This blog is an uncensored look into my soul. I am writing this as part of my healing process, but am leaving it public so others can follow me through my journey.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Power of Thought

One of the most important things I’ve learned through going to therapy is the power of thought.  I came to realize that a lot (not all), but a lot of my misery was due to my thought process and the lies I was telling myself, all day, everyday.  Once I discovered how to control my thoughts better and really focus on reality, my life changed real quickly.  I’m still not perfect at it, but I’m getting better and better each day at focusing on the positive things in life and not allowing myself to dwell in anger and self-pity.

The one thing I love about my therapist is that she doesn’t make me feel bad or guilty for having such angry, negative thoughts or feeling sorry for myself.  As a matter of fact, she completely validates those feelings and the right I have to feel them.  However, she has also taught me that it does me absolutely no good to entertain those types of feelings.  For example, she made me realize that I absolutely have the right to be angry about losing my daughter and having to live the rest of my life here on Earth without her.  It’s so normal to feel that way.  But, on the other hand, dwelling on the anger and allowing myself to justify it is not helping me at all.  It’s not going to bring Hailey back any sooner and it’s making me and those around me miserable.  What is the point in that? 

So I began writing an anger journal, as she suggested, which helped immensely.  She recommended writing or typing it out…everything, very candidly, then putting it away for a day or two, going back and rereading it, then destroying it.  By rereading it a couple days later when that initial anger has dissipated I’ve come to learn how over-exaggerated it is at times and how it also passes.  This has really helped me to put some things into perspective.  Like when I vent for half a page about how I hit a red light while running late one day, only to go back and read it a day later and laugh as I realize how little that moment really affected my life as a whole! 

The other thing I learned about the way I think is that I often use very exaggerated phrases, and come to believe them wholeheartedly.  For example, I would often say how unfair it was that I had to lose my child and everyone else in the world gets to watch their children grow up.  (The key exaggeration in that phrase is: everyone else.)  I mean really?  EVERYONE else gets to watch their children grow up?  A thought like that makes me feel alone, isolated, and very angry.  Yet, when I take a step back and really think about it, I’m reminded that I’m not alone because there are millions of people in this world who have lost a child and sometimes more than one.  So I have to remind myself to take a step back and really think about the lies that I’m telling myself and actually believing.

One of the terms my therapist uses is “ego.”  Yes, a total psychology term.  But, it is true that we all have one and it really is the devil on our shoulder.  Our egos are not nice.  It’s their job to make us miserable by all the self-talk and lies they feed us.  Instead of the word “ego,” I like to use Satan because I truly believe that he is so darn real and out to get us.  He would like nothing more than to slip in when I’m down and ruin my life by making me angry and miserable.  So, now I make it my mission to tick him off by not giving into those negative thoughts.

Now again, this is still a major work in progress for me.  (And probably always will be.) I was very skeptical at first about the power of thought and how it can change one’s life, but I was so desperate for some help that I decided to take whatever advice my therapist gave me to the full extent.  I can now say that I am a true believer.  My life and outlook on life has changed drastically in less than a month.  It has taken a lot of effort (and prayer) on my part to stop allowing myself to go to the negative in thought because honestly, I’ve always been quite the pessimist, so those thoughts come very naturally for me and are a very strong, bad habit. 

When I feel myself getting annoyed, angry, or depressed, I instantly stop and analyze what I’m thinking.  What lies am I (or Satan) telling myself that I’m believing?  I also try to think of the eternal perspective in all this.  I remind myself that this life is so small compared to what is to come in the next life.  These trials are not forever.  They too shall pass, just as the trials I had as a teenager and young adult.  And I know, through experience, that I will be a much better person for having survived them.  I remember that Hailey is still very much alive in spirit and aware of me and around all the time.  I think of all the things I have to be grateful for, still, even though she isn’t physically here with me.  I thank God for the awesome miracles and blessings that have come since this happened. I look forward to tomorrow when I know that whatever little thing has me annoyed in the moment will be over and not matter anymore.  The majority of the time, these thoughts are strong enough to snap me out of my funk and bring me back to reality and a feeling of peace.  And when they’re not, I try to be patient with myself and remember that I am not perfect…I’m a grieving, pregnant mother just doing my best.

