depression

I’ve Been Thinking Too Much

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Hello. My name is Becky Pourchot and I’m an over thinker.

If there was such a thing as Over Thinker’s Anonymous I’d be the president. I’m a pro. Some days I think (and think some more) about all the energy I wasted in my life brooding over things that didn’t deserve any brooding.

Tonight, fed up with the overthinking I’ve been doing lately, I walked down to the beach (two blocks away), sat down, closed my eyes and breathed slowly in and out. I relaxed and let my heart open. Within moments all of my frustrations and fears seemed to fly off into the air, dissipating with the clouds.

Over thinking is an interesting thing. I may at first feel all mellow when a thought will pops in my head. Alone, a single thought can be beautiful and simple, but when worry and the need for reassurance kick in that problems start happening. When left unchecked, pretty soon a tower of fear and noise populate my once peaceful head. My mind has been known to travel from tranquil to end-of-the-world status in mere minutes.

When I was a kid these weighty thought clouds were all encompassing. In fact it got to the point at the age of fourteen that my parents took me to a psychiatrist. Pretty soon my clouds of overthinking were no longer just mental weather patterns but illness with all kinds of dire names: depression, anxiety, OCD.

Because I came from a medically focused family, medications were quickly prescribed and in time my thought clouds lifted-slightly. However as well intentioned as my parents and the doctor were, what they failed to tell me was that the drugs couldn’t “cure” me, in fact it was ME and me alone that had the power to change the climate of my own mind.

Forty years later I’m finally getting it. In the past few years I’ve learned what Glinda told Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz “You’ve had the power all along”. I’ve learned to manipulate my moods and the weight of thoughts with simple actions. All it takes is a faith in myself and a lot of practice.

For me I’ve developed a series of tools, like a life-sized tool kit that I pull out when I’m getting stuck. We’ve all got our own set of tools, it’s just a matter of recognizing and cultivating them. For me it’s meditating, dancing (turning on the music real loud and dancing like mad), baking, listening to music in the car, working out at the gym, or riding my motorcycle. Sometimes the best thing I can do is just sit and pause, maybe eat a piece of fruit real slow, and savor every detail of it, the texture, the flavor, the snap of the skin in my mouth. Buddhists call this mindfulness. Slowing down to appreciate minute details always seems to help me.

Over time I’ve developed a pretty good awareness of my different mental states. When I’m all wrapped up in whatever life hands me, I pause and think: “Oh man, you’re really caught up in this, aren’t you?”

There’s no judgement, just recognition.

Then I find a quiet spot, close my eyes and breathe deep. All it takes is maybe five breaths now to settle back into a place of joy. The longer I sit the “lighter” I feel. The weight of my thoughts and worries is lifted and I feel more at ease. I often notice a little smile on my face as my heart opens up with joy.

What I’ve learned from this new found “power” is that the weightiness we give to life is not real. It’s just a heavy illusion, layers of thoughts that act like veils, covering all that simple joy that resides at the center of it all.

I will be honest, some days my tools have been less effective. Sometimes I’m out with friends and I’m so wrapped up in whatever is going on that I lose my center and some days, alone I dig myself in so deep in my mind that it takes several “tools” and some hearty distraction to get me out. The more I learn to recognize my states of being and the more I train myself towards this lightness of being, the easier it is to get there.

I was told back when I was a kid that the mental illnesses I was diagnosed with would be with me always, however I no longer identify myself as “sick”. In fact I’m healthier now than I even have been before. Sure, I may brood more than the people around me, but rather than allow myself to be a victim of my mind, I choose to use my weakness as a point of growth.

I look back to when I was a teenager, trapped in my fear, and I think, “Holy cow! Look how far I’ve come.” I struggle, yes, without a doubt, but I also, for the first time feel like I’m the one in charge as I learn to navigate this wonderful life.

Peace to you,

Becky

 

Street Performer Wisdom…

I was walking down the street on Beach Street in Downtown Daytona Beach when I saw a street performer, a drummer, maybe in his mid fifties enjoying our mellow Florida weather.  He had a little basket with dollar bills in it as her sat situated in front of a little vegetarian bistro.  I stopped and said hello and he looked up at me with a wonderful smile…one of those smiles that comes from deep in the heart.

