Show your Emotions in Front of Others, Especially Children

Last week, there was this one day that every time I answered the phone or tried to deal with the outside world, it just turned to crap. I was sitting at the dinner table with my son and opened a letter stating that my income source had been cut off. It was something about me not being disabled anymore. Anyway, I started just sobbing. My son immediately came over to me to hug me and just pat me. I knew it was going to take me a bit to get myself together, so I sent him into the other room to go do something to distract himself from my emotional mess.

The next day, the school counselor called and said my showing my emotions was scaring my child. I think the point of the call was to be supportive, but it was extremely demeaning.

I honestly feel that my son seeing me have healthy emotions about a situation that was sad and stressful is not only ok, but a good thing. I didn’t do anything outlandish. I was simply crying, and as I said, after a couple minutes, I sent him to go do something else while I gathered myself.

In my home growing up, the only emotions I ever saw were intense rage and intense happiness. Maybe if I would have seen my mom cry when she was stressed or sad about something that was worthy of these feelings, I wouldn’t be so terrified of emotions now. I think it’s good to show sadness to others when something is legitimately sad, especially our children. I put on a persona of everything being so happy in my life. Not showing how hurt I was is probably a huge factor in why I had extreme suicidal depression up until I really decided to work on it about a year ago. Stuffing my feelings also came out as awful anxiety that I couldn’t do anything to get rid of, well, until I started crying and showing real emotions.

How do you feel about this? Do you feel it’s important to show others that you may be hurting? Do you think healthy examples of crying in front of your children is a good thing?

I’m really interested in what others have to say as being a survivor of extreme trauma, sometimes I don’t really know if what I’m doing is right? I do know that it is healthy to have a range of emotions and express all of them!

Love

Lizzie

Find Love

My big Thailand adventure ended much earlier than I expected. I was starting to get a huge flare from my autoimmune diseases, and chose to be prudent and changed my ticket to fly home the next day. That was actually over a week ago. I was shedding lots and lots of tears over the very real fact that I am a disabled person. I was going back into that pit, and then I realized, I don’t have to!

I made a conscious choice to take active steps towards getting my mental health on track again. I made my weekly goal sheet above and as an amazing support person has continued to remind me, I’m going to feel tired and awful all the time, so may as well live life! I use little sticky notes to mark off my progress during the week. I have no expectation to fulfill all of this every week, but it’s more of a self accountability that I at least tried to do a few things!

I’m doing it. I’m still living life. I’m reconnecting with myself as a person I love (I know so cliché). As I love and accept the beauty of who I am, I can love others, who can then love me too. My circle is small, but so solid and so much more authentic than I ever have experienced or thought possible.

Several really crappy things happened over the course of 24 hours that would have sent me into a suicide attempt just months ago. Instead, I melted down, cried several times, then took action or made plans to do things about it. These things are HUGELY upsetting, but I am feeling centered and grounded as that whole love thing has given me my tiny circle to support me through it.

I always felt I had to do it all alone. I still feel this way most of the time. I am also learning that leaning on others, even the tiny amount I am beginning to tolerate is causing me huge growth emotionally, and definitively giving me lots of inner peace and contentment.

Again, it is so cliché to say “reach out when you are hurting”, but it actually works. I know it’s difficult and there seems to be this general consensus that people aren’t interested in our difficulties, but if you pick the right ones, the reward of support on your psyche is intense.

As I said, the sheer amount of things I’m dealing with right now would have just made me give up before. Instead, I feel I’m getting stronger, and I’ll face whatever comes my way with mostly me, and a bit of love I allow front the outside world.

Love

Lizzie

Not Much to Say

Hey Everyone! I don’t have much to say today. I just gave myself my B12 injection prescribed by my doctor to help with my energy levels. It makes me a little sick for an hour, so thought I’d take my “sick time” to say something or nothing!

If you keep up with m blog, you know I traveled to Thailand on a spur of the moment. I got a second of energy, was feeling a little brave, a lot crazy, and here I am.

As with anything in life, being here has had ups and downs and lots of middle. I mostly want to motivate people who are afraid to follow a dream due to fear, trauma, societal pressure… If I hadn’t had the courage to follow my dream and take my moment, I wouldn’t be experiencing what I am now. It’s hard to put it into words as I’m traveling alone and most of my experiences will be held within myself as I’m experiencing it with just me. I will say that pushing myself beyond what I ever thought I was capable has been completely transformative, life changing, and incredible for my mental health.

It’s not to say that any of it is easy or simple or that what I deal with has been anything less than completely complex, but taking a moment to do something truly for myself and grasping an opportunity that presented itself is what we are all meant to do.

