uncertainty of moving on…

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As I move on, out of a huge major depression, I don’t know how. I don’t know how to live with the idea of my life not directed by navigating the b.s. of those around me. I don’t know how to direct myself without the immediate energy of others. I don’t know how to move my day along with thoughts and feelings at the same time. I know there is much to do, emails to read, appointments to make, help to get to make my BlackBerry and my laptop to talk to each other again, swimming to do, cleaning my refrigerator, cashing a surprise check, thinking on a second job….. my question is how do I do these things without losing myself again. I am a late sleeper, a slow waker, a dawdler; until my brain realizes that time is ticking and I need to move along.

This is different from my long hatred of mornings. I no longer hate mornings. I no longer dread them, wish I didn’t have to endure them, or fight them. These days I wake up peaceful, okay with my life. I wake up safe in the life I have built on my own, for myself. Most mornings my mind is actually blank for awhile. My a.m.routine is written down so that I stay on track whether I am thinking or not.

It is after this that I have questions. And they are questions, not angst, drama, or even that much anxiety. Just, “How do I stay with myself this day and do some of the things I really should do to participate in my Life, as it is and where it is headed?” I think it is a question of balance. How do I love myself, love those so supportive around me, remain connected to it all? How do I cling and continue to grow at the same time?

These are things that get missed in abusive, neglectful, dysfunctional, addictive, and traumatic homes as we grow up. These are developmental steps that get ignored, forgotten, destroyed, or damaged; and to me, it seems, they need to be made up. I am repairing in myself those connections in my brain that say, “Hey, connection is important! Hey, yes I know you need to move on but don’t forget me now that you have found me!”

My questions are things like, “Do I just throw myself together and go swim, because if I don’t, I won’t swim today? Or can I write in my journal, maybe post, and then go?”

Then there are questions of efficiency. “If I stay with myself and write first, should I throw in some laundry or soak my dishes?” If I write and don’t have those things going at the same time, is this good focus or license to go down the rabbit hole?

Issues of time arise for me WAY TOO OFTEN. I hate my struggle with time. I hope that someday it goes the way of my struggles with mornings! Rabbit holes suck up a metric crap ton of my time. BUT I have found that I have also grown-up about 4 years in 8 months of pursuing myself through my own rabbit holes. With regard to time, I feel that time to grow-up the natural way, in the time that I should have had, was mostly taken from me; so I am doing it now. I feel very firmly about this.

So, I guess my questions of good decision making, efficiency in running my own home (for 4 years now), how much I exercise, and whether I post or not; will get answered as I muddle through my quiet solitary days. Days like today I can chose to connect with interested parties on WP as I sort these steps out. As I have shared through photograph, I can connect with my fur-babies, allowing them to demonstrate their dependence on each other. My black and white rabbit is old and frail, she clings to my young brown rabbit who is patient, kind, and quite frankly assertive if she doesn’t like something new near them. They are peaceful and happy with their lives, a good reminder for me to follow suit.

On the thread of connectivity, and now that I have written to know what I think, perhaps I will read the email from my insurance agent and then give her a call to make an appointment for a sit down. This goes to meeting my budget needs, so perhaps it should be my first priority. Maybe then a swim will be the right thing. I don’t know what I will do after that, but later tonight is my 12-step meeting, then my Monday night Backgammon game and beer.

I am learning that gentleness with myself, structure, and hope are as important coming out of depression/anxiety/trauma as they are while in their midst. I am learning that honoring connections the entire time, is critical to sure footing and avoiding going seriously backwards. Staying with myself in the face of economic, employment, social, and societal pressures is vital to my recovery. What would the point be in any of it if I lost myself again? And of course I need to continue to push myself to authentically engage with others to really thrive.

Thank you, WP.

bc

The Struggle for Independence is not Brief

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I give to Myself: Inherent worth, dignity, and individuation.

Because I bestow these by Myself, for Myself, I am obligated to uphold them for Myself.

I will do this by providing Myself with healthy, appropriate defense strategies to protect Myself from intentional/unintentional harm by my own or anyone elses’ hand.

I will also provide Myself with as many healthy, appropriate means of acquiring comfort as I can, to protect Myself from further internal harm, and continue to heal old wounds.

Experience has taught me that I also need to give Myself the freedom to declare at least to Myself: That anyone who denies my inherent worth, dignity, or individuation; and/or denies or belittles my need for protection and comfort; in violation of my unique Personhood.

 

This is my personal Declaration of Independence that I created in February of 2013 while hospitalized for a mental breakdown. I was seriously suicidal again after fourteen years of mostly fleeting suicidal ideations.

