News for April 2012

Thoughts on Imperfections

We are all flawed, we all make mistakes, we all fail at times, we are all imperfect. In addition, we all have some level of difficulty facing this and accepting it. Most of us if we were asked, “Are you perfect?” could easily answer this “No” and explain that no one is perfect etc. However, when we are confronted with a specific imperfection, a specific “flaw”, a mistake we made, a time when we failed or anything similar we often fight the notion that we made a mistake. It becomes much harder for us to admit that we are not perfect at these times, even if we are telling the person “I know I am not perfect”. Many times we add “but…” and some reasoning as to why it was not our fault, why we did not fail, why the mistake wasn’t ours or why we couldn’t avoid making it. Many times, we are in a state of denial.

Now, this does not happen to everyone, nor is every time we explain why we failed or why something was not our fault an act of denial. There are times when we are not to blame and the fault is not ours, when we are more a victim of circumstance. It is a very easy trap to fall into though, to blame others for your mistakes.


So, why do we sometimes fall into this trap? Well there are a couple possible reasons. The first one is that it is a lot more comforting to us to blame someone or something else for our mistakes. No one likes to make mistakes; no one likes to be wrong. Another reason is society. Society is set up in a very punitive way. If we make a mistake we get “punished” and let’s face it, no one likes to get punished. This fear of punishment leads to all kinds of problems. One of the biggest is the passing the blame of our shortcomings off on onto other people, the other big one is when we try to hide our mistakes and shortcomings. Both of these can happen because we do not want to get in trouble for being human.

When faced with these imperfections, it can have a tremendous impact on us. Normally this impact is a very negative one. Why? To me it is very clear and easy to see why it has such a bad impact on us. When someone tells us that we made a mistake it makes us worry. It makes us feel bad. No one likes to fail or let someone down and that is how we start to think when we are confronted with an imperfection in us or our actions. We start thinking that we failed, that we made the person unhappy, that they are disappointed ore embarrassed by us. That would be bad enough if that were the end of it, but this can quickly spiral out of control. We start expanding the one small imperfection and starts seeing it as it was not our actions or decisions that were the problem, but rather we start thinking that WE are the problem. We start thinking, if I made a mistake with this then obviously I am making other mistakes, I did not “fail” once, I am a failure. Then we start to think, if I am a failure obviously the person pointing out my mistake is not happy with me, if I am not making them happy then they cannot love me, if they do not love me they will leave me. We start believing that they are rejecting us because we made a mistake.

None of us likes to be rejected, as humans, we are by nature social animals, even those of us who prefer to be left alone, ultimately need to someone to accept us and love us. Therefore, when we start feeling rejected it hurts us a lot. The good news is that while these feelings sometimes occur when we are faced with our imperfections, they are normally not true. Often when someone points out our imperfections to us they are trying to help us improve; show us areas that have room for growth and improvement. Just because we make a mistake does not meant that they do not love us or that they are rejecting us.

Once shown an area that needs improvement, we can go about correcting it. Yes, many people try to correct these areas by using negative reinforcement aka punishments. They think that if someone gets in trouble and faces unpleasant consequences for a certain mistake that they will not make the same mistake again. This approach does work for some people, but not for everyone. A good number of people become angry and hurt. Punishing people for mistakes reinforces the idea of rejection and failure. Punishments can have an even greater affect on a person if the person suffers from depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety or any of a host of psychological issues. Punishing a person can have disastrous consequences. Unfortunately, it is the norm in society to punish instead of finding positive ways to correct a problem. Using punitive measures only leads to people hiding mistakes and/or people doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

Edited: April 28th, 2012

Blog Lost, Blog Found

Well I had a nice scare this evening. I accidently deleted this entire blog. The entire database was gone. I was in a state of dread. It seemed like months of hard work and intense emotions were lost forever.

As you can imagine, I was bordering on a breakdown. I could feel my heart racing, the stress, the anxiety and the emotions building and building. I was on the border between screaming and crying.

