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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Denial of Reality

I know I’ve written about this subject to an extent before on my blog but I wanted to expand on it a bit. My whole life I have had an inability to rationalize and normalize abnormal behaviour. It seems the rest of my family is pretty adept at it but I am not. I grew up in an atmosphere of chaos and recognized it instinctually that my family wasn’t normal. Maybe other people have this experience too and just don’t talk about it. But the people in my family seem rather good at ignoring abnormal/unhealthy behaviour writing it off as no big deal essentially. I just don’t understand how they do this. How do you see someone in a state where they are not functioning well yet nobody will admit to it.

My mother had Alzheimer’s disease and died but for many years she functioned poorly yet my family ignored it. They

Healthy brain (bottom) versus brain of a donor...

Healthy brain (bottom) versus brain of a donor with Alzheimer’s disease. Notable is the “shrink” that has occurred in Alzheimer’s disease; the brain was decreased in size. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

only admitted there was a problem after mom was to the point she couldn’t find her way home if she walked further than the end of the street. Only when she had lost significant portions of her grey matter did they accept mom was ill. WTF?! She was ill for a long time before then yet they chose to put their heads in the sand and pretend it wasn’t there.

Okay, you can say it’s normal for people to be in denial about a family member’s illness if they are an enabler or used to it. But I’m talking about family that were not around often and had fresh perspective yet still chose to ignore the obvious. Or was it only obvious to me? It would seem you need to be knocked over the head with a hammer in my family before you admit to problems existing. My sister and I both saw how ill mom was but we didn’t have any power so it was of little consequence our recognizing anything amiss.

Is it just a natural way to cope denying there are problems in your life? Or is this just something dysfunctional families do? My family is most definitely dysfunctional. What is your experience?

©Natalya, 2013.


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Day 27 of 30 Day Challenge

Question: A problem you have or have had in the past?

Well I am late again answering this one because I saw my counsellor yesterday and didn’t have

Counseling Service

Counseling Service (Photo credit: Andreas_MB)

much energy for writing. Guess I’ll talk about the problem I mentioned to my counsellor. Recently I found some photos of my mom from earlier in her life where she looked much healthier than when I knew her. My problem was blaming myself for this turn of health in my mom like I was responsible for her becoming psychologically unwell. In a sense I wanted to take responsibility for her behaviour and what happened so I could have a bit of control. But my counsellor got me to reflect on this reasoning and realize its problems.

I was a child and didn’t have control over my mom. Her health was her responsibility and she frequently neglected looking after herself. So I was able to feel better knowing it was not something I could have done anything about. She wanted to have me and I didn’t cause my twin to die or anything else that happened after my birth. These are all things I knew anyway but the photos triggered uncertainty in me in spite of what I already knew and had made peace with at an earlier time (or thought I’d made peace with!).

It’s a complicated situation and I feel too tired today to elaborate. Ultimately, I have gone back to realizing what I already knew prior to finding those old photos and feel acceptance once again. Triggers can be tricky since you usually don’t see them coming so this has been a good lesson for me. I am not immune to triggers and need to be mindful of what my triggers are so I can try preventing them in the future (or at least mitigating some of their impact on me).

*The picture of the door is more institutional than I was looking for but I figured it would suffice.

©Natalya, 2013.

 


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SuperBetter Activity On-line

After yesterday’s post I felt I ought to attempt to be more positive so I’m sharing a link to an on-line game a friend shared

One of the activities is to look at baby animals 🙂

with me. It’s designed to be motivational and help you with illnesses like depression, anxiety, chronic pain etc You pick your illness you’re challenged by the most from the list of choices (there are not many so pick whatever you can identify with closest as your challenge). I chose depression and do a bunch of activities to boost my emotional, mental and social well-being. The exercises/activities are simple right now because I just started but I’m guessing they get harder with time/experience. Some of the things you do (for depression) are write out the five affirmations listed and put them around your home where you’ll see them. They should help you feel better if you read them often. Another exercise was to simply stand up every hour so you are not sitting all day! My goal I designed for myself is to eat 3 healthy meals a day because I’m slack on this. It’s like having an on-line life coach or something similar because it’s designed for helping you reach your potential. The site/game is free and you can even design your own scenario and challenges if you are up to it. I just used the ready made ones! Check it out if you’re curious: https://www.superbetter.com/

©Reflectionsonlifethusfar, 2012.


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Musings on Unemployment

Ah, yes. Here I am again back in front of my computer screen tapping out an update. I figured there were only so many pics and links I could post before it seemed like this was my Twitter feed.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

As you may have learned already from my first post, I’m unemployed-have been for quite some time now (Jan. 31, 2010 to be exact). Anyhow, I have been feeling a bit of self pity lately and want to share. My last job was as a “counsellor” in a small options home for intellectually challenged adults. I put counsellor in quotes because I was more like a personal care worker for much of the job. There were counsellor type elements involved but by and large I gave baths, cleaned and attended to domestic chores. Initially when I’d started, close to three years prior to quitting, I had aspirations of being something more. This didn’t happen and I grew frustrated.

