Ah melancholia

Well, yesterday I felt like this:

Title: CTRL Z and delete
If only life could really work like this. If only we could take back stuff we said, the idiocies I decided to share with the world. I can take back some, I can remove all these posts, I can now even delete messages from Telegram, for everyone in the chat, like they never happened.
I have the arrogance and thoughts of a CEO or president of a small state, and the capacity of the smallest employee, the one that gets the minimum stuff done, you know? Because she just can’t cope with anything slightly more complicated.
Many people like me, simple, who have achieved very little in life, done very little, really, apart from thrashing about spouting idiocies. Not so many those like me who have the arrogance to believe they did anything more than that.
I don’t know anything about anything, I built nothing, made nothing, my greatest merit as a mother is that my children survived me, and as a human being that I am still around, though that might just be cowardice.
I am not depressed just.. aware.

How many have felt like this before, and will feel like this again.

How many will have felt similarly, for longer, sometimes way too long a period.

It takes nothing to let go, to sink into this pit and to sink deeper and deeper until there is only way out.

I was disappointed with myself as it had been a while since I’d felt it so tangibly. I’d been doing so well, for so long.

A friend of a friend, an old acquaintance of mine, recently lost his wife to suicide. I hadn’t realised at first, but after a friend pointed it out, he detailed his and his family’s sorrow and the funeral news and everything publicly on Facebook.

My friend was disconcerted by this choice. She worried about the voyeurism element, quite understandably. I secretly worried about the triggering factor. I always believed that we shouldn’t be careful about what we write about in order not to trigger someone, because if we are triggered by something, it is up to US to fight it, and not up to the world to be careful with their need to communicate. On the whole, I was grateful that he did it, and felt it would help him, clearly, but also it would remind people that the people we see and follow on Facebook are real, real things happen to them, inconceivable grief is round the corner or under the surface for us all.

I should have known that something would happen to me as a result of reading through his posts, and seeing the pictures of his wife.

It was sneaky. It began with what should have set off the alarm, a feeling I know many people feel when they read about a suicide: a sneaky, pervasive, shameful feeling of envy.

When that is the feeling you get when a tragedy such as this one occurs, that is your alarm bell, that is when you should get up an do something, talk to people, open up.

I didn’t, this time. I mentioned to my husband what had happened and how terrible it was, just a statement, nothing more. Secretly perhaps I hoped he would say:
“I know you’ve felt like doing the same in the past” or “It is not absurd to think of how she got there for you, was it?” or “What was she like?” and reading about her, he’d see how I could identify with her, how easily I could see similarities in character, and in spirit.
But he didn’t, my husband is not one for subtleties of this sort. That’s ok. I love him for that too.

So when the sneaky possession took hold of me, that black liquid oil sticky shadow, there was nobody there to distract me.

It didn’t last long.

Of course there is no knowing when IT really started to work on me. On New Year’s Eve, when I first heard the news? When Corbyn made a mess of his speech and I realised all hope was lost for us Europeans living in the UK? Yesterday, after Theresa May’s extra speech?

I think it began when I read she had studied Human Rights after studying Journalism.
In the past few weeks, I’d been toying with the idea of getting a Master’s Degree, here or when we moved back to Italy, in Human Rights, or as a Refugee Mediator. Just so that I could have more authority when speaking about these issues, that are so important to me, and actually DO something.

I guess that was the connection, and her lack of an open-mouthed smile, her beauty. I don’t know. It’s their immense tragedy, it had nothing to do with me, and yet, there it was: it opened the door to the sneaky sticky black oily shadow.

So how did I stop it? Because the purpose of all this is to try and be helpful towards those who feel like this, and worse, so much worse, for longer.

It was hard at first. As all who feel like this know, all “good thoughts”, productive thoughts, are lucidly and solidly dismantled by the Authoritative Black Shadow’s Response.

I chose to try and think as little as possible. Candy Crush, Anna Karenina, Discovery of Witches, a bath, more reading in the bath of course, no dinner. I avoided my daughter, nephew and husband as I didn’t want to snap at them. Then I told my husband a little on Telegram and he responded, in his usual undiplomatic manner, but his love was sincere and real.

