Talking of Bipolar Disorder

Into A Pearl by the esteemed Justin Currie reminds me of what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder.  It’s not likely the inspiration for his song, but it really struck me.  The aspect of a ‘stranger in your world’ that ‘only you can smother’ speaks to me.  Justin is by far my favourite singer.  The front man of Del Amitri (my favourite band), he has a flawless solo career.  I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him twice in concert and would follow him all over the world if I could.  I never tire of hearing him.  Anyway, give the song a listen.  You might just relate to it, as well.

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Justin Currie News

I was thrilled to find that Justin Currie has released a second solo CD, ‘The Great War.’  After having listened to the samples on Amazon, a unanimous verdict was reached:  We must have this CD.  🙂  Granted, I’m incredibly biased in that there are only three Del Amitri songs that I don’t actually like, and I’ve listened to Justin’s first solo CD (‘What Is Love For’) far too many times. From the samples I’ve heard and from previous knowledge of this truly gifted artist’s work, I *highly* recommend this disc.  (His being ridiculously handsome is a bonus.)  🙂

You can find more information on Currie’s website:

http://www.justincurrie.com

Nostalgia

Here, on the other side of my night of panic, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.  Nostalgia can be a powerful thing.  It can wrap you up in the past so badly that you forget to live the present.  But, it can also motivate you.  It can help you see the patterns in your life that you’re repeating, good or bad, and it can help you remember where you wanted your life to go.

I wanted to have a stable career and a life free from the cult by the time I reached my current age.  I’m a bit far from both of those goals, but I still have faith in them, and I still have faith (sometimes) in my ability to make them happen.  Positive steps.

One has to be careful following down the road of the past and focusing on the changes time has caused.  Time is merely a loop, and we choose the part of the loop we follow at any given moment.  Everything grows older and time keeps passing, but it never really gets away.  We just have to wait, sometimes, for the part we’re missing to come back ’round again.

There’s a line from Del Amitri’s song ‘When You Were Young’ that says it best–  ‘And down nostalgia’s rocky road, you watch your former lovers growing old.’  Click here to see the video on YouTube by universalmusicgroup.  It’s a great song, and very fitting for this lazy sort of homage to the past I’m meandering through at the moment.

Lost in Myself

Sometimes I feel like a twisted version of Narcissus, staring at my own reflection until it takes over and drowns me.  The difference is I’m not ever sure who is staring back at me.  I’m getting rather tired of constantly having to reassess my life.  At one point, things actually felt stable.  Maybe I’m in the crisis stage of DID at the moment, maybe new people are on their way or memories are about to be reclaimed, maybe it’s just that my mood disorder meds aren’t working.

Some days I *hate* multiplicity.  I want a stable sense of identity.  It’s taken so long just for me to feel remotely human.  Now, I’ve found that my identity is fragmented, and it gets cheapened somehow.  I’m not me, but rather a collective ‘us.’  There is no one true identity.  Yes, I realise the alters are all part of me and not truly separate people.  Still, they all hold pieces of who I am.  I want those pieces back.  Most of the non cult-created alters have given up their memories, but they still hold the emotions.  I want those emotions back.  If I’m ever to feel whole, I need *all* of the facets of me to unify.  Otherwise, it’s always a constant shift of opinions, preferences, and strands of time that I have to tack together in an attempt to appear stable externally.

From Del Amitri’s ‘When You Were Young’–  ‘Sometimes your lack of sympathy gets hard to explain, so on your mask of makeup you just paint a little parody of pain.’

Functioning as one when there are so many others whose identities show up internally feels like a parody sometimes.

High Times

I haven’t been half bitter in my oblivion these days, and Mairead is having a great deal of fun with that.  A few weeks ago we heard very loud music coming from her room.  When I pointedly asked her to turn down the music, she leaned out of her door and screamed ‘PARTY!!!!’.

As I’ve mentioned before, both Mairead and I are die-hard Del Amitri fans.  ‘High Times’ is a song from their album ‘Some Other Sucker’s Parade.’  I can’t say it’s one of my favourites, but as Mairead pointed out, it has the sort of disillusionment that we’ve been feeling lately.  I like the start of the second verse: ‘Little snow white, she was hungry.  Told to go out and grab for it.  At the end of the rainbow, she was mind blown, to be staring at a crock of sh*t.’  Perfect.  I guess those Scots know bitterness.  🙂

On a more serious note, music is powerful.  It’s amazing how lyrics penned by complete strangers sometimes seem as though they were written about your own life.

