Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Posted: 14 Dec 2015 07:50 AM PST
As promised, I'm keeping you aware of how that approach to change thing is going.  And here is the lesson that I've learned.  In order to create change, I have to be the person instigating the change.  I keep learning that lesson because most of my life I've learned something else. Which is that I'm not powerful enough to instigate change.  When I lived in the household with Maxine, I learned that nothing I could do would really improve things.  No matter how I approached it, Maxine was still mentally ill. I couldn't solve things.  I couldn't cure my Mom. I really couldn't make it all better for Dad. Or my sister. The result is that I felt hopeless. I also began to believe that I had no power to change the direction of my life.  As an adult, I have had to un-learn that lesson over and over.  And during the times that I'm totally clear, here is the result: I really do have some power. And it is amazing to realize this.

In the last few years in Tennessee, I've acted on that learning. As situations come up that are clearly going to challenge my recovery, I've had to take responsibility for moving things forward. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it's been easy. There is still a child inside of me who believes that the world is stacked against her and nothing is gonna change.  And she has regular tantrums. When you see me stuck and unable to make decisions, that is probably who is in control. I love that little girl. But I can't let her stay in control of my life. The decisions that I have to make are too important. So, how do I handle it? I acknowledge her fear and hopelessness.  I tell her I love her. Then I take the next logical step. I learned as a case manager that there is always a step to take.  Many times they don't solve the problem. Solving problems can be an ongoing process. And it feels like it takes forever to solve things. The outside world and our own thinking patterns tend to get in the way. We've talked enough about how help is limited for those dealing with mental illness. And even when you are dealing with life things that are totally unconnected to your illness, the influence of that problem is still pretty intense sometimes.

However, on occasion, I've been able to solve a problem just by taking the next logical step. Which always really surprises me. I guess that is because I've learned the lesson that life is always a struggle. And I don't expect things to actually work for me. Can you relate to this?  I'm pretty sure that you can, because I hear you saying the same thing all the time. We have come to the conclusion that we can't make our lives better. And that very fact makes our ability to create change almost nil. I'm very clear that I'm almost re-parenting myself. Today, I'm willing to do it. What brought this all to mind? I took a risk recently to solve a problem at work that was really influencing my life. That was Judy re-parenting herself. And the problem was solved. Which is going to make a difference for me. I'm already seeing that.

Life is tough sometimes. And there are situations that we cannot change. But in realizing that, we also have to recognize that we do have some power. We have to harness that power, which comes from our mind, and work to make the changes. That is the lesson of The Serenity Prayer:

G-d grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change the things I can.
And the wisdom to know the difference.

I've told you how much I rely on that prayer on a daily basis. The hopeless child inside of me is frequently soothed by that prayer.  You don't have to believe in G-d to recognize the wisdom. Come on, say it with me.....

Sending much love.  Let's talk!

All my thanks to George, Adam, and Stephanie.  You helped me believe again. (Ashley, thanks for the support.)

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