Category Archives: mourning

When You Feel Lonely

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Reblogged from the amazing Martha Beckhttp://marthabeck.com/2012/11/when-you-feel-lonely/

 

At times in my life, I have felt utterly lonely. At other times, I’ve had disgusting infectious diseases. Try admitting these things in our culture, and you’ll find they evoke identical responses: Listeners cringe with a mixture of pity, revulsion, and alarm. In a culture where everyone wants a happy family and a sizzling relationship, the phrase “I’m lonely” rings like the medieval leper’s shout of “Unclean! Unclean!”

Fortunately, we now treat disease not by isolating its victims, but by diagnosing and healing them. Finding those who can comprehend the emptiness of your heart, diagnosing and ameliorating its ailments, can keep you productively engaged when your loneliness is at its worst.

The Time-Tested BLD System

Allow me to introduce the Beck Loneliness Diagnostic System, which is based on years of research I’ve conducted by brooding about my own problems during bouts of emotional eating. My system divides loneliness into three categories—absolute, separation, and existential—each of which has different remedies. I prescribe two courses of action for each type: quick fixes (to feel better immediately) and long-term solutions (to banish it for good).

Type 1: Absolute Loneliness
This malady occurs when we believe, rightly or wrongly, that there is no one who understands us and no one who wants to. Absolutely lonely people have few personal interactions of any kind. Isolation creates indescribable despair, for which typical self-help advice—”Have a bubble bath! Try aromatherapy!”—is ridiculously inadequate. The only saving grace of this state is that it often hurts enough to motivate people to try the following prescriptions.

QUICK FIX
Basic human contact—the meeting of eyes, the exchanging of words—is to the psyche what oxygen is to the brain. If you’re feeling abandoned by the world, interact with anyone you can—today. If you can afford it, hire a good therapist; if you can’t, hire a bad one. Attend a 12-step group, claiming codependency if you have no addictions. Sift wheat from chaff later—right now, it’s “Hail, fellow! Well met.”

LONG-TERM SOLUTION
If you’re living completely on your own, you must find understanding somewhere, somehow. No matter how scary it is to learn and use social skills, absolute loneliness is scarier. The best method to break out of solitary confinement is to seek to understand others, and help them understand you.

A simple three-step communication strategy is the most effective way to accomplish this. When you meet people, show real appreciation, then genuine curiosity; offer an honest compliment (step 1) followed by a question (step 2). Say “Cool hat. Where’d you get it?” Most often this approach will result in a brief, pleasant chat. Occasionally, though, someone will answer in such an interesting or charming way that you’ll want to respond by volunteering information about yourself (step 3), such as “I can’t wear hats—they make me look like a mongoose.” Repeat these three steps, and you’ll gradually connect at deeper and deeper levels.

The key word is gradually. Understanding is a dance of seven veils in which strangers take turns revealing a little more about themselves—not everything at once. Be patient, and the three-step combo can take you all the way from discussions of headgear to conversations like “You’re amazing. Shall we get married?”

Type 2: Separation Loneliness
If you force yourself to communicate with people appreciatively and curiously, you’ll eventually emerge from absolute loneliness. However, you’ll still experience what I call separation loneliness. Traveling, empty nesting, and almost any job will distance you from friends and family. Only since the Industrial Revolution have most people worked in places away from their homes or been left to raise small children without the help of multiple adults, making for an unsupported life.

QUICK FIX
Use separations to remind yourself how wonderful it is that you have people to miss. Solo time can motivate you to demonstrate that love. Focus on communication over distance. Tell interesting stories on the phone or in an e-mail about your day. Let your favorite people see life through your eyes. Ask them about what they’ve been experiencing, and listen or read with total concentration. You’ll come to know one another in new ways, and absence really will make your hearts grow fonder. Once that’s done, I recommend finding understanding by doing what the song says: If you can’t be with the one you love…love the one you’re with. Use your appreciation-curiosity-openness combo on the folks around you.

