November 25, 2021 at 1:00 pm #389032PeterParticipant
So many people have trouble asking and accepting help. Myself included. Like you it feels like something I’m just not capable of doing. Even when I do reach out their are parts of me that hold back. So frustrating getting in my own way. In my case I don’t think its my mind that won’t let me accept help but a deep routed fear of being vulnerable, rejected, asked to do something I don’t want to… so many fears. At the root of all the fears that I can’t and wont be Loved. To live in the pain and loneliness of not taking the risk to love and be loved OR living in the pain of the fear of taking the risk and having it confirmed. I am not a brave man.
I envy everyone, I’m jealous of peaceful and carefree they look. I’m not sure how to cope, how to live, how to get inner peace.
One thing I am sure about is that very few people are as peaceful and carefree as the look. Jealousy is a waist of time. No one gets to ‘know’ how another is experiencing themselves and Compassion only asks that we be kind, to others and ourselves, and not assume. A sure fire way of remaining stuck is comparing ourselves to others and thinking ‘if only’. In a odd way I think it gives us permission, a excuse, to remain as we are even as we work so hard to grow and move forward.
Now I’m afraid that there are no options left
My gut tells me that the way out isn’t up but down and through. To feel what one feels without labeling or measuring. Sometimes we reach a point where all the self help and analyzing becomes a way of avoiding feeling what we feel. We keep on seeking to avoid finding.
I think of a person caught in a riptide our undertow, the more they struggle the more likely they will tire and drown. The key to getting out of such a situation is to remain calm.
There is a time for all things. Up to this point reading through your post I picture someone who has and is trying everything except being still. If the problem comes from the mind, allow the mind to be still. That dos not mean having no thoughts but the practice of not attaching oneself a thought. Labeling , measuring , judging it, if only… our thoughts… Thoughts flow you are not your thoughts. Once can be still within the tempest of ones thoughts.
This year I start my meditation (and before I go to sleep) with the following from TS Elliot
I ask of my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing;
Wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing;
There is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for I am not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall become the light, and the stillness dancing.
Be still and know that I am G_d
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
Sometimes it helps… In the time of waiting and stillness I float. The tide takes me where it will, but I participate, to tired to fight, I notice that calmly moving a little this way or that, I have influence on the direction…November 25, 2021 at 6:53 pm #389046
I can’t fix this for you. I don’t have the right words. I’ve been in similar depressive states and despair but all I personally have is my faith. I can’t tell you how to help yourself. I don’t know how to tell you that. All I can do is tell you that you are not alone. You have to live, you know that. You can’t turn away from life again. So now it’s just about putting one foot in front of the other until you stand again. It’s okay that you are not well. It doesn’t mean you are bad.
I’ve become really happy lately. I’ve created my own happiness. I do things that fulfill me. I find catharsis in my writing and goals. I have a strong why. Purpose. I didn’t think this kind of happiness was possible, especially as I don’t have very much. But it’s possible. Now I want to taste the sweetness of life and enjoy everyday instead of wanting to leave it (as I often did). I had to soul search to get to this point, rediscover life again after a mental breakdown. I made meaning out of my life and got closure from my writing, often turning to creativity and the arts. I love poetry, it makes me feel less alone. I just bought “Pillow Thoughts.” I have book I have to read- they are piling up. I’ve been interested in Corrie Ten Boom. I discovered my faith due to her in highschool. She has a book called “The Hiding Place” about her time as a Christian hiding Jews in the Holocaust and being taken to a concentration camp because of it. I’ve been listening to other survivors of the Holocaust and I know that sometimes it there is no good to be found of a situation. You just have to sit with the pain, be with it.
I’m incorporating what I’ve learned from holocaust survivors in my own writing. I am writing a young adult fiction novel where the main character discusses God with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend’s dad died by suicide so they are discussing how he still has faith even after that loss. I am soul searching for this conversation. How in all this did I not lose my faith? How does anyone hold onto it? The only example I have is Corrie Ten Boom. So I’m studying her story to see what my characters will say about her.
I’ve been afraid a lot this past year. I’ve had horrible doctors and therapists. I overcome horrible bipolar med side effects of swallowing issues and on another med, breathing issues. Wonderful things happen like my writing really showing my resilience and the lessons I’ve learned. I’ve learned I have to hold onto each little thing good that happens and tally them up in my head, replay them when I get sad.
