My muse as always, is Aphrodite. ~ Shakespeare in Love
my goddess of love, sorceress, divine spirit,
you were there when I needed you most,
when I was lonely, miserable and lost,
drifting aimlessly from pillar to post,
you visited in dreams as a ghost,
and as a goddess lifted me up,
for that I shall you worship,
forever, no matter what,
you live in my heart.
Aphrodite, Goddess of Grace and lascivious love of Ares ~ eternally unrequited
You can never get away from where you’ve been.
We cannot change the past, we can only change the ways feel think and feel about the past. Most people have brutal, painful, and regrettable memories of their past. Events from the past have created who we are today, and events from the past will affect us today, tomorrow, next week, next year, and maybe until the day we die and beyond…..
Some of us may say that we are OK with the past, that things that happened in our childhood and adolescence do not haunt us at all. But beware, even if you are not aware of it, everything that you have experienced in the past; good, bad, terrible, traumatic, joyful, boring….. is affecting your sub-conscious today.
Nobody, up to and including you and me, is completely at peace with their past. We cannot, and should not, forget the past. Our past creates in us feelings of anxiety, bitterness, disappointment, doubt, guilt, fear, frustration, hurt, regret, rejection, sadness….. and most of us recall and remember the negatives from our past more than we focus on the positives.
Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. ~ Chuck Palahniuk
Some of us try to run away from our past; changing where we live, drifting from one relationship to another, changing jobs, drinking too much, taking drugs, attempting suicide, and metaphorically running away to join the circus. But none of that running away ever works, for wherever we go we take the past with us. (Even if a suicide attempt fails it will most likely do irreparable damage to the body, mind, and spirit.)
For some of us it’s even worse, because we are also affected by the past of someone who is very close to us, and emotions created by someone else’s past are incredibly difficult to deal with. This is doubly so if our ‘friend’ hasn’t themselves fully come to terms with their own past.
To be cool with the past we must first be motivated to deal with the past. We need to understand what really happened in the past, not just some biased half-memories that we use to fuel our negative emotions today. Try to find out what really happened in the past. Be willing to talk about and fully explore issues from the past. Stop pretending that everything from the past is fine, when most likely it isn’t. Acknowledge your true feelings, whether they be loss, hurt, shame, anger…..
You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. ~ Iyanla Vazant.
Depending how deeply the past affects us, we may need help to come to terms with what happened, how it affected us, and who we are today because of the past. Speaking to family and friends may help, you may need to see your doctor or a therapist, you may talk with your priest or spiritual adviser, you may need something like hypnosis, or you may just need to really meditate, read inspirational books, listen to motivational lectures, or just go for a long walk in the sunshine.
With any luck we may find out that the past is better than we feared. But, no matter if the past is better or worse than we think we remember, we cannot move on from something we don’t understand and we refuse to accept.
That’s the past for you. Not only does it come back at the most unexpected and inconvenient times, but it’s set in stone. ~ Jeffery Deaver.
There may well be things from the past that need resolution. This might be very difficult, but the longest journey starts with the first baby-step. Be honest. Be self-aware. Be kind with yourself. Seek to understand yourself. Be kind and understanding towards others. And, give yourself time to heal.
A ship does not sail with yesterday’s wind. ~ Louis L’Amour
Some say that we can become cool with the past by keeping a positive outlook and a strong determination to succeed in finding joy instead of negative emotions. And, that the past only exists in our memories and imagination. All I know is that the past isn’t actually here.
If what you’re doing isn’t working,
then do something else instead.
Paranoia; an extreme feeling that people are lying to me.
There is no such thing as paranoia. Your worst fears can come true at any moment. ~ Hunter S. Thompson.
We are all conditioned by our past. We have all been conditioned by society. We have all learned to be afraid. Our parents, our carers, our siblings, and all of society taught us to be afraid.
We learned negative thought, and we learned character defects like; anxiety, cowardice, denial, distrust, evasiveness, frustration, guilt, hatred, immorality, insecurity, pessimism, possessiveness, promiscuity, self-pity, and worry. All of these character defects are manifestations of fear.
It has been a massive shock to me to realise and accept just how afraid I have been for most of my life.
My greatest fear ~ fear of abandonment. I was a small, premature baby, placed in an incubator immediately after birth. Before I was five years old my maternal grandmother, my principal carer, left me. She had passed away.
My second greatest fear ~ that people are lying to me. My parents didn’t tell me that my nan had died, I thought she had abandoned me. My parents’ lying by omission, and telling me half-truths, destroyed my capacity to trust anyone.
Half a truth is often a great lie. ~ Benjamin Franklin
My third greatest fear ~ that I am not good enough, that I do everything wrong, that I am useless. I thought my nan had left me because I had been a bad boy, that I just wasn’t good enough for her anymore. Since then I have always felt second-best.
Because of that trauma in my formative years I have always been afraid of getting things wrong, and of being mocked for making mistakes. I have been morbidly afraid of rejection, which has resulted in all of my relationships with women becoming utterly dysfunctional. I am deeply afraid of developing a close relationship with an attractive and sexual woman.
Good girls go to heaven, Bad girls go everywhere. ~ Mae West
Because of my childhood trauma, I believe that every women I have had a close relationship with has lied to me, and I am afraid that negative belief also means that I cannot even know truth from falsehoods. In my own life I attempt to be dedicated to the truth, but to be a truthful man in a world of liars is to live in a very scary place. And, as we all know, everybody lies all the time.
Keeping secrets from someone is no different from lying to them. It’s still dishonest. And I am deeply afraid of dishonesty.
Perhaps due to the traumas I experienced before I was 5 years old, for most of my life I have suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder, which is a serious mental illness that brings with it it’s very own set of fears. Happily, I am mostly in recovery from BPD.
Some say that we are all afraid of change because we fear the unknown. And that our fears are there to protect us from really bad things happening to us. All I know is that if I keep on doing what I’ve always done, then I’ll get what I always got.
I don’t believe in fate or destiny. I believe in various degrees of fear, paranoia, and abandonment. ~ Henry Rollins.
To recover from paranoia and fear I am working on healing the causes of my problems, rather than the symptoms.
no matter how much you deceive yourself,
you have to know that she has always lied to you.
Time is an illusion; Happy Hour doubly so.
There was once a time when I was very good at altering the Cosmos I lived in to match up with the way I wished it to be, rather than the way it truly was. For most of the time I could pretend that things were much better for me than they really were, but no illusion can last forever. Ergo, every once in a while stark reality crashed through the violet light of my fantasy, and each time that happened was more painful than the one before. It got so that the only ways I could find to escape the pain of reality were even more destructive than suffering the pain.
My life was mostly getting worse.
I did have good times, and the good times could last for hours, days, weeks… But even my good times were falsehoods, illusions. I would shape reality to match my own attitudes, perceptions, and preconceptions.
Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. ~ Albert Einstein
Maybe that’s OK for some, but not for me, not with all my psychological problems. I was shaping my reality to cope with my own defects of character, and that isn’t living, that is just a different kind of escape into just another nightmare. And every nightmare was worse than the one before, until eventually I was suffering the long dark midnight of my spirit. And midnight is not the darkest hour.
The darkest hour is just before the dawn. ~ Thomas Fuller
No matter how far I had fallen, there was still much farther I could fall, unless I chose another way.
A little while ago, and with a little help from a close friend, it became plain that I needed to find new ways of thinking, doing, and being. I had to stop running away and trying to join the circus:~ wherever I went, whatever I did, I always took myself with me.
I had to stop being Mr Know It All, and I had to find a way to stop myself from becoming Mr. Hyde.
Perhaps I have found something, a new way of being. Perhaps I have found a way to make meaningful and lasting changes in my life. It’s not going to be a one-time thing, and my future is not going to be easy, but then most of my past was fucking terrible. So, my choices are simple; freedom from pain and suffering for myself and all those around me, or walk the dark path down into hell again?