In writing this, I gave Myself a Self. Over the years as I encounter the variety of people that I encounter, I have noticed that lots of people don’t seem to have a sense of Self. I mean with a CAPITAL S as I write. I believe that in a persons’ early developmental years, this inherent worth as a human being gets destroyed or damaged to the point where they are unable to see themselves as a separate, autonomous person, with needs unto themselves. I know people who exist only because their physical body keeps generating electrical impulses that maintain the flow of mortal life, but they don’t really live. Unfairly, they don’t know why they can’t live, and certainly not for themselves. I think in this situation, a person has to give themselves a Self. I decided in 2013 to give myself a Self. I get to be a person, just like anyone else. I believe it can also be called the rise of “the Will”. I get to have a will of my own, long last in my forties. Usually, this comes along in the toddler years and gets reinforced through childhood, but mine was f’d up so it either didn’t happen, it was extremely weak, or repeated trauma killed it. Whatever. I decided I needed a Self.

I capitalize “Myself” and “Self” and other words in my writing for emphasis, to bring damaged people “up” to other human beings because we Are, and to encourage thoughts about the words I have chosen. I am a word person. 99.9% of the time I have agonized over writing (often saying) the exact word I want to use to convey the exact meaning I wish to convey.  I am also extremely literal (think American TV show BONES.) I think of recovery this way: my child’s mind was broken, often my mind still runs in a broken, sometimes primitive manner, and my job now is to find, heal, and assimilate these broken bits so that I can live rather than exist. I had to have a Self on which to build a life.

I believe all living things have inherent worth and a place in the web of life, indeed the Cosmic plan. I simply took this basic belief and applied it to Myself.

I believe all living things have inherent dignity as well. I have a very old rabbit. She falls and can no longer bathe herself. Her facial expressions appear to say “damn it!” when she falls. She struggles a bit until I pick her up, then she fervently licks my hand as I reset and block her back up with a rug. When I reach down to pet and reassure her, she “butts” my hand, closes her eyes, and sorta smiles. At bath time, she is nervous and seems embarrassed, but then is clearly happy to lay on the bed grooming herself as she dries, then seems cheerful now clean again. I think people deserve the same dignity we afford our pets. I expect from here out to be treated with as much dignity (and respect) as my mother’s cats.

Every person is unique, irreplaceable, belongs in this world, has a reason for their stay, and a story of their very own. Many stories are similar, suffering is often a shared experience, all humans bleed red; but absolutely nothing is identical outside a lab. The human story is also about perception. Perceptions can be as tangled, and layered, and lickity-split as the neurons that pass along the messages. Recovery/healing to me, seems to need to be an individual endeavor, who knows one’s self better?

 As children, if these basic human needs are not given to us, I think we have to give them to ourselves, the sooner the better, because life can be long. They need to be firmly for ourselves, as a gift we give ourselves. I needed to learn that I need to put myself first- always. This is tough to swallow, especially for parents, but it is true. The parent that cares well for themselves is far better equipped to care for a child. I believe that whatever the stage in life a person gains in recovery, they can begin to pick up the pieces for their children and move on in a healthier manner. For me, when I stopped arguing with the Universe and took care of Myself, my child also began to take care of Himself.

As an addictive type person, healthy and appropriate means of defense and comfort is vital or I will just keep up the same crap. I have found that now that I don’t spin, and blame, and play the victim, and run around, and pretend that I have “a life”, I actually do. I weigh out and CBT seven ways from Sunday every-single-time I feel I need defense, protection, comfort, some kind of action or attention. My first impulse is usually bad on the budget, a drink to an emotion, some kind of avoidance, or something to cover Shame. Over the last three years I have developed an arsenal of safe, inexpensive, self-contained, productive, sustainable, inexhaustible, satisfying, and replicable defense and comfort strategies. My secret is to STOP. Just freakin STOP already!

I use my arsenal to limit self harm and keep from being victimized by another person while I am in whatever state I am in. I have learned to soothe Myself. Moving ahead, some of my struggles are to not be bitter that I have to soothe Myself, not be frustrated that I need so freakin much soothing, and to come to terms with the Shame I feel about my soothing activates. (I color A LOT. On my bed. While watching a DVD or listening to soothing music. I feel 6 next to busy professional running all over with their families. Who sits on their bed and colors because they are overwhelmed? Me.) My thinking is I will “outgrow” this, increase my tolerance for stress, and someday teach this to others. My thinking also is that I am no longer hurting myself if I am on my bed with crayons.

Finally, I think good declarations need teeth to enforce them. What good is it to give yourself a Self with inherent worth, dignity, and the right to your own individual needs including what is Kyrptonite to you and what makes your heart sing; if you don’t also declare what the consequences are for not upholding the declaration. And not just that, but MY declaration says you cannot even belittle any of my defense or comfort strategies. They are mine. Unique to me and MY suffering. Nobody is allowed to violate my declaration that I created out of violation, to end my violation.

Once my personal “Declaration of Independence” was in place, giving me a Self, with rights, a clear directive to maintain those “rights”, and teeth to bite back against any violations of my D of I, I was free to begin a personal “bill of rights” or institution of NEW core values.

