June 28, 2014 at 3:52 pm #59828JonnyParticipant
A little over a year ago I was admitted to the mental hospital for having a mental breakdown. What triggered it was a combination of personal stress with the relationship I was in at the time and a significant lack of sleep. (Four days awake) After I left the mental hospital I was given mood stabilizers to treat what the doctors thought might be emerging bipolar I. But the antidepressants only made me extremely depressed. I was unable to finish the quarter I was enrolled in at college and I ended up going back to the mental hospital a second time. This time it was for suicidal ideation and self-inflicted wounds.
I stayed there for five days before getting out and when I did my girlfriend broke up with me. Her and I had been together for almost two years and we had been through so much. At the time I considered her my first love. But we were so young then that it’s hard to say whether or not it was actually love.
I spent the spring break alone wondering about who my ex was with, what she was doing, and what I was going to do. Meanwhile my mother was going crazy all over again. Eight years prior to my stay in the ward, she was admitted to one. In my childhood, she wasn’t crazy. She was completely normal. No one knows what happened. But my dad’s explanation is that she probably had something viral that got into her brain. But anyways, she ended up going crazy again.
Spring quarter rolled around at my community college and I told myself I would do my best. I joined the college play but my ex ended up being in it with me. I’d spend most of the quarter writing her poems and letters and begging for her to take me back. At home, I was being waken up at four in the morning every night by my mother who was convinced that she was dying. Eventually she went so crazy that she made some sort of bomb threat at a hospital. She was taken away and I was living on my own for a bit.
The depression was killing me. The mood stabilizer meds didn’t help and after a few more visits with the psychiatrist, we decided it was time to get off the meds. They no longer thought I was bipolar. But I was convinced something was terribly wrong with me. I begged for a diagnosis so I could deal with what was going on. But there was no relief. They couldn’t just diagnose me. I didn’t have the patience or the energy to keep going, so I decided to stop seeing the psychiatrist.
I ended up withdrawing from my classes again that quarter but I did stick with the college play. I also got my first job and started working. I found some friends. (I didn’t have many at the time) but I couldn’t let go of my ex. Even after the play was over, she was still on my mind. Over the summer I ended up falling back in with some old friends from high school and I ended up doing drugs again. I never did hallucinogenics because I knew that they could trigger mental illnesses and I was terrified of the possibility. But I did many other drugs and had some close calls.
My ex ended up contacting me asking for two hundred dollars to cover her abortion bill. (I got her pregnant and she ended up deciding to get an abortion) I immediately gave her the money, but only if she would answer questions that I had been ruminating on for some time: had she been with other people? Who? How soon after she broke up with me? How many people? She answered all of them. She started sleeping with others during the spring break right after she had broken up with me. It hurt her to say all those things. She didn’t want me to know. It killed me, but I held it together until I left her house. Then that night I got drunk and sent her hate texts calling her a whore and slut. I felt so ashamed of that night until just recently. The two weeks after that I got drunk, high, and completely messed up. I went to work messed up, I went home messed up. I felt so hurt. So betrayed even though she had every right to sleep with other people. It was so hard to let go of her. I was living in a reality that I hated and I hated myself more than anything. I kept looking back blaming my past mistakes on my current situation. Then I blamed others, then I blamed the way I was. I felt so much shame and anger.
I forgot about the problems with my mother during the summer. But my saving grace was college. When fall quarter arrived. I enrolled again, ready to repeat certain classes that I wasn’t able to finish. It was frustrating going through them again. I felt so inadequate for not being able to finish those classes the first time around. But looking back, I was going through a lot. I had my reasons for not being able to finish those classes. And I learned more the second time around.
I still had my struggles with drugs over fall quarter and winter quarter. I tried dating a few girls but the relationships went nowhere. My mind was still on my ex. I was trying to figure out the truth of the situation. Who was to blame. Who was more wrong. And all the while I thought I was ready to date other girls. I had been ignoring the signs. I was obsessing about my ex every day but I thought I had moved on. It was only after I started admitting that I was hurt that I felt better. Spring quarter came recently and I decided to try hard to get away from drugs. I succeeded. I quit my job to focus on school 100% because it was going to be a hard quarter. With math. And I hated math. It was hard work. And my ADHD brain hated hard work. It was hard to focus on things for more than twenty minutes at a time. and my mom was getting worse and worse. She ended up going missing the night before one of my math tests and I wasn’t able to focus. I felt ashamed that I couldn’t do it. Once again.
