Groups

Why is it that these groups help? There’s no treatment being rendered, no prescriptions or policies to follow. How can sharing be so effective? I think it has a lot to do with repressed versus expressed feelings and the cathartic act involved in unleashing things that few others get to see.

I don’t feel particularly rejuvenated, but I do feel like I was heard, which is a profound thing. I expressed my hurt over my dad, my poor coping skills stemming from that. I got a lot of genuine reaction from people who understand the why and the what of dealing with mental health symptoms. It is a blessing to have this support and be able to be exposed by it. I just wish I could have a similar feeling from a caring partner.

I saw people fighting the symptoms and thoughts of mental illness in their lives and surviving. People facing their demons and vocalizing. I’m still kinda running from mine, but I won’t forever, yet there was so much in the group dynamic I benefitted from. I will be resolute in healthily coping, but reaching that state is the struggle I face. For now though, my ecliptic is only a place I hang laundry from and the so-called cushions of my chair are pancaked into squishless plates of unfortunate size that tweak my posture and provide no relief. There are surely better habits out there waiting to be implemented.

All the lonely was scraped off like so much obscuring ice on the car windshield of my destiny. I still have only a small sniff of things that may come, but for the time being, there is an ache which continues unabated, unrequited and unmistakable. Is there someone out there? There are people that I help and those that help me. I tend to think a balance of both is the surest path towards positivity.

Pillar Talk

There is no better place to test one’s coping toolkit than in a crisis. Conveniently, I happen to be in one of the familial variety, which as indicated by previous posts, is an ongoing, developing and mutating issue. I’m near to this unfurling destructive situation, with no hope of achieving the proximity of safety due to the bonds of conscience. The variables causing the conflict are also unstoppable in their perspective; aligning them to a path that only leads to a continuation of trauma while the gap between the energies seems destined for concussive retaliation.

I’ve been surviving in this environment by figuring out what expectations I need to have rather than wish I had, and living wisely within my means. I know I’m only going to be able to relate to them on a limited set of issues, and the window they see me through is made smaller by my accommodation rather than personal obstinance. I’ve learned where I need to have my own strength, because depending on an external source is much less stable. My parents don’t know any other way: mom can’t be strong on her own as she’s dependent on him for her consistency, stability, assurance of survival… she has no mutual or self-imposed logic, discipline or interest in a healthy conversation aimed at a resolution.

It’s sad to have to “defend” oneself against loved ones, but I have a history of instigating and now enduring situations of high emotional volatility. I have a talent for knowing when I am in a sound moral position (promoting radiant strength) having not been so on many regrettable occasions. It is sad to see the deterioration of more than just their physical selves; the very fabric of what used to make them strong has been torn and continues to unravel as they insist on stretching without strengthening it. The result is that I end up being alone and introspective for my own benefit, knowing the details of my process might as well be Japanese to them.

Acceptance of things that will not change has been hugely instrumental in helping me focus my energy on things that I can have some sway over. My priorities are healthier, my expectations (if any) are realistic and I am keenly aware of my own interpersonal mechanics as I improve in handling stress and conflict within myself.

I still see myself, as a 15 – 17 year old man, effusing, erupting, devastating my environment with my uncontrolled emotional irregularities. I used to get so full of rage, and I would cast it out to everyone in my proximity, unfiltered, unregulated, uncontrolled. The long-term repercussions of that become clear, along with the burden of inflicted catastrophe on the clean white sheet of morality. I got tired of that way, the turmoil, the imbalance.

The reach of my gravity is minuscule in this place, like Io at aphelion, hoping it’s going to move Jupiter closer to it with a good yank. However, it’s always just going to be a tiny little blip in the orbit of something much too large to be influenced. Sometimes, it’s best to just let gravity take you around and worry about having a clear path to do so.

I don’t have the best coping tools either, mind you. I’m drinking a little more, smoking a little more, just slightly disconnecting myself from this place. It’s agony when the air is full of hate like this, and I’m trapped in here most of the time, too fearful of the environment to be free. It’s not the healthiest way, I know. I’m not perfect by any means, but I am going to survive.

Birdy Letter Revisited

A letter I have written before, but write again as the clarity improves to the benefit of my understanding. For my heart, for my mind, these words are sent:

~~

Dear Birdy,

There seem to be no words that can be said to bridge the span that lies between us, but I am nevertheless compelled by my conscience to send these words out into the expanse as a mark of my intent, truth and the desire of my heart to be at peace:

In my life, I have transitioned from state to state, trying to achieve stability with my mental illness since I was diagnosed. In my right, back when we first met, I lured you unknowingly into that turbulent dynamic and you were destroyed by it in many ways because of my inability to prepare you for it. I did not adequately equip you for how to respond to my mental illness effectively, nor did I remotely or appropriately respond to yours when you called out for help.

