The true beauty of a Princess is measured by her purity.
Snow White isn’t supposed to die in the opening scene.
The Handsome Prince is meant to be one of the good guys ~ he isn’t supposed to have an unseen silver dagger underneath his cloak.
Nowhere in the fairy tale does it say that the prince plunges the silver dagger into Snow White’s alabaster breast so that her crimson blood stains the purity of her dress and drips onto the green, green grass of the seven dwarfs’ garden.
The fairy tale does say that Snow White and the Handsome Prince will be linked together forever in broken dreams. There is no way the Prince will ever be able to forget that he murdered the Fairy Princess he was supposed to love.
He did love her.
He will spend the rest of his life trying to forget her.
He will die trying.
At least the Wicked Witch Bitch will live happily ever after.
There never was a poisoned apple, that was just a story put about by the Seven Dwarfs.
get your own silver dagger here
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
Our very souls may be consumed by shadows.
We each have a complex relationship with ourselves. If we have ever really suffered through something like; alcoholism, drug addiction, addiction to gambling, sex addiction, too many of the wrong prescription drugs, parental abuse, an abusive relationship, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, serious problems with our diet, mental health problems, failed relationships, job loss, loss of our home… (or more likely a mixture of all of these problems and more), then we also have a complex relationship with the whole world and everyone in it.
At times we can find ourselves in a very bad place where every voice is critical, malevolent, and negative ~ even our own inner voice. Our inner voice creates inner demons; anger, depression, fear of rejection, rejection of others, jealousy, judgementalism, self-doubt, self-hatred, worthlessness…
All the dark, malevolent Passions of the Soul are roused and exerted; its mild and amiable affections are suppressed; and with them virtuous Principles are laid prostrate. ~ Charles Inglis
Unless you have been there you can have no idea how bad the pain and anguish these inner demons can create. One will do almost anything to escape the crippling pain; including going back to our addictions, making big geographical moves, shutting down and numbing ourselves, isolating ourselves, psychotherapy, strong prescription drugs, attending 12 step groups, spirituality, retreating further into mental illness, suicide…
It is not just our inner demons. If we are in that bad place then we are also surrounded by demons. Everyone we know, everyone we meet, adds to these outer demons with their misplaced concerned advice, criticisms, and rejection. Many people do not want us to get well, they measure themselves against our struggle and feel superior, they add their negative demons to our own. When I was at my last rock-bottom I became aware that almost everyone I knew, everyone I met, was feeding off my pain. Few understand, few want to understand, and fewer still truly want to help.
Some especially gifted, intelligent, and sensitive people believe that there is a third layer of demons, in addition to our inner demons, and the tormenting demons gifted to us by almost everyone we know. Most spiritual and religious people also believe that there are more demons than the physiological and psychological. These special people believe in genuine demons, in the spiritual realm, and that some of us may be victims of these demons. In my mind’s eye I am very aware that in the shadows surrounding my soul lurk the powers of darkness seeking to torment and torture me.
Demons manifest themselves in people in different ways. For instance, out of nowhere, somebody can become very angry for no reason. That’s not just an emotion. That’s a demon. ~ Stephen Baldwin.
None of the details really matter. What I do know is that if you have truly suffered, and if you are suffering now, then you are the victim of demons who will feed off your pain, and want nothing more than to destroy you and everything and everyone you care for.
It is our demons that make us believe that our partner is sleeping with other men, that giving into our addiction will solve our problems, and that suicide is painless.
Many of us have tried over the years to face down our inner demons. Some succeed, many fail. Many fail because they don’t realise that the main causes of their misery are inner demons which seem to have an intelligence and will of their own. Many more fail because they never realise that they are also surrounded by malevolent evil demons emanating from the subconscious psyche of everyone they know. And, some fail because they are the victims of true demonic possession.
Demons are not your superiors, demons are not even your equals. All demons have is the ability to make you cause yourself pain and suffering. Demons can only torment and torture you if you let them, but most of us allow demons to torture us because we are not even aware that they are there.
Negative thinking patterns can be immensely deceptive and persuasive, and change is rarely easy. ~ David D. Burns.
