Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Goals" by Brian Tracy

I have mentioned this book in a few previous posts but today I actually finished it. Back in December it was recommended to Eric and I as part of our real estate training for our business and I would read it in bits and pieces. I finally decided to just sit down and read the book. Overall it was a great book. It is more geared to success in business/sales but I did find pearls for success in life as well. One area that I need to work on is picking something and going at it with gusto until I am able to accomplish the goal. Tracy talks about it being a definite major purpose (Tracy borrowed the phrase from Napoleon Hill). I don't always commit to things easily. I am worried that I will make a choice and then realize later there was something better I could have chosen.  When I do make a choice I then stick my head in the ground and don't want to hear other options for fear of needing to revise. With all of this floating around my head it was hard to pick my major definite purpose. Eric reminded me of the 100 goals we have for us and that those goals are are purpose. Now I just have to pick one and work on it.

In general,  I have a hard time choosing to read informational books because I use reading as a way to check out and to go into a fantasy world where my real world doesn't exist. When I read self-help books my own life is always playing in my mind. Most of the time that is an okay thing but when the depression is really bad it makes me want to scream. Forcing myself to sit down and read this book was a big accomplishment for me and I am proud that I choose to do something a little bit hard.

Monday, March 25, 2013

One of those really good days

Even though it is almost four in the morning and I am sitting here with cramps my Sunday was a really good day. Eric had to go to DC to see a patient but he makes the effort to wake up early so he can go and be back in time to go to church together and then have an uninterrupted afternoon. I woke up right on time and was getting ready and it was a good hair day and a good face day and a good outfit day. I love it when all three combine on the same day. While I was eating breakfast I read the First Presidency message from the April Ensign. President Erying had a great idea to keep thoughts focused during the Sacrament. Eric got home in time to head to church and we were on time!! On the way to church "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" came on Pandora. I have yet to hear a version of that song that I am not a huge fan of. Then in Sacrament meeting we sang "How Great Thou Art", "How Firm a Foundation", and "Oh My Father". In general I am not a big music person but today the music was speaking to my soul. I had to stop singing multiple times because I was getting chocked up. The rest of the day continued in that fashion- a lot of peace and contentment.

The end of last week was a little hard due to the craziness of PMS which can trigger some pretty gloomy days for me so to have such a rejuvenating Sabbath was a wonderful blessing and a great way to start the week.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hard Wired

One of the areas that has been a struggle for me is the idea of needing another person to be happy. In the past week I have noticed how we are hard wired to feel this way. As I have listened to love songs on the radio and thought about all of the romantic comedies that are released monthly it is almost impossible to not feel that we need another person to be happy. This isn't a new idea. One of the "greatest" love stories is "Romeo and Juliet". Talk about the epitome of needing the other person the be happy. How many movies are dependent on the girl being saved (with a few role reversals)? Training my brain and my emotional status to not be dependent on Eric or a perfect relationship is tricky when all of society blasts the opposite message at you. I am grateful that I have a wonderful husband who wants me to be happy but even more importantly wants me to be happy independent of anyone else.

Now how to balance seeing some fun movies and listening to main stream radio without buying into the idea that without Eric, the white fence, 2.5 kids and a dog?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Still a work in progress

Last night I attend a weekly depression support group that my church hosts for women. While we were we talking the topic switched to dealing with grief. While the group was still uplifting it was more somber than it had been in the past couple of months. When I got home I was met by dirty dishes, unfolded laundry, and wet sheets I forgot to put in the dryer. Eric had been working all evening trying to catch up on logging patients since his co-resident had been sick for two days. I felt myself sinking into a "woe is me, my life isn't perfect" mentality. While I was getting ready for bed I felt myself getting more and more black on the inside; anger over nothing, frustration with Eric over made up things, self loathing for not living up to my idea of perfect, etc, etc. As soon as my face was washed I was in my bed on my knees praying my heart out.

In the past praying was not the direction I would go in these situations. I would take it out on Eric, cry and let the blackness envelope me like a cloud. When I found that the desire to pray was the first thing I wanted to do I felt HOPE. Hope that maybe this change will truly be permanent and not just a phase. Hope that I am finally understanding what I have been taught and also taught to others for twenty years (I wasn't baptized and didn't attend church regularly until I was ten). Hope that I can be a better person and a better wife to Eric and a better mother to my future children and the children I work with at church every week.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I have been reading a fabulous blog and just found a post that expressed the concept of choosing happiness while having depression. The author expressed what I was trying to say in a previous post and I couldn't pass up re-posting here. I hope anyone who is suffering from depression will take comfort in the small victories that come day to day.

Depression and Choosing Happiness

Monday, March 18, 2013

Changing from the inside out

One of the books I have been reading about being more positive and making changes is "Goals" by Brian Tracy. One of Tracy's ideas is that our personalities have five layers like the rings on a target. The inner most ring is our values, followed by our beliefs, expectations, attitudes and then beliefs. When I was reading this I realized that so often I was trying to change my actions without really looking at how those actions tied into my values. When I failed to connect the two my actions didn't stay consistent. One of the big areas this has been true for me in the last couple of months is daily scripture reading. I have been taught since a child to read my scriptures daily but when my depression gets really bad daily devotion is one of the first things to get cast aside. January was a really tough month for me and I am still working to come out of that fog and pick all of the pieces back up that I let slide during that time. One of the big ones being daily scripture reading. I found I was trying to change my actions because it is something I should do or something everyone else is doing. These are not reason enough to really make a change. When I stopped and really thought about why daily devotion is important I have been able to connect my actions to my values and that has made a huge difference.

