Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Baby Tungsten


I feel really whiny and needy today. This post will probably sound just like that. I’m tried and my eyes hurt. I didn’t sleep very well last night. Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of my sons’ death.

I spent some time at the cemetery and remembering his life. It felt very sad and melancholy. I wasn’t able to just feel since I had a number of other things to do, like taking care of the other children, which kept interrupting. I got some grieving in and hopefully that will help. However, I feel really needy today so I guess I need to process my feelings some more.

Grief is a funny thing it feels lonely to me.

I want to just go away today and be invisible. Sometimes, I wish I still had a reliable method of avoiding feeling – of turning off – of getting away.

It’s good to recognize that feeling and accept that is how I feel. I know I won’t die, I will survive this feeling and things will be better. I can make it right now, I can be present. It just seems hard today.

OK thanks for listening. I’ll try to stop whining now.

Friday, November 04, 2005


This time of year is hard for me. It took me by surprise this year though. I don’t know why, it shouldn’t because it happens every year. I was feeling low down, low on energy and interest. I was feeling tired and bored. I didn’t like to put forth the effort to be healthy and I just wanted to be alone.

I didn’t figure it out until I was talking with someone in my group and I realized that I was feeling very depressed. As soon as I thought that I immediately realized why I was depressed. In addition to the usual stresses of life and of recovery this is the time of year when I lost my second son following surgery to correct a heart defect. I hadn’t consciously been thinking about that but my body and my sub-conscious remembered and I was reacting to that feeling.

Isn’t it amazing how interconnected all the components of our selves our? A part of me that I am not aware of can affect my feelings both conscious and physical. Amazing.

Recovery works the same way, the limbic system wants to react to its own feelings and give me feelings and desires that I don’t consciously plan or even want. How important then to remain aware. In my group we often say or hear “think and feel about how you think and feel”. I need to remember this all the time but especially now as I think about my feelings and allow myself to feel them.

Plus it is ok to feel depressed and low on energy. I’m a human, and humans feel that way sometimes. I have a valid loss and I have a real need to allow myself to be me. I am also trying to remember that having a very real feel of loss is a chance to turn to God. I feel a loss and I want to escape – I want to run away, to not feel the pain, to react like a vegetable. This is the limbic response to unpleasant feelings. I can feel that way and then choose to be true to myself anyway and face what I feel and allow myself to feel that and then further choose to do what I know I need to do anyway.

As I have been thinking about this and what I would choose to do to respond to it I thought of two ideas. One I need to write how I feel more. And two I need to make sure I am not forgetting to do what I have learned.

One: I would like to journal more. I have been writing down my 9 emotions as an assignment by my therapist. That is OK but I need to get out more than that. Plus just writing them down doesn’t really help me feel any better. I need to take the one step beyond writing them down and share them with someone else. That is part of what is motivating this blog entry. I am going to make some time to share these feelings with my wife. I am going to write more things down.

One of the frustrations I feel right now is that I have been working on some inner child work, however, I am at a point where I can’t do the next step without a group or therapist to help me. My group has been focused on other things instead of what I wanted to do and I don’t have a therapy appointment for a while yet. So I have been indulging in my frustration instead of finding something to do. I realized as I was thinking that I have another recovery workbook that I can work on. I have decided to spend some time working in there again because that will give me a chance to write feelings and thoughts down and also because it will feel like doing something instead of just waiting and finally because I can quit being grandiose about feeling frustrated and just do something about it.

Two: I need to remember what I have learned and not be complacent about where I am at and what I am doing. To that end I have re-written my PCI template. Printed out six copies and I am going to spend the next six weeks filling it out so I don’t forget what I know.

As an exercise as I was working on that PCI I filled out the last two days for myself. On Wednesday I scored a 37 – above the warning line of 35 – and on Thursday I scored a 19. On Wednesday afternoon I felt really bored and was really triggered by it. I kept trying to find something to do and ways to deal with my feelings but it seemed that no matter what I tried I kept feeling triggered and struggled to keep my thoughts real and free of fantasy or recall. Finally I left work early just to get to my home where I usually feel safe and I always find it easier to be trigger free. On Thursday as a reaction to Wednesday I really focused on trying to surrender and be conscious about asking Heavenly Father for help. Looking back on that PCI chart though I can see that on Wednesday I was neglecting my self by poor sleep and eating habits, that I spent to much time isolated in my office, and that I was to willing to browse instead of finding out what I was feeling. Thursday when I was surrendering I was much more aware of my feelings, I took care of my needs and I made efforts to reach out to others. See I forgot on Wednesday what I knew I needed to do. I plan on filling out my charts for the next six weeks to reinforce my skills and remind myself of what I really want and need.

Finally, I was thinking just this morning of sharing my book with my wife. I have been writing a book of LDS based daily affirmations for men in recovery. I have written quite a bit in long hand but lately I have been starting to transcribe what I have written onto my computer. I haven’t really shared any of this with anyone. I am going to send what I have typed to my wife. I don’t know what she will think of it – maybe that it’s a complete waste of my time – but I have just been sitting on that and holding it back and that behavior is not good for me so I’m going to do something different. Wish me luck, it is a bit scary to do because this project has been important to me and I’m afraid that if someone else looks at it they will think it’s a bad idea or that I’m stupid for even trying to do something so big. Anyway, I couldn’t ask for a better person to share it with than my wife, I’m sure my fears, however real they feel to me, are groundless.

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