LONG-TERM SOLUTION
This remedy requires facing some hard choices. If you’re continuously aching to be with people you never see, the rewards of your career or nifty home in the exurbs may not make up for the sacrifice. Many of my clients decide that their horrible jobs aren’t worth forfeiting years with their family. Others stop hanging out with people—even relatives—who drain them, in order to be with those who inspire them. You don’t have to make such decisions immediately, but you do have to make them. Every day brings new choices. If you want to end your isolation, you must be honest about what you want at a core level and decide to go after it.

Type 3: Existential Loneliness
The final type of estrangement is a bedrock fact of the human condition: the hollowness we feel when we realize no one can help us face the moments when we are most bereft. No one else can take risks for us, or face our losses on our behalf, or give us self-esteem. No one can spare us from life’s slings and arrows, and when death comes, we meet it alone. That is simply the way of things, and after a while, we may see it’s not so bad. In fact, existential loneliness, the great burden of human consciousness, is also its great gift—if we give it the right treatment.

QUICK FIX
One word—art. In the face of great sorrow or joy, love or loss, many human beings who went before me learned to express themselves sublimely through clumsy physical things: paint, clay, words, the movement of their bodies. They created works of art that remind me I am not alone in feeling alone. Seeking the company of people who have learned to transcend the isolation of an individual life, who have felt as I feel and managed to express it, is the best treatment I’ve found for existential loneliness. (Notice that this advice is the opposite of the quick fix for “absolute” loneliness; you may need both prescriptions.) Make your own artistic connections. Read novels, listen to samba, watch documentaries: Seek art from every time and place, in any form, to connect with those who really move you.

LONG-TERM SOLUTION
Same word—art. The quick fix is to appreciate others’ artistry; the real deal requires that you, yourself, become an artist. I’m not asking you to rival Picasso or Mozart, but I would challenge you to think the way they thought, to put aside convention and embarrassment and do whatever it takes to convey your essential self. Use anything you can think of to understand and be understood, and you’ll discover the creativity that connects you with others.

If you begin to apply these prescriptions, whether by drumming up the courage to connect, choosing a moment of love over a moment of work, or creating something as silly as a bad cartoon, you’ll soon find yourself stumbling across beauty and communion. Loneliness, far from revealing some defect, is proof that your innate search for connection is intact. So instead of hiding your loneliness, bring it into the light. Honor it. Treat it. Heal it. You’ll find that it returns the favor.


Robin Williams Lived

There by the grace of God go I….this could have been me, this is me. By posting this article, I reach out my hand to another person with mental illness, a brain disorder, trauma or depression. It’s time we make our families and neighbors talk to us. We won’t survive in silence.

Please take my hand and hold on,  stay with us. If you can, please stay.

We can share this together, the dark and the light, eventually circling the world with love and the new definition of who we are.

We will circle the world until we are whole and dancing again.

Sarah Griffith Lund

Robin Williams lived a life that brought laughter and joy to millions through his comedy and acting.

He died at his home from suicide on Monday, August 11, 2014, at the age 63. He battled a brain disease that included severe depression. Even with treatment, support from loved ones, and a successful career, mental illness still can be a deadly disease, especially when paired with addiction to drugs and alcohol.

I remember when I first learned that Robin Williams had a mental illness and I was encouraged by his openness. I loved his work in Good Will Hunting, The Fisher King, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam, and his role as Mork from Mork and Mindy. My favorite work of his was stand-up comedy.

He had a brilliant brain. And he had a brain with a disease. He richly blessed us with his life.

May all of us find ways today…

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she is meeting herself in unknown ways….

Losing herself more often...These are not my words, although they represent me well.  A wisewoman wrote them, one I’ve recently stumbled upon quite serendipitiously, describing my mystic journey this summer.  As I read this passage, I felt she must have been present in some way to know that I’ve been losing track of time, losing my ability to remain grounded.

My absorption in the knowing of myself stretched out through most of the summer.  It was during this time that I had few words outside of my mind and heart.  My need for solitude became greater than before and I sought it for nourishment and enlightenment.