Goodbye Letters

My therapist suggested writing goodbye letters as a technique I could use to help me move along those pesky grief stages.  I’ve been avoiding that suggestion for quite some time, but when she brought it up again during this past session, I gave it serious consideration.  You only have to beat me about the head twice on issues like this.

I wrote one of the letters today.  As it turns out, grief is painful.  Very painful.  The letter was useful in the sense that I learned a bit about my own grief and about some of the unfinished business between me and the person to whom the letter was addressed.  I didn’t take great strides towards acceptance, but there’s rather alot of emotional Stuff tied up in reaching that stage.

The technique is simple enough for a horribly difficult task.  The idea is basically to write as though you are speaking with the person you’ve lost.  Tell them what you wish you could have said while they were still alive.  Tell them about your anger and sadness, and whatever else you feel.  The main point is to be completely honest with yourself as you write.  The letter, after all, won’t be seen by the person you’re writing to.

To be completely blunt, it is very, *very* difficult to write these letters.  I found a quiet, familiar spot in a city park and made sure my afternoon was clear so that I could take my time and consider my writing very carefully.  In the end I had written four pages back to front and was absolutely exhausted.  I can’t say I found a great emotional release in this process– I couldn’t cry, even though I really felt the need to– but I did learn some very valuable things about my feelings and reactions.  I’ll take those to therapy next time.  Should be a lovely session.

Talking helps, though, and even though I’m very reluctant to describe my feelings with just about anyone, spending the rest of the afternoon with my best friend after writing that bloody letter really helped.  For the greatest majority of the afternoon, we didn’t discuss the letter at all.  We got in to it the last half hour or so that we were together, and I managed to stop the conversation the minute I felt my emotions starting to push over me.  As I told both my best friend and my therapist, denial and repression are two of my biggest talents.

To me, the Del Amitri song ‘Sleep Instead of Teardrops’ is a great description of how grief feels between both the person who is grieving and the person providing support.  The bridge in particular felt appropriate this afternoon:

You know my holding you won’t change anything

I can’t stop this whole charade continuing

As each consoling kiss remains on your face like a stain

Grief, to put a fine point on it, hurts, and it hurts quite alot.  Still, I’d urge anyone out there to deal with grief in the moment.  Don’t put it off for several years, like I’ve done.  You’ll get hit even harder in the long run.

Wishing peace and healing to everyone else who’s riding this roller-coaster and to those helping them.  And to my best friend, as always, I can’t say anything good enough to describe how much you mean to me.  Thanks for always walking beside me.

Move Away Jimmy Blue

The title to yet another Del Amitri song that I love.  Part of the bridge to that song goes ‘Wet feet visit the same old places.  Finding nothing new.  It’s a bin full of tissues from made-up faces in a town full of nothing to do.’  That’s certainly ringing true for me these days.  I am clawing my way out of my current living situation, and I don’t care if my room-mates read every word of this.  It’s not like my efforts are new, or even secretive for that matter.

Recently, I had a conversation with a dear friend who said some things that upset me at first but that, when I’d considered them more deeply, motivated me.  This friend and his family have really tried to help me move on from my past and the not-so-pleasant present.  They’ve also watched my plans fall through, some from my own actions and some from other circumstances, time and again.  But, as I hear constantly, change comes from within.  And as my friend would advise, you only hear things when you’re ready to hear them.

Let’s forget about the SRA bit for a minute and look at this from a ‘normal’ abuse scenario.  People who are abused sometimes find themselves repeating the same patterns or keeping themselves in the same environments.  In other words, we sometimes look for perps and chaotic lives.  It’s what has become normal to us, and we don’t have to worry about when the next instance of abuse will occur if we keep ourselves in that situation overall.  Already, there are patterns and history to get past.  There are major lifestyle changes that, although they will lead to a better life, are very frightening and feel incredibly risky.  Trust never comes easily for survivors, and taking a leap out into the world certainly requires having faith that things will work out.  Not easy.

Back to the SRA bit.  As I talked about in another post, SRA involves programming, some of which is put in there to keep the person from leaving the cult.  I’ve been both fortunate and unfortunate to have learned how to disable some of my own programming.  Fortunate because it’s a really difficult thing to do.  Unfortunate because I only learned that stuff by being really high up in the cult’s ranks.  With this moving away from here bit, I’ve hit a block of programming that I can’t quite locate or diffuse, although I’m getting closer.

