Daily Archives: 2014/07/22

fractalthoughts – On “Nextness”

I can’t quite put my finger on it but I’m deflated by this sudden onset of melancholy. I wouldn’t call it a depression, at least not yet, but I am stubborn and this situation will not get the better of me. Some people hug-it-out but I will write-it-out until I can pinpoint the nextness that I’m searching for.

So here I sit in my yellow chaise lounge (because when you are writing your way through an existential crisis you always need a yellow chaise lounge) and ponder as I type. I think in some ways I do miss actively dating and maybe that lack of human contact could finally be taking its toll.

This is not a singles ad… this is a thought process. How does the single woman sustain herself in a place of balance after a prolonged phase of well, nothingness? I mean, I can take care of myself, I always have. But you can’t independent your way out of a void, can you? Maybe my stubborn independence is what brought me here in the first place. I guess you get back what you put out into the world and what I’ve been putting out there is the fact that I don’t need anyone. So, what if I *want * someone? That’s normal, right? So why do I feel like wanting someone in my life makes me needy?

Also, what’s so terrible about being needy anyway? We are not here to be creatures of isolation, we are meant to interact, to help one another, even to love on occasion. This seems like the normal state of things so why does it scare me? And another thing, referring back to my first paragraph, it might not even be a person that I need. But it is definitely a change. I have no idea what that change might be or when it will happen, but I will embrace the anticipation of it.

Read the rest of the story! Visit On “Nextness” | fractalthoughts.

Normal in Training – Interventions

I’m not good at confronting people. Which is ironic, because one of the things I do in my job is coach students on how to confront their friends about having an eating disorder. And I think I give pretty good advice, too. But I guess I’m not as brave as these students are. . .

I’ve had many clients with eating disorders acknowledge that even though they would have denied having a problem at the time, they still wanted someone to say something about their 30 pound weight loss. And I’ve heard many clients in recovery say that although they were mad at the people who tried to help them at the time, they played an important role in the process of accepting their disorder.

I know all of this, but I’m still afraid to do it. Maybe they’ll be angry and yell at me, and I hate being yelled at. Or maybe something else will happen that will feel terrible, but I can’t put into words what it is that I fear. So I have to think about what day I want to ruin. What day I want to be incapacitated. I haven’t found that day yet. But I need to, because I gave my word that I would say something.

I don’t even have to do it in person, since I live so far away. I just have to make a phone call. And in my defense, I have tried to call a few times, but the whole time I was praying that he wouldn’t answer. Luckily for me, he didn’t. He never answered and never called back, which is unusual. Perhaps he knows why I’m calling, and he doesn’t want to have this conversation, either. Which makes it that much harder to force it to happen.

I ordinarily pride myself on accepting challenges, mental toughness, and doing the right thing. But in this case, nothing has motivated me to move closer to having this conversation. Not prayer, or meditation, or talking my therapist. Not even guilt and shame.

Read the rest of the story! Visit Normal in Training: Interventions.

Toss the Typewriter – Wkly Brief – What is Love?

As I have learned about my loved one’s illness, I have grown kinder and more patient. I am grateful for this relationship in my life that deepens daily and has helped me grow into a better person. Each day together is a blessing; some days are radiant sunshine and hope. Other days? Well yes, there are other days that are harder to take. But even those aren’t too bad, when I am able to apply all I have learned about self-care to my day.

Yet there will always be days when I am weak; when a well-timed barb, spoken many times before and deflected, strikes home. Or worse, ever so much worse: when the darkness of a winter night falls and instead of seeing the crisp stars among winged birch branches, I see the suffering of my loved one, unable to face another day in this beautiful, cruel world.

Today, a difficult day for my loved one, the words of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, helped me remain supportive. These words, often read at weddings, can be applied to many relationships in life. But I find the words especially helpful for the sometimes one-sided relationships with those battling mental illness.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

My loved one carries a heavy burden. Yet my smaller burder is difficult too: I watch as my loved ones struggles with med-cycling; I am the brundt of antagonistic comments alternated with penitent pleas for forgiveness. I see self-loathing as peers achieve goals that were once his own. And just as I sit steeped in his sorrow, he baits me with critiques; I swallow retorts. For me, the meaning of Matthew 18:22′s forgiving “not seven times, but seventy-seven times” changes from the philosophical to an applied science.

Read the rest of the story! Visit Wkly Brief – What is Love? | Toss the Typewriter.

Normal in Training – Anxiety

I have always been an anxious person, but ever since my last depressive episode, my anxiety has gotten worse–especially around sleep. Which is terrible, because I love sleep more than anything. I started having anxiety attacks in the middle of the night. Or when I’m trying to fall asleep. Or when I wake up. Or before, during, and after a nap. In fact, I refer to naps as demon sleep. But I rely on naps to make up for the sleep that I miss out on because of my 1 a.m. bedtime.

I don’t want to call these episodes panic attacks, because that does injustice to people who have full-blown panic attacks. I don’t feel like I’m dying or having a heart attack. I’m not completely debilitated. But it does hurt. It’s like I have a bunch of bees buzzing inside my body. Or I have the psychological equivalent of a high pitched noise in my head that I can’t turn off. Or I feel physically and emotionally paralyzed. Or I feel like someone has punched me in the heart. I think that’s why my chest muscles are so tight–I have to absorb anxiety’s blows to my body.

I’ve written about how obsessive I am and how easily my inner infant gets rattled. Those forms of anxiety are annoying, but I’ve gotten use to them. I’m learning to accept that they are just a part of how my brain works. But when I have an anxiety attack with no apparent trigger, I feel crazy and weak.

It’s funny, because if I’m talking to someone else, I can convince them that they don’t need a reason to be anxious or depressed. That their feelings are valid, even if they don’t make sense. That it doesn’t make them crazy or weak. And they feel better afterwards. But saying these things to myself doesn’t have the same effect.

I guess that’s why it helps to tell someone else. Because without someone else’s reassurance, it’s hard to release the power that your inner demons have over you. When it’s just you and your demons, they convince you that you’re letting yourself off the hook too easily. You’re just lying to yourself. You’re really a bad person.

Read the rest of the story! Visit Normal in Training: Anxiety.

Toss the Typewriter – Wkly Brief – Marginalized Mothers

Note from Ruby: It may be long past Mother’s Day, but a parent doing their best to support a child struggling with mental health or addiction deserves your support any day in the year.

Throughout the world there are lovely women who raised beautiful children, and then something went terribly wrong. Perhaps the child picked up his first beer, or smoked her first joint. Maybe the child struggled with eating too much, or perhaps too little. Maybe the child missed many days of school, never graduated and still never leaves the house. Or maybe the child is no longer living.

You probably know one of these women. She was the one you laughed with at baseball games, and then she stopped coming. She is the mother who no longer calls you; who stays home; who worries. She is the mother who loves her child, but won’t necessarily ever hear her child return the words “I love you.”

Is there a good mother that you know who has lost a child to addiction, mental illness, suicide? Do you have the courage to call and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day? Are you willing to tell her you know she is a loving mother?

Yours might be the only call she gets this year.

Read the rest of the story! Visit Wkly Brief – Marginalized Mothers | Toss the Typewriter.