Thank you to the universe for bringing these words to me during a time when I needed them the most.  Thank you for allowing me to use your words when I had no words present.  Thank you for manifesting this healing concept in my world.

At some point during my summer of secret travels, they appeared with this image and I give credit to Sukhvinder Sircar for their origination.  For more of her beautiful writings and images, visit her blog, Joyous Woman! and find her on Facebook.

Nowadays, she is often losing track of time, day, week and month. Her absorption in the moment, in her work, her art, her prayer is getting deeper. She is beginning to ‘lose time’.  When she arrives back from her secret travels, she says ~ ‘I don’t know where I went’.  Yet she knows she was in a zone where everything already exists.

Some day, when you chance upon such a woman who is deeply absorbed and ask her ‘who are you?’, chances are you may see a knowing coupled with a blank expression. There are no words yet to her knowing.

Sometimes she worries about going missing. Yet loves the sweetness of loosing herself. The more absent she is, the more present she gets. 

She’s meeting herself in unknown ways.

*Sukhvinder Sircar*


Godspeed to Your Running Soul….

Maurice Sendak -Where the Wild Things Are

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The little boy comes to me with stifled tears, head bowed, chin jutted out, lips pursed together to keep in his words

I lie down behind him smoothing his long graying hair off his neck

He fights so hard; not to feel, not to disappoint, not to let the little boy get too far away from the only place he knows to be safe

I ache for his longings; his undiscovered freedom, stifled passions, joy without limits

I hold space for his gentle heart even when he can’t

He silently slips into sleep as I place a butterfly kiss on his salty neck and watch him come alive in his slumber, leaving tormented consciousness behind

Slowly at first, then with urgency, his legs start to twitch and run

I pray for godspeed to his running soul

and to please find my husband and bring him back

 

Photo credit:  Image from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

 

 


love story in there….somewhere….

girl and dragon

There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel.

I seem to have made it through the latest chapter of dark times.

Hopefully.

When I started this blog, I felt lost.  Then I found myself through writing and gave myself a voice that I’d never possessed before, at least for myself.  I’d been championing for others for decades; animal rights, women’s rights, diversity, environment.  It had become painful apparent to me that a great deal of time had been spent advocating for others and not myself.  That was a game changer.

Writing this blog has enabled me to find my voice through writing but look several issues squarely in the eye.  Honoring myself was one.  A simple bumper sticker noticed by the artist, Terri St. Cloud of Bone Sigh Arts.  Honor Yourself.  Simple words that were nearly impossible to integrate.

The next issue was that I couldn’t wrap my thinking around the fact that someone, anyone would want to read what I had to say.  In my mind, my words had to be profound, a literary masterpiece before putting them out for the world to see.  Shouldn’t I get a MFA in writing or something or some sort of artistic approval before being so bold as to put my words, my life, my history into words?  Well, that answer came soon too.  Survivors trickled in, slowly at first, some stumbling and fragmented, some already having honed their beautiful craft of expression.  All were worthy and I felt so blessed to be a part of a counterculture emerging for survivors, men and women, who were taking back their power.  I wanted to be a part of that.  For me, it was coming home.

My most recent absence is due to my utter confusion and re-entry into that dark place.  You see, I thought I’d been through it and had emerged complete, or at least complete enough.  I thought I was finally, finally in that safe cocoon where I could share my story of abuse and survival with the clarity of hindsight.  I was wrong, at least sort of.

This summer I separated from my husband.  My fairy tale crashed and I felt that I was a fraud.  How on earth could I write stories of hope and love when I had failed at my own love story?  Slowly, I moved through the hazy days of summer with my tool bag (purple of course) of rest, solitude, meditation, reading and dark chocolate.  I cried when I felt like it, wandered through the library, raged at Grandmother moon in the wee hours of the morning when sleep eluded me, slept any time I felt fatigued and tried, oh how I tried, to find joy anywhere I could.  I picked flowers and herbs from my beautiful garden and gave them to anyone I could think of; my church for Sunday morning service, the women at the convenient mart on the corner who are always so kind and make me laugh every time I’m there buying chocolate, my dear friend’s mother who was passing this summer, a friend who works long hours and commutes into the city each day.  I gave them just because.  Just because in the absence of my own joy, I needed to create that precious spark of joy for someone else and live vicariously off of that until I had my own.

