Saturday morning musings

Happy to type this post this morning; it has been a while that I put my heart, mind, and words here.

The great news is that it is a beautiful morning where I feel no rush to sip my coffee or start doing home chores. I am not in rush… What a powerful, positive, and attractive feeling.

There is this bird that I woke up to each morning. She sings like nothing I have heard. Incredible melodies, maybe 2-3 different tones. Remembering it even puts tears of joys in my eyes. My daily walks around my neighborhood continues to delight me – there are so many new trees, yards, and plants that I got to notice, admire, and love. It is these moments spent in nature that I realize the one organism messes up with much is sadly  human.

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What is going on in some countries with COVID-19, all the suffering and deaths, failure to control the pandemic and support people, and resistance to use even the simplest public health measures makes me angry, disappointed and disgusted. This is human life we are talking about – can you not implement policies that others are already successfully doing? Can you not put on a mask, or practice physical distancing of 2 meters? Can you not realize this is not FLU.

Rant over. But I needed to do this for the memory of all those who lost their lives needlessly to COVID-19.

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The effects of this pandemic is continuous, of course. I continue to feel depressed, but not sure whether this is due to pandemic and the changes it implemented in my life, or other things going on in my life, especially related to work.

It has been a mixed feeling at the beginning. I had enjoyed having a break from office and working fully from home. It was doable and I was feeling advantageous because working from home is not something new to me. BUT over time people I worked with could not keep up. We started to fall back and my productivity decreased considerably. This sucked. Only lately I feel like I am finally completing the lagging tasks and I can look forward to new, fresh ideas and projects. This is at least a great development lately.

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I also feel like I must take a break and I am starting with a few days the week ahead. I plan to do what I want to do most – contemplate about what is important and what is not. In life and at work.

Remarkably, it has also been a time of change for me. I try to remove my perfectionist attitude and relax the measures a little bit, which makes an awesome difference in the work load I shoulder and give others more responsibility for their action or inaction. There are other changes. I think I will write about these changes and the positive effect they have on me later. Change is an opportunity and gives me hope, makes me excited, and absolutely less depressed.

I think I am feeling depressive because there are things that are not working for me anymore. That is why change is powerful, needed, and feels hopeful.

I also feel very strongly about the fact that I have been feeling like shit for a very long time and it was time that I choose to feel better.

It is gonna be alright.

This too shall pass.

When it does, it will be much better.

I believe in it.

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Feeling down, but looking up!

I am feeling down today, a little bit more than usual, but I keep my chin up and look up as well.

I think I am just tired and vulnerable to feel nervous, shaky, and to have low self-esteem, or my nerves are fried to a point that I cannot even see what the reality in the issues I deal with is.

The first one can be remedied by a break, self-pampering, and so on,

The second one can be fixed by therapy.

Or, by quitting all the struggles, all the issues, and this effing job environment.

I admire those who quit everything and followed their dreams by making drastic changes.

I did follow my dreams but ended up with this job. It was the dream job once, but not anymore.

It is time to find another dream.

I actually have it – retirement. Early retirement that I am eligible to take with a little bit of pension is 5 years away.

I cannot survive comfortably with early retirement, but I can stop at least for sometime without thinking income. I can move to a cheaper country as well. I can. I can get out of this environment.

5 years is a long time.

This is not the first time that I thought about resigning my job. I think it was always there, the most serious ones being in the last 3 years.

3 years passed since then – can 5 more years pass?

It sure can, especially if I can survive this time. Pandemic – duh…

But imagine staying in this toxic unhappy environment and missing life somewhere else?

Take a leap of faith, be brave, and conquer the dreams and life?

or,

Take a huge risk, create and go through more anxiety & hurt, and be even fail ?

The problem is we do not know which one is actually better – here or the future place – what if it is bad as well?

What is it that I must choose?

…………………………

I know that eventually this too will pass.

I know that the real issue is why do I care so much about the toxic work environment and relations?

As soon as I think I let go and uncare things & people, I can have less emotions nagging me and I can be happy where I am and in my life.

Why can I not do this?????

Gratitude for ever

I started writing gratitude journals years back to help remind myself all the great things that was happening in my life. Writing these almost always makes me feel good. That is for sure. It is therefore one of the ways that I help reduce the emotional distress coming out of anxiety or depression. For example, just to be able to remember that I walked in a warm and quiet day with blue sky (and, hence, not only enjoyed my moment but also did something good for my health) sounds great, is it not? It is. Obviously, it also says that I made a good choice that day. Extra gratitude!

