First Step…

They say the first step to solving a problem is admitting that it exists. Well, I’ve long admitted that I have issues; with anxiety, stress, social anxiety, trust, insecurity, abandonment, need for control, need to fix everything, take care of everyone, etc. Ok in all fairness most of the issues stem from anxiety/social anxiety. I’ve known that ALL people could benefit from therapy while actively avoiding going to therapy. I did try it once, but it was the wrong fit and quite disastrous. Also, being (mostly) self aware I knew a lot of the things I need to change/work on/address so… How would discussing it with a stranger help me, really?

shutterstock_139247051.jpgStill… As the anxiety/stress was leaving my shoulders and stomach in knots, as I was reeling from the emotional fallout of some big decisions, and knowing that I deserve better in life I finally sucked it up and sought out therapy. Again.  I called my insurance stuffs, found a recommendation, and made an appointment. Even making an appointment led to my active mind kicking into overdrive. My therapist treats people in his office or at his home. His home was closer and also better parking options not to mention the day that worked best for me happened to be a day he was working out of his home. Enter active mind: I’m meeting a man I do not know, in his home, and I’ll be alone. Is that really safe?  Is that wise? What if he is creepy? What if he is some weirdo? What if, what if, what if? The two biggest words that roll around in my brain. Ok. STOP. BREATHE. 1. If your health insurance/employment is recommending this person he probably checks out. 2. If he is some psychotic, monster he probably wouldn’t have passed whatever screening was necessary to be recommended by reputable companies. 3. Just hush noisy brain. Hush.

For anyone who has never gone to therapy, the first session mainly revolves around paperwork, dotting the i’s, crossing the t’s, establishing what is bringing you in, in a nutshell. The first appointment we didn’t discuss anything huge. Right away I felt at ease with him. He reminds me of my uncle John that passed away. He has a plant growing in his living room, the same kind of plant that my sisters and I gave to our relatives for Christmas one year as kids. I felt comfortable.  I also realized pretty quickly that he was perceptive and picked up on the things I wasn’t saying. While we didn’t cover anything deep or significant, I felt lighter. He gave me some ideas to consider, a few challenges in how I think about things.

At this point I’m about 5 or 6 sessions in. I can definitely see it helping me. I was right, I know a lot of the things I need to work on but it does help having someone neutral to discuss things with. I’m finding that I am getting better at stopping my mind from spiraling out. My aunt says I am calmer, less nervous. The thing I’m finding, I didn’t fully realize how neurotic I was until I started making positive changes. I was explaining one of those realizations lately to my best friend and told her, “I was so crazy before, the thought process that would have been going through my head over something so insignificant, but now, I am ok with making this inconsequential decision and not analyzing it to death or assuming what the other person could be thinking.” She was very  gracious and told me I wasn’t crazy before but that my brain was definitely very busy and that it must have been exhausting. True dat. 

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Missing Connection

The other day I was thinking to myself how there is this void in my life. Part of the gap that T left to be filled was a friend (or friends) with whom I can chat for hours with on spiritual ideas. Anything from the sort of vibes or energy someone puts out to astrology or numerology or looking for signs in our lives 

I have an amazing amazing group of friends. They are wonderful and intelligent, we chat for hours dissecting life and love and relationships (romantic, familial, work relationships, etc). The thing that we don’t tend to discuss as much is spirituality. Energy. The more mysterious side of life. Mostly I would say this falls on me. I’ve not sought out those conversations. I do have some friends that are more in tune to this sort of thinking and discussing but I don’t seek that out. I haven’t in a while. I need to. My soul needs it.

Last night a dear friend of mine came over to visit. We met six years ago and after a few work related transfers and busy lives we fell off. There was no animosity, we simply drifted. In the ensuing years she has found yoga, meditation, energy work, a deeper understanding of self. She has changed so much, cutting out negative habits and working to find inner peace. She is amazing. 

When she came over it was like no time had passed and so much time. She is so changed and yet still the same. We chatted for hours about our experiences, our suffering, our joys, our successes. We talked about life. It was refreshing and wonderful. It made my soul feel good. 

After she left, I felt stronger and happier. I realized that I need to seek out more spiritual connections in my life and focus on some inner work as well. My support system is strong, I just need to rely on them, open myself up, and share.

Need

Here I sit with a blank page before me, words and thoughts tumbling through my mind, and the incessant barking of my pups in the background. I need to write. I need to share. I need to let the darker parts of me out to play.

Lately I have not written. Not on my blog, not in my journal, not anywhere save for a few emails to a dear friend. There is a price that writers pay when they do not write. It’s called unhappiness. There is this whole part of a person that can be left utterly unfulfilled simply from the lack of creating. That is where I am now.

Don’t get me wrong, in an over all picture, I am not unhappy right now. Just the creative part of me that is dying from lack of care. It is time to fix that. There is a saying, I think, that a soul is a garden that must be tended to daily. Or perhaps they were referring to happiness? I don’t recall now. All I know that we must take constant care of ourselves and those we love to get anywhere in life.

Want to know why my dogs are barking? Because they are bored. Because they have too much energy. Because I haven’t challenged their brains or tired them in anyway. So what is the easiest way to amuse themselves and release that energy? Barking at everything that moves.

What we ignore will always find a way out… Even if that way is not pretty. It usually isn’t pretty when the things we try to sweep under the rug start to come out sideways. That is why the best way to handle life is head on. I’m trying to live life that way.

The older I get the more confident I am in myself and the need to communicate. I will reach out and seek answers when feeling unsure of a situation or insecure. The truth may hurt but it also sets you free. Life is far too short to live in doubt or spend hours agonizing over what we suspect may be the truth. Rip the band off and know for sure. At least this way you can move forward.

