If You Ask the Universe – Careful What You Wish For

It’s funny.

The choices we make.

I swear, the moment I ask my Higher Power for help on something new, how to deal with it, how to gain it…

I immediately get a testing experience that will painfully help me out.

Like they say, careful if you ask the universe for patience – you’ll come upon a new experience in life where you’ll have to develop loads of patience.

I guess that’s why they tell us to be careful what we wish for.

When’s the last time this happened to you?

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What Do You Want?

I don’t want to be someone who, at the end of their life, regrets not having lived.

I don’t want to go to my grave filled with shame and guilt and woe.

I don’t want to live my life as a woman who allows her challenges and demons to decide her mood and daily choices.

I don’t want each day to be filled with rigid rules created by societal judgy-ness, resentment, and jealousy.

I want to be able to breathe. To feel my own two feet on the ground and know they and my Higher Power can and will support me – if I trust, believe, have faith, if I have hope. Not just in God but in myself.

I often forget about that part.

To believe in myself.

We can wake up and, instead of dreading the coming day, choose joy. Hope.

We can take responsibility for how we feel and how we shape our lives.

This seems overwhelming at times. But baby steps are how we win at every day, every moment.

We are strong enough.

We are good enough.

We can make simple changes in habitual thinking patterns, morning routines, after-work routines, relationships (with others and ourselves), our self image, and so on.

I want so much more out of life.

And so it’s up to me to do something constructive about that. To work toward it.

Today, I hope you know this isn’t a pointless existence. That the humdrum bustle and stress, the rat race and cruel jokes of fate – they aren’t all there is.

As Walt Whitman said,

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large — I contain multitudes.”

We are so much more. We can have so much more.

Our potential for joy and motivation, change and growth in a direction we crave – what we truly desire – it is lying dormant, waiting for our embrace.

I choose more.

What about you? What choices are you making? Because we mustn’t forget that not choosing, is a choice.

How to Talk to Your Mentally Ill Friend

 

If you wouldn’t say it to someone with cancer…

If you wouldn’t say it to an amputee…

Don’t say it to someone with mental health challenges.

 

A person who is missing a limb can pray to God for help all day and night long. I’m pretty certain God (insert your Higher Power here, if not God) isn’t going to grow their limb back. We aren’t lizards. Not how it works.

Mental illness challenges are much the same. Not saying they’re the same as having your arms blown off, but you get me.

 

I get told to pray to God and He will take away my sadness.

One – depression and sadness are NOT the same thing.

Two – God gives us challenges on purpose. So we can figure out how to live with them in the way He wants us to. As well as help others who suffer from the same challenges. These things help us grow, challenge ourselves, rise to the occasion. Pretending like being bipolar is something I can just pray away is an insult to God and to myself. He has trusted me to handle this.

Perhaps it will go away. That happens.

Or perhaps it will be more like getting a knee injury. Occasionally, that knee will act up and I’ll have to deal with it.

There is no one way that mental health challenges work. Different person, different life experiences with mental illness.

But none of us can simply get up, decide to no longer have mental illness issues, and *poof* be healthy. Doesn’t work that way.

A cancer patient doesn’t get the diagnosis, decide to stop having it, and *poof* no more cancer. Uh-uh. They have to fight it. Give it everything they’ve got.

Sometimes the disease kills them.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes it goes into remission and comes back, only to go into remission once again.

 

If you aren’t sure how to approach or talk to someone with mental health challenges, consider how you’d talk to a friend who has fibromyalgia or is in the process of going blind.

Mental illness isn’t a choice.

 

 

Yes, making good choices can alleviate it or even get rid of it. But that’s a process. And is true of all illnesses. Get diabetes or cancer, you’re going to have to change what you’re doing, eating, etc. Get panic disorder and you’re going to have to do the same.

We can all make good choices.

That includes aiming for understanding, empathy, kindness, compassion. Instead of telling someone with devastating depression or a mood disorder or any host of other mental illnesses, to simply “knock it off”, “get over it”, “choose to be happy,” “pray and trust God to take it away”, etc.

Perhaps your Higher Power will take it away. Just as He might take away cancer. But that’s not going to happen without the person trying, working for it, making changes, and suffering through a lot of pain that they didn’t choose to have.

 

We can be happy and depressed at the same time. Because happiness is the opposite of sadness. Not depression. Depression is an illness.

You wouldn’t tell someone to just knock it off and quit sneezing when they have a cold, would you?