But, this kind of approach is fragmented – I start everyday again and again, as if it has no link to previous days or the future.

A couple of days ago I realized that there may be additional things to consider while practicing gratitude journaling.

If I restrict things to write about to experiences, choices, and activities of the day, I almost always lose the continuity and being grateful for things that are continuous. For example, having the freedom to pursue my dreams. Having the ability to change things. Having the ability to feel happy.  Reminding myself that even the worst thing shall pass one day.  Good memories. Good friends. Good experiences.

There are things better and bigger than what is happening a day in one’s life.

Let’s focus on this greatness. Boundless opportunities. Bigger picture. The full life. The whole experience.

 

 

random thoughts

I do not even know what I will write here, but here I go 🙂

My joyful affair with the online resources at the library continues. I have read two novels and am screening a self-help book now. It is about anxiety and how one person saw it, experienced it, and found ways to acknowledge, manage, and eventually overcome it. When I read the story-line, I find a lot of things in common. The ways to ease the anxiety also make sense – they are so familiar to me; a good diet, exercise, monitoring thoughts and intercepting the anxious ones, getting help, being grateful/keeping a gratitude journal, and finding (new) ways to enjoy life at the same time. So while I have the knowledge, why the practice fails short?

I enjoyed and greatly benefited from affirmations last summer. They gave me a genuine happiness for some time. I kept reading books that give positive messages and hope, and I greatly benefited from reading them as well. Yet, here I am; sometimes exhausted, sometimes down, sometimes depressed, and sometimes anxious and on the edge. My moments of positive thoughts and feelings are getting harder to locate.

I kind of think that if I find the reasons, I can deal with it better. There may be physiological or genetic causes, which I cannot fix myself. But my thoughts I can. As a matter of fact, while affirmations and positive self-help books were wonderful, their effects are transient. I think that this is because I have not addressed the process of anxiety and depression-creating thoughts. Once they start, they easily form a train and get longer and stronger with each moment. If only they could be stopped. To me, that is why affirmations look like a sugar coat on an iron stick with rust. The rust is the thought pattern due to lack of awareness, which just stays there. Sugar is consumed very easily. And once the taste of sugar is over, rust appears all over again.

I have never been good at meditation or awareness of my thoughts, but I gave it a try many times. I think that it is time that I re-visit the idea.

 

 

 

Do we have the right to prioritize ourselves and our well being? Is it selfish?

These are honest questions:

Do we have the right to prioritize ourselves and our well being? Is it selfish?

I have been trying hard to feel good, especially about myself and my life. My last 20 years in North America and many years prior to that at home, I always worked towards ending this frequent feeling of “feeling like shit”, “fear/anxiety”, “financial and other insecurities”, and “low self-esteem”. I naturally kept studying and working to keep my mind occupied with these so that I would not think about the existential thoughts. I felt better as a result, however randomly. The trap is that studying and working, especially in my highly competitive field with high failure rate and with rapid deadlines, also mean stress and feeling like shit again, experiencing anxiety, insecurities, and low self-esteem due to high competition and failure rate.

So, what is this all about?

Entire story sounds like delusion to me.

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I have been in North America for nearly 20 years now. I left my home-country, my family, and my friends for work, and then stayed. I like the safe and relatively peaceful atmosphere of Canada particularly, even though the economic situations are straining me and my work place is getting more and more toxic especially lately, but it is alright here. And I know that despite occasional racist and discriminative treatment here and there (which really annoys and is so wrong), I believe I feel much better here in Canada than I would somewhere else.

Being away from home and family is never easy. Home is home and family is the most important thing in life. Yet, when being with family and your well-being do not go side-by-side, what do you do? Emotionally, I want to go back, but logically I know this is not the right decision, at least for now. So I stay and I refuse the demands from my family to go back.

I am not convinced that I can survive mentally there, not unless I changed the way I think and deal with things in a more healthy way. Otherwise, I see myself easily in more anxiety, stress, and depression. Who can benefit or be happy with this? Neither me nor my family. I cannot get my family understand this. They think that I can earn much more money, have less stress and issues that I experience or may experience, and feel better there with the support of my family. I do not buy this. I cannot buy this.

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So, my family needs me, yet by prioritizing myself and my well-being, I deny them the help (financial or emotional) they expect from me. This naturally creates conflicts and lots of negative emotions and encounters between me and my family.