Yet some how I was able to hold on to my rational-self and think logically and productively.

I ran through everything I could possibly do on my own to restore it. I checked my ‘beta’ version, the one I was using to try out new themes, but it only went back as far as January. That would have left me with a loss of about 40 entries instead of a loss of 80 entries.

I also checked the way back machine to see if they had archived, unfortunately they had not. I checked to see if there were cached versions of any entries on google, nope. I checked to see if I could subscribe to my own blog on amazon kindle, hoping that maybe they kept a cached version. Of course, I could not subscribe to it because I do but have an actual kindle device, just applications that run kindle software. So that option was out.

I started searching my harddrives to see if I had a backup of the database or the entries saved to word files someplace. I was able to find maybe ten more of the entries that easy.

The last thing I tried, was the one thing that was the one thing that worked, I contacted the provider and asked if they could restore the database for me. Thankfully they were able to restore it for me.

I do not know how, but somehow I was able to keep it together and not lose it. It is a little over an hour since they restored it and I am still in the process of calming down.

Edited: April 25th, 2012

We are Not Meant to Hate (Secular Version)

Note: This entry has been modified from the original version to make it more secular in nature. A link to the original version is provided at the end of this entry.

So often people will think it is easier to hate than to love. The truth is just the opposite. We are ‘built’ to love not to hate. Hating requires a conscious choice on our part, to love is natural and instinctual.

We do not need to be taught to love, but we do need to be taught to hate. Sadly, society teaches us to hate those that are different. Society as a whole has made hatred seem to be our nature; however, only a very small part of humans cast this dark shadow on us all. When you are brought up around hate, you begin to believe it to be natural and emulate it.

The more we hate, the more our hearts become corrupt. The more they begin to die, the more we suffer. The good news is that not all is lost. It can be a long and hard road to rebirth but each of us can do it. None us need to ever do it alone. During our life, we all meet ‘angels’ that help us. These ‘angels’ take the form of dear friends, lovers and total strangers. They help us learn things about ourselves, give us love and comfort when times are hard, they in many other ways give us the strength we need to go on during the hard times. These ‘angels’ help us see the true nature of life and ourselves, love.

I have had my ‘angels’ over the years and have recognized a few of them.

To love we need only be ourselves. We need to share our gifts and blessings with the world, especially those less fortunate than ourselves.

The caveat is that we cannot do it out of fear of punishment or a desire to be rewarded, but to do it selflessly with the only goal of caring for others and expecting nothing in return.

The original non-secular version of this entry can be found here: http://www.jasonmpunko.com/wp/?p=164

Edited: April 22nd, 2012

Forgiveness

It is time to write about forgiveness. The last few weeks I have been thinking about it a lot. I think a good part of that is because when I read “Temple of the Winds” over, the rule driving the story is Wizard’s Fourth Rule: “The Wizard’s Fourth Rule, he called it. He said that there was magic in sincere forgiveness, in the Fourth Rule. Magic to heal. In forgiveness you grant, and more so in the forgiveness you receive.”

Forgiveness is an interesting topic, it seems that people find it easy to give or are unable to do give it. Personally, it is very easy for me to forgive someone. Now, most people will say they forgive you, but in reality, they do not. The ‘forgiveness’ they give is often nothing more than lip service. True and sincere forgiveness comes from deep within your heart and soul.

There are a few reasons why we do not forgive people. At times we do not forgive them because we are too angry or hurt, we are not ready to let go, we want to hold it against the person. Usually this is because we cannot admit that the other person is human and can make a mistake.

At other times, we do not see a need to forgive the person, not because we hold a grudge, not because we are angry, not because we are too hurt, but because we do not see things through the other persons’ eye, in these cases we only see our own point of view. We feel that there is no need to forgive the person because to us they did not do anything wrong, they did not hurt us or make us angry, but not everyone sees things the way we see things. We try to reassure the person that it is ok and that they did nothing wrong. Sometimes this puts the person at ease, other times it does not help at all.

