I guess it takes what it takes to grow up. I'm a little slower than some - OK, a lot slower (56 at the time of this writing) and may only be around 18 emotionally, but it's a good start. To be honest, I'm still not real keen on the idea of growing up, most days preferring to escape on grand adventures, in my head. And therin lies the difference - why Louie's finally growing up - today, these 'great escapes' are in my head and I'm not heading out the door with a backpack.
This blog chronicles a lifetime of insanity, in the truest sense of the word - BiPolar disorder, manic depression it used to be called. I am an outspoken advocate for mental health, freely describing my experience, strength and hope with anyone that's interested.
Many of these blog posts are from people that have written to me, many suffering emotional distress. All of these writings come from the heart, most of which are raw and unedited. If you are of the overly sensitive disposition - you might want to steer clear.
If you really wannna have some fun ... check this out ... www.dailygooddog.com
I do hope you enjoy my rantings. This is therapy for me, and a journal that shows me that I am, in fact, maturing - proving at long last to ex-wives, that it is possible even though pigs don't fly.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
A one page bio of my life ... that sounded easy enough. Was I ever in for a surprise! This was one of the most difficult and revealing personal growth exercizes that I'd ever attempted and yet at the same time, incredibly liberating. I've included, for the world to see (as usual) my inner workings, entitled "Once Upon a Time." I hope this encourages you to try it for yourself. Remember, one page.
“Once Upon a Time ...
... a normal rambunctious 4 year old boy, speaking only French, came to America with his parents. Life, as he knew it, dramatically changed overnight. One moment, relating to those around him, yet literally a plane ride away, surrounded by people that he could not understand and strange sights and sounds ... this little boy was petrified with fear, confused as to why his life made no sense anymore.
This early event, feeling very much alienated and alone, suffering from intense feelings of insecurity resulted in a lifetime pattern of fear, self doubt, feelings of worth-less-ness resulted in years of intense loneliness and eventually, self hate. Unconsciously, every future life event would be effected by this early emotional patterning.
Always coming from a foundation of fear, low self esteem and self hate, life seemed to alternate between two extremes; debilitating depression and self imposed isolation … “I’m not worthy of sharing life with those I see around me, I’m not good enough, I don’t fit in, I’m defective, worthless, useless … I hate myself, etc” … , or grandiose behavior, “Please, someone notice me, I exist and need to feel accepted, loved and appreciated.”
Over a lifetime, this little 'Boy-Man' tried everything to eliminate the pain of feeling 'terminally unique,' which resulted in countless addicitions (self medication), including compulsive overeating, alcohol, drugs, sex, workaholism, accumulating 'stuff' and geographic relocations inclusing a 3 year, 5000 mile walk across America. Yet no matter what he did or where he found himself - there he was.
These countless attempts to fill a void eventually resulted in looking in the one place he never thought to look … within ... towards God, as he had always misunderstood 'Him.' A lifetime of pain had brought this little boy (emotionally) to a place of absolute surrender and eventually over a long road of transparent discovery, to a deep peace, acceptance, forgiveness and eventually, self love. This is a process that goes on today and I anticipate, for the rest of my life.
Today, life is good, very good for this boy-man, filled with immense gratitude and appreciation of the abundance and infinite love that has always surrounded him, yet was always too afraid to see. Today, this boy-man continues to grow by opening his heart to life and dreams of a future life of usefulness, passion, purpose and love.
What has this boy-man learned in life? … That life is what we focus on. Heaven or Hell - It’s a personal choice. That we are never alone (unless we choose to be) and that any adversity in life can be transcended when working as a team, co creating with the God of our choice.
Louie Rochon aka 'Boy-Man-in training'
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I know that you don't know me. I am a psychotherapist in Colorado. I work with folks who are struggling with addiction and mental illness. But that's not important. What I wanted to say to you today IS important. THANK-YOU for today’s "Daily Good Dog". It is EXACTLY what I needed to read and remember today. I am going through some stressful medical stuff and this gentle reminder was the universes way of reminding to not take it all so seriously.
I also appreciate your humor. If more of my clients could access these qualities, they may find greater joy in life and I would probably be out of a job! I know that we all can be "our own best therapist" and it sounds like the Daily Dog is yours.
