(Don’t mind the “sticker” — I just needed to cover something up.)
Also don’t mind the accidental “2015” date.
(Don’t mind the “sticker” — I just needed to cover something up.)
Also don’t mind the accidental “2015” date.
Summary: This was a really great day. I don’t think I had any mood swings, either (so I’m done counting days).
Sleep: I had terrible, terrible nightmares again last night. They were all about my ex trying to kill me again. Very odd.
Morning: I had my alarms set but I failed to respond very much to them; I managed to hit “snooze” a few times and then I nearly missed the tree planting this morning! I would have slept straight through it but for “Joe” calling me when I didn’t respond to any texts saying I was awake. Man, I really thought I had some momentum going for staying awake-ish in the mornings this week. But I won’t beat myself up over it. And a million thanks to “Joe” for that call, because I am so glad I got to attend the tree planting.
Excerpt(s) from my day: Everybody was so nice and it felt so wonderful to feel like I was helping the community somehow, even if the majority of my help was directed at lopping off the “suckers” and a handful of marked branches on the street-lining adult trees. It was warm and sunny and I actually got slightly sun burned, which is so insane because it’s February, the worst time of winter back Home. My newest friend had shown up, too, so I was not traveling around the city with a bunch of complete strangers. I had a really nice time. And now that I know these members of the group, I hope to attend again soon (although the chance of me getting up on time for it in the future…? We’ll see. I wish to attend Meditation too, and look how that’s been going. But we’ll see! I am hoping that I’m changing my mornings around, even if today was a fail). Later in the day, I got to hang out with “Joe”. I was tired from the morning events and he was tired from the activities of his morning, so it was sooo nice to get to chill out together and watch a little bit more Star Trek TNG. We actually exchanged some candies with each other, even though I’d previously been quite clear about my hatred of VD. I’m glad we had agreed to do that; it turned out to be really sweet (no pun intended, seriously). So in spite of or perhaps because of it being VD (I probably wouldn’t have tried so hard to get to the tree planting otherwise, for instance), it actually turned out to be a really great day. ❤ ❤
Note to dbp49: I even got to talk vermicomposting with one of the ladies whose tree we planted! I will post a picture later on sometime.
Tomorrow: My friend from Meditation is going to join me for a dinner party tomorrow evening. I’m a bit nervous because I haven’t seen her in a while (since I haven’t been attending Meditation and I was out of town the day she spontaneously invited me to lunch). I’m a bit nervous also because there are going to be 17 people attending and there will surely be a lot of alcohol, total strangers to me, and therefore some unpredictability. But then again, I look forward to it because I haven’t seen this friend in such a long time now and she’s so nice. And I’m really excited to speak with a female friend. I feel like that’s really important for me although it’s SO challenging (I don’t tend to know what to say to other females, face-to-face). But she’s super nice and friendly and I’m not too worried about that. I’m more worried about how everything else will go down. So tomorrow, I will get out of bed before 11, and help to CLEAN this house and get it ready for the dinner party. I’d like to throw in a walk if there is time after cleaning (preferably with the dogs).
I didn’t have a clue what to call this one. After doing the barest amount of surfing online, I’ve decided to call it half mental contamination but also half something I made up – associations to people/places/things. It seems similar yet different from the things I’m reading about mental contamination. Maybe you guys will know a better phrase for it.
Wow, it is hard to form my thoughts for this one, because I can’t decide where to begin.
I’m going to use words like “pure” and “unpure” and “tainted”. There
are only two parts of my life for this: Pre-College and Post-College.
Pre-College: From the first day I can remember, I felt “pure” in an indescribable way. I just felt right. Pure. Clean. I was not raised to religion but the Natural world was my church and prayer was daily and there were many things I could do to feel cleansed, much like some religions bathing away sins in holy water, etc. It’s strange to admit this to anyone, and I’m still omitting specifics, but it’s true. I had my own rituals and my own beliefs and I felt special somehow, and important somehow, and clean and like I had a purpose to be here on this planet. I never questioned this and in some ways, I knew EXACTLY who I was. There was something special inside of me.