Recovery begins with admitting that you have a problem.
I cannot yet face down my demons, but I know they are there, trying to make me torture myself so that they can feed off my pain. (Even your inner demons feed off the pain you cause yourself.)
Now, when I feel myself going down a negative path to my own personal hell, I can tell myself that it’s just my personal demons trying to destroy me, and that I should ignore their oppressive persecution. That helps me. A psychological bully can only bully you if you let them. Your demons have no physical power over you. Ignore them and your demons will go away. Eventually I shall be able to face down my demons and tell them to fuck off ~ and that will be a good day.
Demons are to be pitied. They have nothing but your pain and suffering. If you do not allow your demons to make you cause yourself pain and suffering, then those demons will eventually die and vanish into nothing.
You can and will get well if you do not allow your demons to torment and torture you.
click on the book
The Parable of the Good Samaritan.
These days I seldom dream. Last night I had a vivid dream reminding me of a moment in my past.
There was a roadside casualty, a girl in the gutter. Obviously I stopped my car, got out to give assistance, and while I was putting the girl in the recovery position someone drove off in my car. Then the girl got up and ran off, and a guy does not chase a woman late at night. All of which was a bummer because I was then stranded on the wrong side of London, late at night, no wallet and no cell. (We call them mobile phones, and my wallet was in my jacket in the damn car.) Just getting back to my place took until mid-morning, and then all the phone calls cancelling cards, contacting my insurance company, telling the office I wouldn’t be in…. And that was a great car, which I never saw again.
That wasn’t the first, or the last time, my being a ‘Good Samaritan’ caused me much grief, pain, and suffering.
From trying to help a drunken woman in the street, to giving my bank details to a charity worker, (bogus), to rescuing a woman who was being hassled by a drunk in a bar, to driving an acquaintance home late at night, to helping out a coworker solve a tricky problem, to not having first date sex with an inebriated woman… Well, the list of ‘nice’ things I’ve done which then caused me much grief goes on, and on, and on.
Too often in my life I have tried to do the right thing, to be the good guy, the man in the white suit ~ and what has it ever got me? Trouble.
Even in close relationships I’ve found, to my cost, that being a genuinely kind, caring, and considerate guy, leads to trouble in the end. Women can and will walk all over a nice guy.
It seems that many people see a good guy as a soft touch, someone that can be trampled underfoot, someone of no real account. A geek, a jerk, a loser.
Well, maybe that’s their loss.
I can retain my ethics and morality, but my dream tells me that I also need to exercise harsh judgement in the people I am prepared to be kind to. There is no more universally nice Jack Collier.
What ever became of the Good Samaritan anyway?
If I Was There Right Now…
For my sins, I often talk to a supposedly close friend at the telephone, and more often than not she will also be looking at things she finds interesting on her cell, tablet, PC… Do I find this rude and annoying? Of course I do. It annoys me intensely. To use an Americanism, I get pissed. And then, I often see couples out on a date, and one or both will spend more time looking at their cell phone than they will having a conversation with their actual date. More often than not the person spending the most time-wasting their time online will be the woman, and not the guy, unless he’s a metrosexual wazzock.
Is this because the woman in question finds their guy boring and uninteresting? How the hell do I know what women think? I’m just an average guy, trying to be polite, charming, gentlemanly, friendly, nice. Would I ever go online when I’m talking with a girl by telephone, or in person? Of course not. It’s rude, it’s impolite, and it’s disrespectful to give the major part of your attention, or even any part of your attention, to your cell when you’re supposed to be with the guy you’re with.
These days everyone, (except me), has their cell phones with them all the time, perhaps on the table at dinner, occasionally intruding into the conversation, and eventually disrupting their relationship.
Just the obvious presence of a cell phone will disrupt real relationships. People use mobile devices to stay connected to people who they are not near. A cell phone at the table means that a person’s entire social network is in the room. The phone diverts attention from the person you are supposed to be with to some sad jerk in Kansas City. And you know what? That’s fucking annoying.
