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Escape to Reality: Chapter 2: Down the Rabbit Hole


naarasleijona

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So here's what's on my mind going into this challenge.   I finally had some time to try to sort some thoughts out...

 

Escape to Reality, what does that even mean? 

About 6 months ago, I finally went to see a therapist.  I was struggling with depression issues, and addiction issues.  I finally admitted I needed help and even though I was terrified, I made the commitment to get help, rather than continue the cycle of depression and denial.

Here are some things I learned about myself. 

I have identity issues.  I’m a typical American 40+ year old mother.  After college, I put my life on hold, helped my husband through grad school by working (not career related), then we moved, bought a house, I started going back to school, but then kids happened, and somewhere along the way I got lost.  I didn’t feel a strong sense of identity anymore.  My life for the past 15 years has been a series of reactions to what my family needs, with moments of self-indulgence with no real purpose thrown into the mix.  Some wonderful things have happened, and I made some choices when I needed to.   On paper, my life is good. 

But I felt like I lost the opportunity to develop my own personal identity. 

As a coping skill, I created not just one, but several fantasy identities in my head, definitions of the kind of person I thought I was supposed to be.

 I was supposed to be supermom – the mother who nurtured and supported her children and husband.  You typical 1940s housewife who baked, and cleaned, and tucked her children into bed at night.  Made nourishing meals and helped her children flourish.

I was supposed to be a bohemian artist, who filled her house with creativity and open-mindedness.   Since I couldn’t afford to bring my family to the world, I was going to bring the world to my family through art and culture and a desire to explore wherever my/our curiosity led.

I was supposed to be a successful business woman.  I am a creative person, so I should be able to make some kind of business out of all the things I produce.  Maybe an Etsy store, maybe work craft fairs around the county, maybe have an online business.  I was supposed to be able to take all of these wonderful creative and entrepreneurial ideas and build an empire with them to support both my creativity and my family. 

You can see where I’m going with this.  There are at least a dozen more stereotypical identities that I had somehow compartmentalized as defining who I needed to be.  The problem was – I wanted to be all of them, simultaneously. 

My guess is that it’s a common phenomenon for women my age.  We work to be supportive, and provide our lives with very little support for ourselves. 

So I had these false realities tumbling around in my head of the kind of person I identified myself as, and when I inevitably failed to be perfect examples of them, I would get depressed.  I developed a coping mechanism of reading to escape.  Reading put my depression and my disappointment in myself on hold.   For a few hours I could escape into a different world where everything turned out for the best, and happily ever-afters existed.    Unfortunately it became an addiction.  Every time I would start to feel bad, I would reach for a book and put everything else in my life on hold – my responsibilities, my family, my health….. 

So after a marathon weekend of reading 5 romance novels, and letting my 11 year old son go hungry, and my house being a disaster, I decided to get help from a therapist.   The sessions were raw and ugly and scary, but I finally got to a place where I think I could actually acknowledge how screwed up my thoughts have been.

So now I feel like I’m on the very beginning of a quest – to find my true reality.  I face the constant battles of falling back into where I was before.  I have to constantly challenge myself to ask if how I am feeling is because of something that is real, or because of what my mind wants to be real. 

I’m working with addiction recovery practices, reading a lot of Buddhist writings, trying to make meditating a part of my life.

 I’m trying to take life one step at a time and acknowledge moments for what they truly are.   

I said before that I felt like I lost the chance to develop my own personal identity.  But what I’m learning is that my personal identity is already established.  It is who I am, in this moment, with everything that has happened to me up to this point.  I have refused to look at it; I have refused to accept it because it isn’t what I dreamed of being when I was 18 years old. 

It’s time to jump down that rabbit hole, and find out who I really am, and what is truly real.  

 

So while I start to move forward with all of that, this is what I'm going to focus on for this challenge.  I'm keeping it as simple as I can.  My goals are a challenging for me in the sense that they are creating new habits that I want to be part of my life, but hopefully not so overwhelming that they can be done with the amount of effort that I can muster.  

 

1.Exercise:  workouts 3 days a week.   

2. Exercise:  try kettlebell swings 1x per week

3. Healthy Eating:  prep salads for each day of the week on the weekends 

4. Life: chores:  5 dailies and 1 today chore. Every day.   One daily must include a minimum of 10 minutes a day in my shop. 

