Tag Archive | dreams

What do you want to do today?

What if there was no tomorrow? What if you couldn’t rely on tomorrow and another tomorrow and another to delay your dreams, goals and desires? What do you want to do today?

This video is from one of our favorite shows, Phineas and Ferb. Everyday these boys fight summer boredom by coming up with something outrageous to do. So many catch phrases and twisted plots, nerdy humor, and awesome musical numbers. Everyday they say I know what I want to do today. And then they do it. Whether it is building a roller coaster, a time machine, a winter wonderland, robot clones…And of course their pet platypus is actually a secret agent fighting against an evil scientist and no one knows… We just love this show.

I’m guessing most of you spend most of your time doing things you don’t want to do. You trudge through life, running endless errands, doing tedious chores. Maybe you don’t hate your job, but most people seem awful happy to get a day off. But then how do you spend your day off? Escaping life in front of the TV? Are you bored? Tired? Do you even know it?

When is the last time you truly felt alive?

Hmmm.

I’m not sure most of us are actually living. If you are, please ignore this. I do know some people that skydive and run with the bulls or climb Mt Everest or whatever. Or I know some people that are going back to school to pursue the career they actually wanted. Living can take very different forms but I do think some key ideas are central.

How to feel alive:

  1. Do something you want to do everyday, not only out of obligation
  2. Tackle your fears – you decide which ones need tackling
  3. Have multiple goals, little ones and big ones, and not all of them related to self-improvement, some are just for fun because you want to do them
  4. Practice mindfulness, live in the moment, experience everything NOW

I think that’s how to get started. I say I think, because I am not truly living. I can’t tell you the last time I felt alive. It has been years, many years. I am idling through life right now, going through the motions of what needs to get done. I enjoy moments, not saying that I don’t. This is different. I might enjoy leveling up in my video game, or that snuggly feeling watching a movie with my kids on my lap. Those are nice. But they don’t fuel me, keep me going, or make me feel alive, move me towards a greater goal, define me, fill me with awe or rock my world if you will.

I want to be amazed. I want to be overjoyed. I want to be excited. I want to feel.

I want to learn. I want to create. I want to grow. I want to experience. I want to share.

I want to feel alive.

So I’m going to start a list full of things I want to do, fears I want to tackle, and goals I want to accomplish. I would list it now for you, but I can’t. My list is sadly empty. White space and crickets. I don’t know what I want. Hmm. So I guess then

Goal #1 – figure out what I want and make a list

There I started it!!

Advertisements

Running, running

photomontage-1319176_1920

Running, running to catch a star
She needs to go, go so far
away
from there and here
she is
Blindly leaping, crazed, and dazed
Idiots they are amazed
by her
They are running, running to catch a lie
stick a needle in your eye
promises broken, again she cries
screaming silently, can’t you hear
from there and here
she is
Running, running to catch a thief
A stolen life, eternal grief
lost
before being found
Her shooting star, was shot down
nearly lifeless to the ground
Running, running, to catch release
She needs to find that life can cease
to chase her
from there and here
She is
Blindly leaping, abused and bruised
lost and confused
seeking
only
peace

Get Motivated. Right Now.

How do you reach that motivational state of mind?

Motivation is tricky and not well understood. It is not linear or one sided. No motivation is complex and loopy and involves multiple factors, some within us, some external to us. Each move we make is a choice. How do we choose?

Our motivation is a combination of our beliefs, our goals, our dreams, our environment, and our mood. Currently I’m in a safe environment that is a bit lax on housekeeping standards. No one here cares if I leave some dishes in the sink or dust on the shelves. No one cares if the papers pile up on the counter. The clutter is overlooked.

I would prefer if everything was perfect and tidy at all times. Somehow I allow myself to overlook the clutter as well, feeling overwhelmed and defeated by it, by the repetition, by the fact that even if I clean it all up perfectly now it will be destroyed later the same day. I can’t keep up so I stop trying. I lost my motivation long ago in this losing battle.