 

SO IF YOU’RE UNCERTAIN whether or not to say something to someone who struggles with mental health issues (anxiety, depression, personality disorders, dissociative disorders, mood disorders, etc.) a pretty good guideline is:

If you wouldn’t say it to someone with cancer…

If you wouldn’t say it to an amputee…

Don’t say it to someone with mental health challenges.

Mental Illness and Failure

https://www.healthyplace.com/insight/quotes/quotes-on-mental-health-and-mental-illness

 

I read over this, continued on, then stopped as the end of the quote made it through my “scanning” mentality and into my freaking rib cage, where it proceeded to rattle around and saunter on into my soul with a glass of chocolate milk, a hatchet, and a killer smile painted red (from the blood of my demons, not lipstick).

 

“Your mental illness is not a personal failure.”

NOT

A

PERSONAL

FAILURE

 

…Yeah… Just let that beauty sink in.

Seriously. Take a minute.

 

I don’t think a sentence has ever given me such a pause.

If I get caught in a hurricane, a volcano’s explosive raining lava (like in the movies), and an earth cracking earthquake – all at once – I will not be as shooketh.

And I do not mean to cheapen the gravity of this truth with goofy word-smithery. But this is who I am. And if we’re on the subject of truth, how can I mute my strangeness while trying to communicate the uncommunicable of HOW THIS QUOTE HIT ME IN THE HEAD WITH A COYOTE AND ROADRUNNER SIZED ANVIL and then let me fall down the rabbit hole, forever?

The answer… I cannot.

 

My issues, they are not a personal failure.

This never occurred to me before.

Feeling ashamed to tell the truth, that ‘no’, I’m still not doing okay. I am still struggling. I am still broken and scarring and trying as hard as I can to dig myself out of a hole, only to find that I’m standing in the middle of a desert with a body bag and a knife.

…. This isn’t me failing.

This is me telling the truth.

Trying as hard as I can.

And feeling shame when I can’t just “pull myself up by the bootstraps” and become a mentally stable person.

 

Someone told me I remind them of Eeyore in the mornings when she picks me up for work. She didn’t say it maliciously. She was smiling. She is okay with who I am.

Why can’t I be?

Why do I see myself as a failure because I am not “whole” like other people?

Why do I feel the need to “get over” mental illness the way that people get over a cold?

I don’t have any outward symptoms. Any tell-tale signs of a physical illness. And unlike a sinus infection or bronchitis, I cannot “get over” mental illness and expect God to wipe me clean of the challenge He gave me.

Who knows if it’s a lifelong challenge? I might wake up in three years from now and no longer struggle with mental illness. I’m a believer in miracles. But I’m also a believer in God (or whatever/whoever your Higher Power is) giving us trials. And some of those trials are lifelong.

 

People don’t seem to understand this.

They expect us, those with mental illness, to simply chipper up. To get better and stay better forever. That because we had a good day, a good week, a good month, that we’re “cured” and we won’t struggle with this in the future.

A bad day, a bad week, a bad month, these things aren’t signs of failure or doing worse. They’re symptoms of mental illness.

And guess what?

We understand.

Sure, some of us use it as an excuse to do nothing, to expect nothing of ourselves, and to do nothing but wallow in the pain and expect everyone to disfigure their faces in sorrow and pity and miserate with us. But there are people like that in every walk of life, whether mentally ill or not.

Those people are a personality type. Much different from a passing emotion or coping mechanism or grieving stage. They’re different from the days we need to sit in our pain and feel it. How we need to define how we’ve been victimized before we can let go of being a victim. Or sit, paralyzed by anguish, fear, and stunned apathy at how unaware we were of how hard things would get. Or those days where we need to look at what we’ve been through, what we’re still hurting through, and sit there and hurt in it. Those move, they’re fluid. Mental illness is fluid. People who plant themselves firmly in misery and soak in it permanently, without trying to solve any puzzles in their lives… that’s not mental illness.

 

“Your mental illness is not a personal failure.”

I cannot put into words what this means for me. To me.

I can do everything right. Make all the right decisions. Get into all the healthy situations, atmospheres, in with all the right therapists and doctors and group therapies. But that sometimes doesn’t affect where my level of mental illness is that day.

I cannot keep myself from ever getting a cold by eating healthy, exercising, and taking healthy herbs and micronutrients.

Just as I cannot keep myself from having the unpredictable and uncontrollable symptoms of a mental illness by doing everything to keep my mental, emotional, and spiritual self as healthy as humanly possible.

