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What I Am Doing To Improve Life


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Went to see my nutritionist.  I have nearly lost 5% of my body weight!!  So eating better is on my list towards feeling better. :thumbs-up:

 

Wow, that's good, right?  I wasn't 100% sure. 

 

Yes, that's good as I am trying to lose weight and eat more nutritionally.

 

 

Excellent and well done then.  I know how hard it can be.  I have tried to lose weight for years after college (high school really).  I was finally able to lose 25 lbs this summer and fall and have kept about 90% or more of it off now for 8 months.  I need to be vigilant in what I eat, because I eat due to stress.  A hypomanic increase in metabolism undeniably helped me accomplish this, but I did also begin a new and much more effective exercise routine, and happily, I have pretty well kept up with this even while feeling extremely depressed lately.

 

Anyway, I'm very happy for you, and know what a boost and feeling of accomplishment and confidence it can give you to be able to achieve this very difficult task.   Many congratulations and keep up the good work!

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Choosing Love over Fear

 

The last few days and this morning, I am consciously practicing positive self talk.  Simple stuff.  I love myself.  I believe in myself.  These sentiments are important for all of us, and part of my depression is the mindless devolution into a constant stream of inner (and sometimes outer) negative self talk.  This takes effort for me, but I am reminded that so does feeling miserable about myself, so I know it is worth it.

 

Right now is an anxious time, as I plan to give notice of leaving my job and company today (a few months after moving into a new role and promotion).  I was recruited for a business consultant role, that frankly pays significantly higher, and our family badly needs the income to stay afloat.  A lot of issues including dealing with what may be awkward surprise/guilt trips, etc. from the managers and colleagues I work for.  This organization's culture may not handle very professionally, and may even try to make trouble by enforcing a non-compete (there is some overlap although not a direct competitor), although I plant to make every overture not only to allay their concerns but be professional and complimentary in the way that I offer notice.  They may also try to retract a small bonus due at the end of next week, which would stink.

 

And little nagging things like I had just sold and am collecting $ for my daughter's girl scout cookie orders to be delivered in a couple weeks.  Oh well.  All I can do is be prepared (which I am), and be professional and courteous and offer to do whatever I can constructively on the way out.

 

I have somewhat made changing jobs an art form, having a new one on average every 2 years (and faster in several occasions - something I do regret).  When I've been thinking of being nervous over whether I can really do the new role, I just keep coming back to doing my best in the moment and believing in the capabilities I know I have.  There are things I know I can do and if I focus on doing the best I can at what I have in front of me each day, anything is possible.

 

One of the inspirational / motivational recordings in a good series I found on line recently (on YouTube and SoundCloud) had a snippet from a longer talk by Jim Carey about choosing love over fear.  I have for some time, seen this as one of the fundamental choices that I do have.  Sometimes the application seems hard, but the concept is easy, and I'm convinced it does start with a choice involving the courage, effort and awareness that it is possible to express love to myself and to others to beat back the fear when it reaches problematic levels.  Anyhow, that's one of the things I am bringing to mind a lot these days, and it makes me feel more hopeful.  On my darkest and most pessimistic dates (and there have been a lot, including lately), this experience, phenomena and belief in love--as amorphous as that sounds--is the one thing that gives me hope and makes it worth continuing to fight on.

 

Rob

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Choosing Love over Fear

 

The last few days and this morning, I am consciously practicing positive self talk.  Simple stuff.  I love myself.  I believe in myself.  These sentiments are important for all of us, and part of my depression is the mindless devolution into a constant stream of inner (and sometimes outer) negative self talk.  This takes effort for me, but I am reminded that so does feeling miserable about myself, so I know it is worth it.

 

Right now is an anxious time, as I plan to give notice of leaving my job and company today (a few months after moving into a new role and promotion).  I was recruited for a business consultant role, that frankly pays significantly higher, and our family badly needs the income to stay afloat.  A lot of issues including dealing with what may be awkward surprise/guilt trips, etc. from the managers and colleagues I work for.  This organization's culture may not handle very professionally, and may even try to make trouble by enforcing a non-compete (there is some overlap although not a direct competitor), although I plant to make every overture not only to allay their concerns but be professional and complimentary in the way that I offer notice.  They may also try to retract a small bonus due at the end of next week, which would stink.

 

And little nagging things like I had just sold and am collecting $ for my daughter's girl scout cookie orders to be delivered in a couple weeks.  Oh well.  All I can do is be prepared (which I am), and be professional and courteous and offer to do whatever I can constructively on the way out.

