Reflections on Life Thus Far

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


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Feeling of Disbelief

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A family member (relative through marriage) died over the weekend. At first this was the upsetting news that left me feeling sad; that was until I read the obituary later and learned he had remarried and never mentioned it. So not only did I find out he died-but also he had gotten married and never told anyone besides his closest family. It just feels so surreal. I didn’t expect for him to die so soon despite being ill and I certainly never dreamt he would have gone and remarried. There’s nothing wrong with him remarrying. That is not the issue. What I am having trouble with is why he would keep that information from his extended family.

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Image credit: Pixabay

Isn’t getting married (even if it’s a second time around) good news worth sharing? Did he think we’d be upset since his first wife (our blood relative) only died not quite two years ago? We kept in touch but we hadn’t visited since the same year his first wife died close to two years ago. Anyhow, I know it isn’t earth shattering he got remarried and never told us but finding out the same day I learnt he died has been a shocker. It kind of feels like a betrayal-I know it is not-but that doesn’t stop the thought from entering my mind that he obviously didn’t think enough of anyone outside his closest relations to share the news.

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Image credit: Pixabay

 

So I feel hurt. I think he should have told us. It sucks learning about something through a person’s obituary. I feel discombobulated. We weren’t terribly close, I suppose when it comes down to it, but he felt we were family enough to know about how ill he was, so why not him meeting someone and remarrying? This is all fresh news for me so I am still processing it but maybe it will be less painful in the days to come. I’m not sure if I ought to attend his funeral or not given we aren’t blood relations nor close friends. It might be awkward to have to meet his wife and I don’t want to cause conflict or tension for his family that was around him regularly (especially since we never were introduced to them).

 

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Image credit: Pixabay

You know, I kind of feel angry now that I’ve had time to digest the news. It’s like suddenly I have to change the narrative of the relationship; okay, so I think it’s actually more that I am being forced to confront the fact we weren’t as close as I tried to tell myself. I was aware of the parameters of the relationship and it being lacking but still… When someone dies it forces you to confront the stuff you tried (I tried) to push down and not think about. Now that I am facing the redefinition of our relationship I feel all the emotions associated with the five stages of grief circulating through me.

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Image credit: pixabay

He was my last connection to the relative I was blood related to. The fact he remarried p*sses me off because it ruins the way I viewed the couple and I kind of feel cheated. Yes, it’s immature but the blood relation (his first wife) and him were my godparents. So even though they never acted in that capacity I am annoyed and hurt. Perhaps he wanted to avoid dealing with people (including myself) who would be conflicted over his choice to remarry. I sort of wish he had told me while he was living though because then I would not be dealing with shock over him dying AND remarrying.

Okay, I guess I am through for now. This writing has helped me in a cathartic way. That’s why I like writing when I am super upset because it acts as a catharsis so long as I am totally honest with myself.

Thank you for reading.

©Natalya Lyubov, 2017.

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Epigenetics and family trauma A link to a short but interesting piece on epigenetics and healing trauma.

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Healing Affirmations – Metaphysical Causes of Disease and Illness

Healing Affirmations – Metaphysical Causes of Disease and Illness.

I found this website and wanted to share it because it’s insightful with respect to physical ailments having emotional roots. You can click on the listed disorders and ailments to learn the most likely emotional cause associated with it. After going through the list and checking the ones I had I found it rang true for myself anyway. You may not find that the case for yourself but the emotional causes are interesting and healing affirmations are offered as well for each ailment.


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Changes

Discouraged. That pretty much sums up how I have been feeling lately. I think I am overwhelmed because I have been going through my possessions trying to become more minimalist; but in the process I have felt a mixture of emotions. Most recently, I parted with a garbage bag full of treasured books destined for charity and in doing so I wanted to pull some out and ‘save’ them…but I resisted. It feels like a loss to me because I love books and they’ve been my ‘significant other’ since I have never let real people close to me. So in parting with so many books I felt attachment to I went through a series of grief related feelings. Maybe not all of the grief related feelings/stages but definitely some anyway.

