your army – a weapon

**This is the second post in an ongoing blog series, featuring some practical tools and activities. Fill up your arsenal, build your team, and collect your weapons for recovery.

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Negative thoughts and behaviours live in and breed isolation. It is a silent struggle, fueled by stigma and secrecy. Undeserving. Shameful, Futile… With conviction, the list of reasons for solitude will condemn you to a corner. Here, you will find yourself without the tools you need to battle.

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Let’s switch paradigms. Let’s reclaim some control and hope.

Backed into a corner alone is exactly where it wants you. This is a slimy and manipulative enemy that targets you when you are weak. Blitzkrieg style. Exposing yourself takes away some of it’s power. It writhes and cringes and stings in the broad daylight, surrounded by support and positivity.
Be prepared to feel vulnerable – this is a trick it will play. The oldest trick in the book. But remember, shame and blame cannot be tackled without awareness, understanding and support.

Your army is already waiting to be recruited. You’re not alone. Grab a pen. Write down some names and phone numbers:

…the one who is a good listener
…the one who doesn’t listen, doesn’t ask questions, and is an entertaining talker
…the one who doesn’t know any of my other friends
…the one who doesn’t tell me what I want to hear, but tells me what I need to hear
…the one who is up for anything and doesn’t need two-weeks notice to grab a latte
…the one who is awake at unreasonably late hours of the night
…the one who can make me laugh
…the one who lives nearby
…the one who will support me no matter what, possibly because they are genetically obliged
…the one who can relate
…the one who will make me go out and do something fun
…the one who is actually not a human, but is either a pet or imaginary and thus, has no phone number
…the one who gives amazing advice

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this little piggy

One will wither away. One will remain chronic, managing a half-life of nagging abuse and constant vigilance. And what of the other one?

I don’t have the magic words. I am not exceptionally clever, or powerful, or manipulative. I did not discover a secret key to a secret garden, or mix some supernatural potion. I did not walk out of those doors fully cured. It just didn’t hurt to sit down anymore.

I am alive. I plan to be for a good while – I am finishing my degree, I have fulfilling relationships with family and friends. I treat myself gently and with respect. I have enough love inside me that I can afford to offer it to someone else. Someone deserving, who thinks I’m deserving.

I cannot choose the course of life. I can choose to have faith and be fiercely real. I can choose to exist in even-mindedness, self-awareness and peaceful disposition.

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i know who i’m not

It wasn’t long ago that I thought I had myself all figured out. I knew I was a daughter, a sister, a dancer, a student, a friend, a girlfriend – and my roles told me what I wanted. Or rather, my society knew what it wanted me to want, which made it easy for me to fit where I was supposed to. I had clear, quantifiable parameters I knew I could satisfy.

The reality is much more intricate. Like all things worthwhile, it requires hardwork and bravery to discover what you want. You get everyone’s ideas, but in the absence of your own, you begin chasing things. You cannot learn until you actually experience what you want. Taking risks and challenging your beliefs hasten it. Denial, inaction, and avoiding failure stifle it.

I may not know exactly what I want, but I’m learning what I don’t want…

– I don’t want to read more than one book at a time.
– I don’t want to always have to earn things that I like.
– I don’t want to be thinking about other things when someone is speaking to me.
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– I don’t want to eat the same things everyday.
– I don’t want to tolerate when someone has hurt me.
– I don’t want to downplay things that I’m excited about.
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– I don’t want to be embarrassed when my attitudes differ from someone else’s.
– I don’t want to care about being overdressed.
– I don’t want to be afraid of things that are not a threat to me.
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– I don’t want to have excuses for not doing my nails, not having a bubble-bath, or not eating breakfast.
– I don’t want to look down when I walk, or a few paces behind.
– I don’t want to have a small family, or a home without pets.
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What do you want?

gratitude

I didn’t really smile anymore. Slowly came the epiphanic moments that intermittently lit me up again. Surprising at first, until they grew more and more frequent. How easily those tiny moments of happiness can slip into the mundane. We tune it out, rather than allowing ourselves to feel gratitude dance through our beings. We forget that once our survival needs are met, the surplus of other things have little impact on our inner sense of well-being. What matters is the intensity of our attention to what we do have in life. I want to concentrate on my blessings and remember to feel the good in each day.

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