Just moved: 9 personal insights that SCREAM for my attention

Just moved: 9 personal insights that SCREAM for my attention

They’re brutal, those stressful life events. Getting married, financial woes, starting a new job, significant others exiting your life. Oh, and moving – which I just did. Dang, the personal insights that scream for my attention. Guess it’s time to get to work…

The volume and frequency of the screams were sufficient to convince me to give them my attention. And productive endeavors always come down to personal choice.

Okay, take a look at the image above. Would you agree it’s about way more than boxes – moving? I mean, sure, it’s about the stressful immediate. But it’s also about what was and what’s to come. It’s about vulnerabilities and personal insight.

Two weeks into the process, I’m in my new digs. But there’s still a lot of work to do – on numerous fronts.

The important, the good, the right – the move

To keep this piece from coming off like a self-piteous whine session, you need to know I really wanted to move – 350 miles, out-of-state, U-Haul, solo. See, I promised my daughter and grandchildren I’d relocate to their neck of the woods within a year after turning 65. And by a matter of days, I pulled it off – commitment kept.

But just because something’s important, good, and right doesn’t mean there aren’t great difficulties – challenges – before, during, and after. And, of course, so it goes with this life event.

It’s my belief that we all can become a little lazy when it comes to discovering and addressing our emotional and mental eccentricities and vulnerabilities. And sometimes the screaming for attention of personal insights will only occur in the midst of a stressful life event.

So we have to strike while the iron’s hot.

Those 9 personal insights

am i mentally ill

“Man, those screaming personal insights really do deserve my attention.”

In the weeks leading up to the move, during, and now, I’ve heard and felt the screaming of personal insights. Simply, it’s the detection of thoughts, feelings, and behavior that don’t make a lot of sense and generate conflict and discomfort.

The volume and frequency of the screams were sufficient to convince me to give them my attention. And productive endeavors always come down to personal choice.

Now, completely resolving each of the following – and I’m sure I could come up with more – isn’t necessarily the immediate goal. I say it time and again: the first step toward ultimate resolution is the identification and acknowledgement of issues. And we’re often surprised as to how much relief we experience just by doing that.

Okay, that screaming personal insight…

  1. A project has to be completed now. It’s silly and impossible, but there I was thinking the entire move had to be wrapped-up right now.
  2. In completing a project, there’s no time for breaks. And working from getting out of bed to hitting the sack is no big deal. After all, the project has to be completed now. Funny, when I was a boy my grandmother said I went at everything like I was trying to kill a snake. She was right – still is.
  3. Clutter and disorganization can’t be tolerated. In my case it makes for a ridiculous rush job because, for instance, I won’t “destroy” the bookshelves – living area ambiance – by boxing-up the books until the very last minute.
  4. Change is threatening and difficult. Sure, it’s often good and necessary, but specific types of change, like moving, can sock me in the gut.
  5. I need a reliable and comfortable home. Without one, I’m pretty much lost and out of it.
  6. Doing what I want to do when I want to do it, including being alone, is a must at all times.
  7. If I’m not getting enough, or quality, sleep, I’m in for some nasty anxiety and mood symptoms. There are no exceptions.
  8. Having to complete projects now, working long hours with very few breaks, leads to overstimulation. And overstimulation doesn’t bring me or others my best self. Yet, I’ll continue to work like a fool.
  9. I have this uncanny knack of attaching current stressful events to similar ones in the past. And it can become sadly overwhelming. Several times during this move I felt the spirit of a traumatic family move when I was 14. I fought the feelings – but why?

Whacky stuff, right? But the fact is, I really want to work through them – their accuracy and necessity in my life.

By the way, did any of them ring a bell? And it doesn’t have to have been within the context of a move.

Time to move on

Yep, they’re brutal, those stressful life events. But knowing we can learn so much about ourselves as we navigate through them can provide tons of motivation and inspiration.

Do you have personal insights that are screaming for your attention? Make the decision to answer the call and put some work in. I mean, you can’t just ignore them.

Believe me, they’re not going to – poof – up and leave.

Hey, if you’re looking to get into more personal insight, perusing hundreds of Chipur titles will get you there.

How to become self-aware. It’s not about finding yourself.

How to become self-aware. It’s not about finding yourself.

Who am I? The question is as old as life itself. And coming up with satisfactory answers can be an ongoing struggle. How ’bout we turn to our guest poster, Claire, for some meaningful insight?

It was at this time that I realised that I never had to find myself. I was always here. I was just changing, growing and learning.

She sent me an introductory email not too long ago. And before you know it we were chatting about guest posting.

