StLSass

Archive for November 2017

The mind is a fascinating place. It can create a world and a life that is heaven on earth, just as quickly as it can trap you in the depths of its mental despair. The differentiator? I’m not sure anyone is really sure. The value we place on our own sanity perhaps? The strength of our spirit to overcome the mind? Genetics? All of the above?

Coming from a family with deep mental health issues, I am no stranger to the dark side of the mind. I have a sister that lost her mind, I suspect, to due guilt and grief after she was involved in a tragic accident that resulted in the death of her best friend. As far as doctors can diagnose, they have labeled her as schizophrenic, but I’m not totally sold on that. My sister was incredibly smart, and sharp minded, and after the accident, she just seemed to check out of life. She couldn’t face her pain, and the guilt that she felt. Slowly, over the years, I believe those emotions have manifested as all kinds of mental ghosts in her mind that are always haunting her.

When you’re in the middle of it, and the terrible pain around you seems so real, how does one overcome those demons?

That is a question I have spent the past few years trying to find the answer to. My verdict? Love conquers all.

Throughout my life, I too have wrestled with my own emotional/mental health demons.

Three years ago I started doing stand up comedy. I was not great by any means, but my raw vulnerability had a way of connecting with the crowd that was I think just very real to people. It was exhilarating, and when I went on stage it was a rush like I had never felt before.

Somewhere around the end of my first year of doing stand up… I lost my ability to be vulnerable. I had gotten into a relationship, and slowly, I lost my confidence and started becoming very insecure about everything.

At the time, I knew something was going on. I knew I was losing myself, but I had no idea why or how to stop it. Sure enough, as the months went on, I subtlety became someone different. Someone that was not quite the Christine that I once was. I looked the same. To the unknowing person, I probably seemed the same, but to those who loved me… to the man I was in love with… I wasn’t the same person anymore… I was a slightly less version of the me that we both knew was possible. A slightly dimmed down version of my amazing self.

At a certain point I left the relationship, because I was so lost. What I knew, but couldn’t quite put into words, was that I wasn’t okay being me any more. I wasn’t comfortable opening up and being real with people. When this all started, it was about three months into my new relationship. Right about the time when one would typically start to open up on a deeper level. Except I had never shared my depths with anyone before. I had never even really looked deep at my depths myself. Perhaps because subconsciously, I knew the demons that lived there… and I was terrified of them.

Instead of facing those demons head on though… I retreated in fear. My best self, my mind, decided it would rather be less, than to have to share my shame with the person I loved the most. My mind, my emotions, told me that he couldn’t possibly love me if he knew the real me, and so without even realizing it… I submitted to those thoughts and locked my best self away for “safe keeping”.

My soul, on the other hand, was not content with this lesser version of me. My soul could not sleep, could not eat, could not function at the thought of living the rest of my life in this place of fear. My soul is what pushed me forward and compelled me to fight the walls of the mental prison which were keeping my beautiful self locked down.

If you have been following my blog for awhile, you might be familiar with some of the demons that I am speaking of. Alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, and one I haven’t quite figured out just yet, but that I’m working on, which is a highly repressed sexuality. The side effects of all of these equaled low self worth, low self esteem, depression, anxiety, insecurity, distorted thinking, grandiose fears, and overall inability to cope with life. Before I confronted and dealt with the sexual abuse, and my repressed sexuality, I was a ticking time bomb of mental anguish. I had successfully masked my pain with drugs and alcohol for most of my adult life, but when I got into a real relationship, and my true self was mirrored back to me (as real love tends to do) there was no hiding from it any more. My soul saw what my mind had been hiding. The broken pieces of me that I always tried to pretend weren’t really there were front and center for my soul to see. At first this was quite frightening. I was frozen a bit in fear.

The hardest part of all of this was that what little self love I had built up for myself throughout the years, was suddenly completely gone. I was so angry with myself. I hated who I was. I hated that I wasn’t strong enough to not let this situation get so out of control. I hated that I had seemingly lost not only myself, but also this person that I loved so much, the first person that ever worked his way into the true depths of my soul. As a perfectionist, the worst thing that could happen was happening. My imperfect self was ruining my chance at a happy life. These were the thoughts my mind convinced me were real.

Slowly, what my soul began to see was that this was my purpose in life. These were the traumas I was given to overcome. Slowly, I stopped being so afraid of these demons, and I began to go to work on myself.

Over the past two years, I have worked my way through the world of jilted emotions and false realities that my mind had created which swallowed up my best self. It was not pretty, it was not easy, it required professional help, a new level of spiritual understanding, and a lot of asking the Universe to please help me figure this thing out, and then learning how to listen and look for the signs that the divine universe was sending.

During the past few years, I knew my stand up wasn’t what it once was. I wasn’t trying. I didn’t have the energy to be funny when all I felt inside was dark. I didn’t put in the effort that it needed, and every time I went up I didn’t get the same rush that I once did.