For some time now I have been grieving the sudden and inexplicable loss of a valued friendship. T and I had been friends for 10 years and suddenly, one day we weren’t. I could try to explain it but the honest to God’s truth is that I do not know why our friendship ended. The only glimpse of an answer I’ve received was that there were wounds in our past that had been glazed over. Wounds I didn’t know existed. At this point, we haven’t spoke in nine months. I miss my friend. I have analyzed it, the struggle shows up in my dreams, I’ve wanted to write a passive aggressive blog entry about it, etc. In the end though, I still have no more answers now than I did nine months ago. The only explanation I can give myself is that our friendship ran its course, which is not something I ever expected to happen. While I could be catty or passive aggressive (even though she’d never see it), would demean the friendship we had. So… instead, I still mourn the loss though every day is easier. Time lessens the pain.

I’m realizing how non-sensical this whole entry is but while it may be jumping from one thought to the next it is healing too.Sometimes a person just needs to open up a bit and let the ideas flow. Acknowledging their presence can be a comfort in and of itself. So to anyone who may have read this entry, thank you. I needed this.

In Memory of a Great Friend…

Last Saturday, February 23rd, I learned that a friend of mine had committed suicide. When I found out, I was at work, about two-thirds of the way through my shift. I had stepped in the back to get a drink of water and happened to check my phone. I saw I had a Facebook message from a good friend of hers. I read it and my world started to spin a little. He let me know that my friend CK had passed away. I was in shock, a state I remained in for the rest of the day.  I quickly fired a message back to ask how, etc. She was 32 year old, like me. She had several health issues like Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Crohn’s disease but I hadn’t heard of her having recent health issues or needing hospitalizations. In the pit of my stomach I knew. I knew already how my friend died. Maybe not the method used but I knew she had committed suicide.

CK and I “met” over ten years ago now on some message boards for a show we both adored, La Femme Nikita. She was very passionate about her support of the actors, their characters, and every social issue imaginable. She often got into heated discussions on the message boards and was occasionally banned. While I didn’t see the need to get so worked up  over something online I respected her intelligence and her passion. Somehow, we started communicating. First just some back and forth on the boards themselves, then emails and instant messages. CK  came along at a time in my life when I would stay up half the night on my computer chatting away with multiple people, cruising the message boards, reading things online, and watching television.

As time passed our communication went on to include birthday cards delivered via snail mail, a gift of CD’s she sent to me, and phone conversations. We attempted to meet up when she lived in Ohio but, “The Blackout,” occurred and we both decided that driving several hours when there was no electricity it may not be the best timing.

At first, I felt weird having an “internet,” friend but then I realized that times had changed. It didn’t matter how we knew each other, we were friends. We would talk about our lives, our hopes, our fears, our dreams, etc. We leaned on each other in tough times, encouraged each other in good times. I knew of CK’s health issues fairly early in our friendship. What I didn’t know was the volatile dynamic between her and her mother.

Several years ago CK and her mother moved from their native Ohio to Arizona. The hope was that the warmer climate would make life easier with CK’s medical issues. Perhaps without the bitter cold winters or the humidity her fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis would be tolerable and she could put her Master’s degree to work.

It wasn’t until she was living in Arizona that stories of the fights between her and her mother started to seep out. I was definitely concerned but it seemed like old hat. She kind of blew it off after venting and I figured she was a very strong person, she could handle herself. I don’t know that I’ll ever know the true level of nastiness that CK endured during her too short lifetime.

Sometime during the last year CK and her mother got into a huge fight and she wrote her goodbye’s on facebook. She expressed she couldn’t live this way any longer. She was on the waiting lists for public housing but she said those lists could take years. She couldn’t afford to live on her own, she had nowhere to go. She was going to end it. When I read her status update I immediately started calling her cell phone and home phone. No answer on either. Sitting in my family room in Michigan I was at a loss as to what to do. Then an idea hit, I knew her address, I new her name, her phone number, her mother’s name. So I looked up her local emergency services and called to report her threat of suicide. With all the privacy laws nowadays the dispatcher couldn’t tell me much but she assured me the police had been out to CK’s home and spoke with her at length. My friend was safe. I didn’t care that that was all the information I could be given. My friend was safe, I was relieved. CK ended up in the hospital after that but when she got home she called to thank me for caring. She even assured me she wouldn’t let things get that bad again. It was at this point I started to learn how bad things could be between CK and her mother. The situation with her father was no better.

In the months that followed CK seemed to be doing all right. Sometimes they would fight but they’d have some decent patches too. So when I found out she had shot herself, I was completely shocked. A part of me wonders if I had been a better friend, would she still be here?Was there something I missed? Something I could have done? Should I have pushed her harder to leave her mother’s home and move in with a cousin or aunt or friend that would have been healthier, more stable? Logically, I know that there is nothing I could have done to save my friend. She had attempted suicide several times in her past. She was in a lot of pain, physically and emotionally. She felt trapped by her situation, her mother, her health.

CK was an amazing woman. She lived passionately and truthfully. She was always herself no matter what the circumstances. She had a loving heart, full of compassion. There is so much she could have done in this world had her life not been cut short. Despite the fact she wasn’t on this earth for very long, she made an impact. She challenged people, she encouraged, she supported, she inspired. CK, this entry doesn’t even begin to do you justice. I don’t know that I have the words to adequately describe the person that you were. Wherever you are, I am confident you are now at peace, without pain, and filled with love. Thank you for being my friend all these years.