Tell me; how selfish am I to do this? Keeping myself rather in a stable and peaceful place that I believe is better for my mental health at the expense of abandoning my family except seeing them annually for a month or so, calling them every off-day, and financially helping them when they need it most?

I believe it is selfish. That is why I feel like shit as well.

As I said, the entire story looks delusional.

 

 

 

What comes first? Me, me, me, or my wellness?

It has been somehow stressful day; I have so much to do! 🙂

Yet, I also felt like I could use my time better and I could award myself for doing well as well. This is really lovely – I think I have started to support and value my efforts a little bit better. Self-care is here 🙂

One thing I am doing this week is to cancel showing up in events that celebrate the achievements of my team members. It was a hard decision to make, but I am glad I have as it gives me the much needed time. It is a first too. I talk to my team members and they understand the reasons well as well. I would think this was selfish, but maybe I should be a little bit. In order to protect my time and reduce my stress levels created by the lack of time to recuperate.

I have been to my counseling session yesterday. I talked for 40 minutes. How lovely 🙂 Was I reserved? I was. But I also talked. I did not get a huge number of new thoughts/realizations out of the session that I did not already know -main points were:  mental health is important; I worry all the time; I am not interested in getting medication for anxiety or depression unless it is the last resort; I am close to burn out because of the intense work and stress (my counselor’s assessment); I must eat better; and I must exercise. And, time to care for myself – physically and mentally.

It is always good to hear from someone else that I must care for myself. This makes me feel supported in my decisions to not attend extra events this week and the weeks to come. This does not mean that I come first all the time, under all conditions – that would be selfishness and being self-oriented. It means my wellness should come first.

I like that.

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what comes with a year

I do not know how I feel, but after eating some food, I must say I am feeling better 🙂

I think I have not eaten much in the last 24 hours. Yesterday evening was busy with a friend. I think we have had finger foods but then forgot to eat a decent dinner. This morning, as usual, I have not had a breakfast. And then, at noon, I managed to eat some left over food. But I guess that was it until 10 min ago, I remembered to eat a slice of sourdough and some yogurt.

Why am I telling you all of these?

I am very aware of the fact that I am highly stressed, somehow depressed and anxious. The last one year has been quite intense in terms of working, having all bunch of frustrations, and not taking a good care of myself. These were topped by the injuries, one to my elbow and the other to my lower back. I very well know that I must care for myself most during this time, and I am most resisting to the idea.

Why, I must ask.

Why would I resist to taking good care of myself?

I feel like every additional step I must take will stress me more. Like walking and other exercises my doctor has recommended to help with my sleep and stress problem. I used to walk every evening from my office to home, rain or shine did not matter much. Not anymore. I even cannot make to physiotherapy every week, even though it is probably a very important healing process for me. There is always something to do and something to take care of. Except my own well being.

I did, however, a good job today and started looking for a mental health counselor. My first shrink session to come 🙂 I cannot believe. Maybe I should have done this long time ago. I really do not know. Maybe I will find relief.

I hope so.

I realize that in order for things in my life to change, I must change myself. The way I think and approach things.

Wish me luck 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

all the good things – check

  • finally making it a part of my reality and consulting my doctor about my stress levels, anxiety, depressive mood, and sleep problems – check

it has been an interesting experience. I am not new to having stress, anxiety bouts here and then, depressive thoughts, and lately sleeping much less than usual. While I was feeling perfectly fine during the day, I thought I would consult my doctor. She suggested nicely to exercise 6 times a week; try melatonin for some time for my sleep – if it does not work out, I can get a pill later; and see a counselor to get a better idea about other ways to manage my stress and occasional anxiety I get. Perfect. I always thought that it would feel weird for me, but it did not. I said to my doctor and I believed in it completely when I said – that I want to feel good. well done, I would say 🙂

  • taking the bus this afternoon, rather than the cab – check
  • painting one of my old-looking pots with the new paints I have bought yesterday – check
  • eating a large bean salad with joy and appetite – check
  • working nice and easy – check
  • deciding not to work this evening – check
  • watering the radish and flower seeds in the yard – check

my radish seeds have done amazing! They appeared around a week after the sowing and I could not be more excited 🙂 There is something incredible about growing something from seeds 🙂 🙂

  • using my new watering can to water the yard – check

why did I not think about buying one before??? It is such a useful thing and only costed me 6 bucks this weekend! It takes a couple of times to fill and then water the seeds/seedlings, but without it I would not be able to do this, either, so I am so grateful that I have purchased it – there will be many flowers and seeds coming out in my yard this year and many years to come 🙂

  • growing cacti seeds – check, check, check!