But when someone is coming over to visit, I dig in deep and take care of it. I talk to myself encouragingly to get the job done. I break it down into small steps and lists. This may sound silly. If it does, then I am happy for you that brain functions without you having to kick its ass. If I don’t jumpstart mine, I will remain motionless, thoughtless, an empty shell trapped inside itself. I have tried being my own drill sergeant. That makes me angry and stubborn. No, I like to be my own nurturing mom, holding my hand, gently reminding and encouraging myself that I can do it and what I need to do next. I speak to myself firmly but gently, just like I do to my own kids when I give them instructions. They listen to me because I’m supportive and authoritative. They know there will be consequences if they don’t

Make yourself some coffee
Load the dishwasher
Wipe down the counters
Sort the papers from the hutch

Go on, get up, get started, you can do this. (give possible consequence: You don’t want so-and-so to see this mess, right?) back to supporting. It won’t take long. You’re strong now. Just get started and it will be done before you know it.
Coffee, dishes, counters, hutch

Coffee, dishes, counters, hutch

I turn into a Dora the Explorer episode, repeating to myself what I am going to do. I usually do about 3-4 things in my list. Then I start a new list if more needs done, so nothing gets overwhelming. Often I turn on music once I have my list going in my head.

But something always happens, I can feel the change in my brain and mood once I make the decision and start this motivation process. I go from feeling empty, spaced out, exhausted, to having a bit of energy and focus. Although I don’t exactly enjoy the tasks I am doing, I feel good about doing them. I battled depression and won again.

I found an interesting article here http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/03/03/469033034/could-you-hack-your-brain-to-get-more-motivated explaining how people could use feedback to access the motivation centers in their brains. With practice and fmri they could see this area of the brain lighting up. Super cool.

Excerpt from the article:

Two of the researchers, Kathryn Dickerson and Jeff MacInnes, tried the system out on themselves. Not everything worked. Dickerson said she tried thinking about different memories that left the feedback meter cold. “Zip lining was super fun, but [thinking about that] was just terrible and not effective at all.”

So she switched strategies and tried giving herself a pep talk in the scanner. “I was like, ‘Come on Katie. Move the thermometer. Just do it and move it.’ And I just pumped myself up. That was very effective,” she says. “It was exhilarating.”

It was also exhausting, MacInnes says. “The experience of the task was very difficult. You’re being asked to generate these intense motivational states for 20 seconds over multiple periods. It was very fatiguing for people.”

Study participants had a similar experience, Adcock says. Some people sang Queen songs to themselves or imagined having an angry coach yell at them. “My personal favorite was running down a line with everyone giving you high-fives,” Adcock says. When she took the feedback meter away, the participants were still able to light up their ventral tegmental area by thinking about the same things.

People really are changing their mood when they’re doing this, Adcock thinks. They’re really becoming more focused and eager. And it seems the effect begins reaching out to parts of the brain involved with learning and memory,

“We think that’s exciting because it shows after this training, something changed, Dickerson says. “The brain isn’t quite the same.” She thinks people might be achieving a state of mind that’s more conducive to learning and motivation.

I believe I have learned how to do this myself with the self talk I mentioned above. I know how to get myself moving. My problem is, I don’t often find a reason to these days. Most things sadly seem pointless. I’m struggling with staying motivated or setting goals that I care about. I used to be an overachiever. I know how to get things done. I simply don’t want to anymore. I’m not even sure I’m depressed exactly. I’m struggling with my purpose and identity, which I suppose is depressing and exhausting. But I’m able to motivate myself when I need to, when I see a reason to. And so I am desperately searching, seeking a goal, a dream, something to cling to, to attach motivation to, to stop floundering and wasting all this time.

What I’m good at:

  • I go to the gym and workout at home because I want to be stronger and have a healthy body. I hate being weak. I hate relying on others to lift and carry things. I hate feeling vulnerable. So I am motivated, this one is easy, I exercise daily to meet this goal and my progress is easy to see.
  • I eat whole foods from my safe list because I do not want to have a migraine attack. I do not want days of pain and suffering. I do not want to let my family down and be a burden. I want to take care of them. I am motivated to avoid pain and be a good mom.
  • I continue to blog and fill out cpt worksheets even though my therapy program has ended because I want to continue to heal, to process, to grow. I am motivated to be self aware of ptsd, to manage it as best I can, and work towards minimizing the symptoms.

