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Topics - Jdog

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I am dedicated to becoming more mindful, less reactive to my racing thoughts, and so forth.  In conjunction with this, I recently began attending several recovery groups which espouse Buddhist principles and practice insight meditation as part of an approach toward attaining sobriety.  In my case, it is emotional sobriety since I have not consumed alcohol in 4 1/2 years.  I have also recently started taking an SSRI, having been diagnosed with GAD.

Still, the mind is a tricky place.  Yesterday, while in a very public setting, I suddenly became convinced I had lost my keys and went on a frantic search in this rather large and well populated place.  I asked for help at the main office, gave my name and phone number, and called my spouse as she has the extra set of keys to my car, which was parked at this place.  Only after 45 minutes or so did I do a more systematic search of my purse and THERE THEY WERE in a normally unused pocket of my purse.  Gulp.  Shame, embarrassment, etc.  My spouse has already been wary of me of late due to several episodes of upset between us, and this did nothing to make things better.  At least I was able to call her before she arrived and she turned back around and went back to what she had been doing.

I did have a better rest of my day.  And ended it at a meeting with others who are overcoming various states of vulnerability and shame, which provided peace.

Anxiety is a mountain of awfulness.

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I’m having a lovely day, really, filled with activities that I enjoy.  Exercising, playing my instruments, reading.  And yet, I see and feel the ghosts of “not enough” creeping into small spaces between my thoughts.  They are so nasty that I use eating as a way not to have to really deal with them.  I try to become numb, to play dead so they won’t notice me here.  This is not a very effective strategy.  The “not enough” ghosts just laugh at my feeble attempts, which themselves are not enough to escape the shadowy memories.

Sigh.  I suppose this recognition may be a baby step towards progress.

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Birthday / Happy Birthday to Me
« on: January 08, 2019, 02:08:53 PM »
Several of you have wished me a happy birthday in my journal, and I really appreciate it!  60 today, not as lean and mean as I would ideally want to be but with a stronger sense of self and more resilience than in my 50’s.  Lots of healing in the past decade, and much of the help came from folks here on the forum.  I’m taking the day away from my classroom, and going to get physical therapy for my still healing injured foot, do a workout, have lunch with a friend.  Yay!

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Music / Barbra Streisand’s latest album
« on: January 06, 2019, 05:15:07 AM »
Hi-

I just finished listening to “Walls”, Streisand’s latest album.  For those who appreciate her artistry - you will LOVE this masterful set of tunes.  They are at once soulful, poignant, political, and deeply personal.  In my opinion, this may be her best work ever. 

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The Cafe / Yay Shalane Flannigan!
« on: November 04, 2018, 04:55:29 PM »
I am super happy that American runner Shalane Flannigan was able to place third in today’s NYC Marathon.  She won in 2017, but her grit and determination continue to shine and inspire no matter what.  As an injured runner, my heart surges as I watch such a display of strength and courage.  Against all odds, we keep on moving.

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The Cafe / The power of remaining open to my own heart
« on: August 28, 2018, 12:18:29 PM »
As I prepare to head back into the maelstrom of emotions and intellect known as the high school classroom, I am excited to try my brand new practice of slowing down and listening to my inner self when things get difficult. 

Here’s to the best year of teaching ever!  Year 24 will be fun, challenging, and brand new.

7
I have been hearing more and more about sex abuse by former physicians at OSU as well as coverups of domestic violence by the current coach of the mighty football team.  I am an alumnus of Ohio State, and I was the object of affections by the chair of the department in which I studied.  It was a family friend, someone who knew my parents and had been involved in activities I which I participated even during high school.

 In addition to studying under (pardon the unfortunate pun) this individual, I also babysat for his children, sometimes spent the weekend at his family home, and spent six weeks in another state acting as the nanny hike he and his wife lead workshops in another college town.  I was drawn into the so-called excitement of attention given by someone many of us admired.

But I was 19, a virgin, and of course got horribly emotionally hurt by this affair.  I realize now that my craving for attention and approval was linked to not ever getting the right kind of same from my own father, who emotionally abandoned me.  I was ripe for the picking.  And now, with all of the news about abuse coming from that same institution, it is painful once again.  This is a systemic problem that many of us kept quiet out of shame. 

Thankfully, the shame is being dissolved a little by the publicity.  But I have a new shame about the entire institution.  I will no longer be tempted to tout my alma mater or cheer for the Buckeyes on autumn Saturdays.  Very sad.

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Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Sad
« on: July 16, 2018, 12:18:34 AM »
I have come quite far in my healing journey, which really began in 2012 after the death of my Mother.  I don’t want to tell a long story here but the thing about my present life is that, while generally I am happy and able to make the most of everything that comes my way, I am married to someone who has both PTSD and chronic pain.  At times, like today, I am relentlessly criticized for both genuine flaws and things that most people would think are really no big deal.  It triggers me tremendously, and puts me in panic mode.  I am an adult child of an alcoholic (my father), and was pretty fearful of his rages and uncertain moods for most of my growing up.  Being a child, I also did my share of lashing out.  Well, I don’t do that now but still get fearful and sad when emotionally attacked. 

