pithy statements (or what happens next when you have a nervous breakdown.)

Dear Internet,

What you’re about to read was written damned near a year ago, never finished, and languished in my drafts box waiting to get some love. It seems appropriate, with my incessant working on self-care to update the mother-fucker and then post it in a more timely manner and by that I mean today, February 10th, 2017.

Let’s re-cap, shall we? I have a nervous breakdown in October 2015 (you can watch this in real time by reading anything from July 2014 until April – May 2016.) I am back in Louisville at that time with TheExHusband and he persuades me to start seeing a talking and medicating therapist, which I do, as I cannot afford, financially, to be hospitalized. My melt-downs are happening less but I’m still very fragile state of mind. I put together coursework, and started collecting inspirational quotes (pithy statements). (click here to jump down to the content after the quotes).

Here are 70 of them:

  • Sleep doesn’t help if it’s your soul that’s tired
  • Everything falls apart when you forget who you are and everything comes back together when you remember
  • Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain
  • Be good to people. Even the shitty ones. Let the assholes be assholes. You’ll sleep better
  • You’ll never have to force anything that is truly meant to be
  • Stay away from people who make you feel like you’re hard to love
  • Don’t believe the things you tell yourself when you’re sad and alone
  • Some trite inspirational quote about overcoming some things or some shit. I don’t know. Fuck off
  • Goddess of courage
  • Admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own
  • Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful
  • You are never too old to to set another or dream a new dream – C.S. Lewis
  • Maybe life isn’t about avoiding the bruises. Maybe it’s about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it
  • I am not normal. I don’t want to be. I don’t pretend to be. I am me
  • You are bad ass. You can do this
  • FEAR = Forgetting Everything is All Right
  • You are writing your own life
  • Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you’re stupid and make bad choices
  • If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today? – Steve Jobs
  • You have to let people see what you wrote. It’ll never be perfect but perfect is overrated – Tina Fey
  • Half the failures in life arise from pulling in the horse as he is leaping – August William Hare / Julius Charles Hare
  • Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new – Albert Einstein
  • If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you – not much – Jim Rohn

All that shit you need to do will be there tomorrow, just sit your ass down

  • Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do –  John Wooden
  • You are the author of your own life story. You can start a new chapter anytime you choose
  • Live your dreams – they are worth it
  • You are a steward of pleasure – Lisa Rabey
  • Do not forget your humanity –  Lisa Rabey
  • You are not alone
  • Find the goddess inside yourself instead of looking for the god in someone else – Francesca Lia Block
  • Seduction is something that lies within us, it’s not an external appearance  – Kitty Cavalier
  • You always have choices
  • You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection – Buddha
  • Body is a state of mind, not a state of body –  Gala Darling
  • When we focus on other’s happiness, we forget our own
  • It’s not about others – it’s about you
  • I cannot change what has already happened
  • Fighting the past only bends me to my present
  • The present is the only moment I have control over
  • This moment is the result of a million other decisions
  • This moment is exactly as it should be, given what’s happened before it
  • The present moment is perfect, even if I don’t like what’s happening
  • We are not our thoughts
  • The best apology is changed behaviour
  • The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think
  • Your story isn’t over yet

Sometimes what you really need is a punch to the throat.

  • Die trying
  • Have hope
  • Don’t ever give up
  • Dream big. Dream bigger
  • Life is short – be happy
  • It’s one thing to be grateful, it’s another to let that dictate your choice
  • Never give up, never be lost
  • Love takes all and be’s all
  • Only you can take care of you
  • Love yourself and live the amazing life which is waiting for you – Gala Darling
  • We are all born naked, the rest is drag  – Rupaul
  • My goal is to always come from a place of love … but sometimes you just have to break it down for a motherfucker – Rupaul
  • You are beautiful purely because you are hear, you exist, and you are doing the best you can – Gala Darling
  • Only you can save yourself
  • Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Without a humble but a reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy – Norman Vincent Peale
  • If you decide to not dream, you’re not only injuring yourself but taking away the amazing beauty from everyone else who would enjoy your dream more. It’s your responsibility to put these great things out there
  • Fall down seven times, stand up on eight
  • You are more capable than you think you are
  • There are no limits to dreams
  • Feelings are not facts – they are simply feelings and cannot harm you
  • Feeling stuck boils down to feeling fear – Gala Darling
  • Radical self-love is knowing when to get out of your own way – Gala Darling
  • Only you are responsible for your own happiness
  • Instead of asking yourself why this is happening to you, ask why this is happening for you. – Christine Hassler

