Psych Lingo

Well, a month has passed since my last med check where I was ambushed by a filler doctor.  He had me taken aback with his recommendations for heavier medications, such as “real mood stabilizers” and replacing all my benzos with antipsychotics.  Apparently, in his professional opinion, my bipolar disorder was not well managed.

I’ll be honest with you.  Not only did his recommendations scare the bejesus out of me, they insulted me.  Typically, I would really refrain from faulting myself from being a particularly proud person.  With all of the knocks I’ve taken in my life, I can ill afford pride and arrogance.  But, in a way, it felt like he dismissed a year’s worth of legitimate complaints with the flick of a wrist.  It was almost as if he were nullifying all of the effort I’ve put into managing my mental health.

His suggestion?  A condescending tutorial on how to use Google to research my disorder and make informed medication decisions.

Ugh.  *Eye Roll*

That didn’t stop me from obsessively combing the internet, haunting message boards, putting messages in a bottle, and taking a battery of online assessments.  My assessment?  Don’t self-diagnose from the internet.

Ironically, there I was on Friday morning watching Silver Linings Playbook.  It was neither the first nor the tenth showing of that movie on that screen.  I had always admired the screen portrayal of Pat, and felt that it did justice to the disorder.  There was always something that I identified with, but not entirely.

I hopped in the shower, almost hysterical.  Before I’m about to meet with someone, I usually have a script ready in my head.  It’s just a set of questions I’ve already prepped myself to answer and topics that are safe and well researched.  This is especially the case when I’m preparing to meet a professional.  It’s easier than getting bullied into treatments that I’m not entirely familiar with.  At least I have some ammo when I go in.

But, I had no answers this time.  I’ve been to enough med checks in my life to know what to say and what not to say.  It’s a matter of knowing what’s going to get me in hot water and take me down a road I’m not willing to go.  Call that non-compliant, but let’s be real.  How many people are completely 100% treatment compliant?

I was ready to lay all of my cards down on the table.  Xan cautioned, “Don’t go in there guns ablazing.”  Again, eye roll.  I was panicked to the point of wanting to cancel.  It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done that with a doctor.  But, Dr. K has this soft cleverness about him.  He’s far more observant than any other psychiatrist I’ve ever had.  And at the same time, he’s far less talkative, so he’s entirely less likely to show his hand.  Most doctors will give a tell as to their personal opinion, rather than a professional opinion if I engage them in a little extra conversation.  Dr. K just doesn’t bite.

Which brings me to what happened.

He was running almost an hour behind, which rankled me far more than I care to admit.  It’s amazing how cozy folks in a psychiatrists office can get when they’ve been in close quarters for more than a few minutes.  It was actually the first time anyone had the guts to politely ask why I was seeing Dr. K.  I always thought that there was some kind of unspoken code that it was almost forbidden to “fraternize” with one another.  I assured her the question was fine, and that I had been seeing him for bipolar disorder.  “Two,” I added, seeing a mildly startled look on her face, “Kind of the ‘lesser of’.  ‘Diet’ bipolar.”

An imaginary tumbleweed blew through the office accompanied by the soundtrack of a multitude of crickets.  A man’s voice sounded a boisterous, “BOO!”

Boo yourself!

I quickly and gently asked about her condition.  If I was taking home anything that day, it was the knowledge that folks in a psychiatrists office are a lot more eager to talk about their own conditions than I imagined.

Dr. K called me in, and I wished her well.

I guess all of the psych talk in the waiting room primed me.  I sat down in one of his plain black leather armchairs that did the rest of his ornate office no justice.  Naturally, he asked me how I was.  I admitted that I was well enough.  Then, somehow, I trickled into it.  I told him that I’m able to manage.  But the “insanity of it all” was just overwhelming.  The burning need to perform certain tasks in a particular way was killing me and causing conflict in my family.

He asked me to elaborate.  And did I!  I told him about the cumbersome nature of housework.  I like everyone to be out of the house, because I can do it the way I need to, without any interference.  And Xan, he tries to help when I’m getting more and more stressed and less and less gets done.

I told him about an incident where Xan did the dishes.  I don’t like when people do my dishes.  They can’t work within my system.  It’s infuriating, because the system is so easy, but I don’t expect anyone to know how, because it’s my system.  They have to be done in a certain order so they can be stacked in a certain order.  If they’re not, then something is going to break.  I described the awful Jenga game and how all of my favorite glasses and mugs have been broken by such carelessness.