Only God can heal me of mental illness permanently. And I am not God.

I can only do so much.

And still, I can get a cold.

That doesn’t mean I’ve personally failed.

 

And somehow, I feel shedding the tears that welled up when I read that sentence, is the only form of communication that can describe, paint, encapsulate all that I feel inside when I read it.

I cannot explain it to you.

You must feel it. You must know it.

We must believe that having a mental illness does not measure if we are a successful human being or not. Our challenges do not define us. What we do about them, how we do it, all those details… those are what define us.

 

“Your mental illness is not a personal failure.”

 

https://www.healthyplace.com/insight/quotes/quotes-on-mental-health-and-mental-illness

 

For more quotes on mental illness, check out this page, which is where I scrolled upon this paradigm re-shaper.

‘Grow Up’ Can Get Lost

Cut the crap.

The drama.

Get over yourself.

Get over all the dramas of your life and the dramas of your relationships.

 

I love that the support group I go to helps me to see that I am held responsible for myself and no one else.

I can be here to support but I am not here to fix people or their situations. Enabling them will help them stay ill. Keeping them from feeling the consequences of their actions, inactions, and/or words will help them stay ill. Lying so that I appear to be who they want me to be will help them stay ill.

Not doing that.

Doesn’t matter what kind of illness it is either. There are so many addictions. So many ways for us to hurt ourselves and others.

 

I am responsible for me.

You are responsible for you.

My words, my actions, my issues, my pain – my responsibility to deal with.

But that’s not what I want to get into today.

 

Today, I want to challenge the saying, “grow up”.

I was going to add it to my thought process. My support group reminds me, tough love, grow up.

But that’s not quite right.

Tough love at times yes.

Grow up?

“Growing up” isn’t exactly getting good at life. It isn’t exactly enjoying life. It isn’t exactly living life.

At all.

 

Perhaps what we really need is youth. A youthful mindset.

(Not childishness. Don’t think child. Think youthful. Really, there’s a difference.)

 

Youth focuses on self-care and self-love and relationship with God (or whatever your Higher Power is), and then thinks of others.

Youth breathes.

Simply is.

Youth says “no” and doesn’t feel ashamed for meeting their NEEDS before someone else’s WANTS. (Don’t forget, unless you’re the parent to a child, other peoples’ needs are their responsibility to meet. You don’t disregard your needs to help someone else meet their needs because they’re good at manipulating you, or a thousand other scenarios.)

If we are to become youthful, we will know and believe we matter and so do all others; humans, animals, and nature alike.

Just breathe.

Enjoy our lives more.

Seek out what we are passionate about more.

Change our perspectives. If we make a mistake – we are NOT horrible, a loser, the scum of the earth, etc. – instead, when we make a mistake, why not think of it as an experiment?

 

Youthfulness realizes life is a gift.

Youthfulness accepts that life is going to hurt.

Youthfulness both knows and believes we have to create our own magic to feel our lives are magical.

 

Serenity

Serenity is a hard commodity to come by.

Even harder to hold onto.

Tragedy, loss, pain, affliction, confusion, chaos… these things happen in life. They are part of life.

This does not mean we cannot have and hold onto serenity. Peace. An assurance that I am okay, I have what I need, and a Higher Power will provide for me. I have loved ones. I have myself. I have hope.

 

I read a quote. I don’t know where it came from.

It reads:

“You’ve seen better days, but you’ve also seen worse. You might not have everything you want, but you have everything you need. You woke up with some aches and pains, but you woke up. Your life may not be perfect, but you sure are blessed. Life is a beautiful thing.”

 

You woke up with aches and pains. Whether emotional or physical or both.

But

You

Woke

Up

 

Isn’t that the point?

We woke up.

We’re given another chance.

Another day filled with options, opportunities, challenges to be overcome, pain to be felt and learned from, love to feel and spread, beauty to experience.

We have another chance to do it right.

 

We woke up.

 

I love the serenity prayer.

Speaking to our Higher Power, whatever or whoever we believe and however we believe, we ask:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And wisdom to know the difference…

 

I cannot change and/or control people, places, things, situations.

I can change me. What I feel. What I do with what I feel. What I think. What I do with what I think. What steps I make to move forward with my own health and life. I can do this with dignity and respect to and for all, including myself always.

We all have that option. Though it might not always be an easy one. It is a good one to strive for. To practice. To decide it is important and worthy, as are we.