Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Smooth and Supple is Bad in Landing Gear

For my 50th post, I am going to write something of the truth that I've learned about myself.  I am looking for a mother.  A great deal of my life's troubles, and alas, there are a few, stem from that drive.  I am not seeking out some great Oedipal thing, but more the basics - care and comfort in the arms of the mother I never really had.  

So much of my behavior over the last 4 years has been the subconscious drive to find peace when I've had none.  I've driven so hard and so long with nothing, that my infantile brain began to remind me that I needed something, and desperately so.  This is not a knock on my SO, as she is neither my mother nor does she ever need to be.  That said, she is not the nurturing, warm and gushy type.  She just isn't, and it isn't in her DNA nor her experience.  She has many charms, and is a good person, but doesn't smother with love.

But like so many men who've reached my age without ever having had a mothering experience, there is some primal drive to get there that seems to overtake.  The women I've spent time with outside my marriage, damaged and unhinged as they all were (that is my real mother), all, to a one, had the mothering gene.  It was the only comfort I got from the relationships, even as they inevitably turned to a borderline (pun intended) disaster.  I would get care and comfort, mothering of sorts, but at the only place I've ever known it, the crazy bar.  

That sounds like a basic thing, to call this a learned truth, but to be honest, I don't think I understood what the hell I was doing to myself, and why I was doing it during that time.  Every single relationship and pursuit was to find my mother, or at least the crazy version I know, because I need to feel that love.  

Now, to greater things upon realization, and that is to find that love.   I don't really know where to look.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Living at the Eight and a Halfs

Depression leaves me at the eight and a halfs.  You know when you are in the hospital, and they ask you to explain where your pain is on a scale of 1 to 10?  I explained to someone today that when I get to the point where my internal suffering passes 8.5 on the scale, that there is nothing I wouldn't do to make it stop.  I used the analogy that I would cut off my own arm, and that it might even seem logical to do that, to make it stop.  I mean, what's crazier, thinking that cutting off your arm might solve the problem, or starting to wonder if it is, in fact, crazy to think it is crazy...

I shared as well the real trauma at the eight and a halfs...   The constant failures.  The failure to do much more than raise your head above the pillow, to accomplish one single thing beyond breathing all day and then the lumps.  The lumps of self-flaggelation, self-loathing and self-hatred for letting yourself and others down yet again...  

If only I could just do something, anything, it would be better.  I've survived a hundred debillitating traumas, but I can't make my brain do what I need it to do.  That's a horrific sensation living at the eight and a halfs.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Short on Posting, Long on Self-Pity

The truth of the matter is that I've had a setback of sorts in my depression.  I am back to feeling exhausted and worn out.  The positive looking side of me says that it is a natural whiplash effect from all the stuff I've been touching on the inside that just asked for some time to heal and regroup.  The negative side feels a little hopeless and lost in the return of the canius negra.   But the loudest voice is the positive one, though not always...

I am still doing all the my work, still attending meetings, still talking and learning as much as I can.  I am still doing one or three little things to improve the pace every day, but I am tired, woefully so.  It does bother me that I felt like I was winning, but sometimes I think it's a sin, to feel like I'm winning when I'm losing again... 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gunter Glieben Glauchen Globen

It starts with nonsense and then it gets nowhere, fast.  

Today I won.  

I am not less than I was when I awoke.  And for that, I win.  

If you've been there, you know what I mean.  

Friday, March 11, 2011

No, I'm Not Saying I'm Sorry

No, No, No, No!!!

Saw the T today.  It was pleasant, fun and a little weird, in the good way.  It was the last of my 6 EAP sessions.  I am better, there is no doubt and there is hope on the horizon.  We talked a lot of my resentments and my frustrations with how things have been.  

There were a couple of salient moments, moments of great solace and comfort.  First, is that she validated what I've know for so long.  That I've lived a left so bereft of care and comfort, so absent of basic human contact, that I have sought it, when I needed it most, the only comfort I've ever known, even in the arms of the crazy and malicious.  

I'm truly sorry.  I am who I am, the product of where I've come from, where I've been, and not going anywhere specific, but to safety and security.  I wish there was no such thing as fighting, that the world could just be this perfect place and everybody could just get along, but obviously that can't happen... 1:42...  The look says everything I feel... 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I've Got A Dangling Chad

Life is weird. I know I am the first person to ever say that.  For my originality, I am pretty proud.  Ok, that's not totally true.  But I am feeling the burden lift of my demons.  Maybe not perfect, maybe not ideal, but not the same as its been.  I stood in a colleague's office today, yelling and dropping F-bombs about something retarded that his retarded boss was asking for that is actually in my domain.  I was passionate, engaged and committed to my craft and trade and it eeked out in violence of action.  I was in the game and it was obvious.  I care.   Deeply.  Passionately.  At one point, someone 40 feet down the hall sent an email to my colleague asking if everything was OK, cause all they heard were F-bombs and yelling.  I had an audience of really smart people hanging on my every word and fully engaged and revelling in the mirth of the show.  I was teaching, engaging and funny.  They learned some incredibly complex concepts during my little show and were smiling and laughing at my outburst.  It was the wunderkind teaching how deep the skilllzzzz go.   There was shock and awe. 

I've not done that in 10 years.   

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Like a Dirty Sock, Dirty Sock, Dirty Sock

I am back.  Was a productive downtime.  I really had gone too far, too fast and was in danger of implosion.  Implosion for me is to begin to disassociate and to live outside myself, finding solace for my pain in everything and anything that resolves it, even if only for a second.  It does lend itself to some guilt that with an illness that takes all of the good from life for so many, that I have found a few little behavioral things that can offer a touch of relief.  That is completely said in an ironic voice, as those "things" are also incredibly self-destructive and self-mutilating.  

So what have I been doing?  Well, the depression that I woke up with on Saturday, the day after my self-imposed blogging exile, has passed.  I was doing too much and I am grateful being measure that I got a wake up call before I sunk deeper.  Chalk one up to my enthusiasm, and the good sense to surround myself with people who've got good sense, as I seem to lack it sometimes.  Since then, life has been ok.  Up and down with the SO, but that is a matter of a) my inlaws visiting, always a stressful experience and b) some of the anger she feels towards me bubbling to the surface.  I am ok with the anger, and I feel I deserve it, but it is very counter-productive to making things better.  I simply don't handle it very well, and shut down emotionally when she's on me.  And that is exactly a trigger for her to get angrier.  I feel as though her angry side just wants to hurt me, hurt me as I've hurt her, regardless of the consequences.  She's let it fly a few times and I feel like I've been in the ring for 30 seconds with a young Mike Tyson.  It leaves me dazed and confused and seriously riding my internal self-mutilation pony.  I get on that little horse and pound and beat on myself until I am thoroughly ass-kicked and bleeding for all orifices.  But while some shame and remorse in this situation is good and needed, it doesn't help that I don't have a healthy way of handling those feelings and only abuse myself with them.  

With that, I've exhausted myself again, but I'll be back for another episode of my valiant, vainglorious battle through the Noonday Demons....   

Friday, March 4, 2011

In the White Room With Black Curtains

I am under orders tonight.  Those orders come from my T, who I saw today.  Those orders are to take a break from all things emotional for a day or three.  She's concerned that circumstance and enthusiasm are going to leave the cupboard bare of cope and hope.  I am feeling good, but I am exhausted emotionally.  I don't have much left in the tank and need to take care of that.  I've not been work-functional for a couple of days, and it is obviously due to the heady number of emotion-driven events of the last week or so.  

So with that, I slumber and rest, and onto a new day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tell Me Lies Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

It starts here.  


I read this posting today and I was floored by the fact that something I've been so crushingly ashamed of actually has a reasonable basis in logic and reason.  If I look at it with some honesty (ironic?) I would say that my lying falls into two parts of the definition.  First, I am over honest.  I spill everything and anything about some of my more intimate details very easily.  This blog is somewhat an evidence of that, if I consider it fully.  It is certainly evidence of a lack of practice with boundaries and understanding what "normal" is.  The other area that strikes me is the grandiosity lies.  It strikes me very much as a need to prop myself up and be seen as more than I feel I am.  Which if I take a breath for two seconds and look at what I've accomplished in life, in terms of professional and personal, there is no need for a prop.  But I can't shake that sense of drowning in the juices of my own stew.  I have nothing to be ashamed of for who I am on the inside, and that's something I need to grasp with both hands.  Maybe I wasn't born this way, but I sure earned it.