I think sometimes people don’t heal because they try to keep the same values that keep them injured and sick. I believe that where a person puts their spirit, thoughts, feelings, energy, care, time, money, resources, and vision for the future; is where their values lay. If all these things keep going to other people who are not around, or are unhealthy/addicted, or the ones who broke them in the first place; then I don’t see how the new Self, the new declaration of independence, and it’s enforcement could be maintained anyhow. I think that if core values aren’t changed, the person themselves will violate their own new contracts and the cycle will just continue.

Values have to change. The rules have to change. It’s not fun or easy or fast or sometimes understandable; but if done consistently long enough, the Self will heal. We are biologically designed to do so.

bc

Taking it on the Road

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I’ve done it. I am back on WordPress to tell who ever cares, that I have mostly beaten my depression. It’s not that it isn’t there at all, ever, or a danger lurking for an opportunistic moment; it just doesn’t reek havoc on my life anymore. I’m sure future posts will discuss depression, but anxiety is now the issue.

My definition of anxiety for myself is like subtraction. It is the difference between what I want to do, what I need to do, what I truly ought to do, and the spiritual, emotional, and physical energy needed to do it. It is this difference that is anxiety for me. I have a lot I want to accomplish now that I have a will to live and the comfort that there is not indeed a Saber-toothed tiger outside my door that’s gonna get me if I step outside. So life is about anxiety management right now.

I have a backlog of months of writings all over the place. They are hand-written on anything that will hold graphite and ink, in digital format that I can’t easily pull from, or on my computer but not well organized. I continue to struggle with IT at home. I share this because I am getting so busy now that I am fully engaged in life again; that I will need to post from this backlog. Additionally, my backlog is my journey and should be posted as that is why I have this blog in the first place.

All of that is to say that I have been very busy actually living my life, rather than spending all my time understanding how it has become as it is. I have enough recovery, rest, CBT skills, changed behaviors, emotional sobriety, safety, sustainability, and balance to “take it on the road”, and I am.

bc

 

The Beauty of the Blank Mind

My mind is blissfully blank. It is quiet, peaceful, uncluttered. It feels unaware of surrounding demands. Pictures of rolling royal waters, cool green shade, nature living as unhurried as it does; is all I see. The sensation offarm and water air still pressed to my skin. Memories of the ease with one’s neighbors, a new pal made for the day, the season, and just small town mannerisms tugs at my heart. What could have been. Sepia pictures of old friends, former family members, occasions past; slide like a video short through the front of my thoughts, yet don’t prick me like they used to. My time spent on these days away was casual, unrushed. Absent was fear, fear of deprivation, fear of failure, fear of appearances. This was a break from agenda, routine, normal worries. I was mostly unplugged for 96 hours. For four days the world had to wait. Mom needed to breath. A co-worker needed to get her head on straight again. A friend needed to step out of herself. My mind needed to not be needed.

I took a brief vacation from my lovely city life, frought with it’s grittiness, over-work, over-stress, over-demands. I stepped away to step back in with appreciation, love, gratitude, and desire to connect. I went home to see how far I’ve come, what I over came, what don’t like, what parts of me still really struggle with those miles. I went home to give life to the parts of me that only get life from going home. A large part of who I am is rural, is counrty, is boondocks. My wild needs a glimps that it’s soul is still there. That when the tme is right, when the money allows, when a whole can be built; I want to go home, wherever that home may be.

I feel stronger. I feel happier. I feel much more balanced and complete. I need to be able to see my child and exercise my parenting muscles. I need to be able to visit the past to put the present and future in proper perspective knowing that I am indeed one strong cookie.

Now I am home. I am at my employer’s and while still on vaction, duty called and I picked up the phone. Time to turn my brain on. Time to be grateful for plenty of hours. Time to connect to those that like me and those we serve. Time to embrace my lovely city life for a short shift. A princess for 4 hours.

Then I am down with Pixar! I want to know what Fido does while I work. Or in my case, Thumper.

bc

Mechanics! Oi!

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I am in the process of researching better ways to do EVERYTHING. I am Safe, living a Sustainable Life, Balanced, and working on Harmony. These are my new Core Values instituted in 2013. Number five is stability, which I have yet to reach, but with dedication to my recovery process, I hope to be there within the next 18 months. To do this I need to master living in harmony with others as I pursue my own needs and dreams. I am massively unorganized and this horribly hinders me.

While I write daily, I need to  find better ways to write, organize, and publish. I also don’t like it when things don’t go as I want them such as my last post. I don’t know why the line spacing got messed up. I don’t understand WP so I either need to figure it out or find another way to post.

