June 19, 2013

scary monsters

i've talked about this on here before.
and i make references to it a lot....

but today i'm coming right out and discussing my monsters.
because there really are scary monsters

most of them we create for ourselves
they instill in us fear, anxiety, and a desire to give up all together
....and all the while, some of those monsters began as little imaginary friends who helped us deal with our problems and manage our stress.

found here

we watch superman, spider-man, captain america, etc.
that's all well and good.

but when it comes to our own scary monsters, are we waiting for someone else - our theoretical superhero - to save us from them? because these monsters will not be dealt with until we first acknowledge them fully and choose to deal with them completely.
found here

these monsters don't just go away. they get very attached.
you have to come up with your own plan of action.

and that's where this post truly starts ----
a friend asked me
how do i know i'm truly recovered?

{if you're asking "recovered from what?" this post will help you. besides eating disorders, there have been issues with self-harm, depression and suicidal ideation, and more}

well.... that's a difficult question!
first of all, let me say that i came across this little poem that really resonated with me.

found here
i would venture to say that i have known addiction for 20 of my 25 1/2 years of life.
i have known depression... for at least 18 years of it.
major depression.
oh the years of therapy.
the years of changing medications!
the money....

haha i just have to laugh because it's in the past. it's my past.
and it's made me who i am.

today in positive psychology we watched this youtube clip so many people in the class talked about how they could relate. i quietly soaked it in and agreed with what they were saying.
this is a good way to represent what depression can be.

because my black dog came early in life, i didn't truly understand what it was.
i didn't know what life was like or who i was without it.
yet, to be devoid of feeling or lower-than-neutral made it easy to seek out my own coping mechanisms because i hadn't really learned any healthy ones on my own.

sad things that had happened in my life were pushed deep down inside where i couldn't remember them but if could somehow feel that things were not right.
i constantly isolated unless i received extra energy and confidence from my eating disorder.
these things became my identity.

i truly believed that i was a black dog.

but there became a point when every bad behavior
every negative thought
and any stressful situation all combined to create the scary monsters

i wasn't just a black dog, but i was running from the very things i had run to for comfort. still... i hadn't yet learned any new skills to replace these and became tortured inside.

the truth of the matter is, this continued on into my early 20s.
addictions -- black dogs and scary monsters -- are so difficult to reign in.
...and they can be so tricky sometimes all the time!

so back to the question...... how do i know i'm recovered?

with some things it's easy: i don't do them. time goes by and i still don't do them.
then really hard things happen, and i still don't do them.

with other things i may still have a desire to utilize these monsters as a means to an end.
found here
but then i stop and remember what happens when i go down that road.
how long it takes to truly get rid of the monsters hiding in every corner of every room in the house of my heart once i let one in.... it's just not worth it.

now i know there are many other ways to deal with my black-dog moments and days.
found here

i had the chance to individually spend time with some of my favorite people recently.
i absolutely love quality time.
to be with someone who means so much. the friendship is reciprocated.
these friendships help me know that i am recovered because i don't see pain in their faces anymore.
i know that i am not causing the grief i once was.

i know that i am recovered because i have been to the depths of despair and grief and pain.
and i have been to the other side.
if i had to isolate one single factor that proved to me i am recovered, it is this:

the tender mercies from my Savior.

after struggling to understand the atonement and to feel loved and to prove myself, i had experiences that showed me how real the love of God is. i actually allowed love into a heart that was often prickly under its soft facade. i was allowed to see a miracle in myself.

and then i no longer needed my monsters.

i wasn't doing it all on my own.after this point it was easy to get rid of all the monsters --

i am a happier, healthier, less-stressed version of myself.
and i have to say that i am actually grateful for my "black dog" and the monsters it brought with it.
i know without i doubt that everything i have experienced taught me valuable life lessons that have molded me into the person i am today.
{though i sometimes cringe when i think of who i was in the past... i stop. i love who i am now.}

i needed my monsters to motivate me.
but they have served their purpose and now they are gone.

jonny diaz "a more beautiful you"
{if you have not heard this, you have got to take a listen}

there are no more scary monsters hiding under my bed.