I am very tired again.  Emotionally worn out, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I am working hard with muscles that I've frankly never to very rarely used.  I want to keep going, to move forward, more and more, but I am tiring quickly.  I am still doing my three things every day, and it feels good.  Somewhere on my list of next baby steps is my physical fitness level, but I am only cautiously stepping towards that one.

Realizing that I am a normal product of the chaos I grew up in is a safe feeling.  I like safe.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Not Yet a Woman...

Life is rolling.  It is moving in fits and sputters, but unlike much of the last 4 years, it is moving.  I am feeling quasi-human, and that's a start.  I am still fighting the depression, and still get wrapped around the axle on feeling ashamed and humiliated by what I've done.  I can't say it clearer than that.  Not sure what to do at the moment with that, though I have a clear sense that that shame and the corresponding self-sabotage are what is singularly standing between me and the next gatepost.  I am not seeking a life of denial and to launch myself headlong into the abyss of "solving" that problem.  What I am going to undertake is patience, and try some self-understanding.  I want to lift the veil of shame and live more freely of who I am.  On the surface, and even at my core, I know that most people think I am the cat's meow and not the dog's breakfast.  But the absence of anything to buttress my shame and loneliness against leaves me bereft of substance enough to feel any peace.

I attended a meeting tonight, an open AA meeting where a friend was speaking.  He is a great guy I've met through ACOA and listening to his story, as usual, I heard much of my own.  He spoke of never having felt like he belonged, of always having to have a prop to get people to like him, of being a teller of tall tales that amused people enough that they'd like him.  That's my story too.  I don't remember ever feeling secure in and of myself.  He also spoke of enjoying being alone.  I so know that feeling, and to this day will withdraw into a vacuum of human interaction if you let me.  

On a side, but related note, I have sworn of the internet porn thing for a while, because I think I've been using it as a crutch of avoidance.  It can be so compelling to get that rush of testosterone, and to overwhelm my feelings of inadequacy with feelings of manliness.  Not so different from the place I ended up with serial infidelity, where it was more about living out Oedipal compulsions and sub-conscious impulses than it ever was about sex and intimacy.  It just isn't a healthy place for me, to self-medicate.  I am running away from what I want to be when I do that.   

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We Aren't Going to Go There

Went to the marriage T tonight.  I am ambivalent about the experience, but after a sleep, I expect to be all cool with it.  The MT went through all the systems and processes for how he runs his deal, and it all made real sense.  It is based on the IMAGO approach from some guy who wrote some book about getting the love you need.  It broke down into the same lizard brain versus the frontal cortex discussion that I've focused my depression T on and my mindfulness approach to doing 3 little things every day.  So I was all cool.  Then he said that we weren't going to get into the betrayal at this first session as it is too charged with emotion.  I thought, cool that makes sense, and lines up with my trying to approach things with the antithesis of my usual approach to charge headlong and aggressively into everything I "go after".  

So, near the end, we started doing one of the exercises, and what do we end up talking about?  My infidelity.  I felt crushingly shamed sitting here talking to some guy I just met about the singularly most shameful acts of my existence, in front of someone who is still very hurt and angry about my actions.  It kicked my ass a bit, to be totally honest and I am feeling incredibly emotionally fucked up.  I am living with a weight of shame and remorse, and I don't feel terribly much like adding to that burden while I am also trying desperately to lift my head out of a major depression.  I am not trying to make a cope out or excuses, because I am responsible for what I've done, I am just trying to find a pace of healing that lets me survive this.  Yes, these are my actions, based on compulsions I can't understand or quantify, to self-mutilate in search of something, something I know not totally what I was looking for.  I do know that I damn near destroyed myself in the process, and hurt my SO so greatly that I am still at risk of losing her.  

I know I need to make amends, but I can't do it if it will destroy me in the process.  It is clear to me that I need to take time and place with this, even at the risk of hurting her a little bit more, because I want to survive this to make it through.  It sounds dramatic, and overwrought, but anyone who's been to the darkness knows that you don't compound your exit from it with more horror.  I need a beachhead of safety and relative personal sanity, and I am getting there.  This is not a rip the bandaid off moment, that's my usual self-mutilating stupidity. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sing a Song of Sweetness

There is no specific thought or theme in my mind as I sit down to wordvomit.  I am cognizant of the fact that there is peace in simply exercising the disciplines of writing of my inner sanctum.  The day, in and of itself, was not remarkable, though my grumpiness at work was noticeable, it didn't translate to the homespace, as I spent the evening nurturing the kiddies and playing games and sports.  It seems a little strange to have that paradigm inverted, but I'll take it 100 fold.   

Tomorrow is the counseling with the SO.  I am a little nervous, as I am sure I have to tell the "story".  It makes me feel great shame to tell where I ended up, and more than a little denuding to tell wherein I came from.  I guess from my last T session I feel a little better as she asked me what percentage of survivors of childhood abuses like I suffered truly survive to have "successful" lives.  I hemmed and hawed, and she talked about massive longitudinal research studies, murders, suicides, incarcerations, institutionalization and told me that only 12% of people who've lived my life have survived.  1 in 8.33 I whipped back at her.  It floored me more than a little, and still to this moment fills my heart with some emotion that I can't shake.  Maybe pride, maybe guilt, maybe doubt?  I don't know.  But while I have wallowed greatly in my ocean of self-pity, hanging on by a thread, I have in fact, hung in there.  I guess, even at the weakest correlation, that is somewhat amazing.  

The fact is, that I know that 1 in 8 all too well and can simply expand my personal horizon to my own wider family and see that that ratio holds true, and then some.  It is sad, sad, sad.  I am not crazy, as we talked about with my T, and the most probable conclusion we could draw is that I've never stopped fighting back.  As I said in the concussion post, I will brawl until the death, just give me a chance.  I know others who've fought, but mostly with themselves.  I fought my torment, my tormentors and never stopped.  Maybe that's the deal, but I don't know.  But I'll take it for now, and sleep soundly.   

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Take Me Higher! Higher!

I shall, by all intents, be brief in my ramblings this fine soiree.   I am still wiped out from not sleeping for a couple of days but I am pretty ok with that.  I know that so much of my not sleeping is due to the emotional over stimulation of the last week.  I really am ok with that, as I see it as the portal to growth.  And I feel, in some little, tiny, infinitesimal way I am growing.   That makes me feel so happy.  

In my weekly home group meeting of Al-Anon this evening, I related a story to a fellow member of having been challenged with the whole concept of a Higher Power.  I am struggling, and probably always will with the concept.  I also related how I am trying to take some advice I was given on living with depression, and that was to focus on only 2-3 little things that you can point to every day on which you've changed something, even tiny, that will move you closer to being where you want to be.  I related how I'd done a chore that I'd been procrastinating on, with my eldest daughter helping, and we had a cool talk while we were doing it.  I related that I had done some other things as well.  But then I told about having taken my daughters to the dog park with the two much loved canines.  It was a lot of fun, and right at the end, my oldest asked if we could also walk the trail that surrounds the park. My first instinct was the usual no, as I was growing a little weary.  But something made the words "Sure" pop out of my mouth before I could even let the negative thoughts finish and off we went, having a fun, but addingly exhaustive walk with the pups.  It was a wonderful experience and I am feeling very emotional thinking about having done that.  My Al-Anon friend looked at me earnestly and said something quite profound.  "Who do you think it was that said yes?  It was your Higher Power, of course".

Called in Sick

So, it happened, but it wasn't a bad thing.  I missed a blogging day.  Net-net?   Was out late at a little get together up the street and was just too damn tired to do anything when I got home.  The get together was with the same person who asked me about the lack of positive male role models in my life, and we hung out with some couples.   Had some snackies, beverages, and watched a marriage video.  I was really skeptical, as I was kinda expecting a Jesus-loves-you kinda thing, but it was a suprisingly good video and I enjoyed it, as did the SO.  It was nice.

I am out of emotional gas and haven't really slept for a couple of days what with all the new stuff I've been working through, so with that, I am out, but will do my regular post later.   

Friday, February 25, 2011

Talk Among Yourselves, Here's a Topic...

