30 Day Blog Challenge — Day Sixteen
How I Stay Positive
This is an interesting topic. I don’t always stay positive. In fact, I am often plagued by doubt, mostly with my writing. There are whole days that I will allow doubt to unnerve me and drop me down a deep well. But I’ve lived years in a deep well and a day or two there now has little long term effect on me.
Thirteen years and six months ago, I made the worst mistake of my entire life. I married a narcissistic jerk. No, I didn’t know he was one when we married, but he showed subtle hints the first few years. I was too caught up in the ideals of marriage to see him for what he was. That changed when he moved me over 1000 miles away from friends and family and isolated me in a his home town. Life with a narcissist is difficult. You never do anything right, you are always to blame for every little thing that happens, and you are never allowed to be yourself. The Narc, on the other hand, is always right, always perfect, and by god if things do not go the Narc’s way, you will pay dearly through tirades and rage. As a result of that life, I suffered debilitating depression for 9 years, attempted suicide 8 times and was in and out of mental hospitals 7 times. Truly, only cancer saved me. When I was faced with the thoughts of my own death at the hands of cancer, I turned my life around. I decided that I wanted to live and fight for my dreams. And those dreams did not include living with a narcissist.
I went into deep therapy and began practicing mindfulness. I had already been practicing Buddhism for a few years, but the whole idea of mindfulness became my life raft. Mindfulness teaches to be in the moment, concentrating solely on one thing at that moment, to put your full attention on it. The first exercise I learned was brushing my teeth mindfully. Most of us are automatons when it comes to doing simple things like brushing our teeth or combing/brushing our hair. We do it without thought, and sometimes while doing other things. But to slow down and concentrate solely on that one thing, giving it complete attention, opens the eyes to a wondrous experience. I began taking time for all small things: eating a meal, sipping a cup of tea, watching a sunset or sunrise, being fully present in the moment. It was also at this time that I began writing “small stones” a concept of jotting down small snapshots of a moment. Between the practice of mindfulness and those “small stones,” I began to feel peace — joyful, positive peace. Along with peace came acceptance and gratitude. And yes, I left that marriage.
And now, when I feel that deep well swallowing me up, I begin concentrating on one small simple thing, and although it still may take a while because of the mental illness I do suffer, peace does return to me. And that is how I stay positive.