 

Loot for A averages

1.  moon yoga mat

2.  dumbel fractional weight magnets

3.  two serving spoons 

4.  A silk pillow case

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Looking forward to seeing what else you'll be adding. :)

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10 minutes ago, naarasleijona said:

Finally took the time to edit my first post.... ;)

 

Great job getting into therapy and getting the help you need. I've struggled a lot with depression over the years, and have fallen into the whole read/play video games/daydream/etc all day to escape from everything quite a few times. (I almost didn't graduate from high school on time because of it.)

 

Good luck with your challenge!

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Current Challenge: Zeroh, stick to the routine!

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8 hours ago, naarasleijona said:

Finally took the time to edit my first post.... ;)

What a ride! I'm so glad to see you've been able to get the help you need and get back on track. It can definitely be scary, but that just means you get to be even MORE proud of yourself for getting out there and making it happen! 

 

Your goals look great. I really like the last one, building chore tasks into your day. I hope it goes well for you. 

 

Let us know if you need anything -- we're happy to offer support, advice, even just a listening ear anytime -- and best of luck on your challenges! You got this! 

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keeping this update simple:

 

1) did my workout 1/4

2) took Ellie to the river, no kettle bell swings 0/4

3) no need to prep salads 1/4

4) chores were done 2/28

 

I went to bed early because I was really tired - just physically exhausted.  I think because I had taken a two week break from my morning exercise routine.... I ended up going to bed around 8:30.  

Reading a book "The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness"  I happened to come across it when I was in the book store the other day.  One of those happy accidents that just fall into your lap just when you need it.   I'll probably have to read it like 4 or 5 times for it to really sink in, but it just seems to hit all the right chords right now..... Being an atheist, I hesitate with all things I would consider "woo-woo," but there is  something about the mental discipline of buddhist philosophy that appeals... 

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So Tuesday was good

 

1) not a workout day 1/12

2) still no kettle swings 0/4

3) no need to prep salads 1/4

4) lots of chores were done 3/28

 

Wednesday - not such a great day.....

1) did my workout, but it was hard to finish - I was physically exhausted 2/12

2) still no kettle swings - I went to bed as soon as I got home... Didn't even have the energy to walk Ellie, so hubs and the boys did.  Took a nap, and then stayed in bed reading 0/4

3) no need to prep salads (REALLY like having them for work - makes my mornings easier!) 1/4

4) No chores were done.  Rather, I got enough of the dailies done, but I didn't work in my studio, and I didn't finish a "today."  I'm gonna put it as 3.5/28

 

Starting fresh today.  Still tired, but I think I can get though the chores well enough when I get home from work.....

 

:)

 

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3 hours ago, naarasleijona said:

Starting fresh today.  Still tired, but I think I can get though the chores well enough when I get home from work.....

Keep it up! Sometimes there are rough days, sometimes you just gotta forgive yourself and let it not happen, and sometimes you get back on top of it. As long as you allow yourself to learn from whatever's going on, you're winning. :) 

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So.  Was miserably, abominably, and frustratingly sick Thursday through Sunday.  I'm feeling better today.  Haven't done my workout,  mostly because I don't want to regress into feeling like crap again.  I'm still a bit tired and there's still a lingering headache.  It's frustrating when you have to listen to your own body and take a rest.... :(   I'm glad I'm finally out of bed!

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2 hours ago, naarasleijona said:

So.  Was miserably, abominably, and frustratingly sick Thursday through Sunday.  I'm feeling better today.  Haven't done my workout,  mostly because I don't want to regress into feeling like crap again.  I'm still a bit tired and there's still a lingering headache.  It's frustrating when you have to listen to your own body and take a rest.... :(   I'm glad I'm finally out of bed!

:( Definitely rest up!

 

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Current Challenge: Zeroh, stick to the routine!

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Ugh, this cold has been kicking my a**!   

 

haven't really done much of anything.... mostly just meditating in the morning - cause I don't have the energy to do much else.  I've been taking slow walks every day,  and trying to get enough sleep.

I've also been reading some really good books.  Buddhist philosophy and meditation stuff.....A bit of underpants collecting, but some really good insights that I'm trying to put into practice with my meditation.....  Even if I'm not doing anything physically, i'm still trying to come to terms with my mental health issues.....

 

:)  

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I am sorry you are still feeling bad. Sometimes whatever bug it is just will not go away.

 

It is good to hear you are still trying to do something. I think mediation is a good idea and sleeping is a better one when your sick.

 

Also, I think its great that even tho your physical body is telling you that it is not up to doing much, your still working on other chores that have a quieter approach. Is the reading giving you any ideas on how to help/work with the mental health issues?

 

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Current Challenge ---> Bean Si Vs Chaos No energy for a title

You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream - C.S. Lewis

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