There have been many times within the last year that I have freaked out wondering “what is wrong with me”. I wonder why I can’t focus. Why I don’t have friends like other people do. I wonder if I don’t inspire people to hang around. But I realize now that drug friends aren’t the best friends to have around. They’re more like the people you sit next to while watching a baseball game. You talk to each other and enjoy each other’s company. but it’s only because of that mutual like; baseball. or in my case. drugs. once I stopped doing drugs. They didn’t want to be around me. I didn’t have the money to supply their addiction.
Now, it’s the summer. I got through a semi-successful year of college. I got over an ex. and I have learned to accept myself a little more. But I’m bored, depressed, and I feel hopeless. I expected this summer to be the summer where I would do lots with music. But I’m now realizing it’s not a realistic expectation. I have been trying to get a job. I have been spending lots of time alone. I have a girlfriend currently, and she’s realized that I’m a wreck. I feel inadequate. I feel unprepared for life. I feel alone. In the moments before I wake during that half-awake mode, my mind gets filled with negative thoughts that seem to attack me to no end. They fill my mind with my insecurities and shortcomings right before I wake. And I spend most of the day wondering what to do. Nothing seems to excite me but I want to be doing things. I wonder if I’m crazy. But I think I just need organization and support. I think I just need to be organized. Know that those negative thoughts aren’t me and that they’re just ants (automatic negative thoughts). Do I sound crazy? Is what I’ve been through anything? How do I keep going? How do I find purpose when in the summer there’s nothing to do? How do I keep my self-esteem up if no one responds to my job applications?June 28, 2014 at 9:34 pm #59838@Jasmine-3Participant
You have your support. Hey mate, do everything that your heart wishes when and how. Don’t be hard on yourself, pls.
Live in the moment and practice giving some love to yourself. Perhaps, consider repeating positive affirmations to self in front of mirror each day.
Trust me, life gets better when we are easy on self.
You are awesome as you are and believe in that.
JasmineJune 28, 2014 at 11:34 pm #59841MattParticipant
Whew, you’re one tough dude. I’m sorry for your suffering, and can understand the tasteless and dreary state we can find ourselves in sometimes. As jasmine kindly noted, you’re turning your strength inward, suffering over your suffering. Dumped by a girl, grieving the loss, but feeling ashamed of your feelings, suffering that you’ve been suffering. With mom, college, girls, drugs… its no wonder your concentration is depleted. A few things came to heart as I read your words.
Sometimes when the wind howls, lots of leaves rustle. The mind gets all kicked up, thoughts springing everywhere. It can give the appearance of ADD, such as random distracting thoughts and stories leading our mind away from where we wish it to be. Trying to study, thinking about the gf. Trying to prepare mentally and emotionally for an exam, thoughts of mom. Dear brother, its not because you’re weak… far from it. You’re over stressed. Too much too fast, and of course we get overwhelmed. Even Superman has to recharge.
There are some things we can’t really control. Buddha taught it such as death, old age and disease just happen. Mom’s mental illness, ex gf, etc… stuff doesn’t always shine and dance with butterflies and fairies.
The good news is that we can ride those experiences with grace. If we learn to self nurture, such as take better care of ourselves, learning to de-stress, unwind, let go… yesterdays peaks and valleys kind of melt away, leave our mind more peaceful and smooth. What do you do to self nurture? To take your own hand and find a little space, comfort?
My favorite is metta meditation, which may benefit you in many ways. It helps to produce, very directly, a peaceful mind, concentrated mind. Metta is the warm feeling of friendship, such as we might feel when we hug a scared little kitten, wanting her to know that she is seen, loved. As we wish for happiness for self and others, over time and practice, we feel happiness, stability. The mind kicks out less, kicks in less. That stability lasts through the stressors, making it more like a dance than a grind. Such as “I hate math” might become “math is such a tricky puzzle, I wonder what’s there?” Said differently, when we cultivate metta, we have more space to work with our environment peacefully. In action, and thought. Consider “ajahn brahm guided metta meditation” on YouTube, if interested. If there’s a garden or park you could do it in, even better! Let nature help one of her children, she’ll reach back if you reach out. 🙂
Finally, you’re not alone in your pain, troubling emotions, and confusion. Our paths can be tricky, but your pain is actually common, a teacher that helps you find what you’re looking for. It comes in different ways for different folks, but there is always hope in our struggle because it reveals our path toward joy. And you’re already walking it, believe it, and the strength you’ve built will remain… long after the clouds clear.
