The Slippery Slope

February 19, 2013

Last night as I was driving, I had the feeling that I was on the edge, poised to fall off into depression again.  I was tired and fearful.  My mind was racing forwards and I was imagining all sorts of evils related to my jobless situation.  It was a horrible feeling.  That the precipice on which I stand was about to crumble.  I felt quite powerless and afraid.  I don’t ever want to go back to how I felt in the fall, winter, and into January of this year.  So many years of my life have been lost to illness of some kind.  I would like to think I have left anorexia behind me, but the thoughts and the images still haunt me.  Perfection is a goal I have not given up yet, either, although it is ludicrous to think that I could ever achieve it.  Me…absolutely imperfect in every way.  So hopelessly inept that it is laughable that I would conceive the idea that I could even flirt with perfection in the first place.  But there.  These are negative thoughts.  I must be ever vigilant of these destructive tendencies that I have towards negativity.

Perhaps I am feeling like I am in a funk because I went backwards for a bit.  The days since I last wrote in this journal have not been easy.  The weather has been grey and cold of late.  That also makes it harder for me to function.  I see the greyness and I want to stay in bed.  I had a dreadful “sleep day” on holiday Sunday.  I slept the day and the night away, missing it altogether.  Shades of my recent past.  Today I woke up late, and I have just now got up from an hours lie down on the couch – not actually a nap because my thoughts were racing as I lay inert, but a rest period just the same.  I guess this behaviour makes sense because I am coming off of the buzz of having five sleepless nights in a row.  I hope that is why I feel exhausted, and not because I am heading into another depression.  I would like to get my sleep, and/or lack thereof, under control.  Either night after night I lay awake, unhelpful thoughts bombarding me, or I succumb to a slumber so deep that I don’t gain consciousness for an entire evening and a day.  And sometimes even longer.  It is this up and down existence that is hard to manage.  Let’s face it.  Right now, ALL aspects of my life are hard to manage. The sleep issue just ascorbates the situation.

I have yet to finish my resume, and vacuum and wash the floors.  I’m not following my laid out plan very well, despite the fact I have clearly allocated tasks and chores to do on each given day of the week.  Why do I seem unable to adhere to a schedule of my own design?  The Program showed me that I need structure in my life in order to function…period.  And yet I resist this fact with every fibre of my being.  Why is living each day in a motivated way so seemingly difficult for me?  I know I can do it.  I’ve done it before.  I’ve lived in three different countries on two different continents, and I managed on my own, for the most part, successfully.  Perhaps I am still in the shadows of the overhang of my depression.  What a wretched place to be.  But again, I am drowning in the negativity of my thoughts.  I HAVE been making progress.  I absolutely cling to that belief.  I guess some slips are to be expected.  Just as long as it doesn’t become a long slide down that slippery slope into the abyss of my profound sadness.  How I abhor that slippery slope that I know so well.

I have to go somewhere and phone to get my telephone turned back on again.  That was bad of me not to pay my bill.  No.  I just made a mistake by not paying attention to the due date on my statement.  I am not bad.   Next time I need to be more aware of time and the timing of my bills as they come in to avoid having this happen again. I am totally embarrassed that this has occurred.  What will the person on the other end of the line think of me?  What will I say to try and explain myself?  I hope nobody I know finds out about this faux pas.  I cannot bear to be judged any more.  On the other hand, what kind of a company disconnects a phone just because you are late in paying your bill?  I’ve never missed a payment before.  This seems like a harsh punishment for being derelict in paying my bill once.  AND, I have to pay a fee to have it reconnected.  That really makes sense.  If you don’t have the money to pay your bill in the first place, where are you going to scrape together more money to get your phone turned back on?  It’s hard not to feel like I am one of the downtrodden.  I have been there practically all of my life, but I so hoped I had moved beyond this condition once I had finished the Program.  I guess only time will tell.

