How Comfortable Are We With Honesty?

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How many times have you been in a conversation that ended up in an argument because one of you was just honest? I have had many conversations recently where I had to hear truth, I mean hard to swallow, HONESTY! I felt like saying, “keep those things to yourself and lie to me.” My ego may be just a bit too fragile. I can add here that anything that is negative sounding honesty I say the person is just being mean, because I have an internal struggle with portraying perfection. I really had to take a good long look at myself and understand that while the truth is hard to hear, this is where growth happens. I know the difference of being mean and being honest. The person that told me these things was not trying to be mean. They wanted me to look at things from their perspective. Empathy is not a strength for a person that has BPD. Their is a liberating feeling that comes from accepting the truth about who you are, then realizing people do exist in the world that will love you for ALL that you are!

I have had to hear that I am “selfish, deceptive, cold, cruel, heartless, not able to love, irresponsible, unreliable, impulsive, brash, blunt, a procrastinator, unaware of myself and unable to see how my actions affect others, and last but not least, crazy.”   I have also heard all of these things from one person, my husband.  He has been with me for 11 years, he knows me.  He would surely give me an accurate description of who I am, right?  An honest description of how he views me.  I can accept these things now, before accepting my disorder, I would try to defend these things about myself. Who wants to be seen like this?  I will tell you… No one, we all try to show the pretty side of ourselves to the world.  Our “Parade-ready, big smiles and incessant waving” self for the world and save the “Messy bed-head, no make-up, sweat-pants wearing” self for those closest to us.

I can not change these things unless I first accept that these are things that are also in my toolbox.  I can be selfish, deceptive, cruel, heartless, not able to love, irresponsible, unreliable, impulsive, brash, blunt, a procrastinator, unaware of myself and unable to see how my actions affect others, and last but not least, crazy.”  Just because I can be like this, doesn’t mean that I have to be.  The other side of this truth is that I have heard that I can be the most fun-loving person, too friendly at times, too trusting, non-judgmental, hilarious, imaginative, creative, and full of potential, I have been told that I am a great teacher, a great writer, a wonderful wife and mother, a good person.  I want to think these are the only things that people experience of me.  The truth is, it’s not.  If you have known me for some time you have seen the bright shiny parade, and you have also seen the dark and gloomy, couch potato.  img_0395

Of course we love having people tell us what we want to hear about ourselves.  To only reflect our “parade-ready” selves to help add layers of protection to our egos.  If you don’t have someone in your life to put aside the bull-shit and give you the full list of how they see you, I don’t imagine you will ever grow or evolve from the person you are now.  If you have someone in your life that can speak honestly about all that they see in you, tell them Thank You!  They are helping you become who you were meant to be.  I am writing this and thinking at the very same time that I have not been very thankful for honesty in my life.  I have been so good at deceiving others and had relied on the power of creating my own truth for so long that I have been depriving the world of who I truly am, plain and simply put… I can be ME and you can be YOU!  Enjoy looking into your tool box and picking out the best tools for the job you have ahead of you today.  You are the creator of your daily masterpiece, what will you create? Please remember that honesty works both ways, share your honesty with others not to impede their growth.

The old saying goes “Only a true friend would be that honest!”  I have been the topic of much gossip in the town where I live now, and my little hometown. Obviously the choices I have made in life, my journey including my mistakes have made my life quite juicy with erotic undertones and misunderstood obstacles.  The better the gossip king/queen, I assume the more my name has passed through their lips.  I know that my life may be interesting, but let me be a true friend today and tell you this.  If you aren’t accepting your own truths about your life and all the flaws that make you who you are, don’t attempt to share anyone else’s.  That is all!  Life is too short to only focus on the negative parts of our journey, learn your lessons and move on.  The struggles that lie ahead await your new found strength.  Let this be a lesson to others, that I have had to learn the hard way.  Be a true friend, everyday… and be the truest of friends to yourself!

This post was motivated by the last two weeks of my life and a couple of conversations I have had with some friends. I haven’t stopped writing, I just stopped writing in my blog to work on a life-long dream of writing a book. The words just started flowing the other day and I didn’t want it to stop. I have made it to the start of Chapter 3 with only 50 more chapters to write. I can’t wait to complete this project, one that I have always wanted to accomplish. I am a person that has always loved to get lost in books, and could travel to other parts of the world through pages in a book. I hope to provide this sort of travel to my future readers. Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you have received something from my words today.

I honestly hope you all have a wonderful day!

Neurofeedback… My Personal Experience and Research

I was going to do a podcast on this topic, and I may still choose to do one later on… Here is the information I have found to help introduce the therapy I am currently using to help manage my symptoms of BPD.