Other than that, I’m just like you. I’m going through a difficult world too with questions about my purpose and identity. All I know is that my purpose is to be happy. And I finally am. I am stable for the first time too. Things worked out for me a lot. But it took my whole life for things to just be fine. I am relaxing again. I am done “white-knuckling” through hard things. I did the work. I know I can live this life and do things that are good. So long as I am acting from that place of wanting to do good and strengthening my faith, I know I can make it.
I’m going through what you are in many ways, but I hold onto God. That’s my own coping method. And know that I am not forcing this on you. I just know that there are two ways to deal with life – run from God or run to Him. Many lose their faith during hardship. For me, it’s all I have. I am in poverty, few friends, no job, no school- I am on disability for bipolar. I may accept a job offer soon. I have my dog Lady and my God. And I have you to look forward to helping each time you message here. I worry about what to say. Will I be able to help him? I want to be able to help you get to the place I am now. Nothing around me got suddenly better. I internally got better and woke up inside. I’m all about the simple things- running, hiking, kayaking, painting, Chis Stapleton music, writing, apple picking, etc. I’m not rich and I don’t have all the answers. But I have a yearning for life now that I have a chance at one again since I’m finally stable. I want to do everything. I want to learn everything. It’s like everything is new to me and I’m slightly vulnerable, raw, emotional, unguarded and lacking things others have. Life is so beautiful, if we dare to live it.
Dare with me. Let’s do it together. I’ll be here for you as you figure it out.
SarahNovember 26, 2021 at 2:37 am #389052TeeParticipant
I am happy to hear from you. And I want to let you know that I am here, rooting for you.
The saddest part is that I need and want help, but my mind won’t let me.
As both Peter and Sarah said, our mind is often our enemy, telling us lies, distorting things, even giving us distorted images. It happened to me once, when I tried to meditate on Jesus, all I got was some distorted images coming from my subconscious or I don’t know where from. I was desperate.
What helped me was to call Jesus into my heart. I told him to please circumvent my mind, because my mind is polluted, and come into my heart. I begged him because I couldn’t bear living without love any more. I was desperate. And he did – I felt warmth descending into the upper part of my body, into my heart, and I felt loved. It changed my entire life. It gave me hope.
You may try something similar, Javier. Ask Jesus or Mother Mary to circumvent your mind and come to your heart, so you can feel their love.
November 26, 2021 at 6:16 am #389054
- This reply was modified 1 year ago by Tee.
Thank you Peter,
You are spot-on, I have never been able to still my mind and feel some calmness and clarity. I have been going through most of my adult life with the prenotion that stillness is my worst enemy. I was a champion, and are still running and dodging thoughts and feelings. But when they, quite often lately, finally catch up, they paralyze me. But sometimes, when I’m lucky, I can go completely numb and be apathetic. Maybe the saying is right, you need pain and dark days to appreciate life to the fullest.November 26, 2021 at 10:21 am #389062PeterParticipant
The challenge of the practice of stillness is to remain engaged with life as it is, detached to ones thoughts and feelings (you are not your thoughts or your feelings you have thoughts and feelings) but not indifferent or apathetic to the thoughts, feelings, experiences you have.
Maybe the saying is right, you need pain and dark days to appreciate life to the fullest.
I might say we need the tension of opposites to become conscious of our experiences. The appreciation is that we Get To notice and Be The appreciation of the bitter and the sweet does open one up to all the flavors… but I will still avoid the overly sweet and the overly bitter as I learn better 🙂
I find it helpful to know others have similar struggles and how each road though different is also the same. I know that sounds odd but I enjoy a good paradox. They provide my thoughts room to play so that I might not attach myself to them.
Some times I imagine my mind or thoughts (its difficult to separate the idea of mind and thought.) as a pet dog. I walk down a street or in a trail and watch as the dog sniffs every tree, run about, checking out everything and then I call it back to heal. To quietly walk beside me. Their is a time to allow one thoughts to roam about and play, to leap and engage… and a time to heal and walk quietly.