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September 17, 2017

The tone of this journal entry has changed significantly, as compared to the more recent ones.  It is laced with negativity and fear.  The feeling that the other shoe is about to drop is as tangible as the shoe itself.  I can almost picture myself looking skyward over my shoulder, waiting for it to fall, and for me to collapse underneath it.  But I can also sense the desperate attempts to rise above these negative thoughts and feelings, as they are occurring.  Only three days have passed since I wrote positively about a memory I had had, but within those three days a shift has taken place.  The pendulum with its perpetual swing is beginning to carry me back to a space I have learned to dread.  A space of darkness where possibilities are vanquished and squashed under the unforgiving heel of a steel-toed boot.

My struggle to overcome contrary emotions and to bask in the light of positivity is tenuous at best; then…and even now.  Although at present I am equipped with strategies that assist me to live on the brighter side.  Mindful breathing, affirmations, and a spiritual connection with the universe all help me remain under the sun of an optimistic lifestyle.  Does the slippery slope still exist?  Most definitely!  However, with the awareness of the choices I make in my daily life, and how they affect me in turn, I am better able to combat the darker influences in my brain and to live a life of peace and happiness.

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A Mystery to Myself

February 13, 2013

KS’s birthday!  I will try to unearth her phone number and call her in California.  What a long time it has been.  What will we say to each other?  So much time has passed since her wedding in Long Beach, and our hilarious time in Disneyland!  I was still in University at that time…I believe my last semester in Spring Session, 2007.  Wow.  Six years.  Her baby C would be six now.  A little soul in his own right.  I wonder how life is playing out for him?  For them?

Going on another day without sleep.  I have lost count of my sleepless nights.  Three?  Four?  I can only hope tonight I will feel tired enough to surrender to a sleeping state.  Right now my body feels rejuvenated after my dance workout and my bath.  My eyes are tired though, and my cheekbones feel numb.  Or rather the spaces under my eyes feel that way.  I NEED to pay my bills, but I just don’t feel like doing that right now.  I dusted and organized the main floor today.  Amazing how much stuff has accumulated from who knows where, that needed to be placed elsewhere.  Next I scoured the bathrooms and the kitchen sink; wiped down the cupboards; went through my closet to get clothes to donate to either Women in Need, or The Diabetes Society; shovelled the walks; and made my Mom some muffins.  Bit by bit my abode is starting to look better.  Incredible what a little dusting does for a place!  Hah!  Tomorrow I must vacuum and wash the floors.  Maybe if I don’t sleep tonight, I could do the floors then.  That would leave the 14th wide open for…for what?  Like there’s going to be a line up of vastly eligible and handsome men waiting outside my door ready to whisk me away to a terrifically romantic spot?  I think not…but hopefully something will transpire that will engage my attention!

I had an interesting session with Dr. F today.  He pulled out The Dialectical Handbook and we really focused on Radical Acceptance.  This was cool because that aspect of this particular treatment model really spoke to me when I was reading it over earlier.  I am on the opposite spectrum of Radical Acceptance, as far to the right as I can be!  Hah!  But the concept is interesting and one worth looking into.

OK.  my left eye is beginning to twitch.  Good thing that didn’t happen earlier today.  After I saw Dr. F and I tutored Z, I went for coffee with J.  Wow.  He sure is divulging a lot about his life to me.  He actually reminds me of me!  Or how I have been in the past.  The thinking being that it is better to take all of my negative personal baggage and bravely display it out front at the BEGINNING of a romantic relationship so as to give the other party a chance to vacate immediately if they don’t want to become involved with such a hapless creature as myself.  Funnily enough, I think I did this less for my potential partner and more for me!  There is nothing worse than becoming interested in someone only to lose them once a deep, dark, past secret has been revealed at some point later on in the relationship.  But now I don’t want to be that honest or open to start with.  I want to keep some things to myself, until the time for disclosure is right.  I guess I am changing.  All I can say about that is, “Good on me!”  The old me no longer works, so despite my usual reluctance and dread of change, I’m say’in, “Bring it on!  Out with the old and in with the new!  My past methods have become null and void, so let’s ditch ’em and learn to make new ways to be!”  I wonder what that will look like?

