My inner child,
It was not your fault that you were taken from your mother and put in an incubator, just after you were born. You were not well when you were a newborn, and they had to put you in an incubator to keep you alive.
I know you loved your nanna, and that she loved you too. It was not your fault that she went away and left you . She was an old lady, and she just died.
It was not your fault that she died. It was not your fault that your parents did not explain that nanna had died. It was not your fault that nobody told you why she had to go away and leave you all alone.
Your parents did not know how to show you their love for you, and that was not your fault either.
I know you felt abandoned and unloved when you were a very young boy, but you were not to blame.
Please let yourself grieve for your nanna, and let her go to heaven to be in peace with the angels. Please forgive your nanna for dying and leaving you. Please accept that she loved you, but now she has gone.
Please forgive yourself, the blame was not yours to take.
Forgive yourself, and live in peace, happiness, and serenity from now on.
All my love,
your older self.
Without a ruthless search for and acceptance of reality it is almost impossible to live a rewarding Life which will fulfill your true potential. Yet the vast majority of people would rather live in denial than accept the truth of their personal situation.
Chronic Denial of Reality can be seen in almost all alcoholics, compulsive gamblers, drug addicts, the obese, criminals, politicians, people in dysfunctional relationships… Yet without admitting there is a problem there is no possibility of fixing the problem.
Accepting and embracing reality is usually difficult and painful. But, the first of the Great Truths is that Life is Difficult and Painful. The path to recovery from suffering and mediocrity lies is recognizing this truth. In fact, dedication to recognising and accepting the truth makes us better able to deal with the real world, and not be trapped in the world inside our own heads. Real truth is reality, ~ lying to ourselves and lying to others traps us in an unreal, looking-glass world.
There is a strong tendency to hope that bad things will just go away. There is an even stronger tendency to lie to ourselves, and completely ignore negative feelings, events, and situations. This shows either a total lack of self-discipline, and / or an underlying psychological or issue. Even when one is searching for truth and reality, the real issues and problems are sometimes difficult to discover.
In my own case I spent years suffering all kinds of symptoms, from alcohol abuse to being in a series of dysfunctional relationships, before I was strong enough, and willing enough, to search deeply inside myself for the truth. For most of my life I was unwilling to accept reality. I have now realised that I suffer from a borderline personality disorder ~ a fear of abandonment. Which is one reason I live alone, as not having a partner means that I could not be abandoned by my partner. Fear of abandonment is common and if you suffer from it the disorder will blight every relationship you ever have ~ even to the extent of not entering into close relationships in the first place.
What is Denial? What is Truth? What is Reality? Denial is not a river in Egypt. Denial is actively refusing to accept the truth. There is no absolute truth ~ my truth is different from your truth. For me, searching for the truth seems to be a daily challenge to ignore the myriad surreal falsehoods which come my way. There is no ultimate reality. My reality is different from your reality ~ and I’m not ever completely certain what is real and what is a lie. For example, I firmly believe in the law of cause and effect, but I now know that simple model of the Cosmos does not always hold true. Reality can be as disorienting as any dream state hallucination. The picture above is a seascape, but it is both true and unreal.
To do more than just survive, to get by in this world without continually suffering, and without being the cause of suffering in others, we just have to do the best we can to be as completely truthful and real as we can.
Alternative Living # 9 ~ Solitude and Mental Health
Most of my life has been spent alone. When I was a child I sought solitude. When I bought my first place I lived alone for 5 years. Even when I had a partner I spent most of my time alone, travelling, being ‘on the road’ for work, living out of suitcases in lonely hotels 4, 5 or 6 days a week. And now, I have lived alone in the seaside apartment I call ‘the garret’ for over ten years, and nobody is allowed into the garret.
Turns out that spending too much time alone can be very bad for your mental and spiritual health.
Turns out that some of the things I’ve done in the past few weeks have convinced me that I am spiritually /mentally ill ~ and you probably have no idea how much it hurts to admit that in writing. I am pretty certain that I have become a sexually repressed obsessive alcoholic who also suffers from stress, anxiety and depression. Maybe with a few other problems thrown in.
Admitting the problem is the first step to recovery ~ and there is a plan I can use to become the true me, without the baggage of behavioural problems I have been carrying. Admitting that life is difficult is the second step to recovery.
Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we see the truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult ~ once we truly understand and accept it ~ then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. ~ M. Scott Peck from The Road Less Travelled.
I belive that Dr. Peck’s book is based on The Four Noble Truths from Buddhist teachings. The Four Noble Truths lead to the Noble Eightfold Path, and it’s this road I intend to follow to recover from my need to avoid all pain, my suffering of uncontrollable cravings and lusts, seeking out and clinging only to what is pleasurable. It is a long journey, not a final destination, to my becoming the good and true person I know I can be.
Wish me well. ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Living alone is perhaps the ultimate expression of the alternative lifestyle, yet so many people now live a solitary existence in their home. Perhaps I have taken it a little far with my Rule # 2 Nobody Is Allowed Into The Garret. (The garret is what I call my small loft apartment.) Literally this means I never have house guests, dinner guests, lunch guests, random visitors, or girls I want to sleep with, in my place. My place is my space and I don’t want another person in my space.
There are upsides to this very solitary lifestyle. For example; nobody leaves their junk around, everything is tidy and clean, the garret is exactly the way I want it, I can do whatever I want when I want, and I never have to ask anyone if they’re happy with what I am doing or how I am doing it. If I need to paint the whole place black, then I will. As it happens the garret is completely decorated and furnished in white and natural wood.
You know, one of my fears about living alone so long is that you get used to doing everything your own way. ~ Terry McMillan
There are some downsides to my isolated and remote life. For example being seen as antisocial and reclusive, which I am anyhow. Other potential downsides include being; lonely, friendless, introverted, withdrawn, introspective, unsociable, and being literally without help in times of crisis.
Some people who live alone can develop some quite nasty habits, for example; never washing or changing their clothes, never cleaning the place, not eating properly, keeping strange hours, drinking too much, smoking too much, taking drugs, watching too much pornography, spending all of their time on-line… In fact, living alone can be dangerous for your health.
I have been guilty of some of these undesirable habits from time to time ~ particularly drinking too much and keeping strange hours.
Perhaps the most common characteristic of someone who lives alone is that we become far too reflective and thoughtful, too introspective, too philosophical and meditative, too broody and serious, too melancholy and solemn, and too set in our ways. This can lead to some serious mental health problems such as melancholic depression ~ luckily for me it’s mostly women who suffer from this treatment resistant disorder. My personal disorders are that I suffer from obsessive thinking ~ which I have always had, but then I have mostly always lived and worked alone.
Hungry people are always thinking about food; poor people are always thinking about wealth. Obsessive thinking can kill your dreams. ~ Stephen Richards
The ‘cure’ for living alone but not falling into these traps is to have an active life outside of your home. However, as I have discovered to my cost, taking the solitary lifestyle mindset outside the sanctuary of your own home can get you into serious trouble. What gets you into more trouble is if you flip from being solitary and introspective at home, into being extrovert and available outside of the home.
depression evolves emotions
words and pictures by jack collier
CLINICAL DEPRESSION IS A SERIOUS ILLNESS
Real Health is not an absence of illness. Real Health is feeling positive, alive, energetic, empowered, physically and mentally well, happy even. Most of us have known that good feeling of self-reliant love for oneself and the world around us from time to time. Conversely, some of us have known what it is to have an absence of feelings other than a feeling of impending, formless, grey doom and despair. The utter helpless hopelessness that can prevent us from performing even simple tasks, such as dragging ourselves out of bed to visit the bathroom, eating, thinking even. This latter type of negative health may not be simple sadness. Some people suffer from periods of depression ~ incapacitating gloom and doom that can lead to loss of personal identity and a death wish.
Clinical Depression is different from unhappiness. Unhappy people can identify the reason for their unhappiness, talk about it, deal with it, get through it. In depression there seems no way to cope so the sufferer’s brain switches off feelings and the person becomes emotionally dead and utterly isolated. Regrettably, any good and redeeming feelings there may be floating around are switched off along with all of the bad feelings. Descriptions vary, some say it’s like being in fog, in a white room, alone in the dark, crushed under a heavy weight of dull misery.