Other times as I walk I imagine my self as a wheel and moving the point of which I view the experience from different parts of the wheel. As a point on the outer circumference. One moment I’m rushing forward the next the falling towards the ground, the next everything is passing, the next I’m looking up towards the sky. A bit of a roller-coaster feeling. From that perspective its understandable that I might feel overwhelmed. Everything either rushing towards me or a way from me. Flying towards the sky or falling towards the ground.
Then I imagine the point of focus moving down one of the wheels spokes. Its scary because as I move down everything appears to be happing even faster. Closer to the ground and further from the sky, everything happening with less and less time to notice and respond to the moment. Everything even more overwhelming and scary. I want to retreat back to the top of the wheel, to what I ‘know’… But if I keep move toward the center of the wheel a strange thing happens. The wheel has never changed speed yet from this center point everything becomes ‘still’. The up the down the future and the past viewed all together in the moment. Nothing has changed yet everything has changed. Nothing rushing away, nothing rushing towards me. This is the still point of the turning world. A point from which I can respond (dance) to the moment as it is.
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.” – TS Eliot
At the still point their is the dance… I enjoy a good paradox. They provide my thoughts room to play so that I might not attach myself to them….November 27, 2021 at 12:06 am #389081
Sarah and TeaK Thank you,
You have always been here for me. Your support, love and kindness have kept me alive. I’m happy to have you in my life.November 27, 2021 at 4:09 am #389082TeeParticipant
you are very welcome. I am glad too that I got to communicate with you, you are a very kind and caring person, and you deserve all the love and happiness in the world. I hope and pray that little by little, things will get better in your life. <3November 27, 2021 at 8:06 pm #389154
Im not going anywhere! You’re going to get through this and live a full happy life with so much strength and resilience. I believe in you.
Ive been praying for you. I don’t have the right words but you can vent here.
When I was thirteen I read The Purpose Driven Life. I can say that book saved me.
ive been fighting demons similar to yours but keep finding the light of God. I give you those answers as they come to me. But ultimately it is up to you to do for yourself.
Im praying for you!
SarahDecember 4, 2021 at 12:17 am #389377
I just wonder, have any of you felt any profound vacuum inside? The feeling of nothingness, hopelessness and utter numbness?
I have struggled with this intense chronic emptiness since I was a kid. I don’t how to cope with it, how to heal it and how to live with it. I always thought depression was the cause, but it feels more and more like depression is a symptom of emptiness.
I feel disconnected from reality, my feelings and my thoughts, and sometimes it feels like I’m completely disconnected from my soul. Nothing makes sense, and the lack of meaning and purpose is intense.
Have you felt like this? And how to do live with it?December 4, 2021 at 6:21 am #389380
Ive had that pain but God has healed me. I experience powerful happiness due to appreciation for life. I don’t know how to help you get there but it’s a need for God.
SarahDecember 4, 2021 at 1:49 pm #389385anitaParticipant
In your thread, beginning May 8, 2021, you shared the following: at about May 2020, at the age of 41, you lost your job. Following the loss of your job, you lost your car and apartment. Having had no income, in about January 2021 (at the age of 42), you moved back into your mother’s apartment, same apartment where you grew up. Five months later, in June 2021, your mother moved out of the apartment to live with your brother and his family, and since then, you’ve been living in your mother’s apartment alone, unemployed, socially isolated and unwell, in and out of a psych ward.
You shared that during the 7 months of your posting here, you were offered all kinds of therapies and medications by the professionals whom you came in contact with, but none helped you.
Today, Dec 4, 2021, you are as unwell as you were when you first posted, May 8, earlier this year.
Here is what you shared regarding your experience of Emptiness (the italicized feature is my addition), May 2021: “I’m depressed all the time, and feel empty and lost… To be honest, I really don’t have any friends or any acquaintances I feel comfortable opening up to. Maybe, that’s why I use the forum… I lack the feeling of belonging; I feel isolated and cut off from the rest of the world… how to cope with my emptiness… Even in the company of family members, I experience feelings of loneliness”.
