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Reasonable

Whenever I post a blog entry that isn't entirely positive, people quite reasonably respond that it's quite reasonable for me to feel that way. But I don't feel quite reasonable about it.  I know what reasonable is, what reality is.  But I don't have to like it. Isn't that the definition of suffering, not liking what is real?  Eh, maybe not.  More like, not accepting what is real;  liking is something else and totally up to the individual.  But not accepting is like one of my favorite expressions, peeing into a gale.  The wind doesn't stop, and you end up needing a change of clothes. I've spent a lot of my life trying to convince myself I'm reasonable.  Probably because I'm a Thinking type, according to Myers-Briggs.  Doesn't mean I always think, but that I try to convince myself that I've always thunk.  The reality is closer to being ruled by my emotions, then pretending they make sense according to circumstances.  Why would my feelings make (that kind of) sense, or for that matter, why would circumstances, reality, make sense by my limited human standpoint? If I were to believe that the Universe makes sense according to my understanding, it would mean that I effectively control it, limit it to the set of events that I'm prepared to accept.  Okay, I have a healthy, or possibly even an unhealthily large, ego, but it's not big enough to believe that my definition of acceptability plays any role in restraining the Universe from doing whatever the [expletive] it wants. It appears that the only reasonable thing to do is to admit that I'm not going to find the Universe to be entirely reasonable.

malign

malign

 

Who Do They Think I Am?

So, here I am in my fourth semester of a master's program in Counseling Psychology.  In danger of failing another class. Maybe it's a Spring thing;  that's when I last had this trouble.  Maybe it's that my classes this time are again challenging beliefs instead of providing facts.  Challenging beliefs should be a good thing;  unchallenged ones lack detail and fail to inspire confidence. But what it feels like is that each class, in a different way, is telling me that I'll make a great counselor;  all I have to do is be someone different. Now, this perception may be a valid assessment of the curriculum, or it may be my issue.  I do have trouble defining an identity:  I got burned the first time I tried to take on the role of Husband;  I've worked for years as a computer programmer, so is that my identity?;  I had never even considered a helping profession for myself before the separation, was that a denial of latent ability or am I now fooling myself about having any? Amusingly, one of my current courses is on Career Counseling, yet I've never really had any.  I always assumed I knew my strengths, I knew what job required what strength, what more did I need? Well, one word is "self-efficacy."  I've never felt confident that I was good at anything in particular, except school.  I grew into computers, and eventually had some confidence.  But every interview, I felt as if I had to present something false, or rather, someone false, in order even to be considered.  Then I had to go through a phase of intense learning (calling it "cramming", as students do, doesn't do it justice), just so I would feel minimally competent in whatever the new job required.  I'm sure my employers welcomed my efforts, but I would have been unable to reduce those efforts even if told to take it easy.  It was my anxiety, and my need, that drove me. And now here I am studying a field where you can't cram.  It takes time to learn about yourself;  there's no fast track, no manual you can memorize.  No easy decisions.  Engineering is pretty much defined as making difficult compromises between all the relevant variables, but none of those compromises is about your own identity, your own needs, your own value. I thought I knew who I thought I was.  Now I'm wondering who they think I am, under what circumstances I should care, or even whether they know better that I.  I know that if they (my instructors) were to decide I shouldn't be a counselor, I would have to honor that decision.  Passing courses is required for licensure, for one thing, but I simply wouldn't want to work in a field where I was not qualified.  I have no desire to harm my clients;  what I don't have is any idea whether something about me might cause harm inadvertently.  For that, I have to trust the evaluations of others, and that's where my doubt takes hold. I know I wasn't promised a doubt-free existence.  It would be nice if it weren't a constant, though.

malign

malign

 

