Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have


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Technical Difficulties

robot-162087_640I decided to pretend I was smart and upgrade my Vista OS to Windows 7. Don’t worry, I bought a legitimate (legal) copy for instillation. Thinking I’d refurbish my own 2008 laptop I got the OEM version (usually made for manufacturers and the easiest to obtain these days) and did a custom install instead of being reasonable and doing the upgrade. This meant following a bunch of instructions that were simple enough but overwhelming to my computer novice brain. I managed to correctly download my Windows 7 OEM onto DVD and the tool for helping with it but it took me a couple attempts since I always manage to make things hard for myself like that.

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Several hours later I had the new OS on my laptop and Vista was history. Too bad it wasn’t done there because I realised I’d deleted some things and had to go online to find them again so my laptop would function properly. As I am not in anyway an IT person it took me a lot of detective work to figure out how to find out what issues I had. Suddenly I found myself looking on my hard drives (I have 2) for clues and seeing just how confused I was.

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Not me. But how I felt ūüėČ

Let me suggest for anyone like myself (non IT person) you really do all your research BEFORE deciding to change your OS! I am not super impulsive but I can get it into my head that I will be spontaneous and figure out what I need to along the way; which is what I did and why I got myself into the mess I am not totally out of yet. My computer works just well enough to make me think I did alright (after downloading plenty of drivers from my laptop’s manufacturer website)-except it is taking forever to update (Windows Update) and I can’t even update other stuff like my browser so my web searches are sh*t and I can only read my e-mail in HTML instead of the usual rich text format I’m used to.

But I did manage to improve my computer’s performance to what it was BEFORE I installed Windows 7! Which is actually good because I initially had a LOWER rating but found the right stuff online to fix it and it’s as good as when I had Vista, LOL ūüėõ ¬†Ironically, I bought Windows 7 for better performance and to continue getting security updates from Microsoft and browser updates for Chrome. Chrome was going to quit updates for Vista in April ’16 and MS is quitting security fixes for Vista by 2017.

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Expensive paperweight. My old computer! LOL, just kidding ūüôā

In case you’re wondering I have another computer that works just fine and I am using that right now but I didn’t want my old one to end up as an expensive paperweight if I could help it. So I bought the downloadable Windows 7 OEM from Software King (they’re BBB reputable with an A+) and got my necessary stuff. The product key was good and I DO recommend them if you want a good deal on software. Software Empire is cheaper but they have an F with the BBB. So don’t buy from them.

I am really grateful I have another computer because my old one is slower than a snail! That is AFTER I improved its performance enough to be able to have the transparent window and not have it use all my laptop’s processor resources. Prior to that I had to use the old window to preserve resources (I’m referring to the personalisation features in Windows 7 where you select a ‘look’/theme for your desktop, task bar, and startup menu, etc.). There is an old style theme that uses much less of your computer’s resources if you’re struggling with a sluggish computer.

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Anyway, I hope to figure out the Windows Update issue. So far I have done everything I can think of including help from online so I will just wait and hope my laptop updates itself if I wait long enough (I have the updater running now but it isn’t telling me anything yet).

Yes, I know this is not my usual post style but I needed to get my frustration out about my laptop.

©Natalya for Reflections On Life Thus Far, 2016.

 

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Nearly A Year Gone

Oh my, I can’t believe I have been MIA (missing in action) for a year and a day! It’s a wonder any of you are left following my blog since I haven’t updated you with anything. But I just didn’t feel like writing. You maybe know how it is when you just get tired of something and have to be away from it to appreciate it again, well it’s like that.

There have been other reasons too, primarily I started to feel phony using a pseudonym to hide behind when I blog. But I thought about it and so far don’t feel comfortable ‘outing myself’ totally to anyone who may read this. So I continue as ‘Natalya’ for the time being anyway. Maybe in the future I’ll decide I have nothing to lose being an ‘open book’ online but not yet. It takes a lot for me to share myself not knowing who will read my words.

A lot has happened in some ways but in other ways things seem much the same to the casual observer. I am still me but something has shifted and I can never go back.

Thank you for being here and reading.

©Natalya for Reflections on Life Thus Far,2015.

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This & That

Well it’s been too long since I’ve updated my blog I fear but hopefully you’ll forgive me. I have not been especially busy apart from wondering what I’m doing at times. Mainly I read silly novels and distract myself from the onslaught of emotions I stirred up after my minimalism cleaning spree in June. It seems I must have dislodged some emotions or some such thing because I feel ever since my clean up I have retreated into the decidedly preferable world of characters in novels. Not only the cleaning though has caused this retreat from the everyday; no, my dad’s sister has Alzheimer’s and he went to visit her. Apparently she’s worse than predicted and my uncle wanted me to attend to my aunt’s care whilst she waits to go into a nursing home. Well I am not a caregiver sort so the idea didn’t appeal to me in the least especially as my aunt is aggressive like my mom was before she died from Alzheimer’s related complications.

