I am lucky in more ways that I can explain. My family and friends support me through light and dark times, I have the ability to chase my desires, and others recognize my strengths and reward them. My latest dream is going back to school so I can get my life started again, begin a true career path. Luckily I have the first step down: actually being accepted into an appropriate program. So I was looking through all the requirements and what classes I would be taking first, and I’m so out of touch with math and science that I really need to do some serious review. What better time than now? I spent most of yesterday going through algebra review because I haven’t done real math in like 14 years. I had to do fake math in college for my science requirements, but that barely counts. Husband decided to start me off with a quiz, for which I was WOEFULLY unprepared and asking the most basic of questions. I backtracked after that and used Khan Academy to start going through simple algebra to get my basics back. After hours of practice, I finally gained a relative mastery of the simplest systems and caught up to my ninth grade self. It’s humbling to do something you used to be good at and have little to no memory of how you used to accomplish it. I was doing calculus in high school but that stuff was pushed out of my brain by time, emotion, and Medieval studies.
This is how far I had to go back just to remember basic things like factoring and expanding. That’s just adding and subtracting polynomials, but I needed to go that far back just to grab the basics again. I’m pretty sure all of my young cousins are more advanced than I am right now in this subject. It’s ok! It’s like riding a bike, maybe. I am encouraged, though, because I put in a lot of work yesterday and my brain actually absorbed the information and learned. By the end of the day, things were making sense (kind of). I was able to explain things to Husband and get answers right on my own. For someone coming back from ECT and who takes lots of psych meds, I wasn’t doing horrifically. This gives me hope. This means I can still learn, grow, advance, succeed. That is definitely something for which to be thankful. Now the trick is to keep up the work so I can get better and be prepared for classes when they start. It’s going to be challenging, but I am up for it. I have hope.
Today I was looking for an inspirational charm for my Pandora bracelet and I opted for an Olaf charm. Ok yes, Frozen is overplayed and has saturated the children’s market BUT that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great movie. I identify with Elsa in so many ways. “Let It Go” almost always makes me cry because it hits so close to home. Earlier she sings “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let it show, one wrong move and everyone will know.” That’s a lot like how I feel when I’m struggling with depression (or mania for that matter): don’t let people know or they will worry. But then you just have to let things go and embrace who you are, what you are capable of, and try to use your talents for good. “The past is in the past. Let it go! Let it go! And I’ll rise like the break of dawn.” It’s all about growth and acceptance. A wonderful lesson. (Yes, I am analyzing Frozen like most of the Internet has done.)
Olaf, on the other hand, is pure emotion without thought. He is joy and light and friendship. He is pure id. This is what I need a reminder of sometimes. Joy, light, love, positivity. This is why I opted for an Olaf charm. He is everything I need to bring into my life. “When life gets rough I like to hold on to my dream of relaxing in the summer sun just lettin off steam.” Mindfulness meditation and visualization! Disney is so wonderful at embedding emotional lessons in their content. So, if you’re in the mood for a small moment of joy, watch the video below.
One more thing that Frozen reminded me about is the pneumonic HALT: hungry, angry, lonely, tired. There’s a song later in the movie with the line, “People make bad choices if they’re mad or scared or stressed, but throw a little love their way and you’ll bring out their best.” HALT is a tool that I use every day. If I’m feeling low or starting to act oddly, I always pause and ask myself, am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? If it is yes to any of those things, then I try to fix it if possible. If you can’t immediately adjust it so that you can fix it, at least you realize what is bothering you and that it’s not the problem that seems even bigger. I always remind myself that once I feel better, the problem will shrink. So nights are really difficult for me. As the evening and night wear on, my emotional stability also crumbles. That is when I employ HALT the most. If everything is just falling apart, rather than let it take me down, I just go to bed, or drink water, or have a snack, or talk to a friend, depending on how I feel. I would recommend this for EVERYONE. Is this problem as huge as I think it is? Or do I just need to HALT? It’s almost always the latter.