Though the years give way to uncertainty…

stunning-smeared-sky-time-lapse-photography-matt-molloy“…and the fear of living for nothing strangles your will.”(1)   These lyrics are the only thing that spoke to me recently.  I have tried 20 times to write a post and gotten bogged down in the analysis of the situations I have experienced recently and stopped.(Damn Brainiac)  Because no matter how much I learn, or experience, or think about, there is a gnawing energy that seems to linger right below my conscious that keeps me from truly experiencing life the way I desire to.*  Because as James Hillman said,  “The soul wants it’s images to be enjoyed and respected.” At many levels I struggle to project my soul’s images.  So I will just tell you about a few experiences I had recently.

I was flying the other day on a flight that was sparsely populated.  As is my way, I started talking to the stewardess.   Her soaring-gullname was Lisa and she lived in Burnit, Texas.(I cant forget that name) She was about 60 with beautiful flowing gray hair and a smile which said how much she wanted and needed to love!  She sat across the aisle of the airplane from me and we talked for about 15 minutes.  The pleasantries completed, somehow we got onto the topic of mental illness.    I shared my personal experience and Lisa opened up and told me that at least half of the stewardesses and pilots who worked for this large airline were in a support group for depression and anxiety and that she knew many of her peers who were taking medication for “mental health,” issues.  When I am in a situation like I was with Lisa from Burnit, Texas, I mostly try to just listen.  Because more than anything, I try to socotra-island-yemenobserve her in such a way to try and “hear,” her tell me with her expressions and body language about her suffering.  Lisa did.  She would always rely on her million dollar smile when it got a little scary, but she told me about her suffering in her life and where it came from.  We had a wonderful conversation and I remember I was taken aback(why I keep thinking the suffering is not across the board) slightly when our chat ended.

‘Nothing isolates us more than power and prestige.”(2)  Lisa was telling me about what she did in her prior life and how becoming a stewardess gave her the economic success she desired, yet she realized that she paid a high price for it.  She 20150902_182534 (2)was never home, her friends drifted away(because she was never home) and her life had become something that she didn’t imagine it would become.  Lisa told me that she had just recently gotten into rescuing horses and donkeys who had been abused and that she derived the most satisfaction just from watching the animals learn that they had a safe place to be on her ranch out there in Burnit, Texas!

“You are more than what you think you are.”(3) I also met another new friend this past week.  As per usual during our first shared coffee, a lot of “stuff,” came out.  It is always amazing to me that when I meet someone new who I am “attracted to,” I 20150902_182432 (2)open up.  What I realized when talking with this friend how much it is that I wanted to connect with her.  Not in the “oh my Ggod fix my life,” kind of way.  I found myself yearning for the shared smile  and more than anything else, the sharing of the humanness that we all seem to carry around but try really hard not to let others know about.

But what I was truly in awe of was her willingness to give up her life to care for her sister, whose bi-polar disorder debilitated her.  Now I know she didn’t give up her life in the total sense, but she said something that floored me.  She said, “what else jess-and-oatiecan I do, she is my sister.”  To me she is truly the hero.  I write here and try to help the struggling alcoholic who suffers from “mental illness,” but I did not give up my life and at some level a sense of comfort to live with someone who is unstable and lives in a lot of fear.( I dont count!!)

123 RW, JZM, JulizaRose, SA, TS, JW!

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(1) Jackson Browne  The Fuse  * I have got a good idea where this comes from, but this post is not about analysis (2) Carl Jung (3) James Hillman from a talk listened to that he did with Dr. Fraser Crane at Pacifica Graduate Institute

