How To Find Peace

This is different for everyone.

Peace is the result of living your life responsibly. This means accepting responsibility for your actions. Living deliberately. Considering your actions and words before putting them out there into the world. Being Self-aware is an important component of this lifestyle.

I can’t tell you how to reach peace. I can only tell you what worked for me.

1. I Looked At My Relationships

I recognized that I was alone. I had so many regrets and perceived slights against me. I was broken and suffering. I decided to try to put behind me the people who had treated me poorly. I reconnected and sought reconciliation with people with whom I had experienced disagreements.

I found that some people are toxic. I also found that forgiveness of others doesn’t mean they are absolved and doesn’t mean I have to accept them back into my life. This helped me move on from these concerns. I now knew who was friend and who was foe.

2. I Looked At My Surroundings

Where was I? I knew that I needed to feel secure. In order to be at peace, I needed to know that my residence was my own. I had to know that I could not be asked to leave or have it taken from me. So I used my 401k to purchase my home with cash. No mortgage. I only needed to pay my taxes. No longer was my living situation left to the whims of others.

3. I Work at Not Internalizing

This is a lot harder than you would think. I had built up a habit of repression. Anything that was unpleasant was immediately pushed down. Bad memories were “forgotten”. I decided to deal with my feelings as soon as they manifested instead of internalizing. I am not always successful although I do my best to address disputes and disagreements when they occur rather than letting grievances build up. I would rather lose a friend today who is unable or unwilling to accept me as I am than to hoard up bad feelings. Creating personal suffering for yourself is not a HEALTHY sacrifice for a relationship of any kind.

4. I Looked To Make Changes

I defined what I wanted my life to look like. Then I identified what needed to change. It is a constant process. Every day I take at least one step forward. Sometimes that’s as small as eating a wholesome meal. Other days I’m organizing art events.

5. I Stopped Blaming Myself

I no longer see myself as a failure for being sick or needing to take care of myself. It is not my fault that I am sick. I do not need to hide it from myself or others. Pretending to be well takes more effort than is necessary. I can accomplish more by directing that energy elsewhere. I accept myself as I am.

My journey isn’t over. These are the steps I have taken so far. Perhaps they can help others get closer to finding peace and happiness.

Be Safe. Love Yourself. Be Patient.

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Identifying Douchebagery

We have all been treated to mistreatment at some point in our lives. This can come from any quarter as we have many relationships that we deal with on a daily basis.

How do you identify someone that is having a bad day and when you are being systematically douchbagged? I have some tips.

Listening to the words they use is the most important part. Certain phrases and attitudes are common in emotional manipulation. 

A person having a bad day that says something inappropriate will use sarcasm, make biting remarks about your parentage, tell you where to hang your hat or stuff parts of your anatomy. They may apologize and explain that it is in fact a bad day or they are in a bad mood. They may have consecutive bad days and will attempt to hold back from lashing out as much as possible.

A person who is a douchebag will use personal knowledge to strike out at you. They will make digs at you that are designed to hurt. Perhaps they are having a bad day. That doesn’t give them the right to attack you in order to make themselves feel better. It will happen once in a while early in your relationship. Over time, these incidents will increase. You will find after these things happen, you will be told that you misunderstood and/or that you were at fault for the incident.

Once you have identified the difference between a cranky person and a douchebag, you should work to remove the douchebaggery from your life. It is important to your personal well-being to distance yourself emotionally from people who are looking to make themselves feel better at your expense. You are worth more than that.

Remember that anyone who is able to tear you down has a level of power over you that is inappropriate. Love yourself enough to walk away. 

 

Embrace Healthy Relationships, Eschew Toxicity

Maintaining Healthy Relationships is very important for everyone and more so for those dealing with illness of any kind.

Toxic situations can make you more sick than you would have been otherwise. They can create a cycle that can be used to perpetuate abuse. As you become sicker, you are made to feel like you are more and more of a burden to your abuser. They then create a sense that you need them. That you would be unable to sustain your existence without them. Abusers make you feel like you have to accept the abuse and you Don’t!

It is well-documented that stress exacerbates chronic illness.

Healthy relationships that affect you positively can help to alleviate stress. The people in your life should be supportive. Even if they don’t help you in your day-to-day activities, they are there to help you when you need to talk to someone. Healthy relationships help you feel better about yourself and your situation. Obviously this means that the people in your life need to accept that you are ill. They are then supportive of your needs when you don’t show up for things or you need help getting up the stairs to the next Pub,

Not all positive relationships are drama-free.

Friendships and romantic relationships alike require work. The efforts to maintain a healthy relationship is stressful at times. It’s important to recognize who your friends are as opposed to people that are there to hang out once in awhile. All friends come with baggage. As you would expect them to accept yours, you should be willing to accept theirs. Don’t take their troubles on as your own as you have enough. Set clear boundaries with your friends. Be supportive of your friends as you would want them to be supportive of you.

Toxic relationships have an uncomfortable edge to them.

