a joke-cracker, and a Wounded Healer. A deep feeler if not so much a deep thinker. 

I believe that there are still people that I will be allowed to help, that want to learn how to live clean and sober. That’s really all I want to do, but it’s gonna have to be God’s time. 

Practicing the principles in all my affairs.

For now, what I absolutely must be is willing, honest and open-minded. I am grateful for the things God has given me, and equally grateful for things He’s taken away. 
Honestly.

Who am I? I’m a person. A weary traveller. In long-term Recovery. Former alkie/druggie, current mental health consumer. Trying to figure things out. In some ways, I am you. 🙂 

Tell me, who are you, today?

…in conclusion…(Part 5)


A little over a year ago, my hubby, our younger son and I went on a vacation to a part of the country that I’d only seen in pictures. The Eastern states were beautiful and the hills and mountains were mind-blowing, to an Indiana girl. 

2 of my favorite guys

We moved here last summer and have been working on acclimating ever since. It’s been a difficult adjustment for many reasons, but things are beginning to fall into place and we are all finding our niches. 
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By the time I stumbled into The Program, I’d endured years of  physical, emotional, and psychological abuse, followed by still more self-destructive behavior. I’d sought acceptance and love, and I’d gone “looking for love in all the wrong places”. When I didin’t find it, I settled for cheap imitations. I felt that I deserved no better treatment than to be used and thrown away, and I acted out in ways that perpetuated the cycle. I felt helpless and hopeless. I became what the Big Book calls “morally bankrupt”, and without the desperation that made me willing to go to any lengths to change the life path I was on, I’m sure I would not have lived to tell my story.  
In the span of my time in recovery, I’ve experienced births and deaths, marriages and divorces, and joys and despair. Many of my worst experiences have been of my own making, but once I started finding the courage to face my demons, one small step at a time, I was able to re-learn how to live. I didn’t grab ahold of all of the principles at once, and thankfully, I didn’t have to.
To anyone contemplating this astounding life of recovery, I suggest : 

1. Make up your mind. If you have any reservations, it’s not likely to work. This is an “all or nothing” deal. “Half-measures” are almost guaranteed to land you right back in the mess you’re trying to get out of. 

2. If you’re going to meetings with a Judicial Scholarship (aka Court Ordered), keep your mind open. The people in the rooms are actually clean and sober, for the most part. The laughter is not an act. They can teach you to enjoy life again! 

3. Go to meetings until you WANT to go. And when you “don’t feel like it”, go anyway. 

4. If you are not willing to go to a Recovery meeting (12-step or otherwise), all is not lost. What is most important is that you find a group of like-minded individuals and begin to get to know them, and let them get to know you, too. The Recovery Community online is an amazing thing. Bloggers (like yours truly) abound, and you just have to find one, and you’ll be able to connect to many more. 

5. If at first you don’t succeed, get a Sponsor/Accountability Partner and follow directions.   🙂 

What happened…(Part 2)

I continued living a fast and dangerous lifestyle until I discovered I was pregnant at age 27. I was married, but since I was  a REAL alcoholic/addict, it wasn’t my husband’s child.  I knew that I needed to make some changes to how I was living, so I stopped dropping acid as soon as I knew about the baby, and cut out the drinking soon after. 

The pregnancy went easily enough. I loved the idea of having a baby growing in my belly, and I had dreams of finally being loved by someone who wouldn’t leave or betray me. 

Growing…up

I began attending IOP classes at about 4 1/2 months pregnant, and after that was over, I moved into a residential Mother/baby program. My clean/sober date fell when I was  6 months along (I wasn’t ready to give up the weed at the same time I quit everything else, so that took a little longer), on Thanksgiving of 1992. I wasn’t elated about going into the program, living with so many other (CRAZY) women, but it made sounded to me that it was my best option. I had enough sense to recognise that my child was going to need the best that I could give (him), and getting clean and sober in a place that would take care of us both sounded like a brilliant idea. 

God used that tiny boy to teach my battered and scarred heart how to REALLY love. 

A week after my son was born, I was out at a meeting picking up my 3 month chip. We were still living at the Residential treatment place, and I was starting to become familiar with the little guy. 

I came in and found the woman who ran the place, sitting with my boy laying under blankets, on her chest. She said “The poor little thing just can’t get warm.” So she instructed me to take him and lay down with him on my chest, under some blankets, until he got warm. She was a Nurse, and I was learning to take directions. It was probably around 10 pm. I did what she told me and we tried to go to sleep. At about 4 am, after a sleepless night, I went to the office to the staff on the night shift to see what she thought. I found out later that she used to work at the local Children’s Hospital and it was no coincidence that she was working that night. 
She took one look at my baby and told me to get my coat on. 
We went to the closest hospital and they swept him into the Emergency Room quicker than I’d ever seen anyone go in.  He didn’t even go through triage. After a few minutes, the nurse told me that he was going to be taken to the Children’s Hospital by ambulance because they couldn’t help him there…

If you missed the first post, you can find it here http://www.abbieinwondrland.com/2016/09/17/one-grrls-story/