Monday, June 11, 2012
I talk about defining our own path alot here on White Elephants. The reason for this because life is very hard and when we face adversity, we all tend to beat ourselves up a bit. Most of us are able to pick ourselves up, then trudge on. Some of us, however, have a much more difficult time.
Those of us who have suffered any sort of childhool trauma or who have mood or other disorders that try pulling us back as we strain to move forward often feel the effort in getting back up is too much. We are more likely to give up, believing those awful tapes that were set for us so long ago. And that's dangerous because it's at that point where we tend to turn to old, harmful ways of coping. Believe me when I tell you, that's when you have to find the strength...no matter how small it may be...to get up and move forward.
I had my childhood taken away from me on almost every level. By the time I became a teenager, I was so jaded and filled with anger I made some terrible choices. As an adult, I still felt like a child trying to be a grown up because I hadn't been taught the tools to life live most effectively. But you know what? It didn't matter how many times I was knocked down, turned around, derailed or hurt, I didn't give up. I couldn't give up.
I wasn't going to become part of the statistics that said 'kids like me' who grew up with violence, abuse, mental illness or other negativity became those things. Every day, I live my life to stay on the path I've defined for myself filled with hope, love, strength, encouragement and positive energy. I'm not going to say that it's always easy to keep facing forward or that there aren't times I don't hear those negative tapes whispering to me to fall of course. What I am saying is to be strong enough to be all you're meant to be today despite what you've gone through. Ride over the bumps as best as you can and coast along the rest at a speed that's comfortable.
You define your path--not your past, not those who have hurt you and not your disorder. You. And that's the art of loving your life.
[Starting next week, we'll be starting a new series here on White Elephants where we'll be learning this art and I hope you'll join me.]
I wrote today’s post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing’s “The Art of Loving Your Life” Blanket Tour celebrating the release of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore by Barbara Conelli (http://www.barbaraconelli.com)./
Her latest book, Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore offers an intimate view into the unpredictable and extravagant city of Milan, its glamorous feminine secrets, the everyday magic of its dreamy streets, the passionate romance of its elegant hideaways, and the sweet Italian art of delightfully falling in love with your life wherever you go.
If you comment on today’s post on this blog or any of the others participating in The Art of Loving Your Life tour, you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore! You have until June 25th to comment to win and the winner will be announced on June 29th.
(To read Barbara’s post about loving life, click HERE. To view a list of other blogs participating in The Art of Loving Your Life tour please visit The Muffin.)
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
You see, if you are brave enough to do that kind of research it can provide alot of answers. It was a bit more difficult in our case because my mother was adopted. But when I asked questions about her birth mother, and actually met her birth father and brother, so much was cleared up. Her mother suffered with depression, anxiety and similar bipolar symptoms that my mom did. She also never got any sort of therapy or treatment and self-medicated with alcohol. She was a workaholic and could often be violent. But her mother was also very talented and intelligent.
Her father died from complications of Alzheimers.
Honestly, I have no idea what or if her brother dealt with anything but I do remember him being quite...odd. He could have been just eccentric but he wasn't the most socially-able person and didn't respond to situations or the people around him the way a well-functioning adult should have.
My brother, half-brother,half-sister and I all suffer with various kinds of anxiety, depression and mood disorders. It could be because my mom abused alcohol during each of her pregnancies with us or it's just our reactions to what we went through as kids. We'll never know that for sure. But what's interesting is that our family shows how deep mental illness can be absorbed into the fibers of the family tree.
If you want to understand your own mental health struggles better, or want to figure out how you can help a loved one, try digging into your history for answers. It may not be pretty but it's a way to figure out where/how things started as well as how you can stop the cycle, if you can. Or, at the very least, learn what can be done from this point on to make things better.
Today's post was inspired by THIS article from the Dana Foundation's newsletter Cerebrum, Dean F. MacKinnon. I hope you find it helpful and feel free to pass it along to someone you think would be interested.
Friday, June 1, 2012
Dawn Novotny was introduced to me by some of my co-writers at WOW-womenonwriting. It was believed that we have shared some similar experiences in terms of abuse and other maltreatment and after reading her book...HOLY COW is all I could think.
Some of our experiences are so similar I had to put her book down and take a break from it before being able to go back to it. Other experiences were even worse than anything I'd gone through and made me so grateful to have had a handful of people I could turn to when things got too unbearable. I truly admire her for being brave enough to tell this story.
Today, I'm honored to have her visit us along her book blog tour with WOW for her book Ragdoll Redeemed: Growing up in the Shadow of Marilyn Monroe. And if you comment here, ask a question or share your own thoughts/experiences, you have a chance to win a copy of this wonderful read.
Here's Dawn's insightful post about breaking destructive cycles.