Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Midnight Type: Not Again

Another restless night. I'm the only one to blame.

I didn't have work today because of severe thunderstorms that flooded our city. So, what did I do with this newfound freedom from work -- I slept. I took my anxiety medicine, and when that wore off and I woke up, I took sinus meds to fall back asleep. I literally was in bed all day.

Why did I want to escape the day? There were a ton of things I could have done. Is this depression creeping in? It is no doubt isolation and fear (of the world, of thoughts, of emotions). I have an appointment with both my psychologist and counselor this week, and I will definitely talk to them about this experience.

In the meantime, I'm going to try and think not too much into it, and try to get some rest.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Core

I wasn't sure what I wanted to blog about, I just knew I wanted to write. So here goes.

Reading this blog is kind of neat -- it's like a not-so-secret diary where I can voice my opinions, put my fear into words, type out the negativity that exists in my mind.

I had an exceptionally difficult counseling appointment yesterday. I am still unsure if I want to share the topic of the session -- it is filled with shame and regret. My counselor wants to remove some of the shame I hold. She said if she had a million dollars in her purse, she would be happy about that. It would be a good thing in her life. But she wouldn't tell everyone or certain people about the money in her purse because they could do her harm or have ill-intentions. So instead of looking at my circumstance as a shameful secret, view it as a part of my life I am protecting.

She also had me do an exercise before I left the appointment. She didn't want me to leave carrying all of the emotional weight I had conjured up during our session. So she gave me a slip of paper and told me to write a word that I associate with my circumstance. After writing that word, I put the slip of paper in a small wooden box, essentially to "hold" my thoughts and emotions. If I begin to get anxious or sad about what we talked about, I can remember that I am free and I can address my emotions and the "thing" when I return next week.

She then explained some things that we were going to do in future sessions to help me work through the pain I am experiencing due to this thing in question. I began to cry again because the exercises sounded so painful. They will definitely reach to my core and take me to a place I have yet to explore. It's the place where the pain lies, I can feel it and I carry it with me and it exists in every relationship, conversation, action, and thought. It is alive, but I've never faced it, never looked at it head on. This pain I will face stems from other painful memories and experiences, it is an extension upon extension upon extension. Healing will occur as I sever these extensions one by one. Then, the core will be exposed.

I do believe there is one central place or point of pain. I don't know if it's an experience, a reoccurring thought, the small self imitating what I think to be true...I don't know. But I'm seeing my pain as being very real and very much alive, with energy sources that it needs to survive. I am feeding those sources. My life is a grocery store of the food my pain needs to survive. I feel very ready to shut this operation down, I feel powerful as I type these words. I'm ready to heal.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Self-help in All Things Unselfish

I had a huge realization today. Like...a big one. It's been brewing for a couple weeks now, since I started reading F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Short Autobiography. That man is a genius. Disagree as you may, but his writing is blowing my mind right now.

Back to my realization.

I thought I could only find "help" in self-help books. They are called self-help. And I want to help myself, so it makes sense why I would gravitate to that genre of books. But in reading A Short Autobiography, I see that the best help can be found when we look outside ourselves, when we accept that we are fools who make silly mistakes, accept that we are flawed. Self-help books, not all, but many, are so very selfish. It's all about healing your heart and your mind and your past and your future. Self, self, self. And these books tell us that we are smart and good and idealistic, moralistic, fantastic. But what if we were to accept that we're just not those things? And instead of spreading this self-help mentality, you plant your mistakes so those after you can pick the flowers they find most beautiful and throw out the rest, instead of trying to believe they are inherently tremendously, wonderous human beings.

