My Story of Change.

In my early 20s, for continuing self-improvement, I would identify facets of myself that I felt needed shifting. Perhaps an attitude to something that I realised I would be better off thinking differently about. I found that through the desire to change I would swing from one extreme to the other side and after experiencing that, eventually settle somewhere in the middle – a good place to settle.

When my depression got worse requiring medication and professional therapy, I struggled a lot with acceptance of myself, seeing this person as faulty and broken. Some of these feelings persist still, although I am currently breaking through that wall of self loathing.

Later on in life, with more experiences, differing therapies, differing attitudes to myself and my mental health, I really started progressing on my journey of self-realisation. Therapy required daily homework, sometimes difficult, but I wanted to move myself out of the depressive experiences that had defined most of my life to date.

I believed changing thought patterns and mental habits that were 20-30 years old would be difficult and would take a long time. But I was ready for the journey and determined. What I discovered surprised me. I believe the first major mental shift only took about 4 months, when I expected a year or more. And the more that changed the easier each change became, because they all built on the positives of the previous. Within the past year I have seen shifts that only took a few weeks to overcome a lifetime of negative patterns!

By setting my mind to it, by being determined to change for the better no matter what, and by learning to trust myself and rely on my abilities and the support of experienced others, I have surprised myself with what can change for the better.

Be hopeful for your own journey.

Breaking UnRules Before Midnight.

It’s that time of the the night when the world has gone quiet around me, my brain has cleared of daytime clutter and I want to just sit into the night and write. 

A sleepy brain is actually a benefit to creativity as all the normal barriers and rules have melted away. 

I can access deep, intuitive words and thoughts. 

But the downside is that I push past my need to sleep which becomes problematic tiredness the next day. 

So instead tonight I will lay down my writing devices and attend to my body’s need for rest. 

And tomorrow, perhaps the inspiration will have built up and there will be greater creativity at play.

Reconciliation and Hope.

Today was Father’s Day in Australia.

I spent early parts of the day, with my limited resources, trying to find a picture of him that I could post for today on my FB page, in memory.

I didn’t find anything suitable. I found a selection of photos illustrating him wasting away in his last year and that brought back painful memories. I wanted to remember him in the best way possible.

I went out for a bike ride to a weekly markets in the city. It’s a good place to sit myself down with some live music in the background, think, write, and people watch. I had forgotten how much I enjoy observing what happens around me.

After a couple poetic sketches, I was inspired to write a poem in memory of my father today. And I found a picture suitable enough to use illustrating my creativity.

And I thought that would be that.

Friends on FB were posting pictures of their fathers. Old family photos of smiling people having fun together, mid-hug, joyous memories. Along with this, descriptions of their positive experiences, their support, their love.

And I thought about how I experienced very little of that. Since age 10, when my Dad was knocked off his motorbike by a drunk driver, family life was never the same again. He suffered many problems as a result, which resulted in a family of 5 active children living with a physically incapacitated person sensitive to everyday noise. He suffered brain damage which forever changed the way he would interact with us. We lived with a person who became increasingly angry, irrational and explosive.

After five years Mum left. Eventually I followed.

I don’t have photos of hugs with my father. I remember some very early days of young boys rolling on the floor playing with him and that is all. I remember years of hating him, of wishing he was dead because that was the only way I could see life improving for the rest of us. Many years of having space and time gave me the opportunity to let go of the hurt and eventually reconnect. With assistance I eventually came into my own acceptance of what happened, of understanding, of letting go of blame and letting go of my own guilt.

I have come to acknowledge the aspects of my parents that I encompass, focussing on the positives. But I have always struggled with feeling loved, with needing to be loved. And I guess I am envious of those people I know who had such support during their formative years, who have some solid grounding in their lives.

When I see their stories, it leaves me sad.

A lesson I have learnt clearly, personally, this past week, is that the pain of emotions is a response within our mind. It is a chosen reaction. And we can choose to deal with it, to look at it with a different perspective, so that the pain is simply not there. The pain is only ever within our mind and as such, we have the individual power to not feel it. And that does not mean to bury it away somewhere. No, I mean to simply understand that by seeing around the emotions with a self awareness, there simply is no pain.

Pain only exists when we choose to create it within our mind.

This gives me hope. It lets me know that I can train myself to not create the pain. To live with a greater awareness of my self and a greater awareness around my thoughts. To live in a space where I am at peace, while still acknowledging all that I feel, all that I am.

And hope, is perhaps the most powerful emotion of them all.

This Is Not A Manifest.

Time to sit and process. Take stock of the present me, and recent thought encounters.