This is probably my first post in 40 days where I truly feel like I've got nothing.  It has been a tumultuous 24 hours of stress and relief and self-awareness and emotional over stimulation.  The work thing that I had to do to serve the biggest cheeses was a raving success.  It went past the point of self-affirmation and drifted into adulation.  Not an exaggeration, it was a clear affirmation that I still have all the work related skills that I've always had in relation to building and creating.  People are fighting over themselves to tell me how awesome I am.  I am somewhat ambivalent but still very proud of what we've accomplished, my little team of skunks.   I'll leave the dilemma I am faced with as an outcome of this success for another day.

I had my T app't today and it went very well, I didn't walk out with my emotional being oozing and bleeding from being rubbed raw.  I am tired, and very emotionally drained from the last part of my day, but I am very pleased with how it went.  Suffice to say that I have some real work to do in the lines of Sir Oedipus, and some concepts to grasp and internalize there.  It rings very true, what we talked about there and I am grateful as hell for that.  We also talked about forgiving myself a bit.  Not a strength, and something I am also eager to learn more about and try to give myself a bit of a break on things, and see about healing. 

Last part of the day, the SO and I went to an Open Al-Anon meeting where a friend of the SO was giving her first talk.  It was emotionally wrenching.  Her story has a lot of the elements of mine, but also a lot of her own unique horror.  It hit me like a ton of bricks and I am feeling so over stimulated.  Adding to it is that this friend was also very cold to me afterward, in light of what's happened.  I am not upset at her, in fact I think it is pretty damn cool that she loves my SO so much as to take up for her, but it still stings me.  It'll be ok, I know she'll be ok with me, but at the time I was feeling a real connection, like only the horrifically abused can, and that hit me a bit.  

With that, I am souped out.  Nothing left in the cauldron.  Adieu. 


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cooking Sous Vide

Feeling the pressure.  On all fronts.  In some ways, I feel like I've entered the kill zone and am being subtly threatened from the front and my flanks.  Not in some paranoid way of others seeking to harm, just the realization that I've got some stuff coming at me that is taking a great gulp of my psychic energies. 

Work is stressful, as I am dealing with an influx of corporate masters all eager to look at the new toy.  I am, as I've said, that new toy.  They're eager as beans to talk with the big brain who has a knack for making all the other big brains do big brain things like come up with revolutionary ideas to retool the whole place on the same scale as the original business retooled the industry we live in.  We'll see, but tomorrow is a presentation to all the biggest poobaahs and poobettes about the "thing".   Nervous, but confident all at the same time.

Got an email from an old friend outlining a betrayal that rocked their world and that they never have overcome.  It killed me in light of my betrayal and the impact of that on my SO.  I am feeling, maybe a good thing, the impact of her hurt and I am in a bit of self-loathing around it.  I feel like I am at risk, if not now, but later, of losing her and it scares me.  I told her that today, and it scared me to even tell her.  

A couple of days ago, I asked the SO about marriage counselling and if she'd call a friend we have who's in the business and see if she'd make a recommendation.  The response was a recommendation and a request that I call said friend.  I called her this afternoon, from a conference room at work, and she asked me to outline what has been going on with me.  I told her and she asked me a bunch more questions.  Then she started pushing me a bit to see if I understood that I was dealing with deep-seeded stuff, not just the present.  I told her that I was entirely aware of the psychodynamic nature of my issues and that I was in deep.  We talked some more, and she was really supportive, cautioning to take things slow.  Then she dropped a bomb on me. 

I will leave this post with the question she asked that rocked me back into my seat and slammed my heart into my spine.  She asked me.  "Who in your life is a positive male role model that you want to be like, that you aspire to be like and who you'd take positive feedback from?"   

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Wanteth but Can Not Yet Haveth

I mean it.  I am not kidding, nor am I playing.  I am serious, and I wish I could make that unequivocally clear.  My wonderful and talented wife is struggling with my betrayal, and I wish I had a magic wand to fix it.  I believe she wants to make it work, I do, but I also know she is hurt by my actions.  I can't say more than I am sorry and that I will do anything I need to, in order to make it right.  That is not out of some preservatory instinct of saving my home and hearth, but a simple truth of my realization that it is what I want.  

I never meant for it to get like this, to be so low in my flow as to seek shelter in puddles of acid.  I never meant for that.  But my head hasn't been right for a long time, 7.5 years, like I said yesterday.  My depression, a wicked, wicked beast, put me in a place where I made all the wrong choices.  But therein lies the rub, it was a choice, or repeated choices, and for that I am, and I am alone responsible.  I need to own my choices and be accountable.  I didn't cheat because she is a bad person, I did so to play out a drama to soothe my inner torment.  I didn't have to do that, but I did.  It cannot be differently said.  I could have done a thousand things, but I chose to do something that would hurt someone I hold very dear the most.  

You might ask if it is because she is some wallflower that she is seeking to make this work.  It is in no way true, and in fact is diametrically the opposite from my perspective.  She's gotten so much better in the last few years, and is so much more aware, and has grown as I have shrunk.  She can care about me, even in this state, and even in this place, becuase she is strong.  But she feels de-valued, and I can't fix that with a bon mot or two.  I wish, and want nothing more than to ease her burden.  This isn't about her, it is about me and my failings, my going untreated for a brain ravaging disease, choosing the safety of a replay of my causal pschyo-dramas over being a grown man and asking for, and getting help.  I am not self-flagellating, I am speaking my truth in the hope that I can be better for accepting it.  

I want what I can not have, some sanity and safe harbor for her.  At least not yet.   But I want it more than anything I have ever wanted.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bang Your Head! Metal Health Will Drive You Mad....

This scares the hell out of me.  It almost scares me to death, to be frank.  I played a lot of competitive sports as a kid, through my twenties and early thirties.  Sports for me inevitably involved me being knocked out cold.  No joke.  In some sort of macho, testosterone-induced masochism, I would partake in only sports that were violent (hockey, football) or sports I could make violent (soccer, baseball).  I led with my thick skull and initiated more than a few fights which involved knuckles bouncing off my pretty face and granite-lick cranium.  I feel for Mr. Duerson and his family. 

I wish I knew if there was some causality to the depression I've faced.  I certainly haven't had the sheer quantity or intensity of the collisions that a pro athlete faced, I still know that there if they took a slice of my brain, there are significant Tau proteins gumming up the works.  It scares me in light of my inability to complete rid myself of depression.  I've been depressed, as far as I can tell, for the last 7.5 years.  There've been no real non-depressed moments in that time.  There's been an ebb and flow in the severity, like now where it is more dysthymic than major depression, but it never leaves totally.  I worry, worry, worry, that I am never going to feel normal again.  I saw this cartoon today, it spoke volumes.   I can't shake the sense that it just isn't ever going to be right, what with the abuse, neglect, self-mutilation, shame & even the physiological effects working against my, like the tide rolling in and me with a bucket with a hole in it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Enter the Dragon

So much of today is about tests.  The truth of my reality right now is that my work is going swimmingly.  More than that in fact.  My corporate masters, at least those that interact with me, are falling over one another to praise themselves for hiring me and letting me do my thing.  There are two more corporate masters (of my corporate masters no less), are going to get the full Punch effect this week and while I admit to a little nervousness, for being the zoo animal on display, I am pretty confident in the equine power I bring and the stuff I know.  The dragon has entered. 

This is hard for me, as you can probably tell from my tone.  I am confident, but I can't take compliments.  In fact, I deflect most of the credit onto my team for their efforts, and struggle to take any on myself.  It is just something I don't do.  I focus more on what I haven't done, what depression has robbed me of, of certain skills and abilities that I don't know if I'll ever get back, and not on what I've done, through skill, guile and leadership to make revolutionary some basic concepts.  I am seen, for right or for wrong, as a thought leader on a space I honestly knew nothing about 6 months ago, and others have been working in for years.  In my blindness and self-deprecation, I feel like I could have done more, that I am in some way fraudulent, because I've coasted in relative terms, to what I consider I should be capable of.  I really need to stop that, because it gets me nowhere.  I've done this and I need to take credit for it.

Tonight, at dinner, between singing my praises, I was asked by the big boss what I want to be when I grow up.  Strange that at my 40+ years that I'd get that question, but he knows that I have the horsepower to do a hell of a lot more than I've done already.  I'm the poster child for the people they want to hire and he essentially told me that I can have whatever role I want.  I am trying to emotionalize that statement, and not see it as too much of a paternal validation (he's younger than me, so that's not hard).  But I also need to see the value of what others see in me.  I need to accept, emotionalize it and feel valued for what I've done.  I want that very desperately, to be happy for myself. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

No More Puns, I'm Begging You

Part of my charm, if I do indeed have any, is my utter lack of self-awareness coupled with a deep-seeded self-consciousness.  That sounds like a contradiction, but I am only self-conscious about the parts that I have any awareness to.  Its a gift, I am sure.  Or something. 