In my search for ways to to everything better I found Abby at http://justagirlandherblog. I love her user-friendly approach to her products, her energy, and her over-all cheery attitude toward managing the chaos of life. My mind snagged on a comment she made about her print-outs being a way of coping when things got crazy or some such thing. Coping is huge in recovery, whether actively fighting addictive urges, maintaining sobriety from something, or doing really well and moving forward in large strides; I think solid organizational tools can help people stay on track in any thing in life. I also think they need to be large, colorful, written, personalized, and interactive. Recovery involves personal action and Abby is all about this in her print-outs. She has inspired me to buy a new printer and go to town with print-outs and binders.

I love this on-line blogging community! I feel like Cher in Burlesque, You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me (youtube this); thank you WP, those who “like” my posts, and Just A Girl and Her Blog; I am rising.

One final note, if you like up-lifting, folksy, fun music, I just met CeliaRose, http://www.celiarosemusic.com and she is amazing. I cannot BUT be happy blasting her FOUR  beautiful albums. Seriously, if you want to be happy, give her music a listen. Let’s get Zig-Zag on the radio everywhere. This album should make her a household name!

Open a Door!

bc

A Day to Re-set

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Thank God I took today off.

Real freedom through thoughtful planning, in this case, this day, keeping my time for myself and limiting my interactions. This took courage to clear my schedule of places to be, things to do, and people to see. I realized that it has been over thirty days since I was alone and I will lose my mind if I don’t stop to rest. This is huge given that that I spent nearly 3 1/2 years retreating from life and here I am now so busy that I need a break from it. Recovery is possible. Time to balance back out letting my instincts be the guide. The only human being I can handle everyday is my own child, everyone else I need a break from or I get over-whelmed. I felt enormous relief upon waking and remembering that I don’t have to deal with anyone today. This is made possible by the day off work, letting my exercise class know I would be absent, and there being no social engagements on the calendar. My few pals were forewarned that I would be unplugged today. Although, I don’t think it is “unplugged” really, I think it’s just a “no demands, please” day.

I need an emotional break from human interactions for twenty-four hours to “re-set”.

My biggest fear right now may be committing to the rat-race again, or to the Treadmill of Life. I get exhausted to the soul and want to wither away after long periods of “doing” and interacting. I want to live as a human being, not a human doing. As it is, I live most of the time feeling blue in a fog of grey, pretending that I am okay with this running to work, school, family things, social engagements, the gym, the business of life, and fun; like other people, chasing success and happiness. Truth is, I suck at it, and I don’t like it at all. Maybe most people don’t like it either, they just do it because they know no other way. Maybe others do like I am doing and pull back to rest, I think this may be what they mean by “vacation”; although usually I hear about needing a break after vacation, so I think even vacations are just more running. Anyhoo, I can’t wait for a real vacation so this is a one-day version.

I also woke with the trippy sense of having had dreams within dreams.

When I first fell asleep last night I think I began to dream right away. I awoke in startle response and physically felt something heavy on top of me. At first I thought it was big, bigger than me, and holding me down. My mind raced, my heart braced for violence, maybe death.

I thought, “Well, this is a big city, people kill people, someone came in my window and this is it, Matt will be devastated and everyone will know that big cities are dangerous.”

Then I thought, “No, the windows are closed, the air is on. Oh, I left the keys in the door again and this time I won’t be so lucky….”

Next I realized the thing on me wasn’t that big. It was small and mostly on my shoulders and neck. It was moving, slowly, sort of gently. “Wait, there is a sound, low, steady, slightly rumbly-scratchy sound, and it is occasionally rubbing against me. Oh! It’s head-butting me!”

In my sleepy fog I identified this weight as a cat. A cat had jumped on me and was purring and butting into my shoulder, neck, head, and face for attention. I could clearly hear its happy throat, smell its hot feline scent, feel its wet kitty nose and mouth. I remembered how loving a creature a cat can be, and all the cats we’ve had over my life. Okay, a cat I can handle.

Concern suddenly hit me as I tried to rouse to deal with the situation. “I love cats, I want a cat, but I am allergic to them. This is the biggest reason I was sick most of my life. I didn’t know I was allergic to them. SHIT! I am well now, I so will not go back to constant “kill me now” sharp headaches, nausea, swollen glands, and tiredness with confusion! This cat has to go!”

” Bummer, I was enjoying the attention.”

 

I finally managed to move, as I opened my eyes I found nothing. In disbelief I jetted my eyes around not wanting to disturb anything. Then I turned my head and looked around. Nothing. Absolutely nothing was different from when I went to sleep. No open window or door, no cat. I shot up to a sitting position and began to shake. For probably five minutes shook, and quivered, and writhed a little. I realized that it had all been a very elaborate dream. Then I realized that it was probably my body working on trauma. THEN it hit me…

“That was trauma physically working to the surface and leaving. Very cool.”