Some of these quotes came from books, others were saved from the constant roll of inspirational quotes on my news feed on Facebook, and yet others I’ve randomly come across while I scour the internets for whatever.

You’ll notice some are nearly identical to the other. You’ll also notice most of them do not have citations. You’ll notice a lot of them presume everything is about a matter of choice. It doesn’t take into effect mental illnesses or issues where these mantras could do more harm then god.  I was just thinking of someone who is suicidal reading a number of these as and taking their own life because these quotes seemed impossible to believe. Other times I get angry and I want to punch people in the throat because we never read discussions about the pain to get from a to z. “Only you can save yourself” sounds great in theory but in practice is too vague — too condesending — too much of a copout. To save myself is requiring lots of drug therapy and a talking therapist not a pithy statement found on a t-shirt or bumper sticker.

Some days, not so much as I did last year, I feel as if I’m one step away from hospitalization. My melt-downs are less but they still happen. The other night I woke up to pee and found myself in a state of panic so bad one hour of meditation didn’t work so I took a Klonopin and tried meditating again for another 30 or so minutes. When neither that or the Klonopin worked, I took a second pill. At some point, heart still racing, I fell asleep and slept for 10 or so hours. That following day was shot. I moved around like a zombie and the only work I could concentrate on was stuff that was not taxing to the brain. I didn’t shower but I cleaned up by putting on fresh underwear and tshirt. I washed my face. Later I brushed my teeth. Anything more than that would have been too exhausting.

I told TEH that presenting as “normal” exhausts me. Keeping it together to function outside of my safe space takes a lot of effort and control. I cannot do more than one thing a day outside of home. I had a chiro appointment and a hair appointment scheduled yesterday  back to back and I called in and rescheduled both as even five hours worth of presenting was too much and it was, among other things, why I had the panic attack the night before because even the idea was too much.

TEH says, well, you’re not like this with me. Of course not. With you I can be my version of normal without the facade – there is no judgement just concern. I can sit around working on something (writing, knitting, watching a movie) without worrying of having to present myself to you as someone else. I noticed, he said, when we were out with $gameplaying couple (the woman I met at a Jane Austen society meeting), you seemed on edge and terse. Yes, I said. That’s exactly it. Finally, he understood. (They still wanted to see us after that so maybe I didn’t come off as terrible as I felt that I did.)

But sometimes you cannot articulate those feelings — I know I’ve been struggling to say here, this is what being “exhausting” means to me because on the outside, the invisible disability is just that, invisible and when you meet me, and knew nothing about this, you would think I was a charming fellow. A bit obnoxious, sure, but charming all the same and on the inside, I would be screaming.

I don’t want to be here — this place after what all has happened. Who does? My life is crippled and on hold and I bitterly laugh to myself that at 44, soon to be 45!, all the things I wanted to be and do by now seemed impossible. Not because I am not passionate enough for them but because emotionally, mentally, and yes, yes financially, they are out of reach. But, I console myself, this is all temporary. I know this is temporary. I can survive anything and by accepting this state is temporary gives me some breathing room and relief. I have no plans on killing myself, let us be clear on that, but I am in a much better state than I was a year ago and a year from now, I will be even better.

So we wonder, I wonder, what it’s like when your brain breaks and you’re picking up the pieces but we don’t talk about it. Friends don’t ask me because maybe — I don’t know, they just don’t. So, I think, it’s time for this disease to not control me, having me lying sobbing on the couch or bed, and it is time I can summon up the strength to control it.