Anyways, I just wanted to share some of those thoughts and experiences with all of you.  They have literally changed my life and way of thinking, not only regarding the loss of Hailey, but in everything that daily life has to offer me.  Through prayer, I have been reminded that all these principles and skills my therapist has taught me are completely in line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and everything He stands for.  He is full of peace, comfort, joy, and especially hope. I pray that I will continue to remember these things I’ve learned when times are tough again and I’m feeling hopeless…if not, please remind me to reread this blog post!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Feeling Better

Gosh, I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to write again!  The last time I wrote I wasn’t doing so well, but I am so happy to say that I’m feeling much, much better!  I can tell you that if I don’t write for a while, it’s usually safe to assume it’s because I’m doing great and enjoying those times of peace and happiness.  Writing my blog is a very emotional, thought provoking thing for me, so sometimes when I’m feeling good I just want a break from the emotion and thought which is why I don’t write as often.  This has been a great outlet for me during my troubled times, so I usually tend to write more when I’m struggling and either need to get it all out or I just need some extra love and support (which I can always count on from my readers!).

 I am also so honored that so many of you have emailed me or written to me asking about how I’m doing.  Knowing that I have so many people out there who think about me and care so much is beyond a blessing to me.  Therefore, when I write about my bad days, I’ll make it a point to let you all know when I’m also feeling much better too, so I don’t leave you all wondering what the heck is going on!

I’ve been going to grief therapy weekly, which has worked miracles for me.  My therapist is literally one of the most amazing women I have ever met.  She has taught me a lot about the power of thought and what a powerful effect it has on one’s life (both good and bad).  I’ve really learned how to change my way of thinking and also calm myself down when I’m feeling so angry or overwhelmed.  This has had a ripple effect in my home, as well.  My girls are so much happier and calmer, which also makes me (and my husband) feel the same!  We’ve come back to enjoying one another and really feeling grateful for life.

Speaking of feeling grateful for life, I’ve been really focusing on gratitude and what I’m truly grateful for.  Wow, what a difference that has made!!!  I highly recommend everyone try it out. Although I’ve had a terrible thing happen to me in losing Hailey, I still have so, so much to be grateful for.  I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only person in the world struggling with trials and there is no point in comparing my trial to anyone else’s.  That’s just a recipe for self-pity and anger.  We all have trials, some are just more visible to the outside world than others.

The power of prayer is also undeniable.  Seriously, I don’t know if I would have made it over the past couple months without my daily chats with my Heavenly Father.  I’ve come to really understand how He is just that…my Father who lives in Heaven.  When I think of my own father here on Earth and how much I know he loves me and supports me, I come to realize the same about my Father in Heaven.  He is not just “God,” He is literally my father.  He created me and knows me better than I know myself.  Through prayer…and I mean honest prayer, really pouring my heart and soul out…I have come to develop a better relationship with Him and understand how He loves and supports me just like my father here on Earth…and even so much more (no offense Dad!).  That relationship and understanding has done wonders for my well-being.  Trying to see life in the eternal perspective, the big overall picture, and not just looking at these few small moments here on Earth has changed my outlook and attitude so much.

I still have so much more I want to write and share about these past couple months.  The things I’ve experienced and learned are wonderful.  And, realistically, I know that this isn’t the end of my journey through grief, anger, depression, etc.  I know one day it will come back around to bite me in the buns again, but now I’m better prepared to handle it and I also know that it won’t last forever.

I love my little Hailey so much and I miss her more and more every single day.  I know that will never go away, but I owe it to her to be happy and enjoy my life and the blessings that I still have. 

I’ve been quite busy, but I’ll be back again soon to continue filling you all in on all the wonderful things that have happened over the past couple months to help me heal, restore my faith, and bring some joy back into my life.

Thank you again to all of you who have wholeheartedly supported and loved me just the way I am, without any judgment.  I have learned a lot about the importance of not making assumptions or judgments of others…we just never know the real facts.

My new favorite quote is: “There is no one you couldn’t love if you knew their whole story.”  I’m not sure who wrote it, but I find it so profound.  I feel that those of you who have read my blog from the start know most of my story over the past 2 years and therefore I have felt that unconditional love and support.  But remember that there are many out there who are not an open book like myself, who carry unknown or silent pain and struggles, whose stories we really know nothing about…