Now, if you’ve hung around Chipur for any length of time, you know I rarely accept guest posts. But Claire’s approach, background, and message felt right, so I was happy to welcome her work.

Speaking of her background…

Claire has suffered from anxiety and depression for most of her life. She also deals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Fortunately, she’s at a stage in her life where things are finally feeling good.

Claire has always been driven to help people. She loves to put a smile on others’ faces and know that with some deed – small or large – she’s helped make someone’s life a little bit better.

Claire blogs from the UK at Miss Serenity, where her aim is to grow a community of like-minded people who can feel like they have a safe space to be themselves – and not be told to “pull themselves together” or be judged for how they feel.

So let’s get after it. The floor’s yours, Claire…

Claire’s personal intro

When I was first told that I had anxiety and depression, it made a lot of sense to me. It explained so many of the things I had going on, from IBS to constant worrying, to catastrophising and everything else besides. But it left me feeling like I didn’t really know who I was anymore.

I felt lost. I needed to learn how to become self-aware.

Being diagnosed with a mental illness makes you question everything. What does this mean about what you’ve believed about yourself for years up until now? Who are you? Where do you go from here?

What does it mean to find yourself?

how to find yourself

“Guess I don’t really have to ‘find myself,’ after all.”

For me, it was trying to figure out who I was before I knew I had anxiety – the carefree girl from “way back when” who was the life and soul of the party, was always surrounded by people and didn’t worry about EVERYTHING.

I tried to go back, to start dressing how I used to dress, (even if it was dated now!) get my hair cut the way I used to, wear the old makeup. It didn’t help, it felt like I was trying to be someone else.

So then I tried to re-invent myself, maybe I was hiding under someone new. I tried different clothing styles, listened to music I had never heard before, wore my hair longer, tried different makeup.

I still didn’t feel like “me.” So I stumbled through life, in a cycle of ups and downs, not sure where I was headed or what I was supposed to do in life.

I tried out different business ideas, maybe I’m supposed to be an entrepreneur that changes the world!!!

My “aha” moment

Fast forward many years to 2020, and like everyone else in the world, I’m in lockdown because of COVID-19. Time for some reflection!

I found myself alone a lot, while my husband was still working; thinking a lot about an old friend, who I no longer have contact with. I realised that she would no longer recognise me. Not because I look any different, but because I am a different person.

Through my journey with anxiety, depression and IBS, I have changed. My values are different. But they are my values and no one else’s. I became vegan, found a style that worked for me, and have grown in confidence about what I believe.

The person I used to be was quick to change to suit the people around her, to be liked. I felt like a hypocrite when it came to my love of animals – eating meat and dairy. I was in a relationship with someone who emotionally abused me.

It was at this time that I realised that I never had to find myself. I was always here. I was just changing, growing and learning.

You don’t need to find yourself

This is why I believe that so many people struggle with trying to find themselves. Becoming self-aware is not about “finding yourself,” it’s about understanding that everything changes. Friendships come and go, styles change, jobs evolve, and we are no different. We adapt to our situations, and we learn as we grow.

So as soon as you reach that point, where you think you have “found yourself,” something may change, and you will feel lost again; as you adapt to your new situation.

How to become self-aware

The most beneficial thing I have found is how to become self-aware of who I am NOW.  What do I believe in right now? Am I living a life that aligns with my current values?

When we do this, it makes us feel more in sync with ourselves; and as we learn new things, we can adjust our self-awareness too. We just need to make sure we are living in line with our values.

So take the time to think about what you believe in. Write down your values. Does your life reflect those beliefs? If not, make changes and see how you feel. Whenever you feel like you’re falling out of sync, revisit those values, are they still the same?

Adapt to your new beliefs as you grow and learn, and you will feel more balanced.

Thank you, Claire

Nothing I could I possibly add, except to say, “Thank you, Claire.”

Be sure to visit her at Miss Serenity, okay? I know you’ll find all sorts of meaningful – helpful – goodies.

Hey, plenty more where this baby came from. Be sure to peruse those hundreds of Chipur titles.

The Pandemic: Fighting & Winning the Emotional & Mental Battle

The Pandemic: Fighting & Winning the Emotional & Mental Battle

Those pandemic punches are cutting and bruising – physically, financially, emotionally and mentally. They’re all vulnerable spots that can leave us open to a knockout. But for my money, it’s all about the emotional/mental. So let’s get on to fighting – and winning…

You can pretty much avoid the virus if you adhere to social and hygiene protocols. But guess what? There are no ‘pretty much avoids’ when it comes to the emotional and mental punches.

