Before we get started, I want to apologize for being MIA once again. That’s MIA, all caps, not Mia, as in Farrow. Although I have freckles and have been involved with at least one crazy actor, I find Woody Allen annoying, I would never have starred in Rosemary’s Baby (demons freak me out) and she looks much better in a pixie cut.
Mirriam-Webster says that MIA (the acronym, not the movie) is “often used figuratively for someone or something notably or unexpectedly missing, absent or inactive.” If you’ve been following me for any length of time you know that I post on a far from regular basis, and that I’ve been derailed by stress, grief, loss and life on more than one occasion – but it’s a new year, and I am determined to write on a regular basis (I know, I know, I’ve said it before – but this time I mean it!).
Speaking of – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I know that last year was (for want of a better word) “challenging” for most of us. For others it was absolutely devastating. My family was very lucky – we managed to survive the year with health and sanity (mostly) intact. I hope you were able to do the same, and that you won at least one game of quarantine or zoom bingo.
But back to me (hey, it’s my blog, so it’s all about me). Again, I want to apologize for being away for so long. I’ve spoken (written?) before about my battles with the black dog and brain weasels – and 2020 brought them back with a vengeance.
That’s not true. I mean, yes, 2020 was a shitty year, but it’s not entirely to blame for my silence. I’ve spent the past 3 months slaying demons. Not literally. I’m a huge fan of Supernatural (with the exception of its final episode – the finale was almost as bad as the last episode of GOT), but I could never be a Hunter (Hello! Weren’t you listening? Demons freak me out).
Shortly after my last post, I had an incident (or an epiphany. Or an incident which led to an epiphany) which explained my perfectionism, my inability to say “no” and all the other things that make me unique.
I’ve been thinking about this post ever since.
That’s not true. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I lie and swear (alot). But it’s a new year, and I’m trying to be a better
blogger woman human. So although I can’t say that I’ve been thinking about this post “ever since the incident” I have been thinking about it for a while now. I realized this morning that I’m still not ready to share details, but that the details don’t matter. What matters is that I am slaying my demons, and that if I can do it, you can too.
I’ve been reading Getting Past Your Past by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. and The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. Although I’ve had several “aha” moments while reading both of them, Dr. Kolk’s book is a little dry/technical IMHO. Dr Shapiro’s book is written for the layperson, as either a self-help tool, or as an additional resource while working with a professional. It’s by no means a “light” read, but it’s proving to be the book I’ve needed for a while now. Solutions for Resilience lists seven basic concepts from the book including:
- Living in continual stress is unnecessary and life-threatening
- Our personal struggles are influenced by our stored memories of past events
- Many of us are running our lives on automatic pilot
One of the things Dr. Shapiro discusses are our negative cognitions. What are negative cognitions, you ask? (I heard you from here). RelifeCounseling defines cognitions as “the way we think about ourselves” and goes on to say that “when we speak of negative cognition, we are referring to a negative belief that we have developed from negative or traumatic life experiences.” In other words, it’s the negative self-talk that runs continuously in the background. Examples include “I’m a failure” “I’m not loveable” and “I’m fat”. You’re not, you know.
I’m not saying that the idea of negative cognitions is stupid, I’m saying that “stupid” is one of my negative cognitions and the foulest four-letter word I know.
Not literally (I CAN count). It’s just a nasty word that needs to be relegated to the trash heap, with the rest of the four-letter words.
I’ve had a problem with stupidity for as long as I can remember. Learning that negative cognitions drive our responses to life explained all the things. Well, not all of them (I still don’t understand string theory) but at least it explained why stupidity makes me crazy. Treating me like I’m stupid pushes all my buttons, and don’t get me started on my frustration with stupid coworkers. The EIC is a sneaky bastard, and although he’s very vocal about a lot of things, evidently he’s had “I’m stupid” running on a continuous subliminal loop for decades.
I see (hear?) it now. Seeing the problem means that I can fix it.
Well, not fix it. Fixing something implies that I’m broken, and that’s yet another negative cognition.
Seeing the problem means that I can change it.
I’m not stupid, and I may be battered and bruised, but I’m nowhere near broken, and neither are you.
So that’s it. My quest took me a while from writing for a while, but I’m back with a belated New Year’s wish:
May the best of your yesterdays be the worst of your tomorrows.
TBH, Jason Miraz says it better
As always, if you or someone you love is struggling, please reach out for help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line – text HOME to 741741
So tell me – what negative loop of yours needs cutting? Let’s do this together.