When the problem is the second reason, hopefully in time something makes us see things through the other persons’ eyes. Sometimes it as simple as re-reading a book, such a thing can make a light come on inside, and we come to understand why the other person seeks forgiveness. We finally come to see how things might look to them. We realize the weight, regret, guilt, etc that the person has carried with them. Hopefully, we realize it sooner than later.

The funny thing, when we realize our own failure and mistake, all we can do is to forgive them and ask their forgiveness in return for being so blind and not looking through their eyes.

Edited: April 22nd, 2012

Saturday Night’s Episode – Today

Saturday was a bad day. A bad day that culminated in a severe episode and done self-harm. Sunday wasn’t much better, it was a carry over from Saturday. I was still hurting, a lot, emotionally and a good deal physically. My wife and I were still angry with each other. We definitely needed to give each other room.

As far as physical and emotional pain, today did not start out much better. It looked like it was going to be more of the same. Things with my wife seemed to have calmed down between yesterday and today.

As the day had gone on and I have had to deal with commuting and work, my mood has improved some. I am starting to cope better with what happened and put it behind me. The physical pain is still hanging around and will be around for a while I can tell. Today there is nothing I can do anything about so I will focus on my mental health and healing, that I have a lot more control over.

I will be through with this from the emotional side soon. The fact that I will be done soon pleases me, because I thought this was going to drag on for a long time.

While Saturday shows I still have a long way to go, today shows I am further and ‘healthier’ than I realized. Even just six months ago this type of thing would have taken me weeks, if not months to cope with, now it looks like it will be a week or less.

Step by step, inch by inch.

Edited: April 16th, 2012

Follow Up on Yesterday’s Episode

Note: This entry should be viewed with caution as it may contain triggers.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s entry I had a bad episode last night, ripe with self-harm. Unfortunately, today was not much better. The episode has left me in really bad shape and I am still feeling depressed. The old feelings of feeling like the world would be a better place without me and that people would be better off without me are surrounding me.

Once again today, my wife and I had a fight. This was a follow-up to last night’s situation. Once again, I hurt myself. I punched myself good and hard a number of times, all the face and head. I think I even slammed my head against the door a few times.

I am hurting really bad the last few days. It bothers me even more because until the last few days I had been doing really well since November. I have slipped so far the last few days it is really depressing. I really don’t want to get stuck in this place again. I need to get back to where I was before this past week. It had taken me so long to get back to where I was before all this happened.

Edited: April 16th, 2012

A Bad Episode

Note: While this entry does not contain excessive details of my self harming last night, it should be read with caution as it may potentially contain triggers for some people.

Well tonight was just peachy.The last week or so I have been having some really bad oral pain due to the horrible condition of my teeth from years of neglect. Oral pain is the one type of pain that I have the most trouble coping with in life. So when it hits like it has been hitting, I get very angry and yell, bitch and moan a lot. Sometimes even to the point of hitting myself in the jaw to stop the pain. Tonight was no exception.

I started yelling and screaming because I was in so much pain. The vicodin and other medications I have for the pain wasn’t helping much, so I picked up a lock and slammed it into my jaw a few times. My wife, bless her heart, called an ‘on call doctor’ to see about getting me help for my mouth. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the number and they said if you needed something to call 911.
This is where everything fell apart.

I was of course screaming like a wild man because of how much agony I was in at the moment, plus I was pissed about the fact that she called 911. The whole tiime I am screaming, and I hear her use the word ‘violent’. I do not know the context of her using the word, maybe she was saying I was in violent amount of pain or was referring to the fact that I had started hurting myself.

Needless to say this caused the cops and EMTs to stop by. That was lovely.On top of that she called my dad to stop by, all of this at 2330 until 0130 on a Saturday night/Sunday morning. Now, I have cops telling me that I need to go to the dentist. I got the impression that it was almost a you make an appointment ‘or else’ type of thing.

