Tag Archives: mental health

Peaks and valleys or Axis II? just kidding, DSM 5 uses no axes.

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Peaks and valleys or Axis II? just kidding, DSM 5 uses no axes.

As always, in this non-stop over-analytical brain of mine, I have been pondering a lot of things as of late; mainly the fact that over and over again I am told that I am a narcissist due to my verbal observations that I am the common denominator in all of my failures, from relationships to interoffice communications. I have been reflecting on this a lot, as I was studying for my clinical board exam. (I do not fit the criteria, in case you were wondering).

However I do find that I tend to be a pessimist, I feel paranoid often, and I make trust issues themselves suspicious. It’s a thing. I know it. I have done lots of therapy over the years.

As a teenager, I used to tell people I was bipolar, as if it were a cool thing…something to be proud of that explained how much of a special, creative, and emotional snowflake I was… Not knowing how fucked up that was. Ignorance is bliss right? But I do know that I have occasionally fit the criteria for a variety of personality disorders, namely dependent and/or borderline personality disorder, but they wax and waned over the years to the point that while I may feel it sometimes it is no longer acutely “diagnosable”(sp). I know that is the least professional way to put it but I am not sure how else to word it. Go with me, please.

Many times, I have found that I am jealous of people that are bubbly, happy, ridiculously positive. I have even caught myself assuming that they are less intelligent than I. I mean come on, how can you know what is happening in the world and still be that FUCKING happy? But the world is always fucked up. I have nothing to show that it will ever be anything else. We just have more knowledge of it these days, right? So what is the secret? Mindfulness? Ignorance? “staying present”? How do you get there? I believe that thoughts are things and that aside from being a commercial success, things like “The Secret” have something to them, albeit financially fleecing as they are. That does not mean they are not correct, real, or accurate. If the people getting rich and being successful from sharing this info are doing it, then huzzah, it works? Who knows. But how do you maintain it? How do you stay positive, happy, etc in the life we are given?

It seems to me that there is a common theme throughout all written history of humans, we suck, we are unhappy, and yet, we persist. We run the spectrum, from being capable of the worst things imaginable, to being capable of the most awe inspiring things. I always think of the movie, The Abyss and the part at the end where the distraught aliens decide NOT to annihilate us because of this observation. There is always the question of why, for what, how come, what is the meaning, what is happy, how do you find it, etc etc etc.. I have no illusions of being a special or creative snowflake for thinking about this. I am no narcissist in this regard. But really, how do people do it?

What is THE SECRET?

How do you feel satisfaction and fulfillment in a sustainable way? How do you maintain relationships? Jobs? Sanity?

How do you become a Katie fucking Couric? So maddeningly fucking positive that you can find a direction and impetus in tragedy?

How do you stay in the moment, when everything is distracting you with shiny lights or terrifying depths?

You know, asking for a friend.

 

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When a part becomes apart…

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When a part becomes apart…

I have previously written about loneliness, here. It is interesting to me how loneliness changes and presents itself; and in what situations. I have often lamented in real life and all forms of my “virtual” life that communication is becoming less personal, like AI. No longer are skills like reading people, situations, exchanging energy, gazes that inspired poets, as valued…or learned. There is an entire generation growing up, (socially disadvantaged in my opinion) without making eye contact, without interacting, without the time or distance to be mindful about what they say or how they react to things. We cause ourselves anxiety over not getting likes, not getting responses back, etc. In our effort to feel a part of something, we make ourselves apart. We can be in the same room as someone and not even look at them. Cursory, rote greetings have become a standard. We sit at restaurants with our loved ones and don’t make eye contact… with our lovers, our parents, our kids.

We get some sort of a chemical addiction to the instant gratification… Our Pavlovian response encourages us continue the high… the goddamn blue bubbles of solace. But we may have someone LITERALLY right next to us. And yet, we seek communication from the ether…We have a cognitive dissonance about the links between loneliness and being alone. Because those of us, with the privilege to have technology, have created a culture of slumber parties consisting of a group of adolescents snapchatting each other from the same room, no one looking at the stars unless they can get a pic of them, instagram, pinterest, etc. We are past the point of sexual revolution gratuitous hook ups, online dating, facebooking, pornography, vines, vaguebooking, comparing ourselves to real and imagined foes, stalking, bullying, trolling, sexting, mentally checking out, gaming, hunting, shooting, racing, battling, flying, etc….

ALL WITHOUT BEING WITHIN THE PHYSICAL PRESENCE OF ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. 

It truly makes me very sad. For us all. Now granted, I know #noteveryperson whatever. BUT we are going that way and very fucking fast. I am guilty. You are too. You are reading a goddamn blog that was either in your email, on your twitter, on your facebook, googleplusokcupidpinterestKiKtindergrindrzoosk, whatever the fuck. You didn’t come looking for a blog by Jani B.