I will be ok, as I always do pull through.  It kind of sucks to not be able to count on support from my primary relationship.  I hope she feels better soon, and need to do more to shield my inner child from the ups and downs of living my life in the present.


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The Cafe / Nature Heals
« on: July 15, 2018, 04:53:52 PM »
I saw a bald eagle on my run along the river today. It brought to mind the idea that no matter how much we humans screw things up politically, socially, or even environmentally, nature still has the power to remind us that we are not alone and to inspire us to do better.

At least, that is how I am feeling today.

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General Discussion / Grieving and Rejoicing
« on: January 16, 2017, 01:22:20 AM »
I just returned from 4 1/2 days away to attend the funeral of my dearest living relative.  The death was expected, as she has been declining for some time.  It was also good for her to be out of the throes of dementia as well as the pain from her rheumatoid arthritis, which could not be properly treated once she reached the end stages of the dementia. 

I have been through a lot of ups and downs this week, as one might expect.  The golden part of the experience, though, has been to realize that this outstanding lady - much loved by many people- also had many emotional difficulties yet her beautiful spirit was not tarnished by them.  It encourages me to continue on my healing path and to continue just being me.  My aunt always helped me know that I am "enough".  That is a wonderful gift, and one which I must continue to be able to give to myself now that she has passed. 

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Birthday / Why yes, it is my birthday...
« on: January 09, 2017, 12:08:31 AM »
Funny enough that Kizzie should have posted the "Is it your birthday" query - I am 58 today.   :cheer:

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Like many others, I work for a large organization that is completely dependent upon a computer network in order to function.  This morning, I found myself locked out of the system and had to call to get access to go back on the network.  I was told by an administrator in my building that I was the third person just in my school to get locked out today.  Now, at home, I find myself yet again locked out of the system.  My inner critic is having a blast with this - wondering if it's because I checked my home email from the computer a few times, or just what is wrong.  I deleted my home email from the computer and am still beating myself up as well as furious about the situation. 

Better luck tomorrow, right?

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General Discussion / Staying grounded when a loved one is ill
« on: October 15, 2016, 02:50:31 PM »
My awareness of my cptsd and codependency came to the fore with the death of my Mother four years ago, following a prolonged (8 year)  decline due to a series of strokes.  Stripped bare, I suddenly had to deal with all of the feelings and layers of pain that I had stuffed for over 50 years.  Since then, I have made substantial progress in my healing journey. 

Now, I am coping with what seems to be one in a series of health challenges that my wife is experiencing.  I am working to remain grounded, and in her eyes I am doing a remarkable job being kind, loving, and attentive.  To me, however, the daily work of staying grounded is nearly too much to bear.  I am aware of my tendency to give too much, so am making sure to keep doing nurturing things for myself (running, reading, seeing friends).  But the illness is nearly constantly bringing on a cascading series of EFs and even daily meditation cannot generally bring me back to myself. 

I just wanted to share this part of my struggle with those on this site, as it helps to get it off my chest and perhaps can open a door to another who is also supporting  loved one who is ill.  I will come out of this stronger than before, but as my byline says, the commitment truly is daily.

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General Discussion / Brand new groove
« on: September 05, 2016, 05:00:46 PM »
While I was on my morning run, I realized that I feel entirely differently about myself and my surroundings than I have ever felt before.  There is more of a sense of spaciousness, room to grow, and more self acceptance and positive energy than in the past.  After all of the work I have done on myself over the past 4 years, it is a glorious realization.

Recovery happens!

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The Cafe / Thoughts on Aging, Family, and Our Species
« on: July 23, 2016, 03:39:46 AM »
I have been thinking a bit lately about my station in life and about ways it may or may not relate to a larger picture of where many of us are at this point.  At age 57, an only child with no surviving parent and limited connection with other family (other than my spouse), I often feel disconnected from the many people who have larger families and who connect with them daily (in person or on social media, which is a thing I also don't do).  Obviously, I value connection or else I would not participate in this forum.  But I do feel somewhat set apart, a kind of observer at the edges at times.

Layered on top of this, I just finished reading The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert.  It is a fascinating read, scientifically, and gives a lot of info about hypotheses of causes of past extinction events beginning 450 million years ago and going to the present day.  Change is inevitable, as we know.  The changes that we humans are part of and which are shaping our environment are notable for the extremely fast rate at which they are preceding, much faster than any prior changes.  So fast, in fact, that Earth's plants and animals have no time to adapt and thus get wiped out before they can further evolve as a survival strategy.

I guess for me, the striking thing is that I also feel that things around me are quickly changing and leaving me with a feeling of overwhelm at times.  It's partly nostalgia, and partly a sense that my dependable systems and strategies no longer apply.  Very odd feeling, this.  Meanwhile, all of the work I have done on myself over the past four years bolsters my sense that it's ok to be different, that my unique contributions to the world matter, and that I don't have to go around trying to please everyone. 

So, in the end, I will need to keep learning how to find myself over and over in this sea of uncertainty.  Maybe that is true for most people.  It just feels very "real" to me today.

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