Fanatic Raw

women-eyes

In the daylight hours I am superwoman. Solving problems. Suggesting changes. Looking to boost morale. Taking phone calls. Making phone calls. Meeting with staff. Meeting with my boss. Meeting potential new clients and their families. Completing quality checks. Reviewing and approving incident reports. Answering every single text and email as it arrives on my phone or laptop. Welcome to full time work.

I am no stranger to full time work since I graduated from college some many years ago. However, I am newly re-entering this world.
It’s amazing how I can create such a powerful work persona. But, in reality feel quite weak and helpless much of the time. Vulnerability is not my strong suite. Sometimes radical honesty is not my strong suite. But, work ethic! Integrity. Sincerity. Perfectionism..seems to be in my bones. I work very hard in any job I have. I over extend. I easily get tunnel vision. I too easily lose sight of work life balance.
What is not seen is the inability to get out of bed in the morning. The anxiety that holds me hostage in that bed. The struggle that takes place when my husband heads off to work and I have to hold myself accountable. I have to find the strength to put my feet on the floor. The thought tornado that takes place as I lay my head on the pillow each night. The smile I force on my face as I stare into the mirror and wonder how I can face the day.
20140708-182105-66065695.jpgI took a new job recently. It’s a management position, which I have never had before. With less than 60 days into the position I was asked to supervise another staff. This was not part of the interview process. It’s my boss having complete trust in me. My boss believing in me. I haven’t even passed probation yet. It’s a lovely feeling to have someone believe in you so much in such a short amount of time. We are in the process of hiring said person I will supervise. As we are interviewing and getting closer, I am feeling the stress of never having been a supervisor. The stress of being overwhelmed in my own position right now. The thought of having to train, supervise and be responsible for this staff person is hitting me.
I say all this because I’m not dealing with the stress well. I’m pretending I am not stressed or scared or worried. I have that superwoman cape on. The work persona is my shield. I engaged in some self harm behavior in the last few days to offset the stress. Does that even make sense? I am trying to stay sober. Drinking is a coping mechanism for me. So, I look to other self destructive ways to not feel. Ways I haven’t engaged in for quite a while.

I am not proud of myself. I did tell someone. But, I didn’t call anyone in the moment. I didn’t reach out for help. I just wanted to solve my “problem.”
Life is a work in progress right. Whether you have a mental illness or not. Whether you choose healthy or unhealthy outlets. The day will begin again. My feet will need to hit the floor again. I’m still here to give it my best shot. Some would be impressed by that.

123 RV, SA, AF,BT,TL, JM, WC

 

“Well if I had one wish for you in this god forsaken world,”

 

dad and grandpa
“kid, It’d be that your mistakes will be your own…That your sins will be your own”(1)

That picture above is my Dad with his Dad.  I imagine this was taken up off Dry Creek Road out of Oakville, in the 1950s,  since that was where my family had lived(I think one last member of the family is up there)for generations.

jess-and-oatieI write today because it has been five years, today, since my Dad died.  I was visiting with my dear friend Colleen yesterday, whose late husband, my dear friend Jerry, decided about a month and three years ago that he could no longer hang out here in this life.  Jerry was over 33 years sober when his suffering was too much.  A number of us, who were close to Jerry, were with him the night before.  Jerry’s suffering was manifested in what the culture calls “mental illness.” I dont call it that.

I call it suffering from those “very deep seated, sometimes quite forgotten, damaging emotional conflicts,”(2) that persist below the level of consciousness. These conflicts can give our emotions violent twists which discolor our personalities and alter our lives for the worse. Though the harm we do others may not be great, the emotional harm we can do ourselves can alter our lives in ways that can be overwhelming.

tumblr_luxczfdocB1qzxyqfo1_400I write about Jerry and my Dad just to point out that society sees that there is something “wrong” with Jerry whereas they see no problem with the fact that my Dad died with emphysema, COPD, cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, had half his upper lip removed from smoking, had 3 bypasses and spent half of his last 3 months in a hospital.

All they offered Jerry was a lobotomy or institutionalization.  They threw everything at keeping my Dad alive

Since I am railing, Anti-Depressants are a fucking joke.  Jerry and the Fanatic and my friend Steve have tried a plethora of them and my observation is they have suffered and  CONTINUE to suffer more in the long run being on them than they have helped them.(I tried five of them and none of them worked so I stopped taking them and had to learn other ways to deal with my “depression”)

Dr. Gabor Mate has done tremendous work with heroin addicts in Vancouver BC.  He posits the theory, which I agree with,(after hearing many men tell their stories)that it is trauma which is the cause of our suffering being manifested in the ways they do/did for people like Jerry and my Dad.