I am lonely a lot. And upon a lot of alone and lonely time countered with a lot of around people and still lonely time, I have realized it is not the being alone part that bothers me, it really is the loneliness. When you have an entire manic world in your head to talk to someone about and no one asks. When you spend all day giving and giving to people who are not in a position to give back, and you are spent, lonely. When you have an amazing day and want to share it with ANYONE but all that is available is social media..or yourself… When you are in an office full of people, all day, all week, and unless it is a client or someone needing something, no one talks to you. When you shut off your Facebook and the only people that contact you now are family members wanting to know if you blocked them specifically. I am lonely at times around friends because I am either so up in my own head that I am not really interacting with them or they are so engaged with someone else my introvertedness makes me wilt and seem disinterested.

I have always prided myself on my communication and intuitive skills. Technology however, has made me crazy, made me anxious. I am happy that I grew up in an era where real life communication skills were more important than properly formatted for office politic emails. Back in the good ol’ days when you didn’t abbreviate much and spelling counted, in love letters, gossip notes, poetry, cards, and invitations. When you used words, those oh so important words, combined with physical existence, body language, and observed emotion, not texted emoji.

I think that is why so many elderly couples die so close together or remarry so quickly. The loneliness. So many losses…having someone breathing next to you at night, someone that no matter what is going on out there, you know you have someone to share with here. The loss of that must wreck havoc on the soul, the heart, the immune system. I know what I experience after not having that for a much shorter time than the elderly couple I imagine. I cannot even fathom what it would be like after 30, 40, 50 years.

I fear for the current and future generations. Those with the skinniest thumbs and curviest necks will evolve via natural selection in an unnatural way. Homo Curva. That’s the next evolutionary leap.

We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness. —Albert Schweitzer

 

Co-regulation

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Co-regulation

Growth is a painful process, this is definitely not a new concept. However, in the course of learning about oneself and how your own behaviors affect those around you, it gives you an opportunity to see the tangible and observable ways that all interactions are cyclical. Energy is an observable phenomenon that can power the light in the darkness, but it can also blow circuits; it just depends on the wattage and capacity.

Ideally in relationships, at least for me, the dyad is a constant give and take. If one person is needing more support, energy, love, whatever, the other person gives it to them with the faith that when the roles reverse, the current receiver will be the giver. When this does not happen repeatedly, resentment builds into all sorts of negative things. Eventually the strain causes a blow out, one you can’t always see, but you can definitely feel. It is at this point that you have to make a decision: increase the size of your breaker or reduce the load on your circuit.

Once you know that things are strained and communicate what the needs are, one would hope that the other half of the circuit would respond in kind to make the adjustments needed so that the cycle continues in a positive way. But often, the other person is simply not capable of giving the energy needed to complete the current cycle. It is what it is.

Love is energy. It is neither positive or negative. It IS an alternating current. When it becomes a direct current, the chance to be shocked increases. Being shocked isn’t always bad, hell, that’s how a defibrillator works on your heart, right?

My power strip is overloaded right now. My heart swells with love and explodes with confusion. It is a very difficult place to be in, this place of understanding and yet, this place of confusion. Process is fucking uncomfortable. Regrets are useless but still valuable tools. “Fear of missing out” is a truly a fear of regret… But if fear is what keeps you from accepting and returning the love that you are actually being given, you have created your own short.

Sometimes you just have to wait for someone to complete your circuit… but first you have to ground yourself.

April Showers

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April Showers

Rain can bring things back to life…

Rain can also drown them.

All power is an illusion…

Yet energy exchanged freely is tangible.

“Love” can be an adverb, a noun, a verb;

it’s really just like “Fuck.”

Hope can be a welcome gift…

She can and will, also fool you.

One commits to seeing it through,

the other remains righteously based in fear.

A secret can encourage alliances,

concurrently it feeds into concern.

Sunshine is what allows all life,

but the sun can cause also cancer.

Chemo is a curative,

while simultaneously it poisons the body.

Intimacy is not to be forsaken,

dismissed for the idea of “What if..”

Regret can turn to reflection…

Reflection can change your reality.

Emotion influences logic,

logic without emotion is cold.

Opening Pandora’s box gave knowledge and insight,

wisdom not always appreciated.

Patience is a virtue,

but one that can quickly grow sour. 

Bitter on the tongue of the confused,

waiting to be swallowed hard by the word…

YES.