I thought a lot today, about where I am going, taking stock in where I've come from, how I am feeling and what I need to do to get better.  The immediate depth of depression has lifted, I am not despondent, and to that I credit attending Al-Anon meetings and T sessions.  I am still feeling the comforting normalness of dysthymia, but I hope that I can work on that a bit.  I also attribute the improvement to the commitment to change that I've made and the little victories I've won.  This blog is a big victory for me, in making. meeting and staying with a commitment, being accountable.  It has caused some friction with my wife, as she has expressed in moments where her anger about my actions has piqued her, that I am able to share and be open here, but not with her.   She reads some of what I write, I've not hidden what I am doing here, I've tried to overcome my shame/hiding instincts, but I can't speak what I can write.  I actually have hope, at least intellectually in both things, one that she wants that kind of relationship with me, that makes me feel valued and I would love that kind of relationship with her.  Second, I have been very focused on feeling what I write, something I know that if you've read some of my aborted posts, you can see.  

So, tonight, I hit an Al-Anon meeting in a blinding snowstorm.  The highway to get there was closed on the way home.  I arrived at the meeting and there were only 3 other people there. Turns out the only people stupid or desperate enough to hit an Al-Anon meeting in a blinding snowstorm are men.  No women.  Might be a first that I've ever heard of that.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Help Me! My Baby Has Fallen Down a Well!!!!

It is pretty obvious, in the gently process of deduction, that my mother was a kind, sweet and nurturing soul to her children, when not whiplashed by the interspatial wicked nature of the madness that nature and nurture bestowed upon her.  I say this, this surety of her good nature, even as memory fails, as I am all those things with my children and I had to have gotten it somewhere.  My father was never those things, nor is he today in most respects, but I am pretty sure my mother was at some point.  

As best I can recollect, piece together and generally speculate, she began to slip into the warm clothes of generalized madness sometime after my first two siblings were born.  I know she was in and out of mental facilities and other inpatient hospitals for severe depression and delusional behavior.  My only real source for information is my father, and he is extremely protective of my thoughts towards my mother.  He would never want me to think that my mother was nearly as crazy as she obviously has become. He means well, but it bothers me to some degree.  My feelings about my mother in the years when she was around vacillate between an manufactured memory of sweetness and goodness and the rolling, creeping snippets of my real memory, where insanity ruled the roost.  I don't trust my memories any longer, and more try to breathe in an acceptance that I will never truly know more than a guttural feeling that its was rampant craziness, and that I got spun up in it.  The simple truth of the fact is that my mother didn't suddenly become a full blown toxic Borderline Personality after she left my childhood home.  

In the years that followed, BPD ran her over, and everyone else around her.  She married a couple of times, joined many New Age and Holistic/Homeopathic groups, never staying long in any single one, but all and each having the underlying characteristics of paranoia, delusional thinking and a lack of logic and common sense to them.  Crystals, blue algae, ethers...  who the hell knows what other crocks she bought into.  I know that it was very likely the ready made communities of the weak and the vulnerable that she could infect with the poison of her BPD that made it truly attractive to flit from one nut group to the next.  :(

As for me, she played out the same routine.  Blame me for the fact that we didn't have a relationship.  Manipulate me into defending why I didn't call/write/send telegrams, and then infect me with her poison.  I wish there was a nicer way to put that, but it never, ever changed.  She attacked, and infected.  Manipulated and toxified.  I finally gave up on it 5 years ago, where I flew out west to see her, told her that if she didn't stop that pattern I would not talk to her any more and then came back to my hotel the next morning to an email playing it all out again.  I replied in that email that I wouldn't talk to her any more.  I am at peace with that, I really am, because I can't let myself be infected.  It made my life so hard and it would wreck me for months.  Accepting that she was who I knew she was, a full on, raging BPD is peace, but it still sucks.

Being manipulated, or having my emotions manipulated is a core trigger for me.  It makes me rage beyond all measure and fires the full force of my limbic cannon.  I can close my eyes and realize that I can call upon being a very young child and having felt the tug of disbelief of being used as an emotional pin cushion.  I know that, and it makes me sad now and sad that I still act that out as an adult.  I want that to be better.   I've been cursed and abused by some wicked crazy people and it pisses me off.  Maybe I am just admitting my anger at the raw deal I've been handed.  I have a tendency to pragmatize these things and just sorta gloss it over with the "what can you do" look, and I don't think that is the healthy approach.  But I am deciding to be consciously pissed about that fact in this moment.  I find that I don't stay angry once I am angry.  I would like some real peace about my loss and grief, maybe being outwardly pissed off is a progressive step in getting through the gates of mourning. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Riding the Sweet Nutastic!

Cancer.  Cancer.  Cancer. I am aware that I said I would continue the painful description of my parental units, but I forgot the date and have been overtaken in the spirit of celebration.  Ok, celebration is an exaggeration, but I am pretty damn grateful on this day of days.  It is four years to the day that I lost my right testicle to cancer once and for all.  

In the end, it looks like it might turn out ok, but it has been a hard road.  Getting cancer changed me forever, and I don't think all has been for the good.  The Noonday Demons that I had been having some success keeping at bay through a myriad of soul-propping techniques and half-measures no longer will cut it in the face of your own mortality.  It started, the diagnosis and the treatment, the beginning or the long spiral that hopefully has bottomed out in the here and now.  I feel better, in personal and emotional terms, than I have in 20 years.  

So, while my gas tank is empty because of a temporary sleep deficit at the moment, I am feeling pretty upbeat and positive.  Had dinner with my family and a work colleague from overseas who is staying over the weekend.  My darling 5 year old, told him "I have two testicles, but my Daddy only has one, how many do you have?"  


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pardon Me Sir, May I Have Another Part One

I've come to some realization that I've referred here to having been raised with no parents, yet have references parental units on a couple of occasions.   I thought that a little queer when I considered it more introspectively, so I thought I would let my newly learned concept of "word vomit" have its run.   I hadn't planned to make this more than one post, but the process of writing out these words below has left me bereft and a little lost in a storm of emotion.

My mother is/was/will be a very ill person.  She is a severe Borderline, with depressive features.  She was born the daughter of a teen mother who had been born the daughter of a teen mother, both of whom ( my grandmother and great-grandmother) had been unwed upon experiencing the miracle of conception.  My mother never met her biological father, and it does appear that he wasn't much of a human being to start with.  Being born of Original Sin in the first 40 years of the last century carried a woeful stigma and might lend a young woman to carry a few issues of shame and regret.  Into this maelstrom of putridity my mother was born.  My grandmother was a foul, foul person.  She wrecked everything she touched, and infected it with her poison.  That is both my personal experience, as well as my collection of impressions from others who knew her.  There were two golden people in her life, one being my father and the other being yours truly.  No kidding.  She worshiped both my father for his intelligence and profession, and me for being obviously much smarter (in her estimation) that my siblings.  Until she died in the mid-90's she was nasty and mean to everyone else, but sweet as sweet can be to my father and I, even after my parent's divorce.  It was always surreal.  

My grandmother connected up with a very prominent news and sportscaster in the area they lived.  That man, who is still of some repute, violently and sadistically raped and violated my mother from a very early age until well into her teens.  I know this, as an adult, much later.  At this point, I am feeling very tired and worn out, but I'll keep going for a bit, as I am obviously feeling the impact of the emotions welling up around my mother. I feel a great sense of loss and grief on what I never had, and even in intellectualizing it with words describing her experience, it still feels like I lost so much.  I am trying to breathe through the emotion, and let it feel its way out, but it hurts.  

My mother was hospitalized many times for mental issues when I was a child.  She was sweet at times, but I can't shake the sensation of her general absence in my life.  There is no doubt that I was important to her, but that her precipitous defenestration into the rabbit hole of madness overcame her.  As I've said before, her abuser died and two weeks later I came home from school one day to her gone.  I knew nothing.  I was 10.  I will continue this reportage in my next post, barring any late breaking story tomorrow, but in this moment, my word vomit engine is spent, as is my capacity to handle the unexpected depth of emotion I breached in the process of writing this. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Black Dog Was Real

My earliest memory is of walking down the badly paved street we lived on in that forsaken little farming town close, but not quite the middle of nowhere.  Aside me, is a black labrador retriever named Jasper.  Jasper was a wise old soul, who took to herding his 4 or 5 year old charge to the edge of the road, even though it was loose gravel and not much for riding a tricycle on.  It was wet and rainy, and my mind fills with the raw moldy smell of spring, just when the detritus trapped by winter has begun its rot.  It is, at least in my mind's eye, the most beautiful smell in the world, and still to this day, I love that smell and in general spring.  