Fanatic’s Brotherly Love

beautiful-child1Do you ever feel like you’re dancing when you do housework? You know. Dancing around the issue you can’t face. Or the emotion you don’t want to feel. Or the racing thoughts that threaten your personal stamina. The real overarching issue causing me to clean every crevice of my house was the suicidal chatter.  I placed the medication bottles in the middle of the kitchen table. They quickly became my totem pole. I looked to them for answers, guidance, reassurance.  I envisioned the moment as a sacrifice.  I was giving myself up to the demons strangling my mind.  I could no longer bare witness to my own agony and despair.  The pressure and speed of my thoughts had to be doing structural damage to my brain.  I could feel the impending explosion.
Sprinting around my house from task to task, Starting one after another was the only thing keeping me from bowing down to those pills. I was literally afraid if I sat down I would drink the bottle to quench my agitation.  Round and round I spun faster and faster. If I indeed had a tether to reality it was unraveling.
I scribbled words onto a red piece of paper.  Revealing my pain. Asking for forgiveness.  Apologizing for being such a burden.  Insisting it was no ones fault. Begging him to believe that deep in his soul.  It was a tired explanation. What’s there to say. I mean really.  I can’t do it anymore. I simply give up. I love you tremendously. You love me incredibly.  Love cannot conquer my demons. My inner emotional pain.  The shattered pieces you 7-21-14-rose-jpegdon’t see.  I am sorry is not enough. But it’s all I got.  I can’t ask you to understand, but so hope you do.  At least some day soon.  You ask how I can do this to you? My sweet.  I don’t know.  It’s all too much. I’m being crushed.  I hurt in ways that have no words.  Silent pain is deadly.  I have fallen victim.
The pen falls heavy to the floor accompanied by tears.  My totem pole patiently waiting for me to pay homage.  As I weep, I pile up the wreckage I have created. Proof. Proof I am no good. Proof I am nothing but a burden.  The voices are becoming quite demanding.  Loud. Booming. Malicious.  My resolve cowering as hate fills the room.  The idea of getting up tomorrow makes my body weak. In the past, I’ve counted the pills obsessively.  No time for numbers.  My soul has been withering away for long enough.
dsc09494I reach for the pen. My hand brushes against my cat. A little life that would be impacted by my absence.  In between my husbands shoes lies the pen. I grumble he takes off his shoes wherever he’s at. Bathroom, outside, living room. Rarely is it the bedroom. I will never trip over them again. I scribble on the red paper. Last words: I love you more than you can ever know, Rhonda.
I refocus on my impromptu plan.  Staring. Bottles staring back. The house is clean. Laundry is folded. Nothing left to do.  My img_5264phone rings. My phone never rings. It’s my little brother.  He could need me right now.  I ran just to utter the words hello.  Turns out he did need me.  He needed to tell me he was thinking of me.
One red piece of paper sitting at the bottom of the shredder.  One fanatic with tears streaming down her face with a cell phone glued to her ear.  One little brother just wanting to talk to his sister.

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123 RV, SA, JW, PA, PH, RW, JZM, TS!

“[T]he woman of your choice represents your own task you did not understand…”

10435979_946529865387071_546207751560709670_nI bet you are wondering how this statement has anything to do with depression or mental health issues.  Well, if you dont know, my assertion is that almost all mental health issues are really emotional health issues.  Emotional health is about my ability to transcend the conflicts, those unresolved deep seated emotional conflicts, that persist below the level of my consciousness, that can at times strongly influence my conscious life.  The unconscious, since I am not aware of it, can’t be resolved, in my opinion, by thinking.   We may be able to arrest in some form the impulses sufficient enough to where we dont need to escape through addiction or other forms of “escape,” but unless those emotional conflicts I have are are resolved 1620374_10152242355289140_1541697308_nthen it will just be a matter of time before I am facing that same internal struggle of that illogical response to an unknown angst or anxiety that I can find overwhelming.

Carl Jung, in the letter where the quote above came from, was writing to a man who was trying to understand why he chose the women he did to be in his life.  Jung talked about how we carry the energy of our anima(an aspect of our psyche) and our choices in women were incarnations of our anima.   Jung quoted something from the middle ages that said “Each 396406_467135589984307_1965700798_nman carries his woman with him.”  He also said that, “In practice it means that the woman of your choice represents your own task you did not understand.”

I was talking with a friend yesterday and we were talking about our choices in spouses/girlfriends in our lives.  We talked 10349157_10204471369565137_6707722759914875666_nabout how we would always choose to assign the responsibility for the end of those relationships to them.  But what I am learning is that we are really trying to deal with that energy that we carry inside of us and which we view the world from in our minds.  The problem is that the feminine energy to me is pure, but the deep seated, unresolved emotional conflicts I carry can, and I repeat can, filter the feminine energy in such a way that it becomes a demon, a pain, fear, or anger.

So what is the resolution and how  can it be attained.  Jung writes, “[T]he creative man has to create and make visible in spite of the fact that he cannot do it properly….Never mind the imperfections of technique; the contents wanting to come to light are the thing that matters….How psychic energy can 522512_10151359665698142_1692570750_ntransform itself into physically sound phenomena is a problem in itself. I don’t know how it is done. We only know that it is done.”  What I get out of that is do something with my hands and brain and not try to work it out in my mind.