One of the elements that had contributed to the Sneaky Dictator’s appearance was that I felt my husband was not taking the possibility of me doing a master’s degree in human rights seriously. I had tried the i-ching and they were favourable to it, but I took my husband’s caution the wrong way (everything can be taken and used the wrong way when you are in that state) and it sparked off my feeling of inadequacy, of never having achieved anything, of I am such a failure and so on.

I tried the i-ching again once I was in full sinking mode. I asked: “What of me?”. The result was astounding, the result described the person I feel like when I feel happy and strong, but more importantly it used the exact reverse of the words I was calling myself in my sinking state: where I called myself arrogant, it called me humble. Where I called myself a fraud, it called me real. My husband walked towards me so I closed the pages without saving it and without reading it further. But I was left with half hope and half a sneer: yeah right that’s just bullshit I am SO not humble!! That is my aim but I am NOT humble, in my arrogance I have lost friends, I have alienated my dearest people!

After I went to bed and after I made the right decision to open up ever so slightly to my husband, albeit only through Telegram, words started to get through: his words of love and how much I was worth, and the i-ching’s words, and the reiki precepts I had been reciting to myself a couple of days before in order to try and snap out of one of the downward steps:

For Today Only:
Do not Anger
Do not worry
Be Humble
Be Honest in your Work
Be Compassionate to Yourself and Others


I kept thinking I am NOT humble, I am NOT humble, I should have been, I never was… and then a voice got through to me, and said:

If you were not humble, you’d not see your arrogance.

Maybe that voice was mine, to me in the past it could have been the voice of “god”, the Jesus I used to speak to, the voice of my beloved dead friends, who for so long I felt helped me and spoke to me, it didn’t matter where the voice came from. That was the moment it all stopped sinking and slowly I began resurfacing.

My daughter got into bed with me, all excited about her Harry Potter chapter. I realised I was really hungry, not having eaten much all day. I became aware that my husband was talking to an old friend of his, and my husband does not deserve to be unhappy because of me. But that phrase, an outside voice, was the moment it all started to come back into the light, slowly but surely.

As often happens, I look back at how I felt last night in the pit and wonder how on earth I could feel that way.

Depression, bleakness, call it what you will, it is a monstrous creature that takes over completely and is quite difficult to fight against.

What I have learnt in all this time fighting it, is that the open fight never works. IT is clever, smart, IT has all the answers. There is no point in arguing against it.

Depressed people are no fun to be near. They are frustrating and nerve-racking. But if you have one near you, just be around. Don’t try to fix her or him, don’t try to shake them back into awareness. Just bits here and there, be around, be available, but leave them to it, because anything you say could become just more material to build that wall. Water seeps through a wall, it is more powerful than rocks thrown against it. So my advice to those with someone who is depressed is: don’t abandon them, but don’t try and fight it, it’s their fight, not yours. You can just leave little helpful mementos here and there, but you can’t give them the strength to use it.

When my friend R. saved me that time, from my own plans of disappearance after a long, long stay in my pit, it wasn’t her physical forcing me to travel with her by booking me on the flight with her and forcing her presence on my planned solo one-way trip to Spain: it was her saying so what if you cry all the time, cry! I’ll do my thing you do yours, and if all you want to do is cry and mope, that’s fine by me! But we do it together.

As for those who are the depressed, don’t seek the magic words, don’t seek the magic help from those who love you. Don’t fight your depression: get distracted, do stuff, even if you don’t want to, even if it’s just many, many small things here and there. Don’t try to explain it all to your loved ones, just say a few words, just a few, just say: I am feeling sad, low, not very happy with myself. Don’t apologise, don’t look for solutions. Just try if you can to keep your options open: the right something might just slip through, and all it takes sometimes is for one good thought to get through, and the rest can follow.

This is just my two cents, I am certainly not a trained psychiatrist or counsellor, nor am I anything, really. Just someone who has been there.


Raging to be loved by the wrong people

Yesterday I felt a resurgence of all the horrible feelings of betrayal and abandonment that the Brexit vote had caused in me, because the words of a Labour leader that I respected greatly (and whom I would probably have signed up to vote for had I become a British citizen as was my pre-Brexit plan) had come out a little … wrong, and the news had reported it as though he had declared his ok with Theresa May’s recently confirmed Hard Brexit stance.

