"Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried."
-Richard III by William Shakespeare
In honor of purchasing the domain for my site last week, I decided to reintroduce the What’s In A Name post (with edits), published back in April (it has since been set to private). I thought about re-writing it, but I think this explains it well.
When I was thirteen years old, I saw a movie that made an impression on the person I was becoming. The characters were hip and smart and cool and I dreamed that one day I would also be all of those things, with friends like that. Reality Bites is as re-watchable as it is quotable and over the years I watched it with so many friends, new and old. But I digress; this is not a review of my favorite movie.
When I was in my mid-twenties, I was in the absolute depths of my mental illness, but I had also found a group of friends that were supportive and loving. Like the movie that I so idolized, we were a bunch of brand-new adults who were trying to find our way and supporting each other along the way. We became a family outside of our families.
I often used humor to cope with my pain, as I do now, and one night while watching the movie with my friends, I heard Troy Dyer utter a phrase that I had heard a thousand times before and I was struck with inspiration. I immediately grabbed my phone and set up my new outgoing voicemail message, “Hello. You have reached the winter of my discontent. Leave a message.” Honestly, it was voicemail gold.
Most people probably didn’t get the humor in it (my dad begged me to change it in every voicemail that he left), but my friends and I were in on the joke and it made perfect sense to me. It described exactly how I felt about my life at that point. It seemed as though I was stuck in a perpetual season of discontent. Over a decade has passed since the days of my external angst and my tight-knit family of friends. Still, most of them say they think of me when they see my old favorite on television and they giggle about my old voicemail.
A transformation in understanding
When I was trying to come up with a “niche-y” and “catchy” title for my blog (per all the “25 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR BLOG AMAZING!” articles that I read), that phrase kept coming to mind; welcome to the winter of my discontent. It just didn’t feel like the vibe I wanted to set. I have moved to a different “season” of my life and, while the things I talk about here will sometimes be serious and intense, I’m trying to come from a place of positivity, light, recovery, and humor. In my younger years, I was trying to find a way to become comfortable with my unhappiness and my illness; embrace and accept it. I let it become me; I let my unhappiness define me because I thought that I had to. I thought that my illness would give me no other choice in the matter.
Now I am trying to find a path out of the unhappiness. How could I express this in my blog title? How can I let the pain and the rawness of my experience come through, while still voicing the hope and inspiration that I feel.
I decided to Google the phrase and see if I could incorporate it with a more positive spin. I typed in the quote from the movie and it led me to the original quote which was part of a speech found in Richard III by William Shakespeare. As I read into the deeper meaning of the words, I was astonished to find that I had been wrong in my meaning all along. When King Richard spoke the words, he was using “winter” as a metaphor for the end of something. Not a season of discontent, but the finale of it. The end of his family’s unhappiness.
He goes on to support this by naming all of the bad things that are coming to an end and the happy events and items that will take their place. It’s a a speech of celebration. I’m sure that is not what Troy Dyer met when he utter the words in my favorite movie; it certainly wasn’t what I meant when I made it my voicemail recording. But my understanding of the phrase and what it means to me changed; much in the same way my understanding of my brain and my illnesses has changed and evolved.
So, here I am, getting ready for the beginning ahead. This is my first step on the path to a happier, healthier life; the first step on my path to the end of unhappiness. I hope that I can help and inspire others along the way and I hope that you will join me as I share this journey.
So, there you have it. The Winter Of My Discontent gets it’s name from a place of hope and recovery, not a place of perpetual discontentment. Also, from a pretty kick ass 90s movie.
I’ve had a lot going on this week. I had therapy yesterday with Dr. R and I started seeing a new therapist this morning, Elizabeth. She is certified in EMDR therapy and today was my first session. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It helps people to heal from the symptoms and emotional stress that are caused by repressed trauma, in a phased and focused manner. It will allow me to reconnect with the images, thoughts, emotions, and sensations associated with that trauma, in a safe and consistent way. This will allow my brain to heal naturally and help me move toward adaptive resolution of my trauma issues. EMDR uses bilateral stimulation (moving your eyes back and forth, tapping on your knees or the tops of your hands, etc.) while re-hashing the trauma that I’ve experienced, but inside the safe space of my therapist’s office; it enables a dual awareness inside the brain.
I’m really excited about the treatment and I plan to keep you updated on the process and my progress within it. I’m a little nervous because I’ve read lots of online reviews that explain that my emotional state will likely take a beating through this process. My take on that? I would much rather feel some emotional pain and heal through the process than to keep lugging this baggage around for the rest of my life.
The first few weekly sessions with Elizabeth will be for us to get to know each other and for me to learn a little bit more about the process. Today, she asked me a lot of personal questions to determine how I emote when faced with certain pressures. We worked on helping me to find an internal emotional “safe place.” That exercise reminded me a lot of a guided mediation and I was not one bit surprised by where it took me.
She also suggested that I look more into meditation. I tried meditation a couple of years ago and I was able to find some guided recordings that really helped to refocus my brain. During that time, I found that I was sleeping better and also handling stress in a different and healthier way. I look forward to working more on that on my own.
Update on My Mamaw
I also wanted to give you guys a quick (good news!) update on my sweet Mamaw. Thankfully, the nurse came yesterday and said that they now think they were wrong about her being so close to death’s door. They originally thought that she had something called a Kennedy ulcer, which is a sign of impending death; turns out, they were just run of the mill bedsores. That is still not ideal, but it also means that she may have 3 days, 3 weeks, or 3 years. Her birthday is in the first week of February…maybe I’ll take a trip soon so I can visit her. I could use her warmth and love in my life right now. 💜
So, that’s my update for the week. I have a lot going on and I can’t wait to share my progress with all of you. Stay up to date by liking and following The Winter Of My Discontent. All the links are on the sidebar (desktop) or the bottom of the page (mobile/tablet).
Love and light! Keep fighting the good fight!! 💜💜