Curing Chronic Mindlessness (Just Fucking Dance)


dance rain

If you would have told me 3 years ago that one day in the near future I would find myself stone-sober in the middle of a crowded bar, dancing with my closest college friend-and that I would be having the time of my life- I would have laughed in your face.

In some moments it still seems so insane to me how much has changed in the last two years….. how my idea of fun is more or less the same, but it feels so different. It feels so much more.

3 years ago, I most likely wouldn’t have found myself moved to tears of happiness watching my favorite singer/songwriter with my head on my pregnant best friend’s shoulder, feeling perfectly content and full of gratitude.

Joshua Radin-Houston 3/13/15
Joshua Radin-Houston 3/13/15

3 years ago I wouldn’t have even been sober enough after the concert to catch up with my friend with meaningful conversation. I wouldn’t have been really listening. I would have been ploying to get my next drink, wanting to lose myself to the night.

BFF KATIE AND I AT JOSHUA RADIN!!!
BFF KATIE AND I AT JOSHUA RADIN!!!

3 years ago I would have gotten so irritated at the things I couldn’t change. I would have thrown a fit at the traffic that caused my trip to Houston to take 5 hours. I would have complained about not being able to find parking. I would have ruminated over the fact that I missed the first two openers and I would have bitched about being short and not being able to see.

3 years ago I wouldn’t have even been able to remember the concert today. I would have drunk at least a few glasses of wine before the show, and would have spent the few remaining coherent moments in line to purchase another drink or two.

I’m not sharing this to brag to you. I am just congratulating myself for making progress. I also want to burn this happy night into my mind so that one day when I’m feeling defeated or weak or tempted to numb myself, I’ll remember how good life can be when I allow myself to truly be in the moment.

Because honestly, the more I go about practicing “mindfulness” and really working at things we discuss in therapy, the more I think that’s really what my problem has always been.

Chronic Mindlessness.

Sure, you can call it addiction. You can label me with whatever you think fits. I’ll even label myself with my various disorders (eating disorder, anxiety, ocd, adhd, depression, alcoholic) because sometimes I think it helps to identify with something. It makes you feel not so alone to know that there are others who are struggling with you.

But honestly, for me at least; it all just comes down to the compulsive urge to be mindless. I’ve realized that I have spent my whole life seeking things that I can use to take me out of the moment. I am constantly trying to escape the things I have to do that seem really difficult; I’m always trying to find peace; to escape any uncomfortable feeling that might arise -when all along what I was looking for was right there. Then. Right. Now.

It’s always right now.

I’m still struggling with being in the moment, but I’m now able to recognize when I’m resisting it. The more I meditate and the more effort I put into it, I’m able to catch myself trying to resist the now. Whether I’m using food, or reliving the past, or inventing the future, or compulsively buying something that won’t make me happy- I’m starting to catch myself trying to escape the right now.

So now, rather than collecting a box of ammunition that I know I will use in an attempt to escape the current moment, I’m collecting a box of tools that I know will help keep me grounded.

I used to think the notion of “toolboxes” was cheesy therapy stuff, but now I know that I had one all along. I just had all the wrong tools.

My toolbox has always been filled with distractions, with drama, with alcohol, with overeating, with negative self talk. My tool box was crafty. It was able to invent diseases that became obsessions. It invented problems and turned them into catastrophes. It invented excuses disguised as rationalizations. All these tools kept me from enjoying the life that is happening right now.

Now I’m trying to completely reinvent myself and learn to use new tools that work for me. It’s difficult, and it’s forcing me to pay attention to the things I already have at my disposal that I know keep me in the now.

For me, that means healthy relationships with people that I can be honest and open with; inspirational quotes and books; long walks with my animals; gratitude lists; journaling; candles and soothing scents; doing small things that will make other people happy; breathing deep; and a really good playlist with music that I know will make me dance.

In fact, that’s how I really know I’m getting better… I’m dancing again.

Just yesterday, I caught myself dancing in the middle of my lunchtime walk. And I let it happen despite that tiny little voice in my head that wanted me to resist.

It’s completely impossible to dance and not be in the present moment.

 

 

 

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  • Mwa

    YES. It can be so hard to get to that moment though…

  • http://www.carissajaded.com CarissaJaded

    It is but worth it!

  • http://www.militarywifeandpuglife.com MilitaryWifeandPugLife

    This is such a great post. Much like you, my struggle has been with the same things….I want to say alcoholism goes hand in hand with bulimia. Not sure why that is so much, but it does. When my ed wasn’t as bad, then I’d turn to drinking and vice versa…if that makes any sense.
    Ok, enough stalking through your old blog posts for one day lady! :)