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silently friggin' screamin'

Been here for 4 weeks now - I think. and everything is going wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Im getting by alright enough - somehow. But am not entirely sure whats happening most of the time. Have I mentioned how much I loathe being re-located, sure I must of done at some stage or other, but just incase I havnt - I HATE THIS!!!!! This new place is nice enough and the people friendly, what more can lifes reject ask for? Hmm, maybe Oh, I dunno - breathing space, does that even exsist this day and age? I have a door, well several actually (all of which are defected and refuse to do their job), a roof all beit leaking, friggin mold in places I thought mould couldnt exsist, bowing ceilings, gas pipes that cant go a week without leaking, and a bathroom in desperate need of replacing - coz like it would be nice to have a loo that dont leak and a bath that functions, on a plus atleast I'm outta harms way and sufficiently hidden for the time being. Just cant cope anymore with , well, everything. How the F*** does anyone actually manage to live, coz honestly what with the state Ive mentally gotten myself into of late, and the state of the surroundings Im exsisting in, I really want to just switch the hell off and go join the people I have been avoiding for so many years - atleast it'll shut them up. Happy days

SweetSue

SweetSue

 

Time as a Vector

Right. Well. Time having passed, as it tends to, only going in the forward direction, a few things have changed. I have a firm last day of work, November 22nd. I have more information about my dad's estate, which suggests that while I won't be retiring to the Riviera, at least I won't have to worry about going hungry. Dad, being something of a financial type, arranged it all to be split evenly between me, my younger brother, and our older, adopted half-brother. No bickering, no waiting for probate. So, I've been scouting jobs and apartments elsewhere in the country. :-) I have a firm apartment to move to, and a firm plan to do the moving over Thanksgiving weekend, with some help from a friend. The tricky part is towing my car ... we'll probably put it on a trailer. Still, one-way is surprisingly expensive ... Just had the amusing thought that I could almost sell it all and buy new at the other end, but that's just a joke. Anyway, y'all probably won't notice the difference. I'll still be over there on the left of every one of my posts ... I might be smiling even more, but it'll be on the inside ...

malign

malign

 

2 more haiku

escape another time the cure becomes the sickness wings against the glass They won't understand I told a secret today will they let me live

Ralph

Ralph

 

Bookends

Simon & Garfunkel, "Bookends": Long ago, it must be I have a photograph Preserve your memories They're all that's left you. Just something that popped into my head, that needed to be said.

malign

malign

 

For the Huntress

Take off my feelings So that I can cry freely What I did not say I felt safe with you Autumn leaves in the twilight This has come to pass Snow flies far away I wish I knew where you are I wish you were here ~~~

Ralph

Ralph

 

netless

It's been a difficult ride with mr. suicide Guessing what I can show, and what can I hide The lost girl said she could read me The wise one called me inscrutable as a dragon Too young for beauty Too old for wisdom Wishing for a different now Change the past of the future Don't catch me There's nothing to fall on ...First attempt at freeverse. I don't consider myself a poet but I felt like experimenting with writing in code. Sometimes I think what I want to say would have a result I don't want, so I keep it shut. This becomes painful so it seeks an alternate means of expression.

Ralph

Ralph

 

Dunno!

Having one of those days, where the answer to all lifes problems, the answer to the square route of infinity, the answer to every little question no matter how relatively simple - or as in reality, how difficult it may seem to others is - Dunno!!! Sheeze I feel so thick, unstable and feel like I'm about to explode. Maybe if I just hide in here a little longer, I can convince myself that there is no existance beyond this computer screen. But, I know I wont be able to hide here forever, or even another hour - got another darn interigation - OK, appointment in a bit ...... Hmmm, just when my eyes had nearly stopped leaking. Not sure how much more of this I can handle quite honestly. pathetic me!

SweetSue

SweetSue

 

My Father Passed Away This Morning

My brother called me at lunch time to tell me that my father was taken to the Emergency room this morning and died about an hour after my brother arrived. I had visited on Sunday, and Dad seemed pale and tired. At least someone was with him when he died. Strangely, my brother was present at the passing of both of my parents, and I was at work both times. At least my alibi is secure.

malign

malign

 

so what

I've been sober for a little over 5 weeks now. It's getting harder though, and the group I had been depending on for support is not being there for me right now. I just want to give up. It would be so much easier. Nothing seems to matter. Not sure how much longer I can keep this up. Have local meeting tomorrow and hanging on to my last straw. If that meeting goes poorly I will likely go straight to the liquor store afterward. I know it's bad for me, but what does that matter.