Then, they have to be air dried to avoid any contamination.  The last thing I want is to accidentally give my family and friend food poisoning because I was being careless.  If there are multiple loads, then it slows the entire thing down.  But, then they have to be put away in a particular way, because that’s how they fit in the cupboards.  I try not to swear and complain when I go into the cupboards for something later, but it’s hard.  If they aren’t put away correctly, then they don’t fit, then things get lost, and then that delays all other kitchen activity.

I told him that I felt like I knew that the level of obsession with such detail was unhealthy, but there wasn’t any way to fix that.  I’ve always been like that.  He asked if there was anything else like that, and I exclaimed excitedly, “Oh the closet!”  And I went on to talk about how the closet is arranged and how the clothes have to be folded exactly so they fit in the drawers without incident.  And again, I went into how I know it could be done differently, but it’s not right and it doesn’t work.  I’ve spent years developing these systems.  It is supposed to make everything easier, but it actually kind of makes everything more difficult when I don’t have the time or energy to devote to it.

I actually went into more length than I wanted to there.  But, I felt like I had to illustrate the entire madness.  To leave anything out wouldn’t do it justice.  I expressed to him that I didn’t understand why I had to do this.  But, in truth, the act of organizing and sorting usually gives me some peace.  Well, when everything goes as it should.

Apparently, I used the right key words.  He answered my questions about the “level of obsessiveness” with a sentence that contained the keyword: compulsions.

Note:  I usually refrain from using psych lingo or any clinical terminology.  Most doctors aren’t very receptive.

Dr. K explained something that I never really got until then.  Anxiety manifests itself in many different ways, sometimes all at the same time.  And there are many different coping mechanisms that a person develops over a lifetime.  Anxiety can manifest in obsessions, which often lead to compulsions to alleviate that stress.  His response was to treat it with Prozac.  I’m pretty hopeful.

He added that it’s characteristic of obsessive compulsive disorder.  In all of my education and research, I am still a little unclear on it.  This is going to be a new journey for me.

In a way, I feel a little vindicated.  I was right to trust my gut sense that bipolar disorder wasn’t the entire picture.  And I was right in believing that there was more to it, as if we fixed something, but uncovered something else.

Most of all, I’m glad it’s all resolved, and I’m on an appropriate treatment for it.

So I guess all it takes is a little bit of clinical reference to speak the language of a Pdoc.  I’ll keep that in mind in the future.

Advertisements

When We Get Knocked Down

A wealth of time has passed since my last entries. On numerous occasions, I became painfully aware of this fact. I yearned to continue my work, scribbling messages of inspiration for all of my loyal and hopeful readers to take in. Truly, the ambition of my life was to be able to recount my struggles for others who have inhabited those very same deep crevices to relate to. Very deep in my heart, I ached for those engulfed in that darkness and strife.

Honestly, I wanted to save lives. Doctors help to heal ailments of the body and mind. I had been committed to healing the spirit, which is the one thing no class could ever teach.

In the most recent months, I hesitated to write. Just as everyone else who lives with disorder, I am faced with my own challenges. In my darkest hours, I felt like a hypocrite. How could I possibly wax optimistic when I was having such difficulty practicing the very ideas that I had once embodied? The doubt set it when I read, and then reread all of the beautiful and uplifting posts I had written myself.

Was I ultimately a liar?

That very concept when heaped upon the challenges I found myself in the midst of was more than enough to seal my mind. But, that’s the trick of depression – to seal oneself off in the profound silence of isolation. I am upon my five year anniversary of seeking my initial treatment. And I found an even greater sense of shame and failure in my setback.

But that’s just it; it was a setback.

Even with the mental and emotional fortitude I had gained, I still got knocked down. All of the strength and stamina in the world cannot render any of us invincible. We are all susceptible to our own mental health concerns, with or without the coupling of difficult circumstance. We are not superheroes.

We are human.

Plain and simple, we are human, just men and women. Thought we are tempted to draw comparisons between oneself and another, there is truly no sense in it. We are apples, to oranges, to mangos, to pineapples – essentially all fruit, but otherwise dissimilar. We all grow from different trees in our own unique way with the resources that are provided to us.

That’s the point. We are all growing, perpetually and without fail. When we feel stuck and stymied in the singular moments that we inhabit, it can become difficult to grasp that our growth is universal.