 

I went back to sleep grateful that I had taken the next day off. I continued to dream but sort of realized they were dreams within dreams and life was okay. When I woke up for real and got out of bed this morning, I felt this powerful sense of okayness. I felt a re-appearance of confidence in my mind’s abilities, and the same confidence in my place in this world. I had lost these friends for a very long time, I am glad they are back, if only for the day.

O Happy Day.

bc

 

 

 

Oh, ya, Cancer too…

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For some time now I have been re-capping my days. The point is to look at my interactions, new behaviors, and what I have said throughout the day; then celebrate the improvements and take note of the “not-so-muches”. (Mad About You, U.S. TV comedy 1992-1999). I honestly want to change. Recovery is a DAILY practice for me. I am determined to be “normal” someday.  I want to defeat my family dysfunction, survive SI, parent better, live well when I am old, and hopefully not die of cancer.

I rarely think about, much less discuss my cancer. It was a blip in the trend of my life, a trip on the pavement, and inconvenience for 6 months. It was an expensive, needy period of my life that put people out and required grace of my job. Treatment was swift as was my discharge of interest by most around me at home, among my family and some friends.

Perhaps a lot of it was my attitude that I wasn’t going to let it interfere with my plans or impose on others anymore than necessary. I could not connect. I could not express my real needs, pain, fears, or relief at finally having the care I so desperately needed. I could not ask for help other than to live with a girlfriend and her family to save on expenses and pay my bills during that time. I didn’t deserve her generosity, but she gave it, took it away, and I a battled it back. We have a messy relationship, her and I. It goes back a generation. She is young in her family, I am old in mine. Her sister was a classmate of my mother’s or roughly so.

She was a woman-child of 12 when I was 8. She tolerated me when there was no one else around. We played “Aunt Betsy” in her closet. In her yard, we had a plastic swimming pool of bubble-bath. She had boobs, wore a two piece, and was gone all day to her friends. In the summer months I was the little kid next door visiting her grandmother.

I moved to Illinois when I was 32 and when I was 33 we met up again. At 39 I had cancer and stayed at her home during the course of my treatment. I didn’t deserve her generosity for reasons I am not going to go into here, suffice it to say I was out the weekend following treatment and we haven’t spoken much since.

My family was not interested in what was happening to me, save for one aunt who drove me to and from chemo-therapy. She did her best, never understanding why I didn’t live with her during this time. There were a few people here and there, but I was mostly alone. My mother never set foot in the state during this time, for which I am having a hard time forgiving. This, plus my total collapse in 2013, has ended any thoughts of a parent-off-spring relationship with her.

Today I faced my cancer alone in my current life. I looked at those around me and decided that I must engage. I must push back on my desire to curl inward, withdraw, disconnect, shut-down, and run, believing I am unworthy and incapable. The unworthy part I can argue, the incapable part not-so-much. A strong part of me remains insistent on turning away. I grapple with finding ways not to need other people, not need a group to belong to, not show myself too much more. I am actively fighting my instinctual pattern of flight.

I want to run, badly. It is getting really painful to fall into step giving and receiving on my unit, continuing to hang with my church friends over this amount of time feeling it normal to accept rides, their grace over my tardiness, and the camaraderie that is developing. It is getting tough to continue a friendship with someone who is getting too close. We spend way too much time together, sync in scary ways, and have an ease (at least on my side of things) that is just too nice for me. I don’t want to get used to it. I often feel like Julia Roberts’s characters Vivian and Erin, who are deeply wounded, wary women, wanting love and acceptance, but not sure it is for them.  I am constantly surprised at generosity but ashamed at what brings it about, the need for it, and the surprise that I feel. I can’t figure out why anyone cares, I wait for it to end, and even worse, I wonder how to end it. You see, connection is excruciating for me.

This totally sucks because I am an extrovert. This is either Cosmic meanness, or I am destined to be a Guru of some kind.

Anyhoo, I dragged myself from bed early this morning to be a part of the Cancer Survivor Celebration at my local hospital where I exercise, get my treatment, and work. I MADE myself get out of bed to hear Sharon, a member of my exercise class, tell part of her story. I cajoled myself with the idea that I was part of the group, or kinda wanted to be, and when you are part of a group, you participate in what the group does. You show up as a member interested in other members, you push the collective, you take a place.

I suck at groupiness. This was really hard for me. I came home and had a total melt-down. I cried on my bed for almost an hour before going back. As I cried flashbacks came one after another in rapid sequence. I found myself cringing, scrunching my face, averting my head, slightly turning and swallowing in sobs, whimpering quietly, then cooling, calming, separating

Something came out. Something got released. I still want to turn in, turn away, shut down, go it alone, but a bit of it knows that what was done to me was wrong. I know I am mis-wired. I know if I can only stick it out another year, I will be a different person than I am today. If I can push past the point that I normally fold, maybe I can keep pushing until I am well. Maybe I can beat my undeserving, my failures, my family’s backlash over success. Maybe I can fulfill my destiny, whatever the hell it is.

