Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A-Z, P For Pain.

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Choosing between numbness and a good emotion is easy. But what if the choice is between the well-known, familiar and above all secure numbness, feeling nothing in the foggy darkness and an unknown emotion, that makes you cry, that gives you nothing but psychical pain?

In the last couple of days I made the strange experience that my heart would prefer the loneliness, prefers feeling nothing instead of the pain, even when my mind says that's ridiculous!

To make the long story short:
I needed a document from home for some authorities in order to get my money, but without money I can't go home - a devil's circle! The woman, for sure competent in her job, said that one sentence: "Either you have friends or not."

OMG, these 6 little words ... alone quite harmless, but in its combination so diastrous. My wasn't in the slightest prepared, my knight as unprepared and my guard down. How could she only say this? How can words only cause this kind of pain? It's been a while I felt this way, it was horrible. It felt like my heart, my soul, my self was cut with the sharp blade of a sword. And I bleeded like being struck this way - only mentally. So much worse than pysical pain. There was a constant echo of those words in my ear and every time it was another cut and one more and again. Not to say that I had a breakdown ... to reasure you, I found some help, some protection (to name another good P-word!) in form of talks.

Sure, I am a loner. True, I do have only a small circle of friends. It's also given fact that most of my dear and closest people live somewhere in the world; I might mention Carol, Bri, Dolly, Stefanie, Sandra, Elke and Vivian (west to east on the globe).

The knowledge you guys are out there soothes my pain. I shall never forget that I do have friends! A thousand times thank you!

---

P.S. Pain = Payne = Black Dagger Brotherhood Series
If somebody had told me one year ago, that I wouldn't have instantly the new BDB book in hands straight after release, I'd have this person declared to be mental! And now, release was in March, it's ... and I still don't have it (not yet, but soon!). What a sensation!

Monday, June 11, 2012

O For Omnipotence.

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My dear friend from Malaysia and I play at the end of every email the 5 Questions Game. You are allowed to ask 5 questions, but have also to answer them. We're playing quite a long time now and reached the status of really interesting questions.

This time I asked among others: "If you had the chance to ask God one question - what would it be and why?"

Frankly speaking I don't care much about this overall discussions "Why are we here?" or "What is the sense of life?". For those I dare to say that I've found a satisfying answer concerning my person. And furthermore I'm much too selfish to squander this unique chance!

I would rather ask something about me and the situation I'm in, maybe something about my background, reasons that brought me here, my family ... maybe I would ask to talk one last time to my mother or grandfather in order to ask her/him specific questions about my family history. I know so little.

Same topic another story:
On the clinic's compound is also a little church and somehow I felt this weekend the need to make a visit there. It's light and open and quite simple. Nothing in comparison with my local cathedral. In this church aren't any colored glass windows, no paintings on the wall/ceiling ... and no visitors/tourists. Just me and a burning candle.

Very recreative ... but still - my first intention was to light a candle for my Mum and my grandfather, I still think very often on them - but still, I have problems to feel something in churches. There's no reaction in my heart, it's just an empty building.

Later on in the evening I had a walk with a fellow patient and at the end I had a little break on a bench. It was silent, too, the wind was whispering in the trees, in the distance some birds were chirping their evening song and the sun flickered through the branches creating mysterious lights and shadows. While laying there and watching in the sky I felt what I hadn't in the church: the omnipresence of some omnipotence!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A-Z, N For Necessities.

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Well, I daresay it's not the first time (nor the last) I let myself influence by some music ... when I thought of suitable N-words, suddenly Baloo's Bare Necessities (form Dschungle Book) popped in my head:

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature's recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life


Necessities in the normal world:
In J for Joker I reported from my life here in the clinic; it's rather comfortable, but I still miss a few things ... or to use the catchword of the day ... I miss a few bare necessities.

I haven't my car with me here. I miss to have at least the possibility to leave whenever I want, whereever I want. Even if I had my car, I would have to ask the doctors if I'm allowed to go.

