British Columbia, Canada
Well ... Serenity asked me to do this, blame her okay I warn you this post is really LONG, and you won’t hurt my feelings by skipping over it trust me.
I sent this off to Karen and Janet Marie earlier today in email. She asked me to post this as she felt it might be of some help to others who pop in here. Well, I sure hope it is, if even in some small way. I tend to bounce around a bit but have no time to edit it. Well here goes…
A wise moth we both know once told me to go and read what I had just written in the forum because I had just answered my own question. Maybe try to re-read what you wrote today and something may come to light for you too? Actually I don't want her to take on any guilt here LOL, but since she said that to me I haven't been able to write much at all. I am so blocked, because she was right you see, and now I am spending a lot of time thinking about that statement she made, and simply enjoying life and my surroundings in a new and brighter light. She was right; the answer was always inside of me.
Ron T is so right too, at least in regards to my life and me anyway. I quite often make myself so busy trying to find the answers to questions that never even existed. I know finally it was only a defense mechanism I had used among others to avoid whatever trigger sent me to a painful memory of my past and created a much-needed diversion. See, keeping oneself busy takes our minds of the real issues, and most assuredly the painful ones, until next time. Incidentally, writing it seems is a fabulous tool for the depressed, look at what writers suffered from depression sometime.
I remember being hurt by a remark Ron C once said to me, and it went something like this, that I tried to find solutions to problems that were not there to begin with. He was of course right as usual. It was part and parcel of that mental state I lived in that served me at that time.
As Karen and a few other close friends in here know I do not work anymore, and actually I have been receiving a nice disability cheque, and ingesting many prescribed medications over the course of about 12 years off and on, give or take. The medications started when I almost died one day at a work while with employees on an outing. They had to rush me to the nearest hospital, with what they thought was an aneurysm. I refer to that the first time I “shut-down”, and I actually quit talking, (quit chuckling you!). Well, they attributed my silence to post traumatic stress syndrome, as I had been working long, hard hours, and had just lost my boss of over 14 years to a wicked cancer, and had not even had time to grieve that. He was a dear friend only, although many thought different, and I confided and trusted him. This incidentally was the only man in my life I ever trusted and still is, sorry. I was his "day wife" as I did everything including sending the maid the list of what he would wear the next day, and organized his entire schedule for days and nights in close contact his wife, all his organizations, etc. I managed all his personal investments, and he and I were the only ones really knew where his money was all hidden in total. When he died, I had lawyers, family, companies, you name it pulling me this way that that for a listing of assets, and I got furious. I wanted them to think of him, and not the business. The anger was stuffed and life went on. So, when he died I felt totally alone, and when I wound up the estate, it hit me. I had no one to work for, no worth at all, and I was without purpose. I am jumping around but that is how the accident started, but was not the cause I know now. The hospital and doctors gave me some pills, made me rest to get the swelling to go down in my head, after the surgery, and sent me on my way home in 1 month’s time. It turned out that particular death was just the icing on a huge cake I had stored in my mental freezer for years and years. I am not about to go into its ingredients but I want to tell you about the defrosting process if I may?
I was fortunate my entire life to have had some fabulous jobs, and a brilliant career not once but twice, and now here I was in a real state of affairs. I had to quit a 6-figure job, and was reduced to a disability pension through work while they tried to get me over "the hump" as they called it. Some might think I was lucky I never ended up in any psychiatric ward, but in hindsight the process of defrosting my frozen cake could have been a lot faster, like sticking in a pot of boiling water, if they had put me there right off you know and thrown away the key for a while.
Anyway, this started a journey of research by the medical profession of “chemical cocktails,” to cure me. The insurance people and doctors kept trying to get the right ingredients to “fix” me, and get me back to work. They found what they thought worked and sent me on my way finally a year or so later.
Well, I went back to work all right and to the same job title to find a different boss. My old boss's wife! Did I mention she was hooked on cocaine? I felt I had no choice, I signed off with the insurance company so there I was in hell. I literally ran that company for her that her husband and my previous boss and friend had put his heart and soul into, so it could at least stay afloat until it closed down with some dignity. If he were alive he would have wanted the original investors, who were his friends, to at least see their investment returned before it went up her nose. I covered her butt for at least 12 hours a day, literally becoming her for over a year and a half. She would call in the middle of the night with a new hair-brained idea and wake me up to dictate it, so I went to work lots of times on no rest. I prepared all her schedules, flight plans, did her work, wrote her speeches, that sort of thing while she played, and of course I was chosen to travel all over the place to watch her butt closely. It was downright painful, bordering on anxiety attacks to watch her get through customs every time we went over the border I tell you. The Board of Directors paid me extra for this travel, wasn’t that nice? They also paid me a little extra for doing one more random thing for them as well, which I am now aware was legally way over the line of employer/employee relationships which they and I discussed at a future date.
