News for March 2012

Two Decades of Turmoil (Originally Written September 2008)

Note: The following was a journal entry, from my personal journal, that was written to a friend of mine. I wrote this on September 11,  2008 when I was going through a very hard time and my friend was there for me. Never underestimate the power of a good friend.

The highs and more prominently the lows of mine you see stretching before you are things I have been fighting on and off for 20 years. While I normally have a good measure of stability, I have my periods, as you can see of turmoil. The last 17 months have seen the highest peaks and lowest valleys I ever remember in my near 36 years. My highs have been tied to you directly. My lows, sadly, mostly tied to the nameless one. There has also been a few ironic moments. The two most notable are the fear you always had of hurting me was caused not by you but by the nameless one. So much living hell I went through. I look back and laugh at the irony of it. The other major one was when a woman here wanted to be with me.

At the time I was borderline suicidal and my emotions were all over the place. She let me know of her desire and I found myself saying those words you once said to me. That it was to dangerous so no. She said she would take the risk and I told her no I couldn’t and wouldn’t let her. As I said it I almost laughed at the irony.  I have long fought these problems as I said. The thing that has helped the most, that has got me through the storm, before I met you since no one understood me, was my intelligence. I have learned many things, including and most importantly, how to tell when an emotional reaction is in conflict to the facts.

For example, feeling everyone hates me vs  knowing there are some people that love me very much. I figured out that the feeling was not what it should be. I also figured out that even though it didn’t match up, that it was how I felt and that I had to learn to deal with it regardless of it was how I “should” feel. That my feelings were my feelings and not invalid. Even more than that I figured out that those misaligned feelings were purely emotional. Pretty good for an everyday guy huh?

OK, I know, I am far from ordinary. I know I have a lot to offer someone, especially love. I love totally, unconditionally and forever no matter what happens in life.

I also forgive instantly and totally when I love someone. I have also had a friend tell me “not everyone is as self-less as you.”

I figured out as well that I am not a total failure and am a good person, even if at times my emotions make me doubt.

The other thing that I have really improved on, my temper. I still have moments here and there but many less then ever before.

Funny thing, once I made my first wife leave they decreased, until I was with the nameless one, then they increased again. Guess what, they are back down…a lot.

I have fought myself and others since high school to get where I am.

It has been long and hard. Harder at times, easier at others. I have toyed with using the name Chaotic Ventrue in chat. I am chaotic, we both know that. Ventrue is a class of vampires, they are usually the princes and ruling class. I once told someone I work with about the torment I endured in high school and her comment was “wow, I am surprised you aren’t a mass murderer.”

I am a fighter even when I don’t want to, part of won’t give up. When I have that bright spot to focus on, that reason I can’t give up, it strengthens me, makes me want to fight harder.

I have walked many dark miles, illuminated at times only by the lightening from the storms that have raged in my soul. Other times I walk in bright and pure light. The Billy Joel songs:”I go to extremes” and “angry young man” fit me or have fit me almost perfectly over the years.

Too high or too low There ain’t no in between And if I stand or I fall Its all or nothing at all Darlin’ I don’t know why I go to extremes From I go to extremes.

I once promised you I would die for you. Now I make an even more important and much harder promise to you.

I promise to live. That no matter what that even when I am laying here curled up in tears wanting to give up,I won’t. I will fight for my life no matter what.

I hope one day someone will admire me as much as I admire you for all you have accomplished this past year and for being you. Though for some reason I doubt it will happen. As I write this,I have decided that if I ever have a daughter she will have your name. I hope when that day comes, she is even half the person you are. If she is she will be an amazing and wonderful person.

You are the ONLY person I admire and ever have. You have had an incredibly powerful and POSITIVE impact on my life.

Thank you for coming into my life. For being such a great friend. Last but not least, for giving me your support now when I need it the most.

Edited: March 19th, 2012

Thoughts on Love (Secular Version)

Note: This is the second of two versions of this post and is modified from the original version that I wrote from a Chrsitian perspective. I have attempted to leave the majority of the content intact to leave the overall message and thoughts the same while removing the Christian references.

As so often happens my mind drifts to the topic of love. Tonight I look at it a little differently, yet I see it the same as always.

Like the singular point that began the universe with the Big Bang, love is packed full of power, energy,happiness and intensity. Love encompasses all that and so much more.

What love does not contain are such things as bitterness and hatred. These traits are like the black holes of space trying to consume everything. They suck in anything that gets to close. As love gets pulled in it becomes twisted, perverted and warped. It turns into hate, anger, jealousy, etc.

These things were not part of the love that spread through the universe. Rather they are twisted, warped forms of what they were meant to be.  The good news though, is that unlike the black holes of space, the pits that try to consume love can be broken free of if we choose to break free.

We can’t always break free on our own. Sometimes we need the help of a good friend or a loved one. Other times it happens because of life altering events. But in all cases we can only break free if we are willing.

Now, while love is so single pointed, it is at the same time all encompassing and infinite. Love knows no bounds and does not judge or find fault. It does not hold grudges and always forgives. It is total, complete and unconditional. We call this type of love agape. Unfortunately because we are human, we are limited in our ability to express agapic love to everyone as it is meant to be expressed.

This infinite and singular dimensions of love is a mystery to our minds. We can only door our best to try and forgive ourselves when we are not perfect. The good news is that we are all capable of loving and being loved. We all have it within ourselves, no matter how many or how severe the challenges we face in this world.