I am about to set out on an endeavor in a week or so of doing some serious building with my hands again. It has been almost 6 years since I have done it.  I will report back soon.  I think how Jung said it is better than I can at this time.

p181600_2a_400[T]he earth always wants children-houses, trees, flowers-to grow out of her and celebrate the marriage of the human psyche with the Great Mother, the best counter-magic against rootless extraversion!”

Quotes from Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 321-322

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The picture below is the best image I have ever seen of what depression can do to a person

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Fanatic Falls

hillmanPoor poor little girl
With bruises on her knees
Ego split in two
One part victim
One part fuck you
Humbled once again by nature
Face to face with the dirt
Broken skin
Damaged sense of self
Cursing the universe
Why doesn’t God believe in me?
Has he simply given up?
Twisted thoughts mangle my mind
Down the trail I march
Bloodied shadow in tow
Wrong.
10604659_10204588969262700_7062526869842619097_oThis is all wrong.
How can it be I can’t run a trail right
At least a cracked skull would allow
The chaos
Nonsense
Bullshit
To pour out of me
Relieve me
Create space for peace and quiet
Stomping the ground
Leaving my footprint behind
Facing forward
Outrunning the demons
10660376_843231542383716_2204225344977835787_nUsed to be my solace
Music blaring
My body declaring
I will win this fight
Now
Down she goes times two
Hobbling
Crying
IMG958148 (2)The ridicule deafening
Defeated
Passers by stare
At the dirty mess
That is me

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Fanatic’s Frailty

10633331_10152624694602978_8948054382377946607_o All I ever wanted as a kid was to be accepted. Red hair and freckles, plus being named after a song. I was ripe for the teasing. Not that every kid isn’t. I was just never given the tools to stand up for myself or believe in myself.  The only place I ever felt strong was on a sports field. But life isn’t really soccer or tennis or swimming anymore. I can’t really escape into those worlds as I did 30 years ago.
Here I am. 40 years old. An adult. And still I crave acceptance. I just want someone to look me in the eye and say I love you 20140821-125637-46597389.jpgjust as you are in this moment, and the next. And if this moment you are manic and depressed the next…It’s okay. You are who you are.  Please Don’t get me wrong, I am loved. Tremendously. Trouble is I can’t always feel it or believe it. Why would someone love a black and blue fanatic who can find no balance. Who swings from left to right and back again like a wild circus monkey. Who can’t hear your words correctly as they ricochet around the mind and become convoluted. Who misunderstands and rises up in anger and10516637_723862387694315_3614015457220500140_n self defense wrought with agitation at the slightest suggestion I try to be more mindful.
A self righteous monster comes alive and makes accusations, casts blame, doubts anyone could ever understand what I’m truly going through, how I truly feel, what’s really happening on the inside.  No amount of mindfulness can fix this massive gaping emotional wreckage of past present and future. I am simply a lost cause. The world. You. Me. Would be better off without me. No one needs an out of control manic depressive wreaking havoc in their life.
lavender-labyrinthjpg-33b96e17e96c5811_largeI am waiting to have my stitches taken out today. I think I should wear a hat to cover myself at work or out in the world. I don’t think you should have to look at me, my black and blue eye. Somehow it seems unfair for you to have to stare at it while we talk. I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable. Blah blah blah.
Let’s get real. I am so fucking uncomfortable right now. 10660376_843231542383716_2204225344977835787_nIt’s me who doesn’t accept me. I feel like a fool. A failure. You can see the consequences of my manic episode, of having bipolar disorder. And……..if I could only embrace the fanatic (young and old) with open unconditional arms I might be in a lot less pain. If only I was shown the way oh so long ago.

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123 RV, SA, RW, JZ, JW!

Fanatic’s Fall

” Individuals can be improved because they present themselves for treatment…”

20150809_180700 (2)I am reminded of James Hillman’s idea that we need to get therapy out of the therapist’s office and out into the world.  But what I have learned because of my journey with depression is that it is still so stigmatized that there is a tendency, even in my self, to keep the issue of mental health a private one.   There is a point in the meetings I attend where the following is said.  “There are those too who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest,”  There are a couple of us who raise our hands and sort of poke fun at the fact that everyone thinks we are the only ones who know we 20150823_063804 (2)suffer from the dis-ease that we get to label accordingly.