I have memories of birthday spaghetti and cherry cheesecake.  I have memories of my father coming home briefly for lunch from his next-door office and running head long down the hallway to be caught in his arms, a violent collision of hugs and rough-housing.  I remember so much teasing, yelling and fighting, of all sorts of people coming in and out of the house at all hours, day and night. 

I remember hiding under my bed, terrified beyond comfort at night, for no specific reason I can remember.  I remember how scared I was of my next oldest sister, sheer terror to be exact, that she would "hurt" me again.  I remember how diabolically dark every single room in that house was, at least in my memory, though it probably wasn't at all, in fact, I know that it wasn't.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Tide is Neigh And I'm Mooning On.

So much to say, so much to say, so much to say.  I am having that moment, where I have a million things to say, but no thread upon which to tug to find my voice.  So, I take the advice of an old writer friend of mine, and "sit your ass in the chair and write".   It was a better day than almost any I've had in the previous year, absent the 30 days or so I've been seeking help.  That said, it was a moderately mentally and emotionally challenging one, mainly as work has seen the tide rise and the demands on my time, effort and brain cycles rise to a higher ebb.  It is nothing in terms of the stress I would have taken on in my corporate salad days 5 years ago, but it is still fairly heady.  I am being asked to champion to some corporate masters the fruit of my work in the next two weeks.  The good news is that my corporate masters are generally very intelligent and very open to "big ideas" and as such my élan will sweep them away.  Or something like that.  Lots of hard work to get there, but I am feeling the righteousness of the cause and that is lightening the load.  

I reached out to a fellow member of Al-Anon this evening for a chat.  It was very nice, and very rewarding to hear so much, in so much detail all the things I do, I've done and the hope for the future.  I've known that my compulsions are the sign of a weakened psychological state, not some addiction, and it was heartening to hear so much of the same from my friend.  We spoke about being in touch with feelings and being there for our kids and our partners.  It felt and feels so good to be heard.  I am very grateful for both my friend and the courage it took for me to reach out, cause I don't need anyone.  Or something like that.

I finally spoke with the parental units last night.  I've not spoken with them since the balloon dropped.  They've been worried sick, as they've gotten word of the situation and I know they care deeply about all of us here.  My father, much more emotional than I've ever heard let me know that he loved me and that he knew exactly what I was going through.  I knew that he did, but it felt better to hear it directly.  I was ruing calling, because I felt so ashamed.  He just told me to do what I needed to do and make things right if that's what I needed to and that no matter what, they would support all of us.  I knew these things, but it broke my heart to hear my father tell me that he loved me, cause I don't think I've heard it before, to be totally honest.  My step-mom, a wonderful person, explained that she knew what we were going through, from both sides of the equation, and that she wanted me in particular to work on fixing me.  Nothing else.  They've known how deeply I've been suffering since the cancer, something my Dad has alluded to occasionally, but have felt powerless to help.   I am still swimming in emotions on this, and I feel that I just need to let it be, and to just let myself feel loved, like gentle waves crashing on the rocks.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Waiting for the Hammer

It was rough and hard and nasty and foul and repulsive.   I was devastated.  I felt like my innards were going to come out my outards all in one fell swoop.  And then I realized how much she must have been hurting and how rotten that made me as a human being, that I was so mean and so cruel.  She's resilient, but it doesn't matter, in one moment, I was raging and screaming at a 9 year old in a way that didn't reflect how I believe a loving father should be.  I am still sad, sad at my ability to hurt her, even if I had some reason to be angry, my response was so out of proportion to her actions.  

There is a story to this, and it starts with my "man cancer" 4 years ago.  Due to the loss of a testicle and the trauma to the other one, my ability to produce testosterone was greatly diminished.  I hadn't really the sign that every thinks should happen, in a Bob Dole late night TV kinda way, so I didn't make a big deal at first, but with the floating tree of depression, and low T being a major factor, I decided, along with my Dr., to try T-replacement therapy.  Being the do-anything-for-a-dollar kinda guy I am, he asked me at the time if I'd try a new therapy that involved a little tab that you shoved up under your lip and in the crevice of your gums, just above your incisors.  So, other than a really messy set up, these buccal tabs introduced WAY too much T into my system.  Like Pro Wrestler, NFL Linemen levels of T.  I raged out at everything and was constantly in a state of out of control arousal.  We ended up with an approach that made a steady level for me, and all was well.  

Recently, we moved back to the Northern Socialized paradise, and there were a couple of new methods of replacement available, most notably, an oral med.  I've tried it, I've liked it, except for the stomach upset and the nausea for the first 30 mins after taking it.  Well, having felt a little blue, I was thinking I should adjust my dose a bit and add an additional caplet to my regimen.  I did that last evening.  There appears to be about a 12-16 hour lag time on constant use and that left me with an elevated level this AM.  This is the root of my downfall.

She said something really rude to me, as all 9yr olds start to do as they test their boundaries.  I leapt right in her face and screamed at the top of my lungs at her.  I cannot remember being that angry at anything or anyone and I was hopelessly paralyzed for a few minutes.  I couldn't believe what I had done.  I was an awful, rotten person.  

It took me about 30 minutes to figure it all out, as I was about to pop my morning dose after a coffee.  I was soothed, but still devastated.  I don't want to ever be that person.  It was wrong and I was so sorry, and I am so sorry.  I wish I could take it back and not have taken that extra pill.  The BATO (beautiful and talented one) was very supportive and keyed in right away and asked me about my meds.  (She's pretty smart and smart pretty).  We had a beautiful evening eating pink pancakes that the 9yr old made and I tried to make it up a little by getting the kids some sweet valentine's presents, but I still feel bad.  In retrospect, knowing that something is out of your control is one thing, living with the consequences is another.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour...

I had a day with some peace.  It doesn't say much more than my gratitude at that.  I was able to do more than a few things that might have been beyond me for the last few years.  I played hockey with my son in the driveway, not once but twice.  I paid attention to my very tried, sleepover at the neighbors exhausted daughters.  I was sweet and kind to my wife.  

I am grateful to no end for that.   

I attended a meeting tonight and I shared much more personally than I ever have.  I talked about growing up in the very center of chaos.  No parents, crazy and violent siblings and just the level of depravity and insanity.   Then, one day when I was 10, my mother just not being there ever again when I came home from school.  The splintering of my family, the isolation, the abandonment.   I shared some of that, of what made me who I am, this hot mess of dysfunction and depression.  I feel lost in self-pity at times, or maybe more than I'd ever like to think I do, OK, maybe all the time, but my story is one that denotes first a horror of the cumulative and immediate effects of trauma, but second and more so every day in this new chapter, a survival.   My T never ceases to express amazement that I am still standing.  I always look at her askew when she earnestly says that, as my last T did as well.  I know not the context of what they see, so I shrug it off.  

I am grateful for one day, one day of peace, or at least the first day of the ceasefire.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feeling Like a Crustacean

I am a very selfish person.  I am very self-centered and self-absorbed.  I spend all of my time hovering inside the confines of my own head.  My recovery, as it is, is very self-focused, self-driven and decidedly narcissistic to date.  I go to meetings, and I write in a blog, I go to sessions with my T, I frequent forums online that allow me to express what I find so hard to express in any way other.  

I attended, with the very lovely and very talented one, an anniversary open meeting for a local Al-Anon group.  The speakers were a couple who'd had 80 years in program between them.  Firstly, it was wonderful to go out with my wife, even under the current strains, but mostly I knew that I wouldn't feel uncomfortable in that setting, short of the uneasiness I feel that I know that there are people there that she has told about my idiocy and my hurtful behaviors.  But even in that, I knew, and know, that they are not there to judge me, and that as long as I continue to try to reach out, that I will even feel comfortable with that.  But the speak said something, and I heard him loud and clear.  He spoke about always having felt different, always having felt uncomfortable in his skin.  I heard that loud and clear.  But then he said something I really heard, and that was that he was an entirely selfish person.  Totally self-absorbed in the context of his own pain.  It felt like an arrow in my heart, because I heard my own feelings being expressed out loud.  That is me, and who I've been for my adult life.  Wrapped up in the real agony I've been feeling and gradually having everything else obscured to it.  I don't see anything or anyone else, for the thundering sound of my unresolved fears.  