America, stop traumatizing your children. We are traumatized so much that we continue to watch trauma being expressed and abuse being acted out in our culture and we call it “entertainment,” or news.  Its not.  It is a culture which profits off trauma and those who do dont give a fuck about those who they traumatize.

Peace and Love

(1) “Long Time Coming.” Bruce Springsteen

(2) A.A. 12 by 12, pg 79-80

123 SA, RW, Fanatic, Colleen, Ed, Kevin and Bretton.

People ask me why I almost always put the wolf and “pointy boy” at the end of a post.  They are the guardians of this blog.  They keep us safe and also remind us of how temporary this whole thing is.

 

“Luck is surviving what you dont want.”*

stunning-smeared-sky-time-lapse-photography-matt-molloyThis is the best way I can look at the experiences of the last few years.  I did not want to be “diagnosed,” (which is really a metaphor for “educated guess,”) with depression. But I was and here I am and it is real today.

I was at one of my favorite events the other day, the Thanksgiving alcothon, and was in a meeting with one of my favorite people.  He is one of my favorites because he openly discusses this whole concept of a Ggod and doesnt mind leaving the idea out there as a point of discussion rather than a struggle or a question that needs an answer

“Spirit, like God, denotes an object of psychic experience which cannot be proved to exist in the external world and cannot be understood rationally.” What I dont understand is why we think we “know,” what this Ggod thing is!

10347232_10201917599660507_5224584867827727870_n“God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It’s as simple as that.”(1)  When I truly realize that I dont have a clue about anything as far as the why we are here question, since I cannot understand it, then life has that child like quality of being a fun, interesting mystery.  I know I do better when the quality of mystery is present.  Not fear of, but interest in, whatever it is that is in front of me.  “This is its meaning if we use the word “spirit” in its best sense.”

“Once we have freed ourselves from the prejudice that we have to refer to concepts of external experience or to a priori categories of reason, we can turn our attention and curiosity wholly to that strange and unknown thing we call spirit.”  I pray for our sake that we, the collective we, get to the point that we realize that we have lost that spirit of life and have made the external expression of our fear, called “knowing,” what any Ggod is is not based on anything but our unconscious being projected onto others.
123 RV, SA, PA, PH, RW

 

*I heard this the other day on “Red Band Society.”  All other quotes from Carl Jung except (1) Joseph Campbell.

“I’m riding hard carrying a cache of roses…”

mysterious-glowing-light-in-a-fnland-forest-mikko-lagerstedt“…A fresh map that I made
Now I’m going to get birth naked and bury my old soul
And dance on it’s grave”(1)

The wildfires that we in Northern California have gone through this summer were amazing.  A couple of weeks after I last posted here, the Mendocino Complex fire entered into my life.  If you dont know about it, it burned over 450,000 acres in the surrounding area where I live.  The fire got to about 6 miles from my house.  The problem with a fire in Northern California is that we stopped practicing proper forest management decades ago. That leaves our forests around where I live in an area overgrown with a bunch of small trees, 4-8 inches in diameter that die off because they are overgrown  and ending up being a bunch of matches if a fire goes through.

20150929_100641 (2)Well the smoke here was like fog for about 6 weeks. We stayed inside and breathed through masks but I am not convinced that mitigated the damage the smoke did.

The Camp Fire, which burned the entire down of Paradise and affected life around here for another two weeks about a month ago, destroyed a community  of 26, 000 and traumatized all the areas surrounding the town. I have friends who lost their homes up there.

20150912_175142What does this all mean?  I dont know I just needed to write today and say hello to those people who are in my life who keep saying hello to me even if I go into my coping mechanism place of isolation.

Was thinking about my friend Jerry today.  It was about 3 years ago when he decided to leave this place.   Was talking with a friend of ours about him the other day.  It always come back to the same thing.

“In many instances we shall find that though the harm done others has not been great, the emotional harm we have done ourselves has. Very deep, sometimes quite forgotten, damaging emotional conflicts persist below the level of consciousness. At the time of these occurrences, they may actually have given  our emotions violent twists which have since discolored our personalities and altered our lives for the worse.”(2)
Hope all who read this are doing well and I apologize for not being consistent in my writing.  Thanks Ptero9 for being there.

