The truth is I’ve been dogged with self-destruction most of my life. I learned it very early, though my folks did much better for me than their folks did for them, I still managed to leave home with poor self-esteem, a desire to stuff my head with a variety of analgesics, a tolerance for terrible treatment from people I love, and an expectation that I would have no reward at all for my efforts.
Fast forward to 49, now.
I was getting very, very sick. I was losing use of my hands and feet. My migraines were insane. I was taking tons of medicine, supplements, booze, and medical mj. When I wasn’t at work, I was sitting on the couch smashing out my brains. I let myself and the house go to hell.
Yet my whole life I have also been a writer, an artist, a rainbow warrior energetically working for peace and justice, and a woman with beauty, brains, and talent. I realized, finally, that the go-to-work-ignore-the-suffering path I’d been on since 1991 was killing me and killing my fate.
I quit my job and turned my focus to art, aikido, and personal growth.
I’ve dragged out of depression, I’m not smashing my brains, I’m not stuffed with pills, I’m not parked on the couch for weeks. I’m not subordinating my time and goals to the whims of seeking romance. I’m not so overwhelmed by the tasks ahead that I quit before I start. I’m not living in complete isolation.
I can stand to hear myself think. I’m writing. I’m fixing things. I can sleep at night. I’m going dancing for the fun of it. I’m bathing and getting dressed and eating relatively healthy food. I’m visiting friends. I’m writing letters. I’m making professional contacts.
Am I all better?
Hell, no. It took almost a year to get this far, and a lot of it looked pretty bad from the outside, I suspect. I still have those self-destructive habits. I still hear myself excuse slovenly choices because it’s “just me”. Serving others is easy. Taking of myself seemed pointless.
But I’ve developed a set of techniques to notice when I’m fading and make a better choice. I have enough forgiveness for myself that when I falter, I can get up instead of crushing myself down with criticism.
So if you admire the books, photography, aikido, spirit work, talent, brains, and beauty – see that it hasn’t been easy and we share some fundamental human struggles.
Hopefully sharing that struggle here will 1) keep me honest so I don’t pretend I’m ok when I am not, and 2) validate and encourage others who are also struggling.