Many, many people supported me though this passage, you will find them on my blogroll and Facebook page.  I simply couldn’t have weathered this without logging on to see their daily posts on love, writing, poetry, painting, nature, food.  I traveled with several as they made major changes in their lives too and hope that I provided them a wee bit of support also.

Slowly that spark began to burn again.  Now I have more words and more insight into myself.  I tip my hat to the dark side, purpose well served.

I still live a love story.  Really, there is a love story in here somewhere.  One that, once again, must begin with myself.  With or without a partner, my daughter, my dogs, my house.  I can write words of hope because now I’ve lived them again.  I’m not a fraud but an innocent person who stumbles and trips often, sometimes sitting in the mud puddle I fell in, squalling and crying.  But then there are times, when I laugh and dance around with a soggy tutu.

It’s all good.


my separation agreement

split

Yesterday I was presented with a formal separation agreement via text from my husband.  He is seeing a counselor now for his personal issues and those relating to me as a caregiver.  I have sensed him wanting to go for a while. He was amazingly chipper when he called and stated he was sending this document to me, it seemed to make him happy or at least relieved.

The depression/suicide rate is 8-10 times higher in BPD individuals.  Combine that with childhood trauma and incest and the statistics must go higher.  Those without any family support are figures I can’t even allow myself to think about.

I sit and pray.

 

 

 


this is where i sit tonight….eyes down, no one daring to look….

Worldly Winds

Broken Reflection

 

 

 

 

 

Shhh, don’t tell

don’t let on

that you’re in hell

hush now

 

Your lips are pursed

don’t tell the doctor

or the nurse

eyes down

 

What lurks within

can’t be without

masked by a grin

and bear it

 

So well hidden

the mortal sin

guilt well ridden

(Angels don’t sing)

 

The mask of norm

slips on by

distorts the form

stiff upper lip

 

Word to the wise

soured apple

of your eyes

windowless soul

 

Darkness falls

eclipses all

no voice can call

chin up

 

© Eyes Down 07.03.2013

by Alexandra Carr-Malcolm

Broken Reflection (Photo credit: shinealight)

 

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pushing through

Heartbreak changes peopleAlthough I’m borrowing this phrase from a fellow blogger, I’m going to let her story speak for me today.  How long have I just been pushing through?  A day, a month, a year?

Over a year ago, I lost a situation that was pure joy for me.  I lost it due to my emotion regulation problems that are a result of abuse.  My lifeline of joy that fed and distracted me from the pain is gone.  I’ve not been successful at replacing it yet although I do try each day.  I push through.  Just like my friend  A Heart of One does in her blog post.  The particulars of her life are a bit different yet the result is the same.  Our hearts are broken and we just don’t know how to fix them.  That’s all there is everyday….heartbreak….

     All of my life, I’ve been pushing through…pain, grieve, exhaustion, lack of supports.  I’ve made it work, kept going.  Do or die.  If I felt myself getting sick, I’d will myself to not be sick, keep going, don’t have time to be sick, take a rest, stay home, do nothing.

     I tried to push through today, still want to on some level.  I tapped into a painful memory last night.  Curled into a ball, on my side, clenching my bottom, mouth shaped into a scream, eyes wide, head jerking back, shaking all over, then crying.  Me, but not me.  A past me.  In pain, terrified.   He did not care about pain he caused or the fear that I felt.  It was a moment of complete horror.  I lived it and lived through it again.

