That wistful feeling

It’s a quiet evening. Quiet now that younger nephew is preparing for bed. My elder nephew is plugged into his iPod, happily lost in some old, old heavy metal band. Pokemon dvd has finally been turned off and my whole body almost quivered with my need to sigh in relief. I thought younger nephew’s obsession with Thomas the Tank Engine a few years ago would be the end of me. Or maybe that was Teletubbies?

I sigh softly, wistfully remembering the past. Videos of Thomas played over and over and over again when my son went through his own Thomas obsession as a toddler. I used to wonder… why oh why would someone make us sit through the theme music multiple times? Those videos felt like a never-ending loop of theme music to me.

This wistful feeling continues from the weekend, from spending time with my friends, in the city I grew up in. Today it’s family. I walk back into the room and almost feel like an intruder in this time my brother spends with his sons.

I walk in and I question why I’m here and who am I to be a part of this? Choices from the past lay heavily on me tonight, reminding me who I chose to be.

Oh.

That’s the point… it’s “who I chose to be” and not who I’ve chosen to become now.

I smile as my brother decides on a new song to learn on the guitar… People are Strange. I love the Echo and the Bunnymen version. Younger nephew walks in, ready for bed. Everyone laughs as my brother sets aside his guitar and I call out… No, no, no, that song will be in my head all night now!

I can hear the low murmur as my brother reads to younger nephew. Elder nephew picks up the guitar and begins to play.

Right now, I’m here with family and I belong… and there’s no better feeling in the world than that.

Yep, that song wouldn’t leave my head… enjoy some People are Strange…

Feeling out of place

I had a great time in Canberra. Lots of laughs. Lots of food. Lots of alcohol. Oh wait, I didn’t drink. Well, no one drank  a lot. It was great to see friend N who I haven’t seen for around 3 years. When I arrived we threw ourselves into each other’s arms, so there were tears as well.

I’m really glad I went. Well worth killing the fuel budget for!

Getting back to my brother’s flat and I felt… out of place. I was tired and felt like crying. I lay down and slept for a few hours. Waking up I felt better. Still a little down and after spending a little time thinking about how I feel, I came to the conclusion…

The feelings are being brought up from the past. Combine that with the lack of permanency in my life right now. Understandable that I could feel a little out of place. A little of me that was coming face to face to the me that I’m becoming with no real knowledge of me  now. And through all of that… I miss my son.

Time for some more sleep.

Spontaneity, the biggest victim.

The biggest victim with my false perfectionism and it’s related guilt has been… Spontaneity. Yep, that’s the first thing to suffer with my view of the world.

Years ago, while I still lived in Canberra, friend N and I would head off for trips. No real reason, except to get out of town. Usually no destination. One rainy Friday night we’d decided to head to the coast. We began heading east and the further we drove, the heavier the rain became. So we turned around and headed in the other direction. We found clear skies somewhere on the way to the Victorian border. It was a fun weekend. The unplanned ones were always the best.

Even now, even though I can see the problems with the way I’ve always thought, I seem to keep myself under tight control. I seem to spend so much time keeping watch on my thoughts, so I’m less spontaneous. I play less. And really, play is just as important to my state of mind.

Friend N rang me a few hours ago. She was on a day trip with her son to collect some things. They got to the Victorian border, did what they set out to do, thought about how close they are to Canberra and decided… F*** it!

That’s the attitude we used to live by. Her first question to me was… feel like driving to Canberra? Ohh, Canberra… maybe. Upshot, as this post publishes, which has actually been scheduled (I know, shock, horror, hope you’re seated, after the last few days), I’ll be asleep on friend D‘s couch. D thinks we’re totally mad, but isn’t complaining to have his house filled up by interstate visitors who have only given him a few hours notice.

Back tomorrow! *waves* Well, maybe.

Responsibility, such a grown up word

There’s a reason I justify my actions, try to find some meaning in what I do. It’s called… responsibility. Such a grown up word. Responsibility. All those things that I think I have to do, that I think need to be done. Every year it seems there’s more I should be responsible about. When they don’t get done, guilt comes knocking.

In the past there’s been three main things I do once that guilt comes knocking… distract myself some more, race to get more done than I originally planned, or sit back and stress about it. That last one usually leads to depression the quickest. Doing more is me telling myself that enough isn’t enough, or enough is never enough. Eventually, I sit back and stress anyway, so depression will come knocking anyway. Obsessive distracting… that’s self denial. Denial that there’s a problem and denial that I can do anything about it. Usually, it leads to overdoing things, then depression, with the added memory of feeling incapable and ineffective.

I’ve been working on putting things in perspective, being more laid back… if that load of washing doesn’t get done today, what’s the worst that can happen? There’ll be one more set of clothes to add to it tomorrow. Seems to me that’s actually a bonus. It’s all perception again.

Perception. I’m trying to find a balance between how I see responsibility and how things are. It always comes back to what message I’m sending myself. Retraining my mind. Of course the hardest thing I’m finding is the ability to be more relaxed about things. To let things slide and be okay about it. That’s part of the false perfectionism I always felt I had to strive for, the perfectionism that I never believed I could reach anyway.

So three days posts published on one day. I almost managed to say stuff it and let the other two days stay post free. In the end I compromised… and kept them short.