I am trying, in the moment, to slow down and sit with my feelings, so to speak, because I feel a great deal of guilt around this realization.  I am struggling to do the one thing I really need, and that is to comfort myself with the realization that I can do a million little cumulative things to change myself and my actions.  It is pretty hard to even contemplate forgiving myself, frankly because I don't know how to do that.  But that is what I need.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Custer's Last Stand

Saw the T today.  It was a pretty big session.  I feel a great sense of relief.  I am pretty worn out from it, so the details may fail me a bit at this point, but suffice to say that I am looking out of the world with a lot more positive outlook than I've been at times lately.  

We've centered on my childhood.  No surprise there.  We also talked about the depression, and she mentioned a couple of things that really opened my eyes.  First was that she didn't think I was pathologically depressed, but was instead more of an affective disorder for me.  Truth and time will tell the veracity of that statement, but it surely resonates very loudly for me. 

Second was to discuss, in less detail, what it was like to grow up when and where I did.  She kinda let me dawdle around the subject and then asked me if I was ready to have a session where we talked about it in more detail.  I said I'd let her know, because I'd like to be a little more prepared.  I say that becuase there were a couple of moments when I was talking about stuff where I just couldn't go further, not because I didn't want to, but because I couldn't.  I will take care with that, as I don't want to push myself too hard, thought every instinct is screaming for me to rush forward, blind to the consequences, blind to the size of the Native village that I am attacking.  


Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Know All There is to Know. About the Crying Game

Here's why I cry.  I cry at movies with dogs or kids who are in trouble or die and I cry when my pets die, but not every time.  I cry when a sibling or a sibling's spouse dies.  That is the extent of my tears.  It has been the extent of my tears for 20 years, at least until today.  It reminds me of the old joke where the army sergeant tells his assembled troops "everyone who's mother is still alive, take one step forward - not so fast there Jones...".  

So, what in tarnation made me cry you may ask with sincere and genuine concern?  Ah yes.  Well, it was as simple as having had my efforts at starting down this road to recovery questioned.  I've been trying like nothing I've ever tried before.  I've reached out and asked for help, I've cut off unhealthy things, I've tried to do a bunch of little improvements in my life every single day, I've journaled (blogging here), I've gone to therapy, I've talked as much as I know how to about my feelings, I've gone to Al-Anon meetings regularly and worked on as much as I can honestly handle and I've tried to do everything to show to myself first and foremost that I am not going to live under the bridge with depression anymore.  

I am not sitting here asking for a prize.  I am not really looking for validation for trying to undo some of what I've done to her.  I don't deserve that, and I am not asking for it.  My committment to getting better is as much about me getting better as it could ever be about making it so that she wants me to stay here.  I mean that, and I hope it stays true.  I need to be better because I am exhausted at feeling so bad.  I've had enough and hit the floor, hard.  She was feeling a pique of anger, anger that I rightfully expect her to have, and then she laid into me for doing something that I thought was innocuous.  It escalated and then she laid into me some more for not doing enough to make it better.  I was distraught and just started wailing.  I mean, losing it.  I literally ran out of the room, and locked myself in a dark closet.  I lost all hope.  I really did.  I bawled for what was minutes, but felt like epochs.   She came and soothed me, not so much as I was expecting her to, becuase I didn't really know if she would or not, nor was I trying to manipulate her, I just felt hopeless.  

I went to a meeting tonight, and I sat at a table that was about having the courage to change.  I am trying, and I am committed. I really am, just feeling a little adrift at the moment.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Holding Ace, Jack Showing

So, first and foremost, I did it.  I did it, I did it, I did it.  This is post 21.  Some surely intelligent person decided that 21 days was the required number of consecutive days you need to do something in order for it to be a habit.  So I did it.  21 days, of which at least 10 I didn't feel like doing it at all.  But, at the outset of the culmination of the debacle I've caused, I promised I would do little things to change my actions and behaviors.  Committing to something and actually sticking with it, through the pain of whatever I am feeling, not accepting an excuse to let myself down, being accountable to the one person I've consistently cheated out of decency (that would be me), well, I was earnest in my promise to myself.  So, that's pretty good, I think.  :)

I am sick today, picked up some kinda bug that's really taken a toll on my body and respiratory system.  I'll make it, just highlights that I have tried to keep going, unlike other setbacks where I'd lie in bed, figuratively and literally and wallow in my own emotional filth.  I still feel awful, just don't feel nearly as awful as I've felt before, where I pile on the physical with the emotional beating.  Better days.  

I am really feeling the whole having grown up in a crazy, dysfunctional home and having become somewhat crazy and pretty dysfunction.  Read a good blog post on the general topic that made me stop and think.  I am enjoying the whole stop and think thing.  Had a great argument with a more junior colleague at work today about hockey and I found myself applying many of the things I've learned going to Al-Anon, about listening and validating others, not having the goal be that we agreed, or better yet that he agreed with my viewpoint.  It was good practice for the real world. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Don't Have to Live Like a Refugee

It's a bright day on a dark day.  I slept like I was hooked up to that machine again, waking every 30 mins or so and never really falling asleep.  Then I had to wake up extra early, which I am undyingly fond of ( I am super awesome functional before 10am and only 1 Jet Fuel K-Cup Coffee), to head out to work and pretend to be functional as a humanoid.  I was gassed at about 10am even with 4 cups of high octane java.  But I soldiered on and made the best, doing the odd thing or three to convince my corporate masters that I was indeed, their most worthy boy.

It is a weird sensation at work these days, something I haven't experienced since my early days at "that place".  I am the wunderkind again, the odd genius who challenges everything and seems to have some weird sentient ability to comprehend the systemically incomprehensible.  That I can understand extremely complex things across 4 dimensions isn't the part that makes me the deity that some mortals treat me like, it is the ability to distill those complexities down to simple principles, tweak the knobs and dials and then understand without even thinking what the implications will be and define in seconds how we can get there.  We are talking spaceships to the moon levels of systemic complexity, I kid you not.  This is a load of sarcasm, I understand, but it does explain some of my more unique corporate talents and why so many people have historically put up with my shenanigans and over-wrought emotionality.  I bring the intellectual pain, so to speak.  

I share this, with actually the opposite of intents than might be divined.  I am not seeking admiration or self-aggrandizement.  I am feeling this new feeling that I want to share.  I am grateful for something about myself.  I have never lost that intellectual high-order, most complex systems on the planet understanding.  I have lost most of my planning and bureaucratic skills, most of my ability to make things happen through sheer will power, but I've never lost that analytical package.  I've stayed gainfully employed at a somewhat ridiculous wage scale because I have that gift.  It is a gift, because I didn't do much to build it, its just always been there.  I am one lucky mofo on this day.  I am loved and admired for something that has never left me, and had it, I wouldn't be here, I'd be living on the street, begging for quarters.  Even thought depression has robbed me of every other meaningful employable skill, it never took my skillzzzzz...   

Monday, February 7, 2011

Standing in the Doorway Just Killin' Time

I am coming up on my birthday.  Not that one, the other one.  See, four years ago, roughly about this time I was struggling like a mofo with some pain in my groin.  Longest story possible short, it was testicular cancer.  Turns out that there was a stage 1a tumor in there that was causing blood flow issues and causing my right testicle to go necrotic.  It hurt just a bit.  Just a little bit, like more than anything ever.  For all those with Y chromosomes, I am sorry I made you squirm.  February 18th is my new birthday.  I was born again, from the land of the emotional suffering delusionally.  Every year, we've had a cake with the kids to celebrate Daddy overcoming "Penis Cancer".  It is just easier to let it ride than try to explain to them.  :)

I mention it, and it will come up again as we aproach the date, but it comes with some very bittersweet news.  A person I'd worked with at "that place" who I liked very much and had kept in touch with over the last 3 years lost his battle with bone cancer last night.  At the risk of narcissism, I wanted to share how I feel, and how his passing is a real kick in the nut for me.  His wife blogged all the way through their ordeal, of his brief remission and their life together.  They were obviously very happy people and as I knew him, he was a wonderful person.  They had two small kids and she is a very successful artist.  When I found out he'd been diagnosed, I reached out to him and gave him some support from someone who'd had some of the experiences he was about to go through.  They both replied and thanked me, and it was sweet as can be.  But now, I am devastated and feeling like rat shit on the bottom of a dung beetle's shoe.  I survived where he didn't.  I have broken the one person who's always stood by me's trust and I am the one here.  It might sound like self-pity, but it is more my only known expression of my guilt and my grief.  