Despite the fact that I've never been a big mobile phone user I miss that little gadget. I forgot it when I came here and when a list of things was brought to me they didn't find that little thingy. I assume it's somewhere lost in the depths of my couch.

Besides a few clothes and other things I miss most the free, permanent access to my ArtJournaling tools. Sure, I have some here, but by far not enough!

Anyway, when a fellow patient said to me I probably could have a ride with her home and back (she lives near my place), my brain got superactive again, thinking of all possibilites and impossibilities, trying to find answers I impossibly could answer now. It was awful - kept me half of the night awake. Just for your information, a newbe like me isn't allowed to stay for 2 nights at home (like my fellow patient would do), so I have to search for other options. All that nightly thinking was in vain. And btw, I'm a little afraid to stay at home where I still only have negative memories when my days were so dark and my world so small!

Necessities in the supernatural world:
In happened to be the night from Monday to Tuesday when my head kept me busy and awake. Luckily I had an appointment with my therapist on Tuesday.

While we talked about my inner restiveness my chest was getting warmer and warmer - too much energy from my good source of shining bright light (See D for Daemon). And suddenly I didn't know what to do with that surplus of energy, so my therapist asked: "What do you want to do now?" I wanted to sream, shout, kick something. We went straight in the cellar into the room where usually our relaxation sessions are held - good noise isolation!

It was strange. I felt how two forces were fighting in my chest: The adult brain me, who was thinking that's ridiculous. I should keep controlled. And that energetic part. OMG! I wept, I strolled around like a tiger in it's cage, it was a real battle within me. With the knowledge that only my therapist would ever see me, the energetic part won. I kicked a non-existing enemy ... and suddenly there she was: my inner child. Have you ever heard of her?

She was beautiful with golden blond hair, so young, maybe 5 or 6 years old and so innocent, but also so very sad and so very angry.

The stranger, the enemy became her (my) father. She wanted to kick him for all his pysical and psychic cruelty. And she did kick his ass ... she wept, she screamed ... so long until all that surplus energy was consumed. Then she wanted to be hugged and solaced. It was through time I became her older sister, giving her all the bare necessities she urgently had needed (and until now, she never had received).

It sounds strange, believe me, it was strange, but wonderful and exhausting, too. For the rest of the day I was done with the world, but also somehow peaceful and quiet.

I'd like to end with a quote from Prof. Dumbledore/Harry Potter 7: "Of course it is happening in your head, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real."

Saturday, June 09, 2012

A-Z, M For Masquerade.

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First I thought K, L and M would become a theme-trio, but I'm thinking brain and heart do well enough with K for Knight and L for Lost, even when Masquerade is more or less a consequence of both of them.

We all play different roles in our lifes. I am ... a daughter, a friend (maybe even a foe, at least a competitor), a private person, a business woman, a writer/Art Journaler/blogger ... and currently a patient.

My most contradictive rolesa are at the moment my business me and my patient me.

Let's beginn with the latter. I'm a patient in a clinic letting my depressions treated. I'm currently sitting on a comfortable couch in the empty TV room, wearing warm, woolen socks, Yoga trousers, a Kolkata Knight Riders T-Shirt (the cricket team of my favorite actor Shah Rukh Khan) and a vest. It's sunny, but a little fresh today. I don't wear any make-up and don't give a thing about my hair, a simple ponytail does the job. I sleep, I eat, I drink, I go to my therapies, now and then I have a little breakdown and crying fits. I think a lot about myself and my situation and have enough time to be creative. See my post 'A Rush Of Writing'.

Then there's the business me. We don't need to discuss that outfit, hair and make-up aren't this casual, but more business like. It's especially the behavior that differs. I'm a professional, trained to deal with my clients and groups, and - important - to talk with superiors. Like once said before, I know how to sell myself.

