Weight of Worthlessness

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It is day 11 with interrupted erratic sleep, at best and the sixth night in the past eight that I have had the same version of a dream, this one where it wakes me and I am filled with frustration and pain only to try and rationalize the feelings away.  The dream is not one of those filled with terror that startles me awake to miss the remainder of my nights rest, it is one of those where my thoughts become filled with doubt leaving me feeling unsure of my choices for the remainder of the day only to have it occur again the next evening. I have just arrived at the realization that the  dream is reoccurring because it is true, my subconscious is telling me these things because they are something I need to accept, I should use these facts to reassess my life, and make the needed changes to have this dream stop.

Each time the dream occurs I awake to feel my entire life is not as I believe, that the fallacy is my existence. While each dream is slightly different, I am speaking to someone who is a person close, one who know my thoughts, initially it was a therapist who is speaking to me. I am sitting is an intimate conversation situation where the conversation is focused on me and something that has occurred. While the topic and backdrop varies slightly, the outcome if the same; I am told that I am not lovable, the trouble is my core, I am not lovable, I am damaged goods that no one will want and then all of my beliefs, my values are pointed out to be faults, and all the painful words I have heard throughout my life are summarized and presented to me in a logical way that crushes my soul and erodes my being.

Lying in the dark tonight, hearing others words for earlier in my day, my mind once again filled with this dream I realize it is possibly true. That pain is beyond words. I may not be lovable, I am missing so many pieces from my journey through life how could I be enough to be loves, and my edges are so difficult I cannot be truly embraces.  No matter what love I have to give, no matter how much I care, no matter how open and honest I am in baring my heart and soul, it is not nor can it ever be enough. I wonder if I deserve the compassion and kindness I try to offer the world, I do not warrant the same time and consideration I offer to others, my existence does not justify the same honesty with which I approach life, and ultimately I am afraid I am not worth being loved.

Sitting here in the dark, tears flowing I know my only choice is to retreat into myself, to again live my life from a safe place.  I am surprised how heavy this knowledge feels; I am shocked at the weight of my own worthlessness.  As always I will love my children with all me being, hope I can teach them how to love, pray they find a love and kindness in their intimate life that I will never know, impart to them the ferocity with which I had tried to live my life. As I raise the youngest and send them into the world hoping if I give them the love I was offering the world it can make some impact. Irrelevant of all my effort I suppose I will never understand, I will not learn what others actions mean, I can never reconcile the disparity if behaviors and words. I hope I have the courage to face this painful truth, I hope I can bear this truth. While I grieve for what I may never have, what I will never know I am searching for the strength to make it through the next few years to get my children into adult hood then I can take respite in my silence.

“It is after all the greatest art to limit and isolate oneself.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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You Have to “Like” Yourself

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“What defines us is how we deal with what we’re given.” So very true. We can choose to be graceful in times of struggle and look beyond others words to see the pain and fear that causes their actions and respond with love and kindness as opposed to anger onlu causing more pain. We cannot heal others, that is their responsibility. We cannot help if they toss aside blessings and disregard gifts, all we can do is hope they find their peace and can find their way back to their center.

The Recurrance of my Incubus

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I have always had amazingly vivid detailed dreams. Add to that my recall ability that can be quite the curse. While many dreams afford me the opportunity to solve problem and process challenges while I sleep, awaking with a solution that was difficult to visualize during the light of day; many problems in grad school were solved this way. This is also a curse in so much as I can awake from a drew so vivid I think it takes time for the reality of what had occurred to be washed away with the dawn. I have written about my incubus more then once; I wonder if these visits shall ever cease.

I often have dreams of confrontation, where I have lost my voice or need to make a choice between what is right and my safety; all too easy to psychoanalyze. Working through some recent challenges I may be thinking of things that are causing more dreams but I tend to think this is a result of the season. I am a fervent believer in patterns, sometimes that is the only place truth lies. Although I no longer face these struggles and have not for some years, beginning in late April my life would get sucked into an unwanted spiral that would crash hard sometime between Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving so it is quite possibly ingrained in my psyche, which scares me to my core.