 

I have somewhat made changing jobs an art form, having a new one on average every 2 years (and faster in several occasions - something I do regret).  When I've been thinking of being nervous over whether I can really do the new role, I just keep coming back to doing my best in the moment and believing in the capabilities I know I have.  There are things I know I can do and if I focus on doing the best I can at what I have in front of me each day, anything is possible.

 

One of the inspirational / motivational recordings in a good series I found on line recently (on YouTube and SoundCloud) had a snippet from a longer talk by Jim Carey about choosing love over fear.  I have for some time, seen this as one of the fundamental choices that I do have.  Sometimes the application seems hard, but the concept is easy, and I'm convinced it does start with a choice involving the courage, effort and awareness that it is possible to express love to myself and to others to beat back the fear when it reaches problematic levels.  Anyhow, that's one of the things I am bringing to mind a lot these days, and it makes me feel more hopeful.  On my darkest and most pessimistic dates (and there have been a lot, including lately), this experience, phenomena and belief in love--as amorphous as that sounds--is the one thing that gives me hope and makes it worth continuing to fight on.

 

Rob

 

Right on Rob.  Great post!!  You've done a lot of work. Well done.  And good luck at work.

 

For the first time in my life, I finally feel I am on this journey myself now.  I have been in therapy for 27 years, and depressed on and off for 30 or more.  All that time I heard many stories and wise words from people like yourself and Jim Carey and spiritual leaders and... you name it... but, for some reason, I never felt capable of making that kind of transformation in my thinking, and in my life.  

 

I always wondered why these people could arrive at some sort of "epiphany" regarding themselves but I couldn't.  I waited and waited for it to come along in me too.  This time, now, I think it's finally happening. In fact, I know it is.  It feels different.  Triggers still bother me but the impact fades much faster.  I can more quickly reground myself in my new fund trust that I am resilient and capable.

 

I'm not sure why it took so long for me? Weird, that. I think it might be because I was in relationships before (single now) and, in some way, that stopped me (I'm not sure why or how - need to think this out further LOL).

 

Best to you all!!!

 

Brian

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Sharing my blessings sometimes

 

In reply to Gandolfication:  I've got a terrarium with almost 100 pinacate beetles.  I've never been gassed by one although some in the wild have given me the "get ready to get gased" posture.  They are very curious gentle creatures who love to explore.  Each has a kind of individual personality.  Never see any fight with each other.  I can watch them for hours without getting bored.  In the Spring I will release them. 

Edited by Epictetus
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I was planning to wait until this afternoon to give my notice of resignation, but I've gone ahead and left a voicemail for the President who I report to, and I will probably hear back soon.

Want to avoid afternoon meetings to discuss stalled-out searches, and realized, 'why am I waiting?'  Might as well go ahead and do it.  I've already made the decision.  I'll feel better with this one more big thing no hanging out there any more.

Keep the little annoying things in perspective (like what feels like humiliation following up with 3 colleagues for girl scout money and then delivering the cookies after I have left - so what, this is life - there's nothing untoward or dishonest about it in the least, but with my warped/damaged sense of self worth, I always feel like I've done something bad/shameful).

Anyway, I'm feeling anxious, but also restoring a little confidence, knowing I'm doing the right thing and operating mostly out of 'wise mind', which includes the rational/logical part of our brains.

 

Have received great support here last couple days when I was feeling at my worst.  I look forward to paying it forward.

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Yesterday, I gave notice to my employer.


It was difficult and not particularly pleasant.  I feel a little relief.


They wanted to keep me the entire two weeks, but I think we have it set now for 1 week.  I had preferred to leave immediately really, but if I can keep it at one week, that will work.  It will mean virtually no break before starting my new position, which probably isn't ideal for me, but then again, financially, it will be helpful.


 


Progress, not perfection.


 


I am nervous when they begin to ask who the new company is, because there is some overlap in competition, and I think I'll have to come clean with that and just say, yes, recruiting is part of their business, but it is a different group and it isn't what I am being hired for.  Hopefully that will suffice.  In the heat of the moment yesterday,  told one of the Sr. managers who was questioning me yesterday, and she asked, do they do recruiting - I said 'no' and went on into the HR consultancy that the new company does focus on.  I regret that, but it was a tense moment, and just wasn't prepared to get into it with her.  ######.  Oh well.  I'm going to talk to a trusted and smart friend today and see if he has any bright ideas how to handle, since this will come up again, and they will see the company anyway on my linkedin page after I leave.  


 


I think I just need to be prepared to say, yes, they do some executive search.  But that won't be what I am doing (this is mostly true - I will touch it, but really it is others who will be doing it, and I will truly not be using any client information or contacts from my role here to gain clients for the new firm, so in that sense, it won't be competitive).  They'll either try to enforce a non-compete or not.  I think mainly they'll want to scare me and give me a lecture, partly because I don't represent a threat to them, but I believe it will go better if I come clean about this.

