The Ability to Control My Own Mind

Savannah is almost completely housetrained! She’s doing very well this week. I’m really glad we have her. She requires a lot of attention, but she’s worth it! She’s also great to have around because I can talk to her any time I need to distract myself from the occasional destructive or negative thought running through my head.

I continue to work on my memoir, although not quite as much as I would like. I spend quite a bit of time trying to remember what happened in the past and what I was thinking  about. Mostly I’ve been remembering a lot of psychosis and crazy thoughts. I’ve also found old journal entries that help me remember what was going on in my mind at different times over the past five or ten years. A lot of craziness. I feel like things are finally beginning to settle down for me, both in my mind, and in my life. I’m still chanting daily, and I found a quote to share from my Daily Encouragement dated March 27th.

While controlling your mind, which is at once both extremely subtle and solemnly profound, you should strive to elevate your faith with freshness and vigor. When you do so, both your life and your surroundings will open wide before you and every action you take will become a source of benefit. Understanding the subtle workings of one’s mind is the key to faith and attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime.

I’ve often struggled with controlling my mind and my thoughts. It’s so easy for me to slip into a pattern of complaint and negative thinking. I need to constantly monitor my own thoughts. I know it’s possible to train my mind to think more positively, especially about other people. Spending so much of my time fighting against the negative, insulting, harassing, and destructive voices in my head was not easy. I will never forget what I dealt with, even if it was only in my head, and I am eternally grateful for the support I’ve had (and still have) in managing my illness.

 

My Last Therapy Appointment

We’ve moved! John & I moved into our new house five days ago on Sunday! We both love our new house. It’s big, beautiful, and it even has a huge fireplace! We’re looking forward to cozy nights around the fire, and roasting marshmallows. I’m so glad John & I have moved into our own house. We’re both very happy!

I had my last appointment with my therapist on Wednesday night. We had a great session. I started my therapy with her last September, so it’s been 9 months. I’ve made such an incredible improvement over the past 9 months, and I continue to improve each day. She really helped me to focus on the best ways to deal with, ignore, and manage my voices. Obviously ignoring them is always the best option. I stopped thinking about what they’ve said in the past, I stopped arguing with the voices, and I stopped trying to treat them as rational human beings. So many times over the past 10 years, I’ve believed that the voices are real. Of course they aren’t, but often it hasn’t been easy for me to believe this.

I would never have improved as much as I have without the support of my family and my husband’s family. When I think back at what has happened over the past 10 years, I don’t think I would be alive if it wasn’t for my family and my husband’s family. I am very fortunate. I spent a couple of hours working on my memoir this afternoon & reflecting back on past events. I will finish my memoir & share my experiences with people who will be inspired by what I write! This is a great reason to write a memoir.

 

Our New House!

Finally! Yesterday I picked up our new house keys with our puppy Savannah. John & I are so excited! We can’t wait to move in and get settled. I let Savannah into our house yesterday & she ran around sniffing the carpet. She also tried to get me to play a game of hide & seek with her, but I wasn’t falling for it. She loved our new house too!

I’ve been doing well this past week. I felt bad last Friday, and spent the entire afternoon in bed napping and watching TV. I was feeling overwhelmed and very stressed with all the birthdays this month, and getting everything settled with our new house. I also attended a NAMI presentation (In Our Own Voice) in the morning. It was a great presentation. The women were very informative and also very courageous for sharing their personal experiences. Maybe I can share my experience as well!

I had my therapy appointment yesterday as well. We had a good session. We talked about how I felt on Friday, and how we’ll wrap up our last two sessions. My therapist is moving on with her program, and I’ve decided to take a break from my private therapy for a few months. I’m going to give myself some time to move in and get settled before deciding if I want to continue private therapy with a new therapist. I really benefitted from my therapy over the past six months, and I’m really glad I went to my sessions on a regular basis. The therapy was very positive and beneficial, and my therapist really helped me to deal with the voices in my head. I glad we met!

I know my husband and I have more challenges ahead, but I am also very confident that we will be able to successfully handle them together. I am still working on writing my memoir, and starting a freelance writing business. I’m not giving up on myself or anyone else!

The Transformative Power Of Our Lives

It’s been over 2 weeks since my last blog post! I realize that I haven’t been keeping up with my once daily posts. I’ve been pretty busy working with our realtor and our insurance company to get everything set up. We’re expecting to move into our house in a couple of weeks! We’re excited, and looking forward to getting unpacked and settled in to our new home. It’s spacious, sunny, and even has a fireplace for those cold winter evenings at home. I can’t wait!

I’m continuing to improve in my ability to successfully manage my illness. I continue to keep my thoughts focused on the positive rather than the negative. I continually make the effort to reign in my tendency to think about things (people, politics, religion) that make me angry. A lot of the news that I read daily on the internet makes me angry, so I try not to dwell on it too much.

My birthday was this past Friday, February 17th. My husband and I spent a wonderful, relaxing evening at the Fairmont in San Jose. It was a great way to celebrate both our birthdays this month! My Daily Encouragement book by SGI President Ikeda has a great quote for February 17th. It reads: “Life contains the capacity, like flames that reach toward heaven, to transform suffering and pain into the energy needed for value-creation, into light that illuminates darkness. Like the wind traversing vast spaces unhindered, life has the power to uproot and overturn all obstacles and difficulties. Like clear flowing water, it can wash away all stains and impurities. And finally, life, like the great earth that sustains vegetation, impartially protects all people with its compassionate, nurturing force.”

I love this way of thinking about life. It’s so beautiful, encouraging and powerful. I don’t think that most people think about their own lives in this way, but it’s very true! Our lives do have the ability to transform and heal, so that we are constantly growing, loving, and moving forward. It’s not easy, and for me, it doesn’t come naturally, but I know that my life has the ability to continually transform what I perceive to be negative into something positive. I just have to keep working at it!

Viewing Situations In A Positive Light

John and I are getting ready to move back to Sunnyvale the end of this month. We’re very excited about moving into our new home after a long, stressful process. I’m still trying to maintain consistency with my Buddhist practice. Traveling and moving often make it harder to maintain a daily routine. I think that once we move into our home and get settled in, we’ll be able to re-establish our routine, and continue moving forward with our lives. Hooray!

The January 27th daily encouragement quote from my book For Today and Tomorrow SGI President by Daisaku Ikeda reads:

Viewing events and situations in a positive light is important. The strength, wisdom and cheerfulness that accompany such an attitude lead to happiness. To regard everything in a positive light or with a spirit of goodwill, however, does not mean being foolishly gullible and allowing people to take advantage of our good nature. It means having the wisdom and perception to actually move things in a positive direction by seeing things in their best light, while all the time keeping our eyes firmly focused on reality.

This quote is perfect for me. I can apply this to almost any situation that I perceive to be negative, especially the times I have had incredible difficulty dealing with the voices and trying to make sense of my schizoaffective disorder. Viewing seemingly bad situations or negative experiences in a positive light is not as easy as it sounds. It takes effort, strength, courage, and determination to remain positive in difficult times. This is what I strive for on a daily, and even a moment-to-moment basis. I chant to bring out my Buddha nature, so that I can move my life in a positive direction.