Friday, May 6, 2011

Back with a new 40 day discipline (controlling brain chemistry and enjoying consistent happiness!)

A lot has happened since Easter, both in my life and around the world.

I have been tempted to write a post several times, sometimes because I thought I had something valuable to share, sometimes just to get a "fix" (I don't fancy myself a "creative writer" but writing these posts definitely feels like a creative activity and it helps enormously in lifting my spirits).

I don't think I'll go back to share the thoughts I had, although they may become pertinent again in the future, right now I need to focus on the next 40 days (not 46 like Easter, I'm making this one a true "cuaresma" or "cuarentena"!!). But first I need to explain where this idea came from with a shameful and somewhat scary confession.

I have to backtrack a bit, stay with me... I have struggled with chemical imbalances since I can remember, from feeling opposite emotions at the same time coupled with strange black and white images, to having an incessant soundtrack playing behind every thought for years, to getting an uplifting boost from holding on to an electric fence (on purpose) that would make anyone else cry, to a low-grade but long lasting depression that dipped dangerously low in my teens and mid twenties. Thankfully these are not things I experience anymore (not for a long time, thank God!), but I am keenly aware of what it took to get it under control.

Over many years of self destructive behavior due mostly to plain ol' ignorance I learned, sometimes through research, sometimes trial and error, that:
  1. My brain doesn't seem to want to work like everyone else's, but it CAN be taught new tricks.
  2. My hormones and emotions are controlled almost entirely by what I eat and drink.
  3. Sleep and exercise are essential to a healthy mind.
  4. If you don't control your thoughts they will control you (and NOT in a good way, the Ego is a nasty, sneaky tyrant).
  5. (and most importantly) I had to learn to love myself, "defective" brain and all, in order to stick to the healthy habits that made a peaceful brain and stable emotions possible.
That being said, sometimes we, nope, I can't assume you or anyone else does this, *I* don't stick to all the disciplines quite as well as I should and I find myself not living as healthy a life as I would like, physically, mentally or emotionally.

You might remember this post in which I spoke about my "default setting" being apathy and how I wanted my new mode to be HAPPY. Well last night was a very scary example of what that apathy extreme can look like.

I had told L1 to put something on her to-do list for today. I didn't say "I want you to do this", I specifically said "put this on your list" because we have been having A LOT of problems with her just blowing things off, usually because she's thinking about something else and doesn't switch gears or because she just forgets (I KNOW she's 14! I know I know, it doesn't help that it is age appropriate!). Later I asked where her list was because I was going to add something else and she said she had not started it and planned to write it in the morning. That's when I said "By what miracle do you expect to remember in the morning what I told you tonight?" in the most condescending tone I could muster...

I know.

This is the girl that gives me hugs "from Jesus" (remember that story?). This is, by anybody's standards, a GREAT teenager, straight A student, respectful, sweet, generous, hard working, funny, and well-behaved. I should go to Hell for that.

She ended up crying in her daddy's arms, he tried to talk about it, all I had to say was "she can try to turn this into "mommy's crabby and taking it out on me", but she just has to take responsibility for her actions". And, yes, maybe in principle that was right, but the scary thing was that I felt NOTHING.

I was not angry, frustrated, jealous, annoyed or sad. I felt N O T H I N G!
I remember thinking "why don't I feel anything?, this is strange" but, since I felt nothing, I didn't really feel concerned about that either. I just went to bed.

This morning I woke up and all of a sudden all of my thoughts and emotions rushed to that image of my gorgeous princess crying over what I, the evil witch mother, had done to her. I immediately wondered if she had slept well, I prayed that she had slept well, I prayed for God to protect her from me, for God to heal whatever scars I may have caused. I tried to talk to Loren about it and was so overcome by tears and the tightness in my throat that I couldn't finish the thought. It was as if all the emotions I should have felt last night and all through the night had finally caught up to me and were crashing into me one after the other.

See what I mean by "defective"? This is not normal.

Not that I am trying to excuse my behavior with "my brain is broken". I completely take responsibility for all my mistakes, shortcomings and displays of unabashed bitchiness. But I have to do something! this is not OK.

By the way, I cannot blame my diet (or my liver!) for this one. I had eaten mostly raw (a little chicken on the salad, a little popcorn for snack, a little hard boiled egg on the second salad). I have been doing pretty well since the Easter brunch fiasco, keeping my weight steady and even losing a little more off my hips!

But anyway... (I am finally getting to the point, you are so patient!) I know I don't want to go to a medical doctor with this, and before I start going to other people for help of any kind I KNOW there are things I should try first.

So, starting today, I will be exercising for at least 20 minutes every day and meditating for at least 15 minutes every day...

and trying very, VERY hard to be super nice, especially to L1.

1 comment: