Solitary People ~ Lonely Beaches

With no compass you cannot tell who the enemy is.

Are you lonely tonight?

Are you sad because you’re on your own?

There was a time when I lived the life of a celibate solitary recluse.  Not just for a few days, or a few weeks, but for several years.  I cared for nobody, not even for myself.

I think the important thing is caring about someone.  It’s being by themselves that does people in, makes them old and bitter.  ~  Thomas Tryon

I completely isolated myself in my garret.  My only companion was my little teddy bear; Marmaduke.  I hardly ever went out.  I didn’t answer my telephone.  I didn’t see any of the people who reached out to me in friendship.  My only contact with the world was through this blog ~ and in its early days this blog was a pathetic spavined thing.

When I did go out it would be at very unsocial hours; the early morning, late evening, midnight.  And, I didn’t go to places where I was likely to meet people.  I walked solitary on a lonely beach.

Life wasn’t making me lonely, I was avoiding human contact, pushing people away, sabotaging any relationships I had.  I was making myself lonely.

There was an underlying reason for this.  It’s a serious mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder, and one of the symptoms of this illness is cutting off all communication with others because of a real difficulty in maintaining a stable relationship.  It isn’t good.

It’s so bad that if I developed a relationship, then a part of me would want to destroy it.  Perhaps I could keep a friendship for a while, but eventually the Mr. Hyde in me would do something bad enough to make that friend walk away ~ which is what I expected all along.  Another of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder is an abnormal fear of abandonment, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I have been lucky.  I have one friend, one long-distance relationship, and that friend has stuck by me, been my cheerleader, counsellor, and my muse.  That friendship has got me out of the garret, encouraged me to grow, allowed me to escape the worst of my self-imposed exile from the real world.

Not everyone who has cut themselves off from the world is that lucky.  But, perhaps we can all be that lucky if we are willing to take a chance, and if we are really willing to work at becoming a better, more reliable, more stable, more personable, and less threatening version of ourselves.

It’s scary.  But real life is scary.  Shit happens.  With the right mental attitude we can all enjoy life.  I learned to love myself and love others.

My life is good today.  I still walk the lonely beach, but I’m no longer alone.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

luckily, a teddy bear can’t really walk out on you

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Feeling Good isn’t Good

If you’re feeling good then nothing else should matter.

Like many who have had an abnormal Fear of Abandonment due to suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, I have been very used to feeling bad.  Alcohol abuse, anxiety and depression, anger, low self-esteem, relationship problems, suicidal thoughts, problems trusting anyone, fear, disgust, sadness…  In the past I knew all of these bad feelings intimately.  My whole world was a pale, dead, dark moon.

The nadir of my misery was on December 11th 2017, when I suffered from mental, psychological, and spiritual distress that was almost unbearable.  I felt as though I was having a mental breakdown ~ that my mind was broken and my soul was destroyed. I was physically, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually afraid.  I was afraid that I was becoming a lunatic.

That is not a good feeling.  But then, I was very used to feeling very bad.

The Christmas and New Year’s holidays came, and things were a little better.  Once you have hit your rock bottom, then the only way should be up.  It doesn’t work like that.  Below your rock bottom is another, lower, more hellish rock bottom.

I know because at the New Year I caught influenza, and I did become a lunatic due to a fever caused by the virus.  I don’t quite know what I did during the couple or three weeks I was deathly ill, except that I had strange visions and imaginings.  I remembered things that never happened, and I remembered real events, and each memory taught me a lesson.  Each memory lifted some evil from my mind and my soul.

Today I feel pretty good.  And I’m struggling to cope with feeling good.

They got scared when they started feeling good, just because it was so unfamiliar.  Like chronic prisoners facing release from their cells.  ~  Lisa Alther.