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Its nice to see the site back up.

I had a strange feeling of disconnection the other day when it was down.  More because I'm in a strange place right now, about to end one job/company and move to another.  I'm very nervous about this - not confident at all I can do the new position, and dreading the conversation with our president here at my current company which is likely to take place any time today.  I know it's just basic anxiety....and I went and got on Psych Central's site in the mean time, which seems a good outlet as well.

My goal for the day is to get started on the phone calls I need to make, one at a time, and keep good notes so I can transition them to my colleagues come Friday (my last day).

I'm feeling really anxious and kind of disconnected lately.  I keep reminding myself and bringing myself back to the present moment, realizing I can get through this moment.  I don't have to live with all the stress and anxiety of all the past regrets and future fears all at once.  Breathing.  Taking things one thing at a time.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's been a few weeks since I last posted here.

I turned 39.  Some nice birthday wishes, otherwise low fanfare with 3 little ones including a newborn.

And I started a new job.  It's an executive recruiting and consulting company where my role is business development (sales).  Part of our process is selling psychometrics - cognitive, behavioral and personality testing applied to measuring employees' performance and aptitude in business.  We all take the tests during the interview process, and then do through the rather thorough debrief session after coming on board - I'm still waiting on that part.  It's interesting, but also a little unnerving.  I'm looking at this part mostly positively, looking forward to learning some things about myself, albeit in the context of my employer which only has 10 people here in the US (it is a European-based firm).  It's about a half step away from being in a therapy session with your co-worker doing psychological analysis on you and asking for your feedback/buy-in.

I've had low energy lately and been feeling depressed and anxious.  I haven't felt up to performing in a sales role for years now, and am just trying to do the best I can, one day at a time.  It's an awful feeling a lot of the time.  And I'm always left with the nagging question - with some of the real strengths and abilities I know / believe I (still) have, what could I be doing that would make good use and be productive?

The short answer for now - is to do the best I can at what I'm doing.  So I'm preparing for a sales meeting with a CEO of a large company later this afternoon. 

One of the lawyers from where I practiced back home in the midwest died a few days ago at 56.  He killed himself apparently.  I'm told it seemed the work just became too overwhelming and difficult, something I can certainly relate to.  He left behind a wife and kids.  My friend who relayed this to me, opined that he couldn't accept or justify someone doing this when they had loved ones to take care of and be there for.  I understand both sides, and mourn for his family and also for him, as these are lonely last hours and minutes.  No one wants to take their life - they do so because the pain becomes more than their ability to cope.

I try to remind myself that their are good things.
That a lot of the suffering I experience is due to holding on to unrealistically high expectations and being tough on myself.
I've read, practiced and tried to work on self compassion and self kindness.  It just doesn't come easily to me or seem to stay without a very great amount of effort.

One day at a time.

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I'm feeling hollow today, like so many.  

I had fun with my kids this weekend.  They seem to be the one thing capable of helping me occasionally stay in the moment and feel positive emotions.

Depression is a weird beast.  In some ways I've gotten smarter and learned how to handle it better.  And then again, in other ways it seems, it is as bad and worse than ever.  This is a mystery to me.  A person can work as hard as possible on something for a long time, make progress, learn things, gain support and wisdom, and then...this black plague comes back and makes it seem like all that was for nothing, as it laughs at you while you go back to feeling like less than nothing.  I wonder if animals ever have any kind of analogous feeling.  Hope not.

I really don't want to be in this kind of overly-reflective mood.  It just seems like the way I am, and the hardest thing to change. There are parts of it I have cherished.  But on the whole, it is old now.  I guess we have to accept things as they are first.  

Writing here has often been a means of getting through for me.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just last night, after some difficult conversations, at my wife's reminding, I resolved to re-commit to focusing on life's positives first and always when possible.

This will be hard for me.

We're in a tough situation right now.  Perhaps I'll come back to that another time...I posted about it elsewhere, but realize that I already spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on problems without acting, and this does not actually help anything (in fact of course, continuing to simultaneously worry and not act constructively is both mindless and one of the definitions of lack of mental well being itself).

Then, a friend and mentor sent me this, on attitude, and I'm posting part of it here.  I think it speaks for itself.

It is just as easy to think, "I can" as it is to think, "I can't." Both attitudes are habitual orientations to life that can become automatic with practice. Neither attitude has as much to do with the task at hand as it does with the inner spirit of the person facing the task. In either case, the task is the same - only the attitude is different.

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Today, I am thankful.

Thankful for my family, who all still love me, even when I struggle to know how to love myself.

Thankful for kids who are good, a wife who is loyal, and a lot of love an affection in our home.

