Reflections on Life Thus Far

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


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Happy New Year (2017)!

It’s a new year so I just thought I’d say “Happy New Year!”. My New Year’s eve and day 8f7583da32895b7d2f518cc75398b72cwere totally uneventful. I stayed in and simply cleared out clutter and cleaned. No parties for me. Not my style. At least I finally got around to some of the clutter I had around that needed tossing (I donate it because although it is clutter to me it is still good stuff and usable). Some might try to make a dollar or two clearing their clutter and I see value in that but I appreciate the immediate gratification of moving the items directly after finishing. It satisfies me more to know I have both accomplished something and done a small bit of good in donating my things I no longer enjoy but someone else may.

This year I have decided to try my best to be totally honest with the people I meet. Thatmask-1503440 doesn’t mean I vomit my secrets on everyone I see but I want to avoid trying to be anyone besides who I really am. Online here is the only exception. But the exception is only with respect to my name, everything else is true. In my ‘real life’ I wish to be open with people in an authentic manner and be just myself. For too long I have tried to be what others (family, people I know, the larger culture around me, etc.) have wanted but it didn’t make me happy. So I decided to make an effort to change that. If people don’t like me then it’s not the end of the world. But it is better than pretending to be someone I am not and feeling like my true self is unworthy. The important thing is I like who I am. That hasn’t always been easy so it’s a big step for me to attempt showing my true self. It means I have to really accept myself completely or else I will always be tempted to present the side of me I think others want/expect.

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As far as I’m concerned one need not be unkind when honest so I will do my best to honour that knowledge. Although it may be hard to hear the truth, as long as it is delivered with the intent to be kind or authentic then I believe it’s okay. Simply giving one’s opinion is not truth though so it’s important to remind one’s self of that if it seems like the same thing (one’s opinion ≠ truth). Some family members of mine, I believe, would probably state their opinions like the truth and think of them as fact; still, that doesn’t make them that.

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Well, that’s more than I’ve written in awhile so I feel pleased with myself.

©Natalya Lyubov, 2017.

 


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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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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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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Surgery Went Well

Just thought I’d give an update on how my dad’s total hip replacement went two weeks ago. It went very well; he’s back home doing more walking, albeit with his walker still as a precaution. The beginning of April he should be able to do normal activities again like driving and shopping. Although he is doing much better I am still doing way more work than I am happy about. The positive sides of his surgery have not benefited me yet as there’s limitations on what he’s allowed to do until healed from the operation. This means I have not yet experienced a break in my duties. He is happy but I am worn out.

Fallen Angel?Hopefully when his hip is healed (another month or two) I’ll finally be able to relax a bit. Perhaps if I received some sort of satisfaction being a caregiver/helper it wouldn’t be so bad but I am selfish and hate the large workload without some form of compensation. Some people experience gratification taking care of others but, honestly, I do not. Yes, I know that sounds bad but it is what it is. I enjoy caring for non human animals (and 0-2 year olds) but most humans…not so much. In an ironic twist of fate my dad is an excellent caregiver! Too bad he is the ill one.

How do you deal with being an accidental caregiver for family? By accidental I mean you didn’t volunteer for it but nobody else was available so the load fell on you. Do you thrive or feel miserable as I do?

©Natalya, 2014.


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Plumber Problems

So we were supposed to have the plumber come see us today about our leaking kitchen sink pipe; however a bunch of

WTF Plumbing 1

WTF Plumbing 1 (Photo credit: timballas)

emergencies came up and the plumbers had to take care of those before anyone else. Apparently schools take priority over private homeowners 😛 Lets just say I am not too happy and am issuing profanities in my head to the little SO.B. kiddies that clogged the toilets and sinks (dispatcher informed my dad about the cause of delay). Now I have to wait until Thursday to have the plumber fix our pipes. Meanwhile, pots and pans are still cluttering the floor and counter. I am so annoyed! I’m not a fan of kids in the first place so this is just annoying me that much more (yes, I AM childfree-thank goodness!).

Really, I was in a good mood until I was informed plumber wouldn’t be able to come until Thursday! Grrr Back to my relaxation soundtracks so my blood pressure will go down again.

© Natalya, 2013.