Yet, I see that we have a huge need to not acknowledge that we suffer collectively as well as individually.  Most would not be able to accept it  and more than anything, would not be able to work on that aspect of our selves that carries the tension of the opposites.

“….But societies only let themselves be deceived and misled, even if temporarily for their own good…”  I think I need not give 20150821_063716 (2)any more of an example of this than to look at those who are running for President.  I see it nothing more than a Caligula like reality, and all we want to hear is the violins playing.  We are willing to allow people to flat out lie to us, to sell us a bill of goods and to promise us something that none of them can deliver.  Security.
“…For what we are dealing with is simply the passing and morally weakening effects of suggestion.” The human condition, led by the monotheistic vision of lightness and no darkness, has controlled the paradigm so long that it is accepted, not even challenged in any realistic 20150804_063114 (2)way, the world being divided into two aspects.  The names of them are different but they are really the same.  I am seeing that there is more and more writing on race being only a convenient way to separate classes.  I have seen that my whole life.  My father first hated blacks, then Mexicans.  Why?  Because they were a threat to his status in the working poor middle class that he found himself in.

We are truly projecting our shadow more and more as we go on as a culture.  We are becoming more and more afraid that the pie is being divided and we are not getting “our” share.  When are we going to realize that we have been dividing a smaller and smaller share?

20150801_063116 (2)But yet I have hope.  There are politicians who are saying things that resonate with me.  There are people doing the work of trying to give people some hope.  We are not getting hope from our leaders any longer.  Politicians are not working for justice for all.  They are no more  than just glorified spokespeople for the people who support them.

Alright I am out of the therapy room and into the world!

The pictures are all from my deck at sunrise, except the first one, which was taken from 20150821_063536 (2)Calistoga when the Jerusalem fire broke out two weeks ago.

Quotes from Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 217-221.

Fanatical Freedom!!

churchSometimes my mind is only filled with clutter and debris. It seems to grow bigger and bigger until it’s all I see.  Until I can’t breathe. Until I become short and irritable with others. Until I must retreat to a dark and quiet space.  There are certain times I can rationalize this behavior. But, other times, it seemingly comes out of nowhere. Just yesterday I had a lovely morning roaming around my hometown at a classic car show. Following that I went to the grocery store to pick up some favorite foods for breakfast. Skipping along in the store with no worries.  Issues at the register happened, but I pornwasn’t phased. However, once I arrived home the environmental cacophony of my house shook me. It was as if the hum of the ceiling fan, base of the stereo, meow of my cats, buzz of the dishwasher, and visual of ever building dishes in the sink literally came alive. They were choking me and robbing me of air, of communication skills. I was surrounded and could not move. I felt like a prisoner in my kitchen.  I snapped at my husband. He in turn snapped. I ran to thes_e12_RTX116XJ farthest room in our house, which doesn’t really exist in a 1100 square foot space.  It felt like if I didn’t find darkness and quiet I was going to explode.
I simply don’t understand why this happened in my home. Perhaps it’s just creeping into personal space. Similar scenario at work this week. Voices were booming from the hallwayIMG00282 and then crawling up the walls of my office. I could hear the printer, the copier, fast footsteps, phone conversations at rock concert level in headphones.  Mind you all these noises occur every single day all day a majority of the time and I barely register it.  Maybe this overwhelm happens to every last one of us, I don’t know.  Lately it’s bringing me tears and ultimately to my knees.  However, the one fantatics hairbright spot is that it lasts only 10-15 minutes.
The clutter and debris play out in real time. I was at a concert last night of my favorite artist. We positioned ourselves to allow extra space along a railing, a buffer of sorts. On the second tier I can take in the view of the crowd and the stage while allowing the music to penetrate me.  Eyes closed letting the words and beat reach into, eyes open taking in the artists every move.  All the while dancing. Letting go.
n2359Thor_mazlin900Sharp mementos when I realize how many people are there, how hot it is, how loud it is.  My eyes dart and pick out people, suddenly feel the railing against my body.  In front of me is a drunk woman stumbling. I am transported back in time when I was that woman. I see people staring, sneering at her.  That was me. I crawl into the guilt trap. Oh how many shows I must have ruined. How is it my husband is still here?  What a liar, manipulator I was.  Even not drinking, I have ruined shows in that Couple-dancing-photography5we couldn’t go because I was too depressed or had to leave because I had a panic attack.  What a fucking mess I am.
Back into the sound, the groove. Planted on the 2nd tier, above everyone, I feel like the spotlight is on me. She can see me, she is smiling at me. I dance harder. Will myself to get lost in the beautiful sound.  Will myself to leave the clutter and debris behind. Shove it in the back of mind. It will surely be there tomorrow.  Allow myself relief.  Join the masses and throw my hands up in the air.
navajo-creation-myth-john-stephens-poster2I did, I finally did. I was sucked into the magic healing of music. I swayed. I bounced. I laughed. I smiled. I listened.  She was singing to me.  I was singing with her.  Space was cleared for me to truly enjoy the moment.

