World Traveller…..ie All over the Map

Now there’s a figure of speech that works for me, “All over the Map”. It’s what best describes my writing style of late, so much so I’m thinking of changing my tagline to “World Traveller”.

My mind wanders. It frequently wonders too but mostly it just wanders, jumping from thought to thought without settling on any one thing. Perhaps it’s like being a kid in a candy store, so many choices that deciding on just one is onerous.

I think of blogging. I think of things in my yard or in my house, tasks, responsibilities. I think of friends, both current and past, and right now I think of my last counselor Elly. She was my favourite.

Not that Gloria was not good, or anything remotely like that, Elly was just more ‘into me’ if that makes any sense. Elly was like the friend I never had. I felt more open with her, more real. And that’s not to say I could tell her my most inner thoughts, my darkest quirks, those things best left unsaid. Those things or thoughts that should never be let out. Things like…….
(more here http://wp.me/p8mDx0-vc)

Blog Withdrawal

I’ve been going through withdrawal lately (always thought it was spelled “withdrawl” until spell check corrected me). I’m not talking the chemical kind of withdraw’a’l, I’m referring to the emotional and intellectual kind. The blog withdrawal kind. I need a fix.

I try to write but my words seem perfunctory. I blather on, spitting words on the screen like a wet-mouthed close-talker. See, here I go again. I feel like I’ve lost my edge. I want it back, if I ever really had it.

I began this blog to talk about my experiences with depression, hence the sub-title “Then, til Now”. While I suspect one never beats depression, nor is ‘cured’ of it, I do think we adapt and it becomes part of who we are. Anyway I digress.

Read more here: http://wp.me/p8mDx0-tj

Some thoughts…

As if it hasn’t been said enough “Time flies while you’re having fun”, or something like that. And time has flown.

I believe it’s a function of aging, that time flies. I read somewhere that the perception of time passing faster as we age is due to the lack of originality in our lives. And by originality I mean that there are seldom any new experiences in our lives as time goes on. As a rule we continue to do the same things month over month and year after year and so our perception of time flattens, it compresses and it becomes more difficult to differentiate one year over another. Time becomes all the same and in doing so it ‘flies’.

So, this theory being correct it would only stand to reason that one way to slow time down would be to do different things, to have new experiences, to make each week, month, and year different. Not a new theory but important nonetheless.

Now I don’t profess to have all the answers but it’s clear I have opinions, lots of them. Perhaps too many.

Life has been generally good to me over the last number of months. Being that it’s so long since I’ve updated this site I may repeat myself in what I say here so I will apologize in advance.

My health, both emotional and physical, has been good. Aside from the usual colds and one episode with the flu I am doing well. I have gone back on the meds  with my Doctor’s blessing and only at a half dose (10 mg Citalopram). I feel much better. Prior to that (about Dec.) I was once again back-sliding and feeling depressed. I had little motivation, was easily angered and frustrated, my emotions were all over the place and I just plain felt emotionally shitty.

I’ve tried to explain it away saying it was the weather or some other such excuse but the facts and history just don’t support that. I just have to accept it and resolve myself to the possibility that I may have to use meds to support my habit, that of feeling well.

The positive in the whole thing is that after my Doctor’s visit he suggested I start off with a lower dosage than before. This was a newer Doctor mind you, an international Doctor in training in my clinic, but he was/is very interested in my health and his suggestion had merit. As such I gave it a shot and haven’t really looked back.

This was done in concert with a new counselor as well. I began seeing her just before my first appointment with the Doctor and as time has gone on I’ve appreciated her more and more.

Her name is Elly. I decided to try her instead of going back for a 3rd time with Gloria. Elly is going for her Masters in Counselling and is doing her practicum in that clinic. So far I like her a lot, she is open and approachable, has fresh ideas and a perception that is refreshing.

She is a proponent of Art Therapy and has offered me the option of trying it. Art therapy sounded/sounds strange and while I am generally resistant to change I thought I owed it to myself to try something different. It was different for sure and some aspects of it were not comfortable for me. As an example she asked me to draw something, anything, on a paper covered table. All manner of pencils, felt pens, crayons, and paint were available to me, in all colours, so the options of media were essentially unlimited. It was all up to me as to what I chose to draw, and how to draw it. Once complete she asked how I ‘felt’ about the drawing, both in topic and substance.

The next session she again asked me if I wished to draw and this time she suggested I draw a Mandala. She gave me a 10″ circle of paper to draw on and again I could choose any media. In this context I must clarify that what she was asking me to draw was not a Mandala by it’s true definition. There was no religious significance to the drawing, more what she was asking was for me to draw a free form design on the circle of paper. Again, once the drawing was complete we chatted about the how and why of the sketch, and how I felt.