Full article at http://aheartofone.blogspot.com/2013/01/pushing-through.html


PAY ATTENTION

she is lost again.

and i’m the only one she can speak through.  i am her voice and her vessel.  i carry her and speak for her.

hurled into the swirling spiral by the Dreamtime, no earthly choice just the mystical presence that puts her in that place between worlds.

the animals were there again: bear, turtle, owl, wolf, skunk.  each bringing a forceful message of  PAY ATTENTION! to the signs we give you.

she frantically hurled herself through the streets of this in-between world, trying to speak to strangers but her words weren’t understood, her language was foreign to each passerby, she couldn’t hear them either no matter how hard she concentrated and tried, though their mouths moved, the roaring in her head didn’t let their sound in.

the bear appeared growling, reared up on its hind legs and she quickly changed her path.

the skunk met her at another intersection to quickly alert her of its reputation and she turned and fled again.

she flopped in a grassy spot under a tree to rest, to find herself, wanting the path toward home. she felt her body relax until the wolf’s howl pierced the night and snapped her back into alertness.  PAY ATTENTION!

next to her she sees the spotted arc of turtle’s back and reached for her.  to her horror, the turtle shell cracked in half revealing the soft underbelly of the creature inside.  the girl knew instantly that she hadn’t been protecting herself.  she wept for her and blessed the turtle for its gift, sending her home to the Mother.

the cracked shell…a message…from the in-between….PAY ATTENTION!

leaning against the tree, she closed her eyes and was transported to the sacred spiral again. this time landing on a beautiful, gilded carousel.  eyes wide shut, she feels the hard, unyielding exterior that she had wrapped her small arms around.  she feels its slow, mechanical bobbing, resting her head upon its plastic mane willing herself to open her eyes.

finding courage to peer out through the spinning of the carousel, she spotted familiar faces in the surrounding crowd .  her sister, her mother, her husband and daughter.  each of them slightly turned so as to not meet her eyes, almost with their back to her.  they know her but wish they didn’t. they don’t like her when she’s in-between worlds.

spinning. swirling. bobbing.

then…all noise stopped in her head. silence. purposeful quiet. so the sounds coming through can be heard clearly and distinctly.

first a faint groan, followed by the slightest pop.  then picking up speed, the cascade of

splintering

SPLINTERING

SPLINTERING  the air.

the tree that stands alone in the forest, heavy with age and stress, fulfilling its time and finally surrendering to gravity.  the crescendo ending in a deafening thud as it has just split itself in half.

PAY ATTENTION!

she snaps back again. back to the carousel.

under her she feels the surface turn warm and pliable. energy radiating, coming to life.

living

breathing

snorting horse breaks the shackles around its legs and she grabs on tight.  unsteady at first, she synchronizes to its rhythm.

fear turns to joy.  heartbreak falls away. 

she feels the wind on her face as horse gallops her through the people, through the fields, to the ocean.

free. alive. wild. joy.

leaving all the people behind, leaving the in-between, she doesn’t look back.


the littlest L

 
so tiny and little  
the smallest of small  
barely a faint beat of a heart   
almost non existent, trying not to be  
too small to know how to stop her life  
mustn't make noise shhhh   
stay still, stay frozen 
don't need anything, anything at all   
she tries not to breathe or take up air  
barely tolerated when invisible loathed when seen   
she won't eat for fear of prolonging her life 
they tell her not to feel, cry, be   
she mustn't ask for anything 
kill her hearts desire for love  
she aches for comfort, people, laughter, relief  
but knows she isn't one of God's children deserving of these gifts   
she feels the tears but won't allow them to come  
they are not acceptable feelings show her humanness 
she despises her feelings they are wrong, always wrong   
shamed and beaten for them she hates herself more  
its better this way 
must remain frozen to keep the pain at bay   
her skin screams for sensation she won't give in  
cutting, slicing would allow her to feel 
thrusting her again to the place where she is hated  
turning to her refuge, she rolls into a ball and slips toward sleep   
her respite  
wanting the angels to visit her in the solitude of sleep  
praying the angels see her  
begging them to take her home

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