Friday, January 01, 2016

This is Why New Year's Resolutions Are the Worst (Warning: Very Revealing Inside Look Into My Own Madness)

If we're all striving to be a better person than we were yesterday, then what if yesterday was one of our best days? All of these redundant cliches, platitudes and inspirational quotes told by other people tend to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but isn't it just a temporary fix to just say, "You're life is messed up, so just get your shit together." Due to my line of work, I network with a bunch of online marketing entrepreneurs, life coaches and seminar gurus -- the kind where you'll most likely never see them having a bad day -- kinda like my chihuahua -- all piss 'n vinegar and revvin' to go to new and exciting places. Words like, "journey", "goals", "achievement" and "success" are all used in order to make you feel as though you don't have those right now, so by listening to people rattle off these highly motivating words will somehow make you wanna jump right out of your chair and do something BIG.

But it's not that easy.

Then New Year's Eve hits and everybody becomes a philosopher with high hopes, dreams and aspirations for the upcoming year. Even making resolutions has been canned these days. Some people call it, "intentions" -- and I like it much better! I was speaking to an online entrepreneur and she was suggesting that the word "resolution" comes with a lot of pressure. So, if we say "intention" -- at least our intentions are to become better at whatever we want to improve at. We all want to get better, right? But is it realistic, especially when aiming at a very high goal?

For instance, if you say you want to lose 30 lbs in the upcoming new year, and one month later, you only see 10 lbs chopped off, you sort of feel discouraged and then perhaps fall back into your old routine. But if you think on a long-term scale of how long it took to gain the 30 lbs, then maybe it'll help you realize that as much time as it takes to gain weight, will actually take the same, if not more time to lose the weight. Nobody has patience.

Some people swear up and down that they're going to work from home or start up a new business of their own. But what does that require? It requires time to develop the money and time to maintain the patience of waiting over a year to only have made an income to support the overhead or stability of keeping a home-based office. A lot of inspiring entrepreneurs make it seem easy when it's actually not. I was fortunate enough to have had a partner help me while going through all the rough patches of trying to make money at home. But it took 10 years and even after those 10 long years, the money wasn't as good as it was sitting in a cubical from 8am to 8pm. But I will say one thing: I have quality of life and the time to do the things I love to do. For me, that's worth more than any dollar can buy me. So it depends on how much patience and how much willpower you have to wait out those low income lulls and aggravation in order to see the fruits of your labor.

I'm gonna put myself out there, but it's the same with mental health. I suffer from anxiety and depression really bad. Some days are good, and some days I feel like the weight of the world is crushing my very soul. Most days are good -- but that's only because I got help. I'll never forget September of 2014. It's still an incredible lucid imagery in my mind. I was at the darkest time in my entire life. I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't go out because I was too afraid to walk out of the door knowing how unstable my emotions were, as well as how unstable the world was. I didn't want to see anyone, I didn't like anybody and most of all, I didn't like myself. I was suffering so terribly with depression, that eventually, the suicidal thoughts came creeping in. And if you know me or knew me on a personal level, you'd think of me as  "bubbly" or "funny" -- always smiling or trying to do something for someone else. I was a "people pleaser" and I felt that I needed to do that in order for people to be nice to me. I was terrified of conflict or someone hurting me. My view of the world and the people around me were so distorted that I actually thought every single person on this earth, including my own family hated me.

I wanted to die.

The mind is very powerful. You wouldn't believe how many lies you can conjure up in that little ol' noggin of yours. I call it "the devil" -- because he's the biggest liar of all. But when we listen to "the devil" -- we start believing a distorted view of the world and how we need "justice" -- or even how we should feel "entitled" and so, we hold grudges, we become bitter and stew in our own misery. And there you have it: a pity party for one. So with my last bit of hope, I picked up the phone and dialed a suicide hotline. I thought that maybe someone would have a tiny bit of compassion for what I was going through. I wanted to know if there were still some genuine people out there in the world -- even if it was a suicide hotline operator. I mean -- I get it -- they're trained to help you to live for the next 2 minutes and the next 2 minutes after that one, and so on... I wanted to hear good things from someone who has never met me before. I didn't want to hear, "Oh snap out of it," or "You're crazy for thinking that!" And I was.