Post-College: Like I described in my previous post, I returned from my second year of college feeling 100% tainted and no longer supposed to be on this planet. I felt that God wanted me dead, that my purpose was done (whether complete or not) and that anyone I came into contact with, physically or mentally, was getting
contaminated by me too. I felt an urgency to be gone from the world (and was extremely suicidal at this point). I was contaminated inside, afraid to pray for others for fear of contaminating them, and afraid to spread this darkness to others.
I was dissociating all the time for up to two years. The first thing that broke through for me was a stuffed animal dog puppet that I’d had as a child. Literally nothing else broke through to me. Nothing. No person, no thing, nothing else. Just this stuffed animal dog puppet. (I think I’ve discussed this separately in a dissociations post somewhere.) I began to connect with the outer world again by having the dog puppet see things and sort of relay them back to me. It’s like, I could see things only through the safety of the dog puppet’s eyes. So I took him everywhere with me (I also carried a plastic bag and toilet paper everywhere with me, because I was having so much trouble with diarrhea, but that’s a different story).
Anyhoo, so the dog puppet. After the dog puppet, came certain people. Only people I had known from childhood. And later, HERE’S WHAT I FOUND MOST INTERESTING, a certain counselor I saw for less than a year. I had an extremely strong positive association to one particular woman from my childhood. THAT woman highly recommended me this one counselor’s name. And THAT COUNSELOR felt okay to me.
So I learned that I could form a positive association via other associations. Does that make sense? A very, very positively(pure)-associated person from my past actually let a stranger feel pure for me as well.
Armed with this knowledge, I used this process to make sure I “connected” with my dog when I got him. I actually arranged a very convoluted trip for the poor puppy to meet me elsewhere in the country when I was on a vacation. He then traveled with me to another location. He even met my maternal grandma at her old home. Altogether, he met at LEAST 5 of my beloved relatives, not including my own parents. I can’t remember if he also met any of my cousins on that journey.
I connected with him 100%. He is pure in every way and has always been the best decision I ever made. He is 100% pure and nothing I can do, think or say can alter that, because he just is. I cannot taint him.
That’s it. I have connected 100% to nobody and nothing since then. Not even my pony, although I connected with her a little bit, during the time my mom used to come out and visit with me and her. But I lost most of my connection with my pony during marriage.
So here I am today. Dissociating? Very rarely. Pure-feeling? Not a chance. But not as tainted-feeling as I was back when it started. I connect fully to nobody I meet. I’m actually losing the feeling of connection to people I know from my past now, like my aunt and uncle, I guess because I’m learning them in a new way now than when I was a child, and the new versions are not associated with me as a child? I know what I’m trying to say, but explaining it in words is a big challenge. Well, hopefully this has explained it at least a little bit.
Snowflakes falling down
Eyes freezing shut with each blink
Chills inch up your back
The sounds of children
Muffled by the soft, new snow
A darkening sky
With the help of my aunt and cousin, I made it to the meditation center for the solstice ceremony! And I am sooooooooo glad I did. It was wonderful.
When I am there, my mind is calm, I feel accepted, my thoughts are acceptable. There is nothing too negative and nothing too positive for them. It’s probably the most wonderful place on the planet.
Because whatever is happening inside of you, there you are. There is nothing to judge. There is nothing unacceptable. You’re just there and your thoughts are just there. Or they’re not there.
Today, we sat with a Koan: Branches of light are streaming from the darkness. (I do not promise exact phrasing.) My mind was amazingly clear and calm. It seemed to be the most beautiful sentence in the world. I listened to the wind coming in through the window, and the blinds banging against the window with each breeze. Birds and dogs barking, random people milling about outside the building. I repeated the Koan to myself and stayed with it the whole time. I pictured streams of light coming from the darkness but by the end, there was no more darkness and I could no longer picture the Koan. I was so joyful inside and it was a beautiful time for me.