This is the eleventh week in a row that I’ve written about something having to do with COVID-19. Actually, I was all set to go with a social anxiety disorder piece, but the pandemic fight angle hit me hard and I couldn’t let it go…

Don’t know about you, but it’s my belief there’s still a lot of insecurity and fear floating around. And I think that’s especially so in the mood and anxiety disorder neck of the woods.


Now, I’m not bringing you a rigid “X” number of ways to fight and win your particular emotional and mental pandemic battle bit. Nah, that could come off kind of dry and shallow.

Really, all I want to do is chat with you about what you may be experiencing and offer you some encouragement. And I’d like you to have something to identify with so you don’t feel weird and alone. I even tossed-in one of the poems from my eBook, Feelings & Rhymes Through Treacherous Times.

Works for you?

The Emotional & Mental Battle

I understand how important it is to emphasize the physical punches COVID-19 can deliver. No doubt about it, they can be lethal. And I understand how potentially dangerous the financial jabs are.

But what I don’t understand is why the emotional and mental battle doesn’t seem to deserve consistent headlines. If you ask me, it’s the most significant encounter of all. And it can be just as deadly as the physical threat.

I mean, look at it this way. You can pretty much avoid the virus if you adhere to social and hygiene protocols. But guess what? There are no “pretty much avoids” when it comes to the emotional and mental punches. And, of course, the very things we’re supposed to do to dodge the physical hits make the emotional and mental battle so much tougher.

How Are You Holding-Up?

i hate social distancing

“I’m not too sure about this, Bill.”

Now for the most important question of all. How are you holding-up emotionally and mentally through all this? Are you hanging in there? Maybe it’s a matter of the occasional rough episode. Perhaps you’re struggling way more often than not.

No doubt about it, this is hard.

By the way, when you’re in the midst of a rough go, have you developed some effective coping techniques you can pull out of your back-pocket? And do you truly understand that what we’re dealing with isn’t a permanent arrangement?

How ’bout this? Do you realize the story you get from the media – any of them – isn’t necessarily calmly-considered and factual? Never forget, the mission of the media is to attract readers, viewers, and listeners. Okay?

Just thought I’d toss-in a few questions (and an observation).

“I’ll Try Again”

You know, I’ve talked about fighting and winning the emotional and mental battle. Now that I think about it, I’m going to change that up a bit. “Winning” may not be the right goal. I mean, it comes off as an either/or proposition. Yes, either you win or you lose. And if you can’t perceptually win, you must be a loser when it comes to coping with the pandemic.

That just isn’t right. Would you agree?

So how ’bout we go with fighting and doing your best? Yeah, I’m more comfortable with that.

Okay, to wrap things up I’m sharing a poem I wrote many moons ago – amid my own jams. It’s my hope it’ll bring you inspiration and perspective. Lord knows I’ve turned to it many times over the years.

I’ll Try Again

Whenever life is
Hurt and pain
Vision’s blurred by
Bitter rain

It seems
All hope is surely gone
I tell myself
I must go on

At times I feel such
Deep despair
The burden more than I can bear

I can’t see past another day
But still I must prepare the way

In times of
Doubt and fainting heart
When from this world I’d choose to part

I know not what the answers are
I must believe they’re not too far

Whenever life has got me beat
Before I take the
Grand defeat
I’ll rise once more
Amid the rain
And swear to all

I’ll try again

You’ll make it through this, okay? So don’t you ever give-up.

As I said, that poem is one of many in my eBook. Please consider purchasing Feelings & Rhymes Through Treacherous Times.

Looking for more reading material? How ’bout hundreds of Chipur mood and anxiety disorder-related articles?

12 Reactions to the Pandemic & Rules That Prove We’re Sane as Can Be

12 Reactions to the Pandemic & Rules That Prove We’re Sane as Can Be

Oh the things we think, feel, and do as we try to live our cockeyed corona’d lives. And we often wonder if our reactions are so many signs of going over the edge. Seriously, we have to believe they aren’t. As a matter of fact, I think they prove we’re sane as can be. Let’s talk…

…please remember that one of our greatest misunderstandings of self is the fear that we’re losing it. That said, as off-the-wall as these may seem, I assure you there’s nothing insane about any of them – or you.

Coping with the coronavirus pandemic has become a matter of social perception and judgment. Actually, it’s an issue of political correctness, but I wouldn’t touch that with a six-foot pole right now.

How ’bout we leave it at our pandemic-related thoughts, feelings, and behaviors subject us to, shall we say, scrutiny? And its fallout can generate a whole lot of unfair self-questioning.

