Mind Dump: Past, Present, and Future

A new blogging friend of mine gave me some advice the other day when I indicated I was having trouble turning my thoughts into words. She simply said, “Don’t think, just write.” I suppose I will, since I have so many things that are going through my mind and I believe the chaotic thoughts are really preventing me from getting anything out.

In this blog, I wanted to talk more about domestic abuse and the ways that I have been effected by it. The problem with that is I have PTSD, and sometimes when I start thinking about the ways I’ve been effected by domestic abuse, I find myself in the past. I don’t want to push myself into remembering times that trigger flashbacks, but at the same time, I do want to get it all out. I want to address the painful memories and move forward, but without causing an anxiety attack.

This makes me think about my therapist and how she doesn’t focus too much on my past. We might refer to it when discussing current challenges and why I cope with things the way I do, but we never really get into the nitty-gritty of situations that have occurred. This leads me to wonder if it is dangerous for me to re-live old events. I mean, there has to be a reason we don’t talk about that stuff. What’s more interesting, thru my research on PTSD, I’ve found evidence that the way to heal and move away from a PTSD diagnoses is to not have the flashbacks.

Am I harming myself by talking or thinking about the past? Am I supposed to just block all of that out? What if I don’t want to? Should I want to?

Another topic that I want to talk about here that weighs heavily on my mind is Fibromyaligia. There are so many writers who discuss fibro that I wonder if I should even bother to talk about it, too. Sure, maybe my perspective is different, but what do I uniquely have to offer that readers can’t find elsewhere? Just my experience? Everyone experiences the condition differently and what works for me most likely wont work for everyone.

I like to think I have some great ideas about coping with Fibromyalgia, but there aren’t a lot of them. Furthermore, I haven’t lived with the condition long enough to be an expert. Also, having fibro and focusing on it is kind of depressing. I really would like to be on the positive side of the condition, but to be honest, there aren’t many (if any) positive things about chronic pain. Something tells me that I am just not trying hard enough to find them.

I also have a lot of thoughts and feelings on my son, that I’d like to write about. I find this subject to be extremely hard to discuss though. It is a topic that is a little too personal and I don’t even know where to begin. I feel like I might be able to attract more readers when talking about ADHD and ODD, but again, I am not an expert and can only talk about the topic from my point of view. I am also very new to dealing with this child’s personality with a different approach from what I’ve used for 12 years.

I’m still not quite sure I’ve found the exact science to being effective and don’t think I should quite yet be handing out advice. Things have improved significantly, but we are still very far off from where I want it to be, and I don’t have full confidence over this topic yet.

I often feel stressed out because of the topics I’ve chosen to write about. They are all pretty heavy and can be quite negative subjects. And though I don’t think I approach them with negativity, they just aren’t what one would consider fun, amusing or lighthearted reads.

Do focusing on these topics help me grow as a person, or is it keeping me trapped in a once very unhappy frame of mind? If I don’t talk about these things what else will I discuss?

In all the articles I’ve read about successful blogging, I’ve found that most suggest having a niche. That’s all well and good, and really it makes a ton of sense, but what if you don’t have a niche? I mean what is my niche? Abuse, fibro, mental health? Now I’ve begun taking photos?

I feel as if I am all over the place, and though the different topics I talk about do all relate to one thing, that one thing is me. I can’t be a niche. Realistically, that’s just foolish. Sure, if I were keeping a private journal or just tracking my progress as a human being, without trying to attract readers, that would be fine. But that is not my goal.

So what is my goal? I think about this often, and ironically, I tell everyone I know that they need to have a goal they are working on achieving. You can’t get to point Z if you don’t know what that is, after all.

While I do have long-term goals, at this point, they are more or less just dreams. I say this because I haven’t set definitive short-term goals which point me in a solid direction or position to achieve what I ultimately want out of life. And while I think it is good to have big dreams, I also know that they don’t amount to more than a hill of beans if I don’t start actively pursuing them.

Is this blog going to help me achieve my dreams? When I think about what I want to achieve… Yes, I believe it will help me. But, as of now, it doesn’t feel like it is and I am not positive on how to use it as an effective tool. Though my readership is growing, little by little, I am not satisfied with the rate, and I am not always pleased with my stats.

Having a realistic look at the facts, I am told that while I am doing well, I am not doing good enough. 