Some say that a good friend will help you to move. And, that a very good friend will help you to move a dead body. All I know is that I don’t want that body to be mine ~ not for a good while yet.
If, as Einstein says, the Cosmos is really an illusion, then it follows that happiness is a choice ~ that most people can be just as happy as they choose to be.
Today and tomorrow I choose happiness over misery.
I choose sunlight over the dark moon at midnight.
jack collier firstname.lastname@example.org
People are lonely because they build walls for themselves.
Do you live inside a prison of your own making?
Do you remember building those fortress walls?
A wall of protection, are you looking for an opening?
Are you happy living in your empty, echoing halls?
Are you trying to find a way to freedom, escaping?
How dark and lonely are your clouds, cliffs, and hills?
No use running, happiness is too far away for running.
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.
The most poisonous people come disguised as friends.
Some say that I’m an egotistical fake, and that all my problems are caused by my own lies and character defects. All I know is that I’m working very hard to be a better guy.
I took a walk outside early this morning, down by the sea where I usually find solace and serenity. The snow and wind were in my face, and the seashore was shrouded by a cold mist. Today there was no tranquility for me. My soul feels hurt, hungry, and lacking in love for myself. All I feel is regret and sorrow. What I could see of the surf was angry and accusatory.
Some would say that I’m a prisoner of my own ego, and that my personal identity is driven by conceit and self-importance. All I know is that it’s sometimes difficult to get through the next 24 hours, and then the 24 hours after that.
Sometimes I was a fake just to cope with life. BPD can do that to you.
What I’m trying to say is that I need to get my life in order ~ start to be honest with myself and everybody else, become reliable and trustworthy, stop being hurtful and aggressive at the drop of a hat… Perhaps then there can be some trust in friendships and I can begin to have real relationships with sensible people. I need to consider the feelings, needs, desires, wants, and commitments of others. I need to give more and take less. I need to change my ways.
It’s OK for me to want what I want, but becoming a fake to get it is abhorrent.
Some say that if nothing changes, then nothing changes. And, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. All I know is that this post is the start of something different for me.
All prayers are answered, but sometimes the answer is difficult.
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All of us have to accept some anxieties.
Back in the day, when I was working all the hours God sends, I suffered terribly from the effects of stress. Everyone around me suffered too because I was bad-tempered, impatient, irritable and moody.
We all experience stress, to a greater or lesser degree. In fact without some stress we couldn’t function ~ our minds and bodies need a little stress to feel alive. However, too much stress is bad, and far too much stress can kill you.
Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. ~ Hans Selve
The proximate causes of stress and distress vary from person to person, but the usual suspects are: Bad News, City Life, Too Many People, Mindless Bureaucracy, Being Discriminated Against, Bullying, Work, The Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, Dysfunctional Relationships, Failed Relationships, Sex, Sexual Dysfunction, and the Death of Someone Close to You. And then you might have your own particular reason to feel that you’re under intolerable stress. Of course, there is also a chance that you are seriously mentally ill with something like Borderline Personality Disorder.
People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement. ~ Marsha M. Linehan.
The warning signs that stress is adversely affecting your mental and physical health are;
- Apathy and Depression
- Chest pains
- Drinking too much
- Inability to relax
- Intolerance of and over-reacting to noise and disturbance
- Irritability and a bad temper
- Lack of concentration / brain fog / poor memory
- Palpitations (oh Gods, did I suffer from heart palpitations!)
- Tiredness and an inability to get things done
The symptoms associated with stress are in themselves so distressing that they are likely to make you even more stressed.
Many of us will approach our doctor if we feel under intolerable stress and are suffering from one or more of the very serious symptoms listed above. What your doctor is most likely to do is prescribe you some powerful psychoactive drugs; Celexa, Cymbalta, Klonopin, Lexapro, Librium, Paxil, Prozac, Tofranil Valium, Viibyrd, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Zoloft… to name but a few of the very powerful chemicals your doctor could give you.