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Fanatic’s Fears of Failure

Eyes_of_fire_by_PSDtechI. AM. SORRY. I repeat these words sometimes on a daily basis. It’s not about humility. It’s about not understanding my place in the world. It’s about insecurity. Paranoia. Worthlessness. Essentially, I apologize for my existence. Far too many of my encounters with others begin with I’m sorry to bother you, but…
charcoal-sketch-lil-princess-geraldine-arlezaI don’t trust myself. Or maybe I don’t trust you. I’m not sure. I send an anxious email to my psychiatrist and I apologize for it. I think maybe I send one too many texts to a friend (A FRIEND!) checking on them and instantly backpedal with an apology. At work, I ask forgiveness for entering your office in a frenzied manner or for needing further explanation about something. The other night I thanked my husband for being willing to put up with me. It all seems like another form of saying  “please don’t hate me.”
Tuesday August 11th marks one year since Robin Williams death. IMG_0698 (2)Also on this date, I was pacing for 3 hours along a bridge with a serious plan of ending my life. I didn’t know about Robin until I saw it on the news in the hospital. I was profoundly affected by his suicide. I just thought if he can’t survive this, how in the world can I! Why do I even deserve to? He impacted many more lives with his witty candor than I ever would.  Past few days, well maybe weeks, I am sorry I didn’t follow through as he did. I am sorry to continually burden my husband, few friends, and my work. I’ve been unproductive, overly needy and absent in all arenas.
10576235_1478792175702340_1648178438_nSome days I just hurt. The hole in my heart expands w each breath and The blank space in my soul turns black. Some days the lies reach into me, bait me, define me, redesign me. I am left hopeless and become increasingly useless. On the couch I sit. Stare. Sigh with regret. I can’t explain what’s not tangible. I can’t explain what has no basis. After the third call of my name I turn to you. I look through you. Tears stream. I scream I am so very sorry. The dark chasm echoes over and over.
CP41782056Visions of the bridge. The sound of duct tape ripping. Cold wet air on my face. Cars speeding by.  The lonely walk down the pedestrian bridge. Splashing of frigid waters. The screaming echo of I’m sorry. Silence.  These intrusive thoughts are assaulting me. You see me navigate the world one foot in front of the other. But, for me I am the Tasmanian devil. Chaos. Complete disarray. Madness.  What is happening for me is invisible.
tumblr_luxczfdocB1qzxyqfo1_400I have a friend who asks me the tough questions. He said, how’s your suicidal thinking these days. I answered. I mentioned Tuesday. I don’t honestly remember what I said or how explicit I was.  I was most likely sarcastic and casting it off.  But it’s kinda serious. I immediately think I should apologize for that last sentence. It feels burdensome. I can’t seem to decipher truth from burden.  Perhaps I associate them. My truth will be too much for you, because I am not worth it.Screen-Shot-2014-08-15-at-5.32.15-AM

123 RV, SA, RW, JZ, JM, EP.  RIP Mork!

Fanatic Depth

white-crocus-flowerSome days
Some days I just hurt
Some days the hole in my heart
Expands w each breath
The blank space in my soul
Turns black
Some days the lies reach into me
Bait me
Define me
white-star-ajaytaoRedesign me
Some days I am so raw
I can’t bare your voice
Your touch
Your love
Some days I need you
More than I know
More than I can say
Some days I feel so alone
white-light-ajaytao1A wicked sense of disconnection
Of departure from society
Some days I need you to hear me
Without my saying a word
As my truth escapes me
Lost in the bondage of self
Some days I am straddling the edge
Scared and uncertain
Of the next step
white-beauty-ajaytaoSome days I think you are better off
If I were to simply disappear
Rid you of this burden
Set us both free
Today is that day

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