123 Rhonda, Steve, Renee, Pat, Pam, Colleen, Jeff, Ed, Michelle and the rest of my friends.

(1) “Long Time Coming,”  Bruce Springsteen
(2) Page 79-80 A. A. 12 by 12
That picture of the  burned out car and the burnt trees was taken after they let us back up our residences after the Valley Fire over 3 years ago
I took that blurry picture of the fire above as I was escaping the Valley Fire near Middletown, CA over 3 years ago. That wall of fire was over 100 feet tall and only looks so small because I was about 3/4 a mile to a mile from it.

 

 

 

Trauma and the Hummingbird

Hummingbird on feederI was watching a “red throated” hummingbird this morning. The same hummingbird who I had, for about a month, shooed away from a hummingbird feeder I have outside my window, because I thought it was keeping a “green backed” hummingbird from feeding.

The green backed hummingbird, pictured above,  lights on the metal ring that encircles the feeder so that a hummningbird can light when it comes to feed. What I noticed this morning was that the red throated hummingbird does not light when it feeds.

I write this becuase I am more like the red throated hummingbird. Whenever I am doing what I do, what I need to do, I cant stop going on the inside.

I was talking with the Fanatic yesterday, yes that Fanatic, and we were discussing what I believe is one of the major causes of my depression. I believe that my body has produced way more cortisol and adrenaline, and not processed it out of my system, than my body can handle. As I have aged, I suffer with inflammation more and more.

I think the imbalance caused by the adrenaline/cortisol overload causes my physiology to be imbalanced. That in and of itself seems like it would be a problem with an easy fix. But my mind, like the red throated hummingbird, continues to have to be hyper vigilant even when there is no need to be.

Another friend was telling me that her husband had recieved a bunch of films made when he was a child. She was telling me that after the husband had watched some of the videos his reaction was one of anger and not what might be the normal response of nostalgic rememberence.

To me the red throated hummingbird, my friends husband and I are responding to the same thing. A fear that has been instilled in us by the traumas we have in our bodies/minds that are unresolved. Gabor Mate said the base root of almost all addiction is trauma, I agree 100%. The hummingbird is reliving the trauma I created by threatening him by shooing him away. My friends husband is reliving the trauma of his childhood and I am also by the power of the depression in my life.

I offer no empirical evidence of the above, just a knowledge learned by observing and seeking to understand my own suffering.

I pray we reduce the trauma in this world. It is killing us.

FRAGILE

cropped-heart3
We are fragile. You and me.
Though we act strong,
our lives are
held together with
thoughts of where
we might be tomorrow.
And of disappointed
yesterdays.At any moment we might shatter.
We might fall to our knees
weighed down by the terror
of being so far from
our own control.

Dare we look up, we’d not know
where to go or what to do.

We are fragile. You and me.

If we were to turn to each other,
we might see the whole world
on their knees.
Hurting, and seemingly
alone.

But none of us are.

We are fragile together.

                                                                                                                                                                    (Authored by one of my favorite seekers  Nic Askew
You can see his work at his website “Soul Biographies.” http://nicaskew.com/)

“Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.”(1)

mysterious-glowing-light-in-a-fnland-forest-mikko-lagerstedtAs I normally do, I ask the Ggods to show me what I need to see when I sit down to write.  I found this quote perusing a collection of quotes from some of my favorite people. What it brought up for me is that I have never been able to truly touch that flame.  I learned early on in life, before I could even articulate my thoughts and feelings that I was not allowed to express anger.

hillmanWhat happened to me was that I have struggled with defending or protecting myself when confronted with another’s anger or any situation that I felt overwhelmed by.  I could go into the history but that is just a bunch of blah, blah, blah

“Soul enters only via symptoms, via outcast phenomena like the imagination of artists or alchemy or “primitives,” or of course, disguised as psychopathology.”

This is what happened for me when I had to stuff my feelings of anger as a boy.  I kept it all in and it caught up to me in the form of depression at the age of 50.   Yes, I know that I suffered all of my life from the effects of those deep seated emotional conflicts, but I was able to keep slightly ahead of those effects until 2007.

20150821_063716 (2)Hillman says my soul is present in my life today.  Damn, talking to my buddy Steve this morning, it sure feels like I am wandering away without any soul.  Like I am a hologram or a scarecrow.  I would love to be able to live from my soul, to truly love a woman like I sense I have the capacity to.