This time of curiosity is excellent and kind of exciting in its own way.  I am beginning to create as I go, and there is a certain freedom in that which makes me think of when I lived in Australia.  No one knew me there, or could possibly have met me before because I had never been on the continent until the fateful day that I arrived. Arguably, that was the most free I have ever felt in my life.  But those were also dark days filled with pain, what with the confused separation, partial reunion, and eventual dissolution of my short-lived ‘faux’ marriage; my Dad struggling to fight cancer back in Canada; my acutely severe and debilitating homesickness; and the profound loneliness I finally experienced when I truly found myself alone in a country that was two days away from everything I had ever known.  Troubled times in many ways, but they also provided me with the opportunity to learn about, discover, and reinvent myself.  AND, as a member of a cast of five, I sang, danced, and performed stand up comedy in a show at a professional venue for a year!  An absolutely incredible experience, and one of my life’s greatest highlights!  My years in LA were also fantastic for presenting me with the chance to recreate my identity, but it was not quite the same occasion for anonymity as existed in OZ.

What a lifetime ago.  More like THREE lifetimes ago.  I don’t even remember who I was back then.  Who I have been at ANY of the significant junctures in my life for that matter.  What a thought.  I am a series of strangers parading across the stage of my life.  Slipping in and out of costumes as I march along.  What is the common denominator amongst all of the ‘me’s’, other than that?  That all of those characters are me?  Whoever that is.  Or was.  Perhaps right now I am finally starting to learn who I really am.  I pray this time of curiosity lasts indefinitely, and that I get very comfortable examining me as I evolve into my future.  Ironically, of which the present is all I will ever know.

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July 16, 2017

“Who am I, anyway?  Am I my resume?”  (A Chorus Line)

That is a good question, and one I am reluctant to answer.  Maybe it’s not reluctance, per se.  It’s more like an ignorance in that I still struggle to define who I am.  After all these years I am completely unable to put my finger down and identify who I am as a being on this planet.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  I could come up with a slew of negative traits or descriptors that I think I embody because I have spent my whole life cultivating this skill.  But doing so is a disservice to myself.  I spend ample time each day reworking entrenched pathways in my brain by doing positive affirmations to combat the contradictory ones that are so ready to rear their ugly heads when given the chance.  It seems I am hardwired to describe myself in derogatory terms, but I now try to silence those thoughts and replace them with more helpful ones.

But, in fact, I remain a mystery to myself.  It’s easier to be in the dark about my identity than it is to challenge myself to define the person that I am.  There is a risk in making statements that capture my essence.  Once spoken, I then need to live up to them.  After years of being riddled with self-hating thoughts, I am not at a point where I trust myself to make and follow through believing self-affirming thoughts.  Fear rushes in and bites me on the butt yet again.  I’m not sure why I am afraid to think and assimilate good thoughts about myself, other than my childhood memory of my mom warning me that undue vanity would give me a “big head”.  I was about five years old, and I was standing in front of the long mirror, wearing my favourite white dress with the soft pink sash, admiring the beautiful white rabbit fur pom pom that adorned the sash.  My Mom saw me and I think thought I was preening in front of the mirror, so she delivered her message firmly and let me know that possessing a “big head” was not a favourable condition.  And for whatever reason, at all costs, I did not want a “big head”, or an overinflated opinion of myself!  Funny, the random pieces of information that I put through my filter, internalized, and made important as a young child.  So important that I remember them, and the circumstances surrounding them, vividly.  So important, in fact, that I am still affected by them to this day.

Many people say I am a chameleon, always morphing into a new image by changing my hair style and colour, or the fashion I adopted at different periods within my life.  I don’t know if this is true or not.  What I have just realized, though, as I am writing this response, is that until I make the choice to actually pick a trait, or traits that expresses who I am, I will forever be in the dark as to my true identity.  If I don’t know who I am, then nobody can really know me either.  And that is indeed, a lonely reality to live out.