Tag Archives: Change

Changing Myself

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl

This past week, the above quote was the prompt phrase for Tuesday at Ten. I am very late to join in, but I find the prompt particularly interesting. It signifies how we cannot have control over every situation in our lives, but we can have control over how we handle said situation.

I am just a tiny bit hypocritical (oh well, not a tiny bit) writing about changing one’s thoughts and actions around an uncontrolable situation today, because I just spent hours on or over the edge of crisis. There wasn’t really a situation I needed to change that led to it, other than my unquiet mind itself. So for today, I am going to write about changing that aspect of myself.

I remember in 2007, when I had only been on the acute psychiatric unit for a few weeks, moaning to my fellow patients that I’d gone to all sorts of rehabilitation and training places and still hadn’t learned how to handle my unquiet mind. Now I can add to these places three different psychiatric units. The thing is, however, wherever I go, I take me with me.

It is terrilby hard being me. However, I can change. I change all the time. Whether I grow is up to me. That is a terribly ironic phrase to write down for a pessimist with a terribly external locus of c ontrol. I’m not even sure I believe it myself. Maybe that is where I need to start: believing that I can’t change all situations of my life, but I can change myself.

I can change the way I think or act. I have come a long way already, because I have far fewer meltdowns than I had in 2007. I usually think my medication deserves the credit, but it isn’t like anyone forces these pills down my throat.

Also, while medications can alter your brain chemistry, so can thought processes. It is a myth that therapy works on the mind only, as if the mind is somehow separate from the body. The mind and body mutually influence each other.

I have never been all that great a psychotherapy client. As I said, I have yet to fully believe that I can change my brain chemistry by changing my thoughts. However, I practise this changing my thoughts sometimes already, like when I try to reassure myself. Now I just need to practise on.

Change Is Inevitable: Your Attitude Towards Growth

Handling change is hard for me. I don’t like transitions, as they bring about a lot of uncertainty and therefore stress. I’d rather stay in my comfort zone and live my life as if the world weren’t changing arund me. That’s not realistic, however. I grow older with each passing day, even if I only realize it on my birthday or on January 1. Change is inevitable.

Growth is intentional. Many people make annual goals to make sure they do not just change, but grow as well. If you are anything like me, you are more interested in the process of writing about your goals than the process of meeting them. If you are antyhing like me, after all, you’re better at writing than at overcoming big challenges like overeating or mental health probems.

It can be overwhelming looking back at your annual or even monthly goals and seeing how few you’ve met, especially if you’re a pessimist. It is much more helpful in that sense to look at each day as it comes, appreciating the growth you’ve made that particular day. I may not have lost ten to twenty pounds yet and most likely will not lose them this year either, but each day without bingeing is a good day in the eating disorder department.

When you look at the future, like I said yesterday, you can have an attitude of hope or one of fear. When you look back at the past, the same is true: you can be appreciative or disappointed. When you do look back at your annual or monthly goals, you can have an attitude of appreciation for the goals you did meet or one of disappointment over those you didn’t. For example, I could focus on the weight loss and eating disorder recovery goals I did not meet (yet!), or I could focus on my blogging and writing goals. In these areas, I far exceeded my expectations.

Not only does growth help you reach your goals and thereby help you be more appreciative, but the reverse is also true. If you look back on your goals and decide you didn’t meet some, it is easy to allow your motivation to go down the drain and retreat into your comfort zone. When, however, you look back at your goals and see you met some, you feel more motivated to continue striving to meet your future goals. Like I said yesterday about passing or not failing Latin, having met some goals and having not met some goals, is essentially the same. It’s your attitude that makes the difference.

mumturnedmom
Everyday Gyaan
A Fresh Start

 

Always Greener on the Other Side

Another jouranling prompt. This one was meant for kids, and it asks what we mean when we say “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. This saying speaks to me and makes me feel quite uncomfortable, because I can definitely relate.

I remember that, when I go to a new place, like anew ward or institution or supported housing or whatever, I’m always optimistic that this will be suitable for me, but I’m very soon disappointed. For example, when I first got to this institution, I felt truly like I’d landed in a cozy place, or as close to it as an institution can get. Within days, however, I heard the staff reprimand the clients for not doing their chores and I was upset at the phrasing: “You guys are the most independent group, the more independent one on this unit.” A few days later, I was further disappointed when my staff insisted I do chores I cannot do. Pretty soon, I wished I’d stayed in the big city institution, and I still wish for that at times.

I have always felt like this. When I came into blindness rheabilitation in 2005, I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to learn sklls and aadjust to my blindness. By the middle of the four-month rehabilitation program, I felt I was lagging horribly behind and hadn’t learned most of the skills I’d wanted to. Same when I came into independence training, the psychiatric institution and every ward I’ve been at since except this one, where I was quickly realizing that it wouldn’t be helping me much.

I read in a paper a few months ago that this thing where “the honeymoon is over” and people start out okay but end up worse after a while, is common in people with borderline personality disorder. I remember in 2007, when I’d only been in the hospital for a few weeks, being told by another patient, who happens to have BPD too, that I need to work on myself, not on changing my environment every so often. I realize this at some level, but at another level, I think: “What do you think I was in training and treatment for all these years? To change the environment? No!” Yet maybe I still look to others to change me, not to myself.