All of these drugs come with a load of side-effects, from tiredness, to sexual dysfunction, to feelings of dread, to wanting to commit suicide… Reading the leaflets that come with these drugs can be a very sobering experience. In my experience these drugs will either detach you from reality so you don’t worry about anything at all, or they will have an adverse effect.
If you’re lucky, then your doctor will also / instead refer you to some ‘talking therapy’ such as; Cognitive Analytic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Gestalt, Group Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness, and Psychoanalysis. Alternatively you could take yourself off to a 12-step group like Alcoholics Anonymous.
I love going to my AA meetings and I don’t think I will ever stop. ~ Davina McCall
Drugs act fast, but all they do is mask the symptoms and make you ill from the nasty side-effects. Talking therapies and 12-step meetings will eventually make you well again ~ but the key word there is ‘eventually.
So what can you do to help yourself overcome stress?
Breathing is good. I mean slow deliberate breathing with serene and peaceful visualisations is good.
When I was under extreme stress I would take myself off to somewhere quiet, maybe into a church or public garden or down to the beach, stand or sit, or lie down comfortably, and really slow down my breathing, and at the same time I would breathe very deeply. Concentrating on my breathing I would listen to the sound of each breath, imagining it was the gentle sound of soft surf washing in and out on a white sandy beach under a blue sky. My breathing in and out exactly matched the sea gently washing in and out. After just a few minutes of this breathing exercise I always felt immeasurably more peaceful, and ready to face the next thing the day was going to throw at me.
Learning how to relax is the cornerstone of helping yourself to overcome stress.
‘Ha!’ You say; ‘If I knew how to relax I wouldn’t be so stressed…’
Breathing exercises are recommended by doctors and psychiatrists everywhere as a method of relaxation to overcome stress and anxiety.
Being better organised also helps alleviate stress. The best way to begin being better organised is to start writing things down, keep a journal, keep your diary and day-planner up to date, make lists, always have a to-do list, never go shopping without a shopping list… If you think of something you need to do, write it all down and then stop worrying about it.
Break big tasks into a number of smaller parts, and write a list of those smaller tasks with the date and time they need to be completes ~ then stop worrying about it all.
Learn how to say NO. Being at everyone else’s beck and call all the time is a sure-fire way to put yourself under extreme stress.
Stop using social media first thing in the morning, or late at night, and especially don’t look at crap like Twitter and Facebook when you are pressed for time.
Get plenty of good quality sleep. It’s hard to sleep when you’re under stress. If you really have insomnia, then it may be worth asking your doctor for something to help you sleep. But only rely on sleeping medication for a couple of weeks ~ these drugs are addictive.
Make reducing the stress in your life your #1 project, something you practice all the time, every single damn day.
Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not. ~ Valerie Bertinelli.
And please, please don’t resort to booze or recreational drugs, they make things worse very fast, and you can trust me on that one.
click on the book
then I was just a pathetic nobody
it felt like no one could hear me cry
and now my race to hell has been run
I’m out of the darkness and into the sun
feeling the warm breeze hearing the ocean
I’ll never forget the real love of the true one
but life isn’t the same since she has been gone
her leaving wasn’t easy, she had to say goodbye
seems I’m barely hanging on and it’s all so wrong
click to find the book
(p.s. I’m not actually feeling like that today.)
There Is A Sunlit Garden Just Ahead.
For almost as long as I can remember, and I can remember a long, long way back, I have felt odd, weird, strange, different, unhappy. I used to suffer from extreme mood swings, I had a morbid fear of abandonment, every relationship I’d ever had was dysfunctional, I would isolate myself for long periods, and I could do strange and ‘dangerous’ things on just a whim. Not to mention that I took to relieving the anxiety and stress I suffered from by self-medicating with too much booze.
In short, I had just about every symptom there is of a quite serious mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder. Of course, I didn’t know I had BPD, well mostly you don’t, why would you? How can you self-diagnose BPD, when you haven’t even heard of it? Anyway, I thought perhaps I was bipolar ~ I wasn’t.