For example, for the sake of my family, I had to take a job that was less than ideal. As a matter of fact, I once told my husband, “I’d rather starve and live in a cardboard box than go back to working retail.” (Note: It is not wise to tempt the universe with such statements). However, there I was, once again spending a portion of my life behind a register. But, I was still determined to prioritize it much lower than things in my life that truly mattered. I was set on having it remain as a means of income.

Six months later, I continued to struggle with the adjustment. I stood amongst a mob of people, loathing the very thought of waking up to yet another day of it. I saw myself in the distant future with my disgruntled co-workers mirroring my very fate. Fear and dread invaded the spaces where hope and optimism once inhabited. And the very idea of spinning my wheels indefinitely in the rat race of the workforce sent me reeling.

It was that precise disillusionment that generalized to each and every aspect of my life.

If it was always going to be this way, then why try?

It felt as if I had been running those exact same circles for my entire life, as brief as it has been. And the idea that I would continue to run them, despite my best intentions, led to my surrender. It was that resignation that abandoned all aspiration, hope, and passion I had ever contained.

I willingly gave up my life.

But, as I mentioned before, life goes on. We continue to grow, change, and progress, with or without permission or willingness. When that happens, we basically leave the driver’s seat empty to any entity eager to grab that wheel. In my case, it was depression.

Explaining depression and the resulting actions (or lack thereof) to a party who has been fortunate enough to have never experienced it firsthand is nearly impossible. I’ve often wondered why, but as I was attempting to drive the point home to my husband, I came to a profound realization. It sounds absolutely illogical. In truth, it is. It doesn’t make depression any less real, but it honestly seems nonsensical in a way. There is no why or how when it comes to the onset, thus, there is no why or how for the result. And as he sat there and contradicted many of the points I attempted to make, I came upon the realization I needed to shake this out of me.

This is my life.

Not his. Not my job’s. Not my boss’s. Not my son’s. Not anyone else’s.

And I’m going to take it back.

So when we get knocked down, it’s not enough to get back up again. We have the choice to just stand up and march on, or we can dust ourselves off and dance to the rhythm of our own song.

Watch Your Language!

Camera 360

Recently, I was inspired by a number of readers, namely Antony W, hcfbutton, and Cymbria Wood, to explore the direct relationship between language and cognition.

In Brave New Mind, I concluded with a number of phrases that are general summations of my newly evolving value system.  Note the tone.  Each word was carefully and purposefully chosen to not only relate an idea, but to convey a greater subliminal message.  In each mantra, I attempted to specifically use positive and definitive language.  While there is still room for interpretation, so it can be generalized to the individual, it excludes negative connotations.

Too often in our world, we are faced with the word “no” “No running”.  “No talking”.  There are two important faults with those statements.  The word “no” attaches an absolute negative generalization to the following action.  Is it never appropriate to run?  Is talking completely forbidden?  That kind of negativity has the potential to generate negative emotion, ranging from anxiety to anger.

In turn, it may prompt undesired behavior.  Those kinds of statements fail to provide any instruction for the appropriate behavior.  So, it becomes subject to any interpretation.  For me, I become anxious to do pretty much anything.  I freeze with indecision and fear.

Me:  What if it’s the wrong thing?  Will I face some sort of punishment because I didn’t fully understand the rule?  What if I don’t do the right thing and I mess up?

Conversely, I had a clever student who had a knack for finding his way around rules.  Through his creative interpretation, the rule “no talking” allowed for other forms of communication.  He would whisper, gestures, and write signs.

In fact, he held up a sign from across the room toward me that read, “This isn’t talking.” (Later, I giggled in private.)

Though brilliant, the message wasn’t clear enough for him.  Any form of communication wasn’t permitted in that situation.  Though he knew that, his actions weren’t technically against the rule, and were not actually punishable.

When faced with negative emotions, some may be prompted to act out.  Personally, if I’m feeling as if I’m being too restricted, I may challenge authority by doing the exact opposite of the rule.  It’s my way of attempting to assert my own authority and regain control over myself and a situation.  I invite the power struggle.

“Don’t take that tone with me.”

Me:  (raising my voice)  “I’ll take any tone I like!”

Needless to say, that last portion is not exactly healthy in terms of developing positive behaviors that defuse unnecessary confrontation and promote functional attitudes.