It felt like I was being kicked out all over again. As pointed out by my dear Scottish friend, I mourn because I lost one country, but they lost 27 (or however many there are in Europe now, I don’t keep track). I get it. It’s true. It’s a horrifying loss for half the population, and half of the other half who voted will be dead before they see the crippling effects of it. And of course Brexit is not a personal slight. But it feels like it.

My son pointed out I might have been overreacting a bit. At first I defended my anger, and even my husband said he didn’t think I was. But I guess in the great scheme of things, I was. After all, I have a husband whom I love and who loves me, three amazing wonderful kids whom I adore, a gorgeous old dog and two bootiful cats. The house we live in here is so pleasant that although my taste for being outdoors has dramatically decreased, I am still very comfortable at home. So ok, I thought Britain loved me and it turns out it never really cared about me.

But that’s it, isn’t it?

A lifetime return to that: I love and desperately wish to be loved back by people who, most of the time, don’t, or stop doing so way too soon. That fact, that they stopped loving me, was initially attributed by me to my very own explosive and mood-swaying character. I carefully planned my suicide and was brought back from the brink by an exceptional friend. My children instead of being a cause of intense happiness as they always were, as beautiful as they were, felt like they were there showing me what I would ruin next: them, my beautiful jewels.

Anyway, it didn’t happen, and am I pleased about that (of course). But the cycle continued. Despite having the love of such precious wonderful people, I also needed the love of others, others who then forsook me, friends who didn’t want to even hear from me anymore. It took me a long time to realise they weren’t going through all the passionate strong emotions I was going through as we separated as friends: they just got on with their life, unaffected, or at least unaffected enough not to need to tell me anything, or showing any signs of missing me. So what was the problem then?

As one of these friends said: “it’s not that she hates you, she just doesn’t care about you”

I think this was it, for Britain as well. I went (used to go) out of my way to be loved by those very few people (this is how I know I am not an attention whore, I just choose some – very few – people and desperately want their love, their affection, and am of course willing to die for them in turn). They were special to me, they felt like they fit in perfectly with me. The fact that they didn’t just hate me, but I became indifferent to them, was heartbreaking for me.

The same happened with England. I looked at the sky today with my daughter and we commented and smiled about a beautiful bit of sunshine slashing through the clouds like pure gold. I commented how we wouldn’t see those in Italy as there are far less clouds. I begun to say I can’t wait… and she just said “enough! I hear it every day! I know you want to go to Italy!”.

So I told her “yes, you’re right I’m sorry, but you know, the reason I keep saying that is because I am upset. I LOVED this country. I wanted it to be my home, I chose it out of all the countries I have ever been with (many) and know about, to be my home. Like I chose an adopted mother when my mother was nasty to me. I did everything to have this adopted mother’s love. And it’s as if she just turned around and said actually you know what? I never really cared about you. Just piss off back to your biological mother”.

She got it. And so did I. Growing up loving a neglecting, cold, unloving mother who resented my very existence, and a father who was way too busy adventuring and working around the world and so was never there, I guess something twisted in my own brain and these people, these people I have chosen, were people who would necessarily, at some point, not care about me. They were always destined to disown me, as England just did to me.

But perhaps, just like England, they were never that special to begin with. I just loved them desperately because like my mother, they were never capable or caring to love me. Like England, they were dark, and it was their darkness I was attracted to.

So, feeling more serene now, I hope next time to stop being attracted to dark people or situations, because what they have in common is an inability to love me, and that has absolutely nothing to do with me.