Once again, I tell everyone to be “selfish”! It just may be the best thing you ever did. Being called this is now a huge compliment as I am happy to know even people who strongly dislike me acknowledge the huge amount of self love I’m engaging in.

So that wasn’t much, but keep going. Be good to yourself and be mindful of the good.

Love

Lizzie

Why I will never tell you to “be happy”!

(Having peace and contentment today without being happy.)

As I have hinted at in a previous post, I decided to go on a grand adventure. It is very early on Saturday morning where I’m at. I’m actually in Thailand. I booked my trip with three days notice. Spent the 72 hours packing and figuring out how I would ever make this work and with much trepidation, I was on my way. Chronic illnesses set aside and knowing I was bordering on completely crazy for doing this, I boarded a flight in San Francisco.

It’s been interesting so far. I have been out of my country, but never to the East. There have been some very warm hearted moments, like watching a Japanese family sit in front of me on my flight to Tokyo care for their toddler so lovingly on a very long flight. The couple also were extremely loving towards each other and watching them work together to get a toddler calmly through a nearly 12 hour flight was awe inspiring for me and healing as I saw the way parents are supposed to do it. This tiny little boy was probably the most loved child I ever saw. For the first time, I saw a child being parented, and I didn’t have any worries about “Tiger” as they called him. It was also fun for me and my own inner children to play peek a boo with him and talk to him despite that fact that he didn’t speak English, and I know nothing of Japanese. Sometimes playing with small children just for fun is nurturing for the soul.

I’ve had some not so nice moments too. As much as I’m finding some peace in Thailand, and even a touch of energy, I was reminded today by a very subtle cue that the sex trade industry is illustrious and cruel here. It made me intensely sad and heartbroken and angry that the abuse of young women and girls (probably boys too) is just accepted here and part of normal culture. I guess I didn’t expect it to be so obvious and public. Nonetheless, I found myself in a deep funk as being reminded that people are being currently traumatized is very hard on me.

I did do something good for me and different. I reached out to people as I was extremely jarred and having a huge trauma response to this. I got some not so great feedback like “you’re overly sensitive”, “be happy you get to go somewhere”, “my life is more difficult than yours as at least you are away”, and probably the worst offender, “get over it”. On the flip side, I got some pretty amazing feedback. A friend told me to light some candles and say a prayer. I texted an old therapist who sent a decent length text that I can’t make a synopsis of, but it was very supportive, and my meditation guru scheduled with me to do meditation via FaceTime in just a few hours from now to become recentered and back to my place of peace.

With all of this, I realized I came to Thailand to get back to my middle path. It was validated for me and I validated for myself that it’s ok to have intensely sad feelings for people being traumatized, but it’s also ok for me to have peace in myself and be on my healing path. I can have both, which is the center in my eyes.

I love that I just reached out. I love that I got feedback, helpful and angering. I just love that I tried something new instead of sitting with my intense feelings as I am literally alone thousands of miles from home.

So the point of this post is to tell you why I never tell people to be happy. I tell people to be peaceful, content, have abundant hearts, follow their path, and the list goes on, but I will never tell you to be happy about something. I’ve touched on this a few times in this blog, but happiness, at least for me isn’t real. It’s an extreme that I’m not striving for. As a child and into adulthood, my family always told me to just be happy with what I have. To be happy about everything no matter how awful life was. I pretended to be happy really well. People thought I was happy. Reality is that I was a suicidal mess most of the first 40 years of life.

It’s why I now strive for contentment and peace and abundance and even some elation at times. It’s the middle for me. It’s real. Peace inside is real for me. Contentment is real and feels better than the emotional extremes I experienced before.

So today was hard. It was also insightful as I realize I feel others pain so deeply that I take it on myself to the detriment of myself. I feel it could be a clue into why I’m so sick. Taking on the world’s pain is an underlying major stressor I have always dealt with. It’s a big reason why I never completed my Ph.D. In clinical psychology. At that time, especially, I couldn’t have had any separation between my pain and others. I’m learning though.

Today was hard. It was also full of lessons. I recognize the beauty of my feeling for others, but today I also recognize the beauty in caring for me. I also recognize that more people support me than I realize if I just allow it.

So have a peaceful and content day that is full of the middle. I am going to.

Love

Lizzie

What the heck happened to me?

(No reason for this picture. I just took it as I was driving yesterday evening and reminded me of how lovely it is to go outside and be inspired by something that happens everyday like the rise of the moon)

I have realized that I have doled out a whole lot of advice about living well and with peace, and I haven’t been following my own advice. Time for me to own up to my true feelings and admit what’s been happening this past month.