2009 Mt Shasta to Oak street 098But there is always this gnawing self doubt.  It is a quiet voice, so quiet I cannot hear it any more, but it is always there.  I see a mistake I made and not something I did well.  I expect well and have no empathy for my own self today.  Again talking to Steve I reiterated that I wanted to try and love myself a little more today.  Now at 9:45 at night,  I am glad to report that I did treat myself a little better today than I would have had I let my shame win.

I am aware that I write in metaphoric language and dont let articulate my demons and  thoughts as openly as some of the others who write here, but just writing around something is sometimes the best I can do.

I also like to write in less than 500 words as I have little patience to read long drawn out posts, so I try to remember that I may not be the only one who thinks like that.

123 RV, SA, PA, RW, MB, SK, JM, WC, PH!

(1) John O’Donohoe                                                                                                                                (2) James Hillman

Stormy Monday

“In the confrontation with the unconscious there are indeed a considerable number of arid patches to be worked through.’

11707660_974787155951568_4667623480132897462_nAs I work or walk through this process or stage of life I am feeling like this arid patch continues to be what is my present day life.  “In the confrontation with the unconscious there are indeed a considerable number of arid patches to be worked through.’ As I work or walk through this process or stage of life I am feeling like this arid patch continues to be what is my present day life.   Always I am lead back to Jung. Hillman leads me back there.  Campbell leads me there.  It is always trying to make sense of “why” I do what I do.  How my unconscious “reality” can and has dominated my outward life for as long as it has.   So as I sit here I am as confused as I have ever been about the power of the unconscious.

11144416_974787355951548_7417282000083361679_nWhat I hold onto is a statement I have sort of memorized.   “Very deep, sometimes quite forgotten, damaging emotional conflicts persist below the level of our consciousness. At the time of these occurrences, they may have given our emotions violent twists which have since discolored our personalities and altered our lives for the worse.”What else could explain my going from a small town boy to living in one of the nicest places on earth living as comfortable as a member of the 1% could live,  to sitting in a tiny house on an acre of land in the middle of nowhere.  But this is the reality.  Treatment Resistant Major Depressive Disorder and Complex Post Traumatic Stress are what I live in and live with.  It just depends on the time of life I am in.  I have sought answers and help for the situation I am living with and have found them.  However they are and have been short lived and most of the time I feel like I have learned nothing and am back at square one.

As they say, more will be revealed.  Hey Ggods, I am waiting!!

Quote from Carl Jung

123 RV, SA, PH, PA, JDK, DA, JW, JEW

100_1607

“I want to tear down the walls…That hold me inside”

jess-and-oatieSitting here tonight all I can do is play this music as loud as it can go.  I sit here in the dark with only the light of the computer screen to tell me that this is more than the darkness that feels so brutally empty and yet consuming at the same time.
The holidays are always tough for me.  My good friend today acknowledged that I am of service to others during the holidays.  Yes that is true for the most part, but it is out of the hole in my soul because of the condition that I have with my own family.  I haven’t been invited to a family Christmas in over 26 years and they all live within a half hour of where I live.  I don’t know why I am even writing this as it only causes tears to stream down my face as I write the words.
me brad and MariaI understand that these are consequences of being true to who I am and speaking my truth at that time.  But that does not make the emptiness of not being with nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and sisters and brothers any less painful.
‘I wanna reach out…And touch the flame” When was that time in my own life where the flame was present?  No not in the external world but in the inner world.  I cant remember a time right now as I sit here and write this.  I am not saying that there were not moments of life timageshat are so profound that time almost stood still.  But where is that life that is effort and thought less.  Life that is lived out of the intuition that was given to me to help me maneuver through life in a way that is loving and kind instead of out of fear and shame.
‘You gotta scream without raising your voice” It feels like I have a set of shackles that I carry around all the time.  Not a ball and chain necessarily but like a set of weights built into my clothes that makes my feel so heavy all the time.  I know that there are no answers in this writing but the darkness of the Depression is strong and it seems like I cant get out of the shame that usually encompasses times like these.
10435979_946529865387071_546207751560709670_nBut there are actions that I am taking that are about me screaming that I have had enough.  I wont even talk about what has transpired in this country in the last year.  I am doing something for my self fhat has always been so fucking hard for me to do.  To protect, stand up and say to that beautiful spirit that is burning somewhere inside of me that it is okay to be who I am.  Nothing more nothing less.

100_1607All quotes from U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” off of the Joshua Tree album of 1986

123 RW, JZ, PA, PH, RV, SA and I pray that Jerry is in peace.finger touching nose of baby