Part II

Because I seem to be long winded, and due to the fact my welcome wore out at Bagel’s and Brew (not really) I’ve had to complete this post the next day. I started writing Monday morning and here we are Tuesday, same coffee shop but different table, completing the saga.

At any rate my drawing experience was/is very interesting with it reinforcing some things I probably already knew about myself. In my first sketches, particularly the Mandala format I strived to be organized, symmetrical, accurate and somewhat precise. When I created a new drawing being more carefree, unorganized, non-symmetrical, in a word MESSY, I felt more free, more relaxed. In short it felt good.

That feeling was one that I was, and am, trying to replicate. I asked Elly if perhaps that was a state that I could develop through writing or photography. If I could bring my artistic and feeling side (less structured and rigid) more to the forefront by focussing on my artistic side, more right brained activities. She wasn’t sure but suggested I try by using my photography in an ‘out of the box’ fashion, taking photos in ways and of things that I normally might not. In fact she suggested this just before we went to Hawaii. I’ve tried and would have to say it’s not as easy to accomplish as I thought it might.

Some of the appropriate photos, and any drawings I completed while there were brought to my next session where we discussed my goal and any progress I made. Again, this was more difficult than I first thought.

So to be blunt one of the purposes of going to counselling was to get the stick out of my ass. This wasn’t necessarily the original reason, nor the only reason, but in talking with here I’ve come to realize that it was one of my personality traits that I desired to change. In effect I want to loosen up and have more fun, be more relaxed about things on a day to day basis.

This has been a long and likely boring post however it has also been done as an effort to begin writing again. I have been journalling fairly consistently but that method has become repetitive it was time to mix it up. Elly has suggested if I do journal that rather than the wordiness of it that I should use only descriptor words about how I feel at the time, no structured sentences. I would still like to sketch and may incorporate that as well.

So, ‘nuf said, Too much perhaps. See you on the flip side.

Today is the Day, Was the Day, I’m Upside Down

I feel upside down sometimes, need change
I feel upside down sometimes, need change

Something weird happened to my post yesterday. Somehow another blogpost, a reblog from another blogger got attached to this post and it all got mucked up. Things got all upside down.

Here’s the original post….

Today, the other day really, is/was the day to re-connect with Gloria after an absence of, what, a year?

Gloria, is/was, my counselor. She helped me with a number of things, not the least of which was my depressive moods. That is perhaps a polite way of saying I was going through a depression.

I say ‘was’ because I think or hope, and pray, I am through it, at least the worst part of it. That being said my previous post would lead me to question that.

Bottom line is I was a little disappointed by the reunion. If you ever read this Gloria I’ll apologize in advance, it’s likely more my issue than yours and first off I probably shouldn’t be apologizing for my feelings anyway. Just seemed to be the polite thing to do.

My experience in our last session is likely clouded by my interpretation of interpersonal relations, those being of a somewhat coloured point of view which may or not be accurate. I need to temper my perceptions with the realities of life. Not everyone is intrigued with what I have to say, or have said, I had just hoped what I had said and done in past sessions would have been recalled with a little less effort and prompting on my part. Again, maybe I should apologize, this isn’t really the venue for critiquing after the fact, I was a full participant and could have spoken up to lay out my concerns at any time. I didn’t, my bad, ‘nuf said.

At any rate…….

My car is in the Honda hospital this afternoon and I thought I’d take the opportunity and alone time to have a beer while I waited (not at the garage) and do some blogging. Being that I go most places with some type of electronic device capable of posting that would be pretty easy, you’d think.

I arrived without incident at the pub, a short walk from the shop, and sat down to do my business. It just didn’t come, the words never arrived. And they never came with me, I was alone with my thoughts and without the ability to articulate them. No words, no post.

I did have my journal with me as well, and that’s something that doesn’t occur that frequently. This day it did. Perhaps paper writing would fit the bill.

A few words created with pen to paper must’ve started the creative juices flowing because I was able to put down some thoughts in my morning/afternoon pages but not the words I had trapped inside me. Many of those are still there, waiting to be broken free and see the light of day. But some did make it to paper and the inspiration to post as well came through.

So here I am, no epiphanies, but some thoughts nonetheless. As the previous post “What’s Wrong With Me?” impled, original post here, I am in a bit of a funk. Words are not free flowing, perhaps disjointed, but the words are here regardless.

