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  • #406111
    aVoid
    Participant

    I’m not a religious person, nor am I a cynic. But sometimes I really feel that I need to travel to Mount Athos and become a orthodox monk. To live a monastic life. Stripping myself of technology and isolating myself from modern society.

     

    But this is a stretch. It’s a huge commitment and I would lose my relationship. The only thing that I have that I wouldn’t want to lose.

    #406112
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi aVoid!

    I’m glad that you had a nice trip with your girlfriend. This tells me that your plan to develop a routine could help you a lot. I hope that you plan to take another trip with your girlfriend as soon as you are both able. It a well deserved respite. I agree with your plan to start small when developing a routine.

    I used to have similar difficulties with routine and this method was most beneficial for me. Following are some things that I learned and found helpful. Dealing with the negative self talk, criticizing myself for not doing enough was the hardest part. My partner gave me some great advice. A business rule is that if you get 30% done of what you planned to do in the day, that is a good day. Of course, it is okay to take a short break from your routine if you feel really bad. The trick is to have compassion for yourself when that happens. You are dealing with a lot of challenges emotionally, it can take a toll. Taking care of yourself emotionally on bad days is important. There will be good days and bad days. I like to celebrate small achievements, it can encourage good habits. This could look like whatever you choose… Some examples, I write down and acknowledge when I have completed tasks that I wanted to complete. I have a to do list app as well, so I get a small burst of dopamine now when I check something off the list and it makes a ding noise. I also take before and after pictures so I can reflect and say that looks so much better now. I like to take breaks in between doing things, so eating lunch or a snack is a nice reward, or watching something on TV. I also try and focus on the reason why I want to do a task. When I change the bedsheets I do so because I have allergies and changing the sheets will help my breathing. I cut the grass because it wouldn’t be nice for my neighbors to look at it disheveled and I want to have pride in taking care of my home.

    I’m sorry that the trauma you experienced as a child has scarred you so deeply. You didn’t deserve it, like any child you deserved to be safe, happy and protected. I’m glad that you have a loving girlfriend, this love is what you always deserved.

    I wonder, are you still in contact with your “family”?

    #406117
    anita
    Participant

    Dear aVoid:

    You are welcome and congratulations for your success in managing your alcohol consumption! I agree with you that it is a better strategy to start small in regard to establishing a daily routine. Moderation is almost always a better strategy than that of extremes.

    Sometimes I really feel that I need to travel to Mount Athos and become an orthodox monk. To live a monastic life“-  – quarrabbey . org/ a day in the life of a monk documents the daily routine of an orthodox monk. Maybe it can help with ideas and inspiration.   The monk wakes up at 4:30 am. At 7:30 am he returns to his room (cell) for alone-time, a time of reading, praying and reflecting. Here is a quote with which you may identify:

    “I stay in cell-  there are fewer outward distractions. But that does not stop the distractions from within… my own darkness and need for God. I try to put myself before him just as I am; He can cope with all that is within me, even if I cannot…  seeking a source of stability in the midst of the turbulent void“-

    – the turbulent void, aVoid. I will be looking forward to your update.

    anita

    #406529
    aVoid
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>@hellcat</p>
    I understand that small achievements should be celebrated. But it’s hard for me because I have such high expectations for myself.

    In regards to your last question, my father past away years ago and I don’t keep in contact with that side of the family. My mother on the other hand, I still keep in contact with her, but I’m not really close. I’m close with my brother though. He means a lot to me. We’ve been through everything together.

     


    @anita

    I like that quote.

     

    This week I’ve been trying hard to get into a routine but I’ve been on and off. I wanted to have results before I replied but I can’t seem to get them.

    The hardest part is going to sleep. Im up until the a.m. and it creates too much of a barrier into waking up early. It feels like every night I try to sleep my mind reminds me of the trauma of my past and it keeps me up. It suppresses me and puts me in a dark place.

    Im looking for a therapist right now. Im going to try to call them tomorrow. I think I really need to talk to someone. But it’s hard finding the right person. I just feel that no one cares, or if they do they don’t understand.

    #406550
    anita
    Participant

    Dear aVoid:

    The hardest part is going to sleep. I’m up until the am” – from Wikipedia, paraphrased-  Insomnia: Trouble falling and/or staying asleep. Insomnia can occur as a result of (1) certain medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism (the thyroid hormone is produces in access and speeds up various body systems, producing symptoms similar to an overdose of adrenaline), chronic physical pain, sleep apnea and heartburn, (2)  certain medications and drugs, such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol,  (3) psychological stress, (4) the brain-body being in the habit of staying up at night because of a lifestyle where one is awake at nights (examples: working the night shift, playing computer games at night).