Ralph

Ralph

 

Life Intervenes [could be triggering for those with ill loved ones]

A few weeks ago (August 14th, to be exact), my dad was taken to the hospital because he had fallen in his apartment and couldn't get back up on his own. He's 88 and lives in an old folks' home, but in an independent living apartment of his own. He isn't in great shape: he gets winded walking down a long, level corridor, something he has to do three times a day to get his meals in the cafeteria downstairs. Anyway, they worked him up and didn't find anything in particular, so they guessed it might be a urinary tract infection. After a night in the hospital, they moved him back to his apartment complex, but kept him downstairs in the nursing ward. He seemed to be getting better, and I would visit him after work in the evenings. Then, August 31st, he was taken back to the hospital, complaining of abdominal pain. It turns out he picked up a C. difficile infection on the previous trip, probably as a result of the antibiotics killing off all the competing good bacteria. This is a painful diarrhea-producing intestinal disease, which can be fatal in elderly or immuno-compromised patients. They moved him around a couple of times, then settled on a cardiac telemetry ward to keep him in. He's in "isolation", which means you put on a paper gown and rubber gloves every time you go into his room. This bug is pretty contagious. Anyway, on Wednesday the 4th, my brother called to suggest that I take off Thursday, because Dad wasn't doing well. So, my brother and I sat with Dad Thursday and Friday, during the day. At night, I went home to sleep, and my brother, who lives two hours away, got permission to live in Dad's apartment for the duration. Then, Saturday the 7th, Dad's breathing was bad enough that we decided to stay with him during the night. Dad didn't sleep more than two minutes at a time because he was so apneic. He would gradually doze off, then stop breathing for fifteen, maybe thirty, seconds. Then he'd rouse himself and struggle, throwing off the bedsheet because he thought it was that and not the fluid in his throat that was choking him. So, of course, I couldn't sleep either. My brother, who's a nurse, could manage to sleep briefly, but we still thought Dad could go any time. Yet, when morning came, Dad was still with us. In fact, with a change in his pain meds, he seemed to be sleeping relatively comfortably. So, around noon, my brother decided he had to go home to his family, and I went home to get some rest. I had been awake for something like 26 hours without any sleep, and besides three hours on the couch in the patient lounge, was up for something like 37 hours. Both my brother and I decided we would have to return to work this morning, and continue to visit as we can. So, this morning I went by before work, and found Dad propped in a sitting position, weakly feeding himself some breakfast. That's the first food he's had in four or five days ... His breathing is better, but there are still a lot of things wrong. He could still go at any time, and no one's really fighting that hard, because he has seemed ready to die for some time. Yet when the time came, he didn't give up. Who know? Someone suggested that he still has something he has to do here; the trick is figuring out what it is. We'll do our best to be with him, whatever he needs.

malign

malign

 

Okay, So What Does "Duty" Mean?

So, as an interesting follow-on from the last blog entry, a few days later I heard from the opposite part. I began to think about why I continue to go to work each morning, if I hate it so much. The answer was, because I "should". It was only right, if I was going to expect to live the way I do. In fact, I "should" be a better employee than I am, or if I'm going to decide to change to a more laidback job, I "should" start looking. I "should" wash my car, exercise more, clean my apartment, do more to plan to move, and on and on. In fact, this part feels completely hemmed in by "shoulds". I know that's not uncommon, and I've felt that way before. But I realized that this is the part who, at a certain time of each morning, decides that it's time I "should" be going. It stuffs the fearful part into its little room, and starts getting the job done. This might be acceptable, if the job were in fact getting done. But as the list above shows, for each thing I "should" be doing, I can also say I "should" be doing better. Partly, this is due to perfectionism, but partly it's also due to rebellion. Despite the fact that I feel overwhelmed, I can clearly see that many people get much more done each day. But I'm much less efficient than I could be, precisely because I fight myself every step of the way. Too, in the hierarchy of "shoulds", the ones where only I am involved, such as cleaning up my apartment or myself, come last. In some tasks that are "for others", such as work, the other people might punish me if I don't do what I "should"; in others, I would feel that I had let them down. When it's just me though, it seems okay to let myself down. Another noticeable result of all this is that I feel bad about myself, as if I'm constantly failing, because I never reach a point where I've done all the "shoulds". Not only lower-priority ones; I shrug off pieces of even the most important ones, if I think I can get away with it. Then, I'm sure I'm letting someone down. On the other hand, feeling like I owe everyone something that I'm not really giving makes me feel vulnerable, like they might find out and cut me off. Also, it feels like nothing I receive from others is unconditional, that there's always something more I need to do to deserve it. Now, all this is coming from just one part of myself. These days, I don't feel the "shoulds" as strongly, as consciously, as I used to. They were a big drive for the part I call 'Censor', but now they come and go during the day. I'm more confident than I was, more willing to accept my humanity. But I think these feelings come up, now, because I'm trying to integrate the fearful parts, and besides the fact that this part is their principal oppressor, it's just possible that this part is also fearful. What I have to work on is ... how to comfort them all.