 

Edited: March 19th, 2012

Thoughts on Love (Christian Version)

Note: This is the first of two versions of this post and is written from a Christian perspective of life and love. The other version removes the Christian references while leaving the majority of the content intact in a hope of providing a more secular version.

As so often happens my mind drifts to the topic of love. Tonight I look at it a little differently, yet I see it the same as always.

Like the singular point that began the universe with the Big Bang, love is packed full of power, energy,happiness and intensity. Love encompasses all that and so much more. We have a name for the initial singular point of love that filled the universe with love, we call Him God, in the Christian traditions.

What love does not contain are such things as bitterness and hatred. These traits are like the black holes of space trying to consume everything. They suck in anything that gets to close. As love gets pulled in it becomes twisted, perverted and warped. It turns into hate, anger, jealousy, etc.

These things were not part of the love God spread through the universe. Rather they are twisted, warped forms of what they were meant to be. These things formed because of free will. We humans chose to pervert the gift of love that God gave us.

The good news though, is that unlike the black holes of space, the pits that try to consume love can be broken free of if we choose to break free.

We can’t always break free on our own. Sometimes we need the help of a good friend or a loved one. Other times it happens because of life altering events. But in all cases we can only break free if we are willing. And in all cases,regardless of if we realize it or not, with the help of God. Now, while love is so single pointed, it is at the same time all encompassing and infinite. Love knows no bounds and does not judge or find fault. It does not hold grudges and always forgives. It is total, complete and unconditional. As humans we call this type of love agape. Unfortunately because we are human, we are limited in our ability to express agapic love to everyone as it is meant to be expressed. There is only one who can and does express it perfectly.

This infinite and singular dimensions of love is a mystery to our minds.

We cannot contemplate it fully, for to totally and truly understand love, you would need to completely understand He that cannot be understood totally in this world.

Edited: March 19th, 2012

The Importance of Sleep

I cannot stress this enough, getting the proper amount of sleep is crucial; especially, if you face the challenges associated with conditions that involve difficulty regulating  emotions. This is something I know first hand.

Right now I am feeling a bit run down physically because I did not sleep well last night and I feel on edge and irritable. I still have control of myself, but it is harder to keep that control than usual. The main difference is the lack of good sleep last night.

A number of studies have shown that people who do not get enough sleep have increased trouble regulating their moods. This is of course compounded for those of us who struggle with control on our good days.

A proper amount of sleep lets the body unwind and recharge. It helps you face the day and all the challenges, struggles and frustrations that come with it.

Here is an article on the importance of sleep from the American Psychological Association (APA): http://www.apa.org/topics/sleep/why.aspx

Edited: March 14th, 2012

“Waking from a Bad Dream”

As I was getting ready for bed, a thought occurred to me, and that thought lead me to write this entry.

Lately, I am feeling better than I have in a very long time. The last time I remember feeling this good was right before my July 3, 2009 accident. That one single event sent me spiraling out of control psychologically for over two years. It was not all straight angst and pain, rather, it set me on a wild and crazy roller coaster ride. My bi-polar disorder, my borderline personality order and my anxiety all went haywire.

Several times I thought I had hit my low point, the problem was that it was just a lower plateau, I still had further to fall down the mountain. I would hit that plateau and the start to claw my way up again only to fall once more, hit the previous plateau and bounce off it and fall further. Every fall seemed harder and deeper than the previous fall.

Finally, at the end of last year, I hit the bottom of my mountain. I will not go into the details, but it left me in a bad place mentally. It was part due to the problems with the apartment my wife and I were living in, how deeply immersed I had become with politics, the political landscape in the United States and trying to get ready to move. Ugh.

Once my wife and I got into our new place, things started to turn around for me psychologically. I started feeling better and moving back up that mountain. One thing that was very odd, is that the holidays are usually a time of year that I hate. They are a time of year that I am usually at a lower point than the rest of year. This year, I enjoyed the holidays. It was the first time in a long time that I really and truly enjoyed them and looked forward to them. Even this past winter was not bad for me despite the fact that I suffer from Seasonal Afflictive Disorder (SAD). I had a better winter than I have had in a very long time.

Then at the start of this year, I made a decision. I decided the depression, the cycling moods, the self-loathing, etc. were not going to win. That I was going to have a good year and that if 2012 tried to get in the way of my having a good year, I would kick it nice and hard in the butt. I have had a pretty good year so far (knock on wood). Yes, I have had a few ‘moments’, but I have handled them and they have been relatively short-lived. The few moments have not sent me out of control or kept me down (or highly agitated). They have come and gone. For the most part, my moods and responses have been within in a ‘normal’ range.

As my mood keeps stabilizing, I feel like I am waking up from a bad dream. I feel like I am coming out of a drugged state. I am feeling human and alive again. The world seems real once again. The sights, the sounds, the tastes, the smells, everything seems real.

Edited: March 11th, 2012

Book Reviews

As time goes on, I will be providing some book reviews on books related to a variety of mental health and mental illness topics. The books will cover a variety of types, from personal accounts to books made for the average person to books and papers for mental health professionals.

Along with reviews of the book as a whole I will provide an analysis and critique on key areas, usually at the chapter level, of the book. If you are interested in reading and discussing books with me, or you have a book you read and want to provide a review on, please let me know.

Edited: March 3rd, 2012

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