Whirlwind music

I know I could tell you about this, and you’d understand. I have done something very stupid, every once in a while I seek some of the music I used to listen to in such and such a time, because I liked it a lot, I used to sing along to it in the car… and even though I don’t get to drive much at all these days and the chances of singing along to music are few and far between, I missed some of this music and so I looked for it, and, woe is me! I found it. Of course, why wouldn’t I, in the internet era you no longer have to rely on that music whiz friend who could make your whole world sparkle because he got hold of a copy of “Wings of Desire” for you when they were out of print and I couldn’t find it anywhere. This is the era of ask and it shall be given and I asked and was given all these old songs, and stupidly, stupidly, I actually listened to them.
Masochistically, I say that now, but I didn’t think it at the time, I honestly thought jesus, that was long ago, it should be over now. And jesus, you know, there is so much music I no longer listen to for this reason, and it’s such a bloody shame because hey! It was a load of good music!
The only thing that would make me truly happy right now is to book a ticket for the seaside flat where nobody will be staying and stay there, under a blanket, until January. Then I would return and they would tell me what a lovely time we all had, how we got the right presents, and how every one was happy, and we had no money worries and it all went smoothly and you know what? I was there too! Such fond memories we all built together, all these people that I love very much and yet the prospect of celebrating them and seeing them is making my whole body come out in a sweat and my heart racing and my mind just does not seem to want to go anywhere, it’s frozen.
This, my friends, is called social anxiety, this is what it does to you, and knowing it does not make it better. Saying we understand and then feeling hurt because I would rather this whole month disappeared and feeling, knowing that even should I really give in and say no, listen let us skip that birthday, skip that gathering skip it all for the sake of my peace and quiet I would regret it immensely and just be really sad and it would all be bulk material to add onto all those weights that I lump onto myself when the depression strikes. So best not to let them, not to make more of those bricks! Solution?
A-ha! There is none ūüôā
So, perhaps, playing the Witcher 3 might help. You never were very convincing in explaining to me why you had ruled out videogames as a form of treatment, as a form of escape. I mean you said you would get addicted and stuff, maybe that’s it. I know I have to snap out of it when I need to go and pick up my daughter so I guess that works better.
So what should I do with those songs I found and downloaded for my phone? Delete them, of course, as with all those mounds of music that have yet to find a place back into my life, no matter how much I like them.

A word of hope

So yesterday I was at the bus stop, with my daughter and two mums who are often there with their kiddies. The school is having an anti-bullying or bullying-awareness week, as is the rest of England. They have also had sessions regarding sexual abuse, child neglect, all that stuff, and had them memorise the Child Helpline 0800 1111  in the UK (you never know!).

As we waited for the bus, the two often loud kiddies started to talk about stuff in a ¬†rudey/jokey manner and we commented and agreed how it may have been the result of those talks but it’s so good that they are having them, then¬†one of the mums¬†started talking about her son just about getting away in time from a known sexual offender who was¬†protected and sheltered by his family, and then she told us how she was also abused though not violently, physically when she was a child by her father and how she only realised the things he did were wrong when her own daughter started to tell her stuff he was doing with her and she realised that it was just wrong.

She then proceeded to say how she was going to therapy because of it and now has bipolar.

The other mum was sympathetic but I believe a little stunned by the candour and, I guess, the setting (a bus stop, with an extra stranger just standing around). But as I got on the bus and got over my usual anger at how so many children are abused and my own personal issues I thought how refreshing! Finally!

I mean if we had been standing around speaking of bone fractures nobody would have had any trouble talking about their own limbs breaking or my son breaking his wrist because he decided to cycle downhill at full speed in a forest, would we? We wouldn’t have had the slightest problem saying “and I still go to physiotherapy for that!”.

It made me realise how incredibly natural and only right it was that we could talk about these things like that, openly and without fear, without misplaced shame (so many people, including myself, are still ashamed beyond control to speak of their own abuse, as if they had anything to blame themselves for!).

I must admit I am still not really quite there, but I am trying. I didn’t respond to this woman “me too” or “similar stuff happened to me” nor “I know how you feel”. Then again even when we break a leg sometimes we just want to say it, don’t we, we don’t necessarily have to hear that it happened to you as well.

So this is my way of saying that this woman, who as yet I don’t even know by name, I believe, did¬†the best, hardest, yet most productive thing a¬†person with mental health problems¬†could do: just talk about stuff that has befallen you as though it were any kind of misfortune that came your way, in normal conversation, waiting for a bus.



Getting better all the time…

A very nice song by The Beatles.

It is, life gets better, although I still have to regularly battle against the same old demons, and that pisses me off so much.

It makes me sad that this page opened on my admin and showed me that most of the comments were from myself and then blahpolar.

I was thinking about her this morning. She managed to make me feel at home with her, comfortable, such an incredible feat… but she was in deep deep pain, and now she’s gone.

