General Question

nebule's avatar

How do you reinvent yourself?

Asked by nebule (16449points) September 1st, 2010
27 responses
“Great Question” (11points)

I have hit an all time low recently and everything that I thought defined me has been stripped away. I feel like a shell, with no life left in me.

However, I know that I must do something otherwise I could end up in a mental institute or something, my life is becoming more isolated and introverted and self-destructive by the day.

I used to have some dreams and passions but even when I think of these now it seems like so much effort and hard work and I hear the voices in my head telling me “you won’t do it anyway…you’ll start and then give up, you’re a failure, you haven’t got the time, you’ll make excuses, you’re just an inherently fat, lazy, single mother and it’s no wonder you feel like this, you deserve to feel like this…” – you get the picture.

In another thread today I mentioned how these dreams (having the body I’ve always wanted, becoming a professional painter, feeling the sparkle and excitement of life – to name a few that I can remember and still grasp loosely) just seem to fade and slip away from me as soon as I think about them.

I want to become the person I feel I can be…but it seem like such an uphill struggle to even get out of bed. I’d like to know how you go about reinventing yourself? Have to managed it? How did you do it? Can you help me find the life that I’ve never had and move on and let go of the pain that I live in and with at the moment. Everything I do at the moment is self-destructive or not self-serving.

I must add too that I find myself making excuses…even… I have a son and I’m a single mum…I don’t have time…but I know I need to take responsibility and claim the magical life that is somewhere floating around…

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Answers

zen_'s avatar

Happened to me about 12 years ago; I don’t have a formula, per se, but time heals all wounds. I don’t meditate or do yoga and I haven’t a clue about zen-related things (except what I’ve read – which means zip).

But if you can find an inner peace, you’ll find an outer love.

I just did it the hard way.

Bon chance, and Bon Voyage – for this, too, is a journey – of healing and ultimately rebirth.

augustlan's avatar

I feel your pain, girlie. I really, really do. I’ve been where you are, and have managed to come out the other side. Therapy and the right medication got me where I am today, so I have to ask… have you tried either of these things? I can’t stress enough how important a role they played in my recovery.

LuckyGuy's avatar

It was a new job that reinvented me. I didn’t think I needed the change but when I was hit with certain challenges it was sink or swim. I swam. That was 23 years ago and I never looked back.
This phase will pass and you will come back stronger.
If you plan on a “life Ctrl+Alt+Del” please keep the articulate writing skills, intelligence, and compassion you demonstrate here. You must pass those gifts on to your son.

In the meantime, you have to keep the machinery running smoothly:
Exercise – play with your son
Eat healthy meals with reasonable sizes portions.
Get regular sleep pattern
Read – to your son
Practice your 1 minute summary of yourself (the “Elevator speech”)

Finally, (and here’s the tough one…)
Give yourself two months and then go to a Parents Without Partners (or similar) meeting.
You will see you are not the only one who feels they way you do.

Good luck.

BoBo1946's avatar

Everyone can relate to your comments at some point in their life (i went through this after my divorce). I really liked MsA’s comments. Sometimes, we cannot do it on our own….we need a little guidance and confirmation. The valleys make the mountains so much prettier. Besides, “the sun does not shine on the same dog’s ass everyday!” Your day is coming @lynneblundell ! Hang in there my friend.

nebule's avatar

@augustlan Thank you xx I’m on some medication at the moment that was prescribed to try and relax my jaw as I have clenching problems, (clicking, tension, shooting and aching pains through my jaw)... it’s Amitriptylene 50mg, However, I’m not sure that this is really helping…might even be hindering me…I feel tired in the morning and struggle to get out of bed and then feel listless all day. I have an appointment next Monday to see him again about the medication. I have been having counselling for three years which has uncovered many issues that have been buried and I need to deal with, however I am stuck at the moment…not able to move on I just feel an enormous amount of grief over all the stuff that has happened to me.

@worriedguy Thank you xx Your advice is much appreciated… I need to start reading to my son again..one of the things we used to do every night, which I gave up because it was ‘easier’ and more convenient to let him watch his favourite DVD before bed (I know I know…!!!!) but it’s tough being a single parent… sometimes you need a break… but I know that it’s so important! What the elevator speech???