What I’m not good at:

  • I am not working yet. Although money is tight, we are managing with one income. I am not motivated to return to work. I feel I am a better mom and wife without trying to work. I’m already exhausted and stressed daily. I do feel guilty, but this guilt is not a strong enough motivator to overcome the rest. I am grateful Hubby supports this decision.
  • I am not doing much with my free time. This should change. Eek there’s a dreaded should, but I’m leaving it because it came out. I do have considerable guilt about how I spend my days. I don’t feel like I am doing enough, or like I am enough. No one complains, I put this on myself. I’m so used to achieving and I feel so lost. I want to feel motivated again. I’m hopeful this whiny stage is the first step to finding an action item. As odd as it seems, this is better than not caring. This is an improvement.

So. I know how to put my mind to something I care about. I know how to make a change. I know how to set goals and achieve them. I just need something to care about. I need something to do. Right now. (Yes of course it’s Van Halen time)

 

What if this is realism

What if depression is really an acute case of realism? What if I have lost the ability to delusional like everyone out there chasing the american delusion err I mean dream?  Am I mentally ill because I see corruption everywhere? Am I diseased because I’m not greedy, incapable of lying or hurting others to get ahead? 

Am I more or less evolved?  I am failing survival of the fittest. I don’t want to compete at all. I no longer believe in an honest dollar. I can barely get an honest penny.

I see no way out of this, which is depressing. I wish I could buy blinders and get back in the endless hamster wheel. I wish I could be satisfied running and KNOWING it is getting me nowhere.

I don’t want to fight anymore. I don’t want to save the world. I want to sign the worlds DNR. It is too far gone. People are a terrible experiment gone wrong. Rushing about, working at jobs we hate to afford food full of toxins and houses full of stuff. Too tired and busy each night to even spend time with anyone. Too stressed to unwind. No time to clean or cook, no energy anyway if we do have time.

I’m here in a hotel room trying to recover from my toxic life in 3 days. No pressure. And then I can supposedly jump back in. Getting off the hamster wheel is helping my headache, but is filling me with dread of returning.

My entire view of humanity is soured. I’m a sellout. I’m working for an unethical man because the pay is decent. Not even great, just decent. I hate this but I feel stuck. I am searching for a new job, but also know that every CEO is unethical. You must be somewhat greedy and slimy to be on top. I don’t want to be on top. I just want enough not to struggle.

I wish I could unlearn my life lessons. I wish people would prove me wrong, even once. I’m doing my best not to share this reality with my kids. Even though I’m not sure I shouldn’t. Is it better to let them dream now and have it crushed later? 

Even though I was lied to daily as a child, I still believed this dream was accessible. I went off to college and was unable to join their corrupt world. When I saw students praised for cheating, bribing professors, stealing my work, getting grades because daddy had money. No wonder depression grabbed me. Everything I worked so hard to escape running rampant in an ivy league school.

The education system is designed to make conformists and competitors. Not thinkers and teams.

The health system is full of quacks getting pharmaceutical kickbacks. Mental health system is a nightmare dehumanizing not healing.

Insurance is a scam we are forced to buy.

Rest may not be good for me after all. Need to go back to escaping these thoughts, pretending the dream is real and reality is not so bad and that one person can make a difference. I’ve been doing exactly that for 18 exhausting years. Need a new direction. So lost.

So I’m headed back to the hot tub to attempt not to think. To remove years of stress and pain so I can rejoin my real life. Sigh.

Dance to the Song in your Heart

I would. If only I could hear it.

I have this haunting faint memory of the girl I used to be. What I used to dream. When I used to think anything was possible.

I wanted to save the world.

