Posts tagged ‘#1:’

EnCOURAGEment for the DisCOURAGEment

Hello to each of you on this Saturday in May. Both the astrologers and my own research with some of you indicate to me that although the days may be getting sunnier and warmer, they aren’t getting easier. A number of people I talked to this week are discouraged, disheartened, disappointed, disillusioned. So I started thinking about writing about discouragement and what it means, if we sort of take the word apart, to be without courage — in dis (not) courage ment (time or place).  Are you finding yourself in a place of discouragement? If so, let’s talk about that. If not, let’s talk about that, because discouragement is something that is an equal opportunity visitor — everyone gets discouraged. Everyone runs on empty sometimes. Everyone gets blue.

A quick note here about clinical anxiety and depression, which is the kind of anxiety and depression that almost all of you reading this have. Non-survivors, folks who have skated through life instead of plodded and pushed and prayed their way through (YOU!!) often have “SITUATIONAL” anxiety and depression. This means that some cause or situation can account for the onset of the depression.  You lose your job, can’t finish the marathon, find out your wife is cheating — depression hits. But there is an identifiable cause. Most of you, on the other hand, get slammed by depression and/or anxiety without any obvious or apparent cause. (Detailed explanations of this in The Many Faces of PTSD and The Many Faces of Anxiety.) This happened this week to a friend of mine who’s a therapist. For no clear, identifiable reason, she fell headlong into depression. She struggled all week. And it works the same way for many of you. And if that isn’t discouraging, I don’t know what is. I wanted to mention that because often if you tell someone you’re feeling depressed or anxious they’ll say either, what are you depressed about? What are you anxious about? Or even worse, they’ll say, What do you have to be depressed about? Why in the world would you be anxious? Or, even worse than worse, they’ll tell you to just have FAITH and not worry about a thing. Ah, if only it worked like that. So, a small piece of advice: make sure you only talk about your anxiety and/or depression with people who are wise enough to understand — which is usually other survivors and people who have done their own fair share of suffering.  (WOW. THERE WAS NOTHING QUICK ABOUT THAT NOTE.)

So, I studied up on discouragement this morning in an attempt to offer something helpful when I sat down to talk to you this afternoon. Here’s one thing I learned: “Avoid falling prey to gloomy pessimists and egocentric troublemakers.” Funny way to express it, but actually there’s a lot of truth in them there words. People who are gloomy, pessimistic, self-centered and out to create more problems than they resolve, are to be avoided. With the 1% of the world that’s left . . . just kidding and checking to see if you’re paying attention.

People talk about courage (without which we are discouraged) as the “quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger or pain.” But in my experience, most of us are amazingly brave when it comes to difficulty, danger and pain. I think it is the unknown that gets us in the gut. We can marshall the forces to battle just about anything we can identify. But most of life is about stumbling along in the dark, not knowing the way, not being sure who’s coming along, if anyone, not knowing what to do when we get “there,” should we ever find “there,” and simply not comprehending what might be just around the corner or over the knoll. I think it is fear of the unknown that most stresses us out. If you are a survivor reading this you know with every fiber of your being that it was the unpredictability, the uncertainty, the unknown that was the hardest to bear. Those who face a beating every morning at 10:02 can be ready for it. But when some days it doesn’t come, and some days it comes at 8:15, when you weren’t ready, and some days it comes every fifteen minutes — that is some serious anxiety and some serious depression.

So, to finally get to something helpful, Susan . . . here are my ideas of how to find courage in the darkest of days:

           #1: Before you get out of bed, center yourself in gratitude. Tell yourself a few things you are really and truly grateful for: on some days they are that I have electricity which enables me to make coffee and indoor plumbing which enables other things. That I can get out of bed without waiting for an aide. That there is food in the refrigerator. Center yourself in gratitude.

            #2: Get out of bed. You probably slept in sheets. They probably stayed dry all night. You probably can put two feet on the floor.

            #3: Read something that lifts your thinking to a higher level. Left to our own devices we start thinking about the injustices of yesterday and the challenges of today. That is ground zero thinking. Take the bird’s eye view instead. Wow. This world is really beautiful. How does the ocean know when to roll in and when to roll back out? What is that robin actually saying? For me, it is usually Richard Rohr. I read a daily devotional. It helps me to get “out of myself” each morning.

             #4: Promise yourself that you will learn something new on this day.

             #5: Promise yourself that you will do something new on this day.

             #6: Promise yourself that you will say at least “hello” to someone different.

             #7: At the end of the day write down what you learned, what you did, and to whom you spoke.

             #8: When you get back in bed, spend a moment in gratitude.

             #9: Before you turn off the light, forgive yourself for not having done your homework, for anything unkind you might have said or done, for opportunities not taken, and for not being perfect. While you’re at it, forgive the rest of the world for not being perfect, too.

             #10: Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth saying to yourself with a deep knowing: “I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul, in my soul. I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.”

That’s what I’ve got for you today, but hang on  . . . . in three weeks, on June 1st, you are going to see things start blossoming around here, much as the yellow tulips Laura sent me are now blossoming. Thank you again, Laura. From the pictures to the wall paper to the actual real live tulips, what a gift you all gave me. I wish everyone had friends and readers and clients and former clients and future clients and future friends and soul-friends like each of you.

Blessings, susan






May 10, 2014 at 5:45 PM Leave a comment

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