My husband said¬†one of the millions of things he could say to trigger off my anxiety and/or my depression this morning. He said I was just moaning. And I was! I was moaning about how my hypermobility syndrome means that it is painful to walk four miles each day to and from my daughter’s school, that her own hypermobility meant we had to get her new, better shoes, that the stupid aggressive cows in the field meant we had to walk along the terribly trafficked, stinky, and very dangerous road instead of across the field, which my anxiety is not happy about.
I WAS just moaning.
I just didn’t appreciate him telling me that, not today, because yesterday I spent all day worrying about a client of mine (blooming FAO, I LOVE¬†FAO and I am so proud to be working for them) who wanted to call me. All she did was that, ask me whether I could give her a call. But because it was after I’d just sent an invoice, I went into internal turmoil and panic. I suffer from social anxiety, so the cherry on top of all this¬†was being asked to¬†use¬†the phone. I DETEST using the phone.

I told her no, I didn’t want to call, and asked whether there was a problem. I then corrected my invoice to make it a little less. I started thinking about our imminent move to Italy, and how I had left Italy because I associated Italy with worry, people telling me off, and so on… so I started worrying worrying, will I ever find a place I could call home? Asides form my children and my husband, my only home, the only home I ALWAYS feel safe in, is my dog. Wherever my dog is.¬†I started to think back to all those people and places where I thought I’d found a home, including this one, Derbyshire,¬†only to then be told¬†without much ceremony “we were never as close as you thought we were”.
It was all in my head, all those people…¬†all those places… and the thoughts start to tumble, and jumble, and I feel whirlwinds starting to suck me up, and then I stop them, and I say you know what? I DON’T moan! I don’t moan enough! I¬†feel emotions a tad intensely, I can’t help that, and stuff has hurt me! I must be allowed to moan!

I spend the rest of the day just calming down. I took the bus to school today. I later apologised to my husband for my snarky remarks in response to his comment, helped by his choosing, for once,¬†good words rather than reacting badly and making it worse. Then it dawns on me I’ll redo the invoice, I sent it. Then lovely FAO lady writes back and says:

“Dear Billy,

I wanted to contact you yesterday to tell you¬†that FAO translators normally are paid such and such. We think you charge too little. Would it be ok for you if we paid you our fees?”

I wanted to cry. People CAN be nice. And I’m an idiot fool, no, no longer do I think of myself as an idiot. I have been battered for too long into no longer believing that people are nice. Yesterday an old client, always super professional and proper, added me on Linkedin and said: “This time I’m not writing to ask anything, just to say hello and a hug”. Brought a smile to my face and then tears. I want people to be real with me, and I need to be real with them. I was thinking it was no longer possible.Maybe it still is.

A dream of blood

I woke up from a dream, interacted with our kitten outside the door, came back to bed but I can’t sleep.

This post is written on a phone under the blankets, forgive the crapness.

In my dream I was me, but loooked very different, dark brown hair.

I had told my husband I’d be late, I was visiting friends. They were prostitutes and that night, I was too. Men came, I was to prove to one my bum and my breasts were real. He came but they wanted us to go elsewhere, with some of his mates. One was some sort of rich kid, his mother had to check me out sexually first. Then we went somewhere, a dank underground parking, plots of land, the one where we stood had little puddles. “Of blood?” I asked. I was alone and maybe I wasn’t, the younger man held a yellow dress, it was for me. I looked in a madeup mirror and saw myself wearing it, while in fact I was now a young girl of twelve, with light pink/white shorts. I shied away from this plot, he showed our “handlers” a plot nearby, a mattress on the floor, it was clean. I wanted out, but didn’t say. I hoped he would not kill us, or hurt us. I hoped my husband would believe my lie. We needed the money, and I was too scared to back away now. Another man checked the plot next door, picked up a pair of human limbs, grinned sheepishly and waved as if now all was clear. I knew that feeling of utter dread but the inability to do anything, try to run, stop the madness. The paralyzing fear.

My daughter stirred brusquely and I woke up.

I know the elements that made up the dream, some eluded me till later. At first of course, I thought of Ulla (previous post). I thought of my own past and how I am where I am now but could easily have been where Ulla is now, had circumstances been a little different. Then I saw the girl I was in the dream was the girl one of my oldest friends had been, when she’d been raped in a camping site by her uncle, only a young girl.