Video : What is Neurofeedback?

Website: Explains this very well!

I have recently started neurofeedback therapy.  I have had 4 treatments lasting anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes.  The side effects I have noticed are feeling a bit more tired than usual, which is usually cured with an hour long nap. It has also caused me to be a bit more sensitive to situations that test my emotions.  More frequent mood swings, but ones that were short lived and easier to manage.

**I am not a medical professional and do not offer my experiences as general expectations for any person.  These are only my own personal observations.  I feel each person may have their own unique experience when dealing with methods to help cope with BPD.**

I have listened to several youtube channels of doctors trying to explain what a person dealing with BPD looks like.  What I have noticed, is that they have labeled us as individuals that are hard to work with.  This is obviously based on individuals that they have treated, that are hard to work with.  They blame this incompatibility on the client suffering from BPD because BPD sufferers have dichotomous thinking, We have a tendency to perceive the therapist to either be “all good” or “all bad”  I feel that if doctors are aware of our ability to think in this way, maybe they should try a little harder to be on the side of “all good”  in order to help their client achieve some relief of the symptoms of BPD.

I have been lucky enough to visit with two counselors that conduct each visit with care and compassion.  I don’t feel that is too much to ask from other individuals, especially those being paid to help you manage and better understand your mental afflictions.  I have read books that have been super beneficial with my struggle and I have started a treatment that I barely knew anything about, purely at the suggestion of a caring counselor.  I have noticed significant benefits and of course as with anything, there are some downside to it as well, but nothing I can’t handle or overcome.

I started this blog to help people who suffer from BPD find comfort in the fact that they aren’t alone, that we don’t have to wear a mask of perfection all the time, and that someone out there in the world appreciates that you are surviving each and every hardship that may hit you daily.  I also started this blog to help couples understand that relationships even those that aren’t dealing with mental health issues require time, attention, and hard work.  I feel that the outcome depends purely on the investment you are willing to make.

I was asked to try biofeedback after seeing my children’s counselor during our family therapy sessions.  I told her I was willing to try anything.  The very next counseling session she hooked me up.  The biofeedback helps read your brain waves.  I know they say that it doesn’t do anything to the brain, but I have actually left needing a nap like I had just completed a two-hour, mind-numbing test or something.  My brain must be doing mental gymnastics during my sessions… I am completely zapped afterwards.  The data that is collected is supposed to show some if any dis-regulation in the brain waves.

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I wanted to present this information early and track my progress.  I do feel that it has helped with my anxiety and I do feel a bit more focused.  My energy levels are still low, but this could also be due to the fact that my hormones are still out of whack. I am also working with my Nurse Practitioner to resolve those issues as well.

The thing that has been the best tool in managing BPD is self-awareness.  We may not be able to manage the emotions as situations arise… I know this is something I still struggle with, but we can choose to be more present and less day-dreamy to have control over our actions and how we interact with those around us.  It isn’t easy and I do understand the desire to get lost in thoughts can sometimes be overwhelming, but allow yourself to practice being present and it becomes easier.  This I can guarantee.

Good luck and have a blessed day!

Self Help Saturday: The Meanings of Life

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I know that most of us search for our purpose in life, hoping for it to be something worth bragging about.  A high paying job, maybe something that carries a title to remind you of your importance.  An incredible home or car, a hope that happiness can be held by obtaining material things. To fulfill a calling to a certain field of service, to preach or to sacrifice your life to a higher calling, like that of a nun or maybe even a priest.  I feel like these things yield insight to why we were really formed, and what all of us should seek to obtain in life.

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I had a moment this morning to be in the stillness of the day and realized that it wasn’t still at all.  I woke at 4:15 this morning and I made me a bowl of grape nuts, I enjoy the taste of this cereal now as an adult, but my decision to eat this cereal didn’t start with a craving for a healthy cereal.  My grandmother used to eat this cereal.  I would ask to have some of her cereal when I was a little girl and was perplexed as to why she would eat this hard, crunchy, nearly sugarless cereal.  I didn’t understand then that her reasons for eating this cereal was more for the nutritional value and less for the taste it produced.  I choose to eat the cereal now because it makes me think of my grandmother and it is a way to cherish her, savor her memory.  I then began to think of the other memories I had with my grandma.  She would keep us when we were little, and while the memories I have collected of time spent with her are not epic memories, they were and remain to be special.