Because fuck it, I’ve got this.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 20162004, 2001

to him who is fear, everything rustles

(Originally written in 2016 and not published for god know’s what reason until 2017.)

Dear Internet,

I’ve been keeping up with everything I’ve laid out in coursework I laid out a few weeks ago. I know it’s not much, but it feels good to know I can set something to task and follow through with it, such as quitting smoking (29 days as today) and keeping a regular exercise program going (3-5 times a week since mid-November) are proof I can do it.  But like any grand plan laid out, there is always adjustments.

In my daily todo, I’ve got a space marked out for keeping up with DBT/Radical Self-Love (first is scientific, the later pulls on those ideas and wraps them in a glittery pink bow) and I think I originally wanted to knock out a chapter a day? Not sure what my thinking process was but it’s pretty clear I’m not going to learn and retain anything if I knock out a chapter a day so I’m thinking knocking out a chapter every few weeks and using the daily stuff to work on what I learned.

(Some of the work will be stuff I need to do regularly every day while other stuff will be for retention only.)

And I also thought it would be a good idea to continue writing about it publicly to not only help me vocalize it to myself but to also help others who may be going through the same thing; to know they are not alone.

(Add on I need to keep my 44 Feedly readers entertained in the life of Lisa. You can say anything you want about me, but you can definitely say I’m not boring.)

I’ve started discussing the agony of taking a compliment and where parts of my self-loathing comes from, so today I’m going to open the can of worms that is fear.

Fear comes in all shapes and sizes and is often co-morbid with other issues. My fear of everyone hating me is tied into my deep self-loathing of myself. My fear of getting in shape and losing weight is tied into not only self-esteem issues, but that i use being fat as a way to protect myself from being sexually harassed. (How’s that working out for me?)

Other fears can also be completely irrational: My fear of heights which is irrational as I love flying. My (new found) fear of driving on highways which I reasoned is just like driving on surface streets, just faster. My fear of walking over grates (because I can crash through them).

Those are the top fears and like many, the fears can go on and on.

As most of you know, being fearful of something (driving on the highway) can activate another issue (anxiety).

This is the picture we’ve forged: We have a fear (mostly irrational), which keeps us tied to not doing that thing and if we attempt to do it, we get trapped in that (seemingly) never ending cyclone of anxiety. If we don’t get the courage to do that thing, we lay guilt on ourselves on useless as if we are like a spread of peanut butter on toast.

Who wants to live this way?

The general we doesn’t want to live this way, consciously we know how silly this fear is but subconsciously, the one that tends to rule our world, says other wise. So the plan, then, is to slay the subconscious and moving forward.

I don’t have a end all be all plan to how to slay mine, but after reading RSL and DBT this weekend, let me offer up a few pithy statements I’ve been using to help me get over the bullshit

You cannot control the past
Sounds simple, right? It’s also pretty logical and unless a TARDIS is available, we cannot change what has already happened. Despite the obviousness, our mind thinks if we keep rehashing that thing over and over again in our brain, we can rewrite the past to our liking to help us move forward. C’mon. This is a bold face lie. No matter how much I want to rewrite a thing from last year, five years ago, or hell, from childhood, my present is and cannot change. (This lends to the other pithy statement, a million decisions brought you to this moment.) So now we’re stuck and nearly crippled in this hell of our own making. So how do we get out of it?

  • First, we accept what we cannot control the past. This is super hard and something I’ve started to practice. When my mind starts to wander of an event, no matter how minute, I catch it and start repeating, “I cannot change the past. I cannot change the past.” What’s the difference between a memory and attempting to control the past? For me it is if I am seeing


This Day in Lisa-Universe: 20162004, 2001

everything you f*cking need to know to be happy (but were afraid to ask)

Dear Internet,

If you are into self-help, woo-woo, DBT, or are a curious individual, you’ll notice the core of all of these practices contain two main components to help you along the way to being happier and thus having a more fulfilling life.

I’m going to give them to you for free. No more self-help books, sketchy websites, or paying for gurus1.


Mindfulness and gratitude.

That’s it.