That girl grew to be the woman who singlehandedly ripped me away from my suicide plan. That woman is now, last I heard from her, with a good job, a good man, is as happy as she could be. She could have been where Ulla is now. Her form of bipolar if she had it was much milder, but her circumstances were very different.

I will write to her later, tell her once again how I love her and cherish her. I am still sad, because for Ulla things were just so much worse, just circumstances that meant her bipolar had been so aggressive and incurable, though she too deserved respite, and all the help she gave others whilst being torn apart by her disease… Brave warrior, huge soul, I will miss you and be grateful for the little that I knew you, I will keep you in my heart as I try to continue and be happy in my different circumstances.

I hope you have your respite, and your mum near you at last.

Some more

I hope you’ll excuse me, if I don’t follow you back. I hope you won’t mind, if I’m not always responding, if I don’t read you all the time.

Our pal that checked out has once again in the saddest way shown why it is a good idea to stay in your happy place if you have one. I do feel the need to listen more closely to¬†some of you who are bereaved of her presence, but I can’t try to keep up with as many as I used to.

I feel like going on Facebook and blocking 99% of the people there. I know most of the people I have there are people I’ve known, because I do try to keep it “real”, but too many¬†of them don’t have¬†a dog pal, none of them in England do, and the greatest majority asides from very few have any notion, nor do they care, that many¬†people are¬†sufferers like¬†Ulla was, and some of those may just not make it through.

So I feel like blacking them out, so many of them, you know? How many times have I chatted with you feeling this was more real than any other chat? That you knew how I felt and I felt how you could feel more than so many others? And how many that followed you and cherished your wisdom and beauty felt exactly the same?

This is why I know, and you know, how many are left behind. You checked in on so many of us, didn’t you? To see whether we were stable enough? Whether we were ok? Generous, and thoughtful, till the end, Ulla.

I recently discovered a section of a radio I’ve begun to listen to,¬†with all songs selected and dedicated to travel, to journeys. Some true classics, I would have definitely¬†have the urge to share with you, and then not, remembering how music could get to you, how losing the ability to listen to music was one of your many sources of pain.¬†Today, they almost all made me think of you, on your journey, as I like to imagine.

Ulla I won’t be able to tell you about how my climbing roses are growing so prettily, and will soon spread over the top, and how I can see them from my kitchen window as I wash endless dishes. Ulla you didn’t wait. I knew you wouldn’t, I felt it, in the way you didn’t respond at my repeated invitation, at my request, once again, to please just wait a little longer. Wait till we can get together, wait till I’ve met you.

Because you were truly special, truly lovely, and¬†much as¬†we all get it, and understand, I can’t help but selfishly wish you could’ve waited just a little more.

Travel safe mate


Moving on

There are many ways to die. Many times in my life did I come close to both physically and mentally and emotionally dying. If a mental breakdown is dying a little, so is an abortion, a suicide attempt, and what have you.

The thing is, I¬†died a little every time I felt¬†humiliated, slighted, let down. I continued to die over and over again, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. My conscience and heart is so active though, that I learnt¬†not to reach out for the comforting idea of not struggling anymore. I learnt to fantasise about other scenarios, all carefully planned out, to avoid as much pain to others as I could. But I couldn’t help also wanting to live, remembering how I felt just the day before, or just a few months earlier, or the other day, and feeling that back then I thought my terrible urges to let go and give up were simply irresponsible, crazy, absurd. I was happy! What was I thinking?

Anyhow. Counselling will probably be over next week, or soon after. It was helpful. The dealing with distress intolerance module, a couple of good visualizations and exercises I hope I’ll be able to continue later. But more importantly, once again, though with increasing conviction, I am letting go of my old self, of that girl that has been raging and battling and passionate since as far as I can remember.

I apologise to her, feel for her, but it’s time to give up the fight, I said, lay down your arms, I said, and I’m sorry you didn’t get understood, I’m sorry things didn’t go how you planned, but it’s time to let go.

That is why today I also gave up reading and re-reading for the nth time my novel, and waiting for my husband to have a time to draw a cover, and I published my book.

This book is about a future I could have had, at least in my deluded mind. It’s a novel, make no mistake, but also¬†a dream. A dream that I have to let go now, as I know now it will never come true (in some respects, thank goodness for that!).