I planted them 10 days ago and yesterday I have seen my first baby cactus, and then yet another one a few hours after that. This morning, an additional one appeared and this afternoon I noticed yet another one, too! What a joy, friends! I never thought that I could germinate them, but I did it!! Checking every morning and every once a while during the day and seeing new green tops showing up is an amazing feeling – I am so excited!

 

 

detachment, work-place, and mental health

I feel so detached to my job. Maybe that is a good thing, maybe not.

Maybe it is a good thing. I am not fully satisfied with my job or my work-place anyhow. I am exhausted by the work-load. I can hardly find time for my own personal development and enjoyment. I am away from the people most matter to me (my family). I am frustrated and my nerves are fried frequently. I often ask myself “what is it that I want from my life and my future?” and I have no answer to that. I feel dried up. I feel living in a microcosmos that consists of mostly work, its problems, and the anxiety it creates.

On the other hand, my job is often respected. My salary is good, thank goodness. I have a simple life where I am – grateful again. I can have quite a frugal life if I want and save money each year (well, maybe not this year but that is okay). These are good things.

So, maybe detachment is a good thing so that I can actually leave here and open a new chapter in my life. It is somehow exciting but considering that I must find another job, it is anxiety-creating as well. I am scared of not finding a good job, a well-paying one.

Anxiety is a horrible thing, my friends. It stops you even you take a step. It fills your mind with all the negativity or possibilities that hope and excitement are buried under a heavy cloud.

Of course, one can argue that if I cannot change my circumstances, then perhaps I can and should change myself.

I am not sure that I can change myself. The way I think and take things. Not so much really. If I had worked less, maybe I could see things more clearly. If I had relaxed, maybe I would get less frustrated. If I had not cared, maybe I would not be emotionally impacted. It is hard to change myself, though I made some significant changes this year. Ironically I am working more, but at least on things that I benefit from. Like the committees I work at – they personally and professionally improve me. Like the new projects I am designing.  Like my creative juice sometimes running full-bodied and sweet. At other times, with other tasks, however, I am heavily burdened.

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I had started the day more or less well. What triggered this turn of emotions was a note from a superior showing the “stick” (where are all the carrots??). I feel intimidated, threatened, and certainly under-appreciated.

I just wonder how long I should take this sh.t and why I do not have the courage to quit myself. It is like I rather am waiting for something to happen so that I can say “that is it! I am quitting!“.

I am waiting, I see.

It is not a full detachment yet, with each “stick” I get closer to it. Maybe it is a good thing.

And, I have serious suspicions of this work-place making me mentally sick.

Depression? Anxiety? Both? Or simply, being fed up?

 

 

joy journal – December 13, 2016

In an attempt to feel better, this is my conscious attempt to remember the beautiful things, people, and experiences that enrich my life and my well being.

1. I am grateful for the soup I have prepared and drunk this evening. The nice thing about cold weather and winter is to be able to pamper myself with a hot drink or soup. I hope to remember to purchase hot chocolate packages this week; they are my favorites.

2. I am grateful for venting out via my blog this evening and getting rid of some of the negative energy.

3. I am grateful for the TV series I am watching (Rush, which is an Australian TV series) that makes my evening interesting and okay to go by.

4. I am grateful for my family; no matter what happens, loving them is a blessing. We may argue, we may mis-understand each other, we have have heart-breaks. but we love each other. Solid.

5. I am grateful for accepting my feelings as they are; they may be negative, I may be feeling down, but eventually I believe I will be okay. I may not be able to have a great relaxing holiday staycation this year, but whatever it is gonna be, I will be fine. I can always take some time off from work and try again..

6. I am grateful for thinking once again to have my will and estate planning done. I have been meaning to do this for so many years.. The problem is I feel like when it is done, I will die… This is a ridiculous feeling but this is how I feel… I must do this for my family. I must do this to have my stuff done while I am alive so that after my death I will not be a nausea for anyone. I am scared, but I will start it. I will check online and see what my options are. Then I will make appointments to talk to people/lawyers. I may be scared but this is the right thing to do. I hope to be able to accomplish it this time.. the truth is we never think we or anyone else we love will die. But we do…. Often times suddenly…. While I would love to live a long, happy, and healthy life, what is my guarantee that I will? That is a sad question that depresses me, but it is great to know that I want to live.