Call me old-fashioned, but I also despise the use of text / internet acronyms and abbreviations, What the fuck is DGMW supposed to mean? And LOL, TTYL, and WTF?
If a woman I’m with wants to devote some of her attention to her acquaintances, colleagues, friends, family, interests, social circle, on her cell phone or tablet, that’s fine. If her cell phone is more important to her than I am, that’s OK too. I may just decide that she’s not so important to me, that she can fuck off, get lost, please don’t keep in touch, don’t let the door hit you on the way out..
The next time it’s obvious to me that the person with whom I’m trying to have a real conversation is also online / looking at her cell then we’re done. FO&HAND.
Do you want to date a girl who has internet relationship with other guys? Me neither.
Life is too short to waste it on an internet snowflake.
my phone battery lasts longer than your relationships
It begins with a brief refrain from an English Civil War tune Lillibullero, and goes on with the immortal words; Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Doggar…
The shipping forecast is the very best weather forecast the world has to offer. But that’s not why I mention it here.
At times in a man’s life he cares about someone so much that falling out with them means he cannot think, eat, or sleep. At those times he will be awake before the sparrows to hear Lillibullero and the shipping forecast on the wireless. Then, if he has any sense, he knows she just isn’t worth it. A real man knows when it’s time to pick up his knapsack and move on.
Then we play, over the hills and far away.
unease, self-doubt, nervousness, panic, desertion, neglect…
From time to time I suffer from deep emotional insecurity and feelings of abandonment, or rather a fear of abandonment. Perhaps most people have these painful fears ~ perhaps some suffer more, and more often than me. I know that my agitation and gloomy emotions stem from the painful loss of my maternal grandmother when I was but a very young boy. An event that left me with a psychological illness called Borderline Personality Disorder, which has at its core a chronic fear of abandonment.
Since I became aware that I actually had this problem, I’ve been able to cope with the symptoms pretty well, and I’ve been improving all the time. Mostly I don’t fear abandonment, betrayal, and rejection any more. Mostly I don’t have what were my other terrible symptoms, which included alcohol abuse, impulsive behaviours, and stupid jealousy.
However, yesterday I was in a terrible slough of despond ~ the putrid end of the swamp where the very air stinks and there seems to be no hope of escape or resurrection. It’s a terrible place to be. People who suffer badly from these feelings and evil emotions have been known to do very stupid things ~ up to and including thinking of suicide, or even attempting suicide
I guess I am a lucky man today, because I have learned how to deal with my feelings in a better and more appropriate way than I ever could before. Not only that, I know exactly why I found myself in this bad emotional state yesterday. Knowing why one feels bad is half the battle. I now know that it’s always darkest just before the dawn, but the dawn will come, all I need to do is have faith and hold on. Now I have a strong faith in my guiding light, my muse, and my Goddess.
A little while ago I sprained my wrist, which actually hurt like hell. And, for some unknown reason, when I woke up yesterday morning it hurt even worse that it did when I first sprained it. My whole arm hurt so bad I felt physically sick. You can trust me on this one ~ when you’re in physical pain, and you feel ill to the point of needing to throw up, it’s very difficult to maintain a positive mental attitude. No wonder I felt a terrible insecurity, loneliness, and fear of abandonment.
Luckily I knew that what I needed to do was have the physical problem treated, and the emotional problems would also go away. Actually, just knowing that the underlying cause of my distress was physically real and affecting my body, meant that the deep feelings of insecurity and fear of abandonment subsided pretty quickly.
Many people aren’t so fortunate as me, but they should know that there are ways of dealing with insecurity, anger, and jealousy ~ there are techniques for dealing with fear of abandonment, and there are treatments for borderline personality disorder. We don’t have to suffer, unless we want to, and that’s a perverse thing to want.
Have confidence, this is a good life, all we need to do is want it enough.
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
lust passion desire ardour whimsy fantasy
love adoration truth verity intimacy vagary
eccentricity unpredictability Emerald City
yearning romance cherish sympathy reality
hard pain heartache heartbreak actuality
unrequited love’s misery, if I can’t have you
words and pictures by jack collier