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Insecurity

Sometimes I realize I behave rather poorly, insecurely I guess. It gets in the way of me

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having “normal” social interactions. I’m not asocial or unwelcoming of people but I struggle with my boundaries being crossed. My mom used to invade my personal space and not allow me any privacy when I was growing up so now I’m standoffish if I have to interact with someone (in a way that causes me to remember those boundary violations). I feel guilty that I can’t behave like a “normal” person and just accept people in my space. But, like I said, it creates anxiety since I never had any of my boundaries respected when I was a child. Now I can be a bit rigid with my boundaries, as opposed to flexible. How do I get past this rigidity and become comfortable with a more flexible set of boundaries?

Why can’t I just wipe out the past traumas and be like other people? I really don’t know how to get myself to the place inside where I’m alright interacting with people not concerned with my safety. I’m so used to not having my personal boundaries respected that these past four years since my mom’s been dead have been the only years of my life where I’ve been permitted privacy. Prior to her death I dealt with her walking in on me in my bedroom without knocking on my door, walking in on me in the bathroom without knocking and so many other instances where she didn’t act like I had any rights-rights to not be touched or looked at inappropriately, rights to have my possessions left alone and not taken or used without permission. I feel like I’ve spent my whole life on guard against being violated because of my boundaries being continuously disregarded.

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Now I have the privacy I always wanted but I am sometimes too quick to shut people out in order to protect myself, whether there is a threat present or not. My mind wants to have me forever hiding so I’m finally able to relax and let out my breath I’ve been symbolically holding in for so much of my life. It feels bittersweet being granted this privacy whilst being on-guard all the time just below my conscious awareness. Much like, I imagine, a prison camp survivor would feel after being freed and worrying about food and potential punishments-despite being away from those problems.

How long is it going to take me to feel safe enough in my personal space that I can allow others in without disregarding my boundaries? It’s been 4.3 years since my mom died but sometimes it feels like she’s not gone at all. I know in my head she’s dead but my hyper-vigilance hasn’t completely left me either.

I’ve had dreams where she’s still alive and I get scared and think it can’t be true because I know she died. But I have these dreams sometimes and they feel real to me. Then I wake up and remember she’s still dead but I hate those dreams. They’re not nightmares but anxiety filled dreams where my mom is still alive and sometimes recovers (from the Alzheimer’s) but she’s still dysfunctional. I’m left unable to say anything as everyone around me acts like it’s perfectly normal my mom’s come out of her Alzheimer’s and is no longer dying. Yet she never returns to how she was when I remember her as functional, she returns to a state where she’s still disturbed but has her wits about her. It’s profoundly disturbing when I have these dreams because they really do feel incredibly real to me.

Has anyone else had the experience of dreaming a dead person was alive again in your 213498838557069941_M7zJXQU9dream/nightmare that you had a bad relationship with? Am I trying to ‘fix’ my relationship somehow through my dreams at night? They don’t typically resolve anything but occasionally my mom and I get along in my dreams. Some of them are actually good but others leave me panic stricken unsure of what’s true or reality as she seems to come back to life again (but not happy and healthy). Why do I dream these unsettling scenarios over and over again but in slightly differing ways?

Shortly after my mom died I dreamed a lot of distressing dreams involving her trying to attack me. Those dreams stopped but the ones with her alive have been a mixture of positive and negative. Some she’s nice to me in and some of my dreams she’s indifferent to me. Am I supposed to be getting a message from these disturbing and surprising dreams? The number of times I’ve woke up to think my mom is still alive is too many. I’m tired of this. Tired of feeling like mom isn’t dead and tired of feeling she’s still around at times.

©Natalya, 2013.


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7 Natural Ways To Cure Adrenal Fatigue (MindBodyGreen)

A few weeks ago I posted on this topic but today I found another interesting bit of info I’d like to share with you. It’s a link to the site MindBodyGreen with a post on 7 different things you can do to help your adrenal fatigue. The author says ‘cure’ but I think it may be overly optimistic unless one adds the length of time involved. Still, it’s a good list and there’s bound to be something there you may find interesting or of use to you.

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7504/7-natural-ways-to-cure-adrenal-fatigue.html

©Natalya, 2013.