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Baby Steps…

October 18, 2009

Well, it was kind of a tough week – hope you have a drink and are sitting somewhere comfortable because this post is going to be a doozy! Sometimes I try to imagine someone at the other end of this blog, reading my thoughts and emotions, and I wonder what they think. I hope that by openly and honestly sharing my experiences with the world, I am helping at least one person – hopefully many people – deal with their own times of darkness and loneliness.

When I posted yesterday I mentioned that my therapist asked me to start working on a Hope Journal. This is sort of similar to the Gratitude Journal my last therapist (“Evelynne”) asked me to keep – with one key difference – a Hope Journal is about the future and a Gratitude Journal is more focused on day-to-day positives. One thing that kept me from fully trusting Evelynne and “letting her in” was that she seemed not to understand my inability to connect with the future. In other words, I feel that I’m “white-knuckling” everything – just trying to get through the day, rather than working toward the creation of a future that will liberate me from the disorder that has taken over my thinking. I felt instantly comfortable with my new therapist, “Karen,” because shortly after meeting me she expressed concerns that I may not have what she calls an “uplifting and fulfilling” view of the future. I hadn’t even told her about my previous therapist – she just seemed to understand! It’s moments like that that make me so determined to carry on no matter how bad things get.

Well, I went to a local bookstore to purchase a journal so that I could begin doing the “homework” Karen assigned. I wanted to choose something special that really reflected my commitment to improving my life and living my passion. Unfortunately, I was greeted by a very surly sales person who seemed not to comprehend the magnitude of the task I was embarking upon. She did take me to the stationery section of the store, but when I told her my story she looked at me in what I considered to be a very uninterested way and said, “Good luck with that,” as though she didn’t even really mean it. One of the biggest struggles a depressed or “emotionally fragile” person experiences is a sense that no one understands – that we are alone with our negative feelings. Well, that is certainly how I felt as I attempted to share with this young woman. I do not think there’s a career in psychology in her future! Anyway, without her assistance, I managed to find a lovely journal with the phrase “DREAM BIG” written across it in a rainbow-arch. I think that fits in well with the journal’s purpose and the fact that I found what I was looking for gave me the strength to forgive the less-than-helpful clerk. Maybe some day she will realize that there are sensitive people in the world who could do with a cheerful smile and a helping hand.

When I got home I saw that my husband had not started dinner, although he had promised to do so. Well, he had taken some of the ingredients out of the fridge and begun to prepare a salad, but it was not the kind of salad we had agreed on that afternoon before I went out on my little “shopping expedition.” I felt that this entire day was turning into a lesson in reacting courageously to setbacks. I must admit that I began to cry rather expressively. He came over and put an arm around me and asked what was wrong. I told him I didn’t understand why he was always testing my limits and making me feel unheard. I really wished Karen was there to help me give a voice to my emotions. I tried to calm myself down and forgive myself for being unequal to the task of managing my frustrations.

Because I am currently on stress leave, I was able to devote the next two days to working on the Hope Journal. I made many important discoveries about myself and my desires. For one thing, I realized that I have always wanted to be a writer. I just love the idea of spending my days expressing myself creatively and sharing my thoughts and feelings with the world. Of course this blog allows me to do that – but like my journal says, I’m going to “dream big”! I want to make a living at this! I know that it will take a lot of work but I am committed to realizing my dream of seeing my name in print. Another pivotal moment was when I wrote that I would love to own my own business. This, too, is a huge goal – but I am determined to make it happen! Lots of people do it, so why not me!

Unfortunately, my husband expressed concern when I shared some portions of my Hope Journal entries with him. I sometimes wonder if I would be less depressed if my husband showed more optimism and kindness. I try to remind myself that he is entitled to his opinion, but it’s difficult to show tolerance when I’m extremely excited about something and he says something negative like “Writing takes a lot of focus and imagination,” or “Sweetheart, running a business is incredibly difficult and expensive.” He seems to think he can say whatever he likes to me just because he is hugging me or rubbing my shoulders while he says it. I have discussed this with Karen and she thinks that I need to open a dialogue with him about his negativity. I suspect – and Karen concurs – that he may be in danger of falling into a depression himself. She and I are both very concerned and are working together on strategies to prevent this from happening.

Well, I am still going to pursue my ambitions and I believe that with Karen as my primary source of support I will be able to make it happen. I can’t wait to see my husband’s face when I publish my first novel!

But I won’t be starting tonight – I’m so exhausted from journaling that I’m going to bed! I know it’s only 8:00, but I worked hard today and I deserve a good long rest. Working through one’s emotions can be a very tiring process. I have to give myself permission to listen to my body’s cues instead of letting my mind try to make me feel guilty for not having accomplished anything this weekend. I may not have done any laundry, and my husband may have done most of the cooking, but I am very satisfied with the “me work” I have completed and I think Karen will be too!

I wish you all a very hopeful and positive week! Remember, if it weren’t for the storms, we wouldn’t appreciate the calm.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. cockrocker69 permalink
    October 18, 2009 8:36 pm

    Great gods. Have you been reading MY hope diary?

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