I don’t know. I just got up and joined my group because life any other way is so not working.

bc

Exercising with Erikson

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I had my exercise class today. I was a little tardy, but they hadn’t started yet. I like to parse out the behavior that I am changing and ferret out the new beliefs/thinking that helps me to change this behavior. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy hard at work!

  1. Good job just dropping what I was doing and going to class. [Believing I am worth dropping things for.]
  2. I didn’t take anything with me such as swimming gear or banking inquiries. [ I wasn’t going to take the time to gather the items and be later than I was ]. Upon getting home I further realized that I let myself off the hook of doing something at a time that I didn’t want to do it.
  3. I did not plan to run errands immediately following class. [This is about growing self-awareness of how I would likely feel. Per 12-step I do my best to not stuff my feelings especially with myself. I would be hot, tired, thirsty, hungry, and stressed from the re-engagement after a week of not being there. I knew I would be upset at missing classes due to covering for other people, a little out of shape again as this is a new routine for my body, and confused as usual over my-needs-v-and/or-village-life-decisions.

I don’t have a template for social flow between meeting my needs and the needs of others and remaining in communication while doing so. I did stop in the last day I missed to talk to them and let them know why I was absent. This was new behavior for me as I generally don’t think people even think of me, which I am discovering is just not true. I also saw my instructor as I entered my building and spoke with her.

Another behavior I am improving is registering for things ahead of time as places request. I usual don’t know about this, ignore it, or can’t do it for IT reasons. I always feel badly, and I know it is yet another character defect that I need to get rid of. In this case, I registered as requested. I suck at re-entry into a situation because I feel like I am being judged for missing, will lose whatever place I may have had, and I have to start all over again feeling comfortable with the people. Even things like this require me to come home and “process”.

I feel sort of like a teen coming home to check in and be checked on, then going on with my Friday and day off work. Maybe this is “re-parenting”.  Maybe coming home to think, write, eat, drink, and perhaps nap, is doing for myself in the here and now, what I didn’t get to do then.

Another success was that I took a risk and parked in the patient parking garage, not the employee garage where I usually park. I did this as a move to show myself that sometimes I am the guest and get to do guest things. Good for me!

During class I realized how much I missed it. I felt the difficulty and misbehavior of my unexercised body. I felt sort of out-of-it. My instructor gets a little short when we don’t follow exactly. I noticed a weird unawareness of my own body that sometimes happens to me. I think my brain briefly, unintentionally, and unknown to me, goes somewhere and my body just hangs out. I hate this the most of all my issues. I think this is the point where deep frustration began to bubble up making me wish the class was almost over. In this case, this thought shocked me because I love this class.

I hope I am right in the realization that this is a small example of my strong sub-conscious mind shifting into some kind of  self-preservation mode when completely unnecessary and in reality not helpful at all, but rather creating a problem. This is where a class would end and I just wouldn’t return because it is in fact too hard or I think it is. The bottom line is my entire experience today stems from deep fear of rejection. Deep fear of not deserving. I will remain on the outside even when I absolutely do not have to. AAGGHHH!!!

After class there was discussion about attending a cancer survivors forum the next morning. The other ladies inquired if I was planning on attending. I replied that I knew nothing of it, but that I probably would be there. In those moments I felt the line. A line I am usually on the other side of. Do I walk the line with these other people? Do I buy into the group for what it is and however long we are a group? Do I take the offer of invitation? And if I do, what is my commitment, how long is it, how big is it, how will it end? Can I comfortably fit another grouping of people in my life? I need belonging as much as I need air, but relationships/commitments have residue of Kryptonite on them. They can be my undoing. I missed classes in the first place because I cannot say “no” to co-workers who want me to work for them. I give up my own plans all the time. This is the “my-needs-v-/and/or-village-life-decisions” conundrum!

For me, an exercise class is not just an exercise class; it’s a public sprint through Erikson in about an hour.

I need a nap.

bc

Tardiness: my laundry

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This is a bit rambley and long. I do try to keep to 1000 words but sometimes the topic is too big for that. Also, this post is inter-active. You will need the Big Redbook, your smart phone, or other material until I re-post. This was my share last night at my ACOA meeting. I am throwing it up “as is” to be timely, because my previous post needs it to make full sense, and I WILL NOT BE LATE for work. Nothing is linear, especially getting well from something. Hang in there with me and I’ll hang in there with you.  bc

Due to the holiday I knew the group would be small and I was chairing it, so I seized the opportunity to go really big. It opened up a ton on topics to share on (The Laundry List in the Big Redbook on page 5 lists 14 items that we ACOAers tend to do). All of them, or at least 11 of them show up in my inability to be on time. This is my third draft on the topic.

To save time and space I did not type out the contents of the Big Redbook. After a number sign # and a number (11), read that trait in the book. Later I will come back and amend this or make another post with a warning lable!