malign

malign

 

Not invincible

I was doing really well, then... not so much. It's taking me more tries than I would like to get sober. In the meantime alcohol is messing with my meds and really shouldn't be combined with what I'm on. So I'm not that bright when it comes to nearly poisoning oneself. I am depressed again and generally thin-skinned when it comes to every day frustrations. Thinking about suicide again although I really still want to live. I'm no stranger to ambivalence. Still working on sobriety, using CBT tools to fight urges and social support as well. I will make it, or die trying, as they say. It's that second part that scares me.

Ralph

Ralph

 

What Does "Comforting" Mean?

Over the years, I've often received, and often enough given, the advice to "comfort your fearful child part." It has always sounded like good advice, but for some reason it has never seemed to be very successful, when I tried it myself. I've had therapists ask me what I would do, to comfort a child. After some hesitation, I generally reply that I would hug the child and tell them that things will be okay. Yet, imagining situations where those things were done to me, either by others when I was a child, or by me internally towards myself in later years, those actions have always seemed somehow ineffectual. I never felt comforted. That inability to comfort myself, and to feel much comfort from others, has always made me somewhat concerned. And an idea came to me recently about how that might have developed. Some of the most stressful times of my life were when I was living in Africa as a child. It was a French-speaking country, and there were no English-language schools. So every morning was scary, and I was only eight. And every morning, my parents tried to comfort my brother and me. The thing is, whether or not they succeeded, we still had to go, catch our ride to school, and get through the day somehow. So it often seemed as if the attempts at comforting didn't matter at all, because either way we still had to go, and at a preset time. Sometimes we would feel sick, and during the first few months they let us stay home sometimes, but it eventually became clear that we always felt more sick on days when there was extra stress, like a test or something. After that, we had to go, despite our feelings, unless we actually had symptoms. So, instead of being in a situation where my fears were soothed and I felt ready to meet whatever challenge there was, I had to put my fears away whether I was ready or not. The result was that instead of the child bravely facing the day, it was locked in its room, exiled, just so that some other part could do what was required. The fear wasn't gone, just hidden. The child wasn't safe (after all, he was still riding along with the rest of me); he was just put away where his fears couldn't make things worse. And of course, once or twice the fears came out anyway, but the embarrassment and ultimate futility of such outbursts quickly put an end to them. Eventually, it became routine to put the child away instead of even trying to comfort him. And then, it was easier not to let him out again in between. And now I'm not even sure what "comfort" would be.

malign

malign

 