Unknown Territory

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Unknown Territory

I am unsure how people repair relationships. I feel like given my path and occupation, I am someone who should know. I can tell people how to do it, via a book and/or my “school learnin” but when it comes to my own, I am not sure. I have always found it relatively easy to remain friends or become friends again with exes; mainly, I believe, because we start out as friends. But I have recently made some decisions that while they have a lot of mitigating circumstances around them, I am feeling regret over most of them. I have written a lot about regret and I work to really not do anything that I will… But, being a human, I fuck up. A lot.

I have been able to reestablish the friendship facet of the relationship in this situation, but after realizing the potential mistake of ending it, understanding the reasons that contributed to the ending of it (I take responsibility for 60+/-% of that ending…), as well as knowing how I feel post-break up and processing, I don’t know how to move forward. I know what I want. I know what I had. I know that it was not how it should have been but it was more than repairable. But of course, me being me, I self-sabotaged. Cause nothing says “Jani” like “Ehhhh this hurts…. RUN AWAY! CUT TIES WITH WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL! DISTRACT! DISTRACT! DESTROY!”

I also find that I make major decisions (that are usually bad in the winter) between December-January. I am not entirely sure this isn’t related to stress at this time of year and/or seasonal depression…perhaps both… but now I sit in a place of limbo and suspended grief. Wanting to fix things but not entirely knowing if I even have the right, to try, to inflict myself upon others…But I also know that couples have gone through much worse and wound up stronger, healthier.

I reflect now on the relationship and see what was missing and how both parties handled it badly, due to both parties not communicating their needs to the other in a timely fashion. It was after the fact that the communication came. And we are in a good place.

But everything else, the future plans, the qualities that we loved about each other, the idiosyncrasies that drove the other crazy but still allowed us to love each other unconditionally, everything else is there, intact. Neither of us are the same, but the core of myself, the core of them, the core of US…the foundation, is there. It’s got a few cracks, but nothing that would be not repairable. We have both forgiven each other. But of course, things are different.

So the question I posit to you, the reader, is when it comes to breakups, if love and abuse are never an issue, can negative things cast positive light on things that need tending? Or is it always an ending? Can you begin again? Not where you left off, because THAT preempted the demise of the relationship, but can a new better relationship be born from the fire and sorrow that was during and post-breakup? Is love enough? Love the verb, not the noun?

Learning Curves

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Learning Curves

I turn 36 tomorrow. Strangely enough, in this later period of my life, I have been given the recent opportunity to experience many things that oddly enough, in all of my life, I have never experienced.

I have experienced the absolute joy of being heard and seen, validated by an outside source.

I have experienced the closest thing to unconditional love that I have known, outside of my children.

I have finally felt for the first time in 25 years that I was not broken or ruined or soiled or somehow less than.

I have known what it was like to be loved, to feel loved, and to be love. I have learned to trust, to feel safe trusting. The verb and the noun.

I have handled uncomfortable situations with maturity and I was proud of who I am, what I have done, what I have learned.

I have learned I am worthy of being looked at in intimate moments.

I have learned that being vulnerable, open, and honest is not a weakness.

I finally understood that my past was not a flaw, that my choices and my experiences were beautiful, they made me who I am today, a person worthy of love and compassion.

I have learned the simple grace of words, thoughtful and meaningful words.

But I have also been given the reflection of these things. The insight that learned habits are destructive. That even if I am experiencing the above things, I may not be giving the same experience to others.

I have learned that when I think that I am saying one thing, it may not be received in the context or purpose that was intended.

Sometimes, I fail at it.

Sometimes I trigger people and I cannot take back my words.

I hurt people.

I let my insecurities smother things or they cause me to not hear people.

I am capable of implying judgment, even when I think I am doing something else.

Misunderstandings and the resulting conversations of them can indeed be more damaging than the original misunderstanding.

Language is funny. It is so powerful and so important.

Words are important.

Even the most benign seeming words can be the most deadly, malevolent.

I know I am human.

I am fallible.

I am still learning.

I am not even close to perfect and that is acceptable.

I am a queen.

But if I am the queen of anything, it is finding silver linings in the saddest of things.

Growth is painful.

Learning is hard.

Self-reflection and acknowledgement of failure is overwhelmingly agonizing.

The payoff though, is that you have a choice then: you become better from it or you ignore it.

I am not ignoring it.

“The difference is this. Pain is a gift. Without the capacity for pain, we can’t feel the hurt we inflict.” -The Twelfth Doctor

Warning: Passive Aggressive post ahead…. #crazyexes

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Warning: Passive Aggressive post ahead…. #crazyexes

I haven’t had time to do anything meaningful on here in many moons and this will not be truly mind-shattering either. There are lots of things in the world going on that I could write about, Ferguson, California Earthquakes, new ancient aliens episodes, rape culture, journalists being beheaded, etc. But those things are too heavy and I am feeling quite solipsistic. So instead I am taking this space to passive aggressively speak to a cyber stalker whom I (perhaps egotistically) believe will read it.

