Just Checking In

I’m embarrassed by my entry yesterday.

I was hoping that writing would help me process things and help me get through the day in a better state of mind. It doesn’t seem to be working out that way. I’m not sure how helpful this blog is.

The people I’ve meet here have been great. Very helpful. But I don’t seem to be any better off making these entries.

What I need. What I would think we all need. Is a support system. I have no family or friends. It’s not right to weigh my son down with my own issues. He’s a child and needs my support. He needs to grow up the way all children should. He seems happy and is doing well. I’m very proud of him.

My wife and I have difficulty connecting. It’s been a very long road and there’s a lot of healing which needs to be done. I’m completely devoted to our marriage, but there’s been a lot of misunderstandings and hurts on both sides. It will take time to heal and rebuild.

I’m just tired of the pain. Tired of fending it off all the time. I’ve just never had a support system. I’ve never wanted to admit that I needed anyone else because many of the people I’ve worked with or been around have proven hurtful and untrustworthy. Many others have been very decent people, but they’ve retreated or changed the subject when I’ve tried to discuss what’s been going on. Friendships take time to build and the level of intimacy required to discuss deep issues isn’t always possible. There are different types and levels of friendship and that’s fine. I just haven’t been able to find the sort of folks whom I could share my deeper struggles. Lots of really nice folks out there. Just none whom I could look to for support.

I walk. I go to therapy once a week. I try different techniques at home. I research different possibilities to see if there’s something I’m missing or an incorrect perspective I have. I try to process emotion as best as I can, but I just can’t…seem…to be free of it. I even took medication for a while and that was a complete disaster. Medication can help, but it needs to be the proper medication for the appropriate issue.

I’m tired of hearing “just get over it.” I’m tired of hearing “that was in the past and your here now.” The thing about complex trauma is that these things aren’t in the past, they’re living, breathing creatures alive and well within. The challenge is to process and dissipate the emotional energy which feeds and nurtures them. A support system would help.

I don’t want to feel or be this way anymore. I’ve tried everything I can think of and done research and sought help from all the appropriate people. I won’t quit, but this situation is very frustrating and discouraging.

Don’t know. Just thought I’d touch base.

We’ll just have to see how it all goes.

We well, all,

Theseus

Swimming Through The Seas And Struggling To The Surface…Venting And Random Thoughts

A Frosty Morning At “Black Rock Sanctuary” – Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

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@ 4:34 PM – Challenging day again.

Doing what I can to process things and maintain something of a more healthy perspective and balance. The challenge is that the underlying emotions are still seething and boiling beneath. Unless I feel cornered and prodded, I’m not one who acts out. I turn inward and retreat from the world. I disassociate, cutting myself off from the world and live, submerged, drowning, deeply within a realm of all the memories and experiences which press down upon me. It’s like being at the bottom of the ocean; the darkness, the pressure of intense emotion crushing in from all sides, disoriented, aimless drifting with no point of reference. Alone, deep in the dark, cold waters.

I took a walk this morning. I really didn’t want to. I don’t want to do anything. I find it difficult to do anything – whether or not it’s a healthy, positive choice or a self-destructive one. I have difficulty making the effort to do anything. It really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other. At times like these I have to say that I really don’t care…one way or the other.

Yet I did talk myself into walking this morning. I suppose that is something. But the purpose of that was to “be active” in order to process all which lay deep within. Physical activity is supposed to help process the pent up “fight or flight” energy of things amassed in those subterranean depths. It may be, but there’s a lot seething and boiling down there and a tea pot whistle doesn’t let much out at any given time. I don’t explode, I turn inward and writhe. I know – I’ve seen all to clearly – physical violence and striking out at others. I’ve seen and been exposed to the consequences. That is not an option as I know it doesn’t help…I thus chose to turn within. I shut down externally and completely turn within.

I’ve been in therapy for over twenty-five years. Some therapists have been helpful and skilled, others have only made things more difficult. With some I didn’t follow beneficial recommendations, with others I would have been better not to listen or go to them at all. Though it may not seem it, I am in a better place than I was thirty years ago. The trauma is something I experienced from before I could stand. Such things are not resolved through positive thinking or a six week therapeutic program. This is a life long journey. A challenge to the very nature of reality I was raised, nurtured and programed within.

Keep your “just think positive” advise to yourself. It reminds me of a Billy Joel song “Pressure“…

Now here you are with your faith
And your Peter Pan advice
You have no scars on your face
And you cannot handle pressure…

All grown up and no place to go
Psych 1, Psych 2
What do you know?
All your life is Channel 13
Sesame Street
What does it mean?…

Don’t ask for help
You’re all alone
Pressure
You’ll have to answer
To your own
Pressure
I’m sure you’ll have some cosmic rationale
But here you are in the ninth
Two men out and three men on
Nowhere to look but inside
Where we all respond to
Pressure…

My life has been a bit different than the “just think positive” crowd. I appreciate well meaning, positive folks who don’t understand the advise that they try to give. I grew up a bit different. I grew up in the Overlook hotel, with room 237 wide open.