For any SRA survivor out there who has found him/herself in a similar situation, my best advice to you is to move toward your goal of getting safe without stopping to ask questions.  Use the cult’s mentality in your favour– act, don’t think.  Work first and then analyse later, when you’re in a safer spot.  *Much* easier said than done, as I can say from in the midst of it.

The Oblivious Week So Far

I say oblivious because my others have been out quite alot more than me this week.

Yesterday Mairead and I got the gift we’ve been waiting for– Justin Currie’s solo CD called ‘What Is Love For.’  I know this will come as a great surprise to the regular visitors here, but I highly recommend the disc.  My favourite is track three ‘Walking Through You,’ but several of the songs have stuck in my head.  It’s definitely a different sound from his work with Del Amitri, darker somehow.  The songs are somewhat more structured, too.  In most there is a definite chorus or refrain, unlike alot of the DA stuff.  Not that I don’t absolutely love basically every song he’s ever done.  Excellent disc, beautiful songs, and that lovely voice.  How could you possibly go wrong with a combination like that?

In other news, I’m preparing for a trip to visit my FOC.  I’ve missed them all terribly.  It will be great to be with people who accept me as I am.  I’ve been feeling incredibly out of sorts lately, as I’ve lost that feeling of belonging somewhere.  Maybe I’ll find that feeling, pack it up in my suitcase, and bring it back with me.  What a lovely souvenir.  Lily is also ecstatic about the trip.  She feels very safe around ‘the people’ and gets quite the laugh out of there excitable and lovable dog.  This will be a welcome escape.

And for your reading pleasure, check out this story about a woman who was determined to get her licence.  I’m not quite sure how to react– is it humorous?  Uplifting?  Regardless, it’s strange.

The Tentatively Better Week So Far

It really has been a better week. Probably the best in a while, actually. I say tentatively only because it’s still a bit of a battle to keep my mind focused on the present and out of the not-so-pleasant past. Once again, this is another way singletons and multiples are alike– staying focused gives everyone difficulties now and then. I just have to find, sometimes, the *name* of the part of my mind that is disturbing the focus. And of course sometimes it’s just a matter of fighting off those nagging little thoughts one by one as they pop up. No, it isn’t fair to me or any other trauma survivor that we have to work this hard because of what was done to us. It is, however, life. That said, I should take the ‘tentatively better’ phrase out of the title and just say ‘better.’ I can make the week as best as possible.

The past few weeks have taught me so much about the importance of grounding and of acknowledging feelings. One goes hand and hand with the other. On Monday I got absolutely caught up in a recent struggle. It wasn’t at all about abuse, just something rather unpleasant in my life. It took over everything, though, and I started having trouble functioning. This is new to me– I’ve always been able to chin up and get through things with barely a pause. As it turns out, that’s not exactly the best way to get through things, nor is it actually getting through. It’s just a keen form of delay that you don’t even realise you’re doing in the moment. Or at least I didn’t. I knew I was stuffing things, but I thought they had actually gone away when I no longer felt them. [Insert Universal laughter here.] Wasn’t my false sense of security adorable?

Anyway, while I was spinning about there in the middle of my personal tornado, a line from another Del Amitri song called ‘Always the Last to Know’ flashed through my mind– ‘Creation’s gone crazy. The TV’s gone mad. Now you’re the only sane thing that I have.’ It made me think about the people in my life who represent stability to me. It centred me, once again, in my part of the Universal Mind and reminded me that, although my biological family has been involved in the Really Bad Stuff for many, *many* generations, the spiritual aspect of who I am is still free and will always remain so. I closed my eyes and saw an image of myself holding on to the trunk of a really strong tree, surrounded by swirling winds that were having absolutely no affect on me. This image gave way to visual memories of some of the happiest times in my life.

That feeling was amazing, and it has lasted through today. Mind you, I’m still stressed about certain deadlines and general aggravations. I’m just working from a better place now, and that makes even yesterday’s flashbacks easier to deal with. I’ve reworked things to make my deadlines actually possible and have made quite alot of progress towards those goals just in the past couple of days. Sometimes, more frequently than I ever thought, things just work out if I give up some of the control and let life happen. For those of you reading this, I hope you can find some of the peace and stability this week has brought to me.

And now for something funny to end this rather heavy post on a lighter note. Check out this story about a parrot who used an ingenious method to find his way home. How’s *that* for proper pet tags? 🙂 Now if I could only train my cat to talk…