He looked at me a kept on grinning. As I was going for my wallet and he said “What a beautiful woman you are.”  Now I suppose one could say he was simply buttering me up, or maybe trying to make a move but that is not the sense I got, he was seeing ME.  Not looking at my goofy pants I had on or the state of my wild curly hair, but he was enchanted simply because I was who I am.

Of course my ego was stroked  a thousand times…I can be insecure about these things, so yes, it made me feel marvelous. But it wasn’t about the surface stuff, I had the sense this this stranger, this guy on a street corner got ME.

We talked for a bit more and in passing I mentioned my husband and the gentleman said, “Well, tell your husband that Spice Man says he’s a very lucky man.”

Spice Man!  What a funny, wonderful man.  I wish I had got his picture to share because he was so beautiful too!

So, very appropriately I came across this marvelous little video shared by a friend on facebook this morning.  Forget the violence in the news, the insane politicians, the noise of negative self talk and fear that follows us all and  watch this video… and know that you are beautiful too.

Peace my friends.  Have a great day.

Beautiful and Broken: Redefining Depression

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I have been depressed…well, I think that’s what you call it. I have felt unmotivated to write, uninterested in finding a job, failing to eat right, or care for my home. I have detached myself from my family and opted for time alone.

Then this morning I woke up at 4:30am, as I do sometimes, and I simply starred into the blackness of the room. Rather than overthink and brood (like I do so well), I just breathed in and out and allowed myself to shed myself of all the noise, the guilt, and the feelings of inadequacies that stirred within.

As I did this I tried something. I let the darkness speak back to me.

With gentle, loving firmness it said:

I see you running around in life, chattering away in your head, trying to make something of this little existence of yours.

“Ta da!” you say. “Look at me. I’m a writer!”

“Ta-da! Look at me I’m a good mom!”

“Look how lovable I am!”

But it feels empty doesn’t it? Because these labels, these actions are less about You as a human being and more about what you want people to think of you.

“I am a woman who writes good novels”

“I am a woman who organizes events”

“I am a woman who makes people happy”

or on the flip side what you tell yourself when you’re alone….

“I am needy”

“I am a disaster”

“I am mentally ill”

…and on and on and on…

These definitions are you if you choose, but really, if you ask me? I think you’re just using these labels as a disguise for the real wonderful YOU that you are.

Be depressed if that is what you want.  This is your choice but recognize that darkness is only what you make it. Perhaps this “bad” feeling you have is simply the sadness of letting go—letting go of who you think you should be.

Depression is about fear, but I know you, you’re not really afraid, not deep inside. Inside you know the Truth of who you are. Depression is just another mask you wear.

Picture this—Imagine those marvelous little selves that you have created, each a beautiful work of art. Imagine all these versions of “you” hanging as paintings in a gallery, on the walls of a museum. You’ve got one titled “Mom”, one titled “Writer” one titled “Fun loving”, one titled “Clever” Look how nicely you’ve treated these images your whole life, with their nice golden frames, so perfectly placed for everyone to see.

But think of this, maybe they are not You. They are likenesses, merely facsimiles of you. The truth of it is that your “you-ness” is constantly changing, a moving target. You will never be the image on the wall, not really anyway, and the more you try to preserve yourself as those exact paintings you will fail, because those pictures are static and you, my dear, are not.

So now, as you stand there in front of your masterpieces, imagine yourself, one by one pulling them off the walls, as aggressively as you’d like. Imagine even, if you’d like, splitting each of them over your knee, sending an echoing crack through the museum.

And when you are done, settle yourself on the floor around the broken frames, the torn canvases, the paintings you called “you”.

And as you sit there, looking at the mess, let yourself feel sad. Feel that loss, that realization that maybe you’re not really who you said you are. Maybe you never even were. And as you look at the debris let these words come to you:

“Without those paintings I am nothing,”

Pause for that for a second and say it again: “I am nothing.”