Seems to me that we have some things in common, specifically that we can help others with positive suggestions, 'gentle reminders' as you put it. That said, this does not make us immune from needing support for ourselves. Far from it. In fact, Good Dog was born of my mental illness and remains the single most effective remedy.
This particular series (GOOD HEAD vs. BAD HEAD; Emotional Survival in Trying Times) addresses my own mental health challenges as I'm currently experiencing an intensely painful cycle of depression with some annoying mania as a side dish - a very disturbing combo plate. Good Dog plays a critically important role in my recovery in times like these.
For people that are not struggling with mental illness, The Dog can help inspire and motivate. For me, it can literally be the difference between life and death. Similar to an alcoholic (oh, I have that one too) who must keep alcohol out of their system, manic-depressives must keep their moods somewhat stable through medication, exercise, nutrition and talk therapy ... and my Daily Good Dog Feeding. A little too far off balance one way of the other can plummet me into life threatening depression, hyper mania or worse - both at the same time.
I always write about what I need. My friends know exactly where my head is at by reading The Dog of the day. Sometimes this feels a little too exposed but I usually fight the urge to edit my feelings and just throw it out there. I am like a doctor that operates on his own head, creating and consuming his own medicine. Without my Daily Good Dog Feeding, I think I would implode into a ball of quivering emotional jello.
Putting out The Dog helps me to focus outside of myself, immersing myself in inspiring, life-affirming thoughts, some of the most powerful words ever written. This was the case with this current series about 'emotional survival.'
A Typical Good Dog Day …
Once a week, I decide, after prayer and meditation, and a whole lot of consternation, which topic will be explored (as I usually focus on a single topic for 5 days).
On a typical morning, I’ll spend 3-4 hours reading 500-600 quotes (on average) on dozens of topics that compliment the week's subject, selecting roughly 10-15% to consider. These 60-100 quotes are then read and re-read, sorted and re-sorted, until I pick the top 5-6 quotes for each day.
Obviously, after spending so much time each day, with my head totally enmeshed with the greatest minds in history, their words, their wisdom, eventually seep into the cracks of my head, soothing the depression and slowing the mania … for a while. This is why I put out the Dog, every day, as Good Dog, quite literally, saves my life.
It was nice hearing from you. I always appreciate your comments as they are so real. You must be a very good psychotherapist and your patients, blessed.
Please feel free to drop me a note from time to time. Messages like yours are manna for my soul.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I feel incredibly blessed by writing and distributing the 'Daily Good Dog Feeding.' This work I do, has resulted in regaining genuine passion and purpose back into my life - a deep feeling of joy that can only come from believing that I am making a positive difference in the life of another person. There is no greater feeling. I am also blessed with the incredible healing power of all of you - the cummulative positive energy of thousands around the world - trying to the best of their abilities, to live their lives as if it is their message - which it is.
It's no easy task to ask for help when you're down. Recently, while going through a patch of insecurity, doubt and self pity, I chose to follow my own advice and ask for support, from my friends ... I sent out a plea to Good Dog readers all over the world ... and you responded, in mass. Thank You. Thank You, so very much, as Good Dog is now - back on top.
Every morning, before I start writing The Dog, I pray. Most days, I have no idea what I will write about. I wait, quietly, after I pray, for something to pop up in my head. Some days, I agonize in trying to find messages that feel 'right,' to put out there.
'Inspirations' come in many forms. Some days, they don't come at all. This morning, it came in the form of an email from a new Good Dog friend, Patty, in the foothills of the Appalachians in West Virginia. I'd like to share this letter with you. My response is below her letter.
I just wanted to let you know how much of a difference your quotes that you send so graciously to each of us subscribed ......it really gives me insight to other areas where i would be blind or possibly not even consider......it lifts me up when i am feeling low......it encourages me when i am near to giving up or withdrawing to my own little world of "i can't make a difference anyway" .....and it provides a feeling of hope for an encouraging word each time i see your name in the email inbox.
