The point of setting up my blog was to utilize a world-wide public platform to share and explore my own journey out of depression. I have not kept up with my original vision of weekly or biweekly postings. A large part of not posting as I had envisioned is due to the ACOA trait of perfection. A million things had to be “just so”. My studio had to be clean. It had to be a day off work. I had to have brilliance just rolling down my fingers. My mind had “to be in the right place”. Blah, blah, blah….
Good bye, Perfection. You are in my way. (At least to blog).
Another stopping point was that I had to always have something stellar to share. My obnoxious inner critics dissect everything I think, say, and feel seven ways from Sunday and quite often what I want to blog about doesn’t quite measure up to their standards.
Shut the hell up inner critics! The whole point of sharing a journey is sharing the ups, downs, struggles, misses, gaps, and that failure happens. The point of journaling is to develop the habit of letting things that bother us out so that we don’t keep them bottled up. Journaling records our successes as well as our failures. It is a place to figure ourselves out, make peace with our needs, and to laugh at the things that used to bother us now that we have overcome them. Most of the time my daily pencil written entries on paper is acceptable. Adding to the “wall” above my bed is okay. A “blog” is a “web log” so why can’t I use it the same way? (Yes, I know it is public and not retrievable.) If what I write is not good, useful, enough, or simply the same song just a different voice; then the reader can ignore it. Their choice does not have to infuse me with doubt.
Time. Like most people “I don’t have time”. This one is pure BS. I have time I just suck at allocating it well. This factor may be the most important one for me in terms of recovery. One thing I know for sure about myself, is that if I don’t make time for myself, if I don’t take at least an hour daily to check myself, I will get into trouble. It can be fifteen minutes in the morning, fifteen minutes during the day, and a half hour at night, it just has to me intentional time. On my non-work days there is no reason to not sit and write a blog entry. If I post too much and readers tire of my journey, then at least I have developed a habit.
Very often I don’t keep up on something because my inner struggles keep me frozen. Since my crash I have had a nearly daily struggle with functioning period. PTSD has been an almost constant companion. Most people that I have spoken with about my crazy fear keeping me under the covers for days at a time, know exactly what I am talking about. I visualize myself melting into my bed, the sheets, the mattress. I liquify and disappear. Last year I could not stay away from my bed. I would get up, go to the bathroom, run back to bed. Then I would get a drink, feed my pets, back to bed. Get up, heat food, back to bed. I did get up and go to work. That was my life LAST YEAR. This year I do not do that as much. Infact, from June until now I have almost been a normal person at least with regards to my bed. But I am still frozen in many other ways and the pull of the “hide in bed” thing has just become a daily struggle again. As I write this the feelings are welling inside me to go hide. Nope. Moving on.
For me, co-dependency is the only life I know. For my entire life, my life has only been in relation to someone else’s life. My place was what I was given by them. My existence, my space, my own “stuff”, my own needs, wants, and dreams had to be eked out of someone else’s and with their approval. At the very core of it, I didn’t really exist. What I mean is, capital letter “I”. You see, it is our parents who create us (OK, God really but go with me here), our mothers who bring us into this world, and generally several people contribute to keeping us alive. Somewhere along the line someone or someones also give us a Self with a capital letter “S”. When reared well, a small child develops their own “will” and asserts that will regularly (no, I don’t want to put my shoes on, I want to go over there!). That same will and sense of self demands comforting when “scared to death”. Many, many times, my heard and unheard screams were shushed, ignored, or silenced through abuse. My Self and my Will was obliterated because someone else’s was more important.
Over time I have excavated either actual or just “body” memories of being crazy frightened and no comfort was given to me. I was always convinced I would perish. The coyotes would eat me. The shadow/noise was a man who would take me and kill me. I have wandered off again, I will not be found, make it home, or I will get hurt and die. It is literally so cold in here, hypothermia might take me in my sleep. And that’s just the crap I consciously remember. The subconscious memories are the real danger for me as I am discovering. For me, I think my subconscious memories are the memories of all the little kids in me that got stuck and didn’t finish developing. Whatever their needs were at the time, whatever job they needed to do at the time, still need to be met and finished. If I think I have lost myself in psycho-babble, if I think “I’ve got this”, or if I entertain my Cinderella complex; I only have to look at my behaviors.
My inner children are running the show. I have been keenly aware of them for a few years. However, I didn’t realize that even some of what I thought was positive behavior, was still actually either continuing to act out or simply not listening to whatever is adult in me. Motive is important. My newest questions are: “How will this actually play out given what I actually do and end up thinking?” And “How can I keep the good while hold firm on the not so good?” Remember, this is about making decisions, any decisions with the idea that kids are currently running the show, thus fucking up the adult.
Here is my example and I promise to wind up most of this post in the example.
Given the death hold resistance to unfreezing (part of me is convinced death is eminent), the fact that I failed to get up and go to work one days last week (a sneaky part of me that I didn’t know about), and that I know for sure from positive experience, that daily exercise at a gym is vital to my well-being; I should just bite the bullet and join the gym down the street. Sounds great right? Here are a bunch of potentials for self-sabotage.