When you use books to satisfy your need for relationships giving away a large quantity of them feels horrendous. It’s not like I hoard books but I definitely value my books more than a person ought to. They aren’t historic relics suited to an archives department either so I don’t have any objective reason to view them so fondly. Perhaps it’s the fact I parted with books that had served as valuable references and comfort when I needed them; now I’m forced to either let go of anything I can’t remember or trust I will be able to call upon my brain to give me the knowledge when I need it. That’s scary given I dissociated for so much of my life to avoid pain. What if I can’t remember everything I read in the books I gave away?! Now I must trust myself to survive and have greater acceptance of my innate fallibility which also makes me face the fact I am imperfect. You see all these things connect to my sense of lovability and self-worth and that is terrifying territory. There’s little comfort in what I’m experiencing.

I want to crawl under my bed covers and not have to face the world. Maybe I am depressed but more than likely I am afraid of the fact I have nothing solid to stand on. All of my worldly identifiers are gone and I’m struggling to not concoct a new identity for myself knowing such a thing would be a production of my ego anyway. Part of the reason I fear social interaction is I’m afraid someone will ask me about myself and I don’t have any tidy, pat answers on tap to reduce my discomfort and the other person’s. The other reason for my social anxiety is I simply have trouble easily relating to everyone. Maybe most people don’t easily relate to others either and just hide it better than I do. Or maybe it’s a problem of ‘how’ I relate. I can relate at a human level but not at the social/surface level. After all, I don’t have a paid job, sports don’t interest me and I don’t have a husband or kids. So right there I am starting off from a disadvantaged position. Then again maybe I just overthink these things and should try to ‘relax’ more! Ha, if it were that easy I’d have done it by now. In some ways I have learned to relax about it a little bit but other times I get triggered by things like giving away some of my precious books. Who knew parting with a garbage bag full of my books would trigger me? Certainly, if I’d known it, I might have chosen to part with fewer books to ease the discomfort. The way I have done it feels like I just had a Band-Aid ripped from a tender sore spot. I suppose I shall have to go easy on myself. Trying to bulldoze my way through the pain won’t help me any if past experiences are anything to go on.

On a more positive note I did manage to dust my computer desk and tidy up my messy cords from my electronic devices. Well that’s it for now. Tomorrow I see my counsellor.

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®


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Why I Can’t Watch Compulsive Hoarders On TV

An example of a compulsive hoarder’s home. Reminds me of how mine used to look before mom died and I was allowed to clear the junk.

For about a week I was watching various compulsive hoarder t.v. shows on YouTube that captivated me because I grew up with a mother who hoarded. Little did I know how triggered it would make me though. At first it was entertaining and slightly voyeuristic for me but I noticed after a few days my mood was dipping. So I initially chalked it up to PMS but it just didn’t feel like that explained it well enough for me. Then lying awake in bed feeling sad I realised it was my shame that had been triggered watching the compulsive hoarders on YouTube. I’d been transported back in time to the days when my mother hoarded and I felt powerless and ashamed of my home; embarrassed to have friends over I identified with the other adult children on these hoarder shows as they shared how they felt due to their parents’ hoarding problem. Of course having friends over is the last thing you want when you’re living in squalor essentially because one of your parents can’t throw anything out and collects stuff to the point there’s no room for anyone to actually live in the home anymore (cleaning anything is practically impossible too).

So once I had the ‘epiphany’ about where my uncomfortable feelings were stemming from I was able to wake up the next day feeling well again. No more compulsive hoarding shows for me! It felt too dreadful being moody without knowing why, reminded me of years ago when I didn’t have awareness of my emotional states. I felt scared thinking I might be slipping back into a time where any emotional state I was in came as a total surprise to me. Fortunately since stopping watching the compulsive hoarder shows I feel better. Likely the fact I honoured my feelings helped too because I could have simply brushed off my concerns like I used to and kept on watching the shows. But I don’t punish myself anymore and forcing myself to continue watching something that triggered shame and deep sadness in me wasn’t an option.

Now I watch shows where they clean messes and the people aren’t ill like on the hoarding shows that reminded me of my mom. My favourite is “How Clean Is Your House” with Kim and Aggie. It’s not produced anymore but I enjoy the old episodes. The UK episodes are better than the American b/c the Brits are funnier (IMO).

©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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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®