You wrote of not being able to come up with a subject area in light of all going on in the world today, I imagine that has become harder and harder to do. I want to thank you for persevering and keeping the faith that the written word can inspire, can change lives, can help one through a day of rain and shadows into the light and rainbows that linger just to the edge of their vision. You are truly an inspiration …
I thought I'd offer up some help on some subject ideas : how about judgments (as in NOT doing so to others), quantum entanglement (where each of us and our actions affect another be it miles or oceans apart), the power of imagination or creativity, stigmatization and the need or inspiration for others to "walk a mile in another's shoes" first, or the wonderment of children and the inspiration they give us to keep trying to get some semblance of order/stability for their futures, the value of being "STILL" per say and listening to the moment and the intense power of silence, or the power of living a proactive life in all terms of the word or a self sufficient life and the rewards it offers (kind of a reap and sow type of scenario) ...
These are just some ideas that have come to me and I hope that you see that as helpful not "pushy" or in anyway saying that the quotes you send aren't PERFECTLY what i need ... just some ideas for i know coming up with new themes and quote has to be rather difficult ... so i just thought I'd help you out in light of the email where you spoke of having difficulty in such times of turmoil for our nation .... I DO thank you for keeping it UNPOLITICAL for goodness knows we get enough of that!!
Well, i hope you have a good day today and are inspired beyond your wildest dreams....your emails are a great shining light in a weary weary world …
One of my favorites is "so shines a good deed in a weary weary world" (R. Dahl "willy wonka")
Thanks for all you do for us all!!
Your kind words of encouragement were like a cool drink of water for a parched throat. Thank You.
Following my own advice, asking for support when I was down, resulted in an amazing number of emails from people from all over the world. These messages have helped drown-out Bad Dog's incessant barking, allowing Good Dog to be in control. I realize that Bad Dog is always there, waiting patiently on my other shoulder, till I drop my guard. Bad Dog loves to pounce on me and pin me down to the ground. I've learned that I must be diligent, using all my Good Dog tools if I want to stay ahead of the beast. Some days I forget and it doesn't take long to fall into that hole of depression and hopelessness. We humans are a fragile species, aren't we.
In trying times like these, it's especially important that I immerse myself in positive self talk (Good Dog) as it is far too easy to fall victim to fear, despair, panic and paralysis. Even 'intellectually' realizing that this kind of thinking is self destructive and serves no useful purpose, it often feels impossible to avoid this pathetic 'stinkin thinkin.'
You know what ... today, I chose NOT to allow myself to sink into that inner hell. Gandhi said, "My life is my message." These are big words to live up to, but I believe in them. I believe there is very little I can do to change the world, but I also strongly believe that we, as individuals have virtually unlimited power to effect change, by changing our own attitudes and subsequent actions. I mean, come on, what's the alternative! Today, at least this very moment, I focus on my own quotes and go out there, to the best of my ability, and live these words of encouragement.
There is so much negativity out there. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and dis-empowered. This is one reason why I have felt compelled to work on this series entitled, "EMPOWER." This is my offering and within these words, I can choose to use them as a road map of sorts, a fuel source to EMPOWER me down the road today. It's hard work to follow this path, this road less traveled, but it is the 'easier softer' way, for me.
I am NOT a religious man. I am a spiritual man and I do believe in God. I have intentionally chosen to avoid politics and religion (God knows, there is plenty of that out there). Every morning, I ask that God use me to bring some good into the world and to show me what to say. I see my role as collecting and publishing His message of hope and encouragement. These are not my quotes, but a collection of wise words from some of the greatest minds in human history. I simply follow these God-nudges and act on them. Many days, this is no easy task.
That said, I will share with you, my favorite prayer. I've underlined my favorite part...
"God, I offer myself to thee, to build with me and do with me as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do thy will. Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness to Thy Power, Thy Love and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always."
Thanks again, Patty, for your encouragement as well as the great suggestions for future topics. I will use them - they are very good.
God Bless Us All,
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I get many personal stories from people describing incredible suffering from mental illness - individual accounts of good people that are sick, trudging a path through hell, trying to survive. This particular story, to me, personafies this 'fight for life' that millions of people silently deal with, hiding from the misunderstanding and shame that is still quite prevalent in society today.
My friend agreed to let me share her story as long I change names. I offer to you, my new friend's story and my response to her letter.
