Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bringing Every Thought Under Control. Fighting Negative Emotions.

Sitting at my computer in numb disbelief I ponder what the State of California has done to me. After I get through paying Medicare, HMO (they work together), rent, Internet, cell phone, bus pass, food and Netflix I have a whole $12 left at the END of each month! Rage begins to build. Losing all perspective I march down to my landlord's office to tell him of this lousy state of affairs. I do nothing to mask my rage. My landlord's two dogs begin fighting.

I remember immediately that my emotions are out of control and feel bad that I have encouraged some kind of problem between two loving animals. The dog fight brings me back to reality. I have a situation, not a disaster. God hasn't vacated His throne, but I need to grow up emotionally.

When I go to church and play "pity me, like I'm pitying myself" games I get gently, but firmly put in my place. When I am honest and state why I'm upset, I am comforted and gently reminded that I am still blessed. (But it is alright to be sad, or angry. You just can't attempt to stay in that unhappy place).

Oh how I hate hearing similar things in church all the time. "I was mad because I had no shoes, until I saw a person who had no feet." This encourages perspective and gratitude. (From time to time I detest being told I should remember to be thankful).

I heard from a friend last night. She was very down. Thank goodness I have learned a bit of restraint. I don't like looking at someone Else's depression when I feel close to depression myself. I resisted the very real temptation to tell her to "get over it."

Like me, she loses perspective, getting mad, jealous and envious. With those things ruling her mind, she then settles down to remember what a total failure she is. (Man, I flirt with this stuff constantly).

I have made some money with my work. Being alone in a house with a cat, or a dog can be difficult. Without the weekly church meetings, it is very easy for me to get lost in ME. Before my friend called, I'd been pondering my choices about my money:

Go to hotel for a night with an expensive dinner OR
buy new walking shoes, a computer desk and new shelving.

I cannot do it all. I fought despair all day, but gave in a bit with a nap. I felt my attitude deteriorating into apathy, despair, rage. Coming up the rear - good 'ol self hatred. (You know you could have gotten off the system and gotten a real job, if you weren't such a lazy failure).

That last bit is a total load of garbage. Back to what I know works.

God I am thankful for ...?
God I trust You and I will continue to put you first in my life.
God, help me to start thinking of someone else, who isn't blessed like I am, RIGHT NOW!

My friend and I had a good long talk. She thanked me for helping her get perspective. I have to thank her for showing me how important the constant reinforcement of church has strengthened me for the times my work forces me to be alone. I clearly see that my emotional strength and stability comes from hanging around God and His people.

Yes, I need medication. Without it, I believe I'm a spider who needs to be killed. But with a stabilized mind I have some say as to how depressed I become. The consequences of letting myself fall into a total emotional collapse are harder to recover from, then the effort it takes to stop an emotional slide before it turns into a physical, chemical reaction. Said reaction would require medical intervention. Funny, I believe I'm learning to actually grow up.

I know my friend faces similar temptations. Thankfully, she has the means to secure some therapy. A process which will unlock some of those terrible prisons of her past. She claims I helped her. God helped us both. I prayed to Him as I spoke to my friend. He answered questions for both of us. I see growth and hope.

Financially, it isn't as grim as I first stated. I save some money each month which brings my play money down to $12. Maybe I can accept having to WAIT until I've saved the money before I just go out and buy something? What a concept. It seems silly, but if I save money first, I can give myself those lovely moments of having money to just "blow". Maturity requires planning, whereas letting myself just be impulsive causes me to borrow money. I'm tired of having people ask me, "But, what happened to the money..." If I never hear that question again, this self-discipline thing will have been totally worth the struggle.

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