It feels scary, maybe?

BUT What if…just what if… in that nothingness you are in fact everything…an absolute duality of all and nothing. What if as you shed these “supposed to be’s” you become simply YOU.

Look around at how beautiful and broken you are: a glorious, glowing fragment of all that there is.

Yes, you are mom, you are writer, you are friend, you are fun and clever but you are those things not because someone told you that’s what you are, you are those things because it reflects your essence, your Truth. In the end people don’t care about the “ta-da” they care about You.

Don’t be afraid to be nothing…because out of the rumble of emptiness comes beautiful, glorious You.

You are not depressed my dear, just walking the path of continually letting go.

The Paradox of Wanting

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After my most recent book came out my friends and family thought they had me pegged, “Olivia is clearly you,” they’d say.

Olivia is my female protagonist– A sexually uptight, neurotic owner of a cupcake shop in St. Augustine, Florida. Now, if you know me at all you know I’m far from sexually uptight, I don’t live in St. Augustine, nor do I own a cupcake shop. Neurotic? Well, maybe.

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Olivia has a problem in Open Souls. She found a box, opened it up and now she and Brad, a complete stranger, are both watching their identities dissolve as they slip into their own Pandora-like journeys.

At first Olivia finds herself in a state of spiritual awakening, suddenly aware of the beautiful details of the life, completely liberated from her fears. With this comes a sexual awakening that brings her an exquisite sense of self-awareness and freedom.

However after getting a taste for the divine, she is hungry for more. Crazed and manic, she finds herself a hopeless being of want, lust and desire.

While Olivia is not me, her story is my own; tasting happiness, but never being able to quite hold on to it.  Her story–our story is one of never ending desire.

The things I want: appreciation, love, attention, understanding… good food…sex! They are all ethereal. Moments in time that pass. In fact, in my experience, the act of wanting repels the exact things I want. The more I want, the more the more my desires run away, like a child wanting a rainbow so much she chases it to exhaustion, only to watch it fade, never to return.

Such a paradox we live in! Wanting, wanting, wanting in an endless loop. What an exhausting job it is to be the child chasing the rainbow.

I don’t know much, but I do know that we can never truly have what we think we want.

However if we sit back, let the breeze blow against our skin and simply BE, we might just realize that everything we truly desire we’ve in fact had all along.

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I am proud of Open Souls. 

To help spread the word of my little book, Open Souls is free on Kindle between July 16th and 20th. Check it out!

Get Open Souls Free Here.

May your wants be little and your hearts be full.

Peace,

Becky

The Day I Stopped Trying….

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I woke up yesterday morning sure as hell I was leaving. I was going to go to Marrakesh. I was going to pack my bags, kiss my kids and my husband goodbye and head overseas. Oh, I’d be back, maybe in a month or two but in the meantime I’d be off wandering open air markets, riding camels for fun, and eating all the humus my heart desired. That’s what one does in Marrakesh, right??

Frankly I knew nothing about this city. It’s in Morocco, right? But I did know- if I could throw a stone over the ocean, from the beach where I mediate each day, I’d hit this far off land.

And flying over the Atlantic to a distant world, where I wasn’t me, where my problems didn’t exist seemed like the best solution…because frankly I was sick of me….this me anyway.

“Traveling Me” wasn’t failing her family, her friends. “Traveling Me” didn’t have a house to keep clean, children and a husband to keep happy. She could make mistakes without causing a whole household to tumble. Traveling Me wasn’t needy, insecure, a victim of her own imaginary tragedies.

For months…years… I told everyone I was going to fix things… that’s right, everything I hated about myself. I was going to erase horrible Becky and bring in a better one….no…a perfect one!

I had a plan. I read books on how to be a better person, made motivational charts, wrote blog entries, gave myself mantras, prayed to the sun. Yet in the end I always failed.

The pain of imagining how horrible and unpleasant of a person I must be was getting unbearable…but somehow when I looked around, I saw that everyone still loved me, deeply. They didn’t care about my motivation charts, the mantras I chose. They loved me. Just me.