When you are used to being Mr. Hyde, it’s a struggle to be a good guy.  It’s difficult to love and trust when you are used to never trusting anyone.  It’s hard to take a chance on people, even with someone you told yourself you cared for, when you never took a chance on anyone, ever.  When you are used to feeling disappointment, anger, resentment, suspicion, distrust ~ when you are used to being Mr. Hyde ~ it’s scary to focus only on the good things.

I’m very uncomfortable with good feelings because I am so unused to feeling really, truly, genuinely fine.  I wake in the morning and I distrust the fact that I feel good.  I am expecting crushing disappointment, sooner or later, because I don’t expect these good feelings to last.

But I’m doing all right today, and step by step things are getting better for me, and for those I care for.

I have a strategy.  I know I will have bad thoughts, bad feelings, and a temptation to return to my old ways of misery.  I can accept feeling bad, but I no longer have to let feeling bad take over my life again.  I can accept the bad thoughts for what they are, my old demons trying to drag me down to another hellish rock bottom.  I never need to let that happen again.

Today, tonight, and tomorrow I can focus on feeling good.  Feeling bad is a choice I need never make again.  In future I will choose to feel good.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Spencer Tracy as Mr. Hyde

 

Scenes on Sunday ~ Monochrome Utah Skies

The sky is everywhere, it begins at your feet.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

pictures all taken by

the girl riding shotgun

using a Panasonic Lumix

 

Begin A New Beginning

In every life there will be some troubles.

Recently I was pretty ill with the flu.  In between feeling very poorly, and very tired, my feverish mind wandered to some very strange places.  I vividly remembered things from the past, and some of those memories were  false,  but even the false memories had a lesson for me.

In my fevered imaginings I realised that I had often been judgemental, unforgiving, and aggressive.  That I measured people by my own standards, morals, and mores.  If I thought a person had hurt me, or intended to hurt me, or didn’t measure up to what I thought was acceptable standards of behaviour, then I was quite likely to attack that person.  I could become a real Mr. Hyde character.  That applied especially if I told myself that I cared about the person concerned.

In my fevered imaginings I realised that my judgemental, unforgiving, and aggressive behaviour was totally unacceptable.  Not only that, it didn’t achieve anything good, and it didn’t make me happy ~ it didn’t make anyone happy.

In fact, being a judgemental unforgiving perfectionist made me so unhappy that from time to time I would try to escape my misery by drinking far too much booze.  As you would expect, getting drunk didn’t make me happy either.

In fact, drinking just made everything much worse.  Every single time I’ve touched booze in the past few years something extremely, irredeemably bad has happened.  Every single time I’ve had even one drink I began a downward spiral which inevitably lead me to becoming Mr. Hyde.

It didn’t take fevered imaginings brought on by the flu to make me realise that I needed to make a new beginning.  On December 11th last year I had the worst mental, psychological, and spiritual day of my life.  My mind was broken and my soul was destroyed.  I knew back then that I needed to change or there wasn’t much point in my being anything other than a lonely recluse.  If I wanted a good life, then I needed to begin a new beginning as a kinder, stable, more reliable, more likeable man.

My mental health was at stake, I needed to change or continue on the downward spiral to the rock bottom of total lunacy.

I have changed, and it was both very difficult and very easy.  The easy part is that all I need to do is stop being a judgemental unforgiving perfectionist.  Stop thinking the worst of people, stop imagining that the people I care for are trying to hurt me, and stop dwelling on the past.  As I said easy.

The very difficult thing is that making a fundamental change to one’s own personality means overturning one’s core beliefs and values ~ and that’s hard.  It means reconsidering what’s important in life.  It means letting go of old attitudes, old habits, beliefs, outdated goals, even one’s old Life’s Purpose.  It means changing how we think about relationships, love, and life.

However, we can create anything we want, if we want it enough.

Einstein said; the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.

I needed to do things differently.  I needed to begin a new beginning.  I firmly believe I have started on a different and better road.  I don’t think I’m a lunatic anymore.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Food on Friday ~ Comfort Food (Soups)

Comfort food is absolutely moving upscale.

