A Blessing from Day Past

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Life is an amazing journey, one filled with surprising twists and turns.  I have always thought if you can pay attention opportunities present themselves, if you can quiet the noise of the world your inner voice will tell you what to do, and every experience no matter how painful is an opportunity to grow and learn. There have been times when life was dreadful that I needed to hold tightly to those beliefs. Other times my faith was shaken but I clung firmly. I felt like I floundered a bit this past year or so, taking the time to dig all those skeletons from my closet. What is it George Bernard Shaw said, “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”  Being aware of the impact of my past  I had decided to dance with my skeletons, to truly understand the impact the may have on my life; past, present, and future.

Funny how life surprises you at certain points of your journey. At the end of all this dancing I have reconnected with an amazing person from my past. Someone who I so fondly remember conversing, analyzing life, and sharing laughs. While I have kept up with a few friends from that portion of my life, we had only crossed paths now and again but never quite had a chance to catch up. This is someone who knows me, the me from days past, the person I have worked so hard to protect and preserve.

To spend time with someone who know you at your core, to see you even though there are now rough jagged edges from your battles in life but still embraces you, values you, and understand you is a wonderful gift; a blessing. It is such an experience to be with someone who allows me to be as  authentic as he is, who not only embraces my analysis of life but meets it with the same depth of perspective, who not only tolerates my need to look at all sides of a situation but returns my “wisdom” when my perspective becomes short sided. Someone who encourages me to be my authentic self with my flaws and imperfections, someone who wants to know all of me, even the dark parts and seems to stand steady when I share. This blessing from days pasts has reminded me of some of my foundational beliefs that had been lost in the murkiness of life as of late.  I only hope I can offer him the same in return, to be enough even though I know I have lost parts of myself along the way; I hope those missing pieces have not been replaced with a darkness that fills too much of life. I hope to be able to always meet his openness, honesty, and vulnerability with the same as well as the encouragement and reassurance that I will be a good steward of all he shares, of the love and care he offers, of the kindness and encouragement I am met with. I pray that I can be enough.

 

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”  ― Thomas Merton

Dirty Laundry Stained with Blame

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So here I sit in that major conglomo coffee shop trying to do some research. This is the second time this week I have visited and it is becoming quite the adventure. Today I was lucky to position myself against the wall but am between two different groups of people, one a younger coed pair of friends where she clearly is interested in him but he is working through an “awful” end of a relationship and on the other side a pair of friends a bit older than me but also discussing relationship woes. One is clearly playing the blame game while the other seems to be the victim in that same game.

Clearly the lady is experiencing some difficulties in her long term relationship. She is trying to sift through her confusion and pain to find understanding. There are some petty frustrations intermingled with some pretty large problems. A few tears; my heart goes out to her pain, but she is facing her discomfort with dignity and as much rationality as possible.

The young man is attempting to explain why it would never work, creating irrational reason to displace his pain and any accountability to the ruins of his relationship. It is so difficult to stand in your pain, be accountable for your part while remaining respectful with the coconspirator. Don’t get me wrong there are times it is always appropriate to set your boundaries and maintain your self-respect but that is not the situation I am eavesdropping on. He has disengaged from the pain and like a petulant child is slinging accusations at a person who cannot defend herself. Having been on the receiving end of the blame game, I understand the pain belittling and devaluing can inflict.

I may never understand. I think when things go wrong, objective facts are the only appropriate items to share; I believe in discretion. There is a reason you let that person into your life, you cared with all of your heart at one point so why the disparagement now?  Why do people not have enough respect for themselves to maintain privacy of their intimate relationships? Why do they feel the need to air their dirty laundry? Why do we seek validation for their misdirected pain?

“You’ve got to learn although it’s very hard. The way of pocketing your pride, sometimes face humiliation while you were burning up inside. Facing reality is often hard to do when it seems happiness is gone”  – Nina Simone

 

Major Faux Pas

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So I really messed up, big time! I have been pretty emotionally raw for the past ten days or so. My anxiety levels are all over the place and nothing is predictable or controllable. On top of that I had an awful dream, the type where you wake up in a sweat, shaking, heart racing…I actually heard myself screaming as I was waking up on this one. In the dream old friends, a couple I have known for over twenty years, came to visit and we were reminiscing then out of nowhere my ex storms into the room, screaming, all those painful words flying,  he pushed me backwards as the friends try to diffuse the situation I fall over something and he begins to kick me.  I didn’t sleep the rest of the night, only falling asleep in the chair as the sun was coming up.  I woke up late, rushed to the auto mechanics to get some work done on my car and then to breakfast with a friend. I tried to focus all morning, still feeling rushed and out of sorts I was blaming it on the hurried morning, my to-do list but in reality it was so much more.  As the day went on I tried to focus on others but I was quickly crumbling. I wasn’t able to complete my errands so I decided to go do some readings and get a cup of coffee.

Here is where it went to hell in a handbasket. I had been out and about more this week than I have all summer so I had my fill of noise and people. I was sitting in the coffee shop and felt it escalating so I decided to get my earphones and listen to some calm peaceful music, focus on my breathing and find my center. I left in tears only to sit in the rental car for the next hour trying to compose myself enough to get mine from the shop. On my way home I was a disaster, the twenty minute drive was filled with tears and anxiety…not as bad as it has been but nothing I can manage.  I understand what is happening and can even find the trigger for this one but still it is no easier. But oh it gets better….

I made it home. I had offered to take dinner to a friend and they declined to which I sent a hateful reply because I was hurting and needed someone, some support, but of course I didn’t explain and of that in detail. I did explain I could use a friend but still was not brave enough to share the details, to explain that dark place I was in. What would usually be considered a neutral reply really stung me. I was hurt, in that moment I needed to know I had someone to lean on, a person in my corner, and I could have used a hug but I couldn’t vocalize it quite that way…but unfortunatly I did say something. I do know I should have expressed my situation better for they are not a mind reader.

So the mess with complex-ptsd is there are triggers and emotional flashbacks, one finds themselves back in that terrifying emotional state. When I am in that place, the smallest thing can be taken the wrong way and I begin that cycle and it can make me feel hopeless, or fearful, or worthless or a hodgepodge of all three. Sprinkle in the anxiety there are good days and then those not so good. Yesterday was not so good.  Add to that the fact I have never learned to advocate for myself; doing so when emotions are so raw and I am in a bad place didn’t actually get presented in a way that it was intended. I feel so guilty, I was trying to say I need help, I need to know I have someone out there to check in because right now its pretty dark and I didn’t say it anywhere close to that. I have tried to explain and I have apologized for the delivery but I sit here afraid that I have damaged things…. I feel like I have more justification to keep to myself but I know that is not the right answer either. I hope I can rectify what I have done….

“I’m sorry.’ The two most inadequate words in the English language.”

– Beth Revis

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