I need to look after myself. I need to make decisions in my life that are the best for me, irrespective of how much that may* hurt others. There is no point in letting myself suffer for the sake of the perceived* comfort of others.

I believe my ongoing health issues are largely a result of the stress of my profound unhappiness. Said unhappiness being largely the result of a relationship that has not been fulfilling me for some time (10 years or thereabouts).

I have made my best efforts at the time to resolve the relationship issues. I have worked on myself. I have attempted to guide my wife. We have been to counselling together. I have made many attempts to open discussions about our relationship. And all through I have seen her narrow view. I don’t know whether her refusal to engage with me (verbally and emotionally) at the level I need is out of fear or a lack of understanding.

I have stepped back and left space for growth. I have engaged fully to encourage growth. At times I have also pushed heavily for growth. Ultimately for me though, this has all been relatively futile. Which has resulted in negativity calling me out as a failure. I know this is not true. I have been battling to believe that I have done the best I can and that the negativity is a lie.

I do not believe in static relationships. I believe we grow daily with every experience, every challenge to our thoughts, every discovery within and outside of our mind. I believe significant growth comes through shared experiences with others. I believe that resisting change is ultimately hurtful to oneself, and that resistance is usually based on fears. I believe love is the basis for all good things.

I know that no matter what happens, what occurs, or what choices I make, that I have good friends who will support me. I trust them, as I have appreciated their response to my opening up about depression. And they have explicitly stated their support of me.

I have nothing to fear but fear itself.

I am pleased with my personal growth. I identify aspects of my personality that have changed significantly, especially in recent years and I am proud of the person I am. I have surrounded myself with amazingly supportive, genuine and fun people, whose company I thoroughly enjoy. I am proud of my growth as a writer and artist.

I have come to realise that all I ever wanted in life, is in fact right there surrounding me already and I only have to reach out for it.

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3am Reality Manifest.

Awake at 3am. Brain running, processing. Recent events, current events, in my life.

Feeling unhappy is the very first thought. I remember that because it surprised me, disturbed me.

It is sadness at the way A treated me last night, going to bed. Not much communication or care from her. I perceived it as harsh and negative. Ok, she was really tired and struggling with energy and I know that makes her grumpy. But really? I mean, every fooking time I get to deal with this. Which is usually multiple times per week. Most weeks. Her in a good mood, in the evening, is a rare thing. My perception.

She shut off the tv while I was still watching it, but in the process of organising myself towards bed. Yes she had prepared my hot water bottle as well as hers, that’s a rare concession to my needs. And it was her attitude, as it usually is, that bothers me. Maybe it’s a frustration at her own immediate situation/tiredness. But it feels like she takes it out on me. Whereas if “the tables were turned” I internalise those sorts of feelings and make a point not to inflict them on anyone else.

Why the difference between us and why should it bother me?

Big questions that I cannot answer right now. But enough to keep me awake in the middle of the night.

Maybe I feel like she is fed up with me being sick. Maybe I am fed up with her being a dick. I guess that I struggle to look past these “little things” she does, to see the bigger positive picture. Because it seems our life is full of these constant frictions, while I struggle to find the positives, struggle to see the love in a way that has meaning for me.

And I acknowledge this all 100%. Hey, if I’m “doing something wrong” I will be the first to try and make it right, to try and act and be the best sort of person I can. And she won’t do that. Because that would mean admitting in some context that she has “a fault”. And those thoughts lead her to feeling criticised, feeling unloved, because “she’s not ok the way she is” or something like that. You see, we never really get to talk about it. Because any suggestion in that direction leads to her shutting down emotionally, or reacting and starting to attack me with criticism about random past events.

It’s so sad to me. She won’t let me help her in any way. For years I tried to make helpful suggestions, in as positive a way as possible, for her life. And she mostly paid no heed to my input. But when she first started talking to a counsellor I was seeing, and they made the exact same suggestions that I had, well then it was time for her to act. I take that a little bit personally, in that, does she not trust me? Does she not believe me, or in my intentions all along?

But I don’t think that I create a whole grudge against her from that. I mean, I think about these things, I create awareness of myself, and I always try to be the best person I can. I make mistakes in the relationship, things I say, or do, or don’t do sometimes. But I try to learn from them and be better next time. Isn’t that just the best anyone can ever do as a human?

I don’t see her doing that. I don’t see her listening to what I say about us and making little course corrections along the way. What I see, mostly, is her reacting to what I say. Perhaps she thinks something like “I must change this otherwise he won’t love me any more”. And so a behavioural change happens and lasts for one or two weeks on average. Then I-don’t-know-what happens, perhaps dealing with life preoccupies her again (work stresses, money worries (did I mention it’s always about security for her?)), and it’s back to the way it was before.