Well one day, as per the usual random phone, I called to her to come for her random drug test, which she always cheated on, and the verbal abuse got out of hand as it always did. I guess something in that cake defrosted, because I snapped yet again. To this very day, the only thing about that day I remember is going by the receptionist and saying, “I am going home and won’t be back.” I vaguely remember her laughing and saying, “I don’t blame you! Do you mean today or ever?” I kept walking and I never went back. I went home and did not come out of my own door for days (not sure how many), nor did I answer the phone, or open the door. Finally someone drove over and reached a family member, and said I was MIA from work. I was told they called the Fire Department to get in (nice show for the neighbours) you betca. I was taken to the local hospital, and I started the process of defrosting that cake I spoke about way back in paragraph one. Told you this was a book; don’t say I did not warn you. I co-operated this time, took the “crutch” temporarily and listened, and finally someone got through to me. It was not the job, the wife, the situation, the time of day even, it was all about feelings, and I had none. Somewhere along the line I discovered mine didn’t matter, so I stuffed them so deep inside they were nowhere to be found.
Well, this is now a long time since that cake was defrosted, through getting proper help and treatment, which is the ONLY way. As I said, I won’t go into the ingredients of what made my particular cake, as it doesn’t really matter what caused it anyway. What do matter are the feelings about it. However, there are a few things I do have to say about the process. If you have shut away your feelings and memories your whole life for safety, don’t! One day your secrets, false shame, rage, or guilt will come up and bite you in the ass so hard you won’t know what hit you. It took mine over 40 years to catch up with me, and I fell big time when it did. I thought my secrets were safely tucked away, and they were not. They surfaced in everyday life in words, moments in time, visuals, or things I felt that reminded me of other times, and places, (they call these triggers.) When they would surface, I would stuff them back down by either changing the subject (that is if I remembered what we were talking about,), getting busy, or head off to do anything wonderful so someone would notice how good I was at it. It was like living on a double-edged sword every day of my life trust me. In fact, those memories dominated my every move; making me an over-achiever in everything I did, an over-thinker, over-everything. Whatever it took to take my mind away from the past I did, and no one likes someone who is always better than they are, so I kept people away really easily.
I owe my transition to you actually Karen, because it was about only two years ago you were open and honest with me about yourself. I took from your experience, although way different than mine, here were two people so much alike in feelings. I realized then through your honesty, that over the course of my lifetime how much time I had wasted being the victim instead of the victor. So far, the only person I was fooling was myself, because at the end of the day, who do you have to answer to? It was when I decided to get serious with those doctors that the healing started. It took a special one from the University to break me, and I will be forever in his debt for putting up with one strong-willed woman. I finally was diagnosed properly, got on the right medications, and finally can say that today I am better and darn near normal, whatever that is?
Some obvious changes are that I can now “visit” the past and know it is the past, look forward to what future I have left, and certainly try to live in the present the best I know how. I don't put expectations on anybody anymore and keep the ones on me more real. I find doing that the disappointments are less too for them and for me. I never really did judge anyone as to race, creed, etc, so that worked out the same. I am quite thankful for some of the positive things I acquired along the way of being obsessive compulsive actually and kept them. However, I don’t try so hard any more to please the masses, and even am slower. The perfectionist is gone in me too, good thing because the new me is damn lazy sometimes and leaving dishes I found didn’t kill me after all.
(INSERTED)As Karen has so metaphorically stated as only she can do, I now spread my body weight out to friends for the very first time in my life to throw me a stick if I need it, and sometimes I do ask, and I found they are there to catch me too. (A special wink to “Jeans” if she happens to read this.) Those newly acquired friends include people I met right here in Passions. You are very real to me. I think I really only had one girlfriend in my entire life and she died, as you know, and the other friend was, my boss.
There was always a great safety in letting no one close to me and now I have enough confidence in me to drop my safety net. Some people from Passions have visited me, and I have visited them, so I think that reaching out is the answer to getting out of any quicksand Karen. The actual day we learn to look inside for the answers instead of finding them outside, we will begin to heal. Through that we discover we knew the answer all along.
I want you, and anyone that reads this to know that I would not advise doing what I have just done without a doctor’s guidance, but I finally got off of all my medications and am now trying to deal with my quicksand as it shows up. At the time I needed help, and am now grateful I took it, for some it is permanent and for others temporary but leave the guessing to professionals.
So thanks to you sweetie, I now am able to reach out from watching your example. Don’t ever sell yourself short to me, as you are as I told you – my ultimate hero.
The Canuck - Sharon
Imagination is more important than knowledge...
[This message has been edited by Mysteria (08-22-2004 10:59 PM).]