Anniversaries - How You Know Time Is Passing

This is probably appropriate for a New Year's post ... Ten years ago December 30th, I checked myself into a locked psych ward, feeling depressed and suicidal.  The amusing thing is how quickly I felt better, isolated away from my ex.  By the third or fourth day, folks around me were clamoring to get out;  I was quite content in there. I still had to go back, and stayed with her for just over a year more.  But, though I had some periods of depression that year, I found that I had begun to figure out that some things aren't worth what I was paying.  And that's one heck of a useful lesson, right there:  know what you can afford, what your limits are, when to stop struggling, acceptance of what you cannot change. Which brings up another memory of the hospital, one of my favorite:  a woman who was there for alcohol detox wrote out on an index card for me the Alcoholics Anonymous Serenity Prayer (they borrowed it;  it existed before.)  I still carry it in my wallet, folded in half and ragged along the edge, as a reminder.  Whatever you think of AA, or of prayers, it does contain a valuable message.      God, grant me      Serenity to accept the things I cannot change;      Courage to change the ones I can, and      Wisdom to know the difference. Acceptance, Courage, and Wisdom.  Quite a toolkit.

malign

malign

 

I dont know what to do?

I feel suicidal a lot these days. Something little can make me start thinking about hurting myself and that there is no point. My friend is worried about me and I dont want to bother her. Last two months were stressful, but I had more stressful days in the past, but now I feel suicidal and I dont know why.

Andromeda

Andromeda

 

All

There is a t-shirt I have (that is, that I asked my wife to buy me for a birthday) which has a saying on it that inspires me both on the face of it and by the thoughts that it triggers in me.  I have considered sharing those before, but have always put it off, fearing that it might end up silly or preachy or make me look foolish. Eventually, though, I realized that my own negativity about how my thoughts might be received was depriving me of the chance to organize those thoughts in writing, and possibly some reader of whatever value they may contain So I decided to post this despite my misgivings. The t-shirt says: If all is not lost, where is it? Now, of course, this saying plays on the usual interpretation of "all is lost" to mean that All is gone, non-existent. And I know that some people feel that way; I have, at times. But if there is no All, then you would have to account for the presence of so very much universe, so much humanity that's still there, all around you.  If you accept that the universe is even approximately infinite, then your All has to be in there somewhere. So let's start by assuming that your All is just lost, or in another way of speaking, that it has lost track of you somehow. Okay, then it makes sense that you at least might have some way of finding it again. But before you run off searching, you might want to spend a little more time deciding exactly what your All is. If you don't have a clear picture of it, how will you recognize it when you find it? You could be looking right at it. I know that's often what happens with my keys. Don't skimp on this phase, even if you think that the answers are obvious. Maybe especially if you think the answers are obvious. All is a pretty big thing to try to grasp at the best of times, and when you're panicked because it's lost, it's easy to persuade yourself that you'll never find it again. So, once you have an idea of what All you're looking for (as they say in the South,) where do you start? Well, we can continue with the analogy of my keys by suggesting that you start looking where you last remember you had it. I know that sounds either stupid or obvious; and amusingly, that's why I said it. Again, we're talking about a situation where you may not be thinking very clearly. But where you last had it, even if you're sure it's not there any more, can give you a lot of hints about where to look next. And even if you feel that you have never had it, you must have some similar experience you can relate it to, or you couldn't form the concept of your All in the first place. If your All is a feeling of peace or happiness, the conditions that allow you to feel that way are probably pretty close to the ones where you last felt it. If your All is a relationship that is now lost, it makes sense not to seek a new All in a place where there are no people.  A "new" All, did I say? If it's All, how can you have a new one? Well, we return here to that phase of trying to be clear about what All you want. If you have been making a single person, or a group, or some part of you, or something you could be, your All, haven't you been limiting it, quite a bit? For instance, if All you seek is to feel better, who's to say that that's not on its way, only it's part of a bigger All than you thought? Maybe, in fact, All cannot be lost; you're embedded in it. That may make it harder to see. Especially, it may make it harder to see the part of the All that you're particularly looking for. But what's around you is the All, so what you seek is in there, somewhere. You just have to keep seeking it. That's All, folks!

malign

malign

 

Define "failure"

