What the pit looks like.

I can’t understand why everyone can’t see how close I am to death, but they really can’t. Anymore than I could see if someone was going to suffer a stroke or get run over 20 minutes after they walked past me. At this point of course I can’t help but think of  the theory of lifelines of probability (care of “Daybreak”).

I am quite simply going mad.  If a score of 10 is actually committing suicide, I’m at 9.7 or thereabouts. For the first time in 10 years, I’m thinking about when and how it should occur. Scary. But – unlike last time – there are small moments of light in the dark, which actually help. Good things used to make me more depressed by reminding me that all good things do end, but now I’m grateful for any break from it all however small or minor. A kiss from little S, a silly kid’s joke or two from H, rainbows on the bathroom windows in the morning, a cup of hot chocolate.

I don’t WANT to talk to my friends and family about it too much – it’s so ******* boring. I’m bored of dealing with it, I’m sure they are too! Apart from the irritability and tension that is there for me, and I get so angry at them in my head, they are so slow, they don’t understand, they don’t keep up – so I don’t really want to talk to them about this anyway. I keep moving into numbness which I’m starting to enjoy, as it’s a bit calmer and more practical to be there. Meds have been increased and i think they are making me very sleepy… or could be I’m super depressed! That seems to make people tired.

I think this kind of bipolar/depression is so damn lonely. Either everyone is at the top of the pit completely oblivious to it, or would really rather not notice the pit. Despite their empathy, they don’t understand why you would be down there. Or the next time they look, you are back up at the top again, so they think you’re ok. Then with fellow sufferers – it feel like you are talking through a hole in the wall – from your pit to their pit-  but in the end you are the bottom of your hole – alone – and they are at the bottom of theirs.

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The direction of anger?

My psychologist was discussing how he believed that I had been “shamed” and humiliated as a child and asked me how that felt. Obviously, one felt embarrassed and reacted by withdrawing, going quiet, feeling very sad. But also – anger.  However, the anger has been interesting.  I don’t really feel angry at my Dad anymore, I don’t experience that complete, consuming fury anymore, when I recall what he did to me – the shaming, the humiliation, the emotional abuse and yes… the corporal punishment. I actually can’t remember a lot of the incidents any more probably only about four. I’m angry that I was powerless with my Dad, but I’m angry that he was powerless as a child, and so sad and angry at what happened to his mother, my Nana, as well. The buck seems to stop with her mother  but only because I don’t know her story either.

I am coldly furious at my brother, and wonder if what happened counts as physical abuse. Certainly he bullied me, and bashed me and made my life hell. I’ve never even acknowledged that, “he bashed me” nearly every afternoon after school during high school. Can you call it that? At some point you can, because I’m not a boy and it wasn’t just brothers  rumbling. It was a large, tall, stronger male using physical violence to torment a smaller girl. In black and white it looks that way. Maybe I’m overstating it? Not sure.

I am beginning to be angry at my mum for not protecting me from them. No one was ever annoyed at T for what he did, Mum didn’t really know what he was doing as she never fought with her brothers like that. I know why she didn’t say anything to Dad, as my parents would be divorced now if she had stuck up for us. When she did speak out, we all suffered for weeks.

This is a massive problem for me as I can’t be angry at my mum. It’s like being annoyed at Mother Theresa for leaving a dirty coffee cup on the sink, while she is visiting a leper. If I talked to her about it, she would be so sad, and upset and she does stick up for the my girls, and the boys. Not enough, in my opinion but she does speak out. This has just reminded me of that occasion when Dad kicked H and she hadn’t even done anything wrong. Say that again?!? He kicked my little girl. That stirs up fury I don’t know how to manage. And yet, he wasn’t drunk, he didn’t leave bruises, Mum made him apologise so is this abuse? She wasn’t tied up in a cellar and hit with a fist or bashed to death and stuffed in a suitcase – so do I have a right to speak up? To even feel upset about it?