7. I am grateful for not having chocolate right now 🙂 I would eat the entire box! And then would feel resentful about it 🙂

the quest for happiness

The more I write about happiness, the better I understand about it.

Yesterday I wrote about it here; comments and interactions by other bloggers were great, too. I understood somethings; about myself, about happiness, and about how other individuals see it.  Thank you everyone who commented.

I understood that the definition of happiness may be not one, but many.

I understood that if the power of being happy is in ourselves, then that means we are responsible for our own unhappiness. Boy… Does that mean I am silly, incapacitated, or weak (otherwise I would be happy?). Does that mean my “happiness genes” are mutated? I strongly react against this statement; I believe things out of our control can greatly influence our chances of happiness and how we feel. I would have never chosen to be unhappy. Why would anyone choose to be unhappy? Unhappiness is not a choice. Not mine. Not many people I know who were unhappy. You cannot stand tall, laugh, and glow when you have lost or never have had things, people, opportunities, loves, and all bunch of other things that affect you today. You can choose to move on with your life maybe. You can choose to forget maybe. You can pretend to be happy maybe. But sometimes our circumstances lack the conditions to be happy. No matter how some of us try hard to be happy. Can we really blame this person for not being happy?

I understood that I could be clinically depressed nowadays as I have everything I need; I have a great family, a great and meaningful job, finances and anything else I can need in the material world. I lack no material. But I lack happiness, the zest and excitement of life.

I understood that I find in me the right to be happy. I demand happiness. I demand my right to be happy. I am rebelling against the status quo re; unhappy state.

I understood that if that turns out to be because of a chemical imbalance in my brain, I will regret not going to a doctor before. Nobody deserves to be unhappy and miss their life because of a chemical imbalance.

I understood that I am not the only one with a quest and thirst for happiness.

I understood that my happiness and unhappiness might be different than others’ experiences. As I wrote as a response to a comment; “sometimes we must accept that we do not have all the answers and we cannot get everyone’s circumstances. In those cases, empathy has the softest voice and silence has the sweetest tune“. I may not understand your unhappiness and you may not get mine. Assuming that we understand and have all the answers you or I need is not right. Discussions are helpful, but sometimes empathy and silence are the best ways to respond to someone unhappy.

I may be depressed but not even once I thought about leaving life. That makes me excited 🙂 I hope I have a long and well life in front of me, in which I will keep exploring myself, life as a whole, and become happy.

happiness

Since I do not know how to make myself happy, I turned into the internet for information about happiness.

There are a number of sites; some of them makes sense, some of them absolutely nonsense (those that put the entire responsibility of your unhappiness on your own shoulder. As if nothing else can influence, diminish, or generate it).

Anyways, following happiness tips are the ones that I remember now:

  • Live a simple life
  • Help others
  • Aim for less
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Forgive more
  • Be positive
  • Control your mental chatter
  • Exercise
  • Socialize
  • Meditate
  • Find meaning in what you do
  • Breathe
  • Eat well

bla bla bla bla…

So boring.

I can tell from my own experience some of these do not make people happy unless they really need it (e.g. eating well).

Exercise is great, can make one feel better, but does that mean we need to exercise all the time?

Meditation is not for everyone.

We all have some meaning in whatever we do; whether it is our job, cooking for others, or caring and helping others.

Socializing is great but only with the right people.

Forgiving is great but it does not help if your unhappiness is not caused by old issues and scars.

I live a simple life and I breathe and I am trying to be kind to myself and help others. And yet, I am not happy.

Three of these may help me relax more, though; being positive, aiming for less, and controlling my mental chatter. As a perfectionist and realist, these can really help subsidize my mental anguish.

Yet, I have been aware of these quite some time and so far I was not able to make myself happy. So maybe it is the time that I ask my doctor to prescribe me an anti-depressant. Perhaps I too have a chemical imbalance, which unless restored by medication will continue to make me unhappy.

Every one deserves to be happy. So do I.

on happy, unhappy, and neutral mood

Today I have decided to check time to time how I was feeling during the day. In a few cases I did that I found that I was feeling okay (i.e. neutral); neither unhappy or happy; neither stressful nor un-stressful. Neither joyful nor un-joyful.

