Making positive change

“I lived most of my adult life with depression, anxiety and bipolar. I was reactionary, angry, insecure, confined by my comfort zone, shy, highly sensitive, perpetuating an inferior complex as well as abandonment and trust issues. I was single, having difficulty in relationships, having difficulty interacting with people, both socially and in the workplace. When I would go on dates, I wasn’t comfortable, usually wouldn’t open up, often times even clammed up and didn’t speak. I found it hard to make real connections. I was too shy and insecure and lacked communication skills and social skills.

In work, I was too aggressive. I usually wanted things done my way, often arguing with my supervisor and coworkers if they disagreed. I was a perfectionist and spent more time than necessary on tasks because I was overly critical of my work. I was lucky to have a boss who didn’t have the heart to fire any of her employees. We fought a lot and one time, it got so bad, she sent me home for the day. I was either too aggressive or too passive. I also didn’t speak up in meetings a lot, was intimidated by others in the office who were senior to me and was not good at building relationships, again due to lack of proper interpersonal skills. I was approaching 40 and I did not have the success or happiness in my life that I wanted. I was having problems dating and having problems in the workplace. I also was living with a lot of anger. I’d say anger was my go-to coping skill. Whatever it was, I would react with anger, which always caused upset and unhappiness.

As a matter of fact, most of my other coping skills would also cause upset and unhappiness. They were what I call “negative ineffective coping skills” that were constantly upsetting ME and creating unhappiness in my life. I did an inventory, most of my go-to coping skills were negative and had a negative effect on me and keeping me unhappy, feeling bad about myself and living in the pain of my wounds. Because our flaws come from our wounds.

My go-to coping skills were fear, anger, worry, self-doubt, insecurity, shyness, sensitivity, fighting, being obnoxious, being stubborn, guilt, shame, being argumentative, being sarcastic, feeling embarrassed, feeling disrespected, feeling rejected, frustration, overwhelm, annoyance, the list could go on. All negative ineffective coping skills because they had a negative effect on me and my happiness, they all created upset and unhappiness for me. Well, I set out to change this, I set out to heal wounds by correcting my flaws.

My process of healing boils down to changing negative ineffective coping skills to positive effective coping skills and also entails changing our ineffective negative fear-based thinking to effective positive love-based thinking. That’s right, changing your thoughts to change your life. With negative thoughts and ineffective negative coping skills, I lived with bipolar, depression, and anxiety. With positive thinking and effective positive coping skills, I live free of mental illness and with freedom and happiness.

Yep this is the result I got when I replaced all the negativity, caused by hurt, in my thoughts, beliefs, words, actions, behaviors, perspectives, and coping skills with positivity, created by healing. I changed the negativity that was in the core of my existence, the foundation of my being and that permeated my mindset with positivity and it set me free from the prison of living with negative thoughts and the limitation of living with multiple mental illnesses.

As I mentioned, it started with an objective, honest evaluation of myself, what were my flaws, what was I doing wrong, what wasn’t working for me, what was contributing to my problems and I set out to right my wrongs until there was nothing wrong with me. I didn’t know this at the time but this helped me to make positive change that healed all my wounds, healed my flaws and healed my depression, anxiety and bipolar, which stemmed from my wounds and flaws.

I started with my anger, took that on first. My goal was to get rid of it, not manage it, not minimize it, get rid of it and replace as my go-to coping skill something more effective and productive that yielded a better more favorable outcome. Taking on my anger was very challenging, took self-control, discipline, patience and assertiveness. That’s right, I had to learn to express myself instead of just acting out in anger. I had to pay attention to my thoughts that were fueling my anger and get them to start diffusing it instead. When I was able to train my mind not to think angry thoughts, this helped in my actions and I managed to replace my anger with assertive communication. The result of this was less upset and created an effective outcome of the conflict.

One by one, I set to address, get rid of and replace each of the other negative ineffective coping skills, including anxiety. In my opinion, anxiety is not a mental illness but a negative ineffective reactionary coping skill and I took it on like I did my anger. I worked with my thoughts to stop allowing anxious thoughts and started using positive affirmations and encouraging thoughts. I did everything that usually gave me anxiety with new thoughts encouraging me and supporting me through the situation.

During this transition, I stayed on Xanax or ativan until I was confident that I built up new thinking, built up my courage and built up my confidence that I no longer needed the medication because I created new coping skills to replace the anxiety I had used for so long. This also helped me to overcome my fears and live free and with courage. Living free and with courage has helped to be comfortable taking risks in life and putting myself out there in life.

I also sought to overcome my shyness and sensitivity. Again through focusing on creating encouraging, supporting thoughts and developing new positive effective copings skills to replace my shyness and sensitivity, I was able to overcome my life long shyness and sensitivity  and be free of behaviors that didn’t serve me. I was onto something. Can I change all my ingrained negative ineffective coping skills just by focusing on keeping my thoughts positive? It turns out I could.

Our actions are a reaction to our thoughts. So to change my behavior, I had to change my thoughts about the situation. After living with unhappiness, depression, anxiety, bipolar, I had had enough upset and unhappiness, My goal was to change my own thoughts and behavior if it created upset and unhappiness for me. My main goal became about creating and maintaining my own happiness, of course it is also my goal not to create upset and unhappiness for others too. And just by changing my negative thoughts to positive, which took reprogramming my subconscious mind, and my ingrained negative ineffective coping skills to newly ingrained positive effective coping skills, I was able to accomplish this and get rid of my depression, anxiety and bipolar, to boot.

Plus, the end result is I found love, working on my success, feel comfortable wherever I go, confident in what I say and my actions, in every situation, even the difficult ones, comfortable in my own skin, not angry, not fearful, not limited to my comfort zone. I’m free to be me, free to be my beautiful authentic self. Free to be the Debbie Jacobs I was meant to be, not my hurt self living in the unhealed pain of my life and in the darkness of mental illness. I made it to the light by healing my unhealed pain with positivity, which is the light.

— Debbie Jacobs



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