The fatal thing is, when those opposites collide in situations. I can't stop the business behavior, it's such a dominant part in me - so sometimes I look better from the outside than I feel from the inside. Like an actress, who plays her roll all too well, shows the perfect masquerade.

Currently I have a person, who helps me with authorities and forms. When I talk with her, I assume, she has that particular impression of me. Maybe unconscious she gives me the feeling that she expects me to be healthy again in a bit of a time ... and I?

I feel nothing but pressure and expectations I can't fulfill. This doesn't help to concentrate on my real problem. On the contrary it affects me so much that during last weekend I fell deep in my darkest hour for a short while. Felling alone, isolated and unable to do anything.

So, what do we learn from this?
  1. I shouldn't feel guilty that I felt miserable. It was only a short time and it's allowed to have negative emotions. 
  2. I've learnt to ask for help, because I asked my doctors to get in contact with that person and talk to her. 
  3. Show more what you feel so that your opposite knows, what's going on. Lift the masquerade a little - but how???

Friday, June 08, 2012

A-Z, L For Lost.

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'Cause you are not alone
I'm always there with you 
And we'll get lost together 
'Til the light comes pouring through 
'Cause when you feel like you're done 
And the darkness has won Babe, you're not lost 
When your world's crashing down
And you can't bear the thought 
I said, babe, you're not lost 
From 'Lost' by Michael Buble

After 'Something Beautiful' by Robbie Williams and 'Help' by The Beatles for Art Journaling pages this is now the third time when lyrics mean something for me. Sure, this text concerns two lovers, but it also suits so well for my situation, me and my emotions.

In my last post K for Knight I told you about my knight AKA my strong mind and my little heart. Fact is that some emotions are slowly breaking through the heavy armor, but very often it's some kind of too much for me. I'm lost with my own emotions!

Let me give you an example:
Many of my therapies are held in other buildings. After being isolated in my home I have - thank God - no problems anymore leaving my station. Inside the compound I feel safe. But one side effect of my illness is that I'm over sensitive to noises.

On a Tuesday I had my first session of 'BrainGym', a computer based training for concentration and memory. Really no big deal. It's fun. And most of the time I'm better than the average. On that Tuesday the volume of noises in that room was high (at least for me). People were taking, computers beeping, a lawn mower from outside. Simply too much for my sensitive ear.

Okay, then Wednesday morning straight after breakfast I suddenly felt rather shaky and dizzy, got a thumb tongue. Very unpleasant. I had no idea what was wrong. I hoped when I sat a little longer it would go away again. Maybe the coffee was too strong or I stood up too fast. The feeling stayed. Okay, let's go to the nurses. They checked my blood pressure and pulse, but everything was okay. What the hell was wrong?

The simple answer: I was afraid!
I didn't know it, because the last time I really felt this way was long, long ago. Excitement - yes! Stage fright - yes! But afraid - no! My brain controlled everything, did everything to prepare me so well to not get me into frightening situations. And now, when my heart became stronger, it showed me that those feelings are still there. The only problem, poor Karin wasn't able to put a name on it. So my body showed typical symptoms. It's really irritating, I can tell you. To feel something and you don't know exactly what. To have a little panic attac is new and somehow frightening, too. It's like fearing the fear.

The end of the story on Thursday the game repeated, but we talked among others in our group session about it. On Friday then I took my MP3-player with me and breathed quite deeply. I registered actively, what happens and that there's nothing to be afraid of. It was okay, but believe me, afterwards I felt more exhausted than after a sport session. Anyway, the success counts!

And speaking of success - or progress. There were/are other little eruptions of emotions, like frustration, joy or loneliness. I hope in the end my brain, my heart (and my stomach, which is the third component of that trio) will be equal partners.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

A-Z, K For Knight.

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First I voted for 'Knowledge', which would have also suited. But I wasn't really satisfied with it. Above all, I had it already used in our February Journaling Challenge. And then this little word came so perfectly!