The only person who thought of me as a failure was me.

The day before my imaginary plans to Marrakesh began I was unloading cans onto the pantry shelf in our kitchen. …Actually I was shoving cans into the shelf because I had failed to clean it off, for weeks. It was overflowing . Yet another reason to loath myself. And so as I rested a can of chicken stock onto the stack, CRASH! The shelf collapsed causing a cascade of other collapsing shelves….and what did I do? I collapsed too. Right there in the kitchen. I cried and cried and cried. My eight year old twins came running into the room asking what was wrong.

What was I to say? I’m a horrible person? I’m sorry I failed you again?

I went upstairs to my room and sobbed until I reached exhaustion. I was so tired of failing.

Now here’s the thing about me, when it comes to emotional intelligence I’m not dumb. I understand my psyche quite well. I know I’m not a horrible person. I know people love me. I know this.  I  know I’m not depressed. It is just I keep playing forty year old “tapes” in my mind, tapes that say ‘You will never be good enough for the people you love.’

That’s one crappy burden to carry. In fact, it’s become a self-fulfilling prophesy. I get so sick of trying to attain imaginary heights that I say “fuck it! It’s not worth it anyway. ” Why bother?

And so yesterday in the face of my Marrakesh dreams I looked at my husband and said, “We need to leave.” He looked at me confused.

“I’m getting a hotel room in Daytona,” I said

So, we set the twins up with my 16-year-old son and we drove the 30 miles to Daytona Beach.

And during the drive, I poured it all out…all of it…about my struggles to be “good” and the “voices” who are telling me who I should be.  I talked the poor man’s ear off, and he listened, saying little, as I shared my bare ugly truth.

But here’s the deal, at the end of my soliloquy I felt better.  I realized maybe it all wasn’t so ugly. This needy, tired little girl was just a piece of me.  She is the one who tells me love is conditional, that love can only be attained through song and dance, though saying and doing just the right things.

But the truth is, love is not based on the state of your pantry, the nutrition content of the food put on your table, or for me as an author –the number of books I sell. Love permeates it all.

In the end the act of trying is useless. The true secret is being, because love doesn’t care how many hoops you jump through, love just is.

May you, in your journeys know that you too are loved by just being beautiful you. There’s nothing to prove. Love is all there is.

And hey, who knows, maybe I’ll see you in Marrakesh!

Peace

The Return of the Osprey—a Love Story of Sorts

I used to joke with my husband that I was like a kite in our relationship. He on the other hand was the guy on the ground with a roll of string in his hand. Under this model he was the one who kept things stable. When I start getting too high he reeled me in, and when I needed a boost he sends me outward.

This is the story I told myself for many years and for the most part it was true. As a creative sort, assigned a slew of mental illnesses, I had been told I would always need someone grounded and stable to reel me in from time to time.

This model worked for many years, and in some ways it still does, but it became problematic when I would feel the need to tug on that string and see just how far it could go. This just ended in sadness and frustration and resentment on both our parts.

So a few weeks ago I decided to rewrite our story.

In the new version my husband and I are on the beach. Once again he is the one with the kite and I am the kite itself, susceptible to breezes and shifts in the wind.

As I fly high, I spot on the skyline a bird—an osprey, flying towards us. I admire its strength, its focus, and its sense of freedom, but it causes me to wonder.   Could I too be more than just sticks, paper, and string?

As this thought passes through my mind the chord between he and I dissolves, fragments of string scattering in the breeze. I am scared, because I have been attached to a string all of my life. Aren’t I just a kite? I can’t do this on my own.

I panic as this man I love is getting farther and father away as I drift alone down the coast… but then something happens.

I feel myself changing, my support braces begin to crack, my flimsy paper tears and I feel myself shifting, muscles forming, bones developing, wings spreading outward.   As the wind blows, I lift up, flap and dive. I am no longer a kite, but a beautiful osprey.

I fly against the breeze to where my husband stands alone. I give him a nod. He is not concerned.

He knows I will return.