I have exes. Most of us do. But while I have engaged in some “harmless” ex-stalking in my day like casually checking out their public facebook profile photo just out of plain morbid curiosity, I can with all honesty state I have NEVER friend requested his or her new partner.

I do not want to be their pal. I do not want them to know I was sizing up them up as a previous partner.  

It has actually been sometime since I have done that regardless and I like to think that was due to some insecurity I have outgrown. 

Now, in the last year plus, I have had not one, BUT TWO of my partner’s exes cozying up to me in the cyber world. Really.

One sent threatening messages, showing her true 40+ year old age to be somewhere about 14, this was easily squashed with a magical feature called BLOCKING. No further contact. ¡Salud! 

Oh, but recently, the last month or so, another one popped up. Now mind you, I think my social media presence is ridiculously large, I concur. BUT I have things as locked down as the illusion of privacy permits (sans this blog) and most things have a fake name associated with them or require you need my REAL email to communicate. Well this one, I give her hacker search crazy bitch toolbox props cause she is EVERYWHERE.

On my twitter.

On my facebook.

On my tumblr.

On my instagram.

On my F**KING Pinterest. I had to disable it. I am very sad. Pinterest, get some better privacy settings. Sad face emoticon.

And when the above modes of contact were not successful, she started liking my things or communicating through my partner’s family members we had in common. So I had to delete THEM. That is not good in a newish relationship when you are trying to establish relationships with family members who live out of area, especially when THEY added you, now I just seem rude.

What can be gained of this for you?!

Yes, I can see from your very public disclosures you just got left recently by your partner.

I get it.

I am sorry, but….my partner isn’t available as a back up.

We are currently still together sooooo……

Get some counseling. Talk to a friend in real life. Focus on your kids. Focus on yourself. Self Care. Exes are exes for a reason. Truly.

If my partner wanted communication with you to continue, it would have.

And if that was your angle, um, why would you approach me, not them? Oh, that’s right. They deleted THEIRS cause of this.

DOH.

Stop it.

Just stop. 

Fire walk with me…

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Fire walk with me…

I haven’t blogged in a while. It’s been a combination of not having time and not having really anything nice or uplifting to say about anything. Yesterday was probably the lowest day energy and attitude-wise I have had in a couple years. I don’t think that it was necessarily anything in particular, just a lame culmination of the last few months and the proverbial straw on the camel’s back. So as things just seemed to domino in my world, professionally and of course personally because I am not one of those cool people that can leave my job at the office…. I just kind of gave up yesterday.

 

But as I always do, I woke up this morning and decided to try again cause really that’s all you can do.

I went to work, decided no matter what I was going to have a good GD day.

And I did.

I helped a family get housed that has been in shelter since January and it was a win. I really left work yesterday sure that it would not happen for them and rehearsing that conversation of sadness.

When I went to the shelter today to meet them and have them sign some final paperwork, I was showered in the grace of the experience. Everyone there is like a family. The family I work with has been there longer than anyone else in the shelter and literally had a couple days left on their 3rd extension. Everyone was happy and congratulating them, high fives, hugs, tears, etc. Their kids? One of them was so happy he was about to burst. He couldn’t even imagine having a room of his own again. The mom who has not let herself have any hope the last few months was over the moon. I honestly had never seen her smile a real smile. She had not even allowed herself the anticipation of this house.

It was the best experience I can remember having in a long time.

And it reminded me of this song:

So I ask you….

What is YOUR fire?

Is it waiting for fuel?

Are you the fuel for someone else’s?

Whatever lights that passion in you, however briefly….

FIND IT.

FEED IT.

The fuel is out there.

Let the spin stop.

Ignore the distractions and feel the burn.

 

Lens Filter

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Lens Filter

 

 

 

 

By an odd coincidence, this week your tattoo is getting covered up;

Under the ocean it will be.

Reflectively, my time with you was the happiest

I’d been until now, a true peace I have found, it

Eluded you I guess.

Dreamed you hadn’t died, that you were in a caved in hole but watched you climb out on the news…

That reverie, I like to think it was you coming out of your darkest place, crawling toward the light.

Honestly, I learned so much from you, practical and emotional you taught me many things.

Echoes of his six word story come to me late at night

“Bullies are just very sad people…”

Understanding of you came later,

Life and love are funny that way.

Looking back, my own ignorance was bliss…

Even the most negative memories somehow benefit from it;

The lens filter of time.

 

*I doubt they will play this for you, but I know you always wanted it at your service so I will post it for you here.

Love and Light.