Anyhow, I had to deal with my own very strict Superego and felt no end to my guilt for nearly a month. My therapist did manage to elevate me from my guilt ridden state but only after I’d already fled reality for the imaginary world of novel characters. Only now am I losing my taste for reading frivolous novels and returning to some state of reality again. I do not know how long it will last for. I suspect until my dad visits my aunt again and tells me how much my uncle would appreciate me giving my help (I expect there would be no money paid to me but I wouldn’t want to do it even if monetary reward was involved). Honestly, I’ve been burned out from my mother’s experience with Alzheimer’s and couldn’t abide by putting myself in the position of the martyr caring for someone I didn’t have a close relationship with again. Although I doubtless sound cold and unfeeling for not flocking to my aunt’s proverbial bedside I don’t feel particularly cold or unfeeling, at least not since my therapist convinced me otherwise.¬†

It was only within the last week or so I made the connection between the guilt and stress I felt from being asked to be a caregiver to my aunt that I realised why I’d stopped doing much else besides reading novels. Suffice it to say I found the novels holding less appeal once my reasons were made conscious to me. Perhaps I can finally persuade myself to go out again and be amongst people. Not that I favour crowds but I do miss taking in the sights during tourist season and wish for a change of scenery beyond the grocery store aisles and the office of my shrink. Besides I told my therapist I’d make an effort to take part in something that gets me outside my home. Guess I’ll ‘sign off’ for now.

 

©Natalya, Reflections On Life Thus Far, 2014.

 


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Final Writing Exercise (Day 4)

Day 4 of my writing exercise was Tuesday but I didn’t get around to updating on here how it went. I saw my counsellor on Tuesday and told her I’d finished 3/4 of it but needed to still do the final day. Surprisingly I am one of the few who completed it or tried to anyway. Lots of her patients find excuses not to do it and she thought it was positive I managed to recognise why I procrastinated doing it and still managed to tackle it. It was a productive session so I am pleased that I made the effort to do as much as I could. I completed the final exercise when I got home. To my surprise I found myself expressing gratitude for the people I’d met who made a positive difference in my life. Initially I thought I might have some resentment to get out of me but I didn’t. Gratitude can help give an experience in your life that redeeming quality previously overlooked.

Have you experienced something emotionally painful that later filled you with gratitude?

 


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Day 3 of Writing Exercise

Yesterday’s writing was about my issues around men due to my mother brainwashing me; today I moved to suicide attempts and the devastation a label of BPD brought me. Surprisingly, or not so much, I found myself feeling cheated and angry over the treatment I received from mental health professionals due to my diagnosis. They saw the BPD before they saw me and that hurt. Realising how much I struggled in the years following my BPD diagnosis I felt sad and wished mental health workers would try to see the person before they noticed their diagnoses. A bit of open-mindedness wouldn’t kill some of the people I encountered. A person’s psychiatric file won’t tell you about the person as a whole so mental health professionals should just take it as a reference-not a guide. Not every person diagnosed with an illness is like everyone else and might be misdiagnosed. It would be good if the “professionals” would treat a prior diagnosis with a grain of salt unless proven already by a lengthy history. Then the patient/client would have a shot at being seen in an unbiased manner.

Tomorrow I will wrap up my writing exercise with discussion of the treatment I got later on that helped me.

©Natalya, 2014.


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Writing Exercise (Day 2)

My counsellor gave me some exercises to encourage writing with emotional awareness. Often I get stuck in my head and miss opportunities to connect with my inner experience. So I have finished day 2 of 4 of my writing exercise and feel content with how it went. I wasn’t expecting it to take the turn it did but I’m pleased I thought of it and allowed myself to include it in the entry. Day 1 I settled on discussing being constantly infantilised by my mother throughout my childhood and teen years; today I continued discussing that a bit more but got into my issues with fear around men. Mom taught me when I was a child that pretty well all men were potential sexual predators so I never had boyfriends. She also talked about sex like it was something scary and repulsive so I avoided all intimate contact. Fortunately I am introverted and enjoy my own company but I felt like it would have been nice to enjoy a relationship instead of living like a nun. I didn’t expect for this issue to come up today in my second day of writing so I wonder how day 3 will go now! FYI-I am not afraid of most men now and have changed my views around sex in a positive/healthier manner thanks to therapy.

©Natalya, 2014.

 


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Did The Writing Exercise (Day 1)

So I did my first day of writing for the writing exercise my counsellor gave me. You can see my post from yesterday to read about it more if you like. Anyway, I didn’t want to do it at first but decided to go ahead and try it and found myself writing about being infantilised by my mother. Surprisingly I didn’t feel angry but I did feel sad. I think this is fine because it was a sad experience and I’m still dealing with its lingering effects (I did feel briefly like I was a child but thankfully that has passed since coming back to the present). Tomorrow may be the same or different-don’t know yet. Either way I’ll do my writing for tomorrow.

When I’ve completed the four days I’ll know better about whether I’ve dealt with all the emotions surrounding my past traumatic experiences or not. For today I am proud I overcame my apprehension and settled on an issue that turned out to be just the thing for me to address.