I'll tell you where I'm going with this. In FSF article "Wait Till You Have Children of Your Own", he speaks of this mentality. Instead of building oneself up so he can be an example to his children, FSF argues that you tell your children not to look to them or their elders "who know better" and thus deserve respect. Here are some excerpts that I found intriguing:
There are three who believe the children should be an improvement on their parents, who want their children not to follow blindly in their steps but rather to profit from their mistakes. (pg. 73)
Before a man is thirty he has already accumulated, along with a little wisdom, a great quantity of dust and rubbish in his mind, and the difficulty is to let the children profit by what is wise without unloading the dust and rubbish on them too. (pg. 73)
We don't need to perfect ourselves to be great mothers and fathers, older brothers and sisters. Keep your flaws and make them apparent. Do not hide them thinking this will keep your children from being flawed. But don't "unload the dust and rubbish on them" as FSF says. It's a fine balance.
Never had faith in the destiny of man reached such a height as during the nineties--seldom has it ebbed so low as it has now. (pg. 73)
I like this sentence because it shows how our centuries are almost like mirrors. Do we not think our own decade has been so high and so low? Generations separate us, but our thinking is shared.
...that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool. (pg.74)
I laughed when I read "beautiful little fool" because there is a book about this point in time called Beautiful Fools. I wonder if the title was derived partially from this article. FSF goes on to say that this is a pessimistic view and we do not want our girls to be beautiful fools.
...that isn't at all what his own father said to him way back in 1896. The older man probably talked something like this: "I want you to be a success. I want you to work hard and make a lot of money. Don't let anybody cheat you, and don't cheat anybody else, or you'll get put in jail. Remember, you're an American and we're much better than any other race, so just remember that everything we don't believe right here in this nation is pretty sure to be wrong. I went to college and I ready the papers, so I ought to know."
You recognize this? It is the philosophy of the nineteenth century, the philosophy of personal selfishness and national conceit that led to the Great War and was indirectly responsible for the bloody deaths of many million young men. (pg. 75)
I ask you, "Do you recognize this?" Time and age move forward, but the seeds we plant harvest either flowers or grow into weeds in the yards of future generations.

There are several more pages of excerpts that speak to these same concepts, but honestly, I'd like to stop here and leave you with this. I still need time to digest myself. This article challenged my own thinking, thinking that I've held for years. And this article has helped me far better than many self-help articles and books I've read.

I've known for a very long time the thoughts held and words spoke by my mother were a bunch of quack. I've known she was dysfunctional once I realized I was dysfunctional because of her, and I lived in a dysfunctional house in which I was the scapegoat. She reflected her attitude and opinions on me. She wasn't the bitch; I was. She had to walk on egg shells; not me. She knows better than I because she's been on this earth longer than me and she brought me into this world in which she knows so much about. Had she thought, "I don't want my daughter to believe what I believe. I want her to form her own feelings about herself, about others, about where she fits in to this world." Instead, she unloaded her dust and her rubbish that was unloaded on her by her parents.

But I'm stopping this cycle. I'm taking this article to heart and you can agree or disagree with FSF's words or my agreement with his words. But this article speaks to the cycle of my own family, cycles of generations as far back as can be fathomed, cycles that have been passed on by my mother's mother's mother's mother. This is not to let my father escape without cyclical dysfunction. But I grew up with my mom's bullshit therefore I'm talking about her bullshit.

I'll share more excerpts in posts to come. In the meantime, I encourage you to get F.Scott Fitzgerald: A Short Autobiography. The articles in it are fantastic. If you disagree with the excerpts I have included above, this is even more of a reason to read A Short Autobiography. FSF will challenge your thinking and what you "know" to be true.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Short Chat: the Jazz Age and Wheel of Fortune

I have to admit: I am just a little obsessed with the jazz age, specifically the Fitzgerald's and Hemmingway. How do I know this? In the past month I purchased the following books:

  • Call Me Zelda
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald-A Short Biography
  • Z
  • Beautiful Fools
  • a lot of F. Scott's books: the Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise, etc.
  • Mrs. Hemmingway
  • Hemmingway's Girls
You would think I'm a reading fool. But I am ignorantly, equally obsessed with Phrase Wheel, an app that mimics Wheel of Fortune. I can't stop playing. I also can't stop buying books.

Anyways, I started this post to tell you about one book:  F. Scott Fitzgerald-A Short Biography. It's a collection of personal writings from the author, and I love them all! One in particular that I recommend you to read is titled "What I Think and Feel at 25." At first I thought, 25 -- really? At 25 I was a hot mess. I don't think I had much wisdom to impart at that age. Now, 35 will be a different story. Here's a link to this article/journal writing: http://grammar.about.com/od/classicessays/a/What-I-Think-And-Feel-At-25-By-F-Scott-Fitzgerald.htm

Happy reading! Now it's time for Phrase Wheel.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Back in the Swing of Things

I went about a week without my ADHD medication because I ignorantly mismanaged taking my medications (i.e., taking multiple doses). I will not do that again. This was the last time, because that week I was miserable. No motivation. No concentration. Just miserable.

I know others have experienced this same struggle. Taking your medicines as prescribed, especially when you're experiencing certain emotions, diagnoses, or ailments. But I didn't go to medical school, and I certainly don't get paid $300 an hour, so it's probably best if I follow my doctor's orders. Why spend the money on medications and physician visits if I'm just going to do things my own way?