Today was the day, it IS the day. I plan to enjoy it regardless.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Acting, Not Being

In my last post “Well Lit, Dark Place” I talked about being in a dark place, about being emotionally alone or socially disconnected.  Perhaps my comments and the title were a bit misleading as the intent of the comment was much more figurative than actual.  I’m not really in such as dark place as was interpreted, more a place that is dark in the sense that I wish I were not there, alone and feeling I’m without connection to others.

I refered to Dexter, the main character of television series about a disturbed man, his emotional pain being the result of witnessing his mother butchered (literally).  A quote from Wikipedia describes it like this:

 “Dexter believes that he has no emotions, and he has to work non-stop to appear normal and blend in with the other people around him”.

I must make it clear though, it’s only some of these similarities with Dexter I can relate to, I (in no possible way) feel like I need to go out and murder or hurt someone, including myself.  I just feel disconnected

I can play the part though, I can act happy when not, or put on a friendly face when I don’t feel it, and that is what concerns me.  People have no more of an idea of who I really am than I do.  I often feel numb, unable to connect with those near me, scared to reveal who I really am or what I truly feel. I’m in disguise. It’s like I have a secret identity, like a super hero, except I’m not ‘super’.

I sometimes lack true emotion yet at other times I have more emotion, more happiness or sadness than I can bear. Am I blocking the real, continous feeling to prevent myself from being hurt? Where does this come from? Why?  Where am I going?

Some time back I wrote a post about adapting, this is something my counselor Gloria informed me of.  Essentially adapting is putting on a front, or becoming like a chameleon and changing your stripes to fit the environment.  Adapting to the circumstances and putting on a front whether you truly feel it or not.  The trouble is that Adapting can be exhausting.  Perhaps this is partially why I often prefer being alone, no adapting required.

I’m think I’m hiding, hiding in plain site, unable to reach out.  That’s why I feel like I’m in the dark, but recognizing and accepting it provides illumination.

Slip Slidin’ away, Back into the Pit of Despair

It has been a hard couple of weeks, probably more like 6 or so when I think about it. I’ve been sliding back into that dark place, that psychological arena I was in closer to the beginning of the year, the place where there is little optimism, where dark moods prevail and it seems like life itself is being sucked out of you.  I’ll call it a relapse into depression, where for me at least it makes itself known in loss of sleep and an undercurrent of anger.  I had, or have, no energy or enthusiasm towards those things I know I enjoy, hate my job more than normal, and frequently want to cry.  ‘Tis a sad state of affairs and I fear I’m falling into the pit of despair.

I’ve mentioned this mood, the early symptoms and my fears, to Gloria.  As my counselor, or therapist, she has been charged with the task of guiding me through this maze of despondent life, bringing me toward the light and helping me understand the tools I require to remain successful in my travel toward wellness.  But psychological tools are not enough, and I felt perhaps some change in my medication was in order as well.  I wanted to increase my meds immediately but thought my Dr. should be onboard.  She agreed, and a visit with my Doctor was scheduled.

In the interim there were things I thought I should try, simple things that may have a positive effect and at the very least could not hurt.  Knowing I am sensitive to the changes in light, and the winter season gives me the “blues” I broke out my SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) light and began sitting in front of it as I ate my breakfast before work.  I hadn’t really been noticing any of the typical symptoms I normally experienced with this condition, such as being excessively tired after dinner, nor the sweet tooth that drove me to eat large bowls of ice cream or other sugary treats, but what the hey, it can only help right?  But to no avail, no real improvement and I was deparately waiting for my visit to my GP.

The big day finally arrived, I explained my feelings and fears to the Dr. and he agreed to support me by increasing the dosage of my meds.  He renewed my prescription and I now take 45 mg of Mirtazapine, up from the 30 mg I have been taking since the beginning.

It’s been a couple days now, I think I’m feeling better although the true test will be my sleep patterns, if I sleep continuously through the night or wake up 2 or 3 times as has been the case lately.  I will try to remain optimistic, and the fact I even think of optimism is in itself a good sign.  Wish me luck, I am hopeful if for no other reason that I’ve felt like writing.  I am looking to blogging as a tool, another in my arsenal that can help me out of this hole, a ladder to help me climb out of this pit of despair.

Stuck in a rut, the Challenges continue

I’m stuck in a rut, and I can’t seem to get out.  My challenge at this point is what to write.  Like so many others have expressed over time I too seem to be suffering from writers block.  What is going on??

I do have the odd moment where some concept comes to mind, something that might seem to be a “good idea” but I either forget it when the blogging time comes or I just brush it off and say “I just don’t feel like it”.  This is so indicative of my history that it pains me,  I feel a bit angry at myself, disappointed, and perhaps a few other emotions to boot.