So, here I am back on the site, after my second semester. One of the things that brings me back is the perception of having lost something. I have checked in, on occasion;  sometimes run updates or whatever;  read some posts that I thought might be interesting.  So why has it been so hard to post anything? Part of it is a kind of fatigue.  The program I'm in is very "stretching";  it makes you ask yourself over and over whether you're sure of things you've believed most of your life.  And being twice as old as most of my peers, that's a longer time for me than for them.  So I'll just come out and say it:  people believe some crazy shit, and the one I'm most familiar with is me. What has always been the difficulty is the shit-replacement phase of the operation.  Many of us are aware of our ... delusions;  some of us are aware that we have some power over them;  remarkably few of us know what to do after that.  I know, for me, some of my crazy shit includes my most cherished illusions.  It's not easy giving them up, especially because that involves forgiving myself for all the trouble that the shit has caused me over the years. Anyway, before I ramble too far:  it makes it hard to hold a mirror for others when you're afraid you might catch a glimpse of yourself in it. And all of that is very deep, and metaphoric, and other stuff I'm fond of using to cover up my own weaknesses, so now that that's out of the way:  this semester didn't go that well. The classes were more substantial and information-filled, which, if the information were all fairly factual, like a science or math class, would have been great for me.  Unfortunately, the psychology field is fairly devoid of anything indisputable.  It's all opinion, fundamentally, and the opinions tend to vary almost as radically as political opinions do.  That's fine:  I have opinions, and usually know what they are and why I have them.  But the classes this semester had more papers I had to write, and the papers had more opinions I needed to defend, and, for me at least, a stronger feeling that I was being evaluated by the professors for having the "right" opinions.  Each paper became harder to write than the one before it, and by the end of the semester, I had developed enough of a writer's block to have not turned in three separate papers in two different classes.  Suffice it to say, you can't pass classes with zeros on major papers.  So, for the three classes I took this semester, I got an A, an X (the equivalent of an F that doesn't prevent you from taking the class again), and an Incomplete. Obviously, this can't continue.  So now I'm trying to find a psychiatrist (in addition to my regular therapist) to see if they can take the edge off the anxiety I feel.  And, at the moment, I'm putting off calling them back by writing all this. So, is it a failure if you're still learning?
{And I know everyone's going to rush to answer that, but it's really me that I'm asking it of.}

malign

malign

 

Resumption

So, after a long hiatus (Latin for gap, and not for what it sounds like), I think it's time I resumed using this thing. For a long time, I think I was put off by the fact that I have friends.  That is, it felt like writing here was a performance, for people I already knew would approve.  Not much challenge in that, and because I wanted them to continue to approve, even some incentive to be circumspect, to include only the good stuff. When approval starts to be an issue, you get dissociation.  Some things are okay to talk about, and the things that aren't okay are not only not talked about, they're positively shunned.  You get repression.  You get denial.  You get f**cked. Because it's all you.  Or, in this case, to prevent this from getting too general and thereby allowing me to escape its specificity, it's all me.  I don't get to not be the parts I don't like.  For that matter, it's probably only part of me that doesn't like the parts I don't like.  Why does one part get to discriminate against the others, or why would they get to form cliques that exclude the awkward or the innocent?  That's just bullying, introjected (taken in as a behavior after being observed in others) to try to keep it from happening in the outside world. I don't have to relate to myself as a bully towards his victims. But the solution I would generally recommend in the real world, kicking the bully's @$$, isn't viable here, either, because it's still me.  To work internally, I have to rehabilitate the bully the hard way.  I have to find out the reasons why he feels he has to behave that way;  I have to make it so that those reasons no longer apply, and then I have to convince him to change the behavior he no longer needs. So, a step along the way:  making the conflict visible.

malign

malign

 

self harm

can someone help me out here? i just had a cutting episode and i feel really bad about myself. I also feel pretty guilty and i dont really know who to talk to about this because i dont want my mom to freak out and i dont really like my therapist so idk if i want to talk to her about it. I dont really know but could anyone give me some advice of any kind??? thank you

Laney girl

Laney girl

 

Mawwiage

Twue Wuv! Okay, so I can't do this without quoting The Princess Bride, maybe because I'm wearing a mask and a tiny Dread Pirate Roberts mustache, or maybe because my head is lolling around from just having been resuscitated ... But I'm getting married tomorrow!  :-) That's been the plan, ever since I moved up here a couple of years ago to be with her, but up until now, it had seemed better to put it off.  For one thing, my previous marriage was not a picnic, much less twue wuv, so fear was definitely a factor.  Too, there was a lot for me to work on, in myself:  what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, for one thing;  what to do with the part of my life that had come to an end, for another.  Perhaps, even, the question of what parts I deliberately wanted to end, and what parts to change. "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end," as the song says.  My signature says something comparable, "When the Way comes to an end, then change.  Having changed, you pass through."  Passing through, you begin again.  After all, the Way doesn't end.  We do, or our illusions do.  Or nothing ends;  it just flows on from one thing to the next. So yeah, philosophy:  a complicated way to say what we all already know, but may not have been able to say, before.  Plus, it's a great way to explore the limits of thought, and the limits of the words we use to express thought.  A way to convince thought that something else is needed ... And one word for what that something else is, is "Love".

