I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions a long time ago because if there is one thing I have come to learn while in the throes of my mental illness it’s that by setting big goals at the start of any new year will only further exasperate my feelings of failure and defeat.
But I’m a planner and I have always tried to fight off the need to ensure that every part of my life is organized to a tee except that when I do find myself veering off course my OCD, my Depression and my Anxiety will set me back for days on end which only leads me to those further feelings of defeat and failure.
Over the last many years the only daily planner I’ve used to organize my goals has been the calendar in my phone but those daily or sometimes hourly notifications that pop up as simple reminders or good intentions have become all too overwhelming for me and can often be quite triggering at times.
So as the new year nears I have decided to try a different approach to help keep many of those triggers at bay. Several times a day when I receive one of those notifications on my phone I look at it like you would a deer in your headlights and then I find myself quickly deleting it or moving it to some future date. So for now my plan is to begin the new year off by writing down simplified goals each day and my daily intentions instead of typing them into my phone.
This I am hoping will help to alleviate my need to search for them because they will be more readily visible to me and I won’t be able to delete or move them about so easily either. I also won’t be so easily distracted by a ping on my phone that can trigger a sense of hopelessness in me and instead I can choose when I am mentally able to open up my planner for the day.
I do try and set small, simplified goals or intentions for myself each day but I’m finding myself with less and less motivation to tackle much of anything right now.
My headspace is filled with an abundance of clutter; I’m sleeping less and less, drinking and smoking more and more and unable to complete so many of even the tiniest of intentions which is why I plan to use the brightest and most colorful markers to fill in my new daily planner and I plan to do so with the greatest of intentions. And even if some days all I can tackle from my daily planner is maybe taking a warm bubble bath then at least I will know that I did so with great intention.
What do you use to write down your day to day plans/goals?
With a year like no other almost behind us, how have your goals simplified and what do you hope to fill your 2021 daily planner with most?
About a month prior to the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic I had registered my family to participate in a Walk for CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) in support of #MOBYSSinmotion; a confidential mobile Walk-in-Clinic for Youth and a wonderful resource for our young people who may be facing crisis right now.
CMHA has played an important role in my life over the last 6 years and I had donated some proceeds from my book sales last year as a thank you for the services they provide to both adults and youth in Canada which was why I wanted to participate in the event and why I didn’t want today to go unnoticed so I found a picture perfect place for us to enjoy a beautiful hike on our own in honour of the walk/run/bike event since it was of course cancelled.
Oh and I should also mention that it was 5 months ago today since I had my last cigarette!
It’s been a hundred and thirty something days since I’ve had a cigarette, not a hundred and thirty something days since I’ve desired a cigarette but a hundred and thirty something days since I last smoked one. There are many days (and nights) that go by now where I barely even think about smoking anymore but the days that I do are fucking hell and last night was probably the worst I’ve experienced, even more so than the first few days after I quit back in January. You all remember January; that cold, dark, dreary month of the year that we all wish we could go back in time to right now. Boy what I’d give to go back there now in a heartbeat, with my concussion and all!
Last night I had a panic attack which only exasperated the exhaustion and overwhelm I was already experiencing and I suddenly felt like a junkie who would do just about anything to get their next “fix”. If you have ever suffered with an addiction of any kind before (drug, alcohol, gambling etc) you can relate to how out of control I felt from my “need” to smoke NOW. I begged Rich to get me a pack of cigarettes and I began envisioning myself sitting on my front porch enjoying the beautiful spring air and thinking that having just 1 cigarette wouldn’t be a big deal at all.
It’s nights like this that have me thinking I will never be free of cigarettes. But then again is there really a specific timeline as to how long it should take a smoker of over 30 years to fully stop having the desire to smoke?
It’s been ONE HUNDRED days since I smoked my last cigarette. By my own calculations (I’ve never been great at math) that’s approximately 1200 cigarettes I haven’t smoked and approximately 725 dollars in savings.
Both are quite significant achievements don’t ya think? Both are definitely noteworthy right? Then why is it still so hard? Why is it that I just want to smoke one more cigarette even though I can see (and feel) all the incredible benefits from not smoking. And if there is to be a #summerofrich this year (an abridged version would do!!) that means that physically there will be no mountain I cannot climb and just hearing one of my daughters tell me that I am now that much less vulnerable to the risks associated with Covid-19 if I were to (G-d forbid) contract it should be reason enough to never want to smoke another cigarette ever again, but mentally of course, mentally, I hear a much different story in my head.