August 2021: “My mother and my family have all left me… I have this recurring nightmare, where I’m left alone in the ocean, drowning, all alone, no family, no friends, just me… I’m empty, completely empty inside“. September 2021: “still feel lost, empty… My emptiness… I’m dead inside and completely empty…The emptiness will never disappear or go away, which I know for sure”. October 2021: “I’ve always felt empty, depressed and useless. I felt empty when I was 6, in my teens, in my 20s-30s and 40s. And I’m afraid I’ll be feeling the same until my last breath”. Today, December 4, 2021: “I just wonder, have any of you felt any profound vacuum inside?… I have struggled with this intense chronic emptiness since I was a kid… it feels more and more like depression is a symptom of emptiness”.
You wrote in May: “I’m afraid I have… severe borderline personality disorder“- the feeling of Emptiness is indeed a hallmark of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Because you brought up BPD, and because I suffered from bpd (and therefore Emptiness) since late teenage years, having been diagnosed with BPD later in life: in early 2011, and no longer fitting the diagnosis- I want to look into the connection between your suggested diagnosis and your chronic feelings of Emptiness, that “profound vacuum inside”.
There is National Library of Medicine study available online (pub med. ncbi. nlm. nih. org) with the title: Understanding chronic feelings of emptiness in borderline personality disorder. Under Abstract, it reads: “Chronic feelings of emptiness are significant in the lives of people with… BPD. Feelings of emptiness have been linked to impulsivity, self-harm, suicidal behaviour and impaired psychosocial function… Chronic feelings of emptiness were experienced as a feeling of disconnection from both self and others, and a sense of numbness and nothingness which was frequent and reduced functional capacity. Feelings of purposelessness and unfulfillment were closely associated with emptiness, and most participants experienced emptiness as distressing… Most participants distinguished chronic feelings of emptiness from loneliness, hopelessness, dissociation, and depression“-
– so far it perfectly fits what you shared in your thread, including your stated distinction between emptiness and depression: “it feels more and more like depression is a symptom of emptiness“, Dec 4.
You mentioned chronic emptiness in your post today (“I have struggled with this intense chronic emptiness since I was a kid“). Back to the study, in Conclusions, it states: “Feelings of chronic emptiness are an important and challenging symptom of BPD which require clinical intervention. Strengthening identity, sense of purpose and vocational and relationship functioning may reduce the intensity of emptiness”.
In articles listed under “related articles” following the conclusions portion, it reads in part: “Chronic feelings of emptiness is an under-researched symptom of borderline personality disorder (BPD)… chronic emptiness is a sense of disconnection from both self and others. When experienced at frequent and severe levels, it is associated with low remission for people with BPD… Chronic emptiness may be related to depressive experiences unique to people with BPD, and was associated with self-harm, suicidality, and lower social and vocational function… We conclude that understanding chronic feelings of emptiness is central to the experience of people with BPD and treatment focusing on connecting with self and others may help alleviate a sense of emptiness. Further research is required to provide a better understanding of the nature of chronic emptiness in BPD in order to develop ways to quantify the experience and target treatment…. Results indicate that emptiness is negligibly related to boredom, is closely related to feeling hopeless, lonely, and isolated, and is a robust predictor of depression and suicidal ideation”.
And now, what all this means to me and my personal experience: Emptiness for me was beyond loneliness and depression, it was about the extremely distressing emotional experience of having no one to hold on to, and I don’t mean anyone out there to hold on to, but no one within myself to hold on to. And so, no one to hold on to within or without, I was frequently drowning. It makes me think of what you shared back in August: “I have this recurring nightmare, where I’m left alone in the ocean, drowning, all alone“.
This is the unique experience of bpd: often drowning, no one to hold on to, no one to depend on without and within. And so, the feeling of being alone is extreme, and the desperation is extreme. An extremely desperate person will latch onto ANYTHING, and FAST! Hence impulsive behaviors and suicidal ideation. The Emptiness of bpd has an urgent, emergency quality to it that doesn’t characterize depression and loneliness outside the bpd experience.
You shared a few things about your childhood that are perfectly true to my childhood: “The biggest fear, that has followed me… the fear of losing my mother. I dread the day it will happen… I love my mother more than anything in the world… I have always felt responsible for ruining my mother´s life… I just want to see her happy… I feel isolated and cut off from the rest of the world” (May 2021).
You shared May 9: “when I die, I’ll be gone and forgotten… I feel like my life just passed before my eyes, so quickly, without me“- through all the years of my bpd experience, I was gone and forgotten within my own mind/ within my own awareness, and my life passed before my eyes without me in it. It is the sense of the lack of a me/ the lack of a personal identity, that has been so very distressing, creating frequent urgencies and emergencies.