malign

malign

 

current events - Trigger

So, after starting to think I was doing so much better, the shooting in Orlando happened. I haven't dealt with that very well. I'm still in a bit of shock, as I can't even fathom the loss of life that happened that night. To be honest it's thrown me back into a state of depression. I can feel all those old thought patterns starting up again. Taking everything personally, black and white thinking, perfectionism, all those habits I've worked so hard to undo are back. This time will be different, though, because I know how I did it before. Doing the exact same thing may not work this time, because I have changed as a person, but I now know my mind better and I know how to work with it, somewhat. The urge to drink is intense. Not for one or two, but to get so blacked out drunk that I don't wake up for 3 days. I've never dealt with an upset like this before without drinking, so the urge is understandable. I don't see how my self destruction would help anyone, though, so I keep going, hoping to get better at some point. This is my personal blog, so I have talked about my own reaction, but I want to be clear this issue is not all about me. I wasn't directly affected; I know some folks in Orlando but all are safe, but as a gay male I can only see this as an attack on "my" community and of course I take that personally. If you were affected by the shootings, know that my heart is with you and so are those of the rest of the community including straight allies.

Ralph

Ralph

 

Momentum

Hey guys, sorry for being so hit and miss lately.  Things have been wild and woolly lately, in a good way.  Got some forward momentum here too.  Yay!   So I''ve been seeing RT for 14 months now ( by far a record of stable relationship for me ) and things are good.    After 3 weeks of realestate drama, we purchased a little old house in an older part of town we like. We have lots of work ahead of us, but we're hoping to make it our family home and be there for quite a while.    My other tidbit is, we're pregnant.  RT is over the moon.  Its pretty early stil so ..... Shhhh, just in case anything happens.     So life has been busy, but enjoyable.     Those are the big things-   What's been going on in you're lives?        

JaiJai

JaiJai

 

Posting Dilemma

I know I have not been very active on this site lately.  There was some discussion of this in the Announcements thread introducing me as a new moderator, but I thought I would add more detail here. The blog feels like a more appropriate place for this, and that way I don't feel like I'm cluttering up an announcement thread with a whole wall of text. I have made massive progress in the past year or two in learning to stop beating myself up.  I'm starting (just barely) to accept who and what I am, flaws and all. As a perfectionist, I find this to be a difficult thing to do, but I prefer it over the alternative, which is rejecting myself until I meet some artificial standard that I set up for myself in the hope of gaining approval from others. I'm also experimenting with not giving a lot of weight to what others think of me. That does not imply that I reject social norms (I'm actually rather conventional from most points of view), but rather I am allowing myself to be me, rather than trying to make sure everyone likes me.  If someone dislikes me, at least the are disliking the genuine me, rather than being kind of meh with some fake version of myself.  This is so freeing, but nonetheless I still drop back into my comfort zone of being invisibly neutral whenever I forget to consciously work on it. I wish I could share this with others, but I had to do a lot of hard work to get here. It took many months of practice and hours of sitting with discomfort, trying out new behaviors (along with new medications, yuck!), and disputing irrational thoughts. I am still not a master of this skill, but I am gradually learning to make friends with my own suffering, and not add to it by layering on additional meanings which are only projections of my reactions to past events I can't let go of.  I definitely have improved, but there is still more work to do. I'm not a good enough writer to be able to package this up in a way that communicates to others how to do what I did. That's why I don't really post that much, which on reflection probably shows I've still got some perfectionism left to deal with. However, I don't want to say something that causes more harm than good. Given my personality quirks it is easy to take something I say the wrong way, and hear something unkind when I did not mean it that way. In 3d land, (aka IRL or "outside") I am also very quiet for the same reason. OTOH I don't see how my silence helps others, so I could experiment with being more active. Just writing this out literally made me sweat, so this causes some degree of nervousness on my part. I could view this as a good thing, another opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. If you have managed to read all this, thank you. I would love your input as to this dilemma. What would you rather see from me - more postings that potentially could be taken the wrong way, but potentially could offer support or understanding, vs being quiet and only stepping in to "referee"?