Waking from sleep crippled with fear, feeling as if the dream was occurring and the participants are still there is so utterly frightening word can offer it no justice. Last week I awoke gasping for air and grasping to find the hands that had been gripped so tightly around my neck I was gasping for air yet there were no hands, the house was silent and my cats sat startled and confused watching from across the room. While not all my dreams are as violent nor are they as graphic they can be quite vivid. There are times all the faces in the room are unfamiliar but they are all know to me, as if parts in some rehearsed act  of terror and other times there are just these odd arguments, moments of confrontation that I am placed in a catch-22 and wake just before I decide in much distress.

Last week started a cycle of a new dream which I cannot figure out the reason for its occurrence. Typically I am in an office, maybe of a therapist, but it is clearly someone I am comfortable with who has some insight into who I am. As I am waiting for the answer to some question they respond that of course I can’t be loved and begin to point out all my faults. I have had this three of the past four nights and as I contemplate going to bed tonight I hope that it does not occur again. I am unsure how my saboteur had filtered into my dreams.  This is filtering into my day, riddling my thoughts with this doubt, making me realize that there is some truth in those words. I realize that I would be difficult to love for I am missing some of myself from this journey and no matter how much I try, I am a bit sharp around the edges making it difficult at best.

“Sometime you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” –Robert Hunter

 

 

 

Dress Rehearsal for Disaster

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I have arrived at a question that I know the answer for yet all the logic in the world is not enough to rationalize the behavior away. This is going to take a conscious effort and hard work on my part as well as patience and critique from those in my inner most circle.  At times I have this perpetual need to anticipate every possible outcome and devise a plan for them, especially the negative ones. I understand the root of this problem, I still have a hype- vigilance that would rival the best added to the fact I grew up encouraged to succeed and be independent that takes planning and focus that would make some of the greatest innovators jealous. I spent the majority of my adult life and even a bit of my childhood worrying about the outcome, anxiously planning for all possibilities but my life is no longer what is used to be, it is not one long string of anticipated disasters, there is no longer a continual call for clean-up on isle 3; it has not been for years yet there are still times l revert to survival mode in some sense.

I recall a little over four years  ago that I was discussing with my attorney about some legal actions and I started the what if game. He quickly explained he liked to play chess as well as the next guy but with the options and potential outcomes it would become quite expensive based on his hourly rate, I was better served to deal with things as they arose. This was the first time I realized that I tried to analyze the situations from every angle and plan for all possible contingencies. While I did a quick statistical analysis and realized there were a mere 24 outcomes, it would be daunting to look at the legal ramification of each.  This is at times a burdensome behavior but it can also serve me well. I try to always consider a situation from every angle, not just my preference. I analyze and approach things from the stance of logic and when you are working with others that may be helpful. A friend often refers to my ability to play devil’s advocate by seeing another position, maybe it is just the academic in me but I need to understand it from all possible sides to fully understand it.

Other than analyzing to understand, most of the time now I just tend to plan to ensure I am able to meet my responsibilities; I set aside time for my family, work, my studies, as well as time for myself with those I care for. I am afraid if I do not plan for those things most important to me, I will begin to wander through life and arrive at the end wishing I had only made the time.  When the going gets tough, when I feel I am about to falter, I find myself reverting to planning for the unknowns, back as square one of survival mode. Now I am struggling with my studies; feeling out of my league I am working diligently to persevere but feel it may not be enough; I am standing on this precipice about to fall. I am filled with doubt which triggers my need to plan, this contrived form of control what you can which is merely an illusion. So my mind becomes filled with thoughts, should I plan for dinner with a friend on Thursday, with the sudden change in parenting plans do I need to go to the grocery, how will I finish my research when I have no quiet time to study unless I pull an all-night session or two… I try to dismiss these for I know there is no planning that can balance my concern. I am sure those closest to me see this, even become as overwhelmed by the process as I do.

While there have been times the planning has been useful, saved my from a worse outcome, in reality I have spent more time planning than I gained from the analysis.  I do find comfort in knowing for instance I am at point a and will plan to arrive at point b; I so enjoy the journey between.  I need to let a bit of  this go, give the control over to others or to no one, let them plan as they see fit, or leave things uncharted, and see what occurs. Will there be plans made or just events that happen?

I am painfully aware there is no dress rehearsal for disaster, I cannot play chess with imaginary outcomes of a situation, I cannot anticipate the disappointments as a means to avoid them. Life will happen on it’s own terms, I cannot make a neat itinerary for it. Does this go back to an issue with trust? Do I not trust enough in my strength to pick up the pieces and move forward when it becomes difficult? Do I not have the courage to just let go? Will I ever have the strength to trust that life will unfold as it should?