Thank you Louie, for adding me to Good Dog Feedings. I discovered you by accident, or perhaps I was led there, on Everydayhealth.com. I wanted to start journaling what I was eating to see if I saw a connection with my emotions. And I immediately discovered the discussion groups for Bipolar.
I was only diagnosed two years ago after telling everyone what was wrong with me for 8 years. It started with horrible panic attacks in the middle of the night at the height of my career at a French Bank (I lived in Paris for about 5 years). It became so bad that I quit my job, sold my house, and moved to the beach because I thought reducing stress would help. Well it didn't, but I still didn't know what it was.
Then I met the love of my life, xxxxx, who took lithium everyday and led a normal life. He saw the signs in me right away, and he shared with me how he was in a mental hospital for a year and had shock treatments. It scared me to think I had the same thing. DENIAL
Then, four years ago, xxxxx died very suddenly of a massive heart attack, and boy did things ever start crashing for me!!! Two weeks after his funeral, I was at home alone, and I got drunk, fell down the stairs and broke 2 vertebra in my back. 6 months in a body cast, couldn't work, couldn't drive, no more money after all of xxxxx's and then my hospital expenses. Well, I tried to commit suicide, and ended up in the hospital for 3 days. They still were just telling me I was depressed which seemed justified after losing xxxxx. Two years later, I thought suicide was the only solution AGAIN. But just ended back up in the hospital. But finally, they took me seriously and tried lithium on me.
Wow, things really got better, and all my friends were amazed.
Now, guess what I've done... yep, classic, I know... I stopped taking my meds. And in the last four months, I've successfully alienated the few friends I had left and lost 2 jobs.
HOWEVER, I'm now aware I need those meds, and I went to the clinic yesterday to get back on. It'll be Sept. 3 before I get to see the doctor, and the days are agozing right now. The panic attacks have returned which I really have a hard time with. I live alone, no family, only 2 friends who don't live in town. Not a good scenario for me.
So, to finish this LONG story, I'm grateful to be receiving your Good Dog communication because I need it right now.
Thanks for listening,
My response ...
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I totally understand you. It takes someone who has walked through hell to understand hell ... I've been there, only the details are different.
I admire your will to live ... your strength and courage. You are probably not feeling that way about yourself right now. That is why it's often helpful to get a fresh perspective of yourself. You see, without a will to live, to want to feel alive again, you would not have gone to that site, or read the BiPolar postings or eventually been led to a new friend that you will probably never meet but understands you completely. Nahhh, probably just a coincidence. Just kidding, lighten up.
I'm not sure if you've read my details (see Bio link below) and I write a lot about my BP disorder in blogs (see link below). This writing, as well as the Daily Good Dog Feeding helps put me in touch with many people from all over the world, like yourself. This is part of the healing for me. I have learned that cannot be stuck in me and be trying to help another, at the same time. Can't do it!
I write a lot, because it purges the poison in my head and heart. I do 'The Dog' because it replaces that void with positive thoughts which always lead to positive emotions, that without intentional efforts, would leave me in the emotional gutter.
My disease wants me dead. I take this assault very personal as my disease attacks me on all fronts ... mind, body and spirit. Over the past three years, since my last suicidal moment, I've adopted many new techniques - found a good psych doc, supplements (including high doses of Omega 3 Oils and Vitamin C), talk therapy, and working out a little.
Three years ago, I could barely function - I mean BARELY climb out of bed, brush my teeth, etc. I was obsessed with thoughts about dying. I didn't really want to die - I was just so scared and hurting and desperately wanted the pain to end ... it was if I was on fire, running around trying to find something to put out the flames. That 'something' included all the usual emotional fire retardants (food, sex, sugar, alcohol, drugs, relationships/hostages, shopping, working, geographic moves, etc.).
God I wish I could tell you that I found relief overnight - it didn't, but IT DID, eventually. It started getting better that dark night, the minute I hit my knees and pleaded with the God of My Misunderstanding. One thing after another started happening - Good Dog being one of the first miracles with many others to follow. Slowly but surely, I started to feel better. I don't want to give you the wrong idea - I do not walk around in this white light bliss, not even close! I do, however, for the most part, feel pretty damned good about myself. The incredible depression and debilitating anxiety and depression have lifted. It takes work, every day, but please believe me when I tell you - there is hope.
