“How Deep the Hollow” remains

Source: “How Deep the Hollow”

I ran across this post today. “From the depths of despair”  I said. This painting and all the others from last year, almost got thrown in the trash. I’m trying to purge all the things that remind me of the horribleness of years past. Predominantly 2016.

The pain and mental anguish was so great that my only refuge was paint on canvas. I see them now with the realization, that as I suffered, I was being bamboozled. I see all of the paintings now and I’m reminded of this. 

I have a fresh start and the things that remind me of the horribleness will be tossed away.

“How Deep the Hollow” lives on to see another day. Although, it may be placed in a far room in the house. Or under a couch cushion.

I am set free. I am free. I live without effort or sadness… dammit.



The horrible person is my roommate… not me!

Last week my therapist called me a “horrible person”.

multiple times

I couldn’t deny it. I will analyze the shit out of a person. I’m a bloodhound and nothing will stop me from figuring out your intentions.

She said I was a horrible person because I always look for the worst possible outcome in every scenario. Our conversation was all in a friendly banter and she was showing me that I have a choice of being a “horrible person” or giving up that need to always feel like I need to have a contingency plan or have total control. The idea is to give up the tendency to look for the worst in people and situations. Her white board flow chart of my thinking always left me in the worst case scenario.

Over the next week, I began to break down this thinking and I feel that it is a protective mechanism to always be prepared. That’s part of PTSD. Or maybe it’s just a Boy Scout code of be prepared for shit. (Or something)

The “horrible person” ideal also brought up an inner dialogue. The need to tell my therapist of who I am. “She should have an idea of who I am by now. Haven’t we be talking about who I am for the past four sessions?” No. We’ve been talking about my domestic issues. My goal was to work on me, but really, I’ve been ruminating over the same shit about someone else this whole time. The conversation always turns to my deep hurt and trust being demolished and the depression, anxiety and pain that follows. Over. And over.

Get over it, and work on me! Right?

I came across this audiobook called “The Sacred Self” by Michael Singer during my week of rumination. Very honestly, this book is a Universe Nod (people, places or things that come into my life in a very timely fashion.) It’s an audiobook about exploring who we are and the ability to observe ourselves and the world around us by tapping into meditation and mindfulness and letting go of pain, thereby achieving happiness. It focuses on getting rid of the inner dialogue, opening the heart and achieving enlightenment. I’d love to quote most of the book, but to keep your interest and to avoid risking copyright violation, I’ll send you to the Google Book so you can read these few pages regarding opening the heart… start on page 44 where it talks about ” There are centers within that channel your energy flow. When you close them, there is no energy. When you open them, there is. Although various energy centers exist within you, the one you intuitively know the most about opening and closing is your heart. Let’s say that you love somebody, and you feel very open in their presence. Because you trust them, your walls come down allowing you to feel lots of high-energy. But if they do something you don’t like, the next time you see them you don’t feel so high. You don’t feel as much love. Instead, you feel a tightness in your chest. This happens because you closed your heart. The heart is an energy center, and it can open or close…. When you close your heart center, energy can’t flow in. When energy can’t flow in, there is darkness. Depending on how closed you are you either feel tremendous disturbance or overwhelming lethargy. Often people fluctuate between these two states. If you find out that your loved one didn’t do anything wrong, or if they apologize to your satisfaction, your heart opens again. With this opening you get filled with energy, and the love starts flowing again….” and read through 46.

But here’s the words that struck me the most regarding heart his description of heart energy…

“Humans have an innate tendency to close as a means of protection. But closing your heart is not really protecting you from anything; it just cuts you off from your source of energy. In the end, it only serves to lock you inside… do not let anything that happens in life be important enough that you’re willing to close your heart over it….”

Is there a connection to my chronic pain, depression and anxiety and my heart closing?

If you’re feeling The Universe Nod yourself, check out Mr. Singer’s description of inner dialogue… it truly hit me where I needed to be hit. There’s an analogy of your inner dialogue being your insane roommate that had me rolling.

I’ve been listening to an insane roommate (page 15-22) for the majority of my life! Maybe I’m not a horrible person, maybe my roommate is!
When I saw my therapist on Monday, I told her about the book and the roommate theory. I told her I’d been listening to this inner dialogue (the insane roommate) and believing everything I heard. Trust me, I worded this in such a way that she didn’t come to the conclusion that I was hearing voices… at least I hope that’s how it came across.  We did not do the slow march to the psych ward, so I think I’m in the clear. I explained to her that since I understood that all these catastrophic thoughts in my head were not all true, I could begin to apply the cognitive behavioral therapy worksheets that she kept giving me… and I kept ignoring.

In the meantime, I’ll tell the roommate to shut up when it begins to yell at me about lies, deceit and what happened in the past. It’s all about right now and opening my heart to discover that no matter what, it won’t be hurt. Soon, I’ll have to tell you about the incredible voice (that was not my roommate) which spoke to me while meditating at a yoga retreat in the Bahamas. It had to do with my golden heart…

Providence or chance?

I tried to cancel my standing psychologist appointment set for today.

Yesterday, I left a message along with an email to my psychologist letting her know that; “I’m taking a break this week. “I’m staying home as much as I possibly can. I’m avoiding any stress including the emotional stress that comes with sitting and discussing my deepest darkest troubles of yesterday and today.”

She immediately sent a bill for $50 via paypal for a cancelled appointment.

I emailed her right back and told her “nevermind, I’m coming in.”