    Treatment for insomnia include (1) making life style changes and practicing sleep hygiene: it is recommended to avoid doing the following too late in the day/ too close to bedtime: physical exercise, mental exercise (planning for the next day, trying to solve problems, worrying, thinking about frustrating topics),  big meals/ overeating (or going to bed hungry), and chemical stimulants such as caffeine (including coffee, energy drinks, soft drinks, tea, chocolate, and some pain relievers).

    * Regarding alcohol, it helps a person fall asleep because it is a depressant, but the process of metabolizing the alcohol disrupts sleep, so the person doesn’t stay asleep for long.

    It is recommended to do the following: daily exercise, keep day time naps short or avoid altogether,  establish and keep a sleep routine/ schedule, relax before bedtime in dim lights, have a comfortable mattress and pillow,  and a peaceful, dark sleep-environment.

    * a sleep machine can be helpful (it produces an ongoing sound of ocean waves or rain.. or a train), and perhaps a weighted blanket  (a heavy blanket that is used to aid sleep and reduce anxiety).

    (2) <b>Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia</b> (<b>CBT-I</b>)-the first step in treating insomnia with CBT-I is to identify the underlying causes of the insomnia by keeping a sleep diary/ journal for a couple of week listing thoughts, behaviors, and stressors that could be contributing to the insomnia.

    The steps to follow are to practice sleep hygiene (see above), sleep restriction (instead of staying in bed for too long, frustrated about one’s inability to fall asleep, which creates an association between one’s bed and insomnia- get out of bed and return to bed when tired), relaxation training (hypnosis, guided imagery, meditation), and cognitive therapy: the crucial messages that the therapist tries to communicate to the patient are: * to not TRY to sleep- trying harder will only keep you more awake, * to have realistic expectations about your sleep duration and energy the next day, *to avoid catastrophic thoughts, ex.,  imagining that you are about to die after an insomniac night. Instead, think of insomnia as unpleasant, but not detrimental to your health (on the short term),  * to not think too much about the insomnia, to not have your life revolve around it, and * to control worry and rumination using a thought record: a <sup id=”cite_ref-15″ class=”reference”></sup>log where you write down your concerns, and later discuss them with your therapist, one concern at a time, to determine if each is realistic or not.

    * Paradoxical Intention involves the therapist telling the patient to do the exact opposite of what he/ she has been doing in bed: to stay awake and avoid falling asleep.

    Insomnia is common and therefore, there are books and workbooks on the topic, a few are: Say Goodnight to Insomnia: the six week, drug free program developed at Harvard Medical School,     Sleep Through Insomnia,     The Sleep Solution,      quiet your mind and get to sleep The Sleep Workbook   and    The Insomnia Workbook .

    I would add that the concept of Radical Acceptance can help with insomnia as in so many other problems in life: to completely accept a situation which we cannot change (any time soon, if at all): to accept it without disliking it, without resisting it, without fighting it in any way; to relax into it instead.

    anita

     

    #406551
    anita
    Participant

    * I will try to edit out the excess print:

    Dear aVoid:

    The hardest part is going to sleep. I’m up until the am” – from Wikipedia, paraphrased-  Insomnia: Trouble falling and/or staying asleep. Insomnia can occur as a result of (1) certain medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism (the thyroid hormone is produces in access and speeds up various body systems, producing symptoms similar to an overdose of adrenaline), chronic physical pain, sleep apnea and heartburn, (2)  certain medications and drugs, such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol,  (3) psychological stress, (4) the brain-body being in the habit of staying up at night because of a lifestyle where one is awake at nights (examples: working the night shift, playing computer games at night).

    Treatment for insomnia include (1) making life style changes and practicing sleep hygiene: it is recommended to avoid doing the following too late in the day/ too close to bedtime: physical exercise, mental exercise (planning for the next day, trying to solve problems, worrying, thinking about frustrating topics),  big meals/ overeating (or going to bed hungry), and chemical stimulants such as caffeine (including coffee, energy drinks, soft drinks, tea, chocolate, and some pain relievers).

    * Regarding alcohol, it helps a person fall asleep because it is a depressant, but the process of metabolizing the alcohol disrupts sleep, so the person doesn’t stay asleep for long.

    It is recommended to do the following: daily exercise, keep day time naps short or avoid altogether,  establish and keep a sleep routine/ schedule, relax before bedtime in dim lights, have a comfortable mattress and pillow,  and a peaceful, dark sleep-environment.

    a sleep machine can be helpful (it produces an ongoing sound of ocean waves or rain.. or a train), and perhaps a weighted blanket  (a heavy blanket that is used to aid sleep and reduce anxiety).