You can feel good again. There are many people out there, like the site you found me on at Everyday Health.com/BiPolar Support Forum ... http://www.everydayhealth.com/cs/forums/44/ShowForum.aspx ... that have some really great people that are pretty consistent in showing up; loving, understanding people that know what you are feeling and are willing to be there for you and you can be there for them.
You need not be alone anymore, starting right now. You now have a new friend in me. I will reach out to you, every day, 7 days a week, with a new Daily Good Dog Feeding. Watch for me in your in-basket as I'll be there for for you, in word and spirit. Don't EVER give up on yourself. You will find peace and happiness again and then I hope, you will Pay it Forward. Only in Giving it Away, can you keep it. You can start that right NOW ... you can go to that site and lay out your heart and just watch what happens - get involved in your recovery - when someone else reaches out, be there for them and soon, you will be writing to me again, telling me how you are a new person. I KNOW this will happen for you, if you are willing to take that first step.
I would also recommend that you check out 'Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle - this book literally saved my life, a few times.
Bye for now. Your fellow Good Dog Seeker,
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I never thought I had codependency issues, until my own son was having trouble and I was obsessed trying to help solve HIS problems. Obsessed, in that I could not stop thinking, worrying or talking about him. It was NOT acceptable to allow these problems to be happening in HIS life, yet the harsh reality was that it was HIS life and HIS problems.
I also learned that the more I tried to help, the more I allowed him to stay sick, actually enabling him to be sick a little longer. This is the hardest part ... not beating yourself up for realizing that you were actually part of the problem and held him back from HIS own recovery. I fight the guilt all the time, even with the total understanding that I was simply doing the best I could at the time. I know better now. Does it make it any easier - NO.
As I write to you, my stomach is just sick with worry about him, my 21 year old son, who is facing some real issues - having just dropped his last class in college, lost his girlfriend, scared to death of the world and has started drinking to self medicate his pain away. I have SO been there. From the support of many other people that have 'been there' I now understand what I need to do, or better said - not do.
I can be there for him. I can love him. I can assist him, IF he wants to work with the solution and try more approaches for HIS recovery. I can set healthy boundaries for myself. As I withdraw, with love, he sees that if there is going to be relief from his situation, HE is going to have to take the necessay steps - HE has to initiate the action. If he said, "Dad, I need help," and was willing to do the work, I'd get in the car and be there the next day to take him to an AA meeting. I can help him to help himself, but I can't, I won't be the object of his dysfuctional decisions and sick reactions to his disease.
My girlfriend, thank God, is a fellow Bi-Polar II club member. When I first met her, for 6 months, she politely listened to my woes as I suffered (genuinelly suffered) from depression and mania. She was sympathetic and supportive. She was a great listener. She shared openly about her disease and more importantly, her own recovery. She was the only light in a very dark tunnel for me. One day, that light went out.
After 6 months of listening to me describe my never-ending pain, she had had enough, and told me so, not in an angry way, more like an assertive confidant way. She told me that she didn't want to hear another word about my disease, but would listen forever about my recovery. She told me that there were many things I could do FOR myself, if I wanted to. She suggested, as she had on numerous occasions, nutrition, diet, excerize, counseling and working with different meds and docs, if necessary.
I was only taking my meds. I was stuck. I didn't realize it at the moment, but she was UN-sticking me at that very moment.
At first, I felt anandoned, scared and very alone. The pain got worse as I isolated even more. Eventually, since there was no one else to talk to about my condition, I realized that if anything was going to get better, I would have to step up to the plate and do SOMETHING? I wasn't sure, actually I knew exactly what I needed to do - all of the things she had suggested, BUT ... I was scared and I felt like I couldn't do anything to help myself. Depression can rob you of confidence and energy, but I had to try. I was dying.
It was definetely baby steps to start with, a handful of vitamins, a couple walks, a few glasses of water, a call to my Pdoc to talk about my meds and alternatives. Later, fueled by my own actions and the self-confidence that was building within, I added some more exercize, better nutrition, Omega 3 Oils, looking for a therapist and have even joined the local gym. I have learned that even though this disease is a life-threatening, powerful evil force that attacks me on all fronts; mind, body and spirit - it can be fought and recovery/remission is possible ... but it is hard work!