WARNING! This is a very disturbing clip (Overlook Hotel)

That’s the “G” rated version I lived with every day. That doesn’t show what happened before. Nor does it show what happened after. Those are things which can’t be shown. Those are things which none could understand unless they lived it.

***

I need to stop myself. I know that I’m just “feeding” that darkness and giving it more power. I know all too well that this has been part of the problem. I digest what I feed myself and that only nurtures what I become.

As I’m writing, I can see and feel my deliberateness in manifesting all that I was taught by all the people I should never have listened to (or believed). Yes, there is a pull – in fact a craving – to continue down that path of thinking and feeling, but I also know where that takes me…and I know that isn’t the “inner core” of who I am.

I’m certainly not any “shiny happy person.” But I’m grimly determined to slay that Minotaur and find my way out of the maze.

Yes, I struggle with pain. Yes, I struggle with the darkness. But I have always had a vision that there is more to it all than that. This vision comes from that “inner core” of who and what I really am. If such a reality doesn’t exist, I will it to be so within myself. Somehow, I’m too damn stubborn to let go of the dream…even if I live my days in the nightmare. I’m not special or enlightened, I’m just too god-damned stubborn to quit on a way of life and being which I believe to be more real than my pain and the surrounding darkness.

I get angry with life, myself, other people, and I allow myself to be controlled and manipulated by the mere memory of things. I become angry and despondent and then I try to strike out at the world the way Xerxes tried to punish the sea. Within myself I command that darkened sea to be lashed with whips and for chains to be cast upon it. But like the wrath of Xerxes, how helpful has that been? Not so much, but that is where I focus my anger…upon inanimate waters.

I’m sure I seem all over the place, but I’ve been working on this entry for some hours now and trying to feel my way through my day.

The first part is raw, blind emotion. The second part, my struggle to swim to the surface. I’m reaching it now and gasping for air, before I’m pulled back into the depths.

I am Spartacus! I will not quit. I will not yield. I will not submit (even though the struggle might kill me). I refuse to give in to the darkness. I refuse to abide by the assumptions I’ve been taught.

I will…not…yield. I will become the man I’ve seen in my dreams…the man I am meant to be…the man who I truly am.

*****

Sorry for the weird entry. Knowing you are all out there has helped and writing to you has helped me struggle through this stuff today.

I wish you all peace and a sense of repose.

Theseus

P.S. Here are some vids that came to mind while I was writing this…

Corey Hart, “Never Surrender

Evanescence, “Wake Me Up Inside

Puddle Of Mudd, “Blurry

Nickelback, “Burn It To The Ground
I know this is a drinking song, but I couldn’t find anything with this much energy which seemed to exemplify my determination

Blind Melon, “No Rain
A bit of a druggie song, but is as mellow as I strive to be.

Evening Is Here – The Beast Is Loose Within The Maze…Within Myself

A Bit Grainy, But This Is Center City Philadelphia From The Steps Of The “Franklin Institute

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@ 10:24 PM – Just got back from a movie with my son. Tonight went well and we both had a really good time. Last night was tough. My wife, son and I went to the local mall just to walk around and then we had dinner at a restaurant. Last night I struggled with a great many things from my physical symptoms to all that happened the previous week.

I think the thing which helped is I spent most of the day writing and reading blogs. I got lost in the process and it was helpful to spend time within that space.

It’s strange, when I was single, I was desperately lonely and the only thing I really wanted was to find a partner, a soul-mate, where it would be us against the world and not caring about all the craziness which surrounds us here in the North-East US. Now that I’ve been with my wife for so many years, I’ve come to find that I treasure my solitude and my time alone. It’s not that I regret my family or don’t love them deeply, it’s just that part of my issue has been setting boundaries with others. I give all that I have and all that I am…but then become angry and resentful about the results and consequences of it. This gives my wife mixed messages which have been difficult for her to understand and I’ve been working on trying to be consistent with my offers as well as my expectations.

One of the challenges have been nights like tonight. There have been times when my wife has been working or out with friends where I initially said (and honestly meant) that all was well and it was fine. But later in the evening I grew angry at her absence and lack of communicating. There’s a great deal of history, as well as background, here and I need to stick to my own issues. I can only say that my wife is as loving and giving as I have tried to be and, in the past, she had certain friends and acquaintances who wanted all her time and attention – to the exclusion of my son and I.

We’ve made our way through and worked out a better way of relating and of setting expectations. The trouble is – one of my troubles – is that there is still a great deal of anger and resentment which can still flair up in the evenings. This, even though those other friends are no longer an issue.

