Reflections on Life Thus Far

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


Leave a comment

Feeling of Disbelief

tombs-1724115

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.

collectors-doll-648855

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.

beautiful-820950

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).

 

beautiful-820940

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.

dark-1859934

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.


4 Comments

Feeling Overwhelmed

So I had lunch today with my dad and aunt at a restaurant nearby; it went okay as far as the food went but the conversation was less pleasing. My dad decided to run by my aunt a few things he’s been fixated on over the past year and I have had to hear about from him regularly. Honestly, I don’t know if I believe all that he says because it sounds like paranoid thinking to my mind. That being said he believes it and I have no way to verify what he said as true short of confronting the people thought to be involved and asking them what they said, which would be horribly awkward and offensive considering the content. Legal advice might solve the issues but I don’t know how to approach the topic since I only heard what my dad said and not the other people involved. Much of the discussion is really awful and makes me feel disbelieving.

sad-505857

I would like to consider the legal counsel route but I have trouble thinking on the situation since it involves some ‘touchy’ topics. The situation makes me feel quite ill really. I hate thinking about it all. If my dad is wrong and actually delusional than is a lawyer going to be able to help?

At first I was angry with my dad for being fixated on the subject but now I just feel overwhelmingly helpless and sad. Yes, I can maybe contact a lawyer or someone like that but I don’t feel like I have the right to interfere. My dad might be okay with me seeking legal advice for him but it makes little difference in how I feel cornered and pressured to be dad’s champion. My aunt asked me and I couldn’t think of a way to say no. It would be better if my dad was willing to address the issue himself but he tends to communicate poorly. He has a few learning disabilities and his ability to express himself is somewhat limited in more complex situations. Hence, the reason my aunt wanted me to talk for my dad. But I am not sure I can do it.

girl-690327

The main reason I feel a desire to help is I figure it might give my dad some concrete facts instead of what he believes was said orally between him and the others involved. I’m skeptical of the events occurring as he said they did but I don’t have any proof for either side of the claim. Also, I am concerned that any inquiry made by the lawyer (if I go that route) may alert the other people involved since it’s an argument over a will. All I want is to have the lawyer say whether there’s a will or not and if my dad was included in it as a recipient. Then I can figure out if more needs to be done or not. As it stands, I don’t have confirmation of anything so any facts the lawyer could give would help. Beyond that I am not looking forward to because I hate confrontation and conflict.

I wish I could hibernate for the winter and avoid any conflict until Spring when it’s not so dreary outside. Maybe I would have a brighter outlook by then and my dad might actually have figured out the situation wasn’t as bad as he believed. If only.

Thanks for reading.

©Natalya L., Reflections On Life Thus Far, 2016.


13 Comments

Happy New Year!

Okay, so I am late for the Western world but the lunar new year is February 8th so I am technically on time for that anyway! lol It’s the year of the monkey.

squirrel-monkey-505191

2016 arrived, for me, with little to report as I have been in some weird state of lethargy that left no energy for grand New Year plans. Due to the fact I hardly ever leave my house I find anytime I do go out I end up catching something. Thus, for the past month I have had an annoying bout of allergic rhinitis and sinusitis, as well as some flu like symptoms in spite of getting the ‘flu shot’.

townsendii-386924

I want to hibernate all winter like a bat.

In short, I have had no energy. Oh sure, I went out a few times (not to do groceries!) and managed to avoid sinking from Seasonal Affective Disorder into a clinical depression; but beyond that I feel as though I have done very little. My counsellor has been ‘missing in action’ since she left for some type of emergency back in July (not sure of the specifics obviously). The point is I have not seen her since the end of May 2015 (my last appointment) and think I am doing alright. It’s just the winter lack of daylight draining me along with my seeming penchant for catching colds/sinus problems every time I venture outdoors.

All I want is enough energy to do my laundry regularly and keep my home looking half-way decent. Surely, that is not too tall an order. Now that my ear and jaw are feeling less painful (sinus related) I have found a bit of energy returning to me. For awhile I wanted to pop Advil regularly but decided against it since one develops a tolerance to drugs that way.