At first I thought this was not good as I am determined to make myself happy from yesterday on.  Only later I realized that that was actually not bad; I could as well be unhappy, stressful, and miserable. But I was not. That should be something to be grateful for 🙂

I remember 2 different times in my life when I had felt happy for extended periods of time for no apparent reasons:

First, many years ago when I had first moved here. I had got the greatest job I had dreamed for many decades (literally); my finances were better, and I had the job security for the first time in my long career. I could not help but feel genuinely happy 🙂 This feeling of happiness lasted around 6 months until a person I dearly loved got seriously sick.

The second one was in January this year, when I had started the yoga/stretching classes. They have had highly positive influence on my mood; I was relaxing and feeling connected to my body and myself during the sessions. It lasted until I have had back problems first and then the death of my dad at the end of February.

For a middle aged person, these two occasions of happiness may sound pathetic. Maybe it is.

But, perhaps I must explain what I mean by happiness first: when I say “happy” I mean seriously happy, elated, hopeful and joyful about everything in life and having no problem whatsoever. It is kind of different than what I have felt today, where I am neither feeling elated nor down (i.e. depressed). As a person who suffered from depression in the past, let me tell you being in a neutral state of mood is not bad, either. As a matter of fact, it is quite a progress for me.

Yet, knowing how sweet is the happy state feels, I naturally long for it.

random thoughts

The work has stolen some of my sleep last night… I woke up at around 5 am and the thoughts about the work that waits for me to take care and all the work-related issues that I have experienced lately have jumped on me. I could sleep after a while but it was not nice.

There was a period of my life right after the new year when I had started the yoga classes; this period of time was when I had felt genuinely happy…. This lasted around 5 weeks until I got my back problem exaggerated. It was a great feeling, it easily came to me, and it was beautiful. I woke up happy and excited in the mornings.  Not like before when work related thoughts would just fill my mind as soon as I woke up; this almost always made me cranky and stressed. Not the best way to start a new day…

I feel like I am returning to this depressive mornings and I do not like the idea. As a matter of fact, I feel like I may be slipping in to a little depression.

Work related stress is something real. I know I can deal better if I stop undertaking too much or by having a less perfectionist but more relax mind. So far I was not able to do either of these. But tomorrow is another day… Hating my job or having a depression are not somethings that I am looking forward to.

random thoughts

I continue to think about life and death…. I kind of understand why we are ignoring our own and others mortality – thinking about death is very depressing. But this depression may as well help us to make the best of today and the relationships in our lives. So, give hugs to those you love; send messages to those you have not seen for sometime; love, forgive, and forget more, and hopefully, dislike less.

Life is supposed to be good – so let’s enjoy it by making it better for ourselves and everyone else; after all we are all connected. Somebody’s misfortune cannot make us happy, but somebody’s positivity can make us smile if we let so. Our choice.

The heavy weight of the thought of death of loved ones and the pain coming with it, I found myself first not working today; so in the morning after a meeting, I left my office to do some errands here and there. The change was very welcome and taking care of the stuff that have been hanging over my head for a couple of weeks felt satisfying. After these are done, I worked at home and started an important document, which to my surprise went really well. I am glad I was in the mental state to work efficiently and without thinking too much. After that of course I felt good again.

We need to feel good time to time. If I was to immerse myself into depression again, that would not be nice. I know what depression is and it is nothing to be taken lightly. That is why I am once more grateful for my job that keeps my mind busy and working. With each work done, with each focus on a different subject, my mind and soul get a chance to breathe.

My back feels better and sitting is not too much of a problem anymore. I credit the exercises my physiotherapist recommended. I do not like doing them – that I can assure you. But after each time I do them, I notice that my body feels better. I just need more motivation to do these exercises, that is all.

I did something nice this noon and bought myself a soup somewhere while going around to do my errands. I am glad I have done that; since yesterday morning I have not been eating much (which is very unusual for me). In the evening I have had a large salad, which I know has been very good for me. Whatever I do, I should not let my body go deprived of nutrition and energy.

On a separate note, my power bill has just arrived and looks like I was able to drop it a little bit this past month. Last month I have got a high amount that I think I had never seen before. I was not sure about the reason, but one thing I could think about was the home ventilation. I usually open the windows at the weekend to aerate my home. I think it is a very healthy habit and would recommend anyone. But I was not particularly paying attention to the heaters while doing this. So since last month, I started to lower the thermostats while the windows were open so that the heaters would not need to work harder to keep the temperature up. It made a difference; even though the change is not too big, I am rather happy to see that I am not having an unnecessarily high power bill this time.