While working in small options I was also attending university for a degree in social work (BSW) because I’d found out my Bachelor of Arts degree wasn’t going to get me the sort of job I wanted; which at the time was to be a counsellor of a different sort. Counsellors in my mind were closer to occupying pseudo therapist roles. I was enamored with the idea of being a shrink, short of this I would settle for counsellor/social worker. Because I didn’t want to do another undergraduate degree then a Masters and PhD, I chose to study social work. Unfortunately, I never really researched the position very well and didn’t know what I was getting myself in for. I knew enough to get accepted into the program and convinced the school it was what I wanted but I knew s*it! The ideas I had would have required a Masters degree and doing lousy child protection work for a few years before getting into a Masters program. In short my plans were doomed from the start. I’ve always been an abstract, head in the clouds type of person and doing ‘front line’ work wasn’t my idea of rewarding.

Getting back to how I ended up quitting and becoming unemployed; I was volunteering, attending university, working and caring for a sick parent at home. The volunteering went first as I couldn’t muster the energy to play with young kids at a daycare anymore. My sick parent died later the same year (2008) and I went into a sort of autopilot/survival mode. I continued to work despite not wanting to but couldn’t bear to loose the pay cheque, nor abandon the clients. Unlike some people I didn’t find work a good escape. It was just bringing more stress into my life. I wanted to crawl under my covers and stay in bed for as long as it took to feel better again. Hello major depression!

I had a disastrous relationship with my deceased parent while living and many unresolved points of contention. Needless to say I felt overwhelmed and angry for being forced to deal with a lifetime of heartache before I wanted to. So I went BACK to therapy. This was not a first for me as I’d been in and out of therapy for many years. Therapy helped me a lot but it was painful and raw. Trying to be a good student and counsellor wasn’t possible for me. I finished my social work academic credits and left without finishing the practical

Master or Slave?  (Flash Question)

Master or Slave? (Flash Question) (Photo credit: Christine ™)

placement. I also quit my job. The first decision was terribly difficult but the second was the best I’d ever made. Being poor was 10X better than going to a lousy, stress filled job regularly and, well, not being in social work was a relief too by that point.

Fortunately, my other parent was able to allow my to stay at home and not pay any bills. That solved some of my problems anyway. Still, I felt miserable and descended into my depression and relapsed into eating disordered behaviours. My weight dropped significantly. I’m a small person anyhow so loosing weight just makes me seem REALLY small. Thankfully my therapist confronted me and helped to make me see I was being self destructive. I agreed to work on getting healthier and talk openly about the elephant in the room-my low weight. It was the first time I’d done so EVER. Now I’ve had an eating disorder and associated behaviours since I was in my early teens. No one ever confronted me about my weight in all those years. I was careful to avoid being ‘caught’ in the act so to speak. Also, I was more clever than was good for my health.

It’s 2 years later now since I began my trip to wellness land and I can tell you wholeheartedly it was worth the pain getting here. I’d never realized how dysfunctional my cognitions were. My thought processes were so distorted for such a long time I didn’t know they weren’t normal. I didn’t realize it was possible to feel positive about myself. After so many years of poor health I figured my default mood was depressed. Good moods stood out more for me than low ones.

As I’ve become healthier I have wanted to be employed again. Yet in the current economic climate getting a job isn’t as easy as it once was. The availability of jobs is meager at best and the variety tends towards very low skilled to highly skilled, with few in between type positions. Although I have a 4 year degree it is not enough to have simply the education these days; you have to have experience or specific skills, which are challenging to obtain without spending lots of money. If I had the money I’d be taking every training course you can imagine. I love learning new things but that takes money I don’t have. Heck, if I were rich I’d be a professional student in university forever and a philanthropist.

These days I scan the job ads online and frequent every major social networking site in hopes of something appealing. Have I mentioned I’m introverted and rather shy/socially anxious? Employers are always looking for the outgoing types it seems while us quiet ones fade into the background. Just because I don’t relish being with lots of people all the time isn’t-or shouldn’t be-an indicator of my employability. I have a lot to offer but take a bit of time to show it. Shouting my qualities from the roof tops isn’t my style. I’m modest and don’t like boasting, yet to get a job you have to “sell” yourself, or your skills anyway, while not seeming arrogant. If I were good at networking that might help but meeting new people isn’t so easy when you find solitude/independent activities more appealing. Is there any way around it? Wasn’t there a time when all you had to worry about was whether or not you had the knowledge? not the ‘schmooze factor’?Someday’s I really loathe the current world. But I’m no misanthrope either. I see lots of positive qualities in people and even our mainstream culture. I guess my final thought for today is I wish I could get a job I enjoy without the annoyance of networking and being more sociable than I find comfortable.

© Zen Lady Meditating and Reflections On Life Thus Far, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Zen Lady Meditating and Reflections On Life Thus Far with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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Hello world!

Hi! welcome to my blog. I hope to update my blog regularly but am not the best at getting around to things so there may be gaps. Currently, I’m an unemployed university graduate/drop out from a second degree (BA & BSW respectively).I was ill for awhile and had to leave my last job due to stress and lack of satisfaction with what I was doing. Things were not going well for me but have since turned around.  Although unemployed still my health is better now than ever before and I hope to be working in the not too distant future; in which case I will update when I can. For now I will post whatever comes into my head! I hope you decide to follow my blog 🙂