Reflections on Life Thus Far

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

Remembering…

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I found this image on Pinterest and really liked both the visual and message printed at the top of it.

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Confused and Uncertain

question-1301144Since being sick in December and unable to be around people/out in public (so as not to infect anyone) for nearly a month I’m finding it hard to know what I’m doing. The forced confinement made me unhappy since I couldn’t enjoy the holidays like I normally can. Not that the holidays are always happy for me but at least being allowed out improves mood. Me, I was too bothered by how I looked to even go out on my patio for fresh air. Stupid adult chicken pox. But now that I can go out again my mood and mental state hasn’t exactly recovered totally.

confusion-311388The main problem is being unfocused and uncertain about what to do with myself. I haven’t really been enjoying the designing I have been doing for a few print on demand companies on the internet. Technically I still design for them but it’s compensated only by a royalty and requires more marketing ability than I possess to make a living off it. So I feel unsatisfied by my daily occupation. I want to make a difference in the world and feel like I am positively contributing. As of now I feel pretty useless and doubting of myself. Perhaps I can volunteer?…

 

Maybe all of these thoughts would not have surfaced if it weren’t for the discussion I’d had in late November with an aunt of mine and my dad. I posted about it a couple of posts back. Anyway it was the suggestion I contact a lawyer for my dad (since I have nothing pressing to do with my time apparently) regarding some money he felt was owed him. He thinks he was supposed to receive money but hasn’t because his family cheated him out of it.

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As far as I know he couldn’t have been in the will since it’s been well over a year since his sister died and he wasn’t contacted. But he holds firm in his bitterness and resentment toward a couple family members he thinks ruined his chance at financial freedom. The bitterness he holds is scary and I feel concerned for him. One, I don’t know that there was ever any money or not ‘owed’ to him; secondly, I am worried he’ll be bitter and resentful for the rest of his life and unable to get past any of this.

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He’s heavily focused on the past and what went wrong, including when he was a child. This includes hanging onto resentment over what his younger brother did and got away with. Basically he’s upset he shouldered the responsibility in the family in terms of chores and expectations; while his younger brother and older sister weren’t made to do much (from his perspective). He grew up in the 1950s and 60s.

deciding-1364439What all this has to do with me is I was asked to take on this concern of my dad’s (that is a lot bigger and deeper than my aunt likely knows) and to solve it for him with a lawyer. I don’t want to get involved because I think he’s delusional and has problems sorting reality out from his imagination. If I went to a lawyer what on earth would I have to make any sort of ‘case’ for him? None of the stuff he told me about was anything I was present to verify and I am used to having to explain to him what was actually said versus what he ‘heard’. Oh, and that is just with respect to television shows or when we’re discussing less weighty issues than legal matters. So it’s hard for me to take what he says at ‘face value’ because I know how often he mishears words and throws in his own substitution when confused by conversations.

 

You might think he has dementia but I am fairly certain it’s just his neurological issues he’s had for his whole life. Apparently he had quite a bit of his brain damaged from medical complications as a child living far from hospitals and doctors (plus no proper transportation to remedy the problem).

tarot-1775322I’m considering alternative methods for helping my dad. For instance, I thought perhaps a psychic with mediumship abilities could contact his sister and ask her if she actually did promise him money at some point or other and if it was included in her will or not. Yes, it sounds like my judgement might be questionable here but I am open minded and figure a ‘direct connection’ to his sister could clear up his (probably) mistaken ideas.

 

What to do? I wish I knew the right answer to all these concerns plaguing my mind. Notfuture-1126760 just with my dad but what I may do with my life. I’m scared that my life is slipping by and I’m not making the most of it. But I remain uncertain about what ‘it’ is I am meant to do. Ah, heck! Maybe I should be the one with the question for the psychic about my own life but I still need help with my dad’s situation too. Oh well, I suppose I will just have to meditate and hope the answer(s) come to me at the time I need them.

©Natalya Lyubov, 2017.

 

Tapping Solution Video from World Summit 2013

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Tapping Video with Louise Hay and Nick Ortner

 


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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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Paring Down To Go Minimalist

Not quite this minimalist yet but maybe one day…

Lately I have been trying to go minimalist to simplify my life. It’s been something of a challenge as I have loads of things I don’t need yet feel some level of attachment to still. So I am culling the easiest items first beginning with anything I’ve not used or thought about in years or never liked anyway. In fact I got rid of two and a half garbage bags so far of things for charity. Much of what I have culled is perfectly usable or in decent/superb shape and what isn’t I threw out for the garbage or recycling. I feel really proud of myself for tackling my excess clutter. It makes me feel lighter emotionally once I’ve managed to clear out a few things that I never actually used. Fortunately, I haven’t got a compulsive hoarding problem or my job would be far more monumental!

