Invitations: A Time to Say No

Some initial thoughts for 2016

When I visited A New Perspective Perhaps earlier today, it got me thinking about the struggle I am having as I begin the new year. As I work out the final details of my intended approach to the new year, the invitation in the post called out to me.

Can you feel the promise and excitement a new year brings? Empty slate. Blank pages waiting for you to fill them up. Get started!

Invitations like that have always called out to me, so today’s automatic response was no surprise. And while the invitation is a good one for a lot of people, I have finally come to realize that it’s not good for me. Based on what I’ve learned about myself in the last couple of years, I FINALLY know that when I see this kind of invitation, I have to run the other way.

At the urging of a friend, this was the year I sought out a doctor who might be able to check my depression diagnosis, and lo and behold, things are a bit more complicated than that. After treating depression for over 30 years, I now know that I have not only accompanying anxiety, but a dose of hypomania for good measure. It took a couple of attempts, but I found a doctor who was willing to listen to what I had to say. It was especially gratifying because in Taiwan, most doctors are good with English, but still, it’s not their first language. Still, the new diagnosis seems to fit me much better and has helped me move toward a life that feels less overwhelming and stressful. I’m fortunate that I don’t have a full bi-polar diagnosis, but in hindsight, I can see that much of my enthusiasm for anything shiny that passed before my eyes or mind was the result of a lack of filter that led to an overfull calendar and a recipe for exhaustion and disaster.

Although an adjustment to medication was a good start, I had to recognize that I could no longer continue life the way I had been. And that means that I have to think twice and consider which opportunities I can realistically pursue, and which I have to let pass me by. I find this to be a huge learning curve that involves a lot of trial and error. It also has pretty high costs when I make an error.

Still, here I am. Entering 2016 with the realization that I need to make a more concerted effort at scaling back without losing my dreams. But more than that, it means discovering what are real dreams and what are just sparkly distractions parading by as dreams.

So, the overarching theme is from the quote I posted on Wednesday, “Make peace with your broken pieces” by r.h. Sin. In the next few days and weeks, my goal is to determine what that means and how I can move forward to find the goals and intentions that will lead me toward my authentic dreams. In the process, I will be gentle with the broken pieces and make peace with them.

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So instead of taking a running start at those blank pages waiting for me to fill them up, I am going to take it slow and write more intentionally and leave lots of white space to create a story and a life with breathing space and where I can uncover what it really means to be me.

Stay tuned for some of the tools and ideas I will use along the path of learning to listen to my own wisdom.

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This post is part of Linda Hill’s Just Jot it January. That means, I’ll be attempting to Just Jot (something every day in) January. Maybe you’d like to join in.

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18 comments on “Invitations: A Time to Say No

  1. What a beautifully written post, Deborah — especially your closing lines, “I am going to take it slow and write more intentionally and leave lots of white space to create a story and a life with breathing space and where I can uncover what it really means to be me.” What a beautiful intention with which to start 2016. I do hope it will help guide you as you make decisions in the year ahead. All my best to you, always!

    • Thanks, Heather! It’s definitely time for a change. I think this makes the most sense for me. I’ve lost connections with a few people because my discoveries don’t line up with what they were hoping I’d do, but that’s part of the journey. I appreciate your support. 🙂

      • People who would impose their will or expectations on you aren’t worth keeping around, Deborah. But you do have my support!

  2. My first time to your blog and what an introduction! What a relief to find a diagnosis that actually fits and doesn’t leave you feeling like something is missing. A dear friend has struggled with a similar combination of depression, anxiety, and hypomania and the many misdiagnoses (he was treated for depression and nothing else) almost destroyed him. It was difficult getting his medication calibrated properly, but he’s now the happiest and most relaxed I’ve seen in years. I wish the same for you! I definitely understand your need/desire to discover “what are real dreams and what are just sparkly distractions parading by as dreams.” I suspect that I need to do that as well. For a long time I’ve envied my friends who are self-publishing one book after another while my many rough drafts gather dust. I’m starting to allow myself the idea that perhaps right now all I should do is write rough drafts. Let the hard work of publication happen later when I have (hopefully) have more time on my hands to spare. Life is too short and I believe on my deathbed I’m more likely to wish I had gone on one more hike with my husband than written one more blog post or dusty novel 🙂

    • I totally understand what you are saying. As for your friend, that was my struggle as well. Treatment for depression, which included one med that could actually elevate mood, which was the last thing I needed. But better late than never.
      On another note, let me know if you’re ever looking for an editor. One dream I do know I have and which is being explored this year is helping people achieve their creative goals. Maybe we can find a focus together. 🙂

    • I’m hoping so. I just know I have to do something different than jumping into life headlong without a plan. Spontaneity is good, but I need to balance it a bit. Thanks for inspiring the post and allowing me to put these thoughts into words. 🙂

  3. In my experience it’s an amazing feeling to be able to set my mind to something positive. I do love your phrase, “discovering what are real dreams and what are just sparkly distractions parading by as dreams” – I suffer with this occasionally and I know discernment is difficult! So all the best to you, my dear as we enter another new page, so to speak. 🙂

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