During the last visit with my counselor we talked a bit about this trait, and where she feels it’s best not to stress about it I feel somewhat different.  In my mind I’ve suffered a bit of a set back, I’ve reverted to some of my old ways, I’ve regressed.  Do you notice the negative thread here?  Therein lies part of the problem I think, some of the negativity is returning.  Is my depression coming back, or whatever the correct terminology is?  I’m wondering if an increase in my meds is warranted, or is it all in my mind, figuratively speaking of course.  She counsels me to wait a bit and if I see no improvement in a couple months or so then see my doctor.  I just want to feel like doing this, getting back to writing my stuff, getting out of this rut.

Thoughts of Shawn… Only if.

The snow is falling, or what could be loosely described as snow. Maybe dust, white powder dust would be more appropriate, almost like large flakes of flour. The kind of dust that you barely glimpse, but can see when the sunshine catches them as it’s rays filters through the window. This same white powder fell on the day Shawn died, a day I’d not soon want to re-live.  An ethereal day.

I wrote this as I sat waiting for my appt with Gloria, my counselor, but she approached me soon after and said “Come on in Dwayne, how are you doing?”  It’s funny, the thought of Shawn, or his passing, wasn’t forefront on my mind as she asked me that question, but was only moments before.  My thoughts of him come and go, depending on circumstances and mood.

It’s coming up on 11 years since his untimely death, January 18th of 2000 to be exact.  The closer we get to that date, or his birthday in October, the more his life (and death) surface in our minds.  Often it brings back some guilt on my part, none that I’ve mentioned to Gloria though, and even though I can rationalize my way through it the nagging thoughts of “only if” are still there and still pull at my heart.  Only if, 2 isolated words that when put together have more power over us than so many others.  Only if.

Is that all there is?

This afternoon I will have another visit with Gloria, my counsellor.  I don’t really know what we’ll talk about, it always seems to be a dynamic event.  Sometimes I feel good going in and other days, well, not as good.

I wish I knew how I was supposed to feel emotionally, I mean I know I’m supposed to feel good, normal, or not bad, at least most of the time.  I also know everyone has ups and downs, good days and bad, but without the scale of where the uppermost “up” is I can only tell you where I’ve been. Sometimes that doesn’t seem very far “up”.  I do have days where I feel good, pretty good in fact, is that all there is?

After our session I’ll pick up Dad and we’ll go for dinner.  I’m thinking perhaps Chinese food, it was good the last time we had it and he enjoyed it, but he may not even remember.  I know that sounds kind of callous, but it’s also true.  He forgets more and more now and I’m surprised sometimes that he even remembers my name.  Certainly he’s forgotten when my birthday is, and maybe that’s normal all things considered, he never was a good one for dates.

It reminds me of a time when we went to a family reunion about 25 years ago.  At that time my Dad’s Mom, my grandmother, was suffering from dementia and after we arrived he went into the house to see her.  He came out a short time later and told us she didn’t know his name, she thought that he was her brother.  The similarity in looks was significant for sure but still his heart must’ve been broken.  I know mine would have been.

It’s ok to cry

I had another session with Gloria tonight (my counselor) and the conversation ranged from parental parenting, as in dealing with my Dad, to latent feelings of grief and loss.  We even threw a little bit of emotional support regarding crying and “triggers” when it comes to loss, and the strong emotions that can come forward unexpectedly as a result of those triggers.  I’d  have to say it was probably one of the more enlightening sessions I’ve had in a while.

We’ve had a number of good sessions in my opinion and that comes to a bit of a surprise to me, and to admit that remembering how I felt when I went into the process some many months ago.  She will offer some insights which seem simple, basic, or fundamental at first glance but upon further analysis have many benefits and potential insights.  Who’d’ve thunk??  I hope that at some point, sooner rather than later, that I can articulate to her the gifts she’s given me.

We also talked of writing, specifically the chronicling of my adventures with Dad.  I told her “I’ve had lots of support for this, there are quite a few people encouraging me”.  Gloria said I should do it too!  “We are in the age of the baby boomers, it’s a timely topic”.  I know it is, but I confided to her that I inevitably shut myself off, I don’t allow myself to complete a project like this, I really think I must be afraid of success.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t come up with this stuff myself.  Reading up on Giftedness among other things like procrastination has taught me this.  It’s ok she said, give yourself permission to jam out, to not complete, in that way you can complete as much as you want and come back to finish if and when you like.  Hmmm, please Lord give me strength.