Meaning and justifications, because of…

Getting obsessed in distractions can be a pain in the ass. Seriously. Lately, I’m more balanced when I distract myself, so I’m not so obsessive. Mostly I allow them as part of the depression toolbox. Sometimes it’s good to let my mind lose itself in something new and shiny. It’s a quick fix for the moment.

When it’s obsessive, when I let the new distraction take precedence, that’s when I justify my actions. Human nature makes it easy to do that. I like answers, I like meaning. Most of us do.

Of course, the most obvious problem with this is that it’s our perception that creates the justifications. For example, to sit doing puzzles for two hours means something different to my brother. For me, it’s part of a survival mechanism. For him it’s free time.

Huge difference in the way the exact same thing is seen between us… I justify it, he sees it as something to kill a little time with. The difference between over analysing everything and being laid back. Sigh. Always something new to understand about myself. I’m working on it.

Balance, leading to…

Yep, there have been a few words on my mind for a few days. The first of which is.. balance. Why that one? I’ve always had a tendency to throw myself into something totally with little thought of balance. Imagine eating sausages every night for three months. Apologies to the vegetarians… I’d be dreaming of chicken within a week, ready to kill for a filet steak in a month. In just the same way I’ve been known to throw myself into some new hobby or choice.

There’s nothing wrong with following interests and throwing yourself into it, unless the balance in your life gets thrown to the side at the same time. Oooo, shiny! have always been very dangerous words for me. Mostly as hitting that obsessive stage is usually a way to distract myself from something else.

And no, we didn’t eat sausages every night for three months. It was three times a week and my son only recently began eating sausages again. Sausages were cheap!

Short post and these thoughts are going somewhere. Really, they are!

Play of light and shadow

Just excuse me for a moment as I lick the last chocolate from my finger before it ends up all over the key to the right of o. Don’t ask how I ended with chocolate on that finger *much better* Or why I began typing before cleaning up. Ahh, that fabulous p key is back!

I’m finding I spend a lot of time watching the play of light and shadow on trees, bushes, flowers, almost any kind of plant really. A lot of time. I’m mesmerised. I just caught myself from a good ten minute stare out the window at the trees that grow between the buildings. Hooray for the cloud that snapped me out of that one. Anyway, mesmerised. I see it as… mysterious. Wonder begins to grow within me as my mind delves to see deeper into the shadows, savouring the contrast between light and dark. I see the balance, the shadow only really noticeable when there is light. Understanding grows that the light is always present, even in the shadows.

Inevitably I end up thinking about the light and shadow within myself. I’ve spoken before about having a duality of feelings. For quite a while I was balanced between the light and the dark. It’s a strange feeling. Here’s something I posted on a forum March 9, almost a month ago…

It’s like I’m on a coin. It’s huge and we’re rolling down the road of life. On one side is love, happiness, joy, hope, connection and all those things we crave, that we need. On the other side is depression, despair, loss, feelings of failure and all those things that are a lack of love.

I ride it and both sides call me… constantly, but I have to keep that coin rolling along its edge. I want it to fall over so I can get off and leave the ‘dark side’ in the past and enjoy the future, but I worry that it’ll fall the wrong way. So, I keep riding it and the coin stays balanced.

It feels like I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s become easy to keep the coin on its edge. It’s become second nature to constantly feel this duality of feelings… sadness and happiness, despair and joy, loss and hope. I feel both sides all the time. I live in both states all the time.

The road gets bumpy at times, as it has the last few weeks, especially the last few days. In the past that would have tipped the coin and I’d lose myself in the depression, but now I’ve been doing this balancing act for so long it’s easier to stay upright, to keep on rolling, to keep on feeling both states.

Am I the only one that feels this way? Is it ‘normal’? Do we all have this duality of feelings? Or one day am I going to find the way to flip that coin?

So used to it. A few days after posting it I received a reply (thank you, KM, if you ever read this)…

I’m thinking that you need to find one of those two headed coins. That way you can have all the good stuff on BOTH sides.

Wise words. I let myself become used to the duality because I was afraid to lose myself in the depression. I get that. Then I played the… this is good enough game. I get that too. What I didn’t see was… why is there only one answer to the quandary of knocking the coin over?

Lately I’ve noticed that I see the darkness within me differently. I’m beginning to see it as… mysterious. Wonder begins to grow within me as my mind delves to see deeper into the shadows, blah, blah, blah. Hey, I already said all this above. The understanding grows that the light is always present, even in the shadows.

The light is always present, even in the shadows. It would seem that I’ve begun to turn that coin I’m riding into… a two headed coin.

Look at it this way… there is love and a lack of love. Yet, I see the love within that lack. And within that lack, that darkness, I see me. I hear me. All of ME, instead of two separate MEs.

And what do I see and hear, when I stop separating me? I begin to see and hear the next step to recovery.

Joss at The Crowing Crone said it better the other day than anything I can come up with… Listen, Pain Shouts!

When I think of the energy that it took to get through day after day with this kind of pain, I am in awe at the ability of the human system to continue functioning under such a burden.  We truly are amazing.  We can carry on when our heart is breaking over the death of a child; when our soul is crushed by the betrayal of a spouse; when our life is falling apart around us.  We go on.  But somehow, somewhere we need to stop. To stop and pay attention to our life.  To stop and listen when pain shouts. Only then can we begin the road to recovery.  And the longer we take to get to this point, the longer the road to recovery becomes.  Trust me, I know.

~Joceline Burnel