Am I talking about things people aren’t interested in? If so, what are people interested in and am I able to talk about those topics? Am I not consistent with what I write? How can I stay focused on the topics I’ve chosen? Am I not a good writer?  What am I doing to improve? Do I really even want to talk about this stuff? If I don’t then I am not coming across as sincere and passionate. No one wants to read something that is dry, forced, or ineffective.

What am I good at? I know that I am good at a lot of things and I consider myself very lucky for that. If I try at something I am almost always pleased with the results because I am fairly successful in all I do. The problem is though, because I am pretty good at everything, I don’t work hard enough to just excel at only one thing. I also get bored rather quickly and find it hard to just focus my efforts in one area.

While this might sound like a ridiculous problem to have, it’s not, simply because  it can be quite frustrating. 

Being okay at a lot of things is far from being excellent in just one area. Having a lot of interests and a curious mind is a wonderful way to live, but it can also become a hinderance. Because I often move from thing to thing, I find my desires are often spread thin, and this creates too many distractions.  Not being able to highly achieve in any one area often leads me to wonder if I am even really very good at anything, or if I’ve just convinced myself that I am.

I want a purpose in life and I want to make a difference in the world. But how? What am I doing to achieve that? What am I doing to figure out ways to achieve that?

It is so hard to answer these questions, because again, though I have long-term goals, they aren’t very specific. And because my goals aren’t detailed, I lack focus on creating any short term goals.

Though I know I’d like to help people, I am not sure what I want to help them with. This really needs to be decided if I want to get anywhere. Reality also needs to be weighed into my decisions. I am not going to be able to help anyone if I don’t have the knowledge or there isn’t the need.

I suppose the first step in all of this is hammering down my goals in a realistic way.

Take my long-term goal for instance: I want to move to England. I can’t just say my goal is that I want to move to England. That statement is a dream, not a goal. I can make it into a goal, but more needs to be said about it than “I want to move to England”.

Why do I want to move to England? When? What will I do when I get there? How do I suppose I will get there? Is it realistic to want to move there?

I used to say I was going to move to Italy. Again, why? Why have I changed my mind about Italy?

Do I really just want to travel for a few weeks, months, a year? Am I just saying I plan to move to another country to sound interesting or to escape a life I am not happy with?

I think in the past I just wanted something to look forward to. As time goes by, I find myself still longing to explore another way of living and still think it would be a positive thing for me to do. With each year that goes by though, I realize I’ve done nothing to really get me any closer to achieving my goal than the day I dreamed it up.

Sure, I am looking to the future in high hopes, but they aren’t realistic plans of action. I will say that I’ve taken baby steps in terms of trying to find a job that will allow me to work remotely, but I haven’t been hired yet. Writing would allow me to do the same, but I haven’t made a nickel for my words. What am I doing to make my dreams reality? What is holding me back?

I suppose I’ve gone on long enough about my thoughts for now, but I do feel there is a lesson to be learned.

If I am smart, I won’t just think of this as a mind dump and turn it into a waste of time. If I am smart, I will hammer down some solid goals, no matter how far-fetched they are, and then come up with a plan of action to achieve them. If I am smart, I will set a 10 year plan, then break it down into a 5 year plan, a 2 year plan, and then 1 year plan. From there, if I am smart, I will set monthly goals and decide if this blog, and the direction I’ve chosen to move towards with it is beneficial. If it is not, then I need to come up with a new plan of action to reflect my true goals. If I am smart, I will look at today as the first day of the rest of my life, seriously, whole heartedly and realistically.

Thanks Linneann, for encouraging me to just write. This exercise has helped me realize that my focus has been blurry because I am lacking a definitive goal.

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21 thoughts on “Mind Dump: Past, Present, and Future

  1. Yes, this blog will help you to sort out your thoughts, and knowing that you will share them with others will help you to keep them balanced and honest.

    I wrote a “discover” draft and it became a book, which helped me, through the journey of writing, to make a major decision that has benefitted me tremendously. You can go to my blog to see more: http://terrysthoughtsandthreads.blogspot.com/2012/04/im-offering-coupon-for-discounted.html.