These scenarios are applicable to our own value systems.  By setting up vague restrictions, we unintentionally invite distressing emotion that incites maladaptive behavior.  Simply put, when we say “no” to ourselves, we can become upset, and that allows us to make poor decisions in how we act.  And because they are so vague, we can’t get sense of what we should be doing instead.  It makes it that much harder to find a positive behavior that works for us.  Then, we become stuck in a cycle of dysfunction.

In the past when I used to crash diet, I would set up stifling rules right down to the letter.  No fast food.  No sweets.  No lazy days, off days, or cheat days.  If I strayed from the rules, I would punish myself by wearing myself to the bone with painful exercise.  Eventually, it became so oppressive that I would reinterpret the rules to suit me.  Finally, I would quit, because it just became too hard and inconsistent.

That cycle of dysfunction starts to prompt thoughts like, “I can’t” or “I’ll never”, which can make a person feel helpless and hopeless.  It hinders any further action toward a goal, because we convince ourselves that we tried, we failed, and we can never make it work / happen.

By using positive language with ourselves, we can alter our own cognition to automatically generate positive thoughts, beliefs, and statements.  Here a few “rules” I use to develop more positive language:

Attempt to avoid commands.

I can say without any doubt that there isn’t a single person who enjoys being constantly ordered to do things.  It makes me angry.  I see commands as demands for actions, like a person would do to a doll or puppet.  If I don’t demand things from myself, I am certainly not going to allow others to do it.

Instead of using the word “no”, find the antonym to the following action and use a description as an alternative.

In my classroom, I developed a set of expectations (not rules) that excluded the word “no”.  Instead of “No running”, I used the phrase, “We use walking feet in the classroom”.  It spelled out the expectation exactly without being restrictive.

Use language that eliminates unnecessary apologies and uses statements of fact that relate.

Have you ever found yourself constantly apologizing for things that aren’t your fault?  For instance, someone tells you of their own misfortune and you reply, “I’m so sorry.”  Why are we being apologetic when it’s clearly not our fault?

The problem is the message that it conveys.  In being apologetic, we are unintentionally sending the message that we will accept blame for things that aren’t our fault.  It’s pretty much the same as saying, “Please, I want to be your doormat.”

Instead, a person could say, “That’s very unfortunate” or “What incredible pain you must be in”.

Use statements of intention rather than requests for permission (when applicable).

The problem is how we are conditioned as children.  Our whole world revolves around consent.  When we become adults, we have a certain difficulty with asserting our own personal authority.

I recently learned that I do not need permission to live my life.  In fact, I don’t require anyone’s consent to say or do most things.  I am an adult, and I have authority over myself and my actions.  By using questions, I am willfully passing my own authority over to someone else.

For example, instead of asking, “May I use the restroom?”, it can be rephrased as, “I need to use the restroom” or “I’m going to use the restroom”.  In that language, a person asserts their right to perform a bodily function.

Again, when applicable.

Rephrase accusatory statements, even if they can be substantiated

Most statements that begin with “you” and end in a negative phrase are typically accusatory.  “You did…” and “You are…”  Offer a suggestion instead.  “You can…” is far more empowering and avoids passing blame.  Most people will avoid blame at all costs.

Through practicing positive language, functional attitudes begin to form.  Constructive progress becomes evident, and that promotes personal growth.  As growth advances, we can begin to make additional improvements to our value systems to generalize to other aspects of our lives.  That way, we can be better prepared to face future challenges, and feel empowered to succeed in our pursuits.

From mind to mouth, we can make a difference, one word at a time.

Jungian Theory in Personality Assessments

JUNGIAN THEORY IN PERSONALITY ASSESSMENTS

Jungian Theory in Personality Assessments

Tiffany M.

Personality Development

 

Take the MBTI now, if you’re interested.