Remember in I for Individuum - Community I mentioned that a Rorschach test was made with me. And in one of the last pictures I saw a knight - or better said a Samurai in his armor. I asked the therapist, if I could have a copy of the picture (plus a second one, which also meant a lot to me), but she denied. But lucky me and thanks to Google Image Research and the fact that those two pictures were colored. I'd found them instantly. I intended to make an Art Journaling page with them, but I still haven't a new Paperblank book, so for now you just get the one picture alone: Can you see the knight/Samurai warrior?

You might wonder, why a knight/warrior is so important for me? In D for Daemon I've also mentioned the NLP technique work with inner parts. From another exercise I have that particular picture in mind, which is still so actual:

I imagined my brain as a tough, heavy armored knight standing in front of my little helpless heart protecting it.

After meeting my knight you might also want to know, what reason for he's here and how he'd become so mighty? In H for Help you got to read a little of my early independence, means my mind, my brain, whatever you'd like to call it, grew up very fast, it simply took the lead. On the other side, I didn't really got much emotional attention. Good marks in school had become standard, were almost preconditioned. I only received some emotional reaction when my wild side broke free and/or I did something wrong. Later on as a teenager the violence from my father was replaced by psychic terror. Some other circumstances, which would lead too far now, made me never experiment with the whole range of emotions.

That for my brain developed a very clever strategy. I was thirsty for knowledge (and food!). Knowledge was my safety net. I was interested in each and everything. I made a lot of studies, courses and further educational trainings. I red (and stil read) a lot. When I read/hear/see something interesting new, I usually do a basic backround research. In advance - to avoid danger - my mind thinks of various options, so nothing can't really surprise me, or better said hurt me.

My brain AKA my knight got trained and strong and powerful. I can sell myself very well. I appear interested, happy, always controlled from the outside, but in the inside I'm not really able to feel anything.

And my heart? My emotions? I hide them, protected them, locked them away. But you can't lock away emotions, they are there, with the only stupid effect, you can't feel them anymore. Believe me, they find another way to break free (more about that with the letter L)!

These days my knight is losing a little of his power and my heart is slowly breaking free, begins to show some emotions.

A little P.S.:
While writing those last lines I feel a pleasant warmth in my chest, like my heart fully agrees!!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A-Z, J For Joker.

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Besides a few other good J-words I decided to use the joker today in order to tell you a little of the facility I currently am.

The clinic is located in the south-east of Germany, about a 40 min freeway drive away from my home. To airport Munich you'd need another hour freeway drive. I've added you a Google Map picture of the clinic's location.


As you can see on this map the clinic is rather big. It contains Psychiatry, Psychotheraphy, Forensic Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurological Early Rehabilitation. Statistics (2007) say 1.344 people are working here.

Station C5/O, where I am, is part of the psychiatric clinic and one of 24 statioons with 480 beds altogether. Here in C5/O I have about 24 fellow patients. With two of them I share my bedroom. The whole area is very green - I like that!

Enough dates now, let's better talk about my life here.

Usually I'm an owl - when I was in hospital a couple of years ago for my broken ankle, the morning staff gabe me the nickname Sleeping Beauty, because I'd been so sleepy in the mornings. Still I'm no early morning bird, but getting up here is rather okay. I'm really surprised by this. Breakfast is at 07:00 a.m., lunch about 11:30 a.m. and dinner round 05:00 p.m.

These times collide a little with my natural bio rhythm, because I prefer everything two hours later. Same with bedtimes, here bedtime (not really, but you should be in your room and quiet at 10:00 p.m. Not the easiest thing when you usually don't sleep before 00:30 a.m.!

Okay, these times aren't perfect, but superduper bonus - there's no need for cooking or grocery shopping! Every Thursday there's a list for the next week, where we can choose between three dishes (local, vegetarian, mediterranean), similar with dinner. Here you can add two components having to your bread and/or bread rolls. I love Wednesdays, for dinner a big mixed salad is available. I wished more often to have it! It's so yummy!

