I went to my therapy session last night and talked to my therapist about how I had been feeling earlier in the day. She encouraged me to learn from my experiences in the past, and said that my past experiences did not necessarily make me a bad person. My husband said that I shouldn’t spend so much time thinking about the past, and that everyone makes mistakes. This is true. There is no such thing as a perfect person.
My therapist gave me a new Thought Record to fill out this week. She told me not to focus on the voices, but rather the thoughts I have in response to what I hear, and how I feel afterward. That’s what happened Tuesday night and yesterday morning. I was focusing on the voices, and my memories of the past and somehow came up with the conclusion that I am a terrible person. When I was chanting this morning, I found another quote that I liked. It reads, You can make a defeat the cause for future victory. You can also make victory the cause for future defeat. The Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin is the Buddhism of the true cause, the Buddhism of the present and future. We don’t dwell on the past. We are always challenging ourselves from the present toward the future. “The whole future lies ahead of us! We have only just begun!” – because we advance with this spirit, we will never be deadlocked. I definitely do not want to dwell on the past. I think back, and it seems like a time of darkness. I am writing about it, but that doesn’t change what happened.
This morning I also focused on courage and compassion while I was chanting. These are much more positive qualities to foster in myself, rather than sadness and depression. It takes courage to be happy. I chanted for the courage to write, the courage to chant, and the courage to live! Life is too short.
John came home from work early yesterday, and we were taking a nap before working out and having dinner. I lay in bed thinking about what happened back when I was living in Southern California and the voices started. I began experiencing extreme paranoia and other symptoms of schizophrenia. Yesterday the voices kept telling me what a terrible person I am, and this morning I became discouraged. I thought about some of the mistakes that I have made in the past. I have made quite a few mistakes over the course of my life, but I don’t think I am a terrible person.
I think about why I want to publish a book about my experiences in the past, and the other people that were involved. I’m not sure what my intent is. Initially I felt like I should tell my story, but on the other hand I realize that it would only be from my perspective. I don’t know the whole story, so my account of the events would be incomplete. I’ve started writing a few short chapters, and I left off during the time of my second hospitalization. Yesterday, when I was lying in bed thinking about the past, I realized that all I have to rely on is my memory of disembodied voices, and a few pages of journal entries from that time. I think I’m going to keep writing. I have a couple of other writing projects that I can work on, so maybe I’ll finish those as well.
I went to my volunteer tutoring session this morning, and that went well. Reading aloud to my student reminded me of the children’s book I had been working on a few months ago. I went to a critique group for children’s book writers, and got some feedback on my story. I haven’t finished the ending of it. I’m sure it needs quite a bit of work. I have an appointment with my therapist tonight, so I can talk to her about what I’ve been hearing, and what happened in the past. We are also supposed to do a 15 minute exercise on mindfulness during our session. I’m looking forward to it.
I went to a Creative Writing class yesterday afternoon, and really enjoyed meeting the people there. We were able to share our writing with the other class members, and I thought that was a great experience, especially being able to hear other people’s voices reading what they wrote. I wrote about wolves, Buddhism, and the gratitude that I feel for my own life. The class was very refreshing!
I read an article last night about Gandhi and his practice of nonviolence. The first prime minister of independent India, Prime Minister Nehru was Gandhi’s direct disciple. He said that the essence of Gandhi’s teachings was fearlessness. The Mahatma taught that “the strong are never vindictive,” and that dialogue can only be engaged in by the brave. The article also described an experience Gandhi had in 1948. A Hindu youth threw a handmade bomb at Gandhi. Fortunately, the bomb missed its target. Surprisingly, Gandhi was not angry with the young man, but rather he felt pity and compassion. Gandhi believed that hatred had been implanted in the youth’s heart, and that just as fire is extinguished by water, hatred can only be defeated by love and compassion.
Sometimes, although they don’t exist, I feel hatred and anger toward my voices. I wish they would leave me alone. It’s difficult to have compassion for invisible people. I heard a few comments this morning while I was exercising. Mostly statements that I have heard before (not this time, we’re trying to resolve it, you started it, etc…). After awhile they become repetitive. I feel like I’m fighting not only my own negativity, but my voices’ negativity as well. Maybe they are just a reflection of my own life. I’ve been chanting for courage, compassion and wisdom. Hopefully I can bring these qualities out of my life, and use them to improve my life, and my husband’s life as well.
Last night my husband said he was disappointed in me. That made me feel sad. I don’t want him to feel disappointed in me. He was referring to the weekend we spent in L.A., and his brother’s cancer walk. We didn’t arrive at his brother’s house until 2:30am Saturday morning, so I didn’t end up taking my medication until around 3am. At home, I usually take my medication around 10pm, not in the middle of the night! When I woke up about 9am, I was feeling dizzy. I fell while I was getting ready in the bathroom and bruised my tailbone a little. I figured my dizziness was due to the medication, and taking it so late at night. When we went to the high school to get set up for the cancer walk, I was still feeling dizzy. John drove me back to his brother’s house, and I ended up spending the rest of the day (and night) in bed sleeping.
John thought that my dizziness and reluctance to participate in the walk was also due to my anxiety, and being around strangers. Last night he asked me what I wanted to work on. I told him I wanted to work on my communication skills, and to also be more motivated. I really need to work on motivating myself. I have to push myself, rather than letting my husband do all the work. I have to admit that sometimes it feels like pulling teeth just to get myself to do 4 exercises in the morning. I made a point of doing my exercises right after chanting this morning, and when I actually laid the blanket down and started exercising, I found that it really wasn’t so hard after all!
This morning I also realized that I had accomplished quite a bit Friday before we left, and last night after we came home. On Friday, I did the laundry, washed the dishes, emptied the trash, and cleaned the apartment so that when we came back last night, everything was put away and organized except for the duffle bag we had brought with us to L.A. Last night, I unpacked and put everything away so I wouldn’t have to unpack this morning.
I still tend to worry quite a bit, and I don’t like disappointing my husband. I will keep working on myself, on motivating myself, on my communication skills, and on my appearance. I know I need to keep working on myself, so that we can have a long, happy marriage.
We’re riding down to L.A. to visit John’s brother for the weekend. We’re going to spend Saturday walking for the annual Relay for Life, an event that supports cancer research. Right now it’s almost 1am. I took some notes on some voices I heard a little while ago, and decided to post to my blog. This time from my phone.
I heard someone saying something about my book. They were trying to get me to make an agreement with them. They want me to agree not to publish a book or post to my blog about my past experiences. It seems like the same situation as a few months ago when they were trying to get me to stop practicing Buddhism. They say that I’m selfish, that I only care about myself, and that I have to give something up because they also had to give something up. I seem to be at the center of it. They are also worried about the effect my book might have on former coworkers, roommates & friends. I am not sure about this.
I used to live with the constant fear & threat of someone dying because I believed their threats. I don’t believe them anymore, but sometimes they still threaten me. I think we’ll have a great weekend & I’m not giving up.