On April 1st, as the pandemic and response were becoming intense, I posted an article entitled “17 Random & Scary COVID-19 Thoughts & Feelings: Understandable, but Disposable.” Given when it was written, there wasn’t a whole lot of real-world experience behind those random and scary COVID-19 thoughts and feelings.

Six-weeks later, I think we all have a pretty good handle on our reactions to the pandemic and its rules.

12 Reactions to the Pandemic & Rules That Prove We’re Sane

coronavirus depressionI say it all the time: those of us who suffer from mood and/or anxiety disorders have very creative minds. Man, the thoughts, and subsequent feelings and behaviors we come up with. Hmmm, wish I could say it’s all good for us.

As we review the following, please remember that one of our greatest misunderstandings of self is the fear that we’re losing it. That said, as off-the-wall as these may seem, I assure you there’s nothing insane about any of them – or you.

Let’s get busy…

  1. It sure seems easy for local authorities to tell me what I can and can’t do. Shoot, I’ll bet they’ve been able to get their hair cut.
  2. I’ve lost count of the number of times during any given day that I’m convinced I have the virus. It’s like that self-monitor on my back is on, and set at high, 24/7. How many times am I supposed to take my temperature?
  3. Now I have to throw-in mask acquisition and cleaning into an already cluttered routine? I even have to fool with gloves. You’ve got to be kidding me.
  4. I’m sick and tired of washing my hands. Yesterday I washed them after washing them because I forgot to count to twenty the first time.
  5. Sanitizing, shmanitizing. I got so into it last night that I pulled out all my shoelaces and shmanitized them. And I have a lot of tie-shoes.
  6. I’m so sick of wearing a mask and gloves, as well as estimating six-feet. Next time I go to the grocery store I’m going to rip my mask and gloves off and give the first person I see a massive hug (then run).
  7. On the other hand, sometimes I worry about not wearing enough protection. I mean, maybe I should do more. Wait, I could find a suit of armor that’ll fit. Maybe then I’ll feel confident about not infecting anyone – or myself.
  8. I absolutely, positively – even negatively – hate every single bit of what’s going-on. It scares the heck out of me. Every time my governor announces when the next phase of the lockdown will end, I check-off the days on my calendar.
  9. Sure, I don’t want to catch the virus, but I’d almost rather not know if I have it. As selfish as it is, I couldn’t take the quarantine.
  10. I’m so confused. I don’t know who’s telling the truth about the pandemic anymore. So many differences of opinion, so many agendas. Who do you believe?
  11. I don’t understand why we can’t all come together during this time of crisis. Why is there so much screaming and hate? I would have thought we could toss our differences aside and nail this demon as one. So much for what I thought.
  12. Once again, it’s become obvious to me that I’m hopelessly insane. All I hear about with this pandemic thing are the physical threats. No one ever mentions emotional or mental damage. I would think it’s just as potentially crippling and deadly. But, then, what do I know? I’m nuts.

We Have to Keep Moving Forward

I wonder if you were able to relate to even one of those reactions. Maybe you’re strugging with others.

The purpose of this piece is very simple. First off all, I want you to know that tens of millions of folk, perhaps like you, are terribly upset and worried by the pandemic. And then I want you to know that no matter how goofy you may think your reactive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are, you haven’t lost your mind.

I guess it’s really all about knowing you’re not weird – and alone.

Go ahead and take a look at Chipur article 17 Random & Scary COVID-19 Thoughts & Feelings: Understandable, but Disposable.

Heck, why not check-out hundreds of Chipur titles?

When Was the Last Time You Touched Someone? Do You Miss It?

When Was the Last Time You Touched Someone? Do You Miss It?

We’re human beings, and we have basic needs. I believe one of them is social interaction, which often includes touch. We have a major problem: we’re living in separated times. Seriously, how long has it been since you touched someone? Do you miss it?

Oh, I suppose one could satisfy a deep-seated need by venturing a handshake or hug with an unsuspecting someone. But I’m not liking how that might turn-out.

Walked into a Walgreens last week. Deciding which aisles I needed to hit, I did a quick panorama. All I could absorb was people wearing masks and gloves, and keeping their estimated six-feet of distance from each other.

I’m telling you, a shopper may as well have slapped me with a gloved hand. Yeah, the mega-dose of actuality was that powerful. And for a couple of hours, I kept saying to myself, “Is this what they’re calling the ‘new normal?’ If it is, I’m out.”

