Cleaning Out Boxes of the Past

A lake near a mountain

A lake near the mountains

After arriving back in the USA a few days ago, I’ve been busy cleaning out all of my old boxes. Although I just moved back from China, my goal is to move abroad again for my Master’s Degree soon. Thus, all of the clutter in my old room and closet needed to leave.

As I pulled out old boxes and rummaged through dusty drawers, glimpses of the past kept appearing.

My fingers were stained pink and blue from oil pastel paintings made in residential treatment for my eating disorder. Babies surrounded by darkness, blood-red monsters devouring me, trees half blossoming and half diseased – images of despair and hope mixed with every color.

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Can You Ever Fully Escape Your Past?

Imagine meeting an old group of friends or classmates. One person constantly belittled and even bullied others while growing up. Now, she listens well and even apologized for past actions. Another person, on the other hand, was shy and insecure. He still struggles to speak and usually complains about himself when he does speak.

Situations like this happen to me all of the time although not always in the same day. I meet people from the past who have changed tremendously while others are nearly identical. The questions arise, “Do people change? Can someone move on from the past? Are some people able to forget who they were?”

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One Thousand Thanks: 1155 – 1165. Writing


The typewriter of C.S. Lewis’s brother

At times, words seem to flood from my mind to my fingers and onto a page or computer screen. Other times, the phrases and concepts drip like a leaky faucet. Even that is better than when the water is turned off completely and nothing will come out at all.

Writing is never easy. Sure, it can be fun or a release. However, if you truly want to write, you will find the task very difficult at points. However, that should not scare you away because there are many positive elements. Here are some of them.

1155. Expressing yourself – Writing how I feel is often easier for me than saying it. Strangely enough, I can also better verbally express myself after writing about it.

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How Do You Deconstruct Walls of Anger?

Fear of Anger

Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean. – Maya Angelou

Over the years, so much anger has built up inside of me. There are groups of people, individuals, places, and things that fill me with such rage that I have built up walls around myself. Add in walls of fear and anxiety to make it even harder for me to open up to others.

I wish I knew how to erase the anger. Part of the problem is that I never let people (excluding family perhaps) know when I was frustrated with them. Thus, my feelings built up over the years.

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How Do You Ignore the Past?

Silly Family

Just being sillly,

Honestly, how? Is there a secret way of moving on and living a normal life? Because I certainly have not found that method out yet.

Some people seem so flippant about their past. Others forgive and forget quickly.

I wish that could be me. Instead, I am stuck in a cycle of remembrance and frustration. Fear and depression join in as well.

So does anyone know? How do you ignore the past? Or at least, how do you move on with your life?

Recovery in the Media: #60. American Authors

American Authors

Uplifting in both beat and lyric, this band refuses to let the hardship of the past hold them back from enjoying the future.

60. American Authors

Hearing ‘The Best Day of My Life” numerous times on the radio was my first introduction to the band American Authors. I enjoyed the song but did not think much about it. However, another one of their songs, “Believer,” really touched me. As I began to hear more of their songs, my admiration for their simple style and optimistic lyrics grew. That is why I decided to discuss them today for Media Monday. Hopefully you will have your spirit lifted a bit by their music like mine is.

Selected Songs:

    • “Luck” from their Oh, What a Life album
    • “Ghost” from their Oh, What a Life album
    • “Love” from their Oh, What a Life album
    • “Think About It” from their Oh, What a Life album
    • “Believer” from their Oh, What a Life album

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Coping Skill: #56. Creating a Memory Box


A poppy that I found on my way to Tolkien’s grave

Perhaps because of my aspergers or perhaps just because of my personality, I am a very sentimental person. Each letter that has been written to me is kept in a bundle with similar notes. My room is filled with figurines and pictures drawn for me are taped across my walls. These help me to remember people who touched my life and helped me along the difficult journey of life.

However, having too much clutter will not bring back helpful memories. Instead, you will be overwhelmed, frustrated with yourself, or simply not be able to see what what you need. That is why putting certain items into memory boxes can be a helpful coping skill.

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Ten Things Not to Say to Someone with PTSD

Me with wax figure of Moriarty

Ten Things Not to Say to Someone with PTSD

Think of the most awful event in your whole life. Then imagine reliving that time and time again while feeling powerless to stop. Your heart rate quickens, thoughts race, and breathing begins to race as your body begins the fight or flight response.

This is an example of how someone with PTSD might feel when triggered. Every person responds differently, but there are some common factors for all who suffer from this disorder. Although logically in a safe place, this person feels the panic and vulnerability from a past experience. Physical sensations accompany mental terror which makes this type of anxiety difficult to face alone.

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No One has the Power to Break You

As you learn who you are, you can better surround yourself with friends who make you a better person, and that sometimes only happens when you disassemble old relationships. - Maggie Stiefvater

As you learn who you are, you can better surround yourself with friends who make you a better person, and that sometimes only happens when you disassemble old relationships. – Maggie Stiefvater

Agony fills me when I look back on some of the people in my past. Adults who shamed, girls who whispered just loud enough for me to hear, boys who snickered, and many other memories still haunt me. Mostly I blame myself for the unkind comments and thoughtless abandonment. After all, people only treated me how I deserved, right? The shy, naive, awkward girl had it coming to her because she had no idea how to survive in the real world.

However, traces of anger and bitterness reside deep inside of me, nearly invisible but poisoning everything they touch. The more that I ignore these feelings, the stronger they become. Guilt then  begins to set in which only adds to this toxicity.

For years, I stuffed down these emotions. Finally my therapy has allowed me to open up a bit about them and start to voice them aloud. The seemingly simple practice of announcing my hurt to others makes me feel like shackles are removed from my wrists. However, allowing the words to leave my mouth or even process in my brain throws me into the front lines of a war. When people say call themselves recovery warriors, they are not kidding!

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Recovery in Media. #13. Secondhand Lions

Secondhand Lions

Funny but touching, this movie always cheers me up.

13. Secondhand Lions

My parents watched this movie a few years before they allowed us three girls to see it.  After viewing it, I understood my mother’s nervousness about some of the violence.  However, I loved this tale of maturing and hope.  Plus, who doesn’t love lions?  This ranks up with one of my favorite films because of its touching yet humorous moments.

Synopsis:  Once again, Walter’s mom is leaving him alone.  This time, the young boy finds himself with his two cranky uncles who don’t even have a TV much less any idea about how to take care of a kid.  However, townsfolk whisper that Hub and Garth, the uncles, hid away a stash of money.  Slowly, Walter convinces his uncles to spend some cash and enjoy life.  Meanwhile, they begin to give the tween care he has never received.  Many adventures occur throughout the summer such as a pet lion, airplanes and shooting at annoying salesmen.

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