Let's now talk off the heavy, the therapies. They're various, no day is the same. Only 'Brainjogging' is for me every morning at 08:00 a.m. First I was a little mispleased by this early time, I was about to ask for another time, but then I thought, my usual business day also starts at 08:00 h, so I left it like it is. It's a good 'Hello-and-good-morning-wake-up-call'!

Then two mornings are reserved for 'Visite'. While on Monday we consult the stations' (in lack of a suitable word) leaders, on Thursday the Medical Director comes to your room. Both are always kind of exciting. Then, of course, I have a weekly appointment with my therapist. Those sessions are always exhausting, but also very filled with new cognitions. Same with our group talk (about 6-10 people) on Thursday afternoon.

Two times a week, Tuesday and Thursday evening, are reserved for relaxation after Jacobsen. There are furthermore a choice of sport- and occupation therapies. Those, who follow my blog for a little while now, as a huge fan of Wreck This Journal my favorite here is Art Therapy. Besides art, you can got to household training, handicraft- and music therapy.

Hmm, have I forgotten something?
Not really. Life is really various here. They keep your body and your mind busy and send you (me!) on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Reade more about it in the upcoming post!

Monday, June 04, 2012

A-Z, I For Individuum - Community.

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Well, where should I start ... what should I say without repeating myself ... what to say without beginning to chatter ... what to say at all? I have an idea in mind, but no line of thought. Maybe I give it some time to develop...

A bit later now:
I define myself as individuum with my very own, very unique, very special combination of strengths and weaknesses, talents and beliefs, interests and ... (good thought of my fellow patient) ... also looks. Frankly speaking, I blend out that last part much too easily! And when I share some of these points with others, let's take this blogging thing here for example, then I'm becoming a part of a community.

But what if at some part in your life - or maybe even as long as you can think - you feel that you do not belong to any kind of group or community??? Well, that's what I do believe!

My career as a loner had already begun when I was a child. I was born as the first and only child of my parents plus we lived a little apart from other houses. So from very young age on I had to use my imagination for keeping me busy.

When school had begun and I learnt quite easily, I've very often been teachers' most favorite pet. Remember in H for Help I've told you the story of my early independence.

All those facts in combination made me - for sure an unique, special individuum - but also gave me that feeling that I didn't really fit in.

The older I grew the more seemed my decisions, interests, knowledge and beliefs differ from the so called normal, at least differ from my family's expectations (also see G for Genes).

An now I'm here in stationary treatment and - maybe unconsciously done - one of the therapists added to my self-fulfilling prophecy. When I arrived here, she (the therapist) let me make quite a few tests, e.g. given statements where I had to agree or disagree to and a Rorschach test. But when I asked some of my fellow patients nobody else had made those tests. Of course, my brain began immediately to work: Why had I to make those tests? What's the need for it? Am I so different that I need extra treatment? Etc.

On the day when a Computer Tomography was made (a standard treatment for everybody) my fears finally broke free. What if my brain is really different? What does it mean if not? It's so hard and difficult to describe how miserable I felt!!! Do I really belong to no one in this world???

In the following weekend I cooled down a little ... and to end with something positive: It seemed like I'm not the only person here, who thinks and feels this way. The talks from patient to patient do really help a lot. I'm not alone, at least I belong to this little group here!

And if I continue this thought in a positive manner: If there's one community I fit in, are there maybe any others out there???

Sunday, June 03, 2012

A-Z, H For Help.

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'I solemly swear that I'm up to no good!'
For little Karin the Weasley twins' motto would have also perfectly suited. The combination of a strong will, stubbornness and wild creativity lead me more than once into embarrassing and/or strange situations.