Every website and self-help book will bury these ledes in the opening pages of their annals and yet build their entire systems around these two concepts. Yet once you get into the meat of their woo-wooease, you’ll find them all tucked in and ready to work.

How does mindfulness and gratitude work?

To achieve mindfulness, you meditate and if you meditate, you’ll be more in the present. If you’re more in the present, you’ll begin to feel less anxiety and stress, more compassion for yourself and others and a fuck ton of other awesome benefits. Being mindful helps with the awareness of what’s happening in and around you — a thought is just a thought, a feeling is just a feeling; you do not have to react to either one. Being aware of those things helps you make better, and more informed, decisions about what is happening around you. You don’t act on impulses or steer from difficult decisions. You accept that a zillion decisions brought you to this point, you can accept that you can make choices on going forward. It is not “things happen for a reason.” That’s bullshit. You know it and I know it. Stop believing in it.

Gratitude is the complement to mindfulness. Gratitude allows you to be thankful for what you have rather than what you want. It concentrates on the being rather than the material. You are thankful for your parents (yes, even if you are divorced from them) because without them, you wouldn’t be here. You are thankful for your killer hair. You are thankful for the experiences you’ve had to help shape you. You’re grateful for the friends who believe and support in you.

(A good one, for me, is to be grateful for TheBassist breaking up with me (shut it). If he had not broken it off and put clear boundaries on his needs, the cycle would have continued. I would have gotten worse. Crashing that fateful October day is probably the best thing that’s happened to me in years. The cyclical of my relationships wasn’t just with TheBassist but with other aspects of my life. I’ve accepted, and said a zillion times, I may never hear from him again but if there is one thing I want him to know is this.)

You can make it as large (I am grateful for my family for loving me) to small (I am grateful for my friend who rubbed my feet after a long day). The idea is to find one thing to be grateful for, every day, which will keep you anchored in the present and then follow the mindfulness train of thought above to continue on with your enlightenment.

(I know it’s going to take me awhile to get beyond “I have killer hair” and I’m okay with that knowledge.)

At this point you are asking yourself (more than likely) the following question(s),”Lisa, why should we believe you? Sometimes when you write, things sound cray. Seriously. Cray.” or something along those lines. Hey, I get it. I’d have a hard time listening to me too.

I’ve been meditating for 211 days in a row and in the beginning, I thought it was a crock of shit. But allowing myself to be open to the idea, and practicing the tenants, has really helped in the long game. There are a lot of potentially stupid actions I mulled over, thanks to meditation, before realizing they were not in my best interest, so I didn’t act on them. I am less likely to be impulsive then I was six months ago. This is important to note.2

(There is one decision I mulled over for months before finally acting on it. I know others would see it as detrimental to my well being but in the end, making that decision made me feel better and knowing its consequences may not ever be realized also help.3)

I asked my therapist what makes someone who has a mental illness different than someone who has healthy4 reactions to stressful things such as having low self-esteem or social anxiety. She said that’s a good question and after thinking about it for a few moments, her response was along the lines of someone who has a healthy relationship with stress is more prepared and better able to handle that stress where as someone who is mentally ill, the stress is heightened and we’re less likely to handle it in a healthy way.

The goal is not to get stable (because no one is really stable) or normal (no one is really normal) but to handle and prepare healthy responses to stressful things.

Which is where the meditation and gratitude come in. It’s all full circle.


P.S. I highly recommend reading Zen Habits to get you started. You can also mediate using my favorite (and often my pushy instance of) app, Headspace.

1. I am not a doctor. I am not trained to dispense advice or consultation. If you’re mentally ill, think you’re mentally ill, or have additional questions about your mental health, please seek professional help.
2. TheExHusband often comments how I relate and respond to things is much better in the last 6 -9 months and a lot of that has to do with meditation.
3. Yes, I am being completely vague. No, I’m not going to tell you. No, it’s probably not what you think it is.
4. We kept saying “normal” instead of healthy and we air quoted “normal” every time we did so we decided that “healthy” (sans air quotes) was a better description.

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 20141999, 1999