    (2) Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) – the first step in treating insomnia with CBT-I is to identify the underlying causes of the insomnia by keeping a sleep diary/ journal for a couple of week listing thoughts, behaviors, and stressors that could be contributing to the insomnia.

    The steps to follow are to practice sleep hygiene (see above), sleep restriction (instead of staying in bed for too long, frustrated about one’s inability to fall asleep, which creates an association between one’s bed and insomnia- get out of bed and return to bed when tired), relaxation training (hypnosis, guided imagery, meditation), and cognitive therapy: the crucial messages that the therapist tries to communicate to the patient are: * to not TRY to sleep- trying harder will only keep you more awake, * to have realistic expectations about your sleep duration and energy the next day, *to avoid catastrophic thoughts, ex.,  imagining that you are about to die after an insomniac night. Instead, think of insomnia as unpleasant, but not detrimental to your health (on the short term),  * to not think too much about the insomnia, to not have your life revolve around it, and * to control worry and rumination using a thought record: a log where you write down your concerns, and later discuss them with your therapist, one concern at a time, to determine if each is realistic or not.

    * Paradoxical Intention involves the therapist telling the patient to do the exact opposite of what he/ she has been doing in bed: to stay awake and avoid falling asleep.

    Insomnia is common and therefore, there are books and workbooks on the topic, a few are: Say Goodnight to Insomnia: the six week, drug free program developed at Harvard Medical School,     Sleep Through Insomnia,     The Sleep Solution,      quiet your mind and get to sleep,   The Sleep Workbook   and    The Insomnia Workbook .

    I would add that the concept of Radical Acceptance can help with insomnia as in so many other problems in life: to completely accept a situation which we cannot change (any time soon, if at all): to accept it without disliking it, without resisting it, without fighting it in any way; to relax into it instead.

    anita

    #406577
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear aVoid,

    I feel so lost and alone. I don’t know where to start. It’s like some supernatural power such as a dark cloud is hanging about my head.

    I know the feeling. I first started feeling it consciously in my teenage years. It continued into my adolescence and beyond – the cloud was always there. No matter how perfect the outer circumstances where, even when I was loved and cared for by my then boyfriend, I could never be happy because of that cloud.

    Later I’ve realized that the cloud – which was the relentless, ever-present sadness – wasn’t above my head, but it was deep within me, in my heart, in my soul. I was sad because I felt unloved. And not only unloved, but unlovable. There was an emptiness, a longing in my heart, which no amount of outer love and care could fill (and no amount of food either – I was suffering from an eating disorder).

    This happens if we haven’t received enough love, care and appreciation as children. I certainly haven’t, I was criticized a lot and was never good enough for my mother. She wasn’t absent like your mother was, but her presence was toxic. My father was much more benign, but allowed my mother to spill her toxicity on me. He didn’t protect me.

    You worry that “the monsters I’ve been fighting my whole life are who I’ve now become“.

    I can relate, because I believed I was a freak. A monster. I thought I was a freak because of my addiction, but much later I’ve realized that I believed I was a freak because my mother told me so. Because she only saw bad in me, she never praised me but only scolded me. That’s how I became a freak, a pathetic loser undeserving of love – in my own eyes.

    Our childhood defines us. It shapes how we see ourselves later in life.

    You had a very rough childhood, aVoid, with very little love and care. And the image you’ve adopted about yourself is that of a loser, a monster, a nobody. But that image is false. It’s the reaction to the lack of love and the abuse that you’ve experienced. Because the child always blames themselves if they are treated poorly.  The child never blames the parents.

    But all I want is to be a man. Is to have control over my life. I want to stop this. I want to quit smoking. I want to quit porn. I want to get out of the video games and come back to reality. But how?

    First, understand that there is a child part in you – called the inner child. He is an innocent little boy, who believes that he is unworthy of love. The pain of this self-image, of this false belief, is so strong that you need to numb it with alcohol, porn, video games, and any other addiction. All of your addictions served one purpose: to numb this unbearable pain.

    If you understand that this little boy needs love and appreciation, you can provide it to him. You can provide what you have never received from your parents. Once the little boy receives what he is longing for, the pain will diminish and you won’t have to numb it with addictions. It will all sort it self out, slowly but surely.

    I do believe that therapy is very important, but I’d suggest you find someone who knows how to work the inner child and complex trauma (complex PTSD).

    There is a way out, aVoid. You can make it, same as I did. You are not a terrible person. You are only wounded. Wounded people don’t need to be judged, they need compassion, so they can heal. Compassion is the first step…

    Let me know how this sounds to you…

     

    #406605
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi aVoid

    I’m glad that you have maintained the healthy relationships with your family and have created boundaries with the less healthy relationships.