I remember in the truck one evening with you coming home from my parent’s RV. I was stoned and you were a bit tipsy. You remembered a trauma about your old best friend and I was chastising you for thinking about something from the past, like it wasn’t important because it had already happened. I think back on how you were hurting that night, with tears in your eyes, and it breaks my heart. You were calling out to be comforted, and I just argued with you, scolded you. I was not able to see the way to hear your pain, and acknowledge your trauma, or even to comfort you when you are feeling vulnerable. I failed then. I know it, and I accept that I must grow to do better. I am sorry for this time, and the many others like it.

I did not have the tools to communicate effectively with you or express my feelings to you appropriately. I was not able to help you, when you needed a partner, a friend, someone to trust. This disparity and neglect is my greatest regret, for the beautiful person you are was hidden by my inability to see you, address your feelings, and be the partner you needed me to be. I was not a healthy person and did not deal with my issues in a functional, sustainable way in the time that we knew each other. I lied to you, hid things from you, and never told you how I felt inside. The lesson of my inability to sustain our relationship has taught me the skills I needed to survive further calamity and caused me to regret the missed opportunity to have done better with the woman I loved more than any other.

I am responsible for harming you, abusing you mentally, psychologically… because of my unchecked disorder and poor coping skills. My sanity was not consistent, and I was reeling in the end, compensating poorly, neglecting frequently. I have a great deal of ongoing shame over this which keeps me thinking about how I can be a better communicator in my future interactions. I was not the person I needed to be to have properly participated in a relationship, and for all the damage that caused to you, I am sorry. With a pain that I feel every day, I am sorry for what happened between us. I have never been over it.

There is no word, or words that can take away the trauma, the pain. I must bear that responsibility forever. I have done what I can to learn and listen or try to. I am accepting of my part, but only hoping to release the emotional burden by the recognition of spoken, actualized thoughts. For all the times these powerful words and memories have been whispered between my ears, I give them back to the endless void, echoing on into the silence: thank you.

35th Anniversary Portrait Album

Clearly this sort of activity truly excludes me from my peer group as most people my age hate all the crap I listen to. This is a good filter though, as this portrait is a fairly good rendering of myself in music. Though, the aspects I chose to depict, and how I chose to express them, is a matter of some debate. Nonetheless, the album is here and it is full of contrasts and apt comparisons. I highly recommend giving it a listen if you are old and h really have nothing better you could be dong. I find this type of thing puts me back in touch with my traits and memories of varying emotional gravity. I highly recommend toiling in this way. The act of pairing oneself to aspects of music seems inherently like it’s at least exploration and quite possibly transformative.

 

  1. Impression AWhat A Fool Believes – Michael McDonald
  2. Impression BPork Parts – Ensemble Studios
  3. CharismaticThe Power Of Love – Huey Lewis and the News
  4. Mentally Ill(Sic) – Slipknot
  5. NaïvetéYou’re The Inspiration – Chicago
  6. CarnalWild Sex (In The Working Class) – Oingo Boingo
  7. IntrospectiveMan In The Mirror – Michael Jackson
  8. “Old Soul”Tomorrow – Joe Walsh
  9. ImmolativeRegular People (Conceit) – Pantera
  10. DetachedHey Nineteen – Steely Dan 
  11. CuriousOn The Road To Find Out – Cat Stevens
  12. AdaptiveI’m Still Standing – Elton John
  13. Original Still Alive – GLaDOS & johnathan Coulton
  14. RegretfulThe Other Guy – Little River Band
  15. HopefulThe Voice – The Moody Blues
  16. ResilientWaves – Blondfire
  17. Obscure Flavor Cats (In The Comfort Zone) – Ensamble Studios
  18. Unsatisfied – No One Like You – Scorpions

Dear Me, March 2nd, 2014

Hey Buddy,

I know about the thoughts and reservations that you have been having lately… which now seem to be coming to a peak moment. You have, to this point, failed to truly respond to any of those nagging doubts and have led your current relationship down a road it will not survive. This is the primary reason why I am here in this non-existent moment of comparative fiction.

In your neglect of your own mental health, you have greatly contributed to the soon-to-be demise of your relationship as well as hurt any chance you have at a normal life going forward for some time. You are headed to an explosion of epic proportions, tomorrow as a matter of fact, and you will try to take your own life. She will leave you, the same night you are hospitalized in fact; she will sleep with another man and never come back. I’m here not to change things, clearly, but to offer you a glimpse at the world that will come to be as you progress further from the smoldering ruin your life is about to become. That lesson will show you the importance of having a complete self and help you push forward in the world with your feet in the real world’s mud.

First, I want to say that I am aching in my recollection of the hurt you are going to feel, and most of it will be incredibly painful since it was self-inflicted. Right now, you have been compensating for your downfall with substances, food, cigarettes, just about anything you can get your hands on to take you away from the reality you are in. You haven’t dealt with anything; it has all been bottled and fermented into resentment. You never tried to talk to her the way you would now, and maybe even if you had, she wouldn’t understand. You refused to address the issues up-front or with any level of self-admission, and therefore, you are going to suffer a calamity as your most precious relationship breaks apart forever. The hurt that this event brings will not be resolved for more than 4 years, continuing to this very day as a matter of fact. You loved her in this intense, abstract, not functional way, and you neglected your responsibilities in your relationship which contributed to its destruction. It will take you many years to fully understand and adapt beyond this moment. She had a part to play in this mind you, but there is nothing to gain from summarizing things that are outside of the self, as they can’t be changed.