These days, feeling pretty good most of the time (and that can change dramatically from day to day), me and my girlfriend are very happy ... yet, she still won't listen to my crap for very long. This is good for me. This allows me to take control of my problems, my life and build self esteem and self confidence as I do.
One more word about Alanon ... it is possible that he might be threatened by your attending. I know I was when my ex wife started attending. I was always wondering what they were talking about - was she complaining about me? Was she getting strength and support to leave me? I watched, as she got stronger with more meetings, she was pulling away from babysitting me. This was threatening to me. But I learned the same lesson back then ... to help support me, but it was up to me to help myself.
She was dying - slowly dying and had had enough. I sure don't blame her. Her pulling away, helped me to finally hit bottom and get help, 25 years ago, into an alcohol treatment facility and decades of AA. I would, for many years afterward, take other hostages (relationships) to fill the role of babysitter. It is fairly common for addictive personalities to buddy up with codependent types - it's a perfect match (self absorbed addictive mess with a giving, loving, supportive codependent mate).
I have been on both sides of the fence now. This is why I so strongly recommend Alanon, for the addict and the mate/friend/family member.
I would also suggest that you try a few different Alanon meetings till you find one that fits. Some are *** sessions, with angry complaining spouses, friends or family. Most are not, but if you wind up at one where it is all negative - it can drive you away. I'd suggest you do that - drive away until you find one of the many wonderful, supportive groups. Keep looking till you find the right one. You'll know when you find them.
Hope this was helpful.
God Bless Us All.
Louie (uswalker) http://rochonsculpture.artspan.com/mbr_bio.php
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Thought I'd respond to your email on this site as a post so that it may trigger other responses, as well. I have included (in italics) the highlights of your email, followed by my thoughts. Hope this helps...
… my fiance is bipolar and so is his teenage daughter. I love them both
dearly, but they fight constantly, and sometimes living with them is like living
in a black hole, if that makes sense ... It's not all bad, but when it's bad
it's really bad. I come from a history of abusive relationships and I think I
suffer from PTSD along with my depression and anxiety. I want to make it "all
better". I make sure everything is in its place when he comes home, and stay out
of their fights, but I just never know what to expect.
I don't know if this question is appropriate or not, but when you
are in one of your episodes (for lack of a better word), is there anything that
anyone can do to pull you up and ease the pain? I would do anything for this
man, but some days I can't do anything right. I don't want to give up on him,
and do my best to lift him up, but I fear my best isn't good enough.
He gets in a terrible rage, and just seems so angry it scares me.
Sometimes it's over nothing, and sometimes his daughter will trigger him. The
rage lasts a few hours, sometimes longer, followed by a depression that can last
days. During these episodes he will often tell me that he is better off alone,
and that our relationship will never work out. Other times he loves me, and I
can see that he does, but ...
He has tried many medications, and is taking risperdal now. He
recognizes he has a problem, but feels helpless to fight it ...
Your honest opinion would mean the world to me, because like any
affliction, only one who has been there knows.
Dear ____, please remember that I am not a trained professional and all that I can share is my own personal experience, strength and hope. That said, I will honesty share with you, to the best of my ability, what it was like for me and why(from what I have learned so far).
The rage! My daily routine, for many, many years was to wake up with absolute dread, followed by fear, fear of how I would make it through the day, to hide my depression, my insanity, my 'terminal uniqueness' from the world. This would fill me with a high level of anxiety which would stay with me all day, like I was running full speed on a treadmill that I couldn't get off. This walking lie, this false life took an incredible amount of energy to maintain.
By the time I got home, to a place where I felt safe ... (unfortunately, that was around the one's that loved me most) ... not able to maintain 'the lie' for one more second, I would relax my guard, my facade, and I'd BLOW at the very first opportunity and if there wasn't one offered to me, I'd make one happen. The excuses for my "Self Justified Emotional Explosions" could be anything from the laundry not being folded right, to dinner not being ready ... all insignificant things, yet offering an ignition source.