To tame her little tomboy my mother gave some responsibility in my own little hands. For instance, when I was about 8 or 9 I insisted to stay up longer than usual in order to watch something on TV or to play longer outside. Finally my mother was sick repeating her warning words all over again, she gave me my own alarm clock and said: 'Fine, you want to stay up late ... then from now on it's also on you to wake up on time!' You can imagine how quickly the learn effect was! Or after school warming my meal and making my homework all alone, because both of my parents were working. Well, it's true that I never got well along with my father, so when I was 16 and the chance was given, I moved out of my parents' house. These first few steps of responsibility many more followed.

While learning to manage more and more parts of my life all by myself, the other part of the story was that I'd never learnt to ask for help. Even more asking for help was considered as weakness. And honestly, which independent young woman wants to appear as weak? Simple answer: No one!

Like already described in C for Captivity the process of falling into depression is slowly, almost not to register clearly. There's your logical mind, that actually knows what's going on and actually what should be done. But there are also your feelings and your total lack of energy, which aren't able to execute those actions.

I've been always proud of my self responsibility, but now the 2nd time I had to experience the negative side if you're not able to ask for help. The worse my situation got the more isolated I became ... and vize versa. A devil's circle. And still I feel too much ashamed, much too embarrassed and much too proud to ask for help. Until everything became almost too late - with emphasis on almost!

Now in therapy one of my goals - AKA F for Final Destination - is learning to ask for help - in time!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

A-Z, G For Genes.

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It's all in the genes, is that really so?
Just finished 'Next' by Michael Crichton, an interesting book about gene-technology.

It made me - with view of my current situation - curious to do a little Wikipedia research. Well, I know some cases of cancer and heart diseases in my family, so according to the gene-theory in my family history I could be at least predistinated for those ... but I haven't heard a single word about depressions. This either means there weren't any or they simply didn't talk about it.

If there weren't the pretty obvious similarities in the look between my mother and me, and especially between my father and me, I would totally doubt that I'm really a part of this family!

Beyond the look, there are more differences than similarities. While all my ancestors mainly prefer to settle down, get married, get children, build a house and plant a tree, I focus and live for my career. While they think in small, narrow minded dimensions, I dare to dream big and work on dreams coming true. While I'm interested in various topics, I doubt they've even heard about those, and if they are very prejudices. While ... I could continue here on and on and on...

When really all is in the genes, then I wonder, why am I so different? What the hell is wrong with me? Has been made a mistake in arranging my genes?

The fatal thing is, when your mind is already doubting on its health, those questions suddenly become even more significance. You begin to doubt if your way of living was correct. But what and when did I begin to make 'wrong' turns? Would have changed something if I'd known? ... I don't think so!?

So, what (if?) is wrong with me?

Friday, June 01, 2012

A-Z, F For Final Destination.

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When making this A-Z list I jotted down 'Final Destination' in the original sense of the movie series. It simply suited too well in my Apocalypse theme.

And currently?
No! I hadn't had a vision of upcoming exploding airplanes, car crashes or any other disastrous events. With the consequence that Death isn't waiting for me with his macabre plan to catch me.

I won't deny when you're living on the dark side of your life that death is more of a present topic then before ... but like I assured you in B for Bucket List there's something else more dominant in my head.

So, you might have the right to ask why I chose 'Final Destination' as the catchword of the day?!

Well, the answer is quite easy ... at least for me. You might have registered how miserable my state of mind currently is and there's also a glimmer of hope. In the first session my therapist asked me - for homework - to make a list of my goals. My interpretation of this task was to analyze (my brain busy as usual!) when my days are bright and shiny again, what should have changed or resp. should have gained back again. In other words, my personal 'Final Destination':
In the center: The overall goal 'active living' or 'live actively'.
Major problem to achieve this goal: low energy level! Where to get new energy?
Clockwise:
  • With all 5 senses.
  • With full concentration/focus.
  • The full range of emotions.
  • My personal Maslov pyramid. 
  • From eye to eye (see E for Eyes). 
  • Right balance of independence and asking for help. 
  • Extend levels of safety/comfort/social.
Let's see how my journey continues, the first few baby steps are already made, but there's still a long way to go in order to reach my personal 'Final Destination'!