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Friday, December 31, 2010

I can relate..can you? Part Two

Today, though not all that uplifting for a New Years Eve post, it is thought provoking, and for me a way to work out a few more cob webs and demons before it hits midnight...."The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul. "G. K. Chesterton Plan to really work on this amongst other things in my life.

So, Part Two...from the book Seeking Peace by Mary Pipher, the chapter MELTDOWN. Recall that the chapter was what resulted from becoming recognized, touring for speaking engagements and book tours and her struggle with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I know not the most uplifting of material as I said, but what better time to get that part over with???

 " I had a difficult time getting up in the morning and I rarely laughed. I felt as if I were slogging through gray mush. My pain was so intense that I couldn't connect emotionally with less traumatized people."

This has been me for the past I would say two years on and off. And so many other times through out my life. If it was not from depression, then it was from loss of a person or thing or lifestyle...or often what I felt was a part of me. I often just went through the processes of the day. Unlike the author though I could smile and laugh. I had become so skilled over the years at becoming such a great actress that people do not know I suffer from chronic pain and on the inside I was angry and crying. I could joke, I could fake enjoyment, a smile came easy, automatic.

No matter the physical pain I would stand without help, push through all the chores, bite into something to eat and not wince or cry out from my teeth hurting or often throbbing from being loose and painful. I wanted to, HAD to hide things from my their feelings. But like the author I could not relate to those people that were cheery, happy, no matter what was going on and they really felt that way, happy. Many had lost what I had, a lifestyle and home that was dear, living on nearly nothing and some even lived with the chronic pain , but to me because they could find the bright side when all I could find was darkness, I simply did not want to deal with them.

My negativity chased people away and I was actually glad. I did not want to converse with them. If they could not handle it , ride through it with me then it was a waste of my time. I regret some that departed, others well it was for the best. It is not a pretty thing to admit, but it is the truth. Ironically I could also not relate to people who was going through worse than me or even the same thing as basically I stopped relating to ALL people. I was in a very dark hole. Despite that, the whole time I kept saying I was not depressed, cause I had convinced myself that cause I could laugh, smile, enjoy moments and get out of bed, I could not possibly be depressed.Should have seen what would happen should anyone suggest that I was! Talk about not relating well.

" My old friends had always calmed me down and made me laugh, but suddenly I was a less available friend, leading a life very different from theirs."

"I had spent my life developing a web of relationships that fended off my dark loneliness...I frequented the same stores, libraries and cafes..."

" If I don't know where I fit in a framework of relationships, I don't know who I am."

As I said above, in my darkness I chased away friends, even family. Avoided phone calls, emails, social networking. I isolated myself and then complained about it. My brain was just filled with such anger and hurt that I was not thinking strait at all. I would apologize and  mend fences, and for a time it would be ok, but then the ugly monster came to the surface and well MELTDOWN! So instead of the close friends that really knew me I became chummy with store clerks where I could fake it and not be judged. I could for the few moments it took to get through with my business there push down the life I was leading and fake it, be friendly, outgoing, and seemingly happy.

" Yet I know that in writing about my life , I walk a tightrope. I don't want in anyway compare my angst to the tragedies of those who are struggling simply to live and eat, but yet I want to share as honestly as I can my own felt experience." 

I one hundred percent relate to this. During the years I have had friends that died of aids. Been homeless, had cancer. Even during the past two years when things seemed to be nothing but darkness for me I felt guilty as I KNEW there was others who suffering overshadowed my own ten fold..and I could see it, but the overwhelming feeling of guilt from it all just made the monster in me grow.

" I didn't want to move, speak or eat. Acting normal, pretending to care, smiling and talking all required too much energy. I yearned for a vacation from the human race. "

This was my November. It had all come to a head. We had our bank account drained by fraud. My Dad was going in for a triple bypass, my daughters were going through stressful times, my husband who has always been ready with a smile and cheer up session had suddenly hit the same wall and we did not know if we would make it the month in our apartment, but we had just signed the new lease with a higher rent. The list went on and on of things that added to our pile. By the time Thanksgiving day rolled around I was ready to check out.

" I found The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle especially soothing. I wasn't ready for much of what he said, but his encouragement to live in the moment enabled me to enjoy my cat, my fireplace and the taste of toast and coffee. For the first time in a long time, I experienced my body in a positive way. I noticed when it was relaxed, warm or comfortable. I paid attention to my thoughts and feelings. Mostly I witnessed sad ones- my negativity, anxiety and, most of all, my relentless punishment of myself. I heard so many harsh voices in my head that I could barely breathe or think without critiquing myself. I believed myself to be the one person on earth not entitled to happiness." 

I posted this yesterday as well, but it was out of order in the placement within the book, so wanted to share again, to cap off the last few quotes and to lead into the next.

 " A strong foundation holds better under duress than one with cracks. As an adult with an ordinary life, I had the skills to be happy and productive. However, when my life became more intense, I couldn't manage.... My foundation of self eroded....fault lines, established in childhood, opened up and I fell in." 

Now out of respect to certain parties in my family circle and a few ex friends, and boyfriends, I shall not recount what happened to me through out my younger years to create cracks in my foundation....but there are many and some are so deep that no matter how hard I try to repair them, well they remain, resurfacing when I certainly do not need them or want them to and without warning. They say such things will make you stronger, in some ways they have, others well not so much.

" Mine was a polite, quiet crisis....Almost no one but my immediate family knew anything was wrong. I tell you this because I want you to know that at any given time, we cannot know who among our friends and neighbors is struggling with despair."  

I told you I had become a great actress. I could go to wine tastings and smile, laugh, say it was all good, I was staying positive, I had dealt with all the bad things with strength and resolve etc. etc. On the outside I had built a strong foundation , nothing was visible.

" I punished myself with my sins of omission, which are infinite. "

" I had always been a worrier, but now I felt addicted to worry. Oh, how I could thwump myself when I was down."

No need to even add things to those two quotes above or the one below, they say it all for me.

" I thought I was suffering an emotional crisis, but now I see it as a spiritual one....I had envisioned a spiritual journey as one that moved up toward the heavens. Now I realize that heading down toward hell was an equally promising path. In fact, the most common way that people move toward spiritual growth may be first descending into their despair. I didn't realize it at the time, but in the midst of all my misery, I was taking my first steps on a journey toward peacefulness and self-acceptance. "  

To be continued.....


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