Ralph

Ralph

 

So, define "trying"

So, if the outcome is out of your hands, how (or what) do you keep on trying? The application for grad school was due May 15, and I sent mine in almost a month early.  However, I still haven't heard, which probably doesn't mean very much because they would have to wait for any late submissions, and it's only been a week and a half since the deadline. But ... it leaves me with what I'm supposed to be doing in the meantime.  There are plenty of things that I could be doing that would be helpful, no matter which way their decision goes (and I don't really think I won't get in;  I just fear it a little.) But I seem to be metaphorically holding my breath, for some reason.

malign

malign

 

Sober.... Not sober(?)

So life has been going pretty well for me. I am on the right combo of meds and taking them as directed. I am taking steps to become more socially engaged in life. My job is very high stress but I do love the work, plus working inside is nice. I'm grateful to even have a job in the first place in this economy. I have some first world problems, most notably addiction. I haven't drank in over four months now, but two months ago I started smoking weed because: a - I qualify for a medical card, meaning I can do it legally under state law if I follow the rules, and b -  I don't have a "problem" with weed. I don't increase the dose until I pass out the way I do with alcohol. I still feel like it's an addiction, though. I have yet to list out the pros and cons, but on the surface it bothers me that I haven't gone one day without it in over two months. I try to just skip it, but when night time comes around and I can't sleep, that bong is just too convenient to leave alone. Even just thinking about it now I am having a hard time imagining going without it, but I don't want that to be the only outlet I have for relaxing and getting to sleep. I'm also dead scared this thing is going to spiral out of control the way my drinking did. I guess I'm a little gunshy. I know weed isn't necessarily addictive and I think there are folks who use it for spiritual purposes and don't have any bad effect from it. I am starting to doubt that I am that type of person - it's more likely that I am just using it to escape and that is a path to addiction. I wish I could just be present with myself. This shit would be so much simpler that way.

Ralph

Ralph

 

Found my magic wand! - not really! Dont need one after all ☺

Life has been floating along quite smoothly for some time now - Im not saying I havnt messed up ocassionally (coz lets face it, this is me) or that life has been easy (coz its not) or that Ive won the lottery ( dont gamble) or that Ive suddenly become normal (eeek scarey thought!) But I can say Im enjoying life again - which is something I thought Id never be able to say without lying!  Parts of me - important parts of my being will always be lost, until one day, someday, maybe never but hopefully one day. Ive had to accept that - it was hard. Very hard.  But time moves forward even when my mind or my fear take me backwards momentarily. And for once not only am I moving forward Im looking forward ☺ Its a weird life that Ive had and I dare say it will always be a little strange or erm different. But thats ok, coz I dont think I could handle normal anyway ?

SweetSue

SweetSue

 

Keep On Trying

Well, since the Universe sneezed on my attempt to post a lengthy entry yesterday, I will now give the abridged version. I've been avoiding posting on my blog, and elsewhere on the site too, largely because I've been going through a process of my own which has made me feel less authoritative in what I might say.  What I want to apologize for is the belief that anything else I've ever posted really was authoritative, in some way.  If I can't be comfortable being as questionable as the next person, I probably shouldn't be posting.  ;-) So, part of the process alluded to above has been taking my own belief in authority, my ego, down a notch or two (again -- egos tend to need frequent adjustment.)  I'm learning, and that's a positive thing.  I'm also in the process, for real this time, of applying for a Master's in Counseling Psych, which will probably induce numerous other ego adjustments when and if I get in. All the learning I've done (deliberately) before has been scientific and/or technical, with the accompanying (relative) certainty that there's only one correct answer.  With humans, about the only certainty is that there are no uniquely right answers, and quite often it seems that there are several right answers that the individual adopts one after the other. What that makes me (or a certain part of me) is:  afraid.  I'm good at certainty.  Will I be even adequate with the variety that makes humans what they are?  I guess we'll have to see.

malign

malign

 

What I learned in EST

What I learned at EST Life is conversation, a speaking and a listening. It is this way because that is how it occurs.  The voice you hear in your head is saying exactly what you are listening for. It is called the "already always listening" and it creates a clearing for the occurring that is your life.   By changing your speaking and listening you can change your life because that is what your life consists of: an on going conversation. It is so automatic that we forget that it is there or can be changed.  To make it work you have to honor your word as yourself. 

