This is in sympathy for all who travel a bumpy and difficult road. I am in a place where I am hoping to discover and create a much less pothole-filled journey for myself. I spent a quiet weekend with time for reflection and thinking about all that is going on in my life. I am totally aware that the only direction I can take to become healthy and whole is to reprogram the negative thoughts that permeate my life. So I am really focusing on trying to bring in experiences that would start to reprogram my reactions and build a new storage for a more positive attitude. Who would think that this would be so difficult, but it really is.
Let me just explain again that this is not thinking positive. That does not work and will not work for me. What I am talking about is a total immersion into an experience that creates and imprints a somatic sensation that can be put into storage to use in the same manner that I use negative sensations. I need to teach the body to react to triggers with calm and create a positive response instead of tumbling down into an abyss of upset and anger. I am not making an excuse, but I have a very deep well of the type of reactions that cause me to be fearful and pull me down. Over fifty years in the making I might add. And these reactions are killing me with their toxic chemicals and destruction of my organs and the hippocampus. The hippocampus will atrophy with continual flooding from cortisol. From the website of the National Library of Medicine http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2367228/ :
Non-psychiatric patients with asthma and rheumatic disease who received chronic corticosteroid treatment had a smaller hippocampus and more severe symptoms of depression than patients with the same medical conditions who had not received steroid therapy (Brown et al 2004).
There is evidence that humans having experienced severe, long-lasting traumatic stress show atrophy of the hippocampus more than of other parts of the brain. These effects show up in post-traumatic stress disorder, and they may contribute to the hippocampal atrophy reported in schizophrenia and severe depression. A recent study has also revealed atrophy as a result of depression, but this can be stopped with anti-depressants even if they are not effective in relieving other symptom. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocampus
So as the above explanation says that yes, you can mask the symptoms by taking antidepressants. This is not an avenue I will do. I believe strongly that there is a way to correct all of this and I am invested in staying the course. I have to laugh a bit at my frustration of not finding an easy fix and simply turning a switch and “be all better.”
So some of the things I did this weekend were to cook and bake. I have a new stove and oven and my kitchen is now a joy to work in. My husband and I created an Italian feast on Saturday to devour on Sunday. I also experimented with a brownie recipe. We decided at the last minute on Sunday to head out to the Lake so I could take pictures. I needed a River fix, but this was as close as I could get. It did help just to go someplace else but the bleakness of this winter is cast on the water. See my blog from yesterday. I spent the rest of the evening engrossed in an on-line class. Learning is always a positive enforcer for me.
This morning, I spent extra time on meditation because I could feel the anxiety building already before I had finished my coffee. I enjoyed the new shower immensely and was grateful that we had gone through all the struggles to get it put in. As I was driving to work, I realized mid-sentence that I was enmeshed in a singular conversation with my thoughts that were all negative. The sun was out and the snow was sparkling in the crispness of the one degree air. I was almost to work before I stopped and started to pay attention to the beauty that was surrounding this morning trek. As I walked into work, I noticed that a little sparrow had taken up residence in a light overhead and was busy constructing a nursery of sorts for the arrival of spring. Her little song is still playing in my head. I have to consciously stop and allow the experience to totally cover me and become absorbed.
It worries me that I will not have enough time on this plane of existence to correct the damage I have done to my body. It is so much easier to turn towards the negative and dwell in the dark reassesses of my life. I admit it. It is hard work to find the bright spot when you have blinders on. It is also difficult to move out when you are mired down in situations that are toxic and frustrating. The many tests on my fortitude and resilience have a tendency to wear me down easily. But there is something inside that says that the darkness is not who I am. It is what has propelled my so far on this journey and although it has dimmed and also burned brighter, it has not left me.