@BoBo1946 thank you hun! I’m going to stick those lovely little bits of wisdom up on my quote wall above my kettle…thank you xxxxx

augustlan's avatar

@lynneblundell Amitriptylene is a seriously old-school anti-depressant. I would definitely talk to your doctor about getting on one of the newer meds available. I took Amitrip. years and years ago and fully hated it. I’ve had much better luck with the SSRIs (newer meds). In your present state, I would consider getting on the medicine that works for you the primary goal. Once it has a chance to kick in and you are feeling better, that’s the time to work on all the rest. {hugs} to you, friend.

BoBo1946's avatar

@lynneblundell i’ve a very dear friend that I’ve played golf with for 30 years. One day, i was playing the worse golf i’ve ever played. Jimmy, with his wisdom, made that comment. Now, when i in one of the valleys, i just remember what Jimmy said…and sure enough, he was right. Also, when i went through my divorce, thought i was going to die everyday. But, it did get better. Now, today i’m at peace with life. I’m content…not always happy, but content. You will find the answers. And, life will get better. Lurve you girl.

BoBo1946's avatar

@augustlan the doctor put me on Zoloft. It blocks out some of that mess. It has helped.

Cruiser's avatar

I would surround yourself with a strong support network of people that know you for who you are and what you are capable of.

For the short time I have known you I think you are pretty gutsy, talented and a nice person and I don’t think I am alone. I hope you have a great day today!

LuckyGuy's avatar

@lynneblundell The elevator speech comes from business. Imagine you only have one minute in the elevator to describe the product you are selling. Sales teams know this technique.
The message has to be upbeat and positive and be shorter than one minute.
In this case, you are selling yourself. “Hi I’m LynnBlundelle from Cardiff. I work at… , I have a degree in Psych and am an expert in English Lit of the 18th century .. I have a wonderful 4 year old who is much smarter than your 4 year old. I’d like to travel to Belize.”

Ding! Time’s up! You are at your floor! Time to step out of the elevator.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I find that the “eat the elephant” approach helps me. How dow you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. First you need to make sure that the elephant is one that you really want to eat in the first place. Having a “perfect” body may be unrealistic, but being in great physical shape and toned and flexible, is. Think about what you need to do to be a professional painter; first define what that means to you, and break that down. The first thing you have to do is own materials to paint, but before that, sketch what you would want to paint. Break it down into small pieces, write it down on a list, and cross it off when you do it. Make it small, doable things.

I have the same basic list every day, starting with eating oatmeal for breakfast, doing a load of laundry, washing the dishes in the sink, etc. Not everything gets crossed off the list every day, and that’s okay. Small accomplishments will yield big results over time, just like dripping water will erode rock.

Think about cleaning out a packed closet or basement. You need the space for something else, but there’s all this stuff that other people have handed you. Just because someone gave it you, is no reason to keep it. Just because it may be useful some time in the future is no reason to keep it. So you start one box at a time, hauling stuff off to the trash, selling some things, giving things away. If you do one box a day, every day, eventually you will have a clean basement or closet, without noticing that you’re done a lot of work. The sparkle and joy will come back as you lighten your life and move forward.

nebule's avatar

@Cruiser thank you, that’s really lovely to hear, I’m going to do my best to have a good day today!!
@worriedguy Thank you! I’ll work on it…Do you do one for where you want to be…or where you are (the best of where you are obviously!)?
@BarnacleBill Yes I agree… I used to say how does a small mouse eat a big elephant…but it’s the same thing! Sometimes even writing the list seems a monstrosity…Will do it today though…maybe one list at a time eh!... thank you x

CaptainHarley's avatar

Some of the suggestions you’re recieved today are really good ones. There are only two things I might add:

1. Start small. Take one small thing you’d like to change about yourself and concentrate on that. Once you’ve made that one small change, you can move on to something bigger. But for now, one small step at a time so that you have some victories to build on.

2. Learn to forgive yourself for what you see as shortcomings, and learn to have compassion for yourself and love for yourself. Would you berate someone else for these things? Then don’t berate yourself either!

This is a worthy path you have set for yourself. God loves you, and so do we! [ HUGS ]

marinelife's avatar

@lynneblundell It sounds like you are clinically depressed. Feeling tied all the time and almost unable to get out of bed. I think you might need to change doctors as well as medication.