I wanted to create amazing medical breakthroughs to reduce pain and suffering. I started reading medical journals in middle school. the other girls in school were interested in mascara and the latest boy band heartthrob. I was reading about medical labs and planning ways to save the animals from cruel testing. I always knew I wanted to be a scientist. The human body is truly a miracle and I wanted to understand how it worked. How I could be a lump of tissues, cells and biochemical impulses.

I wanted to save everyone from the terror of asthma and living on the brink of suffocation every day.I wanted to create the best imitation nervous system and regrow damaged spinal cords.I wanted to create brain boosters to stop nightmares and and unlock human potential.

I wanted to work hard, and travel and teach the world everything I had discovered. I wanted to be beautiful and powerful and famous. And then I wanted to have a great big house and adopt the children no one wanted and hug them all, just hug them.

I used to have a song in my heart. I used to want to give myself to the world. I used to have something to give. The crushing realization of this absence is making it hard to breathe, and bloody hell, it is making it hard to BE.

What happened to me?! How do I get my song back? I can’t keep going as an empty shell. One day I will simply cease to be, and that thought gives me the most comfort of all. And that terrifies me.

And so today, yet again, I will dance to someone else’s song, because not dancing at all isn’t an option, and pray my own song returns.

Enjoy Ed Sheeran’s song, Don’t. I love the down n dirty feel of this song, and paired with Philip’s amazing dancing. You can tell Philip hears the song in his heart, it comes out in every step he takes. I was amazed by him on So You Think You Can Dance and wanted to share it here.

Friends of my dreams

I think my brain is learning how to comfort me, rather than continuously attack me.

I have had fewer nightmares this year than ever in my life. And even better, I have started having dreams so wonderfully comforting that I wake up feeling loved.

These are very specific dreams, about some dear friends that I had in high school but drifted away from me during the chaos of the year I finally spoke up and moved out of my AF’s house.

I still don’t have true friends, no one I can call or would want to call and talk about my day. I miss the closeness I had with one friend in particular. I have attempted to reconnect with her on multiple occasions, but she lives in a distant country now, and although she will answer my emails, it just isn’t the same. Life moved on and our friendship faded away.

I have had some dreams now where I am living near this friend, and we are partners. In one we owned a bar together, worked together each day and it was so lovely. She looked me in the eyes and hugged me and said how she enjoyed working with me. We would clean up each night, a simple routine, I stacked chairs up on the table, counted the money, balanced the books, took inventory, and then we both sat together having a drink and chatting until wee hours. And then we did it again the next night.

I woke up with such a lovely feeling, as if it really happened. I didn’t miss her so badly after this dream, it was so powerful and real.

I do hope that one day I can find a girl that I can feel so comfortable with like that. I’d love to have someone else in my life that I can trust and love. Hubby is awesome, but he just can’t listen or giggle like a girl.

I have some friends that I hang out with – I couldn’t say that 2-3 years ago. I have a friend that I could ask to babysit and petsit – I didn’t have that 1 year ago.

So I don’t think it is impossible to hope for a true friend to come in to my life one day, but for now, I am content with the warm fuzzy dreams.

Chasing my dreams

I don’t recognize my life these days. I am in constant amazement, along with the constant stress.

I am now working full time, getting up each morning and trudging through an 8 hr work day. I somehow managed to find another work from job, and even one with some flex hours built in. I am amazed by this.

I am most amazed that I am functioning this well. I can’t have bad days any more, no time for it. I have to go and go and push through it. Instead of bad days, I have bad hours. I get back to work barely recovered, working on the edge of . . . not sure what the edge is, but it is there. I can feel it.

I survived a trial period, a series of tests from my employer to see if I was good enough.