You wrote, still in May: “I have to realize that there will be no one at my deathbed. I have to realize that I will be alone, miserable, and forgotten. I wish I could go back in time and change things“- Now, that I don’t fit the diagnosis anymore, now that I get to experience regular depression, but not the Emptiness, I know that when I die, there will be Someone at my deathbed: Me!
I did go back in time, through the process of healing, and picked up that lost and forgotten child that I was. I brought her back to me/ back to my awareness. Having her back with me, I am no longer alone and lonely and disconnected and confused and troubled and impulsive and desperate. My life doesn’t have that I-am-about-to-drown-any-moment-now quality to it, not anymore.
anitaDecember 5, 2021 at 12:24 am #389395
Thank You Anita!
This just blew my mind and makes me understand a bit more about my emptiness.
The detachment from myself and my soul is an indescribable feeling. It gives me some kind of hope, and a feeling of relief to hear that there is some healing. And, that I can, maybe, live a less painful life, without feeling extreme numbness and uselessness.
The mornings are the worse for me, every morning I have to “fight” for survival. I have to fight for my life, to find a motivation to get out of my bed, to just live. Did you struggle in the mornings? If so, how are your mornings now?
Do you feel any kind of numbness and hopelessness? And how do you feel when you think back to the days of emptiness? Do you feel that you “wasted” time for no reason, or have you just accepted that as part of the “healing process”?
I’m ever so grateful for your post. Once again Thank you from the bottom of my heart.December 5, 2021 at 5:59 am #389379SSSParticipant
I have a reason for asking the following:
What do you want?
What/how do you want to feel?
Do you want things to be…different?
Would you accept or embrace change?
Hugs to you, Javier. Big, warm hugs.December 5, 2021 at 7:47 am #389412anitaParticipant
You are very welcome.
“The mornings are the worse for me… Did you struggle in the mornings? If so, how are your mornings now?“- for me, mornings were always the better part of the day, and afternoons and evenings often difficult. I still prefer the mornings but when I get to socialize with people I enjoy in the afternoons- I enjoy the afternoons and look forward to them.
“Do you feel any kind of numbness and hopelessness?“- some, in regard to hopeless situations like climate change and my own aging, but not acutely, not intensely like before, not in that urgent, the-world-is-ending-right-here-and-now-someone-help-me-now!!! kind of way.
“And how do you feel when you think back to the days of emptiness? Do you feel that you ‘wasted’ time for no reason, or have you just accepted that as part of the ‘healing process’?“- looking back, I’ve been painfully aware all along that I wasted a whole lot of time and a whole lot of life that I didn’t get to live. I was full of regrets and torment.
I used to think that of my peers (people about my age), I was the only one wasting so much, the only miserable one, the unfortunate exception to the rule, and so I was disconnected from other people, not feeling like one of them and I was alone and lonely.
Fast forward, I know that I am not an abnormal case, that Wasting time and resources is (unfortunately) the Norm in human life, and that I am therefore not different from other people. I feel that we people are all in the same boat. This makes me feel empathy for other people (instead of anger at them and at the unfairness of being the exception). I feel connected to other people, no longer disconnected and alienated. It is the genuine, honest connection itself with other people that makes for better mental health.
anitaDecember 6, 2021 at 10:51 pm #389539
Sorry for the late reply. Thank you for your love and caring. I have tried to answer your questions.
What do you want? I want inner peace, a life with fewer regrets. I want to forgive myself for all the hurting and pain I have given everyone. I want to ask for forgiveness from my unborn child. I want to forgive my ex-girlfriend that committed suicide. I want to live my life carefree and with some joy. I don’t want to live in my past, I want bygones to be bygones.
What/how do you want to feel? I want to be happy or at least just feel alive. I just exist at the moment, just empty, just breathing. I want to stop comparing myself to others, stop hating myself, stop wishing I was dead.
Do you want things to be…different? I just want things to be “normal”, I want a family and I want to be loved. I wish I had some friends and people around me that cared and loved me.
Would you accept or embrace change? I want changes but I’m at the time scared of changes.