Namaste, dear brother, may your heart find healing, and your mind, peace.
MattJune 29, 2014 at 4:43 am #59846Warrior of LightParticipant
You have been having one chaotic and hellish experience, and I admire your courage to share with us. It takes a lot of bravery and strength to even own your experience, let alone be vulnerable and exposed.
Something that comes to my mind regarding the end of your relationship is: the betrayal of disengagement. I know this very well as I’ve been on both the receiving end and the giving end; and most recently the receiving end.
Here’s a quote from Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” that may help put the betrayal of disengagement in perspective:
“In fact, the betrayal usually happens long before the other ones (cheating, lying, choosing other people over us, breaking confidence). I’m talking about the betrayal of disengagement. Of not caring. Of letting the connection go. Of not being willing to devote time and effort to the relationship… When the people we love or with whom we have a deep connection stop caring, stop paying attention, stop investing, and stop fighting for the relationship, trust begins to slip away and hurts starts seeping in. Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears – the fears of being abandoned, unworthy, and unlovable. What can make this covert betrayal so much more dangerous than something like a lie or an affair is that we CAN’T POINT TO THE SOURCE OF OUR PAIN (emphasis mine) – there’s no event, no obvious evidence of brokenness. IT CAN MAKE YOU FEEL CRAZY (emphasis mine).”
I had this betrayal occur in my life after being blindsided with the end of a 3 year relationship with my girlfriend, who I anticipated on marrying and spending the rest of my life with. She pretty much straight up told me she wasn’t happy and didn’t want to be with me any more. I can still hear those words to this day. Heartbreaking pain, utter darkness, and emptiness hardly convey my experience. While my girlfriend didn’t cheat on me with another person, she cheated on me with her work, which to her was way more important than our relationship. I too asked similar questions as you have: “Why did this end?” “What did I do wrong?” “How could I not see this coming?” “When did we become totally disconnected from each other?” I ruminated on these questions and the break up every day for months on end. I never got an answer and most likely never will, and that is what made the break up even more painful… because I will never truly know.
For quite a while I moved back and forth through the first 4 of 5 stages of Kubler-Ross’s Stages of Loss and Grief: 1) Denial and Isolation; 2) Anger; 3) Bargaining; 4) Depression. I isolated and denied I was affected by the break up. I yelled and screamed how much I hated her dragging me along in an empty relationship (although not to her face). I pleaded to god my willingness to give up everything in order to be back together, and I cried enough to warrant a flash flood warning. I did this for at least a year after our break up because there was literally nothing else I could do. Also, like yourself, I just needed to get my thoughts and feelings out.
Now what helped me get to Kubler-Ross’s 5th stage of Acceptance was a culmination of getting my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Naropa University (a Buddhist-inspired school); mindfulness/meditation practices (especially the metta practices Matt mentioned); and having the courage to express my hurt, fear, and vulnerability to others (therapist, friends, family, group process class). Can I say I’m 100% healed? Heck no! But I do feel more accepting of myself and my experience, and WAAAAY more compassionate towards the painful experiences which make me feel SOOO exposed and vulnerable.
You’re not alone! Even though I don’t know you and may never meet you, my heart goes out to ya brotha!
WestonJune 29, 2014 at 12:26 pm #59855JonnyParticipant
You know… A lot of what you guys have said has really struck a chord for me. So thank you for that. It’s also good to know that there are people out there who can relate to me who aren’t just angry and bitter. Because I have found many people who were like that; the people I did drugs with, people I interacted with at the college, people at my old work. I would try to help them too. That’s how I would try and be a friend. I would help those who opened up to me. I would let them know it was okay to open up to me. I told them I wouldn’t judge. I thought that by reaching out and caring I would uphold those friendships for a long time. But there are only a few good friends who I have kept in contact with. And that’s okay. It’s better to have a few good true friends than a lot of fake ones.