I was directed to this wonderful psychologist who invited me over to her office to talk. I walked into her office with a lot of doubt that she could ever possibly help me. But I was there...alive. I've been through a gazillion therapists and psychiatrists who never thought anything was wrong with me. That should be a good thing, right? They just wanted to throw me kickback pills -- a bandaid for all my troubles, but it only made me worse. They didn't see the Deb who cried for days on end or the Deb who would flip out in a rage because a tiny thing in her life didn't go her way. They didn't see me throw a whole chicken off the deck....along with a crockpot and a few other dinners as well. (It's actually a comical story to be told.) I never hurt anyone physically, but my reactions could sometimes scare the shit out of myself. I was a hot mess. And sure, I can blame it on still grieving for my dad who suffered so terribly from cancer -- a horrible nightmare that I can't get out of my head. How can such a strong man die on us? I don't get it. Life was vulnerable and everything around me was just unstable.

I needed help.

Walking into Terri's office was the best thing I did in my life. Her office was warm and inviting. Her presence was genuine, sincere and caring. Sometimes, I would tell her a traumatic event in my life to only look up and see a tear streaming down her own face. My trust began to build up from there and each time I left her office, I felt as though I could take on the world for that week. And as I got better, I could take on the world for another 2 weeks. I still go to her because my life is always in need of those psychological tuneups. And as she reiterates to me with each email, "Call me if you need me," -- it's not the "call me anytime" type of bullshit that someone will spew off to you. She always takes time out of her day to sit and talk to me even if I'm having one of those 'cray-cray'-moments. She even came to my home once because I felt like I couldn't leave the house. That's incredibly rare.

So my point of this long write up is -- screw the "New Year's resolutions" -- I made a resolution the moment I walked into Terri's office. I wanted to better myself, my mind, my heart and with each session, my battles decreased and I became more aware of my surroundings, especially my reactions to negative situations. I stopped feeding the devil's fire with explosive reactions. I learned that everyone in this world suffers from something -- whether it's mental anguish, emotional turmoil or grief -- we all connect in a world of suffering. It sounds terrible, but that's the glue that binds all of us as "one" -- to share in the suffering. And now I get why they say, "To share in the suffering of Christ" -- to learn that we need to suffer from time to time in order to appreciate the tranquil moments of life. We need to go through the pain of life in order to make us stronger and to have more endurance to go through another round of chaos. Life isn't always going to be peaceful. Life is going to be full of things we don't want. But what if we can view life as a swinging pendulum that goes back and forth to the good and to the bad and back to the good again?

I get a lot of people asking me, "Deb, why are you so incredibly open with this personal stuff?"

Because maybe someone will relate to what I've been through and what I still go through. Because the fact is: every single person has their own "crazy" -- and when they try to hide it long enough, it'll eventually come to a head in whatever form. I'm open about this because I want my feelings to be fluid -- not trapped inside this vessel I travel in -- but pouring outwardly disposing of these toxic energies. I think that's the whole point of therapy as well. I think every single person on this earth who breathes in air should see a therapist. We live in a scary time and there is nothing wrong with admitting that you need help in some area of your life -- or perhaps all areas of your life. It makes you more human -- more approachable and even more likable, because we'll both look at each other and nod, saying, "Yes, I can definitely relate." And how beautiful is that? The realization that we are all connected and have an infinite amount of love for one another on a cosmic level; on a spiritual level? We may not like one another in this third dimensional crazy world we live in -- but underneath all of that surfaced 3-D illusion, there is love.

And that's our foundation.

Throw those resolutions out the door and work on you every single chance you get. And if you fail, remember that there is no such thing as failure. There's only more chances to get it right the next time around.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!