On the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI), I scored ENFJ.  (Note:  Since, I score an INFJ, because of medication changes.)  ENFJ personality breaks down into traits that are extroverted, intuition, feeling, and judging.  Mostly, I would agree with this assessment of my personality.  However, I feel it is a limited, as many others have criticized.  Jung asserts that extraverts project their energies outward to others and their environment and characterizes these people as sociable.  I feel I embody this description to a point.  I would be more inclined to believe that it is a better measure of sociability.  I disagree that personality type is affected by heredity, seeing as how neither one of my parents is ENFJ, and only my father scored as an extravert.  In addition, I don’t agree that personality is static throughout an entire lifetime.  Jung’s personality theory neglects attention to childhood development and major events affecting adult development.  I feel that I am very intuitive, however, I once again don’t feel as if I completely fit the description.  While I am apt to “tune in” to others and have a certain innate understanding of situations as well as their outcomes, I don’t feel as if I’m focused on the “big picture”.  Family, friends, and co-workers can attest to my attention to detail and highly cultivated level of organization.  The assessment of feeling is given when people are thought to place value on things that create a positive emotional response.  This is opposed to utilizing logic for decision making.  I feel that is a very hedonistic evaluation.  We all, as humans, are subject to hedonism according to Freud’s Hedonic Hypothesis.  By this logic, that would place all humans into the feeling category.  Instead, Planap and Fitness proposed that said traits function together.  Therefore, I am able to embody both empathy and logic.  Another problem with this assessment is the obvious gender bias.  Jung personally though that women typically score “feeling” and men score “thinking”.  This can even be seen in my marriage.  My husband and I are fundamentally the same, hence the original attraction.  However, on the MBTI, he scored ENTJ.  The only difference between my husband and myself is the way that we process emotions.  Perhaps this scale measures empathy and expression of emotions better than it’s original intention.  (Judging)

The MBTI is the most recognized and frequently employed assessment when “measuring Jungian functions”. (pg 88 review citation)  Essentially, the MBTI is based on Jungian personality theory and hardly differs.  It incorporates the eight basic personality types in Jungian theory.  These psychetypes combine extroversion and introversion with thinking or feeling and intuition or sensation in pairs of two.  The MBTI expands upon Jungian personality theory by identifying a fourth trait which functions as a person’s conscious interaction with the external world.  This trait works differently for extraverts and introverts.  In extraverts, the fourth trait is the dominant function and contrastingly introverts utilize it as an auxiliary function.  For example, one assessing a MBTI result can combine extroverted with either judging or thinking as how they interact with their environment.  The other functions are introverted and therefore how they deal with themselves.  For introverts, it is the reverse.  By allowing a fourth trait, the MBTI provides a more comprehensive analysis with sixteen types instead of the eight in Jungian typology.

MBTI has a high degree of reliability and validity; it is objective and free of interpretation by the administrator.  The Inkblot exam is purely subjective, and also, subject to the subjective interpretation of the administrator.  MBTI measures the types of individuals, while the Inkblot exam measures individual traits of individuals.  It seems that each time an individual takes the MBTI they score the same or close to the same as the time before; however, an individual may not picture the same things he once saw in an inkblot revealing that the inkblot has a low test-retest reliability.  In the case of the Inkblot exam, it would mean that individual personalities are constantly subject to change.  While personality is subject to revision, it is not subject to total change.  The inherent, learned traits that an individual has will remain with them, despite certain revisions.  Each exam, however, provides valuable information about the individual’s personality and therefore a tool in evaluating a client.

This information is essential in a therapeutic setting.  Each assessment has a purpose.  MBTI is excellent for getting a feel for the patient and understanding their basic personality.  It is also been proven as an excellent tool for career placement.  It has advantages for the patient as well.  As the patient gains a better understanding of themselves, they will also be able to understand their emotions, thoughts, and motives.  This way, they can learn how to cope and self-regulate.  Inkblot and other projective tests provide a look into the subconscious.  This may reveal repressed emotions and impulses.  Once these are brought to light, the patient can then begin mitigating them and expressing them in healthy ways.  Personality disruption and abnormal behavior and development can then be resolved, resulting in a balancing affect and creating a more whole personality.  Therefore, these assessments, combined with psychotherapy can resolve conflict, establish healthy coping mechanisms, and reunify a person to promote functionality.

References

Kaplan. (2008). Past and Present Views on Personality. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator

Phanalp, S., & Fitness, J. (n.d.). Thinking/Feeling about Social and Personal Relationships — Planalp and Fitness 16 (6): 731 — Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Retrieved September 15, 2009, from http://spr.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/16/6/731

I Want My Yellow Dress!

I am infamous for making pop culture references.  For those of you that don’t get the reference, I’ll break it down for you.  It comes from a scene in the move I’ll Do Anything (written by James L. Brooks, who does The Simpsons now), where the little girl, Jeannie and her estranged father are on an airplane.  Jeannie tells her father that she wants to wear her yellow dress.  He attempts to calmly explain to her that it’s in the luggage that’s under the plane.  Then, Jeannie starts throwing this epic temper tantrum, screaming and crying repeatedly, “I want my yellow dress!”  

