ups and downs

  May 13th, 2009 by upliftinglydotcom

I’ve never really understood things the way others seem to and I often feel out of place.  It seems just when I start feeling good about life and feel like there is something I can really get behind and feel proud about supporting, I get shot down by obstacles and people (sometimes those few who are close to me).  I’ve always had a view of the world tinted by dreamer’s eyes, and so realism isn’t exactly always my forte.  I can get passionate about anything, but I can also get down and out about anything.  At the drop of a hat I can turn from one extreme to another, and sometimes it feels like the ups are getting more manic and the lows are getting deeper.  I have a big issue understanding people and circumstances, a lot of times I get confused and miscommunication seems to follow me everywhere.  I have, at times, severe social anxiety which is teamed with schizophrenia, OCD, OCPD, ADHD, and sometimes various manias and phobias.  I’ve been in and out of asylums and mental care facilities since 6th grade.

A lot of it started in 1st grade, because for half the school year my teacher abused me emotionally, verbally, physically and sexually.  I was already afraid of the dark and claustrophobic and she would often lock me in the closet (on good days that’s all that would happen), sometimes through lunch.  I was a trusting child and thankfully had very caring parents, but unfortunately I trusted them so much that I had that view of them that many children have of adults they trust which is the belief of them to be all powerful and all knowing, especially where comfort is concerned.  So I assumed that the abuse I was receiving from my teacher was not abuse but aptly-given punishment, and chocked it up to “well, I must be a bad kid”.  Of course, I have reconciled this, but having gone half the school year like that at an early age greatly shaped the way I think about things and how I approach social situations.

One thing that sticks out in my mind is that she had flash cards with words spelled out on them. It was my turn, and she showed me the word “saw” and instructed me to use it in a sentence.  Apparently, she was looking for the past tense of “see”, but I assumed that she meant a cutting saw.  So I used it in a sentence as such.  She instantly snapped and towered over me and gave me probably the worst beating I have ever had while screaming at me, then locked me away for the rest of the day.  That one stuck with me for awhile and has caused a lot of fear of miscommunication.  That fear usually manifests itself in me overanalyzing situations and asking too many questions in conversations (or just sitting there awkwardly, paralyzed), and at times the fear of the miscommunication seems to actually bring about a miscommunication.

Aside from that, I have other issues, but I’m making progress I think.

Anyway, I was doing fine until my wife and mother of my two children left with them for another man last year.  I was on the phone driving when she told me she was with someone else now and wanted to leave me, and my first instinct was to just drop the phone and curdle into the fetal position.  My car plowed into a parked tractor trailer at 80 MPH and I almost died.  I was so hurt and empty that even as it became harder to breathe and the emergency workers on the emergency hospital helicopter they flew me on became less and less hopeful.  I would come to now and again and hear them chattering in low tones about my stats as if they were just waiting for me to die any second.  I was still so shattered and sad that I felt relieved.

I recovered remarkably with but some head trauma to show for it, and got some medical and mental attention to help me get more stable.  I was able to set up a makeshift support system for myself through a few very caring and selfless friends and family members, which I am most fortunate for.  Still, it seemed like every day was an unbearable journey.  I felt guilty about having tried to kill myself mainly because of my children, and even guiltier because I still had suicidal thoughts.

Months later I tried again, this time by taking 60 nerve pills.  My mother found me and noticed that I needed medical attention and rushed me to the hospital after finding my empty bottle and they got me treated, but I was out of it for a few days.  Even then as I regained consciousness and had to stay in a mental institution, I felt like I was floating in a dream and didn’t feel remorse.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my children very much and I feel guilty as far as wanting to die sometimes, but I felt trapped and hopeless and like everything had been taken away from me.  The thing that had been getting me through the years and helping me progress as I had was that I knew I had a family at home that I could provide for that loved me and it was suddenly ripped away.

This past year has been incredibly rough on me and those that have tried to support me.  I know a lot of people here aren’t fortunate enough to have as many people helping them right now as have helped me, but in retrospect I can see that every little bit does help.  If the area you live in doesn’t yield any help, try looking in other parts of your area.  Try visiting CouchSurfing.com for people nearby that you can stay with for a few days.  Look into hotlines and Safe Places.  There are shelters and support groups.  The main thing that I experienced is it always helped when I knew that someone was listening.  Even if they couldn’t relate to my experience, they could relate to my depression.  If there isn’t any of those things that help, keep talking online to people.

Create art, express your feelings on paper and in paint or in whatever art medium you enjoy most.  Don’t hold back and just throw all that negativity out into art.  Plant a flower and watch it grow, help it grow.  There are all kinds of things to do that actually do help, and if you can find enough of those little things, it ends up being enough to get you through.

I know when you are feeling down and hopeless and lost and trapped and angry and all of the above that when people try to cheer you the natural reaction is “pfffbt, easier said than done, wtf do you know, you can’t just switch on happiness or at least i cant and thats the problem”.

But I also know that it helps to know that other people have the same feelings and issues, and a lot of us eventually get through things to lead happy lives.

I believe everyone deserves happiness and can attain it, and my friends have helped me realize this.  I have resolved the conflict with my ex-wife and her boyfriend and now all 3 of us work together peacefully as a parenting team to make sure we are all on the same page as far as the children getting what they need.  I’m a new person since recently, and I don’t even feel sadness over her anymore.  I’m happy for them and he’s good to the kids, and it isn’t like he’s replacing me.  It’s more like they got an extra trustworthy adult in their lives that cares about them.  I know this all seems like a stretch especially after merely a year, but it just works for me.  The events this past year have opened up my heart and in retrospect I got through things because of friends, family and random acts of kindness as well as the intrinsic beauty of nature.

Those things that make you smile, even if but for a second.. be it the wind, or a silly dance you see someone do, or the purring of a kitten.. whatever brings you those small moments of happiness, cherish them and savor them!

Let them happen when they try. Don’t fight someone trying to warm your heart and make you smile, let yourself dance with them.  Silly words to say, I know, but it works.  Even if just for a second.

I made a website because of all of this where people post things to cheer other people up and I’m trying to go about spreading smiles on the streets and everywhere I go.

This might all be too much to try to take in, I know 6 months ago I might have scoffed at this post.

I just want you to know that it does get better.  There are people out here who care about you even when they do not know you.  There is always something around to smile about if you look for it.  You are not alone.  We do not care who you are or what you have done or will do or what you look like, we love you and we accept you.  Take a moment to consider that this might be part of a cycle and you may feel better soon.  Remember that people aren’t psychic and they do not know when you are down.  If you need help or someone to talk to, let someone know what’s going on.  Don’t assume that you appear to be depressed to others and that they aren’t helping you because they don’t care.  They might not be able to tell just by looking at you.  There’s been times when I’ve been nothing but sad yet I’ve been told at those times that people thought I looked like I was angry, in deep thought, stoic, sleepy, bored, even just plain “there”.  No one knew I was severely depressed until I told them about it.  Some of you are having trouble finding people to talk to, but there are people here online at this site that cares at the very least.  Those anonymous suicide hotlines can really help, too.  Those people work at those places as volunteers a lot of times because they want to talk to you and help you get through this.

Just know that you will get through this and find happiness in this life and there are many people out here way out in this wild world that truly love you and want to help you.

I believe in you and I hope you feel better soon.

Love,

James

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