two months update

I guess it's been a while since I did a blog. Things have been going so well that the weeks seem to just fly by. I'm back on a combo of ADHD and anti-depressant meds which is helping me function without the hindrance of my symptoms, which leads to less frustration, which leads to less beating myself up and avoiding the downward spiral into negative emotions. I can think in a structured manner, and plan steps to accomplish tasks that previously overwhelmed me. This is helping out a ton at work and I am completing things in days that used to take weeks. I am using cognitive behavioral tools to manage my anxiety. One thing I've noticed is that CBT works much better for me now that I am addressing the ADHD. The one thing that is challenging me at this time is that I haven't been able to keep sober; I fell off this month and haven't gotten back on again. This is dangerous because alcohol renders my anti-depressants less effective. I felt so deprived when I wasn't drinking, and I am not looking forward to going back to that. However, I can't keep this up so I am looking for a way to work up the motivation to get sober, for real this time. I have a support group that I know will be there for me, but I am afraid of leaning on them too much and wearing people out. So my solution at this time is to work on what my real motivation is for quitting, and the obstacles that seem to keep pulling me back in to drinking. I think if I knew how to get the benefits that alcohol gives me in a more healthy way, I would have a much easier time as well. I have been checking back here from time to time, but the boards are pretty slow. I try to find ways to help people but I feel like I have to let others find their own path. I found that meditation, CBT, and finally getting to a working combo of meds has basically made it so my depression is no longer noticeable. I have a tendency towards dogmaticism (is that a word? I just made it up ), so I want to preach the gospel of CBT to everyone. It worked for me and by god if it doesn't work for you, you're not trying hard enough... but who would that really help? I know if I was treated that way when I was suffering I would not have reacted well to it. So the question is how do you help people who are suffering, having reached the other side of an illness (of which I am aware I could fall back into unexpectedly)? I think I have to learn more about mind and emotion before I can be effective in that arena. I am not blessed with a lot of empathy, so it's not something that comes naturally to me. However I have been helped here and would like to pay it forward if it is possible to help others. PS - Lala, thanks for the link to the ADHD blog on my previous post. Sometimes I find myself reflected just a little too accurately in the stories of other adults with this issue, and I have to laugh at how similar our experiences are.

Ralph

Ralph

 

Life Begins Again

Tomorrow, life begins again. My vacation will be over and I have to get home and start working on the next steps. Today, I rode a bike for four miles and got stung by a wasp a couple of times. {Despite signs of allergy when I was younger, all I did was swell up.} But really, as the saying goes, today is the first day of the rest of your life. So what are you going to do with it?

malign

malign

 

No Home

I know that sounds scary, but in my case it just means: I'm no longer a home owner! :-) Trust me; it's a good thing. It has taken years, months, days, all of the last two days in particular, but the sale closed late this evening, barring ridiculous unforeseen circumstances, of which there have been many so far. However, I think those eventualities are covered, so I'm ... going on vacation for a week. {I may still show up periodically, however, so behave.} There's no mortgage to burn, but that's just a symbol. The celebration will happen anyway.

malign

malign

 

Reflection on Psalm 23

I wrote this to someone today, regarding what I learned from the period of my life when I was routinely suicidal, and I thought it would fit into this blog thing. I was a bit surprised at the intensity both of the experience and of my explanation. I think it's possible that at some point I had a kind of religious experience without even realizing it, consciously at least. I was at a funeral service recently, and they read the 23rd Psalm. There is something very real for me about the phrase "the Valley of the Shadow of Death", whether one senses a shepherd there or not. There is something I love deeply, though I have no information about whether it's inside me or everywhere or other metaphysical bullshit, but there is something I love deeply, that led me out of that valley. I wasn't able to finish reading the psalm with them, because I was crying.

malign

malign

 

panic and back again

Was doing great on the new meds, but anxiety came back and turned into full blown panic Friday night into Saturday. Had stopped taking the meds some days before that though. There are some gory details to the panic episode that I will leave out for now. Important thing is I am better now, and have a whole new reason to be alive. No longer wishing for death. Over three months sober now. Social relationships could use some help and I am working on that, going out to a movie with a new friend later today. Of course it's a new friend that I would like to be a FWB but I'm building to that. Grateful to be above ground and for all the amazing good luck I have had in my life. Hope this continues.

Ralph

Ralph

 

hope

Things are gradually getting better. Started ADD med on Friday, feeling a big help from it even though I'm only on the starter dose. Could not come soon enough though as I'm already in trouble at work from falling behind. However, I think this trouble can be managed, especially if the new medication is as helpful as I think it will be. Actually, on Friday I thought things were going great and falling together for me. I felt genuinely happy, or more like a deep sense of gratitude for all that I have been fortunate enough to achieve or experience in life. This gave way to depression though over the weekend, which I think is a direct result of me not taking care of my personal needs, too much focus on work and no attention to other areas of my life. Once I figured that out I tended to some things around the house that were bothering me, but that I was procrastinating and I feel better now. At this point my greatest fear is that the meds will crap out on me and I'll be back to square one, or that my blood pressure will go too high and I'll have to be taken off them. Personally I'd rather be on the meds for a few years and have my heart explode than to continue slogging through these symptoms without a medication that works. I know a lot of people think ADD is a made up condition. I used to think that myself, until it became clear to my psychologist that i actually have it. So if you want to call it chronic laziness or just failing to be organized and disciplined, fine that's who I am. However, the medication flat out allows me to *think* in a logical manner instead of going off on tangents all the time. To say this is a relief from symptoms is an understatement. It's like I've been struggling my whole life and now I know what it's like not to have to struggle. It's amazing