Just to cause a bigger scene, Jeannie slaps herself to make it sound like her father did it.

There’s a point, I promise.  Today, my horoscope said this:

Here is your Daily Horoscope for Thursday, October 4

Your inner child is dominant today, so make the most of it and have fun! You should be able to get others energized and find new ways to do almost anything. If you’ve actually got kids, so much the better!

Inner child by Irene Majale

My immediate response?  What inner child?

I don’t feel childlike, in any respect.  I take absolutely no pleasure in children’s games or activities.  I often find it difficult to have a conversation with a child.  Not to say that I am unable to enjoy their company.  I am at a loss for what children like to do.

I have always done pretty adult activities, with the exception of playing with dolls, but even that was pretending to take care of a house, a husband, and a child.  I am drawn to solitary activities.  I write.  I doodle.  I read.  I craft, and have been called grandma as a result.  These have been the constants in my life.

That’s when I realized it.  I am childlike in a different way.  I throw temper tantrums.  I have obsessive wants and abandonment issues.  I have a desperate need for approval.  I fear authority figures, and I often find that I feel helpless.  This is helpless over my own behavior and helpless to fulfill my own wants and needs.  I am rebellious and conflicted.

My inner child is not very healthy.

I have had a retrospect of my childhood recently and came to several conclusions.

  • I grew up too fast.
    It didn’t start out as something I wanted to do.  I started out as something I needed to do.  As a sibling of autism, you are taught that you have to be adult about a lot of situations.  That means, when you have feelings of neglect and resentment, you have to repress them.  It’s the adult thing to do.I had a serious misconception.  At the time of adolescence, I made the decision to take on the freedom of an adult, since I had carried the burden of responsibility of an adult in childhood.  Perhaps it was due to bodily changes, or just coming-of-age.  Either way, I made some irresponsible choices to participate in grown-up activities in adult situations way too soon.
  • I was an overachiever.
    Achievement leaves little room for childlike activities.  It requires self-discipline the likes of which no ordinary kid could offer to themselves.  I practiced my music alone.  I became second chair, next to a girl who had lessons.  I became a second part section leader at the age of eleven.  I joined library club, just to put books away and spend my free time reading classic literature far above my head.I didn’t play sports.  I loathed gym and feared recess.  Most of the time, I would sit on the bleachers alone, staring into the vastness of the parking lot.  And there wasn’t a soul who was interested in having me join their game.
  • I was a sensitive child who needed to grow thicker skin.
    My preschool teacher was the first person to bring this to my mother’s attention.  What little girl doesn’t cry at the age of four?  What parent seems to think that crying is unhealthy?  Well, it was the 80’s after all.By the time I was in second grade, I started to develop panic attacks.  They landed me in the nurses office frequently, and I was deemed a hypochondriac at that time.

    Fourth grade was when I had the toughest teacher of them all.  I read her comment on the report card before my mother even had the chance.  “Does not take constructive criticism.”  After I work my little rear off, she has the gall to say that?!  Yes, I was discouraged that I wasn’t perfect at everything.  Maybe a little reassurance, you know?

My inner child seems to still be pretty angry about all of this stuff.

I get it, now.  I have spent a great deal of time and energy into satisfying the immediate demands of my inner child.  Or, on the opposite end, I have been denying my inner child completely.  I have really done nothing to nurture and attend to this internal being.

How do I go about doing that?

Astrology suggests looking at my Moon sign to determine the kind of soul food that I need.  However, it seems that, while astrology may have a clue as to where my interests lie, psychology appears to have a better grasp on the nature of the inner child.