So I'm back. Currently updating my resume. I'm looking for more, more fullfilment in my career, more utilization of the degree I worked so hard to obtain. My current role does not stretch me mentally or professionally. I want to be stretched, pushed to my limit so I can grow and just plain get better at my profession.

I've been socializing more, and actually went to an after-work function with my fiancie and a few of his coworkers. I never go anywhere with him and his friends. I feel so awkward, out of place, paranoid. I'm becoming quite confident in my lunches and happy hours with my own coworkers, still with a sense of "what do I look/sound/think like" but not as loud as before. I'm getting better -- sushi roll by sushi roll by mohito.

And that brings me to my drinking. Non-existent! I went to happy hour this past week, had two drinks and drank 10 glasses of water. I no longer feel I have to get "buzzed" or drunk to loosen up and act more myself. My true self is not drunk. My true self is stable, interesting, smart, introspective, and forever growing.

So I'm back. And I'm staying back.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Midnight Type: The Mental Health Stigma

Let me start by saying that this post is my simple thoughts and personal experience and not meant to be a research essay or psychology correct. It's just me and the keyboard.

I've had a couple breakdowns that my boss witnessed and was told about (by me). Talked to her privately and showed my mental weakness. I am regretting this decision.

You never show weakness, especially at work and especially to your boss and even more especially when it involves your mental health. Ugh.

I feel I've lost her respect and faith in me, lost any view she had of me as a strong professional in control. I am now regretting and feeling ostracized and on the "outs" with her.

Mental health is just misunderstood if understood at all unless you've experienced it first hand. Again, this is my opinion. No one "gets" depression. No one "gets" night terrors and panic attacks. Unless you've had them.

Even coworkers. Other females I thought I could confide in, I am regretting doing so for all the same reasons as my boss. And part of me just wants to say "fuck it."

I am in the beginning stages of looking for another job. I am not doing what I was told I'd be doing. Everyone from the top to the bottom is resigning. They know something I do not, but I was told to "get out now." So I am.

Still, part of me knows this job hunting has something to do with my regrets, my weakness shown, my reputation shot. Part of me just knows. Because that's what I do. I fuck up what's important then run to the hills for a fresh start.

I'm tired now, literally and in aspect to this mental health struggle of mine. Sure, I'm strides ahead to where I once was, with hope and even bouts of excitement about my life and life in general. But still, the regrets of showing my weakness remain, with the "old" Klately peeking her head over the fence into this new home I've built.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Juice to Lose

I'm on day 3 of a 7 day juice detox. I cheated today and had boiled eggs with a piece of whole grain bread. The terrible headache I had subsided. I believe this food was necessary. I had a pretty intense workout this evening, burning off that forbidden food. I'm doing okay otherwise. I miss food, and eating, and I realize how much more I truly appreciate having anything I want to eat.

I signed up for rowing classes - 30 days for $30. I like it so far, and can see myself becoming addicted. A monthly membership is outrageous, but the workouts push me to my limit, so maybe the expense is worth it.

More to come...and time to finish my beet, carrot, apple, and ginger juice.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Midnight Type: Disturbing Creation

I sure am tired of writing these cleverly named blog posts this late/early, depending on how you view the day.

I made up a story in my head, which helped to calm me. But this story was anything but calm. It involved captivity and torture, pain and despair. But it calmed me. Why?

Maybe it's the New York Times next bestseller. What does the world need more of - triumph over minor (arguably)  events, or triump over grotesque circumstance such as what I created in my mind tonight?

Even Silence Has an End was my inspiration for this horror tale. Captive in the jungle, puss-ridden feet raw and infected from miles of walking. Forced to play Russian Roulette with the only comrades you've come to know. Lashings for minor infractions. Shitting next to your tent. Vomiting from the parasite-infested water you were forced to drink. Hearing your fellow captives writh in pain and sadness at night. This all makes for a compelling story. Yet I am disturbed to have created such a monstrous tale.

Do horror novelists feel this same guilt and wonder? I'm led and intrigued to expand on this story. Creativity comes in many forms. And this form just happens to be morbid.

I have terrible night tremors. Disturbing dreams to say the least. Perhaps this story is calming because it's putting the power of such a story in my hands. I've taken these nightmares and did something with them, instead of remaining in fear of falling asleep.

My shame and worry over this tumultuous tale has lessened, and I'm ready to fall asleep powerful and in control.

Here's to hoping I expand on my story...and get some rest tonight.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Midnight Type: Let's Get the Day Started

So I couldn't sleep tonight...well yesterday to be exact. So I thought, "Let's just get the day started. I can blog. I can craft. I can get on my Etsy account and adjust some listings. I can take my Vyvanse." There. That's it. The big one. Vyvanse.