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She had a little trailer house in a small town.  This small trailer was a special place for me, it consisted of 2 regular sized rooms and a small room that was more than likely meant to be a laundry room, but it was converted into a small spare bedroom.  There was one main bathroom and a half bath in the master bedroom, if you could call it that.  My grandmother’s house was always well kept and had a special ambiance produced by fluorescent lights under the cabinets that created warm swirls of light in the kitchen and it either always smelled of cleaner, or home cooked meals.  My grandma was a special lady.  She always made me feel safe and loved.

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I can remember waking up in that small bedroom or in rare instances waking up in her bed.  I wouldn’t always get to sleep with her, she said I would roll over her many times through the night or nearly kick her out of bed.  I am a very hard sleeper and apparently, as a child, a violent one.  🙂 I would wake to the smell of eggs and bacon being cooked to over-medium perfection, The aroma filling that small house to the brim, and reminding me of where I was at the first moment of waking.  I would clumsily jump from the bed and walk to the kitchen.

I would get a nice hug from her and a nice hot, plate of love sprinkled with the correct amount of salt and pepper that fell from the two white tall plastic salt and pepper shakers that I will always identify as the kind my grandma kept near her stove or on the kitchen table.  Before it would get hot, we would sit out on her front porch and watch life happen.  People driving in and out of town, and noticing the different colors and styles of the vehicles traveling down the town’s main street.  I didn’t care what we would do, I was enjoying my time with my grandma.  She was a very strong comfort to me as a child.  I don’t have a lot of strong memories of being a kid, and maybe part of the reason I hold onto these memories with her was my ability to relax in her presence, but these memories with her are vivid.  I know that they may not mean much to most reading this now, but one of the things I would do with my grandma was walk to the post office.  She would let me have the box key and find her box and grab her mail.  I don’t know why, but sometimes I can think of those events and miss the smell of that building.  I visit it from time to time just to inhale the fragrance of love letters and bills.  My grandma is still living in those memories, and it makes me feel calm, safe and loved.  I grew up and my grandma has been dead for several years.  I joined the military and while I had plans to come back from the military and start college near my hometown, I decided to buy her little trailer house that had been left to my uncle.  He had stayed with her, and was her caretaker for as long as I can remember.  I remember coming back to that place and feeling a little disappointed when it no longer held the charm that she gave it.  I am sure she didn’t really know how truly amazing I felt she was.

A unique and special human being.  My grandma didn’t have a special job, but her role as a mom and a grandma is one she fulfilled honorably.  She didn’t have a fancy house, or tons of money. Her wealth was in her gifts of cooking, cleaning and loving her family and friends.  She, in my opinion, had a rich life.  I have only given you a glimpse of this special women today, because that is where my prayers took me this morning, maybe it was a certain bird’s song this morning that triggered this memory or maybe it was the time of morning sitting out on my back porch, that was similar to sharing her front porch watching the buzz of the morning traffic. Whatever it was, her memory visited me heavy this morning and that is when it hit me.  She was a happy woman.  She didn’t have much, and she was able to still give to those in need.  She was a person that didn’t hold some special title, but still someone I admired very much.  She never told me when I was little that she had found the meaning of life, but she told me this morning.

Life is about love, forgiveness, and relationships.  All other things are trivial.  Love is something more than just a feeling.  It is in the food we make.  It is in the actions we choose.  It is in a sympathetic hug or a self-less sacrifice.  Love is in the way we adore something or someone.  It is our commitment and loyalty.  Love is a choice, a decision made to show the world compassion and understanding.  To truly love we forget our own needs, and begin a mission to meet the needs of others.  Be loving today!

Forgiveness, if we were not human, we would have no use for this word.  Do you think animals ask forgiveness?  Does the bird apologize to the worm for having it for breakfast.  Forgiveness, our need for acceptance, and appreciation set us apart from animals.  I realized that we must forgive ourselves first.  Before one can truly offer forgiveness we must first extend and accept it for ourselves.  No person is perfect, so all have felt some self-betrayal at some point in which forgiving yourself was necessary.  I thought I knew what forgiveness was, but I didn’t really understand it until this past year.  I received forgiveness from my husband.  He had no reason to forgive me, to give me yet another chance.  He made a choice to work on our relationship.  That decision grew from his first act of forgiveness. I wonder if he would have still made this choice knowing all that he knows now.  How difficult forgiveness can be and how incapable we are without God’s grace to provide complete forgiveness.   We are humans, still just a small step separates us from the animals.