I went through all the emotions. Pissy because she sent me a bill. “I’m sick for goodness sake!” Understanding: “Well, this leaves a pretty expensive space in her calendar just dashed.” Anxiety: “She’s going to be pissy because I cancelled then reneged” Worry: “She didn’t reply, maybe she won’t be there or maybe she filled my spot.” Essentially, just cancelling the appointment induced a source of worry that didn’t need to happen.

This morning on my way to the not-cancelled session, I was craving hot tea. Hot tea is not something that I crave, but there’s a Starbucks along the way to her office and I had time to stop in.  I was feeling out of sorts all morning. Still processing my worried feelings, going on little sleep and a total body pain that I can only explain as a horrible hangover after dancing all night long.  Absolute exhaustion.

I threw the old red Toyota truck in a parking space as close to the front door as I could. I climbed out of the truck and immediately became hyper-vigilant. Observing people sitting in their cars, walking to and from businesses in the small shopping center around me. I’m hyper aware as I walk through the coffee shop; watching each person lounging from the corner of my eye. I caught fragments of conversations as I avoided eye contact and skittered straight to the cashier.”Hurry, hurry” my brain says. “Watch, watch” my mind screams.

The cashier’s name was Ahmed. As soon as I approached him, a female barista sweeps in and whispers in his ear. They both giggle and he tells her to get back to her station. He quickly turns back to me ready to greet me for the first time. I turn to the barista and easily say, “You’re bad, I can tell.”  She easily quips back “It’s the red lipstick.” Sweetly, I say “and, you wear it well.”.

I feel self conscious as I am about to ask Ahmed a stupid question. Since I’ve worked in retail, I know how questions can become repetitive and irritating.  I’ve known many employees to become irritated at when-my-wife-sends-me-on-a-starbucks-runthe general populace because they don’t know what size “grande” is. So, I prepare myself for some ‘tude as I pose my question.  Because it’s important dammit. I don’t even order tea!

“Is a chia tea latte just chai tea and milk?”

Cringing, I await for the sigh, the eye roll or something.

There is none, easily Ahmed says to me “yeah, you can get it with syrup or you could actually get one with the tea bag.” I’m relieved that I was right about the chai tea. I’m kind of feeling confused and anxious and I fumble for a second because my choice of teas isn’t registering. Essentially, when my brain disconnects because of anxiety, I toss a familiar question out. “which would you prefer?”

I watch him as he eases his voice and tells me his choice. I say “that sounds great!” I begin to fumble with my iphone so I can open the Starbucks app so I can pay with it. My fingers aren’t working well. I look around as the line grows longer and I believe that Ahmed is stalling for me. He’s telling me all of the choices of milks that I could make it with. My app finally opens and I drop my phone on the counter. My fingers gave out and my mind darts to coconut milk. “Stay focused” I say to myself. Ahmed quickly, without a moments hesitation grabs my phone and places it next to the scanner for me. I immediately notice that there’s not enough money loaded on the app. So I grasp for my credit card. I feel the people behind me groan. Ahmed smoothly takes the card and sticks it into the chip reader. I apologize and make excuses that I’m not awake yet.

And I say, “You’re so easy going and kind, you could work in a psych ward.” and I immediately realize what I said. Ahmed pauses and looks at me. “What did you say?”.  “I mean, not that I would know anything about a psych ward…” I say quickly, eyes wide looking around the room. I cover my mouth, with my hand. Embarrassed and suddenly feeling very small. “Why did I say that?” I say to myself.

Ahmed looks at me and said “I’m going to work in a psych ward next week. You just spoke to my heart.” as he places his hand over his heart. I relax and reply “The people in the psych ward were the kindest people I’ve ever met. Where will you work?” He told me, but I quickly forgot. It didn’t sound familiar. I told him where I was and he beamed. I thanked him and walked to the pick up counter.

This is not the first time I’ve had a conversation like this. The subject is always different, but the reaction is the same. I’ll say something so random and I touch the heart of the receiver. This happened in the pharmacy in which I worked at many times. It happened so much that I cannot go near the pharmacy without someone stopping me and loving on me. Each time, I introduce the person to my husband. My husband is surprised that I have met so many people. He talks about how I’ve touched so many lives. I say, I just talk to people when the words come. 

Is this providence or chance? My feelings about God these days are difficult. He is who He is. He has made the choice to let me live with the pain and suffering. He will use me as He wants and no amount of praying will fix that. Has God used me once again, given me the experience of the psych ward to touch this young man? Encourage this young man that he’s doing the right thing? 

I felt his response. I felt his heart swell, and mine did as well. I almost cried when his emotions welled.

Providence or Chance, my friends?

Had I not reneged on my appointment and had I not craved tea (If you knew my absolute love for coffee you would know the chances are crazy), I would have not stopped in to Starbucks today.

 Providence? Chance?

“Bring your sunshine” article commentary

Wherever You Go, No Matter What the Weather, Always Bring Your Own Sunshine – Anthony J. D’Angelo

I would have agreed with this article a few years ago. I was the one that preached this to the highest mountains! I was high on making myself happy! It felt organic and true. “Happiness is a choice!” I said. And for healthy minds and bodies, this message is absolutely true. Conquer your happy! 

But, when my mind and body turned against me and I could not find my happy. Could not make the choice. Could not and can not make my brain look to the light… I know now that this theory is only true when the brain is strong and is not steeped in depression. Depression is a horrible sickness that needs to be recognized as a disease. 

If you can bring your sunshine, do it! If you can fake your sunshine, that’s alright too. If you can’t bring that sunshine, can’t fake it and can’t even find it… take some time to tell yourself that you are ok and promise yourself you’ll get some help. Talk to a friend, go to a doctor, call the suicide help line. They will talk to you, even if you have nothing to say.