Looks like there is no end to learning in this life, for which I am grateful 🙂

 

hope

Considering all the negative things happen in our lives and the people, ideas, and concepts we care about, it is normal to feel depressed and down time to time.

Things and conditions change all the time; some changes are irreversible, such as loss of a loved one.. But others can. The bad circumstances can change, the bad people/politicians/bosses/work place/relationships/financial hardship are all subject to change, however little or profound their effect is, however prolonged they are, they will change.

It may be hard to see this at the onset of hardship, at the onset of down time.

But days change so do the circumstances.

An hour is followed by another hour.

A season is followed by the other.

A year passes and a new one comes.

Have hope that this will happen. Have hope that things may turn around. Have hope that you will see it.

It is easy to accept things as they are when we think they cannot change. Have hope that even though we cannot directly do the change, other people, other circumstances can. A boss may be relocated, retire, or fired, for example. New lives emerge and enrich our lives. The influence and power of someone or some entity can be replaced by another, hopefully better one.

At the dawn of the hardship, try to remember that hope for change and improvement is the biggest asset. When we have hope, we have a wider vision. When we have hope, we can gather forces together. When we have hope, we can breathe together. When we hope, we can have further hope.

Life is interesting and change is constant. I know it sounds like a cliche but I see reality in it. Have hope that these days will pass. Have hope that the circumstances will change. Have hope that something, either in our power or not, may happen and improve it.

random thoughts

There is so much problem, violence, war/conflict, and pain in the world that sometimes these feelings override the joy I have in my life.

We have the right to feel good about ourselves and our lives – yet this is so much dependent on others’ feeling and lives.

If you can be happy for someone else and if you can cry for someone else, then you know what I mean. The more we care, the more heavily we feel their emotions.

Depression comes so easily when negative things happen. Should I feel bad about myself if I try to keep myself up in the presence of all the depressing news and experiences? When I am safe and sound? When I have what others need most? When I have the energy to keep going? I have no answer to these.

I am so looking forward to a world where all is safe and conflicts are resolved by working on them rather than by guns, suppression, violence, or humiliation; when one’s interest did not mean to hurt, eliminate, or suppress the other’s; when we all realize whatever happens to someone else somehow affects us, whether positive or negative.

Peace.

an excellent idea! (by others of course :) )

Well; just when I was having a hard time thinking and making myself depressed about the possible foundation problem at my house and since I did not want to waste my entire night/day/life worrying and having depressed feelings, I remembered one approach that may work: having these thoughts and feelings during only a specified time period (how about 15 min a day?)

take a look and see whether you also may give it a try (if needed)?

http://lifehacker.com/5825023/set-aside-time-to-worry-to-reduce-stress-and-anxiety

http://www.livescience.com/15233-planning-worry-time-ease-anxiety.html

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2015/02/01/how-to-worry-more-effectively/

joy journal – August 15, 2015

I have not written my joy journal for quite sometime (due to vacation). I missed expressing gratitude and the good feeling coming out of it so much.

1. I have many things to be grateful about the time I spent with my family – there is no short way to express all of them here. I cherish every memory and every smile, hug, and kind word. I am grateful that my family members are well and sound; loving and supporting; and genuinely interested in my well-being. Thank you all of you for being there for me.

2. I am grateful for my job. I have gotta give its credit; it gives me a sense of purpose, excites, and provides me with livelihood (despite the challenges and occasional crises that I face). Thanks to my job, I get to see around the world, live in different cities, meet with people with diverse backgrounds, and get insurance. Insurances are important too – providing a sense of security if something out of ordinary occurs in life.

3. I am grateful for my house. It is in a quite neighborhood that is close to downtown as well as my work place. It is true that the prospect of the serious repairs (e.g. the foundation problem I probably have) has been giving me the chills and depressed me beyond my imagination; that I cannot develop trust to the previous owners/renovators, which prevents from feeling peaceful in it; and that I constantly find myself checking for potential issues and thus further create anxiety in myself. But then what can I do? I did not know there may be problem in my house. I did not know when I purchased my home that houses can be fragile and they require constant maintenance. I did not know that it would take me a long time to accept these and then finally find peace in this acceptance. I have not still fully accepted these and thus am emotionally suffering deeply, but I know eventually one day I will give up the resistance and glide into acceptance gracefully. I thank my house-troubles for this; reminding me that it is a process and I am going thru it.

