The power and release, of control

I want to heal my inner child and I can start taking small steps every day.  I know of people who have done the work to heal trauma, so it can be possible for me too.  I can learn and heal as I figure things out in this new journey.  I release my need for perfection and replace it with love and compassion for myself.

@Tukayote

“I want to heal my inner child and I can start taking small steps every day. I know of people who have done the work to heal trauma, so it can be possible for me too. I can learn and heal as I figure things out in this new journey. I release my need for perfection and replace it with love and compassion for myself.” – Tukayote, December 2022.

Five months later, I am rewording it to “I am firmly on the path of healing my inner child and I continue taking small steps every day to become more secure in myself, and my attachment to others. I know many people doing this work to heal their trauma, and it inspires me to continue doing the same thing for myself. I am learning so much, and healing so many things in this journey. I continue to release my need for perfection in myself and with others, and replace it with unconditional love for myself and those around me. I release my expectations of others and realize that there is nothing outside of myself that I can truly control.

It is fun to go back and look at where I was then and where I am today. I drafted an e-mail to a former partner this afternoon, one who I have had problems with for over a year, and who I had to sever the relationship with a few months ago. Then I deleted it. Without sending it. Something I couldn’t even think of being able to do five months ago, and something I couldn’t do three days ago when I hit send on the message I impulsively typed out in response to this person trying to interfere with my life again. I was giving them power and control over my emotions by engaging with them, yet again. And today, just three days later, after deep reflection and a 12 mile walk last night, I processed (yet more) emotions and came to new conclusions. I don’t owe them shit. And there is nothing I can say that will get through to them and make them understand the hurt, pain, and damage I feel from them. I can’t control their feelings or emotions. I can’t make them understand things the way that I do.

There truly is nothing outside of myself that I can control. I can’t control this person who continues down a destructive path and tries to pull me in. I can’t control their desire to control me. I can only control my choices, especially how I respond to what they are doing. And no response, is a SOLID response.

Sometime, also about 5 months ago, I sat down and listed all of the things I can control. Humans by nature like to feel like they are in control of something, and it was important for me to not feel powerless or helpless. So here is my list. I keep it on my phone, read it frequently, and when the inspiration hits, I add more to it. It keeps growing, but at the root of it all is one word: myself. I can only control myself. I can’t control other people (and what they do), the weather, random injuries, flat tires, or any of the millions of things life dishes out to us with little or no advanced warning. Just me. Only me.

Things I can control and have power over:

  • My reactions┬áto anything I face
  • My emotions and how I respond to triggers
  • My truth
  • My commitments to myself and others
  • My time and how I spend it
  • My body and what I do with it
  • My mental/physical/emotional/sexual health
  • My schedule and how I fill it
  • My diet
  • My substance, nicotine, and alcohol use
  • My money
  • My choice of friends and relationships
  • My sexuality
  • My love and who/how I share it with others
  • My gifts and acts of service 
  • My communication
  • My volunteerism
  • My employment

Things I can’t control and have no power over:

  • Literally everything else

So, take a few minutes to write down what you have control over and the things you don’t (and probably wish) you had control over. Then examine the things you don’t have control over, especially the ones that are causing you turmoil, emotions, and wasted energy. Stop trying to control them and give the control and power back to what you can control, yourself. Release expectations of others and yourself; they only serve to disappoint you in the long run. Turn to love and compassion for yourself and the healing journey you are on. And share that love and compassion with everyone and everything in your world (even your enemies).

Have a lovely day my friends and followers. I love all of you and hope this helps you take control of yourself and release your need to control anything that you simply cannot (which is almost everything, except you).

Love Always,

<3 Tukayote <3

Today is a gift.

I often tell people when they ask me what I am grateful for, that I am exceptionally grateful that I was able to open my eyes this morning and have a brand new day full of opportunities and potentials. A day that has not been “ruined” or “messed up”. A fresh blank canvas of time that I can choose to explore with optimism and positivity–or I can waste. But at the end of the day, I can’t go back and change it. It is history at that point.

So keeping this post simple. Today is a great day to go after your dreams, do something that scares or challenges you, learn something new, make a fresh connection with someone, to love ourselves, to tell others what we love about them, and to find gratitude in having a heart that is still beating. I love you and hope you are having an exceptionally wonderful day.

<3 Tukayote <3

It's a beautiful day to go after your dreams. @Tukayote
Photocentric Minimalist Mental Health Depression

Never a dull moment with Chantix.

Trigger Warning: Suicidal ideation

Yesterday, I was suddenly consumed with wanting to die. I got out my toolset of things to do to cope with the suicidal ideation (it isn’t a new thing, but it is not common anymore these days) and started using them. I tried writing a blog about self-love. I tried drawing. I cleaned my desk. I listened to music. I went for a walk. I tried watching TV. I tried CBD/CBG. I googled “suddenly suicidal” and stared at the first page full of crisis phone numbers to call. I thought about reaching out to a friend or loved one, but I was telling myself, “you aren’t going to do it even though you are feeling the thoughts. The thoughts will pass and nobody will be the wiser and you can talk to your doctor about it tomorrow.”