Fortunately I don’t take it often, as I heard in the medical news regular long-term use of NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can lead to Alzheimer’s. Before 2010 the medical community thought it prevented or protected against Alzheimer’s. Good thing I only ever overdosed on Aspirin and Tylenol! Sorry bad joke. I last tried to commit suicide in November 2000 using Aspirin on two attempts and Tylenol on the other one. I have to wonder though about my mom because she took NSAIDs regularly for many years for arthritis and developed Alzheimer’s. She died at age 60. The only positive I read about the connection between NSAIDs and Alzheimer’s was there was some speculation it might stave off the worse symptoms of the disease for longer than would be the case without NSAIDs.

But none of this matters now because we never did an autopsy on my mom’s brain after her death. We felt she’d been through enough and never liked doctors much so decided against any postmortem; so we’ll never know if her brain could have revealed any clues or not. I like to think the NSAIDs gave her a few extra years before the worst of her symptoms set in. Either that or it was a contributing factor in her developing the disease.

©Natalya for Reflections On Life Thus Far, 2016.

 

 


Leave a comment

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®


3 Comments

Reactive Attachment Disorder & Me

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/reactive-attachment-disorder/basics/definition/con-20032126

No, I’ve never been formally diagnosed as having RAD but I definitely fit the criteria and identify with it. Most know of it as something only in children but reactive attachment disorder doesn’t cure itself with ageing. I come from an emotionally neglectful home and can’t find any photos of me smiling as a baby when being held by someone (including my mother). If I smiled it was when I was alone, playing on my own. Thinking about RAD makes me sad because I know how many of the problems I had in life are related to never forming a healthy attachment (secure attachment) with my mother. How do you form an attachment with someone who has serious issues of their own and no insight to get treatment? Small wonder I failed to develop a secure attachment with mom and never wanted to be held by her. I didn’t even like being touched so hardly got used to liking it.

Today I saw my counsellor and brought up my feelings of sadness and grief connected with RAD. Most of the session I simply cried and let out my pain from not feeling like I was secure with my mother. Mom was abused as a child herself and never went through therapy so passed her trauma onto me. Often I felt completely alone and helpless-not to mention uncared for. Naturally I never knew what I was feeling because I had no mirror or person to helpfully teach me what I was experiencing. This lead to a lot of anxiety because I didn’t know what was going on in me. Mom sometimes offered comfort but other times she neglected me and I felt ignored, like my emotions didn’t mean anything. This taught me to not express emotion overtime which lead to much pent up anger.

"Love is unconditional and 'knows' that our psychological pain comes but from our ego. Attachment 'thinks' that our pain comes from other people. Attachment dissolves when its object does not conform to what our ego wants. The pain we feel then is created by our frustrated ego, which calls these people toxic, whereas it's our own ego who acts toxically. This is called projection and precludes our development.~JY Besle"

“Love is unconditional and ‘knows’ that our psychological pain comes but from our ego. Attachment ‘thinks’ that our pain comes from other people. Attachment dissolves when its object does not conform to what our ego wants. The pain we feel then is created by our frustrated ego, which calls these people toxic, whereas it’s our own ego who acts toxically. This is called projection and precludes our development.~JY Besle”

The erratic expression of concern contrasted with indifference or anger from my mother when I was upset gave me no security upon which to build my emotional immune system. For a long time I felt numb or like I might emotionally bleed to death. Mercifully, numbness was more salient than any other feeling but it didn’t help me to mature properly either. As a result I isolated myself or spent time in unsatisfying, dysfunctional friendships that met none of my needs. Romantic relationships were a non starter so I am horribly stunted in this area. All that I know is what I have read from psychology and self help books. Having RAD meant I didn’t want to be touched because my earliest experiences were negative with few positive experiences to even out my perspective.

I wish I could reach out to people and tell them what I need but it’s really scary for me. I’m so used to trying to function as though I need no one but it’s painful because I am left dealing with everything on my own. The exception being when I see my counsellor. Just imagining trying to tell a friend what I am feeling or need has never been something I’ve managed to do. My thought is that they would not respond kindly or would reject me as my mother did. Since many of the friendships I have had have been with emotionally unavailable people my fears were not without warrant. Now I am wishing I could wave a magic wand and have friends in real life who accept me as I am-not as they wish for me to be.

This is a real grieving process. Knowing that I have spent so much time feeling alone with no close relationships hurts. Maybe if I’d realised my issues were attributable to RAD I could have avoided unnecessary treatments or at least not wasted my time exploring stuff that had little to do with my actual problem, attachment.