I am finding this to be true as I work to be more positive as well. If I am just trying to change my actions it might work but until I am able tie them to values it isn't a lasting change. Now that I am working on being positive as a virtue my actions are staying more consistent with my values.

When I am depressed my values all crumble making it very difficult to keep up with the actions of normal life. Even greater unhappiness follows because my circles aren't lined up. Now I know I sound like I am contradicting myself from my earlier post about action your way into feeling. In normal life this is very true especially with smaller things like cleaning house or doing laundry. When depression gets thrown into the mix there are all new rules. Sometimes acting first helps but sometimes that makes it worse. Depression is a beast all of it's own.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Weekend Round Up

There were quite a few moments this past weekend that allowed me to reflect on my choice about being positive.

*On Friday morning I made a mistake at work and when my boss tried to help she made a mistake and so two little mistakes made a bigger mistake. In the end it all got straightened out but I could feel my self worth starting to slide down, down down. I noticed it and just said "STOP! Your worth is not dependent on a task at work." I had to really think positive thoughts for a while but I bounced back way quicker than I would have in the past.

* Friday was our five year wedding anniversary. I know, super cool. Due to Eric's schedule he was up and gone before I was awake and got home in time to go to bed. I realized I could choose to be sad about not spending time with my husband on our anniversary or I could choose to be grateful that I am married to a wonderful man who is working so hard to become a doctor and that we have had five years to spend together.

* On Saturday I went to an activity with ladies from my church. We were able to share laughs and support and it was great to spend some time getting to know these woman better and learning more about who they are.

*Thursday night I met with some women from church to work on making blankets and hats for babies in the NICU. I am a talker but on Thursday, for a change, I sat and listened. I learned so much about the women who I was working with. The concept of listen twice as much as you talk might have some merit. I might have to try this again :)

*On Saturday Eric (my husband) asked "Why now?" I had to think for a few minutes before I could answer him. What I came up with was that my depression is really well managed right now. The energy that was being used to just get through the day can now be put to being more positive and accepting life the way it is. Also I am the type of person that needs to feel it is my idea to make a change. Eric has been trying to help me be more positive for awhile but I had to be the one to really choose to make the change and in the past week I felt like it was time to make a change. A lot of my motivation has come from this blog.

This is a week of a lot of little things that used to drown me but this week helped lift me up.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Change Brings Awareness

As I was working to be more positive I noticed the number of negative things that went through my mind. I had to really work today on changing my way of thinking. Instead of judging people and being upset because they didn't do what I wanted I tried to focus on seeing things from their point of view. Taking the time to really notice the thoughts I had in my mind forced to really look at what I think about and how I think about it during the day. In all honesty I have been a very pessimistic person.The focus on being positive is going to take a lot of brain power but I know it will be worth the effort.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Think, Feel, Do

Once a week I attend a Depression Support Group that my ward (congregation) sponsors here in Baltimore. A few times we have talked about the think, feel, do triangle. Basically our thoughts, emotions and actions are all interconnected and affect each other. At the same time I have been reading the book "Goals" by Brain Tracy. Last night while reading the following quote really made sense to me.

 "You are more likely to act yourself into feeling a particular way than you are to feel yourself into acting." 

I have found this to be very true for myself. When I need to clean my house I have to get up and clean my house whether I feel like it or not. If I try and wait to feel like cleaning my house it is never going to happen. The more I act the way I want to feel the closer I get to actually feeling that way. Each day will be a chance to choose to be happy and to choose to be positive. 

What do you have to act yourself into feeling?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How I arrived here

For thirty years I have lived with the concept that I am not able to be happy because of my depression or because I am waiting for a change in my life that will fix all of my problems creating happiness. I have lived through multiple changes, all of which I thought would make my magically happy; none of them did. One of the big changes that I thought would make me happy was marriage. I am happily married.However, in my marriage I have committed a great wrong towards my husband. I put the sole responsibility for my happiness on his shoulders  Depending on another person for happiness is not a formula for success. For the past five years my husband has carried the responsibility of making me happy. That is a heavy weight to bear for anyone and I am very grateful that my dear sweet husband was willing to do so for me until I was ready to take back my own happiness and joy.

 I have known for many months now that some deeper change needed to be made; more than using time wisely, reading scriptures and praying daily , more than all of the outward things that need to be done. I needed to choose to be happy and to be more positive. Due to depression this can be more of a struggle for me than for others. After counseling and medication and an ongoing support group I am in a place emotionally and mentally where I can work to make changes. Working on changes also means making mistakes. When the depression has been at its darkest mistakes would not have been tolerated.

 In the past year I have come to terms with the fact that depression mixed with infertility are my trials that are meant to bring me closer to the woman I am supposed to be. There will still be days when the depression will rear its ugly head  but I am ready finally to stop being a victim to depression and to fight back even is that means falling down and scraping my knees sometimes. 

Like everyone, I have small trials that come up in day to day life but depression and the infertility are what I call my Big Two. Both are trials that I can not run away from. In the past five years I have moved over ten times and the Big Two followed me around the country. These are trials that I must use to become a person more in tune with God's will and His purpose for me. As I am accepting these trials as blessings and growing opportunities rather than punishments or mistakes I am growing as a person and feeling more joy coming into my life.

The purpose of this blog is to document my road as I learn to choose happiness and joy and learn to stop waiting for my life change or even start.