So then I decided to go for a drive and listen to music. And I needed to grab some groceries. Both are usually good distractions when the mind isn’t well. I got to the grocery store, and felt trapped in my car. Tears running down my face. What the hell was wrong with me. Fifteen minutes later, I summoned all of the strength I had, wiped my tears off, and went into the store. Everything was louder and I felt like everyone could tell how I was feeling. I grabbed my things, kept my eyes on the ground, hit the self checkout and went back to my car. Got on the freeway, headed south. The more I drove, the more intense the feelings became until I was scared of my driving and made my way home. Somehow. By then, my partner had texted to see where I was (we were supposed to be meeting), and I had to tell her that I was in a bad place and was actually at home. She came over a few minutes later to find me slumped over in a mess of tears in my car, engine running, headlights on, parked diagonally in my driveway.

She helped me get out and go inside and I proceeded to just turn into a crying mess for the next hour, unbelievably sad, and for seemingly no real reason. It was a mood swing of none other for me. One of the worst I have ever, EVER, experienced. No big triggers. Just a day with some small normal everyday stresses that grew way out of proportion.

In a period of hours, I went from my normal self to literally mentally listing off the people who would and wouldn’t miss me. I went from calm to yelling and crying in my car as I drove down the freeway until I got home. Every ten seconds I wanted to flip the wheel and drive into the embankments I was passing. “What the fuck is wrong with me?!” “Nobody cares!” “I am so fucking sick of this life.” My mind was racing, my heart was beating fast, adrenaline was pumping through my veins, and there was no sign of the person I am. My heart was empty, no love, no happiness, no gratitude, nothing. Between the afternoon and sunset, I was a completely different person.

Then I remembered my doctor telling me something about the medication I am using to stop smoking. Chantix, aka Varenicline, has been known and is notorious for sending some people into a state of suicidal ideation and even psychosis. There I was. Three weeks without a cigarette, on the prescribed dose of Chantix, and completely consumed with wanting to die. My doctor told me if it happened, to stop taking it immediately, which I did. I talked to my doctor today and we both agreed that Chantix is off the table permanently for me. Although this is the first suicidal ideation I have had in over a year and the first time ever with Chantix, it is too risky. Chantix a few weeks ago kept me up all night with violent nightmares. And it has helped me stop smoking. Somehow in all of the madness in my mind yesterday, I never stopped to buy cigarettes. I was craving them big time, but was still able to say “NO” to the impulse to smoke again.

This isn’t an anti-Chantix post, but it is a post to warn people of the sudden onset of suicidality that it can cause and did cause yesterday. I was on the verge of leaving life behind just because I wanted to stop smoking (because I want to LIVE) and a pharmaceutical drug that was supposed to help me nearly took my life. In research I have done today, I have found countless sources of information with similar stories–and countless arguments from Pfizer about how it doesn’t cause any problems. I don’t want to lose a friend or loved one to smoking…and especially to this medication. The abrupt and severe onset of suicidal thinking has really scared me and I want people to know that it is real for some of us.

If you are ever feeling suicidal, contact me, contact a friend, call family, call your doctor, call 988, call 911, go to the emergency room or something. Please don’t go for a drive or try to out think it. Me trying to be a personal hero yesterday almost cost me my life. I was so embarrassed because it simply is not who I am today. I am not a suicidal person and I let my pride and ego get behind the wheel and drive me towards death.

Chantix has helped millions of people successfully stop smoking, but it may not be worth the risk, especially if you have any history of depression or suicidal ideation. I hope this blog helps others weigh the huge risks and benefits of this medication.

Sending all of my love to everyone suffering with suicidal ideation and/or battling an addiction. You are seen. Your battle is real. I love you.

<3 Tukayote <3

Love yourself. For realz.

Background of red hearts with words that say "How many times per day do you say "I Love You" to yourself?"

How many times per day do you say “I love you” to yourself or practice some form of self-love?

At one point in my life, the answer was simply, “ZERO.” I didn’t. I did the exact opposite and told myself all the ways in which I was unlovable, imperfect, flawed, broken, horrible, unworthy, and helpless. For almost my entire life up until the past few years when I realized that most of those negative and self-destructive thoughts were completely false.

I, like you, am LOVABLE and LOVED, am NOT broken, am NOT horrible, am NOT unworthy, and am NOT helpless. If you noticed, I skipped the word “flawed” because (like you) I have my flaws but they do not make me a bad person or unlovable. My flaws and imperfections not only DO NOT define me, but infact they are perfectly normal. Because nobody is perfect, including you. Can you accept that first? Once you find acceptance in the FACT that you are imperfect, you can start building on the efforts to show yourself some love.