As this new being, I am my own agent. I am an explorer, a master of sky, sea, and land. I am now in control during the strong winds and the gentle breezes and though I am free I have not forgotten the man below. I picture myself finishing my journey, returning home, bringing gifts. In my talons I hold a white sea shell, with a small hole in it, symbolic of our love that is both perfect and imperfect simultaneously.

In honor of this story I have envisioned in my mind, in real life when I go for a walk on the beach I always return with a white sea shell with a whole in it. He’s got quite a collection growing on his desk. I have even tattooed a little osprey on my arm, wings outstretched wide, open and free.

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How lucky I am that I have found a loving partner who understands the importance to me of being able to fly down that coast alone…and you know, maybe he is equally as lucky to have found an adventurer, a lover of the sky who will always understand the importance of coming home.

Peace,

Becky

www.beckypourchot.com

A Good Depression

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Sometimes being in a slump is a good thing

Lately, these days I feel useless.

I feel needy and insecure. It’s not a great place to be. Trust me.

In fact I find myself avoiding too much contact with friends because frankly I’m embarrassed. I’m afraid my neediness has gotten to a point where they feel obliged to intervene, giving me advice on every little worry I have. They see I can’t fix it myself, so they reach out to help.

Over and over my friends (and most frequently, my husband) suggest ways to run my business, how to manage my personal life. This is because I ask them….beg them to help me solve my problems. They give me pep talks, cheer me on, and tell me where I’m going right and wrong. This is wonderful. I know they do this out of love and I cherish that, but at some point I have to stop asking for help.

I have surrounded myself with fixers. They’re my favorite kind of people. In fact, I’m a fixer too! We see problems and we solve them. And most importantly, if we see people suffer, we are there to help.

Lately I’m two people: first I’m this horrible, insecure girl who feeds off of her own neediness, putting up the white flag of distress all the time, because she’s too scared to take responsibility for her own actions. I hate that part of me, more than any other part. It makes me ashamed to even write it. BUT on the other side  there’s a deeper part of me, a beautiful, strong, proud self that KNOWS the answer ….or a least has the courage to make a good guess.

So as I’m sitting here on my porch, enjoying the magnificent Florida spring weather, I say this: Yes, I am in a slump,  yes I am doubting myself. Lately my worries are taking charge, but within that darkness I am seeing where I fall short, recognizing that I am sometimes weak, sometimes scared. And that’s okay.

Strong people are people who aren’t afraid to be weak. They are people who know when to ask for help, but they also know when to say “I got this. I’ll fix this one on my own.” www.beckypourchot.com

Of God and Unicorns…

unicorn be yourselfSometimes I journal as if I’m talking to God. I don’t even believe in God, at least not in the traditional sense, but as I was writing this came out.

God, I am burnt out on this writing thing, this author thing, trying to sell my books. It’s too much. It doesn’t make me happy.

Okay tell me specifically, what, in all of this doesn’t make you happy.

The trying. I mean I love the doing, but the trying to be perfect…

What do you want to be?

I want to be a woman who writes really good books, who tells exciting stories aloud to an audience and makes people feel good inside when they hear them. I want to write great articles, short stories…keep a decent blog…and keep creating That’s SO Bizarre..and love the people I interview for all their quirkiness.

God, I want to send light into the world. I want to send my heart and humanity to people…I want to remind them who they are!!

Don’t you see it Becky!!? You already are all those things. That is you! My God, Becky, you are living and breathing your dream.

The key is to stop comparing yourself to everyone… you are not them. You are on your own path. The minute you try taking their roads you fail….that’s when you crumble. Only you can be you, to be anyone else would be a lie. You hurt, suffer when you try to be someone else. You can only be you. Beautiful, sunny, heartfelt you.

Becky, my sweet love, you are fine. This is not depression, this is longing…and this is all good. Finally there’s room to look at this part of yourself deeply. There’s a lot going on in your life. Take a deep breath and know you are okay. Let go of the paths you cling to and float atop the one you are on.

Smile. You are here. Right now. In beauty and light.

Forgive, my dear, for you already are perfect.