When we decide to love and to forgive we open up our hearts to these amazing things called relationships.  If you want to truly be great, take time to build those important relationships with your loved ones.  When you depart from this life… What will be remembered?  I want people to think of me like I think of my grandma.  A special woman, that blessed other people’s life with love and forgiveness.  This may not be everyone’s equation of happiness, but for me, it all makes the reason we are here make a bit more sense.

Love your writer,

Michelle C

This entry is dedicated to my grandma, Maxine! I miss you so much, and so thankful for the wonderful memories you created with me as a child.  I hope that my life is half as fulfilling as yours.

Sunday A Day For The Soul: Part 7

A Fatal Cry

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Thousands of leaves hang from one tree.

Like the millions of people that make up society.

After one leave falls to our mother earth…

Does she notice it’s death, or only the rebirth.

A new awareness was born this week

As the storms shake off a few more leaves.

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They were in the worst parts of the storm, ripping their reasons to cling.

The roots of the tree offer more than just each leaf’s means to life.

It is what all the branches cling to as they attempt to touch the sky.

The stronger the roots, the easier the climb.

Establishing stronger roots takes more than just time.

It takes elements of the storms, and also the sunshine.

A leaf may start out sprouting from a seemingly weak tree,

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And the storms may prove to be too much for them to continue the journey.

But it is more than the storm, the sun, the roots that keep the leaves alive.

We must be open to catch those leaves that release a fatal cry

remind them of their beauty, their true reason for being.

that a world without them isn’t one worth seeing

without their specific placement in the tree, the shade is not at its best

You understand they are weary and in need of a rest.

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each leaf needs to realize that their season is not permanent

but to cling to their branch and boast that they can be resilient.

because seasons always change, and old leaves will pass away

Take time to be grateful for all the leaves today that provide you comfort

That all living things, even each small leaf , requires the support of others

This message was one derived at first from a dark place

a feeling of sadness, and how we should provide more than just whispers

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I looked to the sky requesting to see things clearer.

I was guided to set my sights on the leaves.

An overwhelming sense of peace overflows from me.

Too many leaves were shaken from a once golden branch during a severe storm.

We must discuss mental health, a subject that needs to move closer to the norm.

RIP those that have cried that fatal cry!

 

 

 

Baseball & It’s Lessons – “Little League Version”

My boy had a baseball game the other day.  They lost to a really good team.  The boys as young boys do, made mistakes.  It isn’t uncommon for them to do this.  They are learning and mistakes are great teachers.  The pitcher, one of the boys that has been with the team since it started, was on the mound.  He was doing so well.  Then after one player gets on base, his head starts to lower.  His normally healthy confidence starts to diminish a bit. My thoughts… “So what, he walked a player.” The game continues. Yells from the crowd, “You got this!  Keep your head up!” can be heard.  He throws a strike.  The crowd rewards his immediate resiliency.  He continues to pitch.  The team played hard and still came up short.  My son cried, other team mates cried.  Not from losing the game, but because of mistakes and shortcomings.  This is not a time for tears boys.  Learning is happening.

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I always ask my son to rate his performance after a game.  I ask him, “did you feel you gave it a 100%.”  He is always so honest.  He will say “maybe 85% or 90%.”  I then ask, “What is stopping you from giving 100%.  He sometimes tells me the mistakes he made that he could have reacted quicker to avoid the mistake.  Umm, yeah… Maybe!  Or just realize that these type of things happen and that we aren’t perfect.  We aren’t always going to hit a homer or get amazing plays.  Sometimes the ball just bounces out of our gloves or we trip in an attempt to snatch the ball and make an out.

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If you showed a highlight reel of my life it might appear that I have everything going great.  Add in the real elements… The blooper reel, and now you see that I am just a person trying to figure out the game.  I may be going at it giving anywhere from 85-100%, but there are some things out of our control.  I have to remind myself of this when watching my little guy play ball.  He isn’t always going to perform the way that I know he can.  The important thing is that he realizes that even after a mistake, life goes on.  It is what we take from the mistake that forces change in our lives.

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Even though not everyday will be a grand slam, I know that I can do my part to contribute to my team (my family)  If all I can do that day is cheer.  I will do my best to cheer them on.  If I can make a play that helps us win, I make the play.  If I mess up and start thinking that the team would be better off without me… I will listen to the words from the crowd that day… “You got this! Keep your head up!”

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I love watching my son play baseball and I am excited and encouraged by his growth in this sport.  If he doesn’t play professional baseball someday, it will not hurt my feelings.  I know that this sport has already taught us both so much.

THUNDER UP BABY!  I love our team!

PHOTO CREDIT – All photos besides the selfie were taken by the coach’s wife! She did an amazing job and I love all the images she captured. Thank you Esther!