My whole world has changed completely over the last couple of months. I even moved back to my home state of Michigan, which I never thought I’d do. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Michigan; I’ve always been a proud Michigander and Detroiter. I just never thought I’d end up back there.)
As a result, some things have fallen through the cracks (like blog posts). But one area that I’ve been actively working on is making changes in order to take care of my mental health.
As you might be aware, I was in a depression a couple of months ago and went through TMS treatments again. As usual, it did the job of helping me feel better and be able to deal with things more effectively.
So, even though I’ve moved 800 miles away, I’m not completely falling apart. I am SO GLAD I did the TMS when I did; otherwise, I’d be up shit’s creek right now, I’m sure.
I have yet to find a new psychiatrist and therapist, which are two of the most important things I need to do. I plan on taking care of that after the first of the year. As of right now, Kim (my wonderful therapist back in Minnesota) and Dr. Nelson (the brilliant psychiatrist who handled my care for the last four years) are available by phone and email, so I’m not totally without professional support.
My last post discussed how being “comfortable” isn’t always a good thing, that change is sometimes in order. Yes, comfort helps us feel safe, but sometimes we get stuck in a place or a situation that isn’t that good for us. Once we are aware of this, ponder it for a while, and come to believe that some kind of change is necessary, it’s up to us to take care of business.
YA GOTTA HAVE FAITH
That’s when you need to dig deep down inside yourself and figure it out. Unless you live in a more restrictive environment where others are responsible for your welfare (like a prison or a hospital), no one is going to make your decisions for you.
With a little help from friends, family, and maybe a therapist or spiritual guide, you get to choose what steps to take. Every step of the way.
It’s a scary thought, isn’t it? Being 100% responsible for your own choices, your own life, and the ramifications thereof?
I don’t know about you, but I tend to second-guess myself. I know better, though, because I tell others to “trust your gut.” And I truly believe that each of us knows, deep down, what’s best for us. Yet doubt runs rampant in my brain.
What? You, too? Imagine that!
There comes a point in life when you need to have faith in something. Preferably, you’ll have faith in yourself, but I know that’s a big jump for many of us. If you can find some way to believe that things will turn out as they’re supposed to (which is to say, as the Universe has deemed right), you will most certainly have an easier time making changes.
Some people believe in a Higher Power (God, Buddha, etc.), some people believe in the law of attraction, some believe in the Good of the Universe, still others don’t have much faith in anything at all.
But you need to have faith in something or else nothing will ever change. As an old friend of mine used to say, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”
You may be sitting on a big decision right now, one you’ve been thinking about for a long (or short) time. Maybe you’ve been waiting for the “right moment” or to be completely, unmistakably ready for it.
I think that’s doing yourself a disservice, although it is completely understandable.
There is no perfect time to do anything, I don’t think. For instance, most of us will never have “enough” money to start a family and, since our life circumstances are always changing (and things happen to and around us that are out of our control), there is rarely a “perfect” time to do something.
Many people are willing to go through a lot of pain in order to avoid making decisions that might lead to change. I know I have throughout the years. My depression and anxiety had me in their grips for decades before I finally admitted I needed help and reached out to a psychiatrist (which, as you may remember, led to a 14-year-long misdiagnosis and many, many unsuccessful trials of psych meds).
It took a long time and it’s been a long journey, but everything that has happened in my life – including my suffering – has taught me something and has led to growth in some areas of my life.
Anyway, my point is that making changes is scary and difficult. Many of us try to avoid it like the plague, only to ponder later in life, “What was I so scared of? I wish I would have [fill in the blank].”
Don’t be that person. Don’t live the rest of your life wondering and regretting.
Have some faith in yourself.
CHANGE TAKES COURAGE
You may never feel “ready” to make a change, but it’s going to happen whether you approve or not. Again, that’s where the faith comes in. But to actually do it requires something more – Courage.
Does the amount of change determine how much Courage is required? I don’t know. I do know that the more Courage you have, and the more faith you have, the more likely it is that you will feel prepared enough to make change happen.
I also know this to be true: Change is inevitable; suffering is optional. Change is either going to happen to you and be something you suffer around, or you can make your own life changes and maintain at least some control over what happens.
Do you know the Serenity Prayer? *clears throat*:
“God [or whomever], grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.”
There’s a reason Reinhold Neibuhr (or whoever penned it) included Courage in this prayer: Because even if you want things to change, even if you desperately need them to change, you cannot simply wish for it and expect it to happen.
You need to dive deep and find the courage that I know is in there. You may think it’s buried too deeply or that you don’t have any Courage, but you would be wrong.
All of us have seen, read about, or heard about acts of surprising Courage in the face of unbelievable odds or even danger. Many of us don’t have that kind of personal story, and that’s fine. I’ve never run into a burning building to save anyone. I’ve never really fought back against “The Man.” But that doesn’t mean I’m not capable of it.
The truth is, most of us will never need to draw on that kind of Courage and fortitude. But it is within your reach, believe it or not. YOU have lived a lot during your lifetime and you have endured a lot.
Yes, I’m talking to YOU! 🙂
Think about it. It takes courage to go to a job interview or start college. It takes Courage (and a lot of planning!) to invite your whole family – or a slew of friends – over for the holidays. (All that stress? You could do without it, but holidays are traditionally a time we spend time with our loved ones, stressful as it may be.) Hell, it takes courage just to get out of bed in the morning and face the day.
It’s in you. You know it is.
The hardest part, I think, is believing (A) that you can do it, and (B) that it matters and will be worth it.
Well, let me tell you something. You’ve had the courage to make it this far, right? Through all the curveballs life has thrown at you, all of the changes in your life, through 100% of your roughest days?
That means you can do anything! You’ve made it this far, so you must be doing something right. Even if your whole life has felt wrong to you or you feel like you don’t *fit* anywhere, you’ve survived – and survival takes guts.
I applaud you.
WRAPPING IT UPIt’s a Wonderful Life
I’m not a religious person, but I do tend to believe that things happen for a reason. There is a reason you and I are still here, plugging away at our lives, sometimes struggling, once in a while riding a wave of ease.
Everything we say and does affect those around us. Have you ever seen the 1946 Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart? It’s about a man who wishes he’d never been born. With a little help from an angel, Stewart’s character, George, is able to see what would have become of his loved ones and his beloved hometown without him. He is magically transported back to reality and has a new appreciation for the people, places, and things in his life.
He realizes that he matters, just like you and I do.
Don’t argue with me here. 🙂 Have a little faith that you know what’s best for you, grab ahold of some of that innate Courage, and do the thing that’s right for YOU.
As always, Warrior, thanks for reading. And keep it real!
Previously published on Depressionwarrior.com.
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