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”  ― Robert Frost

Standing Vulnerable

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I have been characterized as being strong and while there are times I might agree because to have arrived at this point in life I have had to draw on my inner strength, I am not always driven by strength nor courage.  I look back on my life, especially the recent past and see there are times of personal struggle that I chose to cling to my fear in a moment of weakness as opposed to being courageous, being vulnerable. That realization was again brought to the forefront when I read a quote by Hazrat Inayat Khan, “God breaks the heart open again and again until it stays open”.  So contemplating the meaning I realized that although I try to silence the world and do what feels right in my heart I had times when I chose to close myself off, wrap myself in fear, and turn away from my vulnerability not because I did not trust another. Was I was assessing the world based my past and not on its potential? Was I not able to trust myself, my inner voice?

Why are we so motivated to action by fear for it is just a feeling? We clearly have become a culture that thrives on fright, just watch the national news. Why do we cling so tightly to our fear and pain? Why can we not put the same effort into our blessing? Why do we allow ourselves to not listen to our inner voice but quiet what we know to be true in our hearts to stand distress, filled with trepidation, to be avoidant of the risk? I understand that when you stand vulnerable you leave yourself wide open, you are trusting someone else to be a steward of what you leave exposed, you are leaving yourself available to be hurt. I get the reasons I had trust issues but again I am assessing my life by a yardstick someone else gave me. To be truly vulnerable is one of the greatest strengths a person can have; it demonstrates they know their worth, are comfortable in their own skin and know the reward will far outweigh the risk. To say I am going to risk it all to be true to myself takes a type of bravery that is difficult to find.  I know I am afraid of being hurt but is it better to not have even taken the chance? After spending years of proving I am worthy, even as a child I fought hard to prove I could succeed, I would meet those expectations, I was good enough, am I now afraid to know that what I have to offer is not enough, that I am not lovable? Why would I keep my truth bottled up within myself when in the moments of quiet I hear it is time to share?

So I found myself facing a choice, to either silence my inner voice, ignoring my truth, and hide from my heart allowing fear to become a roadblock, this burden holding me back from living life as it was intended, or to face my fear, choose vulnerability, and bare my soul. I chose to live my life through love, to share what I felt at my core before I tuck it away in the depths of my heart to be lost forever. Fear is all about what someone else can offer, what another can cause while love is all about what you can offer another, what you will leave in the world. Love isn’t about me, it is about the proverbial you, all about what I can impress on the world, not about what I have to lose. I will muster all my courage and speak my truth, I will let out into the world what I feel, why I care, and offer what I have to give, I stand with my soul bare; I will stand before my world as vulnerable as one can be. What shall become of this, what will come of my vulnerability I suppose time will tell but in the moment afterwards, there will come a peace of knowing you have put your truth into the world.

“Hold on to what you believe in the light when the darkness has robbed you of your sight”

Mumford and Sons

Rules of Life

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Apparently our lives have been reduced to making lists. I have a continual steam of them; to-do today, home project lists, grocery lists, to-read lists, bucket list, and things I will never again tolerate or endure. Months ago I was asked if I had a list of items I needed to thrive, like a must have for relationships with friends, family, or romantic which added an interesting thought so I began to compile my thoughts into some contrived bullet form. Most recently it came from a conversation about rules for life, if I were to impart any great wisdom could I do it in twelve rules of less? It really made me consider what wisdom I try to impart to my children and the choices I make in my own life. I typically find these lists a bit hokey but thought I shall give it a shot. Often times being a bit verbose I had to work to make a concise list of twelve items in no particular order of importance.

 

  1. Stuff is inconsequential, people and your relationships to them is what is important. I am pretty sure my last day on earth I will not want to see all my diplomas, care what nick knacks sit on my mantle or drink from my favorite mug but will want to be surrounded by those I love deeply. So nurture those relationships, trust those you care for, be vulnerable, love unconditionally, be kind and forgive often.

 

  1. Love the skin you’re in because it is all you’ll get. We all have different shapes and beauty marks. Life is too short to stress over your vanity; eat well, drink lots of water and be healthy and love yourself as much as you do others.