What are supposed to do with our frustration and anger as adults? We are all human, and feel an incredible surge of energy and anger when frustrated and denied – but what do we do about that? HOW does one get self control and not lash out physically OR verbally?

so very low

Very teary last night, and this afternoon and this evening – keep wondering what the point is, why are we here. It’s all kind of academic because if i were to be diagnosed with incurable cancer tomorrow I would be furious beyond measure to have the choice to live taken from me, to think that anyone else would be called “Mummy” by my children. That’s a big one actually, I could totally be Ok with B having to marry again and find someone, but not my kids calling them Mum. And then I watch an hour of television – ie. escape reality for a while, and I seem to move up from that depth. I shouldn’t be alone, but I find being around people really exhausting. I am so very tired. I don’t even have any stress in my life,  apart from financial – but everyone normal has that. I feel like my life is such a waste, I feel like I’m supposed to be doing something but I don’t know what. I haven’t found what I’m looking for, but I’ve forgotten exactly what it is that I’m looking for, and why I started looking in the first place.  And then, even if I did find it, I would be too tired to do it. And so life goes on.

I feel so fat and so old and so ugly and so washed up. I know the inside is more important, it really is, but perhpas I feel so empty that I figure at least if I was beautiful I might have a right to exist?

The Shame game…

Trying to explore a bit more about attachment parenting, as I’m feeling rather lost. Well not so much attachment parenting, as I did the whole gentle birth, breastfeeding, baby carrying thing the second time. What to do with a toddler? With H we did smacks, time out, shame whatever to control her behaviour. S is throwing tantrums constantly when she is denied something, and she knows she is not going to get it. While I clearly remember how that feels (oh yes) I don’t necessarily know how to help her through it. We have had two successful episodes of “alternative parenting”, i.e. not time out/shame/punishment for behaviour. There were consequences but not necessarily direct punishment.

The discovery was that the outcome is much better, happier for everyone – however it takes so much energy, patience and gentleness to get there.  And of course TIME.  A quick time out (2-5 minutes) means behaviour modified, and lets move on. Alternative parenting can take up to half an hour or more, requiring levels of patience I wasn’t sure I actually had. The psychologist is right, in that if the perspective and understanding is changed then patience is not the effort it was, it removes the intolerance and of course the resentment to some degree.

I am of course greatly concerned that I am rewarding the “bad” behaviour, but her distress at time out, coupled with H’s distress at time out (still) up to age 8 years old, says that perhaps it is like locking them in the cellar. S has been voluntarily running to her room to cry, but the last two days has been enraged at being denied her wishes. Given she was a reasonable placid toddler (like H) – I’m a bit stumped as to what to do with them.

In an effort to find out more, or get some advice I was googling attachment parenting, and started to read an article “Good Children – At what Price?” which I didn’t realise was actually written by my psych! My annoyance with the article was that it lacks scientific backup/references. Grand sweeping statements such as “Numerous studies have shown…” – what studies? where? what were the variables? I will have to ask him for those, although I imagine they are in his book.

Anyway, after I realised the authorship, I read it a bit more closely. Whether scientifically proven or not, he really does understand shame. He indicated in one of our sessions what his parents were like, and I know elements of it echo my own upbringing.

While a lot is interesting and of course warrants further investigation into those studies/individual’s work, there was one quote I do not relate to, and feel is not correct for me – “In fact, psychotherapists and researchers are finding that individuals who are more prone to shame, are less capable of empathy toward others, and more self-preoccupied.” Certainly, I am self-preoccupied of course, but I definitely have empathy for others. In fact that empathy and compassion is often debilitating for me. I not only remember but truly know how my kids feel, watching a child tantrum is like a step back in time for me, I get it!

Some quotes that mattered to me:

“Thomas Scheff, a sociologist at the University of California, has said …People who feel shamed tend toward two polarities of expression: emotional muteness and paralysis, or bouts of hostility and rage. ”

“Psychiatry lecturer, Dr Peter Loader, says that people cover up or compensate for deep feelings of shame with attitudes of contempt, superiority, domineering or bullying, self-deprecation, and obsessive perfectionism.”

“When shaming has been severe or extreme, it can contribute to the development of mental illness. This link has been underestimated until now. ”

Hmm, wouldn’t that be nice to blame it all on my father! Not fair though, although I don’t doubt it had a part to play, given that my  first wish to die was in Year 7 (age 12). Also, I don’t like to think that I would be a bully, but I do have tendencies towards the other behaviours…

“This imagined malevolence is usually what underlies the impulse to shame children.”