A Separated Reality

Shockingly, I haven’t touched someone since hugging my son on March 13. Think about that! “That” is just about seven weeks since I’ve laid even a fingertip on someone, or they me.

“That” is absolutely absurd.

Okay, to paint the entire picture, I live alone. And that certainly is a difference-maker. Still, almost 50 days sans human touch ain’t healthy – for me, anyway.

Make no mistake about it, I’m fully aware as to why social-distancing, excommunicating, holing-up, or whatever you want to call it has been a necessity. Yes, I know we’re in the midst of a pandemic. No wake-up calls or splashing of cold water required. And in spite of being a contrarian, I’ve been a darned fine rule-follower.

I’m simply stating what so many darned fine rule-followers may be thinking: I don’t like our separated reality even a little. And I’m beginning to wonder if the “fix” is really worth its emotional and mental torment.

There, I said it.

The Bothersomes

The other day, I asked members of the Chipur Facebook group what part of pandemic-coping practices – social-distancing, wearing masks/gloves, etc. – is most bothersome. Here are three responses…

  1. A woman replied not being able to spend time with her son, his fiance, and her granddaughter. See, son and fiance work in the healthcare field. Given there’s a vulnerable family member at the woman’s home, infection risk can’t be taken. And there goes their frequent evenings of dining and playing games together.
  2. Another woman simply replied it’s all bothersome. But isolation is the most difficult.
  3. One of the guys replied not being able to shake a person’s hand.

I can relate to all of the responses. But not being able to shake someone’s hand hits me the hardest. For me, there’s just something about the connection. I suppose hugging – a soft one-armer, anyway – is the same. Still, it’s the look ’em in the eye handshake that does it for me.

And thinking, as it’s been proposed, that handshaking is a thing of the past hurts my heart. That bonding is a basic human need to which I’m very sensitive.

Perhaps you feel the same.

So What Now?

when will social distancing end

Times to Come

So what do we do now?

Well, we can’t ignore or deny the facts. We’re in a tough spot with this pandemic business and it isn’t going away tomorrow.

Oh, I suppose one could satisfy a deep-seated need by venturing a handshake or hug with an unsuspecting someone. But I’m not liking how that might turn-out.

“So what now?” really becomes a tough question.

I mean, we’re dealing with varied sets of circumstances. Sure, many of us live alone, so touching isn’t really possible. Yet many live with spouses, partners, family members, and friends. If it’s been determined that the home is virus-secure, a measure of touch may frequently occur.

And, you know, there are a good number of folk who have been deemed “essential” workers (poor choice of words, I think). So they spend time in workplaces, in most cases with other employees. But now that I think about it, the touch thing is likely off-limits.

Is the Problem Touch or Isolation?

Maybe my “So what now?” ponderings have led to an even more important question: should our discussion be limited to touch or is isolation a factor, as well? Actually, I think it’s both – individually and together.

Yeah, that makes sense. Look, there are plenty of people who have no issue with zero touching, but can’t stand isolation. And vice-versa. Of course, there are scads of people who can’t tolerate either.

So, absolutely, we’re dealing with multiple angles here.

So Really, Really What Now?

Can you tell I’m blowin’ as I’m goin’? There’s a lot of that floating-about these days, much like a certain virus.

It’s like I know for sure what I’m thinking and feeling, but when it comes to expressing it, so much more comes to mind. I’ve said before that articles like this are so much harder to write than scientific ones. Funny how it goes with personal stuff, right?

Here, how’s this for a final “What now?”?

We’re living in extraordinary times during which anyone’s hot-button basic human needs will be revealed and tested. I don’t care who you are, there’s just no running from it. But it can be a really good thing. I mean, how often are we presented with an opportunity of this magnitude to learn and grow?

Oh yeah, the touching and isolation issue. Even an old contrarian like me can’t deny the times – the dilemma. So I’m going to continue to miss touching like a big boy, though I have to tell you the isolation piece doesn’t hit me as hard.

How will I do it? I’ll find ways to suit each moment. But the overall strategy is to firmly believe these separated times will, indeed, pass. And so much of all we’ve missed will return to a tolerable “normal.”

In the face of naysayers, I’m betting on human nature.

Hey! For a ton of perspective, be sure to read Chipur article Opportunity Is Knocking: Will We Open the Door?

Looking for a good read? How ’bout my eBook? Feelings & Rhymes Through Treacherous Times: Poetry, Commentary, Perspective and Relief for Anyone Struggling with Emotional or Mental Distress

And I’ll bet you want to read more Chipur articles while you’re hanging at home. Well, don’t let me stop you.