©Natalya, 2014.


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Avoidance…

When it comes to avoiding I am a master of sorts. For the purposes of this post I’ll stick to one issue though. My counsellor gave me an exercise to help me get started writing in a way that includes my emotions. I’d mentioned I wanted to write a memoir but I have a tendency to write from my head instead of my heart so she gave me a writing exercise. But I’ve been avoiding it since I saw her last (May 20) because it requires me to write about something traumatic then reflect on how I feel after writing it. There’s four days of exercises I’m supposed to do and each day requires me to monitor how I am feeling but I just can’t seem to do it. Also, I’m supposed to do it consecutively so no breaks between the four days. That is probably another reason I’ve been putting it off because I dislike the thought of having to write about painful experiences from my life in a concentrated manner with need for focusing on my emotions.

Another reason I am probably avoiding the writing exercise is because I feel reasonably well and don’t want to feel miserable because I wrote about something traumatic and had to stay with my emotions. It’s perfectly normal to want our positive feelings to last and our ‘negative’ ones to be short lived; but avoiding our negative feelings regularly isn’t healthy. For the most part I don’t ignore my less favoured feelings it’s just the idea of having to illicit them intentionally isn’t really appealing. Of course I might not experience the glut of negative emotion I’m anticipating yet I could also experience much worse and be ‘knocked flat on my back’ so to speak. So what to do? Bite the bullet and be done with the exercise before my next counselling appointment this Tuesday, or put it off and get around to it when I feel ready? The second option is kinder but my natural impulse is to simply do what needs to be done and ignore the detrimental effects on me.

Perhaps I’ll sleep on it and have a clearer idea in the morning on what to do.

¬©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far¬ģ


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PTSD & Attachment from Advances In Psychiatric Treatment (journal article)

http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/15/3/172.full (HTML version)

Post-traumatic stress disorder and attachment: possible links with borderline personality disorder (PDF version)

Cover for the article linked to.

I read the above linked article (8 pages) and found it really interesting in its exploration of PTSD and complex PTSD. There is a smaller focus on Borderline Personality Disorder but the article focuses primarily on ‘simple’ and ‘complex’ PTSD and the ICD-10/DSM-V exclusion of complex PTSD as a formally recognised diagnosis. Given I was diagnosed with BPD at 18 and PTSD in my mid 20s I was interested in what the article had to say, especially since it explored it through an attachment lens. As you can probably tell I agree with attachment theory so had no ideological issues with the journal article. It’s a positive read and doesn’t ‘bash’ anyone with the discussed¬†conditions.

The journal is open access (you don’t need to pay) for articles 3 years or older. The one I linked to is from 2009.


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Mother’s Day (North America)

It’s Mother’s Day here in the U.S. & Canada; Mexico celebrated yesterday (May 10). Happy Mother’s Day to the mom’s who actually manage to do a “good enough” job. A past therapist of mine told me parents need not be perfect but they need to be ‘good enough’ which is a realistic way to think of it. There are no perfect mothers because people aren’t perfect but as long as you can express love to your child(ren) and they feel it then you’re probably doing a good job. The ironic thing is there are a lot of moms not capable of expressing healthy love but they believe they’re excellent mothers.

My mom was not capable of showing me love in a healthy manner and neglected me emotionally, she also abused me but she thought she was a great mom and it was me, the child, who had the problem! Why do we have these sort of blind spots in us preventing us from seeing what sh*t we are as parents? I’m not saying every mom that thinks she’s a good mom is actually not; what I’m saying is there seems to be a lot of moms thinking they are “the world’s #1 mom” ignoring the fact they need professional help. Mom had psychological problems because she was severely abused as a child and developed into a Narcissist but didn’t get therapy. This is the level of dysfunction I’m talking about when I mention moms being blind to their flaws.

I didn’t mean to make this post into an angry one so I’ll try to redirect my thoughts to more positive things. If you have a mom who loves you unconditionally consider yourself lucky! Be grateful you have a mom that didn’t ‘f*cK you up’ because I can tell you therapy to correct it isn’t fun. If you weren’t so lucky I can relate and send you my sympathies. My mother is dead so I am enjoying not having to be phony anymore to avoid making others uncomfortable with the truth.

Non-human animals are usually much better mothers than us…except the ones who eat their young. But aside from them they really are better than us.

The best thing one can do if you didn’t get lucky and have a loving mom is to learn to love yourself like a ‘proper’ mother would. This requires you learn compassion for yourself which is difficult to come by through merely reading self-help books. Psychotherapy with a therapist who has compassion for themselves is your best bet for learning to love yourself unconditionally. If you can find a ‘shrink’ that will sit with your emotions and make you feel accepted then you have a winner. Unfortunately, there aren’t a great number of psychotherapists like this but they are out there and when you find one you’ll know it because you’ll suddenly feel like it’s okay to actually be you for once.

So, is it Mother’s Day in your part of the world today? How are you spending the day? If it’s just a regular Sunday in your country then I hope you simply have an enjoyable day.

©Natalya, 2014.