I was so upset between the pain and the fact that she called 911 that I hurt myself even more. *sigh* This is the first time this year that I did; however, I down right refuse to let this put me in a bad place beyond this.

Edited: April 14th, 2012

A Bad Day

Today was a bad day for me. It was the first really bad day that I have had all year. It all started with a comment that someone made to me the other day that has since left me feeling totally repulsive and like an ogre. Who said what is not really important at this point, the important part is how I am feeling.

All day long people have picked up on that somethign was bothering me. I wanted to talk about it to someone, but I told them that I just had a lot on my mind. I knew that no one really wanted to hear about what was bothering me. People have beat that fact into my head plenty of times over the years. So, I decided not to bother anyone with my problems.

Of course, the one person I did want to talk to about it, my wife, hasn’t felt well all day and slept the entire day. Even the cat slept the day away. It left me alone all evening, which made for a very lonely night. Needless to say, it did not help my mood any.

Right now as I type this up, I have my pillows and a blanket on the floor behind me. I am planning on sleeping on the floor of the hallway tonight.

Edited: April 9th, 2012

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon Tattoo

Mental Health Awareness TattooA few weeks ago, I went and got myself a new tattoo. I had wanted to get a new one for the last few years, but I either did not have the money, the time or could not settle on what I wanted. As each of my tattoo’s has a very special and important meaning to me, trying to decide what to get is sometimes a very difficult and lengthy process.

Then the other day it came to me. I knew I had to get something for mental health. Mental health awareness and ending stigma is very important to me. Mental health problems have touched my life directly and indirectly for many years and as you can imagine caused me much difficulty at times.

I have seen the havoc it has caused so many people. I have seen the lack of understanding, about mental illness, from others around me. It is a frustrating thing to see so many people who do not understand mental illnesses and how they affect people’s lives. The people I am talking about are good and intelligent people, they just do not understand.

The information that is out there is not always the best information and the good information is hard to find.

A perfect example of the kind of bad and harmful information that is out there is the eBook by Joe Navarro, ‘How to Spot a Borderline Personality.’ This book by this so-called ‘expert’ is offensive and does nothing but promote stigma. At one point in the book he goes so far as to suggest that when possible people should avoid people with borderline personalities. When I first read that I almost went through the roof.

The entertainment industry do not help either. They often portray people who have mental illnesses as ‘bad people’, often times as criminals or as mean, hurtful people. A lot of people unfortunately see this and think that we are all like that.

WE AREN’T.

Most of us are law-abiding, good, kind people. We just have challenges that others don’t. We have feelings, at times just more intense than other people.

I realize it is hard to understand this for a person who has never been around someone with a mental health issue or who does not have one themselves. Even the people closest to us, our families, lovers and best friends do not always understand.

Another common misunderstanding is that a lot of people do not understand that not everyone with mental health problems needs to be institutionalized or even shows visible signs. Just like with any other health problem, our problems cover a range of severity from mild to moderate to extreme. We can be ‘highly functional’, which I am most of the time, to almost ‘non-functional’ and any where in between.

I have had a number of people over the years not believe me when I told them about being diagnosed with mental illnesses, but they only really see the ‘public’ me. The part the gets up in the morning, puts on his game face and goes out to face the world, even if I spent the night hurting myself, screaming, crying and feeling like the world would be better off without me. They do not see or feel the turmoil, rage and pain that consumes me during those times. They just the public me.

Why don’t they see it?

They don’t want to see it. The world does not want to hear about our problems. It wants to go on believing that everything is rosy and that we are just being dramatic. It is easier for people to believe that we are being dramatic then to admit that there are problems.

I have had friends that when we were walking and talking, I would sometimes talk about my problems and my diagnoses and they would ask me not to talk about it. I told them I did not care who heard me because I wasn’t ashamed of my challenges. They however, did not want other people to hear what I was saying because of how THEY might be perceived.

So, when we go out, we try our best to hide our pain and our hurt and try to blend in and ‘fit in’ with everyone else.

Edited: April 1st, 2012

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