The stress and return to a very bleak depression has led me to being easily agitated, and I've lashed out a couple times at my 5 year old when she was fighting or disobeying.  A better response would have been more constructive.  I haven't struggled much with this in many months as I've been in a relative place of calm.  It really bothers me that I lost it, and I know this affects her.  It is frightening because it represents a certain degree of loss of control, never a comfortable thing.

I can't change the past, only the present.  I want to pause and count to 5 next time and ask will this make things better or worse, and 'what approach can I take that is likely to improve the situation?'  I need to get down on her level physically, ask what the problem is, how I can help and then direct her behavior.  I know the person losing his temper is not the best version of who I am, and it is not how I want her to learn to relate to me or to anyone.  It's confusing to her that I would be kind and patient most of the time and then at certain times lose my patience and my cool, raise my voice to the point of yelling.  She doesn't understand it and isn't able to respond to it.  Of course I feel terrible about it, and it doesn't work.  It is a very poor defense mechanism.

And I pray I can remember and maintain the awareness and wherewithal to change it.

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Struggling with Fear

The thing that wears me out about depression more than anything else, is the anxiety.  Sometimes we talk about these two--depression and anxiety--as though they're very different things, and I realize they can be distinct.  But for me, they're not separate.

Without truly problematic anxiety, depression is just a melancholy part of life I really don't even mind.  It has an almost wistful nostalgia about it.  That's probably because I've felt it for so long and tried to adapt, but still, that's the case.

What I have tried and had great difficulty facing and figuring out how to manage, let alone improve, over the years, is the debilitating fear.  And without this, depression's sting would be minimal indeed.

I am trying to think back over the many, many things I have done and tried, to ask 'what has worked?'  

Taking forward action ultimately is the best help.  But of course that is precisely what I usually fear the most, as anyone who's struggled with anxiety, procrastination, perfectionism, avoidance, etc. knows. 

I know I'm not alone in dealing with this, and I often wonder what things others have found that help them deal with this problem of fear....?

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I went to my doctor today and got a script renewed.

I'm working at practicing positive thinking and self talk.  It beats negative every time.  Trying to read some positive motivational content out there (Ralph Marston's daily motivation is one i like a lot).  Just trying to reorient my perspective a little.  It's ongoing.

Focusing on work as much as I can, which is a constant up and down challenge for me, and to practice some self compassion also.

Staying connected to people here helps - I'm always very grateful for this community.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is an excerpt from an email response from my wife.  I like it.  It is on point.  Difficult for me to do, but nonetheless is definitely the direction I want and need to go if I'm to improve.  No one can want or quite do it other than me.

 

Nobody brings up any negative things about you, except YOU. It is hard to do otherwise, I know, but your focus needs to shift into the goodness & joy, not darkness. & unhappiness. Or if you must, allow yourself to feel bad for 10 minutes/day, then that's it, no more lamenting, and the gates of feeling bad are "closed" for the rest of the day & night. 
 
Joy & strength comes from within, nobody can hand you that gift ... toss away the negativity & be kind to yourself. You, going to work each day is a testimony of your love & dedication. 
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I read an article today about a researcher who has shown a reliable way to neuralize specific frears such as fear of spiders, snakes, heights, and has had initial success with PTSD, which is more complex.  Generalized anxiety disorder I believe is substantially more complex from this perspective, but ot ade me wonder and hope.

https://newrepublic.com/article/133008/cure-fear

 

I also started using.my DBT checklist again today.  Probably shouldn't have had it up while my boss was noaing around and asked me.what it was.....but f it.  

 

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I don't know if this is exactly about 'improving' my life, but I'm posting here in an attempt to gather some positive direction this morning.

I'm feeling anxious (desperate really) as per usual about life - my job, the need to go forward with a bankruptcy, and facing the anxiety of getting meetings and selling.  I have been avoiding it and focusing on the consulting, recruiting, and delivery aspects of my job, but I can't afford to do that.  I don't know if I have the bandwidth or ability to focus and be efficient enough to do both.  I took a career assessment late last week on a sight someone here recommended.  To get the full results, it's asking for $30, and I don't know if it's worth it.  I've done some of these before.  It's difficult to translate psychometric data into an actual job lead.

I also saw a movie I really liked this weekend, called The Waking Life.

Anyway, I got outside a lot this weekend with my kids, surprisingly.  Accomplished some things around the house.  I got up and got into the office, but just feel totally listless right now, and am struggling to make myself do anything for work.  I hate this.  I can't stand that this is how I am.  It still makes no sense to me.  And it is the reason that intermittently, I am still feeling su*cidal and discontent.

I guess I'm posting here to try to stay grounded and gain the strength to do the next thing I need to.

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