Persevere. You have the right to feel good!

LuckyGuy's avatar

@lynneblundell Your elevator speech is honest, and has a combination of who you are, what you do and where you are going. All very upbeat. Say it a few times and you realize you are actually that person. Example:
I’m Lynne I’m from Cardiff and I write better than 97% of all the other native English speakers on the planet. My thoughts and writings have been complimented more than 2000 times by a group of total strangers who were moved enough to say so. (and would give me a hug if they had any idea where I lived and who I was) I want to use my education and skills to help my son become the best man he can be.

Uh, oh! I feel a group hug coming on…. (((XOXOX)))

LuckyGuy's avatar

I got back too late to edit my last post.
You may argue with some of the points in the elevator speech above, “Cardiff”, and “97%” – It might be “98%”. And it was more than 2000 times that people felt your advice or questions were helpful. But basically it is correct and true.

Now go outside and get some exercise. (or if you are in a different time zone – go to bed.) Your son needs you to be loving and healthy.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Here, here with all these answers.

And it really is important to do things one bit at a time. Just shut out all the outside influences that hector you to be a certain way and commune with yourself – what is most important to you? And work from there.

Coloma's avatar

Congradulations….you are in that perfect space of your evolution!

I call my big shifts from some years ago now my ‘nervous BREAKTHROUGH.’

You don’t have to do anything, it’s already being done.

You are being primed for the birth of your next life and purpose…just stay open and listen, the universe will keep you informed as you go!

TexasDude's avatar

Demolish all of your preconceptions and opinions about everything by undermining them with the fact that the only thing you truly know is that you are capable of thinking, and everything else is doubtful.

Then, rebuild your persona to fit whatever form you want.

CMaz's avatar

Start by living for today. Do not worry about tomorrow.

GoldieAV16's avatar

Wow, great stuff here. I would just add to it that the voice in your head telling you, “claim the magical life that is somewhere floating around,” is a trickster talking. Don’t feel bad, he talks to all of us, along with a bunch of other voices in our heads that want to inform us about this experience we’re having: it could be better, I could have more, I’m not enough this or that, and I’m too much that thing or the other. There is no silencing those thoughts, but we don’t have to give them our undivided attention either. When we do, they start to dictate our moods, and then we give THOSE too much attention, too.

There is no “magical life” floating around anywhere. There is just this life. This moment. If you are waiting for something else to happen, you will wait forever.

This is it.

“There’s no harm in trying. Nothing can harm you till it comes. And it may never come. Or if it comes it is something else again. And those who say, ‘I’ll try anything once,’ often try nothing twice, three times, arriving late at the gate of dreams worth dying for.” – Carl Sandburg

The day I reinvented myself is the day I stopped trying to ” become the person I feel I can be,” and started accepting the person that I am. It’s a journey, not a destination. I have to make a conscious effort to reinvent myself with that acceptance in every moment…and the next…and the next.

MeinTeil's avatar

Run for political office.

wundayatta's avatar

Well, @lynneblundell, you’ve been watching my journey over the last three years. You could do worse than listen to @GoldieAV16. She told me many of the same things she told you, and I found they were the only things that worked for me (thank Goldie :-). But other things may work for you, of course.

I am struck by the language of your question. You want to “reinvent” yourself? Wow! That kind of blows me away. I don’t even know what it means, but it sounds like you want to be a different person.

You are who you are, I think. You can’t escape that. That’s why @GoldieAV16 suggests that accepting yourself is the first step. For me, that acceptance wasn’t so much acceptance as resignation. Yup. That’s me. Not much I can do about that.

Later on, I got sick of fighting those self-destructive, self-hating views of myself. It was really weird. When I finally gave up trying to change my own thoughts, and I just accepted my view that I was a piece of crap—this burden I didn’t even know I carried started to life.

It is hard to fight yourself 24 hours a day. When you stop, even though it sounds like you are giving in to this negative view, something odd happens. Without all that energy involved in fighting yourself (or your view of yourself), the burden drops and suddenly you bounce up a bit. And then when you bounce up, you feel better and have more energy, and that helps you move up a bit more.