    Keep writing, and sharing. It will make a difference, I promise! ❤

  2. You see how much you had to say? How much is on your mind? No wonder you are feeling the way you are. I share many of your concerns. I have often said that my blog is all over the place, and I often worry that some of my stories are too heavy. But I have to be me. I’ve tried to be someone else and it doesn’t work. You don’t have to be an expert to share your personal struggles and lessons. There are enough people who can relate to you for your experiences to be beneficial to them. As I think you know, I am in the process of writing a book about my son and some of it has been very painful. Do I think we should live in the past? No way. But not revisiting it speaks to me of personal irresponsibility and cowardice. How else can we learn from it? How else can we tell if we are progressing healthily? Everything we know comes from the past even if it was just a moment ago. Keep it up, Ginger, and Yes! Create your list of specific goals, even the ones that sound impossible. Write them down and look at them daily.

    1. Thanks Linneann, I can’t tell you how much this has opened up my eyes today. I can’t say I have the answers as far as my blog is concerned, but knowing why I need to figure it out feels so much better than just knowing I’m not getting far 🙂

      1. WordPress advises that it takes one full year to build a blog to any agreeable level. If you don’t want to share something you’ve written then don’t. Save it for later. I can tell you that all the posts I had on FB over the past two to three years have made writing my book so much easier. You’re doing great. 🙂

  3. When I was in college I often wrote my intro’s after my conclusions so it seemed I had always known where I was headed!:) Life isn’t like that, and through your honesty in this piece, you reached a conclusion on which you can act. I hope you enjoy writing down your achievable goals for the future and once they are done I know you’ll succeed. I’m only new to the world of blogging and have no idea how to grow my readership but I think if my honesty shines through in my writing, like yours does in this piece, I will be on the right track.

    1. Wow, thank you for such a kind complement and for your encouragement. I wasn’t sure where I was headed with my writing, but I somehow worked it out. I like to start with a goal ahead of time usually, but not having one made me realize a lot!
      Thanks again, this was a very kind and thoughtful comment!

  4. Holy Mind Dump! You have a lot to write about after all! It is wonderful! I tend to journal sporadically and keep my notes only for myself and out of that comes some action as otherwise i procrastinate. As far as goal setting that is good for such a young person. As for myself as I’m retired and also very laid back I think it is good to pick a few nice affirmations to say to myself. I have all those old issues in the past as some resource material for my writing but at this stage of my life I don’t want to go there often. The present is more interesting for me now. My thing right now is to be more active physically so when I walk I use the silence and the affirmation thoughts to propel me forward. all the best and go with your instincts

    1. Thank you for your well wishes and also for pointing out that looking at the past isn’t as important as focusing on the the here and now, as well as the future. I’ve always held goal for myself, but after last year every thing changed. I didn’t recognize that I hadn’t set up anything new to work towards in this new life of mine. It feels good to see that now 🙂

  5. You kept saying at the end, “If I’m SMART…” Scuse me, but you are smart. Making a 10 year plan, and then breaking it down into smaller bites/goals is very smart! When I was going to CSUSB to become a teacher one of our professors in a particularly difficult class posed this question:

    “HOW DO YOU EAT AN ELEPHANT?”

    The answer???

    “One bite at a time.”

    So, go grab a fork and get started and we will be here cheering you on. 😉

    ~ Lynda

  6. Hey Ginger,

    I just wanted to touch on two of the things you mentioned.

    Firstly, I know what you mean when you talk about trying to find a positive way to approach topics which you consider heavy. I used to feel the same way about talking about fibromyalgia and depression. I still do. I try to make the post light in whatever way I can but I also think while it is frustrating having to talk about this stuff, we need to talk about it. And there are lots of other bloggers out there yeps,but you never know how your own narrative might touch someone out there. Just the fact that you take on such a frustrating task, which I am sure achieves something good and positive, is admirable.

    Secondly, I used to worry about my first blog not having a niche. My potofcallaloo.wordpress.com blog started out as a mandatory university project where I was supposed to write editorial type blogs. Since graduating I struggled, trying to find a niche. I dont worry so much now about finding a niche, I just write about the things that are close to my heart, or whatever bothers me that I have something to say about. If on person reads it, Im happy.

    Finally, dont give up on any dreams you have. Looking forward to something tomorrow helps me to cope with depression. I write hoping to be published one day. I hope that this will help provide avenues for helping me fulfil other dreams I have. So probably you should start researching and thinking practically, on what you could do to help yourself move closer to your dream of moving to England.

    Hope you find the answers you’re looking for:)
    Hugs xxx

    1. Thank you for your thoughts. I feel like we relate in the sense that if we aren’t “told” what to write, we have a hard time. I know I feel that way a lot. If I am given a topic it is easy to pull together a post. However, left to my own, I am not sure what I want to say. I really liked “just writing” maybe I should try that more often.

