Manic Mondays: When it Comes to Change, Butterflies Aren’t Made in a Day

I swear Target is going to be the death of me…or rather my checking account. I’m not as bad as I used to be when it comes to overspending, but I still have my moments when the compulsion to buy literally stands next to me in the aisle and screams, “JUST BUY IT! BUY! BUY! BUY!” and pushes me toward the checkout line before buyer’s remorse or guilt sets in, clapping gleefully along the way.  It wasn’t until I was talking to an intake psych last year (we’re only 2 days in to ’12 and that feels so weird to say) that I understood those compulsions to be a symptom of BP. Finding this out was like a puzzle piece locking into place: a new part of the picture was revealed and I started to understand a part of myself that I didn’t before.

Like I said, I’ve gotten better at silencing the screams of frivolity, thanks to my therapist, Dr. A (she’s a psychologist), and all I’ve had to do is just pay attention…not just to what I’m buying, but why I’m buying it; how am I responding to it emotionally, mentally, even physically? Does the need to purchase a particular item come from a healthy place,  a euphoric (manic) state, or am I trying to cope or compensate for something?

Taking the time to be “in the moment” while I’m at a store  has enabled me to cut back significantly on my spending and even make better choices. I don’t always succeed, but change is a process, not an overnight sensation as they say-right? And it’s this concept of change that led me to purchase the dry erase board you see above. Yes, you read that right. It’s a dry erase board. This is why Target is going to leave me a poor woman, because they sell the coolest ish in return for your soul  cash.

Anyway, Dr. A had said  I should only buy things that are only going to benefit me, enhance my quality of life in some way, and most importantly, not leave me broke.  “Buy what speaks to who you are. Be intentional, ” she said. So I have been, and despite the butterflies on it calling my name (hello, I’m obsessed!), I was talking myself out of buying this…until I read the bottom

“Without change there would be no butterflies.”

And BOOM. Just like that, I was buying a new dry erase board AND a life lesson, a 2 for 1 deal, people.

Here’s the thing about that statement that gripped my soul…it’s a new year and every single year everyone gets their underoos in a bunch when it comes to resolutions that are hardly ever kept. I’m not trashing the concept because in theory it works, it seems feasible, improving our lives is something we all strive to do. It’s in the application that this whole ‘New Year’s Resolutions‘ theory goes to pot. I’ll be honest. I love change. I grew up as a military brat moving from place to place, my dad went through wives like Kim Kardashian goes through marriages (he’s on #6), and I change my hair like I change my underwear. Change is something I’m used to because I’ve had to be. I’ll even say that when it comes to the small stuff, change is what I’m good at. Adaptation has been my survival mechanism since childhood. What I’m not good at, is initiating and executing change on a larger scale. I’m horrible at it. Why? I think it’s for the same reason all of us struggle with it: We’re  impatient.  (C’mon, admit it, you’re mad this post isn’t over yet.) We live in a culture where everything is on demand and in an instant. We seem to think that change is something that’s always instantaneous but that’s not always the case. So every year, we make this long list of resolutions, vow to make these major overhauls in our lives and then by February or even March, we’ve given up and are wallowing in shame over it.

Or maybe that’s just me.  I even talked to Dr. A about it. “I’m good at planning…but I suck at consistent execution,” I told her back in November, frustrated because it seemed like I just couldn’t work ALL parts of my treatment plan, AND motherhood, AND being a student ALL at the same time for an extended period of time.  “Change,” she said, “takes time. It doesn’t happen all at once. If you try to it all at once you’ll only overwhelm and frustrate yourself. You’ve gotta have some patience, it doesn’t happen with the snap of your fingers. It’s a process full of different components…and getting used to each one takes time. Instead of making a long list of changes or goals to accomplish, try just picking one or two things to start changing. Once you’ve got those down and have made them habits, pick one or two more, and so on & so forth. You gotta build, little by little.”

And that, people, is why I love her. I’m sure you’ve probably already figured out what she said years ago, but for this BP mind, it’s the first time I’ve understood the concept. Time…patience…slow & steady wins the race, right?

Right. And that’s why I bought the board; I needed that reminder going into the new year and to keep myself from getting caught up in the resolution frenzy. The fact that it uses butterflies to convey this concept is tailor-made for me. Caterpillars spend months in a cocoon, undergoing massive amounts of changes over a particular period of time before they become butterflies. Why would we be any different?

I’ve realized that part of accepting my illness is accepting the fact that recovery and stability aren’t going to happen just like that. It takes time to find the right meds, proper doses, right doctors, most suitable exercise, right form of therapy…it. all. takes. time. In order to do what it takes to live a healthy, stable lifestyle that makes my BP manageable, I have to do some overhauling in some areas: eat better, sleep more, identify my triggers….but I’m learning how to take it all in stride and focus on each part separately, only moving on to the next “renovation” when I’ve mastered the previous one.

So this year, I didn’t make any resolutions. Similar to last year I decided to focus on making necessary changes by meditating on one word for the year…I’ll tell you what my one word for 2012 is tomorrow. Until then, remember:

Baby steps+ Patience = Progress.

A little change here or there goes a long way….transformation is a process with growing pains we must learn to love ourselves through.

We'll get time.


2 thoughts on “Manic Mondays: When it Comes to Change, Butterflies Aren’t Made in a Day

  1. Pingback: My Brain is Exploding…Into a Thousand Manic Pieces – ButterflyConfessions

  2. Pingback: Manic Monday: Full Disclosure « ButterflyConfessions

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