When we discussed our experiences afterward, everyone had such profound things to say. People spoke of lightness and darkness in their lives, their struggles, the good and the bad, the sick and the conflicts in their families. I spoke of the wind coming through the window and felt somewhat foolish, but that’s why I spoke up. I figured, maybe the other people who were not speaking up felt inferior to those bringing up such profound topics.
Also during the sitting, I noticed that my body is in SO much pain. I ache from my eyebrows down to my thighs. I have no idea why. I hadn’t even known I was in so much pain until my thoughts were calm like that and I could feel/hear/see the things around me. Then it was hard to sit without massaging my eyebrow muscles and my shoulders and my thighs… why am I in so much pain?
Happy Solstice, everyone!
I’m writing this out for my own self.
(I’m adding on to this as a I think of more.)
My dad. [I’ve revised this post now that I’m calmer.] It is split into two main sections: First, I describe my brother’s current behaviors, hurt, and blame toward my dad. Then I explain my dad’s behaviors and how the two relate to each other.
The impetus for this post: My brother is currently unwell. He recently went through several major life changes. He moved across the country, changed jobs, had a very intense but abusive relationship that he put all of his energies into, got out of the relationship as it imploded but lost himself very much. His relationship had caused him to sever all ties with friends and be unable to connect with coworkers at the new job. So his support network was pretty threadbare, really. He’s become depressed and extremely, extremely unhappy with himself and his life (it does seem to be on the verge of a turning point, though. He has met a young lady who seems to be clicking with him, and he might have a new job offer soon in a better location).
One of the things he is doing now, though, is blaming everything wrong with himself and his life on our dad. He’s doing this out loud to our whole extended family. He is poisoning our whole extended family against our dad. The worst part is that everybody is hearing his words and becoming quite upset with and full of blame toward our dad, but I don’t feel it’s entirely fair.
For starters, why can’t people look a little more closely at the source? My brother is a wonderful and amazing person but he is very depressed right now. With depression comes an inability to recall positive life events. I’ve seen studies on that before. Also, he is so desperately reaching out to find some kind of explanation for his feelings, some kind of meaning and validation. He’s decided it’s all his dad’s fault (with a little blame for Mom, as well).
But even besides the fact that it’s possible his extremely vocal character smears could be stemming strongly from his depression, at least consider the fact that this is all Second-Hand information by the time it reaches you. How can you know what is truth when you weren’t there and didn’t see it? There are two sides to every story. So don’t tell me to my face that my dad is awful when you’re basing your opinions on information you didn’t actually see for yourself.
It kind of sort of feels like my brother is trying to get my mom to divorce my dad. I do understand a little of where my brother’s blame has stemmed from. Our dad is not warm and fuzzy. He does not cuddle you or say the words, “I love you.” In fact, he expresses very little emotion verbally. He certainly won’t do it physically. He avoids conflict so he doesn’t set boundaries. In fact, although he often observes the situation, he will pretty much not do or say anything at all to influence it. He’ll leave the vicinity if voices raise. And yes, he is not “empathetic”.
My dad is on the autism spectrum.
How can I help people understand my dad better? My brother honestly believes my dad does not love him. I didn’t know that until recently, and it really shocked me. I mean, I suppose if you don’t understand the autism spectrum, and kept expecting him to behave the way “other” dads do, you could certainly misconstrue his behaviors and lack of emotional words as unlove or uncaring.
