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Belonging

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Ralph

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I'm still taking a break from alcohol. This is my tenth week without it. I've not been entirely sober during that time, but I'm working on cutting down the other substances too. The more distance I get from alcohol, the more I start to feel like the real "me." My old interests are starting to come back. Just a little, but noticeable.

My innate cheerfulness is also starting to come back, which is something I want to cultivate. I used to be super happy when I was a kid. Back then my happiness didn't depend on how others treated me or my material achievements. I had unconditional happiness; I was pretty much okay with whatever came, and I didn't worry about how to survive tomorrow or ten years down the road.

What changed had nothing to do with how others treated me, although it does provide a convenient excuse. What really happened is I lost any sense that I belonged in the world, and instead saw myself as a worthless extra piece the world had no use for. This creates an enormous amount of anxiety: feeling that you don't belong, and that there is nowhere that you do belong. In this light it's easy to see my thoughts turning to suicide as a solution, in fact the only solution. Yet I'm fighting this because somewhere in the back of my mind is this intuition that life is precious, not to be wasted.

If I want this to change I am going to have to figure out how and where I belong. This is daunting. What do you do when you are overwhelmed with life, the universe, and everything?

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Wow.

:)

I personally doubt that the same cheerfulness that a child is able to experience could be experienced in adulthood, but I'm sure you can get at least some of it back and that you're going in the right direction. I appreciate, apprize that I can "witness" it; thank you for sharing your thoughts...

What do you do when you are overwhelmed with life, the universe, and everything?

Perhaps read something by Douglas Adams? ;) (Just an association, but perhaps apposite, from one of the possible perspectives.)

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Well, for a while, I was suicidal, when I was overwhelmed with everything ...

But, like you, I turned away from that, as being a non-solution, or a solution to the wrong problem.

My answer to where I belong (which may not make any sense to anyone else)?

I belong right here in this me-shaped hole in the atmosphere. It has to be there for some reason. :-)

I've had people try to convince me otherwise, that I had to instead occupy some other "space", particularly mental space, than I did, or do. It's important not to let that happen. Telling such people to go to hell is not inappropriate ... but that's more a note for me than necessarily relevant to your situation.

You say you "lost" the sense of belonging. Is it worth exploring how that process happened? Not to find excuses, but to find the things that you didn't react well to, in the hopes of learning new reactions.

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Ralph this is such a human struggle, and you put it so well. :(

My 2 cents are that the child in us brings us to the simplicity of life lived in this moment, and being a child of the universe is enough if you can reach that place inside.

What would have to change in order for you to maintain connection with that part of you a little longer at a time? The part with innate cheer that didn't revolve around accomplishments or other's behavior toward you.

My therapist said the environment has to be hospitable for an exiled part to be able to return.

I'm glad your process has brought you this far, and that you are considering comfort more real than thoughts of suicide.

You are a dear person to us here, Ralph.

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My therapist said the environment has to be hospitable for an exiled part to be able to return.

Oh. So that's what I've been doing wrong all this time. Major light bulb moment there. I think your therapist is on to something.

Other than that I'm still trying to figure out my own mind, as if it were a math problem that could be solved, if I only got all the variables together. Something tells me that's a fool's errand. Yet I'm still going to try, because, what if it is possible to heal this division within me? After all, flying was impossible until the Wright brothers made it possible. I am sad, but also curious. Maybe curiosity killed the cat, but it just might save the human. I hope this makes sense, because if it doesn't, I might be losing it. I could be losing it anyway, but if this is nonsense in the morning, that would be a definite red flag.

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We are fascinating and complex beings, aren't we? I find that awareness can really be helpful. Listening to the different parts and trying to understand what each part needs. Challenging for sure.

Wishing you healing, Ralph.

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When my therapist said that I went into despair that I could ever be a hospitable environment for my exiled part.

It did happen for me over time, which I am humbled by and grateful for.

I hear your young person optimism, Ralph, when you talk of the fact that the Wright brothers made "impossible" things happen. He is already nearby :)

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"I'm still trying to figure out my own mind, as if it were a math problem that could be solved, ... because, what if it is possible to heal this division within me?"

I think the goal is a good and important one. But isn't the division between the part of you that thinks you're a math problem, and a part that doesn't? I'm sure the Wright brothers did a fair amount of math, but also a fair amount of dreaming. Their invention owed nothing to a new kind of math, after all, but to new ideas and some daring.

Maybe the non-math Ralphs are cool guys too.

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