My awareness came because I want to see a counsellor about my alcohol problem. Over several months Sue got to know me quite well. She didn’t say that I had Borderline Personality Disorder, she mentioned a book to me, a book called I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me, which just about summed up the way I used to feel about every woman I’d ever had a relationship with.
I was prompted to take on-line tests for Borderline Personality Disorder to see if there was a real likelihood that I was suffering from this horrible psychological illness. Each and every time I came out at the red end of the scale. I fully accepted and embraced these results. This was the beginning of my recovery. When I knew and fully accepted what was wrong with me I could start to heal myself ~ with the help of others.
My problem probably started at birth, (many psychological problems seem to start at birth). I was small, premature, separated from my mother, and placed in an incubator for many days, (so I’m told). I never, ever bonded with mt mother. I did bond with my maternal grandmother, and never understood or got over her death when I was about four-and-three-quarters years old.
A major part of my recovery was recognising these early trauma. Eventually, I wrote a letter to myself, aged four-and-three-quarters, and that was a very traumatic and very healing process.
Being very honest and open with my counsellor, my doctor, and a trusted friend helped me enormously. My doctor even arranged for me to see a psychiatrist, a specialist in BPD. After three long and gruelling assessments this guy said that I had been suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, but that I had mostly cured myself. Well, thanks very much for that vote of confidence. (A little English irony there.)
How did I manage this remarkable recovery?
- I fully accepted that I had a problem, and that it was most likely Borderline Personality Disorder.
- I fully accepted that booze wasn’t helping, and I stopped drinking, got sober, and became completely abstinent from alcohol.
- I fully embraced honesty in all my dealings, being determined to always tell the whole truth to myself and to others, (when I needed to tell others anything at all that is, which isn’t all the time).
- I did not take any mood altering drugs, neither prescription drugs nor street drugs. Obviously my doctors offered me everything, starting with Prozac.
- I got physically fit. (Mens sano in corpore sano. ~ Juvenal)
- I continued with formal counselling, from professional therapists, and with informal counselling from a trusted and knowledgeable friend.
- I embraced self-help techniques from getting lots of fresh air, to meditation, to reading appropriate inspirational books. (I did not use inspirational videos, or group therapy, and I never will.)
- I became completely willing to recover from the debilitating, life ruining, destructive symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
- I looked at my past in an honest, open, and dispassionate way. I learned from my past, but I did not go back there, and I didn’t let it hurt me again.
- I learned to to completely accept, understand, care for, cherish, and love other people ~ no matter what.
And things got better. My life got much better, my relationships with others improved. I was sleeping well. I felt fit, strong, and healthy in body, mind, and spirit. And I felt empty inside. I felt imprisoned in the dark and forbidding fortress of my own mind. All was not well, and even though a psychiatrist and professional counsellors were telling me that I had made a remarkable recovery, changing my whole life and attitudes around, I felt unfulfilled and empty inside.
It seems that what I needed was an awakening of spirit, an epiphany, an understanding of life’s ultimate questions as they applied to me. Then, and strangely, out of nowhere, I had a spiritual awakening. Suddenly I was filled with genuine self-belief and a vision of the future for me.
I will not tell you how it happened, or exactly what happened, or why I am now a completely different and much better man than I could ever have hoped to become. You need to find your own spiritual awakening, and I strongly believe that each man and woman’s connection with ultimate reality will be different, personal, powerful, special, and moving.
I can tell you that I now understand The Divine Mother, my place in the Cosmos, and how to completely love and accept other people.
Alcoholics Anonymous, and other proponents of 12 step recovery programmes probably have it right. The first step to recovery is fully accepting that you have a problem
Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol ~ that our lives had become unmanageable. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous
I substituted ‘feelings’ for the word ‘alcohol’ because that was the problem making my life a complete Hell, and I had the first step on the long road to recovery.
I admitted I was powerless over my feelings ~ that my life had become unmanageable.
There is a road to recovery, and it begins with admitting we are ill.
these opinions are mine and mine alone