We moved the last of our furniture out of the apartment on Saturday and into storage. We turned in our keys, so we no longer have our apartment! We took one last picture of us in our empty apartment before we left. Fortunately for us, it waited until Sunday to rain. We went over to John’s sister’s house yesterday for a delicious brunch. We brought mimosas, and ate too much. For the most part, the voices that I have heard, I’ve been able to ignore. I don’t think about them that much, and I’ve stopped trying to make sense of what they say. This is still a constant challenge for me, and it’s something I will always be working on. It is much better than being worried all the time, and always trying to figure out something that has never made sense, and never will.
I didn’t chant on the weekend, but I woke up early this morning, put the laundry in, and chanted for half an hour. Since I posted my profile on Linked In, I’ve joined a Women’s Memoir group, and some other freelance writing groups. I’ve received a few comments from other women who have read my blog, and found it helpful. I’m glad I’m able to encourage other people!
Yesterday I met a friend for breakfast in Mountain View, and then went to my therapy appointment afterward. While we were eating breakfast, I was debating whether to tell my friend about my diagnosis, my blog and my book. I wasn’t sure what she would think, so as we were leaving, I wrote down my website on a piece of scrap paper, and told her she could read my blog if she was interested. I didn’t tell her specifically what it was about. That evening, she wrote me a very nice email saying she had read my blog, and that she thought I was a very strong person. She was very supportive, and I was glad I decided to share my diagnosis with her, even though I didn’t tell her directly. Telling someone you have a mental illness can be risky. You never know how the other person will react. I have been very fortunate. I have a very loving and supportive family, as well as a strong network of friends. I always have someone to talk to!
My therapy went well. I told my therapist that John and I had a good time in Washington. I told her that I had really made an effort to ignore the voices, and not respond to what they said. I found that I do much better this way, rather than trying to make sense of what they say, or trying to come to an agreement. She said she thinks that I am making good progress by ignoring the voices, and not letting them affect me. She still wants me to keep my Thought Record, so I’m going to continue with it.
Earlier this morning, the voices told me that they promised they would be quiet if I would do something that they wanted me to do. I never heard what it was they wanted me to do, but I couldn’t imagine that they ever would be quiet, regardless of what I did or didn’t do. I’m going to do some more writing today, and tomorrow is the weekend!
I wrote another page and a half in my book yesterday. It’s coming along, but sometimes I find it difficult to think back and remember what happened. It’s like reliving the experience all over again, and mostly I just want to forget. I think the best thing I did was to start keeping a journal, and start writing a blog. Thanks to my husband’s encouragement, I never would have done either! I chanted for half an hour this morning. John’s parents and his brother went to San Jose for a doctor’s appointment, so the house is quiet now. I’ve been staying busy writing. I even found a woman who wants to start an online critique group. I responded to her post, and told her that I was writing a memoir and would be interested in joining her group.
The more I focus on not paying attention to what the voices say, and not trying to make sense of what they say, the better I do. If I listen to them, and try to understand them, then I usually end up getting worried, depressed, or angry. I thought about this when John and I were in DC last week. I made an effort to not respond when I heard them say something. Often, when I hear a voice say something, I will respond in my head. Kind of like having a conversation, only it’s just in my head. Last week, I really tried not to respond to anything I heard, and I also made an effort not to think about the past. This worked pretty well. If I ignore my voices, and don’t respond, then I can continue with what I am doing, and I am not affected by what they say. My days are much better this way.
I’m going to a Buddhist meeting in Morgan Hill next week, and we’re having a pre-Thanksgiving brunch on Sunday. John and I are bringing the mimosas!
I wrote another page in my book yesterday. I’m following the table of contents I wrote up for my book proposal, but it’s going pretty slow. So far I’ve written about 8 single-spaced pages, and I figured that if I want to end up with a 200-300 page book, I’ll need about 100 single-spaced pages! I’ve got a long way to go. I’ve been researching potential agents, so that I can send out more query letters. There are a lot of agents out there, but there are also a lot of people writing. I have hope.
My voices haven’t been bothering me much. If I do hear something, I can usually ignore it, and not let it get to me. Yesterday, I was writing about what happened before I was hospitalized in May. At that time, the voices were also trying to get me to make an agreement with them. I looked at some of my entries in my journal, but they only went back to April 24th. I was looking for journal entries from February and March to help me remember what I was thinking, and how I was feeling at that time. I can’t always rely on just my memory.
I’m doing better, but sometimes I miss my family. I read an article yesterday in my Buddhist newspaper. There was an experience written by a woman who overcame cancer. She said that when she had finally battled and defeated her cancer, she understood why she had to go through such an ordeal. Her life-or-death struggle with cancer taught her that her own life was worth fighting for. We may give up on our own struggles if we don’t believe that our lives are worth fighting for. SGI President Ikeda writes “In Buddhism, the world we live in is called the ‘saha world.’ Saha means endurance. We all struggle with various problems and difficulties that press in upon us. What is crucial is whether we can endure and triumph over them. Life is a struggle for which we need an invincible spirit.”
I have my therapy appointment this Thursday, and I’m also meeting an old friend from work in the morning. We move the rest of our furniture into storage on Saturday, and then we’ll be completely moved out of our apartment!
John and I came back from DC on Saturday. I think we’re still a little jet-lagged though. We had a lot of fun, and saw quite a bit. We were able to visit Arlington National Cemetery and hear two Supreme Court arguments. We also visited the Library of Congress and the National Archives where the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are on display. We were very impressed! A lot of history in one place. We were also able to spend some time with my niece and nephew. We don’t see them very often because they live so far away. I was thinking of flying back out there for Christmas because my parents and brother will also be there during that time. I’m not sure about that yet.
Now we’re back in Gilroy, and I’m focusing on my writing again. I’d really like to be able to do something with my writing, and earn some money doing it! I’ve got my children’s story, a half-finished article on Haitian women, my book, and my blog. John thinks I should start writing a novel, but I haven’t quite decided on that yet. I’ve been able to continue ignoring my voices, and I’m determined not to let them keep me from doing the things that I want to do with my life. I think that’s why it’s so important for me to keep writing, and not give up on it. I need the courage to write!