Focus on the Now…

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Our local Mental Health Trust fund a facility called ‘The Recovery College”.  The Prospectus has over sixty-five courses, ranging in duration from three to twelve weeks.  Some classes are only two hours duration, while others are more demanding six-hours.

The subjects include, ‘Spirituality & Wellbeing’, ‘Introduction to problem solving’, ‘Five ways to wellbeing’, ‘Living beyond Depression’ and ‘Mindfulness’.

Last week I started a ten-week course called ‘Telling your story’.  Participants are encouraged to make sense of their illness and recovery through writing or art.

ImageThe objectives are more about rediscovering yourself using creative approaches, rather than how good you are.

The first group went well.  All the “students” are pleasant strong characters.  Underneath my calm intelligent façade, I’m a crumbling anxious wreck, tormented by extreme paranoia.

I must confess to initially having doubts about my suitability.  It seems more appropriate for people who are not yet writing.  Last night, our homework helped me grasp what the course could mean for me.

For the next ten weeks, we need to write a journal for five minutes, three times per week.  I do not usually write “Dear Diary’s” and might find this difficult, but I reckon that is part of my problem.

A question presented to us for homework is…

What areas of your life/recovery would you like to focus on?

Amidst a chaotic life, this question feels like a minefield.  WhereImage do I start?  How can I choose just one thing when there is so much needing sorting?

Last night, it became clear what MY focus should be.

It has been so long since I actively lived in the ‘here and now’.  My head is always somewhere else – usually ruminating with harsh self-criticism and paranoia.

Therefore, my aspirations are almost predetermined – Focus on the now.  I may have struggled with mental illness for over 13 years, but my journey has recently brought us to the new diagnosis of Agoraphobia, Borderline Personality Disorder and Recurrent Depressive Disorder.  I know little about BPD and even less about RDD.

You could say that I am swimming in RDD and BPD symptoms.  There is little control; in fact, my life/head is completely awash with the symptoms of Borderline.

Surprisingly, I didn’t find the agoraphobia too much of a challenge.  I have a problem in strange places or spending more than two hours away from home.  During class, concentration was flagging.  After an hour and a half, my brain closes down.

Nearing the end of class, we were to do a very simple five-minute writing exercise, but my mind was completely blank.

Subsequent to my latest diagnosis, the areas of life I wish to focus on are….

~  Practice living in the moment.  Don’t weep over past issues (unless for therapeutic reasons) and never worry about the future.  This will be incredibly difficult to change.

~  Use this writing time for rediscovering the person I am TODAY.

~  Learn more about Borderline and RDD and how they relate to my present life.

My biggest challenge is Focus…

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33 thoughts on “Focus on the Now…

        1. Cat Post author

          Sorry to hear you had to go into hospital. Great that you’ve been discharged…. looking out for your post. Take good care!

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  1. Eric Tonningsen

    Bravo! Telling one’s story can be equal parts therapeutic and empowering. I have a small framed quote on my office desk which reads: “Let Your Truth Emerge.” When our stories come from the deep within us, they can be both painful and liberating. Here’s to your taking action and choosing to move yourself forward! Strength be with you.

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  2. brokenbutbeingrepaired

    Good on you, Cat 🙂

    Think you’re a lot stronger than you believe and hope the course helps you to build on those strengths, aswell as your knowledge of BPD and RDD increasing.

    Knowledge is power 🙂

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  3. Susan Irene Fox

    Cat, I’ve been meditating lately on the Lord’s Prayer. Significantly, the line, “Give us today our daily bread,” means exactly that. God asks us to trust Him just with today. The past is the past. Even though it’s brought us where we are today, it’s about focus on what’s right here in front of us, opening our eyes and hands to the gifts and blessings of today, and not becoming anxious about the future. It puts “focusing on now” into perspective, allowing us to place one piece of the puzzle at a time into the jigsaw puzzle of life, knowing God sees the Big Picture. We’ll see it eventually, but we don’t need to see the entire thing just yet – we just need to pick up one piece at a time. It’s the tender journey we’re all on.