The point right now is to stop freezing up. I can accomplish not freezing in bed by flinging myself out the door and working out. I will feel better. I will ruminate less. I will have more energy. My mind will sharpen. I will sleep better, eat less, lose weight, and become more attractive.
Because I am who I am, and that is currently wildly plural; forces at work will still try to keep the status quo. It is likely that the end goal will evolve from not allowing my youngest inner child to freeze me: to that inner child attaining a parent.
Translation: go to the gym to get physically healthy knowing that emotional, psychological, and spiritual health follow; NOT to get “hot” and remarried so you “have someone”.
See how motive matters? See how things can turn out depending on the maturity level at play? Maintaining the status quo of co-dependency is what my body knows. Even a positive behavior can be used to sabotage my emerging Adult Self. Played out this way, I get all wrapped up in some guy (only have a self in relation to another),
and let myself (I found it!), two years of hard work (down-play the last two years-you are perfect), and all the brilliant recovery blogs yet to come (you aren’t that special, you can’t write that well, this won’t go anywhere) go to be safe. Let. Go. To. Be. Safe.
Pretty sure that was then entire message of my childhood and I am wired to repeat it.
Another scenario this one. I join the gyms keeping the above in mind. When I go I don’t wear any make-up, I speak to no one, I don’t cash in on my emerging hotness, I do unfreeze thus slowly begin to have confidence in taking on my bigger problems. In getting the membership I have cashed out my tiny savings because, “I know this is important and I will just have to find a way”. Okay, this is my eldest inner child’s thinking. She knows what she needs and she is right, but she doesn’t do it in a safe manner. I have a long history of putting myself in danger to meet my needs. Once in a dangerous, precarious mind set, my inner workings keep me there. I will feel better about myself from the work outs. I will have more energy. I will feel more positive. I will CONTINUE to OVERSPEND (I did it to get the gym membership and I feel FANTASTIC). I will also over estimate my abilities like finding another job, budgeting that money appropriately, and keeping myself in line to live independently (for the third time). My you-don’t-deserve-a-self will emerge in debtedness, homelessness, and three generations of shame resulting in suicide, needing to be rescued by someone around me, or ending up back with the family that fucked me up in the first place. The need to meet my co-dependency addiction has been met!
Ok, no gym membership. No Cinderella act. No making lemonade from lemons- don’t go near situations where you may even find lemons if avoidable. Forget it. Stay home. Stay chubby. Stay self-conscious and wardrobeless because your clothes are size 4-8 and you currently are a size 12. This is better anyway. You don’t have to worry about a bright, busy, engaging future with big goals to accomplish. Just stay home with your books, your art supplies, your craft ideas, your pets. Just make yourself happy. Do only the minimal things to maintain your current life. Take care of yourself, play nice with others, don’t reach for much or be noticed. Find a routine, a safe, maybe sad routine and just stick with it. You don’t really need a gym membership.
Closer, but still self-sabotaging. This is clearly black/white thinking. All the other stuff that can happen is bad, so, no! This would be my inner six-year old. Not worrying about my future because I am convinced I won’t have a future, it is up to someone else anyway, or I have a long time before I have to deal with it, are other ways I have found myself maintaining my addiction to co-dependency. In this case can find other single women who are afraid of men. Throw the risk of pairing up again right out the window. Get busy with activities that bring other people into my life but keep it shallow. Dive head long into people pleasing but keep it small, simple, and cheap. I have noticed that if a person is pleasing enough, they don’t have to be attractive, smart, or terribly wealthy. People-pleasing is how co-dependents get around meeting their full potential. My inner six-year old running the show keeps me in the victim role. She really was a victim. My Adult Self gets sucked into this line of thinking because I have learned giving up often works.
This post has become way more than I thought when I first sat down to type. I am sure some inner workings kept me occupied with this lengthy examination of myself to not deal with something a grown-up would have dealt with today. I have to hope, trust, have faith that this is the most important thing up to this time of day. Since my complete crash a year ago January, and even since the diagnosis of breast cancer in 2009; I have been determined to beat suicidal ideation and live a healthy, happy, and even joyous life. After four years of reading, journaling, creating a “wall” of work, therapy, ACOA meetings, and a hospitalization, (minus time in school- major self-sabotage); my mind is there. There are times I know for sure I have successfully rewired something somewhere. This is great. Yeah me!
But missing work last week was a game changer. Somebody inside me scared Adult. Somebody was bold enough to threaten everybody’s roof. Upon examining what happened and finding no conscious reason; it likely was subconscious. I still feel betrayed. A bone chilling sense of unease that something I didn’t even know existed in me, will try to take me down from within. Or maybe it’s the sneakiness that has me rattled. Whatever is trapped inside me is freaked out by Adult making progress.
Inner Children, we need to talk.