Oh, there have been some changes for the better. Along the lines of, I-ask-for-100%-of-this, she-initially-gives-80%, later on with reminders of what we agreed she gives 10% more steadily. So I can’t say that she doesn’t make an effort. It’s just something about the whole situation, the whole pattern that I see over 20 years together, that leaves me quite uncomfortable, and sad.

And maybe that’s what is keeping me awake tonight. I tried. I try. But my energy reserves and enthusiasm wane after so long. I thought I could keep it up forever, let love fuel that push forwards. But love not returned as much as is given (and all this above, to me, is about love. “If she loves me she will…”) eventually wears me down. It’s all I know. It’s all I have the current knowledge to apply. It’s my best effort. So why do I feel this sharp pain in my gut, like all this hurt is stabbing me? This pain that I can’t rationalise. That I can’t think away or placate.

The reality of my situation Manifests itself within my physical body. No wonder I’ve been sick.

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Answers Come Slowly.

Answers come slowly, one at
A time
As I step forwards through
The struggle
Motivation and enthusiasm for work is
Missing because
My inner critic says that I am a failure at
These activities
While I’ve been told this is
Not so
While I’ve been explained
The reasons
Rational thought is no support at
This time
Relying on the invisible, on
Trust only
I must.

Awareness Questions in 2 Parts and A Sad Conclusion.

Standing back, to get a clearer picture of what is going on
Not yet ready to step away from it completely
Wanting to understand this territory of pain
But why?
And does that matter, does any of this really matter?
Does any of this questioning and searching serve me any more?
I notice the struggle to let go of this moment
What am I hanging onto?
Is this just fear of change, or something much more?
The current advisory is to just be with it all
Paying no mind to what can or cannot be managed on any given day
Being at ease with just needing to rest, or to just feel
Which sits very uncomfortably with me
With my need to feel productive, to feel active
Ponderous times that I must journey through
Before being able to step into the productive day
Is this moment in time the journey’s end or a fresh start?

•••

If I stop fighting (this war inside my head)
Does that mean I give up, or give in?
If I stop pushing and resisting the lies
What does that reality look like?
If I stop the active struggle, the result
Curling up in bed, withdrawing in fear
Unable to face the world through exhaustion
And inability to concentrate or function
Replacing one undesirable situation
With another.
A friend keeps mentioning acceptance
This word keeps crossing my consciousness
Imagining it might just work, I hesitate
So tired to find the energy for any action.
As a tear trickles down my left cheek
I contemplate my present, for my future.

•••

I just want future me to be happier
With life
To not be engulfed by pain
Physical and mental
It’s too late for present me
All has led to this current experience
Lost in the shroud of darkness.

Questions of Direction.

Questioning in my head
From my heart
Who am I?
Stepping back from the path
I re-survey my vicinity
Much confusing pain around here
And many treasures
Seeing where the light has shone on me
And the rough patches of stumbling.
Perhaps it is true
The life of a writer is all this
It cannot be any other way
Embrace all that inspires and drives you
Blatantly and silently.
There is a balance within
To travel this path
With Zen flow
Accepting it all
Letting oneself be moulded
Whilst standing in higher consciousness.
With that visualisation before me
My heart cries over lack of faith
Lack of patience.
Then, as I breath
The voice comes to me
This is it. Right now
The moment for you to rise
And just let it all happen
Place the intention in your heart
It’s all about attitude.

===

I write to get the questions out of my head.
Do my answers serve me well?

Right here, Right now.

Thinking about myself
Attempting to resolve the pain
That strikes my heart again and again
My reactions to certain circumstances
Are visible and understandable.
Why can’t I leave this behind me
Move out of the cloud of hurt
Move on to a higher level of being.
Stuck in a circular rut
I stumble at the same bumps every time
Keeps hurting the same wound
No chance to heal what I feel.
To stop fighting this
To stop feeling the pain
Is to deny the very heart of me.
To compromise would be
To forever live with regret
Merely shifting one pain to another.
And while I don’t fully understand
The reasons for these circumstances
I blame myself
Too much most likely
Bearing the sole weight of responsibility
For the unhappiness I see.
And I know that is unfair
But I know not any other way
To exist in its midst.
So when my energy runs low
And negative self assessment flourishes
I feel helpless to help myself
Having tried all I am equipped with
Having stayed ahead of the cloud of hopelessness
I stumble and am shrouded in its darkness
I feel it’s freezing fear seep into me
And all goes dark.