Writing tonight is putting things in perspective and helping me to be present with the life which now is. This is one reason why I wanted to write this blog. If I don’t stay present, I laps back into that world which was – a world even before I met my wife. That is a world in which emotion and old patterns of thought invoke the darkness as well as that Minotaur within the maze I then wander. That’s why I named this blog what I did. As I search and strive to find my way out, there’s always that primal presence, that beast, stalking me in the darkness. When I’m not “present,” I run on the habits and assumptions of the past – it’s an “automated” way of living which only sees darkness, only feels pain, only experiences anxiety and dread – and is always hopeless and helpless.

I’m not trying to say I found some magical formula and everything is great now. They’re not and I still feel as if I’m lashed down by these peculiar emotional restraints.

I’ve been trying to find my way through the maze since 2014, trying any number of things in stumbling forward. Until now, and even now, I hear the beast off in the darkness, coming ever closer, and I haven’t yet been able to even get far enough away to prevent it from finding and brutalizing me again.

I don’t need my parents or their family anymore, the beast they created now lives within.

It is possible to be free of it. To defeat it and find my way out. This is something that I can only say I believe. Oddly, though I have no hope, I still believe it’s possible to slay and dispel it. It’s a strange contradiction which I can’t explain: I FEEL it’s hopeless, but I KNOW it can be overcome.

Writing helped in the past. But since the difficulties of a few years ago, I haven’t been able to write much. Joining this blogging community seems to help. Even if I’m just sending these words out into the ether (and no one every sees or reads it), somehow this type of writing does seem to help.

We’ll have to see. I’ll keep trying different things until I find something which works. I may never find a path or way which ultimately resolves all this (or at least makes it manageable). Thing is, I’m too stubborn to quit. My stubbornness has made my issues more difficult to address, but it’s also been helpful in not let me give up completely. In this way, I’m fortunate.

We’ll just have to see. I can only be grateful that today has gone better than the previous week and that I’ve been able to at least hide from that Minotaur (for today), if not beat it back or kill it.

Right now is for right now. Tomorrow is something I’ll work to not think about until that day begins.

As always, I wish you all a sense of peace and repose,

Theseus

Upon Further Reflection…

Watching the video links from my last entry.

It’s very odd that my son is more like spongebob, while I’m more like Trent Reznor (character in the video).

WARNING…the Trent Reznor video is disturbing and has drug references!

I don’t know how a sweet, beautiful mind like my son’s could have come from one so troubled as mine. Yet I don’t ask such questions. I’m just grateful that he lives within the world that he does and not within mine.

Though In Pain, I “Can’t Stop Dancin'”

A meadow on a foggy morning in Valley Forge National Park

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Though it’s been a tough week, it’s been interesting.

I live in a very deep darkness, yet I do what I can to shield my child from all I find to be what is normal for me.

When my son was young, he was very physically ill and severely autistic. So much so that I thought I would have to feed and dress him for the rest of his life. My wife and I did everything we could think of and followed every procedure (however bizarre) we could find. I have no idea if any of it had an effect, but we certainly weren’t willing to just pass him off and allow what others called the inevitable to happen. We did, in what is my opinion, some very odd therapies and interventions and we did them to a degree and extent which many would find extreme. However, from that day to this, there has been such an improvement that he is now in “regular” classes and is almost completely self sufficient.

I mention this because of the darkness which remains within myself.

Asside from the struggles my child faced, there were increasing social and career pressures upon me which have led to my current issues. I had to sacrifice my progress for his benefit. In the dark days of his illness and struggles, the anxiety and stress led my wife and I do fight on the same side, but jump into different foxholes where we sometimes even shot at each other. Life is strange as I’d already had enough to deal with. The quote that “that which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” is a bunch of crap. That which doesn’t kill me maims and debilitates me so that I’m left crawling on the ground, blind and debilitated. It hasn’t made me any stronger…it’s only made the rest of my journey more painful and difficult.

Yet through it all, perhaps because of it all, I’ve always striven to offer my child the best of who I am without the baggage and issues of who I am. This is a very complicated and involved subject which I can’t fully relay here. I also don’t mean to assert that I have any special knowledge, special strength or hidden truth: I’ve met far too many people who claim to know any number of things, but who have been charlatans or flat out lairs.

The bottom line is that I’ve always striven to give my child all I feel I didn’t have for myself – I want to do for others, what I felt no one did for me. My original compass for this was simply that I knew what I didn’t want and what I found painful, so I strove to give him at least what I knew I didn’t want for myself when I was younger. This perspective, this goal, made the focus of my efforts rather easy – difficult as the practice of being a parent has been.