    It’s good to hear that you are pursuing therapy. I used to believe that therapists didn’t care, but the reality is that they could do any job for money. They choose to commit their lives to helping others. They care. I can understand wanting a therapist that understands. I’d like to share with you the benefits of a therapist that doesn’t understand.

    I had a therapist with very few experiences of trauma in her life. She had a huge amount of empathy for the suffering of others. She was very clear that the experiences of trauma were unhealthy and able to clearly articulate why and encourage me to set boundaries.

    I totally understand the habit of ruminating at night. At the end of the day we all have a natural tendency to reflect. But with trauma, it’s a very painful and difficult habit to change. Have you been ruminating at night since childhood? Was there a reason you did this?

    For me, as a child I believed falsely that my actions during the day were the reason why I was abused. I thought if I could plan to do things perfectly I would succeed in preventing the abuse.

    With PTSD the mechanism causing intrusive memories is avoidance. Not wanting to feel the pain, which is a human and understandable reaction. Being willing to face the discomfort of your trauma and process the feelings in time will help you let these memories stay where they belong, in the past. A good trauma therapist will help you with this.

    Wishing you all the best! 🙏

    #406883
    anita
    Participant

    How are you, aVoid?

    anita

    #407167
    aVoid
    Participant

    Thanks for all the advice everyone.

    I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking and I came to the conclusion that I lack conscientious which is why I’m struggling so much. I decided to start practicing mindfulness through cleaning and organizing my living environment, focusing on the present moment and meditation.

    I’ve been feeling a lot better and I’ve managed to quit smoking a couple of days ago. Everything was going great until last night.

    I had people over and I drank too much. I’ve became much more responsible with alcohol than I was before, but I still manage to become influenced by the people around me if they’re drinking a lot.

    When we left to go to the bars, I started feeling quite drunk. At the bar is when I realized that I was pretty intoxicated so I started drinking water. I’m proud of myself for this because in the past I would’ve kept drinking.

    But for some reason no amount of water was helping me. It seemed that I was getting more intoxicated as the night went on. Eventually I went to a fast food joint to get some burgers and head home.

     

    This is when things got bad. I felt really sick and I was throwing up in the toilet. I then decided to take a bath so I ran the tap and laid down in the tub. I guess it was the warmth of the water and my extreme fatigue, I fell asleep. When I awoke I turned off the tap and stepped out of the tub to head to bed. Except something was strange. The floor was flooded with water and it continued throughout my apartment.

    At this moment I thought I was dreaming due to my state. So I went to bed. The morning after I had someone come by to clean up the water because it leaked down to the apartment below. Luckily, my building is concrete and the floor is vinyl, so the damage was minimal.

    I told my friend and he said that I’m lucky to not have drowned. This is true. I’m lucky the damage wasn’t worse.

    I’m just disappointed in myself for drinking so much and flooding my apartment. All that could’ve been avoided. But all I can do now is focus on moving past this. I’m hoping I learned from this and next time there’s company, I’ll control myself.

     

    Other than this tragic event, my moods been much better and I can finally feel like I’m healing. Slowly but surely.

    #407170
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi aVoid!

    It’s good to hear that you have been practising mindfulness and feel like you’re healing and generally doing better. It’s great that you’ve quit smoking too, well done!

    You’re very aware of your triggers with alcohol, I’m sure that this will help you manage your alcohol consumption in the future. Well done again on stopping drinking when you felt like you had enough. It’s a shame that after you stopped drinking you continued to get drunk and you accidentally flooded your bathroom. I’m glad that you made it out of that experience safely.. If it makes you feel better once I somehow managed to flood my mom’s bathroom while sober. 😂

    It’s good to hear that you have been tidying up too. Sounds like you are making a lot of good progress. Keep up the good work!

    #407185
    anita
    Participant

    Dear aVoid:

    You are welcome.  “I decided to start practicing mindfulness through cleaning and organizing my living environment, focusing on the present moment and meditation“- excellent! Remake this decision every morning and a few times during each day and night.

    I’ve been feeling a lot better and I’ve managed to quit smoking a couple of days ago“- good to read this!

    Everything was going great until last night…  I’m just disappointed in myself for drinking so much and flooding my apartment. All that could’ve been avoided. But all I can do now is focus on moving past this. I’m hoping I learned from this and next time there’s company“- progress is not linear and we have to bounce back from failures and disappointments if we want to continue making progress. You used the verb LEARN- learning is key to making progress, learning and practicing what we learn every day.

    I’m healing. Slowly but surely“- I would like it very much if you continued to post about your healing!

    anita

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