I forgot my reading glasses for the meeting so I had to have someone read from the book when I got to the number signs and their accompanying numbers. This was not protocol but it worked and it was fun.

My Share:

I have been tardy to everything since I was 8 years old. What began as in “instinctual safety sprint” has continued as my family’s pathological fear of success due to addiction and dysfunction in previous generations. Unless I root it out, I will bare the sins of my father, ie grandfather.

For me, tardiness began out of safety. When I was 8 or 9 it was an instinctual sprint from point A to point B. I was alone in the morning most of the time until 8th grade. We also moved every year until I was 11, then again when I was 15. I never knew anyone in my neighborhood or school. When I 2 or 3 our neighbor shot our dog. We lived in that house again when I was 8, and although our dog survived, I found going out scary.  The walk to school was long and down a busy four laned boulevarded street. I always made it to and frough  safely, but I was terrified, always.

Other years our neighbors weren’t wielding shot guns at our dog and the street were quieter, but there were other perils like snakes, bullies, men in cars, and other kid’s parents. Throughout it all no one could know my biggest secret: I was alone.

I was vulnerable from 4 or 5 on. Even at 15, I was vulnerable to my life being toppled because I had entered the work force, wanted to go to college, and didn’t share a last name with my mom. All my real fears became my Laundry List. Pg. 5 BRB.

However, believe it or not all of it comes down to ONE thing, now in my current reality. And that ONE thing is PLEASURE. Yes, my friends, pleasure. I am usually tardy now because I can’t allow myself pleasure. I don’t deserve it. Pleasure? Really? Yup! I will unpack this.

So, I am at home and have to go somewhere. Depending one where I have to go, the laundry list emerges. Take work, although I am not really late, I definitely need to arrive earlier due to changes that make my shift literally impossible to manage if I am not early. Asking myself why I am late for work-If I get there 15-30 minutes early then I am wasting time. #11.

Wasting time? Calmly driving, parking, walking, changing, refrigerating, reporting, watering, coffeeing, chatting……. Calm and plenty of time for preparation is wasting time? Yup. I don’t deserve it. I should run from the time I get out of the shower until I walk to my car a mid-night. I don’t deserve calmly organizing, planning, or seeing to my own needs as I work. I should cram in as much as possible before work as well. I never get enough done. IT IS NEVER ENOUGH! Never get to rest. #6.

Being late for school or a class (actually anything) can also be because I don’t deserve to go there in the first place. I don’t deserve a good job, education, to exercise, to socialize.  There are other things I should be doing and I should not allow where I am going to bother anyone. #7. What I am doing is not important, enough, or is temporary. My needs are secondary, always.  #3 My involvements, interests, goals, or attentions to me, bother someone around me. It’s the “how dare you” thing. School and other classes are about success, which is forbidden in my family. Nobody should do better than my mom’s generation, who of course weren’t supposed to do better than my grandfather’s generation. Maybe even further back.

Being on time, always, is risky. I could get noticed. Nobody should like me, want me to be successful, know my secret, or put me in the place of needing consistency. #1. The consistency of timeliness and success and involvement was a threat my family’s dysfunction. How dare I expect them to deal with their own crap!

Its’ hard to be on time when I feel uneasy about leaving whatever I am leaving. My mom taught me to leave the house in “dying order”. No dishes in the sink, no unmade beds, no unswept floors…. If I die while gone, what would people think of my messy home? Also, their needs must be seen to first. Where I am going, and my purpose may not have their total approval, or at least it can’t be more important than them. There is much to attend to before walking out the door. #2. When I arrive late, I know this is wrong and that I suck, but I don’t deserve any better anyway. Since I suck, it makes it easier for others’ to not count on me, which they shouldn’t because for me, nothing lasts anyway. I can’t be consistent or I will lose the little that I have, then who would I be?

Being tardy helps me to calm down. What ever machinations I went through to get there, kept the status quo I am used to. It  also weirdly revs me up. #8. The bizarre thrill of getting upset, then overcoming it, pulling out of the fire, getting away with something, or cramming in that one last chore to be good enough after all; keeps the adrenaline amped, thus making me think I am alive, accomplishing things, capable.

#10. What do I feel when I am not tardy that hurts so much? Pleasure. Connection. When I arrive in time for work, the pleasure is reduced stress. I barely know what low stress, putting what I need to do first feels like. I stuffed terror, anger, confusion, feeling less than, unimportant, and being needless for 4 decades. Now it all has to come out, and I have to learn the way it should be which includes relaxation, preparedness, flow, questioning, and connection.

Arriving in time for school,  a class, church… the pleasure is the coming together. The pleasure is the purposeful gathering. The pleasure is joining a group, being a member, having a place, dare I say? Belonging? I need to learn that my isolation was wrong. My nomadship was wrong. My outsidership was not good for me. Being late helps me to not deal with painful things. Small talk, being known, ugh, maybe pieces of the big secret.