The tests involved:

  • putting me in awkward situations with my coworkers to see if I could handle it gracefully – I did.
  • Assigning so many tasks with quick deadlines at once to see how I juggle and prioritize, how I ask for help, how I delegate, and how I handle stress. I did drop a few balls, but I managed to pick them all back up soon enough. I figured out how to break down tasks and assign out parts others could do, leaving the big stuff for me. I figured out how to lower my standards. I had to let go of perfection, and push out things that were ‘good enough’. I can’t tell you how long I hesitated to push send on some of those emails, knowing the attachment contained way less than my best work. But each one has been received positively and deemed good enough for now.
  • Assigning me tasks so far out of my comfort zone that I had to say ‘I don’t know’ hundreds of time each day and scramble about searching for someone who did know the answer. I am used to being the expert. I am used to others coming to me. It was humbling and exhausting to know nothing.
  • Balancing team work and supervision – this company has no clear lines of authority, no org chart or hierarchy, no job descriptions. In short – it’s a hot mess. A sticky, tricky, mess. A company that has grown so quickly, that people have been filling in the holes in the dam for months, and only recently ran out of fingers to stick in the holes. Everyone is confused and stressed, frustrated and overwhelmed.
  • The N coworker I wrote about has been given to me to get her on board with us, or decide if she needs thrown off the train. I am doing my best to work with her, but will have no trouble pushing her out if she refuses every rope I throw to her.

I passed all of those tests, somehow, it is all a blur. I got an amazing promotion and raise, enough to truly make a difference for my family. Enough that we can pay off some debts and medical bills, make needed repairs, enjoy some summer fun with little mini-vacations, and even start dreaming and saving for the future. A bigger house? it could be possible someday. Things that we weren’t able to consider could open up to us.

All I have to do is refrain from losing my mind. That’s all. no pressure, right?

Wrong. I have never felt so much pressure. I have had more stress symptoms the past month than in the past several years. Headaches, general anxiety, short of breath, full-blown panic attacks (I forgot how terrible those are, haven’t had those since I left my last full time job) tummy troubles of heartburn and IBS, nightmares, panic attacks waking me from sleep, trouble focusing my eyes (I went to the eye dr to adjust my glasses before realizing this was my stress level) and a super high heart rate. I had to stop going to curves until I visit my cardiologist next week. I haven’t had my mitral valve checked in over 6 years and I’m supposed to get an echo yearly, and I think the anxiety is aggravating my condition in a chicken or the egg way.

But I also had this drive to push through all of this, telling myself that this really sucks, acknowledging my discomfort, but also telling myself I am strong and can get through it. Because, if I get through it, and I’m able to keep this job, the benefits to my family will be huge. I want to do this for them. I want to do it for me too.

I hate many parts of my job, but as it develops and I get more comfy, I am not hating it so much. In fact, I am loving the thrill of it. I love crossing items off my list, even though that list is a mile long. I love making quick decisions about how to handle tricky situations. I love making my move and waiting for others to make theirs. It is seeming like a game now, like my favorites, like SimCity or diner dash where I have to think and do and move endlessly and can barely keep up.

I told my therapist how I am have this sick enjoyment of the chaos and mess  – and she said of course you do. It feels like home. This company is running like a dysfunctional family and I feel like the savior, the peace-keeper. The only difference is that I don’t feel helpless this time. I feel powerful and I’m thinking more clearly than I can remember ever thinking before. The fog is gone. I can clearly see what everyone is up to, I understand the motives, I know who is messing up and who is trying to hide it. I listen to my instincts, those alarms I have in my head about liars, and it is serving me well to investigate issues and manage people well. I think it is so far anyway.

I also have an out, if needed. I will do this for a while, give it my best. I said I would stay 1 year, and if things don’t approve, if my body is not handling the stress, if everything is still a hot mess, then I will move on with this experience under my belt and never look back. But my bank account will have thanked me, and I will know that some things can’t be fixed, some people can’t be changed. I will know when to walk away and will not blame myself for it. (not completely anyway, jeez this is me we’re talking about)

So I am going back to check my emails and work on a project today, when I could have today off. I am choosing to get caught up, choosing to have a bigger paycheck, and choosing to give myself the gift of crossing something off my list.

Tonight we will go to a festival and watch fireworks and I will leave work behind and out of mind. Tonight will be about glow sticks, cotton candy, funnel cakes, kids crafts, good music on stage, and fireworks in the air. As the booms fill my chest I will remember that I am strong, and I am free. America lets us be free, and I will celebrate my freedom from a tortured soul. I won’t waste my freedom any longer, I have too many dreams to chase.