I write this because of the week my child has had. He has had exams this week in all his classes and my own issues made me highly anxious for him: It was very tempting to project my own feelings and issues of failure (and lack of perfection) onto him.

Yet the only thing I told my child all through the week was that “the only thing mama and I expect and demand from you is best effort.” We didn’t care what his grades actually were. All we expected and demanded from him was best effort for study and taking the tests. I realize that in this world the mantra is that the only thing that counts is “winning.” However, I’ve never found that to be adequate. I’ve grown up around many “winners” and have seen a darkness within them which rivals my own: No matter how many times such people “win” it’s never enough and it’s something which ultimately consumes their soul…all to no end.

The only thing I expect and demand from my child is best effort and personal excellence. All else are details.

I told my child this every day when we were going to school, and by Wednesday he had begun to play the Pharrell Williams song “Happy” every morning while I was taking him to school. We sang and bounced around in the car so much that it swayed as we drove down the road. While at red lights, people in other cars looked at us as if we were crazy. On Friday, he felt so good about his efforts on the mid terms that he was playing the Tustin Timberlake video “Can’t stop this Feeling!” for himself on the way home. While the song was playing, he was bouncing around and waving his hands as if he was actually in the original video. As I pulled into our driveway, he told me “you know, papa…I like being happy.” This, almost as an afterthought.

This is not any commentary about my child or me. It’s not a commentary about anyone elses children or parenting styles. I’ve struggled for the better part of twenty years to work through whatever my own personal challenges are so that I can give the best of what lay within myself to the marriage and child I’ve committed to. I’m fortunate that while my spouse and child often don’t understand me or what I’ve been through, they’ve been able to appreciate all I’ve attempted to offer – as the best part of my most inner self.

I haven’t been perfect. I’ve made many mistakes and been angry and emotional with them in ways which make me feel embarrassed and defensive. But I refuse to give up and if my child is actually functional and we’ve actually shared the week that we’ve had together, then things may not be as bad as I feel them to be.

This is not an “everything is wonderful” story. I continue to feel constant, deep emotional pain which largely immobilizes me from daily functioning. I can take my child to and from school and sit with him while he studies. I can offer support and love, though I boil inside with a depth of pain which he, thankfully, can’t even fathom. But I’ve been able to do enough that his go to songs are “Happy” and “Can’t Stop This Feeling!” rather than my “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” (Smashing Pumpkins). Thankfully, his world…and my world…seem to be very different.

I’m no hero. I have no exceptional strength. My child does see my darkness seeping out of me at times and this does bother him. I can’t completely hide it or protect him from that, I can only do what I can. But I seem to have done enough that his world is much more bright and positive than mine…and for this I’m just plain grateful.

Hope my “profound bablings” make some sense.

Be Well And At Peace,

Theseus (fightingtheminotaur)

Our “Hidden River” and “Little Brook Of Life”

Black Rock Sanctuary in Phoenixville, PA

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Yesterday morning, before I met with a new therapist, I had gone out for a walk in in a continued effort to process and work through my issues and challenges. The place where I took a walk was on the banks of the Schuylkill river (which winds it’s way through the city of Philadelphia, then into the Delaware River and then on into the Atlantic ocean). I always thought “Schuylkill” was an Indian word – A Lenapi Indian word from before the arrival of Europeans. Interestingly, though, this is actually a Dutch word meaning “hidden river.”

As I walked along the bank, one of my favorite poems came to mind.

Emily Dickenson (1890), “Have You Got A Brook”

Have you got a brook in your little heart,
Where bashful flowers blow,
And blushing birds go down to drink,
And shadows tremble so?

And nobody knows, so still it flows,
That any brook is there
And yet your little drought of life
Is daily drunken there.

Then look out for the little brook in March,
When the rivers overflow,
And the snows come hurrying from the hills,
And the bridges often go.

And later on, in August it may be,
Whilst the meadows parching lie,
Beware, lest this little brook of life
Some burning noon go dry!

“Hidden River”…”Brook Of Life”…I would think this sounds familiar to all of us.

As always, I wish you peace.

Theseus (fightingtheminotaur)

 

Stuck In The Bog

Picture of Lake George, New York (This is the setting of James Fenimore Cooper’s book “The Last of the Mohicans”) – This was 2015 trip with my family.

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It’s been a challenging week. Getting myself to write anything or look through the blogs here is taking a great deal of effort. While I do have a reasonable level of talents and abilities, the fact that I’m now trying to write things which others will see creates and “active resistance” which just about completely shuts me down. Typing each word is onerous. Trying to write out a coherent entry is impossible.

Right now, this is the best I can do.

As painful as this is, I must admit that it’s quite interesting. I understand my past, but even so, how did I end up here? How did I end up this way?

Though troubling, it’s quite fascinating.

I hope you are well and wish you peace,

Theseus (fightingtheminotaur)