Livestrong.com has a list of suggestions.  Here are the ones I like the best:

What nurturing messages can you give your “inner child”?
You can tell your “inner child” that it is OK to:
* Have the freedom to make choices for itself.
* Be “selfish” and do the things you want to do.
* Take the time to do the things you want to do.
* Associate only with the people you want to associate with.
* Accept some people and to reject others.
* Give and accept love from others.
* Allow someone else to care for you.
* Enjoy the fruits of your labor with no guilt feelings.
* Take time to play and have fun each day.
* Not to be so serious, intense and inflexible about life.
* Set limits on how you are going to relate to others.
* Not always “serve” others.
* Accept others “serving” you.
* Be in charge of your life and not let others dictate to you.
* Be honest with others about your thoughts and feelings.
* Take risks and to suffer the positive or negative consequences of such risks.
* Make mistakes, laugh at them and carry on.
* Let your imagination and creativity be set free and to soar with the eagles.
* Cry, hurt and to be in pain as long as you share your feelings; do not repress or suppress them.
* Be angry, to express your anger and to bring your anger to some resolution.
* Make decisions for yourself.
* Be a problem solver and come up with solutions with which everyone may not agree.
* Feel happiness, joy, excitement, pleasure and excitement about living.
* Feel down, blue, sad, anxious, upset and worried, as long as you share your feelings.
* Love and be loved by someone whom you cherish.
* Be your “inner child” and to let it grow up, accept love, share feelings and enjoy pleasure and play.

Everything is (not) Wonderful Now

“I just don’t understand how you can smile with all those tears in your eyes and tell me everything is wonderful now.” – Everclear – Wonderful

I feel as if I have been robbed of something.  Most of the time, I’m blank with these vague floating emotions.  Sometimes, I can tap into them, but it is more akin to breaking open the Pandora’s box.  These emotions suddenly intensify and flood over me, consuming me like a tsunami.  A thief crept in the window to my mind and stole my translator for emotion to cognition.

I am inclined to speculate as to whether this is just a side effect of losing those internal monologues / dialogues.  On occasion, I catch myself attempting to recreate them, especially in the moments of severe, agonizing distress.  However, there seems to have been some kind of role reversal.  Instead of my dominant persona being confused by multiple personas in my head, those lesser personas being the ones who generated the intrusive thoughts and discord in the chambers of my mind, there remains one persona.  This persona is new.  She’s the therapist.  What do people call it?  Maybe the voice of reason?

Blank slate.  I am seemingly an empty canvas.  I never cared much for empty things, because they require filling.  There are always these second thoughts and doubts; Am I doing it right?  What if I mess up?  It highlights the cracks.  I float around in my life without immediate purpose, without the constant noise that colored my life.

One would think the riddance of such garbage background noise and a wide spectrum of ever fluctuating emotions would be a positive improvement.  There remains this empty container where thoughts and emotion would overflow out of, the tap of which being always open.  The source has dried up, and it seems an IOU is tightly fastened to the bottom without a named perpetrator.

One would suspect that another would be at peace without such distressful experiences such as psychosis.  Instead, I find that I cannot seem to associate myself with this state.  I don’t belong here.  This doesn’t feel right. Something is wrong.  It’s all wrong.

One would think that all of this freedom would be so wonderful.

Everything is not wonderful now.  The tears of mourning still come to my eyes as if I were somehow missing a piece.  Colors seem to be dimmer and the whole world feels washed out.  It is distressing in itself.  The absence of myself.  The crazy, emotional, outrageous, always interesting, talkative woman has become muted, grasping at straws for conversation and content.

Is this what it feels like to be normal?

Decent into Hell : 30 Days of Truth

Day 08 : Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

Avi.

Staring out the bus window into the grey oblivion, the words slid right down the slate of my mind, and were carried away by the light breeze. It’s not an uncommon occurrence. Many other times I will myself to think of him, it is as if he’s become a ghost, who haunts at the most unfortunate moments.

That’s why there are journal entries for these moments.  This was the first in the trinity, the one prior to Possibility and Ascension.  It was started and completed in the same week, nearly a year after the relationship ended.


The last days of that relationship are blurry; my memories are obscured by the drugs and alcohol intoxicating my mind.  The days blended together in a ritualistic, self-medicated loop, work.drink.sleep.work.drink.sleep.sleep.drink.sleep… suspended in agonizing slow motion.  The silence was deafening in the deep, dark hours of night, still, cold, indifferent.  We were two strangers, caged together with a thick glass section between us.  I glanced across the DMZ, through ripples space and time itself, eager and desperate to eradicate the great divide.  But even if I could manage to successfully navigate the minefield, a feat I had attempted in vain when feeling particularly masochistic despite the optimistic spin I put on it, I would be greeted by a stranger.  Or rather an animal, for he had regressed into a rather primitive state.  This animal was vicious and feral, seemingly ripped from the wild and unsuccessfully domesticated.