4. I am grateful for my retirement plans, however small they may be. It is true that I could have saved and invested more for my retirement and in the past I have had very obvious expenses that I could have avoided. Yet past is past and I can only look at the present and the future. I have been giving serious thoughts about budgeting lately (mostly motivated by the expenses related to the repairs at home) and have progressed quite satisfactorily. I have a healthy and abundant budget that will take care of my fixed as well as variable but essential expenses that I have been implementing in the last 2-3 months. I know I can do better once I feel comfortable with it. It is awesome to feel this hope and confidence. It is awesome to know that I am making a difference in my financial situation, however small it may be.

5. I am grateful for summer; where I am usually is cool in summers (15-25 C). But since I came back from vacation, it has been hot, sunny, and lovely. A perfect summer 🙂

6. I am grateful for the document I have to finish till monday evening. I have made quite a progress with it yesterday and today. Seeing that I can work effectively under mild stress by taking it lightly (the benefit of having a wonderful vacation prior to it) is one thing, but more importantly the fact that I had to do it in such a short time is what helped me to adapt to work so soon and to stop feeling the emotions associated with leaving my family.

7. I am grateful for my blog. Writing is therapeutic, reading other posts and interacting with fellow bloggers are fun, interesting, and informative. It certainly helps me feel better.

8. I am grateful for the breakfast I have had this morning together with a friend/colleague of mine. I had my usual bagels and coffee after 6 weeks of vacation and a wonderful conversation with my friend, which felt great 🙂

9. I am grateful for walking to and from the coffee shop and sweating a long the way.

10. I am grateful for my new little fryer that makes fried eggs so tasty, so different 🙂

11. I am grateful for doing the laundry and aerating my home today. No I am not cleaning my place this week. My friend who house-sat while I am away already took care of this. I am feeling blessed.

12. I am grateful for being keen about starting a huge decluttering at home. Yep! I have been meaning to do it for quite sometime. I will start easy with bathrooms (which are easier to declutter) and slowly move to the other parts of the house. I will open every single box, purse, bag, and drawer. I will sort things out generously, collect the usable items for donation, and dump the rest. I really need this – I feel like I am carrying a huge and unnecessary weight on my shoulders. This feeling gotta go. I am also excited for the possibility that I will find out many stuff that I had forgotten I have had but are useful or valuable. cannot wait to rediscover my stuff 🙂

13. I am grateful for my couch that provides me with a comfortable place to sit on and write this journal.

14. I am grateful for my laptop, internet connection, cable, TV, phone and all others that help me have a comfortable and engaging life at home.

15. I am grateful for all the stuff I have brought from my vacation. Many of them are the gifts that are given to me by my family members, which I love and cherish. Seeing them around make me feel extra grateful and happy.

16. I am grateful for the music I am listening to right now. It is relaxing and something I have not had heard before and thus is interesting.

17. I am grateful for today being Saturday. I can enjoy it as I please without going to the office.

18. I am grateful for my joy journal and my continuous wish to write in it.

19. I am grateful for life.

20. I am grateful for being grateful.

Sasha – part 1

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I deep down know well that what I am going through is not normal.

I have issues to deal with – my mind, which has been antsy and uneasy for decades, is busy formulating ways to assess problems, even when they do not exist, and frantically searching for solutions. At times when it is too prolonged, too overwhelming, I give up. I give up either the joy of life or the sanity.

I self-diagnosed myself with anxiety a long time ago. At first I did not know what it was; now I do. It is a terrible feeling. When it gets too unbearable, I am grateful for the depression lurking it and eventually replacing it for some time. Depression is equally tormenting, never been happy to have it, but it at least freezes the pain a little bit so that I can take a break from constant fear and worry. To me, it feels better than anxiety. I bet you have never heard about someone who is grateful for having depression time to time. That person is me.

My first anxiety episode was sudden and inevitable. Yet, I have grown up with it and now I can feel when it is close to show up. I slightly panic and rush to calm myself. Lately I have had some success in it. I found that the best way is to keep my mind busy; I am grateful for my job, which lets me work my left brain hard. Yet, work has its own problems, and I have a house, social interactions, and a mental sanity to keep. When all life areas are problematic, it breaks.

I desperately look for something to hold on to at these times. People advise finding something I like; I guess they have never been in the same situation; during anxiety or depression those people and things I like all disappear. Not that they physically go away; my perception of them does.

-to be continued

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Sasha-part 1 

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