But look at what he’s done for us. Look at when he recorded your sports games and your track meets on VHS tapes. Look at when he took you and taught you how to dog mush. Look at when he read to you at night. Look at all the hiking trips he took you on. And the overnight trips and the backpacking trips (I was soooo envious). He spent special, quality time with you. Look at all the times he’d rouse us to go outside and watch the Northern Lights as he photographed them. Look at all the special times, the caves he built, the jokes he played, the long family car trips. Look at the computer games you guys used to play so competitively. You’d get a high score and he’d spend hours into the night trying to beat it, only to have you beat it again the next day. Look at all the times we trekked out to the cabins in the middle of winter and how special that time was. Look at the Tooth Fairy. Look at all the holidays spent together as a family. Look at all the skiing and beauty of the Natural world we have gotten to experience. All the lakes we’ve seen, all the streams, all the mountains, all the Northern Lights, all the trees and grasses and wildflowers. All the tents. All the card games. All the dry-sense-of-humor joking he’d do and say. He LOVED (and still loves) you. He CARES about you. He WORRIES for and about you now. He WANTS you to be happy.
How do I know? Because I lived with him for many more years than you did. I lived with them through my high school years and again after my college mental breakdown time period. I’ve SEEN how he expresses his emotion. And especially, I lived with them during my own Asperger diagnosis and all the research and therapy and even getting to see Temple Grandin at a two-day conference I attended on the subject.
Do you need me to spell it out? Even a single sentence sums this up about our dad:
“Two core features of autism are: a) social and communication deficits and b) fixated interests and repetitive behaviors.” (from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/asperger/detail_asperger.htm)
Yep. Need I say more?! Really?! Okay. I’ll list out a few of his ‘symptoms’:
(Chosen from this website)
Okay, does this give you a better understanding? Getting closer? 🙂 Here are a couple more select traits from this website:
That website also explains:
“Emotions of other people
A person with Asperger syndrome may have trouble understanding the emotions of other people, and the subtle messages sent by facial expression, eye contact and body language are often missed or misinterpreted. Because of this, people with Asperger syndrome might be mistakenly perceived as being egotistical, selfish or uncaring.
These are unfair labels because the person concerned may be unable to understand other people’s emotional states. People with Asperger syndrome are usually surprised when told their actions were hurtful or inappropriate.”
Dad LOVES you. He’s INTERESTED in you. But when you two speak over the telephone, and you ask him questions and he responds, but never asks you a question, it’s not from lack of interest. He WANTS to hear, he WANTS you to tell him, he asks Mom for the details later when he realizes he still doesn’t know them. He just doesn’t know how to ask for them.
He worries about you. It eats at him. You have no idea but I have seen it, touched it, felt it, heard it. It’s as real as anything, just expressed differently.
So how about those childhood abuse stories you’re telling our family?
I get it. I’m not saying your points are invalid. But I’m sorry you take all of this and find he does not love you. He STILL talks about how awful he felt about the sledding incident, and how scared he was watching you get smaller and smaller. Additionally, his eyes bug out when he tells it and the skin along his neck flushes. He laughs while telling it until he almost cries. But it’s not his comfortable, humor laugh. Don’t you feel the difference? It’s the horror of it all. It’s the emotions he doesn’t express to you. It’s later that same evening of telling the story when he drinks alcohol and expresses to us how it haunts him to this day.
But take all of these things and forgive him, for your OWN sake. He loved and still loves you and only ever wanted the best for you. HE ISN’T GOING TO BE THE ONE TO REACH OUT TO YOU TO SMOOTH THINGS OVER. HE DOESN’T HAVE THAT SKILLSET. ONLY YOU HAVE THIS ABILITY. IT IS UP TO YOU WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO DO NOW. He’s something around 65 years old and has lived his life the way he’s wanted to live his life. He’s not going to change now. I choose to enjoy any time I can get with our dad, and love every moment of it. I feel there is not enough time in the world to spend with our parents (but that’s just me). ❤
(((Additional quote from this website, for how my mom potentially could be feeling (I did not hand-select bullets as I did above):
“Some common issues for partners of people with Asperger syndrome include:
I think it is important that you talk with someone about how you feel and work through things, but I think it needs to be a professional, rather than the entire extended family. We are here for you and we love you and we support you, but please get help so you can start to feel better about yourself and your life again.