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When Some Part of Your Life Seems Beyond Your Control

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God delays, but doesn’t forget.”  — Spanish Proverb

 

Each month, I find it more difficult to meet my expenses until the end of the month, on my fixed income. As each month’s end grows closer and I find myself without enough funds for essentials like food and medications, I find myself sinking into a dark hole of depression and anxiety. I worry that I’ll become severely ill, as happened last year, spending months in the hospital. In today’s still lingering economic downturn, it’s frustrating for anyone who has lost a job or met financial setbacks.  Those of us facing financial difficulty suddenly feel curtailed, with the rhythm of our lives changed in a way we never anticipated.  But the Universe slows us down for a reason.

There can be gifts in adversity.  They can give us some much-needed time alone, time to think.  Being alone gives us the chance to find ourselves in a new way.  We may be surprised to find some previously unknown inner resources.  A period of waiting through adversity can also turn us to our Higher Power, God, or the Universe when the solace we need is beyond the capacity of people to give.

It’s challenging to be able to do nothing when the world tells us that we must take action.  When action isn’t possible, accepting the circumstances of our lives enables us to experience the value of being, and not doing.

 


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The Terrible Beast and Me

 

 

“The terrible beast that no one may understand, came to my side, and put down his head in love.”     – Louise Rogan

 

There are times when it seems easier to give in to despair than to fight my way out of it.  I’m learning that the trick is to catch myself before I become so depressed that I’m incapable of acting.  For starters, I can ask, “What am I feeling? Am I angry, sad, resentful or feeling sorry for myself?”  There usually is real pain beneath my despair – pain that must be expressed so that I can let go of it.

I can also take good care of myself.  I can eat right, get some exercise, get out of the house more and seek kind and understanding people.  Talking through what’s bothering me and asking for what I need are good antidotes to despair.  Most of all, I can reach out for the consolation and strength of the Universe.

I may feel unworthy or hopeless and too tired to even care.  I may believe that nothing matters.  But things do matter.  I matter.  Life matters.  I don’t have to keep struggling with despair and depression alone.  I am grateful for this spark of hope within me that can never die.  Things will get better.

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What Are We So Afraid Of?

Anxiety, Fear, Ignorance…

 

“Nothing in life is to be feared.  It is only to be understood.” — Marie Curie

Fear usually comes from ignorance and it paralyzes usually only as long as we stay in the dark.  For many of us, fear is often free-floating anxiety that overtakes us inexplicably and pushes us toward unaccountable actions.

Anxiety and fear have causes, and if we are brave enough we can explore them and put the bogeyman to rest.  We can’t always do it alone however, because we need to hear some reaction to our insights and hunches about where our fear comes from.  We can often find our true selves in the shared struggles of another person, or in the words given back as we tell others about our fears and hopes.  Most of us have been alone too long with our feelings trapped inside.

I have striven toward understanding, however long and painful the journey may be.  For those like me, we need to remember as we go that we are accompanied by good and loyal companions.  Every step we take can be a yard won back from fear as we become familiar with the new and uncharted territory.  Think and speak your way out of ignorance and fear, accepting the companionship of others along the way.


Change is Painful

But What About the Agony that Results Without it?

 

 

 

“An old error is always more popular than a new truth”     –German Proverb

I often feel uncomfortable with the “new” because it causes me to reach out and expand my vision. This may at times, be painful and I don’t like the pain that comes with change.

My previous unhealthy behaviors and actions seemed cozy and gave me a curious kind of comfort and reassurance. I turned to them when I was lonely or anxious or hopeless. I was used to them and didn’t need to do much to keep on going in the same old ways. I’m feeling the need to turn to some of those old ways today, due to pressures, stress and disconnection from my family and some friends.

But today, suddenly I saw the error of my old ways. Discovery, disgrace, previous suits for damages, my partner’s incarcerations, my resultant isolation, despair, the loss of two previous partners, the contempt of our friends – are all the consequences of the coziness of those old ways. Yes, I may have awakened to find that my past behaviors ruined my life. I once again reach out to the hard process of change.

Making difficult changes is painful, but that pain is far preferable to the agony caused by the inevitable outcome of a return to the past behaviors that come from addiction and neglect of my bipolar disorder. I am reaching and embracing the new even though it is sometimes painful for a while.

Gemini ~ Naturally Bipolar and Anxious

 

I am bipolar and within the last year or so, have begun to experience severe anxiety and panic. In late December I had meltdown of incredible proportions. The extreme anxiety disorder is new for me; haunting me for a little more than a year now. Anxiety so strong, and triggered by the actions of my partner. For several years, he has promulgated a new behavior, “Babe, I’m just running up to the 7 Eleven to get some cigarettes; I’ll be back in twenty-five minutes.” As he walks out the door I always say, “Take your cell phone with you,” which he already has in hand.

That promised “twenty-five minutes” turns out to be days that he is away from home, not answering his cell phone or even calling. I refer to it as my partner “going missing.” My reaction begins with worry. Then I may happen upon something on the computer exposing the person he would be meeting and what they would be doing. A friend of mine has a husband who has nearly same behavior. She calls this type a “player” explaining that these types of men want to still run the streets, cheat on their partners or spouses. The “player” behavior is incongruent with the committed relationship my partner and I have. This friend’s advice to me was to be proud that it is me he eventually comes home to, giving me parts of himself his hookups never see. To this I say, “bullshit.”

Player my ass. My worry then turns to anger. I can’t sleep. I start calling my partner’s phone over and over. He calls it “psycho dialing.” The anger then turns to tears. I cry as I wander through the house, “What did I do wrong? I didn’t do anything wrong.” My speech becomes so slurred and difficult to understand that it has been described as though I had a stroke. Lately, I noticed a pain in my chest along with a rapid and what I describe as “fluttering” heart. Irritability for me is a sign that I am swinging toward the maniacal part of bipolar. Then deep depression, laced with that wicked anxiety and panic. I began taking a prescribed anti-anxiety medication called Ativan. I was eating it like candy.

This most recent December meltdown grew so out of control I felt as though the only way to be free of it would come through ending my life. I have been in this cold place before and placed a call to the behavioral health crisis line associated with my health insurance. I was referred to the Maricopa County Hospital. There I was checked out and cleared medically and it was suggested I sign myself in to St. Luke’s Behavioral Health. I’ve been there before too. St. Luke’s worked for me before. Back in 2005 I nearly ended my life with a mantra in my head, “I hate my life, I hate my life.” After two months they helped me see the world differently and I left there with a new mantra, “I love my life, I love my life!” I felt safe returning there.

I worked hard over the next three weeks, finding that each time I told my story, I felt more at ease and could see the flaws in my relationship. I realize the degree of my co-dependency and made a commitment to attend CODA (a twelve step group for co-dependents). I was placed under the care of the psychiatrist who followed me last admission. He wanted to take my treatment further than I agreed to last time. In my first admission, he suggested ECT (Electro Convulsive Treatment.) I refused it then because of the loss of one’s short-term memory as a side effect of the treatment. But this time felt different to me and I agreed to begin the treatment.