Just accept your view of yourself as being a part of you. I am not saying this view is a true view or a false view. Just that it takes a lot of energy to maintain that view, and that is energy you can ill afford to give away (although if giving it away is what you are doing, that’s cool, too).

It’s about stopping that internal roundabout of thoughts about who you should be and how you can make yourself into that person. Fuck it! You are who you are, and if being negative is a part of who you are, then so be it. It’s ok. Really. It’s ok.

That was a big victory for me. I used to buy into this idea that I needed positive thinking in order to bring myself up. It was utterly frustrating and self-defeating to think that. I couldn’t think positively (because that’s not who I am), and in failing, I beat myself up for failing to be positive. I got worse.

In decided that I am negative, and in not fighting that negativity, I relaxed into myself and, oddly, became more positive (but never fully positive—no no no—not that!)

Anyway, accepting I was negative and worthless and a whole lot of other things was such a relief! I could feel those feelings without trying to fight them, but in not fighting them, they lost their power. They could only exist when I fought them. If I take a deep breath, and let them flow past that dam I was trying to maintain, you know what happens? They flow. Down the stream. Around the bend. Out of sight. Out of mind.

It doesn’t happen easily or quickly, but it’s a start. I started learning how to breath again. When you are all anxious and fighting, your breath shortens up. You only take short shallow breaths and you tense up your shoulders and your chest and wow! Letting your breath fully out and taking it fully in, and doing this in a long—slow rhythm—really helps. Listen to music, or better yet, buy yourself a harmonica and just breath through the harmonica, and you can not help but to leave your mind and all it’s frantic thinking to go somewhere else where none of that is relevant.

You know it’s a process. You’ve been through it before—or such is my impression. The meds help—and getting the right ones help even more. Finding a support group of other people like you, and meeting with them regularly just to talk about what it’s like is also really helpful.

I’m not going to insult you by telling you that you are fine as you are. I’m just saying that you are who you are, and there is nothing you can do about it. So you might as well give up fighting on that front. Put your energy into something helpful—something you want to do or something that makes you healthier. Let your feelings about yourself float away on that broad river that flows through you. You have better things to do.

Coloma's avatar

@GoldieAV16

Cheers! Another wise soul appears! :-)

nebule's avatar

@worriedguy Cool….thank you…and I did go out and get some exercise, I ran with Theo in the park, looked at some animals, played tennis, made a great tasty healthy meal…and I’ve just read him stories before bed..it feels good! x

@CaptainHarley Your number 2 is one that I relate to on a very deep level it always brings me back to loving myself…I just don’t know why this is so hard to remember to do when I’m in the pits of despair… another thing to stick up on my wall!! :-) xx

@marinelife Yes I think that you are right… I’m going back to the docs next week so hopefully that will help xx

@GoldieAV16 and @wundayatta I really appreciate where you are coming from I do and I thank you. However, I don’t think that it is a trickster saying “claim the magical life that is somewhere floating around,”...I really don’t think that’s true at all. This statement resonates within me…. It’s not a call for me to turn my back on myself and seek gratification in another life from myself I feel that it is a call to come back to myself…to do what feels good to me..to love myself… to live all the things that my heart truly is calling me to do (and not…I will add some spiritual voodoo existential God or something…) to be true to myself…and I don’t for one minute think that this requires me to ignore who I am now…I believe that it means I need to embrace all that I am…and yes, all the negativity too but I am not the negativity…I am a being that can use that. I do believe there is a magical world ‘out there’ and I experienced a bit of it this afternoon and evening… I honoured myself and my true values and I still have all the pain…but I know I can gradually heal that.

Sometimes it’s impossible to see past the duvet cover to even begin to listen to the music…or breathe…sometimes all there is is the negative stuff and no light and I think that even if it is metaphorically speaking it is important to visualise the floaty magical sparkly stuff just to get you excited again…. and then it can happen…you make it happen…because you have some life force.

Anyway…I really really thank you all. I do believe I’m on the way up and the thanks must go out to you all sincerely today for supporting me and of course I’m still open to more…. big lovin happenin here xxxxxx <3 xxxxxx

CaptainHarley's avatar

TOLD ya we love ya! : P

Lightlyseared's avatar

It is only when you have lost everything that you are free to do anything.

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