Perhaps the silver lining in my experiences is that I am wiser than I’d have been if I grew up in comfortable surroundings without any conflict. Although I didn’t enjoy going through what I have gone through I know it has given me insights and perspectives that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Pain can be a teacher and hopefully I will continue to see the messages in whatever it is that happens, not just what has already occurred. As the saying goes “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”.

Being personally insightful, self aware and philosophical has without question helped me along the way. I know I am

Adult attachment styles & romantic relationships

Adult attachment styles & romantic relationships

lucky to be 32 and unpacking trauma now instead of a decade or two later. I feel grateful for the opportunities I have been given and want to be mindful of all that I have, not the things I’ve lost. Yesterday, when I went to counselling, I was feeling sad with grief but being open about my feelings with my counsellor gave me healing. Today the sadness that had been hanging over my head is gone and I feel uplifted.

So often all that I require is the space to be open with my thoughts and feelings without fear of being shamed. Not all of my therapists have helped me but those that did I am immensely grateful to. It’s been a long road I’ve been on (this healing road) not always knowing if I was making progress or not in therapy. At 17 I embarked on a journey, a head shrinking journey, that has been successful in the last half or so more than the first when I fought merely to stay alive. Those early therapy years I struggled against suicidal thoughts and anger that I had “failed” in my attempts to kill myself. I wasn’t able to get very far then because I felt depressed and anxious constantly. Psychiatrists unwilling to take the time to get to know me threw me out with the proverbial bathwater labeling me as Borderline Personality Disordered. Now, I have concluded they were not the a**holes I used to think of them as, but rather lazy and too comfortable in their practice to take on any hint of a challenge. In other words, they had their patients already and were established enough that they didn’t want “bothersome/trouble” patients with BPD. They had lost any compassion they might have started with in favour of seeing only those with “easy” diagnoses-aka drug treatable conditions.

My attachment disorder is not cured but I see half the battle as having identified the root issue behind my troubles. Overcoming the rest of my attachment related issues won’t be easy but I feel confident I have what it takes to get through it.

Do you have attachment difficulties and if so, how have you dealt with them? Please share.

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®

 


11 Comments

Feeling Sad…. :(

A book I’d ordered through the inter-library loan program arrived today, Mother-Daughter Incest: A Guide For

Sadness (Artist Unknown)

Helping Professionals by Beverly A. Ogilvie. Now I’m feeling sad and had a few visual flashbacks but just felt sadness, no other emotions. I paid $10.00 to have it shipped and to feel crappy!  Maybe I’ll read the other library book I got today on trauma…you know because that’s much more positive than maternal incest!(being facetious here).The part about treatment looks like it could be useful though (in the book on MDSA).

My second last career decision making workshop was today. I explored the labour market for the various occupations I have an interest in. The ones I’m interested in say they have average growth in my location, yet I am not sure because I don’t see that many openings in my area(location). Writing is my strongest interest and the labour market claims it is average but I don’t know how people actually make any income writing, like an income you can live on. So my backup plan is to be a librarian or something similar like an archivist or even an assistant. Considering I got accepted into the Masters degree for Library Studies I think I’m okay but I need money! Money, or lack there of-is the reason I couldn’t attend school in the first place in 2011 when I first got accepted, then in 2012(after deferring admission for a year-that’s all they allow)I still didn’t have the tuition because of various factors. So I’m not in school at all now. My biggest hurdle is paying the money to Student Loans they think was an ‘over-award’ before they’ll lend to me again. It really stinks, as it’s not just a few hundred dollars, I don’t want to post the amount because it’s depressing and I don’t want to explain the mess.

Perhaps the best part about today was I realized how much I enjoy library and information studies and writing. Well I

Simply a pretty picture I like (Artist Unknown)

knew I loved writing already but never thought of it as a career because it’s very challenging keeping a pay cheque coming in. Realizing I genuinely enjoy the thought of being a librarian or archivist and going back to school also encouraged me. Prior to today I’d been exploring many different occupational possibilities and couldn’t see myself in the positions. But I never had any difficulty imagining myself as a librarian. If I figure out how to make writing viable monetarily then I’ll do that, until then I’m not holding my breath! So have you ever taken a career leap? Changed your field and not known where to go next? Do share! I love hearing I’m not the only one going through this.

©Reflectionsonlifethusfar, 2012.