How does this following challenge make you feel just thinking about it: In the morning, go into your bathroom and do your normal tasks…then take 60 seconds to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I love you, (insert your name here).Say it slowly and methodically. Try to convince yourself that you are speaking the truth (because you are).

For many of us, we might not even want to look into the mirror and stare at ourselves, let alone have a talk about love. But it is important. As you say, “I love you” to the mirror, listen to the thoughts that arise. Write them down in your phone or journal and when you have time at a later moment, write something about each one and why you believe it. Then, write down some possible reasons why it may not be true or find a way to reframe it.

For me, I remember looking at the mirror and saying, “I love you Tukayote.” And then my brain was filled with all of the reasons why I shouldn’t love myself. Afterall, I was (and still am) overweight, was a smoker at the time, had (still have) bipolar disorder, my daughters weren’t (and still aren’t) talking to me, I was unemployed, and single. I had/have gray hairs in my beard, and thinning hair on top of my head. I was barreling into my 40s with nothing to really show for it except two failed marriages, and jobs I couldn’t hold down. I was not in the best physical shape and I was severely depressed.

How could I love myself with so many unlovable qualities? Simple, I stopped focusing on the negatives and starting finding things to be grateful for. I sought acceptance. Instead of telling myself that I couldn’t possibly love myself because of these things, I started writing down what others may see to be true. Afterall, despite my hatred of myself, people still loved me. Why? Because they saw who I was deep down inside. A broken man trying his best to get back on his feet. I radically accepted that I was overweight, smoker, bipolar, depressed, estranged from his daughters, unemployed, single, graying, balding, failed marital partner, nothing major to show for my 30’s, etc… How could I possibly see myself differently though? These were all true things!

I decided to reframe my view of myself and find gratitude in everything I hated. Yes, gratitude.

I am an active adult with some extra weight, I am mindful of my activity level and diet, and I am grateful that I have the health that I do for my age; I am a smoker who is seeking resources to stop smoking and I am grateful for the lessons smoking has taught me and for having resources to help stop; I have bipolar disorder, it is well managed because I take my medication and see my doctor on a routine basis, and I am grateful for the medication and treatment team I have; I am depressed but I took the initiative to enroll in a research study that is helping me immensely which I am extremely grateful for; I am estranged from my daughters, I know why, I am never going to go down the same path again, I am taking steps to make myself a better father, one day we will be reunited and I am grateful for the lessons I have learned from the experience and for the resources that have helped me cope with the estrangement; I am unemployed and it is a gift (that I am so grateful for) that has allowed me to focus my energy on loving myself and improving the things I struggle with; I am single and although I would prefer companionship, I have full autonomy to be myself and work on myself for which I am grateful (because many people are stuck in controlling, abusive, relationships and can’t seem to escape); I am graying and balding and it is a beautiful sign of aging that I have earned through many stressful moments that I thought would break me–but they didn’t and I am so grateful for that; I failed in my marriages and I am grateful to have learned major lessons from it that made me a better person; and I have nothing to show from the first 7 years of my 30s (even though I have since realized that I have lots to show for it), but there are three more years that I can shape into something better, which I am grateful for.

Acceptance and gratitude turns the frowns upside down.

Bottom line, I sat down and reflected on the messages I was telling myself and found ways to accept the facts and change the narrative by adding gratitude. I changed the messages I was telling myself and continue to challenge any negative messages I have today in the same manner.

I also started reading affirmations to myself each day. I started sharing these with people and learning that I was NEVER ALONE in my struggles. And by sharing my story, other people have been able to start making the changes in their lives necessary to fall in love with themselves.

Loving yourself is hard work and it is totally worth it. Hating ourselves is miserable and affects us mentally and physically. It spills over onto our closest people, friends, partners, and coworkers. Loving ourselves spills over onto everyone who interacts with you. They too feel this love and you are better able to love them when you have love for yourself.

Do you struggle with negativity and self-hate? Do you feel like you are unlovable and unable to love every part of who you are? I can relate and I can help. Lets chat. Contact me here anytime, 24/7. Last, and very important, if you are in crisis or want to talk to someone anonymously, call or text 988 anytime 24/7.

All my love to everyone suffering,

<3 Tukayote <3

Feeling Jealous?

Jealous? It's inevitable and natural. Dig into the roots of it. Examine your thoughts and feelings. Dig deeper. What is the message you are telling yourself and sending to others? Is it true? Or is it actually envy? Or shame? Or insecurity? Or fear? Or loss? Or something else altogether? Uncover the roots, talk about it, don't sit and stew. Practice self-care and loving yourself.
Jealous? It’s inevitable and natural. Dig into the roots of it. Examine your thoughts and feelings. Dig deeper. What is the message you are telling yourself and sending to others? Is it true? Or is it actually envy? Or shame? Or insecurity? Or fear? Or loss? Or something else altogether? Uncover the roots, talk about it, don’t sit and stew. Practice self-care and loving yourself.

Great read on jealousy, envy, and shame here: https://psychcentral.com/lib/envy-jealousy-and-shame