Ralph

Ralph

 

ascent

My experiment in choosing to be happy or focus on the positives went as follows: Can one simply choose happiness? Maybe, but it takes more work than a mere desire and pasting a happy face on things. It's better to be realistic and work on the problems as they arise in the present. Did the world suddenly collapse if I stop worrying for a moment? No - my personal efforts to control the universe don't seem to be instrumental in holding it together. This is encouraging, because given the state of the world I would hate to be responsible for how much misfortune there is. Child soldiers, terrorism, corporate rapaciousness, corruption - it's not my fault, man, I didn't do it. It's still easier for me to come up with negative things than positive things though, so for the next week I will note each day 5 positive things that happened. I had a good visit with therapist this week. Came in feeling pretty defeated and left feeling like things are going to be okay. The revelation was that I had been telling myself I am useless, don't bring anything to the table, dull, boring, nobody would have anything to do with me. In fact there are a few interesting things about myself and I have accomplished some things that I can be proud of. I've started to support myself more instead of beating myself up all the time. Unfortunately self flagellation is a deeply ingrained habit so it's going to take some time to reduce or erase this activity. That leads to the other skill I am learning, which is patience. Patience does not come easily to me. I want the world to function at the speed of my mind. That is as soon as I think of changing something, I want it to be changed. The fact that our habits have momentum and cannot be undone with a single thought is something I drive myself crazy over. Resetting this expectation to a more realistic level is helping to reduce my stress levels, and with it reduce depression. We had a dharma reading in meditation today, which involved the slogan, "Turn all mishaps into the path." This was then explained to be a way of cultivating spiritual patience. Yes things don't go the way we want them to. In fact this is the case more often than not. If we can face this with dignity, we gain strength and that strength is the virtue of patience. In this way all mishaps become the path. Going to work on that. Dignity is not very high in my repertoire, yet. Still I keep having these thoughts, "I want to die." "I should kill myself." "Nobody will even notice." Again these are habits of thought that have been deeply ingrained. This suggests the next practice is to be patient with these thoughts. Not to let them run rampant and possibly influence my behavior, but to give them space and allow them to dissipate. I don't need to get sucked into them. In the past I would drink to MAKE them stop. Now I have to learn to be more gentle with myself and use techniques that maybe don't have as quick results, but are less harmful to the rest of my mind and body.

Ralph

Ralph

 

Not giving up

What a difference a week makes. I am still struggling with suicidal thoughts but no longer going with them. I've realized I can live with untreated ADD for the time it takes me to find a new doctor. It will be a diminished quality of life, but I can bear it. I have an appointment in two months with a doctor at a very well respected institution, but I am trying to find someone else I can see sooner. I would rather have this doctor be my primary care provider though because I agree with their philosophy of spending more time than 15 minutes if needed with a patient. I'm going to try to be more positive this week. I realize I complain a lot and am generally a negative person. I would like to change that. This week is an experiment to see if that can be changed by consciously choosing to focus on the positives instead of the negatives, which is easier. Will the world actually crumble around me if I stop worrying about it, as I fear may happen? Will I be blindsided by unimagined disasters if I am not constantly scanning for threats? I think I can risk it for a week. Of course if some disaster does happen this week it will be harder for me to see any value in attempting to choose happiness or be positive just through an act of will. It's possible I am just naturally unhappy - isn't that what depression is after all, namely sadness for no reason? Yet some people say happiness is a choice so let's see what happens if I choose happiness. Of course the world isn't all sunshine and roses so I am not going way over into the land of pink clouds and rainbows, just taking a more moderate view than the eeyore-like perspective that I normally have.

Ralph

Ralph

 

Loosening Up

Let go! You don't run this show. Some things maybe you can guess But most we'll never get to know. Like dust Blown on a wind gust, Or poll'n hoping for a flow'r, We're doom'd to fly where'er we must. To fly Freely through the sky Means giving up our grip on Earth Knowing that either way we die. And see? It's not hard to be Relax'd when you no longer feel That you need control to be free. Wow, I chose a difficult (and awkward) form ... It's just how it came out.

malign

malign

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