To try and explain the inner firestorm that went on in my brain ... imagine that you had a really bad, itchy rash all over your body and no matter what you did, it tormented you. You could get through your day, even though it was terribly uncomfortable, but it wore you out, utterly and completely wore you out. The first chance you got when you got home, away from society, you would scream!
Blowing is screaming, as unfair as it is, it is screaming in pain to try and feel better, and there is never any relief. This is the truly maddening part - the lack of hope, when faith and hope is gone, this creates hell locked within your mind, a pressure cooker with no way out, just endless mental torture. Yes, there is a lot of pressure to 'Blow Out' and if you are there, it is not pleasant and there is no way of figuring out when we will blow or how hard. There is nothing you can do to avoid it or lessen the probability or severity of the 'Blow Out.'
'Blowing' was an excuse for me to let out my frustration, raging at my fear of not knowing whether I was going to be able to maintain sanity and function in the world. This was, perhaps, one of my greatest fears ... the idea that one day I would just crumple up into a ball of emotional goo, staring at a wall and they will come and put me away. Terrifying, especially at times when you are so close to that edge that the possibility becomes real, in your head.
'Blowing' was a way to try and purge the self hate for being 'mentally ill', (a label that made me feel embarrassed and humiliated), for not being able to 'buck up' and get better. I looked at myself as a miserable loser, weak and undeserving to live, pathetic, defective and utterly useless.
In my active sickness, I believed that others around me, that loved me, would be better off without me, yet I needed them. There was the conflict. One on hand I needed their love and support, yet on the other, I had such a terrible opinion of myself, filled with such self hate and disgust, that it made me feel even worse to 'use them' as I felt I had nothing to offer, only taking. This guilt turned into shame, yet I needed and genuinely loved them. My relationships turned into hostages rather than loving exchanges ... I had, I believed, nothing to offer, only suck from them and this made me feel even worse about myself. I could not love, it was everything I could do - to survive ... it all had to be about me!
I remember reading the relationship section in Scott Peck's book, 'A Road Less Traveled' that if the subconscious mind despises your self, then, even though there may be real love present, the sub conscious mind must win, providing self talk like "You are such a loser, a useless pathetic loser and you will always be that way," and "If you really loved her, you would cut her loose" and eventually "There must be something wrong with her if she wants to be with me, maybe it's time to dump her ass." The last was the eventual trick to justify ending the relationship, to end the guilt.
OK, this is how I felt and still do from time to time. What can you do about it? Nothing. The only thing you can do is take care of you! I would recommend a couple things ...
1. Read 'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle. This will give you an incredible strength to remain in the present (focusing on the pain free NOW as opposed to the constant fear based future). Especially the chapter 'From Addictive to Enlightened Relationships.'
2. Start attending 'ALANON' support groups. The only requirement for membership is that you know of 'someone' that may have a drinking problem. Read between the lines ... it's all the same, it's always all about YOU ... how do you function in a dysfunctional relationship, how do you stay strong, healthy and happy IN-SPITE of a dysfunctional partner, how do you provide strength and real support for a dysfunctional partner, and how do you set reasonable boundaries for yourself, your sanity and well being - even happiness in the face of a dysfunctional relationship.
When you take care of yourself, everything gets better. That old adage "You can't fix anyone but yourself" is true ... and I would suggest that you are as sick as he is ... this is normally the case ... as you have developed sick ways of dealing with life by reacting to your dysfunctional partner. In essence, you are part of the problem ... it's time you get strong, regain your power and by example, it may give strength and hope to the suffering partner. You may lead him, by your example, out of the darkness.
These are my thoughts. Hope they help.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
This Good Dog's for you. I've written a few things to you after the messages.
Be kind to Jane today. There are a lot of us who love her.
Is It Time to Make Some Changes?
Part Four of Five
It is your turn now,
you waited, you were patient.
The time has come,
for us to polish you.
We will transform your inner pearl
into a house of fire.
You're a gold mine.
Did you know that,
hidden in the dirt of the earth?
It is your turn now,
to be placed in fire.
Let us cremate your impurities.
“What would it be like if you lived each day, each breath, as a work of art in
progress? Imagine that you are a Masterpiece unfolding, every second of every
day, a work of art taking form with every breath.”