Pleasure in commitment that I was never allowed because it interfered with someone’s addiction. Commitment  that could lead to, gulp, success. Then comes fear of maintaining that success. If I am always late, I don’t have to maintain anything. Now, you see, it isn’t over responsibility, it is being irresponsible. This irresponsibility keeps us seeking others tardy, underachieving, and dysfunctional like ourselves. Yup, #9! We suck, so we love others who suck and then of course there’s # 4. This translates for me, into having to do everything because I am with  someone who does little, so I am late because I have so much to do. OI! Allowing pleasure has allowed me to expand my peeps. I sometimes get in with the early birds, cool kids, and successful people. Letting go is actually the normal thing to do. Holy crap!

By being on time is a big push back from victim-hood. It’s saying ” I am person, I have things I MUST do for myself, things I WANT to do for myself, and some shit I am NOT going to do”.

To RE-cap the Laundry List:

I am going out in the world, I don’t care what you say or think, go ahead and leave-don’t come back, you may not pick on me, this is about me not you, I said, I don’t care!, I am not here to pity you, I want and deserve calm and less stress, no I won’t stuff my feelings, and I refuse to judge myself anymore.

Now, get the hell out of my way; I have places to go!

bc

Importance of sleep

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One of my absolute favorite things in life is to wake up in the morning having solved problems during sleep. It is like waking up with an “ah, ha!” moment. I believe that these first moments are my best moments of truth. My brain has figured them out from all the data that I fed it and began to work out the previous day, or days, as is my life now. I often wake up to the real crux of the matter.

I think this is crucial to my learning and growing. Solving problems during sleep helps me to really feel that I have learned from my hard work. Things have solidified during z-time. I like to feel that I have truly gotten to the core of a problem, that I have mastered a process that will get me to that core again, that my brain is able to clear away extraneous debris freeing me to focus on the critical; and now as I rise, is pointing me in the right direction or verifying the correctness of that direction. Maybe this is self validation, I don’t know. What I do know is that these morning thoughts strung together over time with their accompanying work, are guiding me out of myself.

It’s the process of pealing of the onion. In the morning I have gotten to a new  layer. I want to return to journaling my “morning papers” because I think they are my best guides because they are very focused. I get easily distracted and easily pursue rabbit holes. Despite my idea of the impending end of my paid job, I love my schedule right now because it allows for this slow, tedious onion -pealing process. I love the opportunity to finally have time, safety, consistency, freedom, resources, support, and most importantly, sleep; to clear up “my sick thinking one day at a time”.  I cherish my small 32 hour a week commitment to a job that begins in late afternoon. I honestly need the time to get right with myself, to parent myself, and to keep calm, focused, and forward moving. I finally have a space of time and what I need to grow up. I can use this space to recover the areas that got truncated by chaos when I was young.

This morning’s papers clarified where some of my most deeply held beliefs about myself came from, how they got there, and why they are harmful to me today. This is what I meant by the “crux of the matter”. I am all about getting to the root of things. I love weeding, digging, researching, debriding, clearing, and cleaning. I am nearly masterful at getting straight to the real issue quickly and unflinchingly when it comes to others, now I am turning this onto myself. By going into myself, I am coming out of myself. It may seem counter-intuitive to get all about yourself to be a better person to others, but I swear it is true. I cannot stop hurting others until I stop hurting myself.

Rooting out false beliefs about myself happens in my sleep. I wake up with blinding evidence of how over and over again some false truth was taught to me. How over and over again someone else’s pain took precedence over healthy development for me. How over and over again I took in that false truth and believed it. How over and over again when presented with opportunity to over-throw this false truth, I could not, until now. Now my life is peaceful, stable, and full enough to over-throw my basic framework of inadequacy. I am not inherently inadequate, I was taught that I was. Unintentionally, someone else’s lacking became mine as well.

The unintentional part is extremely important for my growth in grace, humility, and forgiveness; first for myself, then for others. I have to forgive myself for what I didn’t know. I have to acknowledge that my insides were running the show because my outsides got truncated. My insides got caught in a time warp inside myself because isolation and self-deprivation are self-perpetuating. Until dug out, exposed to the light, shared with others, and fully faced with the lies that they are; my deeply held false beliefs about myself will continue to limit me. They will keep me from stepping too far from depression. They will keep me in the sights of PTSD. They will keep me under-achieving, under-earning, under my potential. The will keep me living in fear of success.

My ACOA share “The Laundry List as Expressed in Tardiness”, all on it’s own has the potential to catapult me into an entire decade of success if I continue to pursue it’s messages.

I awoke today with a crystal clear picture of why I feel I don’t deserve anything. The evidence pile is vast. And it is a pile of shit.

bc