In the midst of all of this, I am better.  Depression, in its most devastating form has overrun my life and I appear to have lived to tell the tale.  I've turned the corner, but am still far from home.  I have rotten thought patterns, a self-esteem rotted with abuse and self-abuse, a skewed perspective on my place in this world and a thousand billion amends to make.  But I am breathing.   And that's a lot.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Z Fly Y Curl X Post

So, on this most super of sabbaths, a veritable homage to the excess of our culture, I am feeling a little less than superb.  Nothing particular, just the ongoing challenge of sussing out my course as I try to take one step in front of the next.  Today's whimsy is surrounding compulsion version addiction.  My wife, who's opinion I respect, has been pushing me not so subtly into some type of 12-step program surrounding my infidelity.  She is having a great deal of struggle with the issue, of course, but as well how I could have done what I've done without some sort of addiction to it.  Her great fear is that I am going to "relapse" and go all wiggy like that again.  I certainly understand her feelings, and very much her fear.  She has said, how can you go from doing all that at 3000mph to suddenly doing nothing?  I guess, and it is how I've explained it to her, that it wasn't a pleasurable thing, it was never about sex, it was something else, something more compulsive.  

I knew what I was doing wasn't real and wasn't right, but I wouldn't stop myself.  It was pain I enjoyed.  It was horror that gave me solace.  It was a relief to feel a known pain, ahead of the new pain I was feeling.  It was comfortable to have such messed up and destructive and horrific things in my life to re-center and make me feel whole, or at least the whole I used to feel before I got so overrun.  

I am not afraid, if I am honest, that I might be an addict and I would admit it in a second, if I felt it in my heart of hearts.  But being a cutter, and I don't miss cutting myself.  I don't miss the pain, the guilt, the agony I was living and reliving.  Every person I was with was a victim of sexual abuse, physical abuse and had serious mental health issues.  I found them, just as they were looking for me.  I relived the traumas of growing up in a home with abuse, with a violently mentally ill mother, with mentally ill siblings who were sexually, emotionally and physically abused...  I relived all of that, cause I never dealt with it.  I was compelled, by that silly subconscious thingy to live out and re-live out what I'd never dealt with.  I don't see the addict in there, but I might be wrong.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Day Spent Fishing

Don't really like fishing.  Seems cruel to my gentle soul.  But I am reeling a bit.  Not in some terrible way, just from the hardness of my T session and coming to grips with realizing how much I hurt myself, over and over, with the same repetitions of the very trauma I've sought to escape.  It seems so sad, so very, very sad that I've done that to myself over and over.  It isn't funny, nor is it deniable in any way.  It is who I've become and I am a little distraught over it, to be total honest.  I hurt myself, in the exact same way that I've been hurt.  I re-victimize myself.  It make me well with emotion to even consider that I've done that to my self.  But I have, and I haven't even been aware.  

 My wife sat me down today and asked me what would happen when work became boring.  She looked me straight in the eye and asked me what would happen when I wasn't getting the big brain validation any more and I got restless, where would I turn.  It was a rotten question, even if it is entirely valid.  I held myself together as much as I could and said to her that I had no idea, I was working on much more basic shit at the moment.  I haven't shared with her the outcome of my T session yesterday, mainly b/c I am afraid of getting into a whole "you are a cheating douche-nozzle who I don't even know" conversation.  I am those things, but it is still so raw for her that I am not able to share any context.  

Why did I cheat?  Easy in the context of my T session yesterday, and something that I've had some awareness to.  It wasn't a sex addiction thing, that just isn't where I was at.  It is as easy as having two sisters violently sexually abused for years and subsequently going off the rails and no longer being function human beings.  It is as simple as the violently sexually abused mother who tried to escape her childhood traumas but never did, disappearing one day when I was 10, two weeks after her abusing step-father passed away, never truly to be heard from again as a parent.  I've never made it back from either the immediate nor progressive nature of the horrors inflicted on me by the culmulative horrors inflicted upon them.  Not an excuse, but in the context of me going outside my marriage, to find the most fucked up and damaged women I could, to run a gambit of trying to bring safety and stability into their lives...   It was myself replaying my life's traumas in a short beat.  Everyone of them, and there were 3 longer relationships in the last 3 years, was the same abused, broken and neglected person as the last, and the same as my tormentors.  I saw it at the end, in the last person, who was very much my most abused sister's latent twin and it repulsed me.   I saw what I was doing and decided to stop.  

It still hurts to write these things, and I am reeling from the scars I've caused my gentle inner kid.  I've really hurt him, and I am sad for that.  I've spent most of my adult life consciously protecting that 10 year old, yet I was also his greatest tormentor.  I am those things, and in that I reel.   

Friday, February 4, 2011

Help, I've Done it Again

Saw the T again for the first time in two weeks today.  She got me the full 6 sessions through the Employee Assistance Program, cause she told them I'd had suicidal ideation.  Gotta respect that, now don't we kids.  It was a pretty good session, which I usually judge on how shitty and worn out I feel afterwards.  The more I feel like I've scrubbed the innerbeing with sandpaper to clear off a layer, the better I feel about my progress.  Sounds sadistic, but with some experience on doing T, I know that in a day or two, there will be re-growth and a small movement forward.  

I think the most meaningful part of the T was the way we talked about why it is that I've done some of the things I've done.  We went through the history, the abandonment, the physical and sexual abuse, the emotional violence, the traumas and all that ancillary fun and games that I call a past.  It has at times, I've seen, in both weight and mass taken a T or two a step or two back with the sheer magnitude of it all.  I say that in the same context as I said yesterday, harking on my amazing resiliency at overcoming trauma.  I earned that ability, through experience and scarring.   But, alas, I digress on a thought of yesterday. 

She asked me whether I had anything going with anyone "on the side."  I answered honestly that I didn't, and that the only contact I've had with anyone is to break contact if they contacted me.  She sounded a little shocked, it seemed, and repeated the question.  I was earnest and honest that I've done nothing.  I am truly not going there, at least in the current context.  It makes me feel so damn yucky, something I told my T and I am want nothing to do with feeling yucky like that again.  She's a clever one, my T and we pursued that on and off for the rest of the hour - the why and how I feel yucky.   

So, I am quite aware that I've pursued these "mini-dramas", not for the sex, because I am pretty ok without, but more so as a mechanism to change my focus from the crippling nature of the depression hell I've been living in.  I feel panicky?   I search out things that make it so that I can feel something different, something with the facade of validation.  But, after saying this, my T pressed me and asked me about the women I'd spent time with and why I felt so yucky about it.  It isn't what you'd think, something that I can't easily explain, nor have I been able to.  I seem to have picked, over and over again, the most damaged women to spend my time on.  Really.  Like, all victims of abuse as children, in abusive or vile relationships currently and in need of a wonderful man like moi to sweep them away and save them.  I've know there is a pattern, because I get so infected by the craziness of these women, or I did, that I end up further depressed, and moving to the next.  

The denouement?   She called me an emotional cutter.  She said in my depressed and self-loathing I would go and seek out inevitably hurtful situations, where I could re-enact the most basic features of the my childhood traumas and experience them all over again.  I could be hurt, badly, by someone who had lost all capacity to stop the hurt themselves.  I found them, because I attract them like sugar water.  It is as clear a sonar ping as I may have ever received.  Even now, many hours later, I feel the physical impact of the verity of those words.  I hurt myself, to ease the pain.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Much Too Clever, by Half

It has been a long, emotionally wrought day for me.  That emotionality has been mostly self-inflicted and self-directed.  I've been a bit of a hot mess, in the feelings department over the last couple of days and having figured out the triggering event, having worked through my feelings and having talked about my actions that brought this together really has been very gritty.  I am feeling like I've taken one layer of protective covering off the place in my brain that allows my conscious emotional state to exist, rubbed it raw with sandpaper out of necessity and am now waiting for it to stop being so raw, entrench my gains with some peace, only to run it all raw again, until I get to something approximating an honest emotional state.  