“Provocative behaviour can indicate boredom, or perhaps the need for another ‘dose’ of juicy engagement with someone who is not feeling irritable, someone who has the time and energy to spare.”

And there’s the basic crux of the problem – I DON’T HAVE TIME AND ENERGY TO SPARE, AND I AM IRRITABLE 50% OF THE TIME.

Precious

Exhausting. Something has been woken from it’s slumber and will no longer be sated but demands recognition and expression. I realise too, why I get so angry with H’s outbursts.  I give her tools that I was desperate for, that no one gave me, and yet she almost casts them aside – those precious, precious comforts that I had to survive without. So often I feel like I am reaching back in time and looking at myself, at LittleNic.  I see myself in her fear, in her despair, in her anger and know that I had greater cause for it and less tools to deal with it. I still feel like I’m comforting LittleNic.

obsessing the uncomfortable

So an incident happened last week, with the psych. I was late, and had run over from the carpark in my gumboots, so was a bit hyped.  I was also feeling a little manic anyway, among other things. It was the second session and I just wanted to get into it  and wasn’t sure where we were going, so if someone is a bit slow, well I just take over! We all already know that about me, I guess he didn’t! He was a bit, I guess, overwhelmed? He gave the metaphor of the runaway train, and where are we going, and then almost angrily – “what happened to getting to know each other?” and I just felt icky all week about it. It’s one of those sore points, I HATE that about me that I just blurt it all out.  That’s me, no mask, the run away train, and while I was exposed he rejected me, which hurt.

We don’t get to know each other. He’s not my friend, neither am I his. I pay him $120 an hour to talk with me, so the social rules are different. I don’t do small talk well at the best of times,  I was late, so I felt like “quick, lets get to the point of the session.” If he needs a moment to settle in, then he should ask the inane questions -“what have you watched on telly this week?” or whatever cause I’m not going to do it! It’s a counseling session, of course there’s an agenda, a goal – he just didn’t tell me what it was.  It felt like he was implying a lack of care and compassion on my part for his feelings, which was a little unfair. I didn’t mean to do that, I like to choose whether or not I hurt someone. So I think I’ll tell him that if he is overwhelmed, don’t react with anger at me, just tell me gently, because the runaway train is an unpleasant but real part of me and  is a bit vulnerable to rough criticism.

I am precious, I am special. He is so lucky to work with me, to plumb my depths and be given the opportunity to create something beautiful out of the chaos there. I’m real enough to have no masks, I don’t lie,  and I’m more than 100% willing to make hard decisions. But they are delicate materials and need to be treated as such. I guess I won’t expose that again for a while,  I need to protect that part of me.

He was so pleased when I expressed with great emotion how  H doesn’t have any idea what unfair is, because I was being real. All that I have been there, is real, there hasn’t been anything false. Tears are no more real expression of myself than the runaway train or my body language. I can pull back, but that’s not fair for me.

what is lazy?

A dictionary definition : Laziness is a disinclination to effort or work.

I’d like to add that it also works out as continually choosing the short term pleasure over the long term pleasures. Perfect example -staying up late and/or sleeping in. Sometimes good, sometimes OK, but not always OK. Yep, that’s me, but the problem is I don’t want to be like that.

So I think the new psychologist has got me a bit wrong. I think he thinks that I’m like super controlled, super organized and just need to learn to let go, and love being “lazy”. I’ll have to fix THAT misconception. I’m none of those things, I just want to be – which is much harder to live with both for me and my family.

My life is not about “letting go”, really it’s about me needing to get a grip. I want to take hold of my life and stop letting it all “happen to me”.  I want to carry out some of my dreams, or at least have a go at them. I have my inner child well and truly let out of the bag and need to access some kind of outer adult in order to do and be some of the things I want to, so that I can at least be pleased that I didn’t waste my whole life.

He pointed out that I say “get over it” a lot, and he suggested that I thought “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and I reluctantly agreed with that, but pointed out that I wasn’t really comfortable with it. I’ve since thought it over, and realise that I don’t think that at all. “Whatever doesn’t kill you, could really fuck you up if you let it.”