Two Feet of Clay

A safe place to just be me.

Small Victories

One of the most frustrating aspects of depression is a lack of energy that leads to idleness. Motivation is difficult to manufacture. Chores usually pile up until they can no longer be put off. Often, I simply feel overwhelmed with how much there is to be done. Making decisions can be a paralyzing step. Making choices takes energy, both mental and emotional. The battle is in the beginning, period.

I have several chronic illnesses in addition to depression and anxiety. Every day is a struggle. The tendency is to cocoon myself. If not for caring for my pets and my family, most days, I would not open my front door. As it is, I sometimes don’t leave my house for days, even when I have appointments. When the time arrives to go, I find myself wrestling anxiety. Even the act of taking a shower is exhausting. Part of that has to do with the difficulties I have with balance due to Meniere’s Disease. Some days, all I can accomplish is breathing and not giving up.

Most days are made up of hundreds of small battles and small victories.

I’ve gotten up – small victory.

If I eat a meal or go without eating instead of drowning my feelings in food, that is a small victory.

Completing necessary tasks – each step of the process completed is a small victory.

Not turning on the television or getting sucked into social media for hours is a huge battle.

Writing this and publishing it to my blog is also a small victory.

If you also struggle, realize you are not alone. Today, if all you accomplish is existing, then accept that as a victory. Live to fight another day. Let’s build our days one moment at a time, one victory at a time.

My life is messy.

My life is messy.

 I thought this was due to some failure on my part. But the truth of the matter is that life, in general, is messy. It just is. It is the human dilemma.

Matthew Kelly’s book, Life is Messy, lays out in simple terms the truth of this dilemma. The central question he asks is:  Can someone who has been broken be healed and become more beautiful and lovable than ever before?

His attempt to answer this question is setup in a series of thoughts or realizations broken down into realities you can apply to your life.

For instance, the section called “Turning to comfort,” lays out not only the purpose of comfort but also the dangers of it as well. He says:

               But there is a dark side to comfort. It is seductive and can easily become a way of life. When comfort becomes the goal of our lives, we begin a debilitating downward spiral. Once we are addicted to comfort, it shifts from strengthening us to weakening us. …

               … Little by little, it syphons off your soul strength, and you find yourself incapable of facing your daily responsibilities. With your soul strength sapped, you become morally, ethically, and spiritually paralyzed.

               If you want to destroy people, make them comfortable. Give them every comfort they desire.

Occasionally, Mr. Kelly suggests an exercise to help bring the message home. The section “Cherish the ordinary” asks you to Make a list of twenty ordinary things that bring you joy when you experience them consciously. He gives his list and then encourages you to Allow the ordinary to heal you.

So much goodness is wrapped in a short 152 pages. His message is inspiring and stirred within me a desire to move out of the rut that I have been stuck in, for so long, to greater peace and satisfaction with my life. As I begin again, I can only encourage you to get a copy for yourself and drink in the message he imparts.

Life is Messy by Matthew Kelly, published by Blue Sparrow, North Palm Beach, Florida

Stomp the ANTs!

Every spring, here in the South, we have an invasion of ants, little six-legged creatures that swarm into our homes and workplaces. The battle begins afresh, each day. As you eliminate them in one area, they attack on another front. But the ANTs I want to discuss are the Automatic Negative Thoughts that invade our minds.

Thoughts like:

  • Who am I to write a book, story, blog, etc.?
  • I’m not good enough. No one wants to hear what I have to say.
  • My family just tolerate me. I am a burden to my husband, my parents, my children.
  • I’m never going to get _________________ (fill in the blank) done. I can’t make it.
  • I don’t matter
  • I’m too fat (skinny, tall, short, name your adjective).

The way we combat these ANTs is to change our thought patterns. Changing our thought patterns changes the way you feel and what you do.


Stomp the ANTs

One way to change our thought patterns is to repeat affirmations to ourselves. Many years ago, I was given a copy of a list of Affirmations for Self-Esteem from The Anxiety and Phobias Workbook by Edmund Bourne. When I am particularly struggling with negative thoughts, I repeat this list to myself.

  • I am lovable and capable.
  • I fully accept and believe in myself just the way I am.
  • I am a unique and special person. There is no one else quite like me in the entire world.
  • I accept all the different parts of myself.
  • I’m already worthy as a person. I don’t have to prove myself.
  • My feelings and needs are important.
  • It’s O.K. to think about what I need.
  • It’s good for me to take time for myself.
  • I have many good qualities.
  • I believe in my capabilities and value the unique talents I can offer the world.
  • I am a person of high integrity and sincere purpose.
  • I trust in my ability to succeed at my goals.
  • I am a valuable and important person, worthy of the respect of others.
  • Others perceive me as a good and likable person.
  • When other people really get to know me, they like me.
  • Other people like to be around me. They like to hear what I have to say and know what I think.
  • Others recognize that I have a lot to offer.
  • I deserve to be supported by those people who care for me.
  • I deserve the respect of others.
  • I trust and respect myself and am worthy of the respect of others.
  • I now receive assistance and cooperation from others.
  • I’m optimistic about life. I look forward to and enjoy new challenges.
  • I know what my values are and am confident of the decisions r make.
  • I easily accept compliments and praise from others.
  • I take pride in what I’ve accomplished and look forward to what I intend to achieve.
  • I believe in my ability to succeed.
  • I love myself just the way I am.

At first, you may feel a bit silly repeating these affirmations. But over time, you will find, that they do help chase the negative thoughts out of your mind. And always, reach out to a trusted mental health professional to help you work through these thoughts.

*This is not in any way considered medical advice.

A New Beginning

Today is the day to start anew. Today is the day to search for joy.
Happiness is fleeting, momentary, and desperately sought after. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family. I can count my true friends on one hand. My children are grown with children of their own. My whole world has changed. The rush and hustle is over. I have no where that I really have to be. My social life consists of doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and going to church on Sunday.

I exist but there is no real passion, nothing that I simply must do, nothing that brings great fulfillment to my life. So I begin at the beginning. They say that every day is a new beginning. I need to find my passion.
What is it that sets your heart soaring? What is that one thing you do where you’re “in the zone” and the world just melts away?

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