I am so sorry. You are going to feel broken for a long time after tomorrow night. You will miss her in ways you never knew were there before, and feel her absence deep inside the core of the most vulnerable self. You will understand how she was neglected. She was the person you loved the most so far in your life, and her loss with your assistance is something you will not be able to move past. In a subconscious/telepathic, you are still linked to her, as though some invisible tether connects you despite the distance, and hatred lodged between, and that twitching bait has incited more trauma, more pain…

This upcoming disaster happened because you needed to learn about the value of self-love. I had to acquire this knowledge painfully, humbly, but earnestly. I can’t undo things that happened, and I will never erase the place inside me that still belongs to her… but I can learn. I can adapt and grow.

If it is anything for you now, know that because of this event, you will learn that your mental illness is the thing you need to be most concerned about in your life. You will find a way to help yourself defend against the same issues you have had in the past, and fallen victim to. The truth of this journey is the ability to appreciate who you are without restraint. Pride and acts that demonstrate a morally honest compassion for things that are “right” in terms of common sense are going to be the evidence you use to build up proof through action.

Your love has been sought from without in the past; filling you up with a feeling of worth that is artificial, untrue and not properly earned. It is similar to presenting the one you desire most with an empty vessel and expecting her to be excited to fill it. Without the lesson of the soon-to-be failure, you might never have known how to find who you were and live that life proudly into the future. Speaking for myself, there has been no greater remedy to the onset of depression than the long road of positive steps that have led me to this moment. I know you, past me, are not there yet, but you will be headed out of the deep hole in not too long. My echoing thought for you is to tolerate this great sadness with an idea that it will not last indefinitely, but must be respected properly. Let it sink deep into you and know it. You will feel the lowest moment of your life and this is part of the understanding that you will gain.

The realization of pain will help you avoid situations like that in the future, while also garnering you the most success and self-worth you will know, at least, thus far. Hurt, regret, sadness and anguish are a part of how we learn. I remember the agony, and I know some things not to do to avoid feeling it again. I do not wish to fall into the same ancestral rut that contains the bones of all the other me versions before? I refuse.

I am there to help you, but only to provide you with a look farther down the road. There is always the next day as long as you are alive, and I know you will continue to do something with the existence you have created. That shape will change depending on who you chose to become, but if pride is the needle that guides your direction, I think things are going to be just fine. You have already done more than you ever have, and this is only the beginning of where your life will go along your new road.

Hold on friend, you will soon be feeling the sun on your face.

Sincerely,

You

+

Dear Head,

Your relationship to my brain has always been central to our cooperation, so, I believe you will trust my words (said in earnest, from the heart). I know that the information you are being inundated with right now is some pretty rancid, unrelenting vitriol, however, that is only part of the reality you and I reside in. I am not discounting the relevance of allowing emotional expression, but I do expect a bipartisan effort in forward operations regardless. Everyone can have their say, as long as we can all still function normally (ideally).

Despite the revelatory insurrection, there are several things which can be said, truthfully, definitively:

Eric, you have a magnetic personality, a deadly poignant sense of humor, and a charisma that inspires others.

Despite all the numerous mistakes you have made in your past, you are still out there trying for better (nearly) every single day.

Lastly, you are proven strong through fact, capable and dependable in your aspirations, and your duties are done with love and honor.

Despite a history littered with debilitating landmines, there are still compromises, missteps and occasional mutilations. The future can’t be set in one direction, because it is an amalgamation of myriad recesses, peaks, troughs and all the undulations of a matured life.

Sometimes just a few freely flung words have a significant impact…

The self is a puzzle with pieces that change shape, move on their own or hide somewhere far away, never to become a part of the completed picture.

None

The thing is, I just don’t have anything I want to say anymore. My preferences aren’t relevant. My opinions are inane, fleeting and easily ignored. Sometimes I have good thoughts, ideas that seem poignant. Then, those precious seconds pass into the spinning whirl of activity. Then absorbed into the nauseating flow of other monkey mind activities.

I’m really learning that external control is impossible. So is respect; which has become little more that an intent hiding beneath a big pile of actual disregard. People are in their own private worlds; no one wants to be reached.

I gave up on that. I’m plodding forward in a passive state, more intent on absorbing than mitigating. I can take a great deal of toxicity before an overload, which I’m sure is to be expected on this untenable course. I know that the world outside of my head is entirely beyond influence while my own responses to it remain as the factor in my reach.

I just don’t have enough energy to fight back. I don’t care. You can have the trophy for whatever it is you’ve won, I’m going to go lay down. There’s not enough left to care about this anymore with so many other things to address.

The lights are going out in the auditorium. Slowly.