 

  1. It is not fair and unfortunately it will never be. You’ll win some and you’ll lose some; often times not the ones you want! Life will be filled with failures, mistakes, and disappointments and it is how you handle those that can define your character. Remember all you can truly control is your response to the situation; pick yourself up, dust yourself off and smile and you move forward!

 

  1. Alone is good, lonely not so much. Have faith there is something larger then you and nurture that spirituality, this can be done best when you are alone. Learn to love yourself and you will always enjoy the silence.

 

  1. Every day on this side of the stars is a good one. When you approach life with a grateful heart it makes difficulties easier to endure. Always be grateful even and if needed remind yourself of #3.

 

  1. You’re human, guess what you will make mistakes, probably tons of them. There will be things you are embarrassed by and things you may be indignant over, give up your pride, apologize to those you have hurt, try hard as hell not to repeat them and forgive yourself(see #3).

 

  1. There are no happy accidents, everything happens for a reason, try to learn what that is. When you struggle with a choice, do what feels right in your heart, you inner voice is speaking with fortitude for a reason, listen! Everyday remember to listen to your inner voice, embrace the blessings (see #5) and learn from the mistakes (see #6).

 

  1. Time is too valuable to waste on things you cannot change. If you fret over things out of your control you are giving up a precious commodity that you cannot replace.

 

  1. You were born with two superpowers; love and laughter. Laugh and love in the same way openly, unconditionally, and deeply. Nothing can nurture a relationship, make life easier to bear, or heal better than those two. You also need to learn to laugh at yourself! When you must choose, always chose happiness, kindness, love, and laughter, hands down that should be your choice.

 

  1. Love should be unconditional, relationships not so much. Never give love away with conditions or expectations but remember to love yourself too (see above, 2,3,4…). Set healthy boundaries, know what you need to thrive, always know how to respect yourself, never shortchange yourself, and be with someone who love all of you, unconditionally.

 

  1. There will be days where the best you can muster is to breathe. That is alright, be kind to yourself. We all face difficulties and struggles and there is time where all hope seems lost, take care of yourself, focus on what you can and let the rest go because the world will not fall off its axis!

 

  1. The journey is not straight nor is it level. There will be tough times, challenges you need to fight , things you need to overcome, times you will fail but trust me there are days the views along the trail are absolutely breathtaking. Keep going and remember to look up often and enjoy the change in scenery because some things you only pass once. Pause to contemplate you place, examine your impact, and embrace life fully.

I wonder how important these will be at the end of my life….I hope they serve me well.

 

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

 

Character and Courage

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As with everyone I have had personal struggles, this spring had been no different in that except it feels as if Pandora’s box was opened. I cannot return all those things to the box so I must face them. As any good little academic I approach it through reading and research. I have read countless journal articles, conveniently I have access to some of the academic material related to psychology and mental health as well as having visited credible webpages and innumerable blogs of both those suffering from and caring for someone with mental health struggles. Trying to understand things from all sides helps me understand so I can assimilate it into my framework.

This morning a friend posted a link about caring for someone with anxiety and I once again saw this persistent statement that it has nothing to do with courage or character. While I understand the intent of that assertion, I am unsure if believe in it’s truth. Between knowing my challenge and having seen more than one person I care deeply for  face some form of mental health struggles I think it does have a great deal to do with character and courage but possibly not in the way people often thinking.

To see someone who has such deep sense empathy and compassion that in times of struggle it is overwhelming, to experience things so deeply is a gift that may feel like a burden does speak to one’s character. To rise again to face life, especially in the midst of their struggle, to push forward in the fog of despair, to find hope in the midst of hopleness speaks volumes about their courage. To learn to face those challenges, to know your limits and to learn to speak of what you can handle and what you cannot shows a bravery that some do not possess.  To care for those in your life so much that when you are in the midst of your own battle you focus on those you care about of course speaks to compassion and kindness that is not always held by people.  There is also an immense courage in facing one’s challenges but a deeper sense of gallantry to admit to and share your struggles with another. I feel as if my words fail to express what I truly see with those who face this challenge.  I have come to realize that my appreciation for them has grown, my admiration runs deeper, and my respect is in no way diminished but has grown even greater. I hope I can be courageous enough to share this with those in my life that struggle.

Bravery hides in amazing places. ~ Kiera Cass