Here in England the weather outside my garret is cold, dark, frosty, wet, and very windy.  Like a lot of people around here I’ve just got over the flu, and I still feel cold and shivery.  What I need to eat most is something hot, nourishing, and comforting ~ like a bowl of home-made soup.

These great soup recipes are mostly easy to make, don’t cost so much, but are absolutely upscale meals you could serve to any guest.

Ergo, first up this week, from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats, we have this silky ginger sweet potato soup.  I love the idea of adding fresh ginger to a soup recipe.  This recipe is vegan I think.

Silky Ginger Sweet Potato Soup

Another pretty soup, this time from Petra at Food Eat Love; celeriac and cumin soup with watercress.  This looks as though it would keep us warm in the cold winter nights.  Cumin is an interesting spice with lots of health benefits.

Celeriac and Cumin Soup with Watercress

Chungah at Damn Delicious has this great recipe for roasted cauliflower soup, with lots of garlic and herbs.  Looks fabulous to me!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

From Amanda at Chez Le Rêve Français we have a recipe for fat-free potato and leek soup ~ and I do love leek and potato soup. This recipe is pretty easy, fat-free, and gluten-free.  Oh so warming on a cold winter’s day.

Fat-Free Potato and Leek Soup

Dana at Minimalist Baker has a fantastic recipe for a 1-pot everyday lentil soup ~ and I do love one-pot recipes. This recipe uses just 10 ingredients and should only take you 30 minutes to make.  If you don’t like lentils you could use white beans or chickpeas instead.

One-Pot Everyday Lentil Soup

Here’s a very interesting and filling soup from In Diane’s Kitchen; Cajun shrimp, hot sausage & pasta soup ~ Wow!  This recipe is chock full of noodles, hot Italian sausage, shrimp, and a really great broth.

Cajun Shrimp, Hot Sausage, and Pasta Soup

And last but not least for this week we have a cool recipe from Averie Sunshine at Averie Cooks; easy 30-minute homemade chicken noodle soup.  I like easy recipes you can prepare in 30 minutes or less.

Easy 30-Minute Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

A big thank you to all the great cooks featured in this week’s Food on Friday.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Marmaduke’s comfort food is

a couple of soft-boiled eggs

England’s Winter Miseries

When the English winter comes howling in.

I didn’t want to be in England over the Christmas Holidays, and I’d prefer not to be here right now either.  Next year I’m determined to spend a part of the winter in the sunshine.

Northern England in particular is a miserable place to be in winter.  Right now the temperature outside is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s still dark, there’s a strong wind, and a mixture of rain and wet snow is falling.  In the next couple of days the weather here is going to get much worse with 80 mph winds and a lot of snow expected.  The sea is vicious and cold.

Drivers are being warned to stay off the roads, and only to make the most essential journeys.  Our rail service is in chaos, and there are long flight delays at our airports.  We do not handle snow very well at all, and the high winds can actually blow over trucks.  Some of our most important bridges are closed.

There is an epidemic of a particularly nasty strain of the flu, (Aussie flu H3N2), which can be fatal in itself.  Influenza can lead to several other fatal illnesses; bronchitis, pleurisy, and pneumonia.   Our health service is overwhelmed; the hospitals are full and people are being advised not to visit their own doctors except in cases of an emergency.

The thing is,  the cold, damp, and dark English winter weather makes people prone to catching nasty winter diseases; colds, flue, bronchitis pleurisy, and pneumonia.

I had this Aussi flu just after Christmas, and I was very poorly for a couple of weeks.  High temperature, hacking cough, tiredness, aches and pains, headache, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, and an inability to eat ~ I have lost 10 lbs since Christmas.

Trust me, you don’t want to catch this Aussi flu.

Trust me, you don’t want to be in Northern England in winter either.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Californian Palm Trees

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.  ~  Willa Cather

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Scenes on Sunday

 

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jack collier

Jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Monochrome Women

I like  monochrome pictures.

 

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Positive Imagination

Universal and Personal

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

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