As I sit here typing to whoever wants to read someone's sleepless ramblings, this is where my mind starts going crazy. Did I really just want to take my medication that makes me feel good? Why do I want to feel good? Why do I not feel good? Am I excited about the day (Monday, really?)? WHAT AM I! Oh how I have asked this question over and over and over.....

Is anyone else struggling with their ADHD medication? Dumb question. It's one of the most abused drugs out there. Because it makes you feel so good, good enough to blog at THREE IN THE MORNING. I have to start getting ready for work in about an hour. Now that makes me tired.

Maybe I'll just lay in bed and enjoy the good feeling and think of rainbows and unicorns. Okay, maybe not unicorns. My blog readers? I currently have 11 followers. In 5 years I've managed to get 11 followers. If you're reading this, and like this post, or don't like it, follow me.

Wow. I've resorted to bluntly asking people to follow me. I really do have good stuff to read, aside from these ramblings. So check me out, while I try to check out and get an hour of rest.

Not happening. Who am I kidding?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Midnight Type: Truths and Troubles

It's midnight and I can't sleep. I have a lot on my mind and drugs (prescribed) in my body so I'm just going to ramble. Not every post has to be eloquent, right?

My sister is getting married to a man she's only known 6 months and who has a criminal record dating back to 2008. He has been arrested and in prison every year. My sister has 3 kids, daughters, by 2 different men, and I suspect she may possibly be pregnant again. Why rush to the alter? "We want to do everything in the right order, to live right by God," she says. He's a newfound believer, a changed man he tells the family. Well, tells my dad and stepmom because they are the only ones who have ever met him as well as my other sister and brother-in-law. Met 6 months ago, engaged for 1 week, marriage this Friday.

I worry for her and her kids. They've moved from apartment to apartment every year, from boyfriend to boyfriend. It reminds me so much of my childhood. It's like their lives are being determined as I write. At least now, and for the next several years until, hopefully, they realize there's more to life than your mother's fucked up problems. I've been in and out of counseling, on and off medication my whole life, due to trauma and neglect as a child. It's apparent my fears and worries for my nieces stem from my personal experiences.

I, too, went from boyfriend to boyfriend, apartment to apartment, city to city for quite some time. Part of me was "living it up" while the other part of me was dying. Drinking, drugs, and datiing make one hell of a mix. But I've grown. Stabilized. I still stumble, fall face down sometimes. But it's temporary and not disabling as it once was. But still, I fall. I hate that I fall.

Fall means fail in my book. And the thought of failing at anything, especially now that the stakes are so high - successful career, soon-to-be Mrs., and my progress. It's almost like I'm a recovering addict. My stability is my sobriety. And maybe a little bit of actual recovery from addiction - alcohol, men, self-sabotage and anger. I've made progress. I hope my nieces will progress and free themselves of their circumstance. Your life is not defined by circumstance. Persistence, forgiveness, patience, unconditional love for yourself, your whole self -- this is my life experience.

I've been thinking of people from my past who I have hurt, who I have let down. Particularly beach boy. I really loved him. Maybe it was artificial and fairytale-ish, but I felt real love. And a night of heavy drinking and my small self showing it's ugly face ruined it. Everything happens the way it should, in the order it should as determined by God. I'm supposed to be here, but still, my hurting heart hurt others. I'm thinking of my nieces and long ago classmates -- all I can do is pray and hope that is why they are in my thoughts. Maybe it's my progress taking me back, not in a bad way but taking me back to times that have since past, people I have come across, and who made some sort of impression on me -- it's this impression I need to figure out. Why is the red headed boy who's mom was my English teacher in third grade in my head? His name was Andy. And Andrew whose dad was a dentist and would visit our classroom and give us floss and those chewy red pills that showed if you had cavities. Stuart Little for goodness's sakes -- I'm thinking of Stuart Little -- not even a real man! But I do know why -- Mrs. Gordon gave me an old copy of Stuart Little in first grade and wrote "Keep on reading!" I haven't let her down.

Then there's -- dun dun dun -- my mother. She's falling fast and hard and alone, with no one to keep her company except her small self and her dog Bandit. She has pushed away her three daughters, lost her home, and is living alone in an apartment -- just as her mother did, and her mother's mother. I have broken the curse, as has my youngest sister. But this middle sister is following in her footsteps faster than she can run. But my nieces, those three little girls, so impressionable and vulnerable. Will they break the curse of the one who has not broken her own?

This is my truth. My life as I live it now.

May you live your own truth well.

--KL--