My realizations were like awaking from a coma.  How much time had passed?  Who are you?  Where am I?  Is this real? – each more dizzying than the coma itself.  Awakening is clarity, but the clearer things became, the more confusing the reality.    The chambers of my mind grew to accommodate my expanding thoughts but created a warehouse echo.  I spoke, my voice reverberated off the crumbling walls and returned with a different sound altogether.  Perhaps, instead it was an accurate reflection but one can never recognize oneself in a room of distortion.

So perhaps my lover had been a stranger all along, reflected through hopes and dreams to create a lovely distortion.  They certainly aren’t all hideous, like mirrors that make one look tall and slender.  Had that been entirely truth, how long had he been a projection of my mind’s eye onto the screen that set the stage for our drama?  I looked into the rabbit hole and tumbled down, spiraling out of control.  How can one count time based on a relative measure?

I searched farther, grasping for answers as if they were my life raft in the black waters of time.  Our relationship started with sparks and flares… – Were they real like fourth of July fireworks?  Or instead were they the result of strong hallucinogenics resulting from intense desire to feel something?  More dialogue and script flowed through the undertow, sucking me into the dark abyss.

You know how when someone says ‘I love you’, you feel obligated to reciprocate?

… Yes

I’ve always meant it with you.

My heart swelled with infection while it festered away every inch that loved him with each tides push and pull.  It was abundantly clear that his performance was increasingly scripted, as I deviated with my improvisation.  Obsessively, I went farther, feverishly searching, scanning, hoping that there would be salvage, or better even, treasure.

Heaven knows that I love you, I love you today.

Today, that day, the only day that might as well had even existed in three years.  I felt it in my soul, the answers becoming closer sending off the flares and sparks I had been trying to rekindle, leading me in my personal night.  Yet on closer inspection, they certainly differentiated from the ones in my memory.  Instead, they appeared to be a blazing inferno on the shoreline.  I clawed the beach, pulling myself in for survival, for myself, for my sanity and found the treasure I’d been seeking.

Fool’s gold.  The beautiful scenery warped into something more sinister.  Twisted, charred, black… a glorious fire to commemorate something that never was.

It reminded me of the last string I pulled in the tapestry of our relationship.  My hair was ruby colored in the dull late autumn sun, surrounded by the grey scenery of the city.  We were bound for better.  He was up but I was coming down.  A lovely romance played out in my head, on panes of fragile glass.  We were vines twisting together up a lattice in vivid green, in a dream.  He deviated, but my vision was obstructed.  I felt the support let loose, my vine withered and my fruit shriveled.  He vaguely explained and my vision returned to expose his transgression occurring.  Struck with immobilizing poison, I watched like an invalid.  And when I came to, I was convinced it was a dream.

Smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors, I fell in love with the demon trickster himself.  A year and a half passed since the incident and all was voluntarily revealed.  The force pushed me outside myself, forced once again to watch this great tragedy unfold repeatedly.  Play.stop.rewind.play.

Just say yes, you little masochist.  

Addictions leave you little choice.

Help me tighten these chains.  Is that my voice?  My mind screamed to be released, for me to take the free ticket to ride and go.  But my heart without it’s limbs could not be freed from it’s vice.

The pleasant memories melted into the form of nightmares.  There was a double edged sword, turning the pleasurable jabs into horrific stabs.  My monologue’s narrator was raspy and exhausted.  Playful smiles turned to sinister grins just as loving chuckles morphed into maniacal laughter.  The blaze pushed forward, engulfing everything in sight.  It seared my flesh, leaving nothing but brittle bone.

Release me, for the love of god!!

It was morning following the apocalypse.  The war had been lost and I stood amongst it’s remains.  To my surprise, I was intact despite everything.  A wave of sorrow welled up inside me but nothing came.  I had finally been released but not by my captor.  He stood beside me, my caretaker, strong and silent like an angel.

I have always been beside you.  That wasn’t quite the truth, I was sure.  He had misspoke and instead meant, I have always been inside you… I felt those words resonating inside my soul which echoed it in perfect clarity.  This could only be made possible if they had the same dimensions… making them identical.  Twin souls!  It made perfect sense as the pieces seamlessly clicked together.  Only could twins never truly lose one another.  They were the only two that see each other through the deepest pits of hell and come out seemingly unscathed.

We were whole.  From the moment we met one another, five long years ago, we were whole.  And now we had the opportunity to experience it in our own realities..