To think about

To think about

The name of the blog

"It was never just an affair" needs to be in quotations, because it was something my ex-husband said to me early on in the break-up. I guess he thought it might make me feel better to know it wasn't just a fling per say, it was real love? It didn't make me feel better. Him ending the affair and being willing to work on the marriage would have made me feel better.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

My Healing Plan. Created October 9, 2013

My Healing Plan

Everyday I must:

  • Go for a walk, preferably with a friend
  • Write for 20 minutes and throw it away, preferably first thing in the am
  • Watch an inspiring TED talk and share that
  • Do a 2 minute power pose
  • Express gratitude, journal that
  • Read something healing
  • Do the 4 activities from SuperBetter
  • Use my power name from SuperBetter - Pi the Water Warrior

At the end of September I finally moved out of the home we had shared; he had been gone for months. The move was traumatic. I had avoided finding somewhere new to live,  packing, or making other arrangements, to the extent of going on an Alaskan cruise. I was overwhelmed, and frankly did not want to move. Not that I wanted to stay where I was either, I just didn't want to accept that this was happening I think. I did not want to accept that he wasn't coming back and I had to move on, literally. I wasn't completely checked out and made the move happen, but leaving everything to do with moving to the last minute was debilitating to the little energy I had. 

The night before the move, as I was packing, I was in what had been our spare bedroom surrounded by boxes of memories. Play bills, ticket stubs, cards, photo albums, souvenirs  and framed photos of a life that didn't exist anymore, and that I had no desire to revisit with feelings of nostalgia. I broke down bawling, wishing I could set the townhouse on fire, and wondering why I hadn't had the foresight to call a charity to come and clean the place out. At 10 pm the night before the move I decided I wanted basically nothing from my old life. I wanted a clean start at my new place. And I didn't get that because the idea came to me too late.

So over the next week, having now moved everything into my little apartment, I weeded through boxes and boxes of stuff and started giving things away. Giving things to charity, friends, or to my son. I still have the big ticket items to deal with, but in time that will come. What that horrible move, and the aftermath of being in my new home with my old life did, was plummet me further down into depression. At the same time there were some very unpleasant and emotional emails between my ex and I. 

Thus, at the end of that first week of October I hit a new rock bottom. I had hit several before, and then was always surprised when another one came along, thinking I had already sunk to the depths I could sink. This one was different. Many times over the previous months I had asked the universe to please end my suffering; a car accident, heart attack, something that wasn't my fault because I could not abandon my son and leave him alone with a legacy of suicide to carry for the rest of his life. But over a few days that gloriously sunny fall week, I decided how I was going to kill myself, and one very emotional night, I started writing a note. And one or two sentences in, I acknowledged what I was doing, stopped, and went to bed. I again begged the universe to end it for me. 

And when I woke up in the morning, not dead, I realized something had to change. I couldn't live the way I had been. I was in hell, there was no doubt about that, but killing myself was not an option, the universe clearly wasn't ready to release me, and I could not bare to go another day as I had been. The efforts I was putting in to my healing and survival were not enough, I think because they were not enough, not consistent, and were haphazard in application. That was my gut assumption on how to correct the matter anyways. Thus, that day, I refocused my energies, and starting actively using what I knew was out there to help me. And a few days later, I decided to write out my healing plan on a note, where it sits on my desktop for me to review every time I sit down or walk by the computer.

There are additional tasks or applications of ideas around my apartment as well that aren't on the healing plan, but they are contributing to my healing. This includes a totem featuring an object I have chosen to remind me that I can create the life I want. My item is a magnet from the Alaskan brewing company and I hold it and tell myself I can have the life I want. It sits on top of a little jewellery box my friend gave me last Christmas that features a cute little angel and says "side by side or miles apart friends are always close at heart". I have a ticket stub to a Canucks game as part of my totem, as well as a beautiful pink swarovski pen. All of these items represent ideals that are important to me living a happy meaningful life.  

I have five sticky notes up around my apartment with positive mantras on them. That is not a new idea to me, and I have used this trick several times over the course of my life. 

I also have a sticky note by my keyboard with a challenge to conduct a mindfulness exercise five times a day:

1) notice a sensation in your body 
2) become aware of sounds in your vicinity
3) take a very deep breath all the way to your stomach and release it slowly 
4) find one thing to observe that you have never noticed before. 

This mindfulness exercise takes about one minute, but the exercise slows me down and empties my mind, essentially resetting me to a calmer place. 

Those three different tasks were all quests from a game I am playing on the internet called SuperBetter. You will find a link to the website on the right hand side of my blog. In fact, Pi the Water Warrior is my avatars name, and the four activities that I am to complete daily are from SuperBetter. I recommend this website, and the TED talk from the creator of the site, Jane McGonigal. I recommend you watch the TED talk first so you understand where the creator was coming from herself during her struggles with depression and suicidal ideation. 

As for the other aspects of my healing plan, I will write about them another time as I want to do an entire post on TED talks, and another on the "science" of the brain that I am using for my healing. I am not employing faith nearly as much as science to trick my brain into healing more rapidly or with hopefully better results that will last a lifetime. And why have I created this plan and why do I invest so much time and energy into it? Well, because I can; I have no job or little people that need my time and energy. And because I have to; I had a taste right before the disclosure of what true (fake) happiness and contentment felt like and I want it back. I want to love life again. I want to thrive. And one day I want to believe in love and relationships again. I don't want to be an angry bitter person with baggage that is fucking up relationships twenty years down the road. Plus, those negative emotions are really bad for your health and I don't want some horrible disease that slowly debilitates me over years. 

I need to confess that nearly every day I do not complete the list. Some tasks are easier than others for me to integrate into a daily routine, and so I have faithfully completed them day in and day out, and others are more challenging. I walked for the first six days in a row after creating my plan, and now I haven't walked in over a week. So be it. 

For today, I can only encourage you to start exploring the vast options available to us in this day and age for healing. I had always avoided the self-help section of the library or bookstore, but there are good books out there, and the first I recommend you read is After the Affair, which is noted on the right hand side of my blog as well. Borrow books from the library, your friends, or just google some key words and you will instantly find information on your computer screen that validates your feelings. Appreciate yourself for showing up and trying your best. 

What I have realized is that my healing is so incremental, when I allow myself to become absorbed into my daily struggles and triumphs, I don't see the progress. When I look back over time, I am amazed at the leaps and bounds I have made given the circumstances. My psychologist says I am doing just fine. And my girlfriend gave me a great card that I just love so I have it at my computer desk where I can read it when I need a reminder: 

"Life is hard sometimes - crazy, mixed-up, messed up. And there you are in the middle of it all, just doing your thing… being strong and brave and beautiful like it's no big deal. But let me tell you girl, it is: Not everyone can do what you can do. Not everyone can handle things the way you can. While you wonder sometimes if you're doing okay… the rest of us are just watching in wonder".  

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