My natural state is to be positive and optimistic and do whatever I can to help myself remain that way even in the worst of circumstances. Well, I found myself in a circumstance that I just couldn’t help myself out of. I had 2 infusions of solumedrol about 5 weeks ago. It’s a very potent steroid that has numerous nasty side effects. I found myself very sick after these two infusions. My right side of my body went numb, my head throbbed 24/7, and my already crazy immune system had become compromised leaving me with the worst infection that 2 rounds of antibiotics wouldn’t touch. With being so sick, I couldn’t do much. I couldn’t read, I couldn’t write, and definitely no art. The worst part was that I was so contagious that no one could come over for a few weeks.

Let’s just say this was a recipe for disaster. As no one could come over, I started to lose myself in the thoughts that no one cared about me at all. Keep in mind, people were calling and texting, but I was sure the world had forgotten all about me. I still have this deep desire for people who will never give me love or caring to give it to me. So, I fell down that horrible hole of depression. It became so bad that I had decided that absolutely no one cared, and I came up with a suicide plan that I was going to do yesterday. I’m still here!!

I will tell you, I’m not exactly sure what changed my mindset or even got me through the hump, but sometimes all I can think is divine intervention. With all of this going on, I realized that I am only identifying as a trauma survivor and a sick person. I told all of you to get out and live life the way YOU want to and do the things that make YOU happy, while I stayed in my bed in total misery forgetting that I am a human too with many facets, and not just a diagnosis.

I started antivirals for my chronic Epstein Barr virus that the nurse practitioner at my neurologist’s office began to take seriously. I am actually beginning to feel a tiny bit better with some energy, which is a precious treasure in my life.

Best of all, I am going to do something that brings me peace and makes ME happy. I am taking a trip Wednesday very far away to a place where the entire culture embraces taking the middle path and living the spirit of the Tao. I am nervous and excited and scared and elated all at the same time. A very dear therapist once gave me the advice to feel all the feelings. That’s what I’m trying to do. I am excited to be in a country where smiling at others and holding doors open and courtesy, human connection, and centeredness are values shared by much of the population. Pretty different from the US I would say.

So, I’m taking my own advice and living without regret. I hope my trip goes well and that traveling is smooth and I reconnect with myself and the values of my worth as more than what the little I’ve allowed myself, especially these past few weeks.

My trip is huge, but I encourage everyone to do something to connect with your true nature and being and essence as we are more than what we believe ourselves to be. If you take the time to read my blog, I know you are beings of light and love and needed and wanted and loved. Remember it in those dark times. I wish I would’ve listened to others telling me this these past few weeks. Lesson learned. Listen to those who have your true nature in mind and genuinely love you.

Love

Lizzie

(PS I’ll let you know where I’m at when I get there. I don’t want to jinx any of it now!)

Replace Misery with Joy

This is a bit of a piggy back on my last post, but I feel the topic is important considering how many people I know that are needlessly suffering.

So, if you suffer from PTSD or complex PTSD, or have just had a lot of bad events in your life, you are probably still torturing yourself with the past. I would like to offer an alternative.

When I got really sick and realized my life had changed completely, I realized that I was absolutely done with being in emotional turmoil all the time. I wanted to live a joyous life, the best I could, given my circumstances. Do I still get bouts of depression, of course. The big switch for me is that I was tormented by my family pretty much my entire life until a year ago when I decided to leave them behind and start over alone. They had caused me so much grief in the way of horrible depression, anxiety, too many suicide attempts to count, and countless hospitalizations in psych hospitals. That is no way to live. The sad thing is, many of my friends who deal with what I’ve dealt with in my past are continuing to live this way.

Here’s an insight: YOU DON’T HAVE TO!!!!! You are in charge. If you are still actively engaged with an abusive person, get away and quick. Your life will significantly change for the better. You will find yourself more calm, and best of all, you can begin to heal your emotional life.

I can only say this from very personal experience. I know getting away from abusive people is extremely difficult as maybe they financially support you or you feel you absolutely need them. There are ways around this, and with a good plan, you can have freedom, which will result in joy.

If you live in a totally safe situation free of abuse, please treat yourself well, and pat yourself on the back for making a safe life. Don’t torture yourself with anxiety, self doubt, believing the inner critic, or feeling suicidal. You are safe. You made it. Work on cultivating joy instead of self hatred.

Let’s face it, we have all been hating ourselves for far too long. It still rears its ugly head in my life, but I am actively cultivating a life that is joyous and abundant. If I can do it being bed bound, in a ton of physical pain, facing brain surgery, you can do it too.

Please do it. The best, most wonderful people are suffering. Don’t you have just a small spark inside of something you’ve always wanted to do that you could begin today to make your life worth living and joyous? I know I do.

Love

Lizzie