      Thank you again for your encouragement 🙂

      1. You’re welcomed Ging:)

        Continue to just write:)

        In a way you’ve created a kind of niche though. You write about being brave in the face of adversity whether it’s abuse or fibromyalgia or trying to find your dreams… 🙂

        Keep those posts coming:):) you’re an encouragement to me as well:)

        Btw, where did this post a picture challenge originate from? it’s interesting!!

  7. I read your page with a tear in my eye and I sighed a few times. You, girl have it together a lot more than most I know and yet you doubt yourself again and again. Peptalk time…listen to what everyone else has told you and you will be fine. Last year you had goals and you were ‘happy’ to be busy trying to complete those goals. This year you haven’t set any goals yet and look at you. I think that you are doing great with your pictures and hope that you continue doing that all year long: a picture is worth a thousand words.
    We all have goals and dreams. The older you get the more clear it becomes that a lot of goals are no more than dreams that don’t materialize, but the fun in life is “trying” to reach your goals.
    Again, great post!

    1. Thanks for sying such nice things Dad, but I wasn’t really doubting myself, but perhaps I came across that way. When I was questioning myself, I think I was doing that as really honest questions. If you want to improve, you have to know where you can improve. I feel lost when I don’t have a goal and while I worked through so many things last year, they weren’t really planned. I want to have a plan and that’s all my post really was about, though I didn’t realize it until I was done writing 🙂
      Love you!

  8. Well, we sound alot alike. 🙂
    Being good at many things is a problem, isn’t it? When I was in high school, I kept hearing, “You’re so smart. You could do pretty much anything you want to!” But I kept thinking, “Just tell me what I’m supposed to do. What is it that I’m great at?” I think I’ve at least found one thing I do greatly, and that’s make things. So, that’s part of what I share on my blogs.
    I don’t know if you’ve read my post “You Can’t Do That,” yet, but you’re the one who decides what is success for you, and what is a failure for you. Just because you don’t have a million followers on your blog doesn’t mean you’re a failure. If that’s the case, you’re saying you consider everyone else who writes a blog, which is pretty much everyone, a failure if they don’t have a bunch of followers. Surely you’re getting something out of writing what you feel? If not, you’re not writing for you, which is no fun, to be honest. (That’s the reason I started my new blog – to write for me.)
    You also sound alot like my mom: abuse & fibro survivor with PTSD. I can’t tell you what the solution to ending the flashbacks is, other than removing yourself from an environment where there’s any similar conflict around you. I hope that you’re able to find the solution that’s right for you, and that you can heal from what you’ve experienced.
    This was a great post. It got me thinking about my own goals. Articles about life coaching keep coming up, and I keep wondering if I should try to find one to help me sort my goals out …
    Thank you for sharing all of this!

    1. Thank you soo much for this! I feel like you really could understand what my struggle was!

      “Just tell me what I am supposed to do. What is it I am great at?”
      Love that line… We are twins 🙂

      I suppose I haven’t been writing for myself, really, though i really enjoy it. I enjoyed yesterdays post. I’m glad I got you thinking, that’s really what I hoped would happen for everyone 🙂 but somehow only indecision and doubt came through for most..

  9. I’ve just found your blog and am SO impressed with what I’ve found so far; but I think perhaps that you’re much too hard on yourself. There is no “wrong” way to approach life unless you’re hurting someone; and that definitely includes yourself.
    “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray…” not sure who said it, and at the moment it really doesn’t matter: you say you NEED plans (my emphasis) and yet you also say that last year you had no plans and accomplished so much…
    So relax, remember to breathe and go with the flow… You are where you are and meant to be there (and remember; every time you find one of life’s potholes, you’ve found a niche; )
    xo D.

    1. Hi Deb, thank you for commenting! It’s true… I am too hard on myself, it’s an awful habit of mine. I believe I do this because I want to know I am on the right path and what my future wil look like. I know that is silly, and pretty much pointless, but I do always want answers. I want to know everything is going to be okay. I’ve heard a lot of times that the journey is what we will appreciate in the end, and I do try to remind myself that, I just worry so much it’s hard not to wonder about the future.
      I will try hard to relax (haha) and go with the flow. I ultimately want a simple life and I suppose those are the two most important actions one should take to acheive that way of life.
      Thank you again for your comment, you made me think a little bit differently this morning!

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