It’s important to realize that when people joke they aren’t always joking. When they make hurtful remarks towards you, take them seriously. When someone tells you who they really are believe them. You will not be able to change those individuals Minds or hearts. If someone is constantly giving negative emotional input, you should distance yourself from that person. You have enough to deal with.

When someone is blatantly abusive, put them out of your life.

Ghosting can be very effective in this situation. If someone is hurting you physically, emotionally, sexually, they need to not be in your life. You should seek help in this situation to put this person out of your immediate circle. The less access that they have to you the better your life will be. Abusers don’t change. Sometimes they will stop abusing for short periods of time so that you will feel comfortable and stay. Unfortunately the abuse will start again as soon as they feel that you aren’t going anywhere. Particularly if they have worked at isolating you from everyone that you know that may assist you in leaving.

Being “Alone” isn’t the end of the world.

Not having a romantic relationship is not a bad thing. Living with family is not shameful. Sometimes being single or alone is healthy for you as a person. It gives you time to collect yourself and get to know yourself. After abusive relationships you need time to heal. You need time to reflect and to do things that you enjoy without someone else’s input. This allows you a break from having to listen to someone else’s constant opinion being voiced as you go through your daily activities. The silence can be overwhelming. When you stop listening for that other voice, you start hearing your own thoughts. That’s when the real healing can start.

Dealing with chronic illness on your own can be daunting.

This is where friends and family can help you out. You have to ask for the help which can be hard. In the end, you’ll know who your real friends are. Everyone else falls away when you need real help.

It is all worth it to find your inner self. It is empowering to know that you can do it on your own with a little help from your friends.

Anger is Natural

To be angry is not an unnatural or shameful emotion.

We are allowed to feel negative emotions. It is common in abusive situations to be constantly reminded that you as the abused are not allowed the luxury of anger, sadness, or outrage. You begin to repress. This abuse is insidious. It changes you from the outside in. It becomes second nature to smile or laugh when terrible things are happening or being discussed. Particularly if these things involve you. Your abuser only resents your laughter when they feel it is directed at them. I personally laugh or cry when the pain becomes overwhelming. When I become angry, it is the same. I prefer to laugh.

According to science, laughter helps us feel better.

Laughter releases endorphins just like crying. It also releases opioids into our system. It’s hard to fathom that our body can make itself high on laughter. That’s not just for funsies. It helps us tolerate pain as it is our natural painkiller, no outside assistance required. [1]

Anger should be seen as a positive emotion.

Anger tells us that something isn’t right. If someone treats you in a way that makes you angry, you should be able to speak to them about that fact that they have made you angry. You should be able to discuss the fact that their behavior was not acceptable. If they react in an inappropriate way, it’s time to consider finding a new friend. Not everyone can accept negative feelings. That’s not limited to external people. Many people cannot accept anger within themselves. It makes it possible to find yourself in toxic situations in which you accept mistreatment out of guilt over feeling angry. You are allowed to feel anger. If you accept it as valid, you will be in a better position to stand up for yourself or simply remove yourself from unhealthy situations.

Irrational anger isn’t always so irrational.

Sometimes I wake up angry. Some days I get angry when I think about things that have happened. I’m completely entitled to my anger. My brain is constantly trying to deal with trauma. I used to cry. Now I get angry. Sometimes I’ll laugh. Therapy and medication is the difference between overwhelming and manageable emotion.

Be gentle with yourself. If you are angry, there’s probably a good reason.

Don’t dismiss your anger. Don’t be ashamed. Face it and address it as best you can. A diary may help. Sometimes writing it out leads you from one thing to another through stream of consciousness. It can be very therapeutic.

Remember to practice self-love, self-acceptance, and self-care this weekend.

[1]Laugh so you don’t cry: how laughing kills the pain
By Scicurious on November 8, 2011

Accepting the You of Today

We’ve all changed over the course of our lives. Besides the obvious physical changes as we grow, we learn and change emotionally and psychologically.

It can be hard as we become self-aware to accept ourselves as we are today.

We tend to romanticize some parts of ourselves or our lives as we remember them. This is natural thing that can take on very dark tones when you can no longer revisit that time or those circumstances as time passes. It can lead to depression, self-loathing, and self-destructive behaviors.

You can redefine your idea of yourself.

Talk with others and get a realistic view of who you were at the time that you feel you were the awesomest. The fact is, you probably weren’t that awesome. You were human. Who did human things, just like you do now.

Knowing who you are today is the most important part of the process.

Therapy can help you know yourself better. Keeping a diary and being aware of your actions can make self-reflection easier. Try to be honest with yourself without being cruel. Know your limitations. When you can do this daily without whitewashing, making excuses, bargaining, denial, or otherwise rewrite events to suit yourself you know that you’ve entered a new phase of life.

There is nothing wrong with making a mistake.

That moment doesn’t define you. It’s the other way around. You define it. You put a little plaque under that memory that says “oops!” And you move on. That’s it. You’re ok. You didn’t turn into the worst thing since Ted Bundy because you made a wrong turn. Accept it and keep on trucking.

It’s the same with whole episodes of your life. You are not defined by a limited period of time in your life. If you have changed behaviors, hang outs, friends, past-times… You aren’t the same person. If you feel shame, give yourself a break! Stop the guilt trip. Look at your life as it is now. Know who you are today. Accept yourself as you were and know that you are now someone new.