Next in my plan, the second book to publish. That is being written now. That will likely be longer. After that, I will have let go of all of me, and can live and experience whatever’s left.

I am what i was exposed to, I am what I did, I am what I do. It’s time to give up trying to explain, to be understood. To give up¬†the fight.

So, here it is, it’s going, it’s gone, it’s free. The House of Blue:


Distress intolerance – Part 2

I have counselling tomorrow, but now is a good time to do Module 2 of the Overcoming Distress Intolerance. As I walked out of the corner shop¬†after dropping off my daughter at¬†school, a man came pushing a pram and shouting in drunken rage at his toddler son, who was walking hand in hand with mum and tinier sister towards the school: “na man! You’re lying! Forget it man!” to the tiny boy, and the little boy’s face with his tiny mouth in a frustrated frown.

To me it’s like a knife in the chest. It seems only right to me,¬†it seems normal, my reaction seems normal to me. But I know, at the tender age of 44, that it is not. Some people will dismiss it, some will ignore it, some won’t even see it, and some will accept it as normal part of¬†that type of family. To me a child is a child. I come from¬†a family that is refined, educated, and yet horrible things happened with us, I had a surprise drunk abusive (you never knew when he’d “turn”) husband, and two wonderful, tiny little toddlers, who have witnessed¬†some things, sometimes. We were what you’d call middle class, I guess. How does that make us any different that little hurt family? Or rather,¬†I get¬†that whereas we will always be working or financing our own food and shelter, these parents¬†rely on the English welfare system, which is devastatingly flawed. But the children?¬†They are merely and solely victims of this. How can anyone be indifferent? How can anyone not care?

I never got it, never understood it.

Then my brain jumped ahead, and couldn’t stop thinking of a friend I had, whose major influence on my life was the way he dealt with¬†my emotional distress.¬†Every friend has special “powers”, his was that. He may or may not have cared about what actually happened,¬†but he cared that I cared, and that I was upset, and somehow, he always knew the right words, the right thought processes to make me feel better. Alas my husband lacks that, sometimes unwittingly making things worse for me, and now that this friend is out of my life I found myself missing him in that moment, and there, the whole process begun, the whirlpool began to open below me, ready to suck me into despair.

So I told myself, well, this is a good time to deal with distress intolerance, part 2. You need to detach yourself from¬†these situations, and I don’t know how. D. used to tell me how. Now I can’t even form a thought in my head that makes what I saw any better.¬†I can, however, stop the usual¬†spiral that used to drag me down: I saw this-this breaks my heart-I wish I could do something-what can I do-there are so many, so many many many children suffering this and far worse right now, this very moment, and so on and so forth.

I needed to stop the spiral, the whirlpool that drags me down. No, not stop: step away from it. So I breathed, and thought of the only way I know how, be nice to my children, be good to them as much as I can, protect them, who knows, I probably sheltered them too much and now they lack skills to make it in life without anxiety or depression, and there it goes again, the spiral catches me again.So now I stop, go make some coffee, and then approach module 2.



Have read. Insights: I was fairly good at stepping back from the¬†emotions, which didn’t overwhelm me. The image of a whirlpool applies to my emotions, and the tornado applies to my thoughts. Instead of letting myself get carried away in tornadoes or whirlpools, I¬†take a step back and watch them, in fascination, as it happens, because they are two natural events that fascinate me greatly.

Other insight. I have chosen in my life to surround myself with people who hate my emotional side, or at least are impatient¬†with it, and find it irritating. It makes sense, since as a child my parents were very cold (mother) or very quick to anger whenever I got emotional (dad).¬†I could have chosen to be with people who love that about me: that I am sensitive, kind, and have a strong sense of justice vs. injustice. Instead, I chose people who are more rational and level headed. So that’s ok now, it doesn’t mean I have to dump my¬†husband and find someone who loves me more for what I am, but I can start looking at it differently. It’s not that he doesn’t love me for what I am, it’s just that he is different and can’t really speak that language I speak so well, the language of deep emotion. So, I must take a step back from that, stop feeling hurt by his reactions to my emotions,¬†remember I chose him like that, and¬†watch from a very slight distance.

Done some good breathing, too, when all else fails (all else being my pets: they are my anchor to coming back to reality, I do believe having animals around is crucial for human wellbeing).

Baby steps