I love to read about neuroscience and neurophysiology, along with neuropsych.   I am a fan of Daniel Goleman's work on isolating the emotional pathways along primal and non-primal routings.  In that vein, I am convinced, now with a little hindsight, that I must simply have the most awesomest, most developped, most ripped Limbic system in all of humanity.  I swear, I can actually feel the overwhelming bulk of my amygdala pressing against the hardness of my brain cavity.  I have an emotion, it is anger.  And primal anger at that, with a soupcon of rage thrown in, all finished in the sous-vide with a tower of self-pity thrown on top.  It is exhausting living every minute as though you are in mortal peril.  It is such a pathogen, being universally constrained to only a basic emotional state.  

Self-pity has been a theme for me in the last few days of writing, because quite frankly, I've let it consume so much of my life and let it come to define me as a person.  I am withdrawn, surly and depressed. I am the first to recognize the chemical nature of the problem I am struggling with.  I am the first to recognize that I've earned my depression, through both genetics and experience.  But what I am saying is that I've had enough, hit bottom so to speak, with letting it fully define me.  Inside, there's a pretty decent guy who generally has a warm, and big heart.  I want to be him on the outside, as much as I can, for as long as I can. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Someone Left the Cake Out in the Snow

As those of us in the midwestern part of the continent un-bury our selves from the most overhyped marmotian experience of these new decade, I've found myself at the proverbial crossroads.  As I typed that, I could hear the haunting tears of Stevie Ray Vaughn spinning in my ears, but that is in fact Crossfire, not Crossroads...  :D   

My gait is back.  I am functioning somewhat normally again.  Grace to the amazing recuperative powers of my spirit, that I am so resilient to traumas that I leap back to my feet as quick as a whip.  Or, maybe, just maybe, I've had too much practice.  That sensation, of too much practice, is at the nexus of my ponderous state.  I know that being humbled, being made to be accountable to my emotions, to being present, in the moment, is the very salvation I seek.  That sense of connection with myself, my feelings, my heart so to speak, is all that I want to get out of life at this point, because the outcome is a tangible, meaningful life, rescued from the pinholes of the camera obscura I try to live my life through.    

I've been working hard in these past weeks, to be aware, to be conscious to be mindful.  But I don't want to lose this.  I am desperate in some senses to not losing this.  I am nothing without my brain and my brain is wasted living without my feelings.   So, I want to keep working, to make better my heart, for my wife and all that she's invested, for my kids and their innocent adulation of their Dad and mostly for me, to not hurt anymore, like I have.  

Depression, and self-pity.  They leave me at less than a millifraction of life.  In the next day or so, I am going to try to have a garage sale.  I am offering up a bunch of traumas and hurt I don't need anymore to the lowest bidder.  I will be marking all of my hell at prices that can't be refused.  I am more than willing to haggle and will be offering package deals.  It has a time in the process and it is coming. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Paw à Dieu

I as am wont to do, I shall begin today's spewvective with the word so.  So, not sure where I am headed today.  I am enjoying two things, both weird in some ways, and making me a smidgen pensive in their meaning.  First, I am enjoying blogging.  I am enjoying the act of writing my innermost, or as innermost as I currently capable, thoughts and throwing them out there.  I am enjoying the accountability of knowing that people I know, love and trust can read these words, even if not now, but eventually, and I want to be held to that standard of honesty.  It matters to me, and is great practice.  I am enjoying having a blog and having 5 readers a day.  It makes me feel connected to the world.  I am trying to balance those two things, of feeling a need for honesty with the love of entertaining all 5 of you, or touching you or just plain amusing you.   That balance is something I am keen to be mindful of, as I have a penchant for self-aggrandization, like most people with the self-esteem of a rabid goat.  

The second is most perplexing to me, in what I am enjoying these days.  I am enjoying being uncomfortable with something.  I am really enjoying how much discomfort and the fact that it grows more each day.  I am deeply enjoying how shitty I feel when I am alone.  I was alone most of the evening last night, reading and writing and I hated it.  I felt the urge to reach out, not in some yucky way on some yucky msg board or something, but in making real connections.  It would have been a great night for an Al-Anon meeting, methinks, but I was alone because my wife was attending one and we didn't get a babysitter.  I am sitting cockeyed, head tilted, with a quizzical look, much like my Jack Russell's get when presented with an interesting or new challenge.  I kinda like that. 

I am still pondering the whole self-pity question from yesterday.  I see so much how I give in and let it drive the bus.  I don't actively sit around, as most of my fellow depressives know, and say "woe is me, I suck monkey nuts", but a more subtle, more insidious tape recording plays over and over and over and just sucks all life from my soul.   It isn't a good thing, and can make a man curse God, or bark at the moon. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Time for Some Block Rockin' Beats...

I wouldn't have thought it possible, but today I feel more "normal" than I have felt for at least the last 5 years.  I am not feeling like leaping tall buildings in a single bound or composing a sonata, but I can actually feel a change in my brain chemistry.  Now, before you run off and begin the Hallelujah Chorus, I still had some struggles today to keep my attention at more complex work tasks, but I do indeed feel a little stronger.  I am abstaining from many of the more self-destructive behaviors, which in and of itself feels like a small victory.  I am being very conscious of sharing my feelings when I can actually identify those strange things, something that this blog and my email friends can attest to.  I am also looking at my own thought patterns and actions surrounding them (being petty, being gossipy, being overly emotional) and seeking to diffuse my feelings before I drift to negativity.

Now comes the hard part, and I know it.  I am going to have a bad day, or an emotional set back and my response to that will tell all.  Will I drift to the easy solutions, of finding solace in the wrong ideation?  I don't know, and I am scared to find out.  I want to be better, I want to not feel so heavy and lifeless. I want so badly to get some life back.  I am trying to express that while I am scared, I am also hopeful that I am putting some small pieces in place to try to get my snit-shit together.  

My enemy, my greatest enemy, my mortal enemy at this point, is self-pity.  I can get so wrapped up in it that it blinds me to all other things.  I can literally wallow like a pig on Sunday with the best of them.  I feel sorry for who I am, for all the horrors that happened to me, for how I feel so destroyed inside and for all the little things that people have done to me that I cease functioning.  So my faithful readers, I beseech you a request.   Self-pity, it is a destroyer of worlds.  How do you cope?  What do you do to overcome its tempting embrace?  I really would appreciate a bon mot or deux on the topic.  

Sunday, January 30, 2011

And I Ran... I Ran so Far Way, Couldn't Get Away...

It the best of days, it was the worst of days... 

So, I had a nasty headache all day.  Sinus pressure, dropping barometer, and eating ice cream before bed, a wonderful cocktail for a lack of sleep and a crushing vice on my cerebellum.  I had to crawl back in bed a couple of times, and it helped.  There really wasn't much I could do, and I was so grumpy with the family that I had to do something.  Actually not beating myself up too bad for taking a bit of time for myself is a smidgen of progress.  Not perfect, but I am trying.  At the end of the day, I was able to do things with the kids and enjoy their company, so I am on the uptick there.  

I really am appreciating my wife's serenity in light of all the mess I've created with my behavior. I don't think that I'd have had any hope if it were not for that.   I don't mean in the "working things out" kinda way, I mean more in the hope to ever have a functional life kinda way.  It really is a gift that she is the most sane of us two, something that I am not sure I could have said a few years back.  She's really wonderful, and rather attractive, so I am doubly lucky.  

I attended an Al-Anon meeting tonight, somewhere that I am expecting to become somewhat of a habit for me on the Sabbath.   I actually shared a bit, and didn't just try to be passive.  One of my great challenges is in listening and not trying to just blurt out what someone should do in the situation they are describing.  I don't actually ever blurt anything out, I just know that it isn't healthy for me to be listening to solve their problem, and not just listening to let them feel heard.  It is a subtle change, but one I know is for my betterment.  The "rules" in the meetings are good for me, because I don't normally respect rules, as I know they don't need to apply to special old me.  

So, my title matches what I intended to blog, but I didn't, but I don't feel like conjuring up another one, so my deepest apologies.  This is the halfway point to my commitment to blogging for 21 days about my depression, my hurt and my attempt at recovery.  I've already met some very wonderful people online in the little journey, something I am deeply grateful for. I started this with the intent of keeping in private, but knowing that I wouldn't be nearly as accountable to myself, to others if I did.  I am striving to be something here, that I rarely am, and that is honest.