The YOU of tomorrow will thank you for your kindness and acceptance.

My Chronic Illness is Not Your Problem

I’m not here to make anyone’s life harder or gain attention.

If I need help, I will ask for it. I’ve undergone therapy and a lot of self-improvement in order to be able to do that. I’ve laid alone in the dark for 12 hours unable to get out of bed due to full and partial paralysis. I didnt want to bother anyone. It took weeks to recover. My bladder and kidneys suffered. After that, I had to learn to ask for help.

If someone feels that I am burdening them, that’s on them. It’s up to them to speak up and say that I am asking far too much. I have yet to have anyone say such a thing. I’ve paid people to help me clean or offered fair trade. I’ve stayed with friends when I was far too ill to stay by myself. Yet I still hear how one day I may be a burden. Honestly, won’t we all? We are all going to be elderly and infirm some day. I’ve got a 20 year jump on most people. I’m good with that. This falls into those naysayers that need to be ignored.

My Chronic Illness doesn’t make my life and personal choices your business and open to comment.

It came to my attention this week that certain circumstances seem to open us up and negate our privacy in the minds of others. My choosing to talk about my illness doesn’t negate my personal privacy. It also doesn’t mean that your opinion, advice, or personal diagnosis of my condition is welcome.

I struggle to be positive. I’m trying to get to the bottom of what is wrong with my various systems. I need to maintain hope. When people try to take that hope and my calm from me, I need to take notice. This is now about them, not me. It is very easy to get upset and become scared, defensive, angry… and ignore what this person is now doing to manipulate my emotions. Even being aware, it still angers me.

I need to surround myself with people who support my positivity and hope.

This doesn’t mean that they have to be positive, drama free people as so many countless memes state. It means that when you say that you are doing something positive for yourself, they respond with equal positivity. People who respond with negativity and predicting failure of your efforts are not truly friends.

This has to be qualified somewhat. As I’ve become aware of some drama llamas who feel that their positivity in becoming a professional gamer while being unemployed in their thirties, their determination to make their latest love affair with a married individual work, or similar ridiculousness requires everyone’s support. No. Just no. Get yourself together.

I’m talking about being positive that this medication may help while watching for side effects with me. Helping me when I’m paralyzed to get to the bathroom without judgement. Staying up with me to watch tv until I can stop feeling like I’m going to vomit. Go out with me on a good day so I can have some fun without judging me for wanting to do so. These are the little things that make my life worthwhile.

I don’t expect any one person to do everything that I need help with. I will return the favor in whatever way I can. It takes a village. If we all look out for each other, we can all have a better future.

Finding Success with Chronic Illness

Chronic Illness isn’t a failure.

It is easy to feel like being sick ALL OF THE TIME makes you a failure. IT DOESN’T!

You have certain responsibilities to yourself that many times get neglected. Work with doctors, friends, and family to reach a reasonable quality of life. That’s the basis of our success.

Below is a list of things that we as those living with Chronic Illness must do for ourselves to be successful.

1. Ignore the naysayers and Google Doctors.

People who tell you that you will always be something negative or who feel like they know more than expert doctors based on an article (particularly from anti-science groups) should not be allowed to damage your calm. I know that I have enough trouble feeling like the symptom of the day will last forever. I have good days and bad days. We all do. Only doctors can diagnose and offer treatment plans. If you seriously feel that a medical paper found on Google has merit, discuss it with your doctors.

2. Stay vigilant and informed about your illness(es).

New treatments and medications do become available regularly. New studies find more information about our issues. It is good to join online support groups and newsletters. Acknowledge and make note of triggers and medications to help doctors determine what works best for you. Only you can really know what you experience. Doctors can help make sense of them. Always contact your doctor when you experience knew symptoms.

3. Perform Self-care and identify your self-destructive tendencies.

It is a lot easier said than done. There is no shame in taking care of yourself or asking for help to do so. Health and wellbeing rely on us being self-aware. If you punish yourself for being sick, you are only making yourself sicker. You are worthwhile and deserve to be comfortable, happy, and indulged once in a while. This includes meeting basic needs like hydration, nutrition, and exercise as possible.

4. Utilizing a medically necessary apparatus is not shameful

A cane, special glasses, cpap machine, walker, etc may be necessary for you. No matter what age you are, if you need it, use it. It is easy to give into pressure to not utilize these items because they make others uncomfortable or the misperception that doing so will somehow cause your illness to become worse. It falls into a mode of thinking that if you force yourself to be “normal”, you will counteract the illness through force of will. Not using a cane results in more falls for me personally. Falling causes more damage than using a cane. I’ll keep using a cane when I feel wobbly or off balance. Do I use it every day at this point? No. Have I needed to use it every day? Yes and I will again as needed, no matter what the opinion of others.

Those are the most important points I can think of at the moment. It is so hard to live day in and day out with a chronic illness that can interrupt your life without worrying about what other people think.

Take care of yourselves.

Be Successfully You! ❤