A good reason for going toward minimalist living is it’s easier to clean if you don’t have loads of things in your way to move in order to clean. Presently, I have to move lots of items if I want to dust a surface or wipe it clean. It makes the task a lot harder than it needs to be. In the last month or two I have felt myself desiring less material items and more space so that means a bit of effort now for less later. It feels nice not having so many knick knacks and objects that were for all intensive purposes clutter. I highly recommend minimalism to you if you’re seeking a simpler existence and find yourself regarding material items less favourably than you once did. The only caveat is you will need to have your mind in line with the lifestyle or it won’t feel appropriate for you. Also, if you are a compulsive hoarder or pack rat minimalism likely isn’t for you!

I have a ways to go before I can call myself a minimalist but I’m going in the right direction anyway.

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®


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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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Healing & Freeing Yourself From Clutter

My kind of bathroom! Love this. Image found here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/397724210815086850/

The more I heal emotionally and psychologically the less I need materially to be content. I have noticed that when I want distraction from something bothering me I seek out material things as though I actually ‘need’ them-in most instances I don’t need them at all. But thankfully this occurs much less now than it used to. In fact I did a big clutter clear-out last year and continue to weed out things I don’t need or want anymore. The less I have the better I feel! Of course I need some things but nothing like what I once believed necessary.

Personally, for me, clutter and excess things just drain my energy to the extent I feel restricted in my breathing and capacity to relax. I suspect this is from growing up with a compulsive hoarder for a mother and not having the power to do anything to affect change in my environment at home. Being powerless as a child to change your circumstances can often lead to rebelling against such constrictions and moving in the opposite direction. So I very much wish to keep my environment clutter free these days. Unfortunately, I did not have the energy or motivation to clear out the clutter for a long time because I was still ‘attached’ to it. The clutter was my mother’s and kept me connected superficially to her even though I didn’t want to be. It was as though I had too much emotional baggage I had to clear out first before I could tackle her clutter. For those of you who aren’t regular readers or have forgotten, my mother died in 2008. Thus, her hoarded possessions were left for my dad and I to sort through.

Dad doesn’t mind clutter so it was up to me to get rid of my mom’s accumulated clutter (aka junk!). As I mentioned, last year I got a lot of it cleared out and the difference was huge. It took me a number of months to do it because I was the only one doing it and dad sometimes felt overwhelmed by the shear volume of clutter I was removing. I knew I had to do it slowly so my dad wouldn’t be upset and ask me to leave everything where it was. Fortunately, as I got rid of more stuff along the way the positive changes impacted my dad and he saw I was making things better so objected less and less. That’s how it works though when you’re removing a lot of stuff and someone has been used to living with it so it doesn’t register for them as being a problem anymore. I think one has to be impartial or quite balanced to go through a load of clutter and not let it overwhelm you. You also need empathy for the hoarder or person holding onto the stuff or else it’s just too easy to tell them they need ‘professional’ help! LOL

Beautiful and true 🙂 Image found here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/320951910916350560/

These days I tend to look at anything I want to buy long and hard before hand because I need to think about where it will go and if I actually ‘need’ it or not. Generally it turns out I don’t need it and I opt to leave it in the store instead of buying it. It helps not having a lot of money but even with a small amount of money you can buy things you don’t really need as such. So I’m learning to always ask myself when I’m in a store if the item will be of use to me or if it will become clutter. This method works for me because it makes me slow down and be mindful of what I am contemplating buying. Another thing I have started to do is try to follow a rule of ‘one item in one item out’-in other words if I buy one item I have to get rid of an item I already have (I put it aside ’til I have enough to donate to Goodwill or another charitable organisation accepting household items/clothes). This prevents me from accumulating more things than I have space for or actually require for my well being.

As I’m thinking about clutter in the material realm I am reminded to mention our minds can get cluttered too. Our headspace tends to be reflected in our living spaces and the more clutter in your mind the more you’ll have around you. I also believe people can end up talking too much about things that don’t really matter just so the ‘space’ can be filled with something. Silence is difficult for a lot of people to cope with so talking about anything at all is better than nothing it would seem. I prefer the silence though to incessant ‘noise’ caused by someone uncomfortable with it. My head starts to hurt if I’m subjected to listening to someone chatter non stop. It really does get to me at times. Of course I try to be polite and civil so will tolerate it for awhile until I usually have to interject abruptly in order to escape or regain my serenity. I’m working on trying to maintain my equanimity whilst being subjected to mindless chatter and am slowly getting better at it.

Still, I don’t see why I should have to be providing all the accommodation when I am just as worthy as anyone else. Guess it comes back to recognising if I dislike my situation it’s up to me to change it. Although I try to accommodate others it’s not a given it will be reciprocated, nor is it actually mandatory. So if I have an issue with people talking too much about ‘nothing’ it’s ultimately my problem and I have to find a way to deal with it. This applies to anything we have problems with because we can’t change others behaviour, only our own.

How does clutter affect you? Do you struggle to maintain a ‘clutter-free zone’ or are you not bothered by it until it reaches a point where you *have to* do something?

 

©Natalya Lyubov, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®

 


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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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Spiritual Progress (Marianne Williamson)

“Spiritual progress is just like detoxification. Things have to come up in order to be released. Once we have asked to be healed, then our unhealed places are forced to the surface – Marianne Williamson”. Image found via Betty Heigl on Pinterest.