Anyone can suffer from depression, although some seem to have a lifelong battle with the black dog while others can sail through life without once knowing the killing self-doubt of pointlessness. The causes of this curse may have been created as far back as childhood. ‘We are not interested in you. I do not love you. You are nothing. You are not important to me.’ If one get’s much of that in childhood you’re not set up to be full of joy later in life. Not that it makes much difference to the sufferer, but the people in white coats recognise more than one type of depression;
- Exogenous. This is reactive depression caused mostly by an outside event. Bereavement, physical illness, betrayal by a loved one, losing one’s job…
- Endogenous. This kind of depression comes from within. This may be the kind of depression that has its roots in a lack of nurturing childhood love.
- Mixed. Obviously, anyone with a tendency to suffer from a depression coming from within can have a depressive episode triggered by an outside event. Being constantly miserable may be enough to chase one’s significant other into the arms of another.
- Smiling depression. Nobody sees the tears of a clown.
- Masked depression. This is very difficult to recognise because the person the depression is hidden from is you ~ as well as depression you are suffering from self-deception. The symptoms are most likely to be physical rather than obviously emotional.
- Manic Depression. In its severe form this is more properly known as Bipolar Disorder, and is most likely a genetic disease because it seems to run in families. This illness is characterised by severe mood swings, which may take months to switch from depression to elation.
- S.A.D. Seasonal Affective Disorder. When the nights start to draw in and the weather changes, S.A.D. sufferers feel worse and worse as winter approaches. Often the symptoms of depression abate with the approach of spring, but if this happens year after year it can be a debilitating condition.
If you are depressed for the first time it is very difficult to know what is going on. The brain slows down and it becomes difficult to think, let alone to think about what may be wrong. Generally, if you feel very low, if everything seems hopeless, if there is no interest or joy in life, and if this goes on for days, weeks, months… then you may be suffering from clinical depression. If you are self-aware enough, and you have been feeling like this for a couple of weeks, then you need to see your doctor. Don’t just bottle it up, try to get some outside help.
The symptoms of depression can be complex but the warning signs are;
- A feeling of doom.
- Feeling helpless and hopeless.
- Loss of interest in everything and everyone.
- A feeling of infinite detachment and indifference.
- Loss of energy.
- Inability to perform daily routines.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Sleep changes.
- Anger, irritability, reckless behaviour.
- Either a loss of appetite or compulsive eating, or both.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling, casual sex, reckless driving.
- Aches and pains for no obvious reason.
- Self loathing.
- A feeling that you would be better off dead.
Attempted suicide is only too common for people with severe clinical depression. If you are drinking heavily or taking drugs during depression, then you may be even more at risk. Mix depression, alcohol, reckless behaviour, and over the counter analgesics and you have a very dangerous combination. If you are self-aware enough there is one key warning sign. Feeling as though you would be better off dead is bad enough. Starting to do anything about it means that you are in serious personal danger. Warning signs include; putting your affairs in order, saying goodbyes, planning how you will do it, buying the necessary drugs / whatever, a sudden feeling of peace and calmness…
If you see these signs in yourself or in a loved one, then you need to seek immediate help. As well as your own doctor there are The Samaritans, Alcoholics Anonymous, The Church, and your own friends and family.
Curing your own depression is very difficult. One of the symptoms of depression is an inability to do very much of anything at all, up to and including helping yourself out of the deep hole you are in. However, there are some things you can do, both in the short and long-term;
- Stop taking drugs, other than anything given to you by your doctor.
- Stop drinking so much booze.
- Eat sensibly, even if it tastes like cardboard.
- Stop isolating yourself. Get outside among people, make a telephone call.
- Take some gentle exercise.
- Establish a regular routine. Go to bed, get up, get clean and dressed, eat…,
- Talk to people who have the ability and experience to understand, or just talk to anybody about anything.
- Do some work of some kind, even if it’s just reading.
- See your doctor.
- Stop lying to yourself and others.
There is a lot your doctor can do for you but it boils down to medication and / or ‘talking therapies.’ Neither of these is an overnight miracle. It may have taken your whole life to get into the slough of despond, getting out of it may take a while. However, once you stop going downhill you will start to feel better.
If you feel as though you would be better off dead, then get immediate help.