“What we are here to do is to meet and become the person we
Andrew Harvey from Dialogues With a Modern Mystic
“And let me remind you, it is a pure journey.
Life is a pilgrimage to
nowhere -- from nowhere to nowhere.
And between these two nowheres
Nowhere consists of two words: now, here.
two nowheres is the now-here.”
I could so relate to what you shared with me yesterday. I have spent my whole lifetime feeling hopeless and terminally unique with little to no self esteem, tormented with insecurities and self medicating with anything that would help me to forget, me. I don't feel that way these days. This didn't happen overnight, but knowing what I now know, I could have, saving me decades of suffering. Good Dog is a powerful example of what I am talking about.
All the tools, prayer, meditation, fellowship, books, etc., couldn't help put poor broken humpty dumpty back together again. I believe prayer opened the door for a miracle, but I would learn it is up to me to make the changes I wanted so desperately. I wanted, and needed change yet felt hopeless and was too afraid of the process. I would justify my inaction with inner thoughts like, "I'm not worth the effort,' "I'm useless, worth-less." and "Why bother trying? Nothing ever really changes and life is just pure shit." This was my world, for most of my life. I am only now discovering some answers thru the process of writing my book "A Long Walk Home" about the cross country walk (actually it is about lifelong depression, specifically manic depression).
I believe we can all change into whatever it is that we want to change into. That said, I also believe that we are perfect, and I mean perfect, RIGHT NOW. Everything that we could possible ever desire in life, is right here, right now. Look around you. Take a good hard look. No wonder we all search frantically, our whole lives, yet can't find happiness - it's hiding right in front of us, all around us. Eckhart Tolle helped lay the foundation of my new belief system (The Power of Now), teaching me that bliss is here and now, in this present moment (notice the last Good Dog message). This became a way of life, showing me the real serenity and peace of mind that exists for all of us, right here and now.
It is all about acceptance of the present moment, without expectation. Life is good, calm, peaceful right here and now, pain-free, even for you, right here, right now. What is so painful, this very second, as you read my letter to you? Nothing! You, if you choose to be present, can feel the love and compassion of one person for another, and there are so many more 'invisible' people that surround us every moment of every day. What's painful about that? Nothing. I used the word 'invisible' as your friends and loved ones, and future friends and loved ones, might as well be invisible as we walk around stuck in our pain and suffering, totally oblivious to all that is good and wonderful, focused intently and exclusively on our problems and petty plans for altering our present situation into something that will make us happy - which of course, can never happen.
The minute you think of your perception of your life situation, it is easy to immediately plummet back into the depth of emotional hell, either regretting the past or being forever stuck visualizing a better future, a better now in the future, a plan for self salvation somewhere ahead of us - a fantasy.
The only time and place we can be happy, is right here, right now. So, I can say to you, my friend, be happy, feel some peace of mind, if only for the 3 minutes it takes you to read this letter of loving support. Then, if you choose, take this Good Dog approach out into the world with you, become "AWAKE" (notice the headline to this series of Dogs) and avail yourself to the present moment which is overflowing with beauty, just for you. You can change you life situation, but the only way you can is in the present moment. Accept. Then make your grand plans BUT please don't fprget to enjoy the ride. It's the only one you get and it IS rich and beautiful. Take out your gratitude list (WHAT, no updated gratitude list)?
Come alive, in the present. Make plans for change, in the present, if you wish. Make changes, in the present, if you wish. Find peace of mind, love, serenity and the joy of living, in the present, if you wish.
God Bless Us All.
ABOUT 'Daily Good Dog Feedings'
A friend shared a story with me about a meeting he once had with a Native American elder. This story had a great impact on me. The elder told my friend that his people believe that we all have, within us, a 'Good Dog' and a 'Bad Dog,' that are always fighting to be in control. My friend asked, "Which One Wins?"
The elder simply replied, "The One That You Feed."
I started researching and sending out a daily inspirational message to my son as well as to reinforce the 'Good Dog' in me. Thinking my friends might find it of value, I added some people. Soon, it took on a life of it's own. This simple story, from my friend, has grown into something that has greatly improved the quality of my life and from what I hear, from people from all over the planet. What a blessing.
Want to be added to the list? Email me ...
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