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  4. Ashana M

    Way to go!

    It gets so much easier when you have a focus. It starts to seem like there can be progress. When there are five hundred issues to tackle, you really can’t tell if you’re making any progress on any of them. You might, but it’s just too hard to tell. And that gets very discouraging. And depressing. Take care.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Sorry, Ashana… I did actually reply to this comment from my kindle fire, but it seems to have vanished.

      You are so right about not recognising our progress through “five hundred issues to tackle”. I think the class I’m doing is good for trying to get us to focus, although that is sporadic.

      Many thanks for dropping by, the interaction on my blog is invaluable.

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  5. findingmyinnercourage

    Therapeutic, empowering and optimistic = one brave Cat! So proud of you! Strength be with you on your journey!

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  6. vicbriggs

    Underneath my calm intelligent façade, I’m a crumbling anxious wreck, tormented by extreme paranoia.
    More people than care to admit feel that way. Another great post. Thank you x

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Vic… I always think most of my posts are rubbish, especially this one. It’s nice to hear someone thinking differently. Thank you, Vic

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      1. vicbriggs

        With depression-tinted-glasses on… we all tend to have a gloomy view of the world. The only hope is to remember that others (lucky them and lucky us!) don’t see things that way.
        xx

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  7. Erik Andrulis

    “What areas of your life/recovery would you like to focus on?”

    I focus on World Peace. For starters, I work on making every person know that when he or she (or it, should I call myself that) is looking at reality, he or she (or it) is, in fact, looking at himself/herself/itself. So, then, from a first-person perspective, every face I see is my face. I focus on this problem in my life because, in knowing that it is a problem of mine, I know it is a problem of Mine— all who and what I am—that is, everyone I see and meet and am. Peace, Ik

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  8. Cate Reddell

    Wow! I think it is fantastic that you are doing this. It is something that I would struggle not to run a million miles from but only in terms of my own perceived inadequacy. Something that I think many of us struggle with. Focusing on the now is really hard isn’t? I’m always going backwards or forwards, never just living with now. Somehow I suspect that means it’s something I need to work on. Good luck with the course, Cat. I look forward to hearing more.

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  9. Gel

    It sounds very healthy to be engaging in this class project. Good for you.
    I did notice that the assignment said “areas” plural. not just one area. But after reading through the post it just sounds so good to focus on ONE thing like you have chosen. And to choose focusing on the now – WOW that is good. I’ve done that for short periods of time and it is illuminating and challenging. I look forward to what you discover.
    x

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Gel… yes, it is a challenge and illuminating to discipline ourselves to live in the moment. Thanks for dropping by – appreciated!

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  10. releasing lunacy

    Cat, awesome post. I’m excited for you. These courses sound wonderful!! Nothing even remotely close to this is available where I live. I think what you chose to focus on is a super choice! That’s a skill everyone can use whether suffering with mental illness or not. It’s something everyone can relate to on some level. Though I think it’s much more difficult for people who struggle with emotional pain and depression. The last place we want to be in here and now! Keep us posted on your coursework, if you don’t mind. I’d love to read more about it as the weeks pass. And congratulations on having the courage to take that step to go in the first place 😀 -rl

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Rl… your support is really appreciated. The facility is amazing – one gold star for the NHS! Taking that step forward would have been too much to contemplate, this time last year. It is good to feel a little change…

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  11. positivedisintegrationblog

    This sounds like a very positive, yet challenging thing to do. Well done for taking the first steps. Just living life as fully as possible in the here and now is difficult for anyone, whatever the mental health issues. I have faith in you!

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  12. Annie

    I know this is a bit old, but I’m reading it for the first time. And can relate. I have a tough time focusing and it’s gotten worse in the last few years due to recent traumatic events. When I saw the comic at the beginning, I had somewhat of an epiphany. It really isn’t total lack of focus, it’s more about focusing on healthier things.

    Thanks for this post. It was really helpful. And I hope you are doing better with your focus now… more than a month later. I guess I’ll have to keep reading. 🙂

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