However, last night I sat down and I started writing. I wrote a new five minutes on my messed up mind. As I was writing, I noticed that I wasn’t holding back. I wasn’t afraid to address the crazy, I was raw, I was real, I was vulnerable. I wasn’t afraid any more. I had conquered my fears, and was finally in a place so good that I could look back and laugh at my crazy fucked up thoughts, rather than cry about them. When I finished writing, I sat there in an overwhelming state of peace and gratefulness; much like Andy Dufrane… I felt like I had tunneled my way through 500 yards of shit, but came out clean on the other side.

I performed my new five at an open mic, and for the first time in a long time… I felt that incredible rush that I used to get. For the first time in a long time… I felt like my best self.

The mind is so incredibly powerful. Whether you believe you can, or you can’t, you are right. Fear is also very powerful. Stronger than fear though, is love. The hope for love is what kept me going the past few years. The knowing that I could never have love until I conquered my fears and faced my depths, is what pushed me forward every day. Because you see, the man that I was dating… I loved him more than I have ever loved any other soul. It was the pure love that I had for him that made me able to see my depths so clearly. Any time my mind tried to make me forget about working on myself, and tried to tell me how everyone else was the problem, not me; that man would come to my mind, my love, and I’d remember the truth, I’d remember my lost self. I’d dig deeper, and I’d continue forging forward through all of the pain. Love was the lighthouse that saved me during the storm.

Life is a constant balance between Love and Fear; heart and mind. There is no easy button to overcoming the pain and the trauma that we each have to go through, that is a battle we each have to figure out for ourselves. The mental strength that is required to do that though… is only found when decide to chose the heart over the mind. Love truly does conquer all.

My advice to anyone going through their pain, and hurt, and suffering right now?

Follow your heart. Find your love. Face your fears. Be your best self. Every. Single. Day.

No matter how long you have to fight for it, keep going. You are worth it.

Much love and light to you all,

– Christine

 

 

 

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I have been avoiding writing.

I tell myself I’m not exactly sure why I avoid writing at times, but if I really put some thought into it… I’m sure it’s because I’m avoiding my own thoughts.

They irritate me. I see how irrational they are at times, yet I still let them dictate what I do on a daily basis. Based on their own irrationality. It’s insanity.

It’s an insane world I have been letting myself camp out in for too long now.

We just went through a very cathartic energy transition. One that has been building for the last two years. We are at a point where we are ready to shed that which is no longer working for us. Those ingrained habits of pure insanity that we have been innocuously let rule our minds, are finally starting to be seen for what they are: detrimental to our overall well being and happiness.

My aversion to writing is fueled by my perfectionist thoughts. If I’m not sitting down to write something that is going to change the world, then why am I even writing at all??

Silly insanity. Calm down. You’re writing to relate to people, to connect, to be human, because you want to, WHO CARES WHY, JUST WRITE! Okay. It’s not glamorous, and I’m not saving the world, but OKAY. Soon I start writing everyday, I start connecting with people, I start hearing from people how they appreciate what I wrote on this or that, and then I hear from someone how my post changed their outlook, helped their day, or just made them feel not so alone.

Suddenly, my imperfect writing has created a change in this world. Just like that, I’ve proven my own story that I told myself to be nothing more than fictional disgruntled insanity.

Too often we can get into the habit of telling ourselves stories that’s aren’t real, which then limit and hold us back from our greatest potential. In fact, most of the time there is something great that we should be doing, our ego is really good at convincing us why we can’t actually do it.

My new favorite thing is to listen for the “but” in my mind. Anytime I get an idea that I want to go for, it is usually followed with “but I can’t do it until I do X” or “but it would never work for me” or “BUT I’d be so good at X that then Y would happen and that would be terrible”. Talking myself out of doing something because I know I’ll be successful at it and I am simply not prepared for the after fan fare is one of my personal favorites, because it is SO INSANE.

I recently paid good money for a life coach to help me with my business/writing/life, and honestly… all he has to do is point out where I am inserting my own “but” to get to the meat of where I am limiting myself. My investment in him, is simply an investment into having someone point out my limits, and because I’m now monetarily invested in the success of my own life… I’ve finally stopped giving in to the daily insanity that my mind creates, and instead, started listening. (Money is a great motivator like that sometimes.)

When I listen for what my heart truly desires, I know there is no BUT big enough to stop me from achieving what I truly want. It’s simply a matter of creating a plan and making it happen. The how isn’t that hard, it is the creation of the absolute certainty in your mind that you CAN/WILL make it happen that I think we all get stuck on.

So my advice for today? Listen for your but. Where are you stopping yourself? Where are you limiting yourself? YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! The only thing stopping you is YOU.

Get out there and make it happen!!

– Christine