Victimorthecrime

Victimorthecrime

 

slide

Maybe this is just normal ups and downs, but I am way down right now. Keep thinking about suicide although I have no intent of going through with it. Wondering if I should call a crisis line anyway.  No particular external stressors, actually things are going fine for me, nonetheless these feelings make it like I am going through some intensely distressing times.

Ralph

Ralph

 

Im worthless

I cant take this anymore. My life is mess. I need to feel secure in my life and to have somebody who makes me feel like this, but my mother and father just scream and I never feel safe. Im so tired of anxiety. My friends make me feel fine and happy, but it wont be for long, because its my last year in university. I just want not to feel so alone. I have problems with my health and I dont have money to do something. Its hard for me to find job,because I look shy and stupid. Im worthless. Im trying not to feel suicidal, but when I think where my life is going-its hard.

Andromeda

Andromeda

 

unknown as yet

The days go by so fast, part of me is wondering if the days get shorter the older i get. It dont seem like my little one was born that long ago, yet next week she will be 18 months old. My little bundle of joy is now a fully fledged toddler who is desperately trying to learn how to jump, and can almost do it now, watching her determination truely makes my heart smile. Am due for us to be moved on again in the next week or two, must admit that i am finding it a tad daunting, but also kinda hoping it will be ok and not affect Bebe too much. It will be nice to have somewhere we can call our home especially as we have now spent half her life hiding away in refuge. We can just be us, and that is something ive been looking forward too for so long now. just hope i dont screw things up, or have my history repeat itself, like i know it has a habbit of doing...........

SweetSue

SweetSue

 

Alright

I'm getting better and have been doing really well lately. Less isolation, more exercise, stopped drinking (again). Sobriety is my focus right now, because drinking messes everything else up. I can either have the things that I value, or alcohol. It shouldn't be a tough choice, but it is. Even though it's threatening to kill me, I really really love drinking. I don't love hangovers though. I don't enjoy the panic attacks that follow a day of drinking, and the two days of lost productivity that I spend trying to regain homeostasis following a binge. My drinking had really gotten out of control. I used to say my drinking was ok because it wasn't like I was taking down an entire fifth (750mL) of vodka in a night. Well I blew past that benchmark taking down a handle (1.75L) in two nights with some beer besides. I'm doing a web course that's based on proven methods for stopping addiction. I feel different about alcohol now. During prior quit attempts I would have obsessive cravings for alcohol that happened over and over again. Since starting this course, I've only had a few passing thoughts in a day. I just don't think about it as much. I'm busy thinking about other things, such as my future with my partner and I'm trying to be more self disciplined. I need to be self disciplined in order to lose the weight that I gained from heavy drinking over the past year. Next I need to work on my diet and my procrastination habit. I'm also studying Buddhism a lot and that is helping me with my depression. It's difficult to explain but I've gotten better at accepting what I cannot change and more compassionate towards myself and others. This leaves me with more peace in my mind. I cannot say how long this will last, but I want to enjoy it while it does.

Ralph

Ralph

 

been a while

I know its been a while since i last visited here - ooops! Life kinda takes over sometimes. Bebe is now 14 months and walking, even if somewhat wobbly and has well and truely mastered the art of wrapping me round her little fingers Its been a hectic past six months, Bebe and I relocated down south (where its loads warmer) a few months or so ago. Still trying to find my way around the area, but i dont get lost that often now, so its all good. Hope that my friends here are all ok as they can be. Take care x

SweetSue

SweetSue

 

numb

I feel totaly numb. I dont want to go out and even going to university seems too much. Im tired of everything and I dont see reason why

Andromeda

Andromeda

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