Cigarettes had become a crutch for me over the last 6 years, a way to release stress, manage an anxiety attack, quiet the thoughts in my head (I never hesitated to step outside at 2am for a cigarette to help “quiet the thoughts” when I couldn’t sleep) or calm the panic but what would happen if I were to give into my triggers or mental cravings right now?
Would it take away the overwhelm or change the situation we are living in or make everything better? Or would it simply just give those nasty, vicious voices dancing around in my head another reason to make me feel like a complete failure and a worthless human being?
So my question is; if timing is everything then was my choice to quit smoking ONE HUNDRED days ago one which was made with “infinite possibilities” or some kind of “meaningful coincidence”?
Boy did I pick the wrong decade to quit smoking. I came very close to caving today, probably the closest I’ve come in the 2 months since quitting. My mental health has gotten the best of me. I went to the store today where I’ve been buying my cigarettes for years, the woman working behind the counter asked me how I am doing and of course the tears began flowing down my cheeks as I stood there staring right through her at the shelving of cigarettes mounted to the wall above her head. I wiped away my tears, took a deep breath and decided maybe winning the lottery was a better choice for me today instead.
Fifty days smoke-free today! 50 is a pretty big number don’t ya think? But I’m not gonna lie, the road to get here has not been an easy one. There has been an exorbitant amount of overwhelm in my life over the last 50 days. Many days I’ve wanted to “quit” quitting smoking, many days I’ve walked by second hand smoke and inhaled it, only dreaming of lighting up myself but the cravings are getting less and less each day and so too are my triggers.
Addiction of any kind is difficult to maneuver and is a constant battle; kudos to everyone who conquers their quest every single day. I don’t know if there will ever be a day where I don’t think about smoking but for today I choose to crush my cravings and not give into temptation!
So for today can I get a Woot Woot or a high five please!! 👐🤜🤛🙌✊
Tomorrow will be exactly 1 month (Jan 14, 2020) since I quit smoking (time sure flies when you’re having fun!). That’s over 300 cigarettes I haven’t smoked, that’s nearly 250 dollars I’ve saved and that’s a whole lot of Self-Love! Having the ability to feel Self-Love is something I struggle with daily as you’ve probably noticed by now.
To feel Self-Love takes a lot of ongoing and continual upkeep of a person’s body, mind and soul in order to help maintain a more fulfilling life. Simply put, it’s not something money can buy you because Self-Love isn’t a feeling of instant gratification you desire in order to fulfill a pleasure in the here and now.
Well seeing as tomorrow just so happens to also be Valentine’s Day maybe it’s a sign from Cupid, maybe he is willing to guide me toward true Self-Love but maybe in the meantime he can guide me toward some of that instant gratification! Afterall, 30 days smoke free surely deserves a gift in the here and now too; wouldn’t you agree? ❤💖🛍💍👡
A year ago today (it came up on my memory wall) I told you about a chronic recurrent skin condition that I have been battling with for about 3 years now (see blog; Antibiotics: To Take Or Not To Take). Its name is as painful to pronounce as the condition itself and when a flair up occurs it is beyond debilitating.
Last summer I went to see a specialist who happens to be the only one of her kind in the city who specializes in Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS for short). Months prior to seeing the specialist I had been put on an antibiotic indefinitely which I was not comfortable with but it seemed like the only solution until my appointment with the specialist.
Once I finally met with the specialist she then prescribed me yet another medication that she said would be more tolerable as a long term option. We discussed future treatments in case the medication didn’t work, treatments which could include surgery or a very well known drug which treats many autoimmune diseases that would need to be injected into my body weekly for the rest of my life.
As you can well imagine, none of her options sounded too appealing to me. We also had a very candid discussion about many of the underlying causes behind this chronic (and basically) non- curable condition. Included in that list of causes are inflammation in the body and mood disorders, both of which have been the bane of my existence for almost 6 years now. It is also very likely to affect people (this condition in general affects more women than men) who are overweight and who smoke. Well lucky me, I was basically 4 for 4.
I have another follow up appointment in a couple of months but I have not had a single flair up in 2 months since I began my quest to find all natural remedies for my Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis symptoms. I have lost weight and quit smoking in that same 2 month period and I am living pain free as well; all thanks to a couple of scoops of magic each and every day. And the best part is I don’t need to take medication anymore to keep the flair ups at bay.
There may be no cure for HS or many of the other daily issues that consume my life but for now I am grateful to have found these products that are helping me focus on finding my way towards living my best life both mentally and physically.