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Conflict and Contradiction


ApocalypseDreams

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I believe I'm a good person, but how good exactly am I?

 

Am I as good a person as I believe? Why then do I still have negative thoughts about some people, despite that same thing stirring up indignation inside myself when I see another person doing it to someone else?

 

Hi Jonty. I'm glad I found your journal. I just wanted to say that the reason you probably have negative thoughts sometimes is because you're human. Everyone does. What separates you from those you stand against may be the fact that you recognize these thoughts as negative, and reflect on why you might feel that way.

 

I know you have more questions than answers right now. I know how exhausting it is to think, and rethink, and analyze, and question, and second-guess. But you are doing a lot of good things to change that, so just hang in there. PM if you need to.

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So sorry I forgot to check this post Jonty. Yes, I can be the same. I'm certain it has to do with actually embracing a program whereby you do certain things when you wake in the morning, etc. and put certain things into your day. I know that at one time for quite a number of years, I would do a morning reading from books from the Hazeldean? series, and then write a list of what I had to do that day. Right now, I spend way too much time online but as the weather is improving, I'm getting about more.

 

No worries Silverbirch! I've seen your posts on your own journal and you have alot going on at the moment. I hope your treatment goes well!

 

Yeah, I'm guilty of just a total lack of self discipline. I don't even know if my depression is an excuse really, although when I'm in a better mood it is easier to build routine and structure in my life. I'm also guilty of negative mind states, which I am better at keeping in check, but I struggle with them day to day. Jealously, envy and resentment are big things for me. I don't want those emotions and feelings but they are hard to shake. At the moment I am quite susceptable to bad feelings towards good friends of mine, who are doing great things while my life is dead in the water at the moment. I deleted facebook recently because a good friend of mine is having the most amazing travel experiences. Experiences I want to have also, but in likelihood will be a while, if ever, due to the fact that I think I'm going to be recovering from mental illness for the foreseeable future.

 

My mental health clinic I'm with has set me up with a mentor, who I'm going to meet weekly, to start getting me to set some little goals and to help me get my life to move forward. He's the same age as me and has previously suffered from anxiety and depression. I'm so glad there are things like this out there to help people like me. At this point in my life I need a helping hand and I'm lucky that I'm living somewhere where I have access to resources like this.

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Hi Jonty. I'm glad I found your journal. I just wanted to say that the reason you probably have negative thoughts sometimes is because you're human. Everyone does. What separates you from those you stand against may be the fact that you recognize these thoughts as negative, and reflect on why you might feel that way.

 

I know you have more questions than answers right now. I know how exhausting it is to think, and rethink, and analyze, and question, and second-guess. But you are doing a lot of good things to change that, so just hang in there. PM if you need to.

 

BP! How have you been going? I'm glad you've found my journal too!

 

Well that's what I've been trying to do. If I can't stop the negative thoughts, at least I can note when they do occur and try and understand why they occur. Maybe that's the first step to transcending these thoughts.

 

It is very exhausting! I'm actually thinking of going away and being on my own for a few days. Get away from all the external noise and distractions from everyday life.

 

Part of me is quite happy I am on this journey now, as opposed to when I'm 50 years old or something. I'm the youngest in my therapy groups and I'm surrounded by people who have experienced nervous breakdowns, destroyed careers, divorces and various other losses due to their mental illness issues. I suppose I don't have much at the moment, but I haven't lost much. Perhaps that 50 year old who has had a breakdown, lost their marriage and career is what could potentially be my future if I don't address this and fix it.

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Friday night was spent volunteering at the Buddhist centre with another woman. When she counted up her till she was short by a bit of money. I had a bad anxiety attack helping a customer, I think due to being crowded. I react badly to being 'boxed' in, with many people being in my personal space.

 

Saturday I was sick most of the day with nausea. I slept, did some house work and felt a little better later on, so I went out to a friends birthday. Anxiety didn't rear its ugly head, although much of what happened reminds me why I don't really want to drink alcohol anymore. Learnt some pretty sad and shocking news about someone I had formerly worked with.

 

Today I did some preparation for my philosophy course tomorrow night, caught some sun and did some reading. Reading No Self, No Problem by Anan Thubten at the moment. Interesting stuff but I'm struggling to get my head around the notion of Self and not identifying with it (I, I'm, me, mine). Goes against pretty much everything you are taught.

 

My goal for this week is to go to the gym three times and now that the sun is back, go for a walk along the beach on the other days. I've also got a BBQ to attend (for Mental Health Week) and I'm volunteering to do some work for the fundraiser being organised.

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I hope that you are glad that you dragged yourself out. I know how hard that can be. All I can say is I hear you, I hear you, I hear you.

 

I hope it goes well, Jonty.

 

May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.

 

(or, simply BE. One breath at a time.)

 

As Tyler Durden said, "Feel better, champ."

 

 

 

Thank you for your kind messages JN, BP and Superman!

 

I'm feeling a bit better now. I had a really good session with my therapist and managed to talk through some of the stuff that has been really frustrating me the last few weeks. Feels really good to get it off my chest, and be completely open about some things I'm struggling with.

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Hi Jonty,

I'm glad you are feeling improved. The flu nearly always makes me feel at least a bit down, and if I'm a bit down already, it can make me feel a lot worse. I hope you have a good day.

 

Thanks Silverbirch!

 

I'm a person who likes to get out and do things or feel productive, so when I'm sick and feel less inclined too, I feel down. I rarely ever get the flu (last time was 2 years ago, sharing a dorm with a sick person) but when I do, it's generally when I'm overstressed and haven't been looking after myself. So it's kind of a double whammy.

 

Healthy mind equals healthy body, which equals healthy immune system and vice versa. Which is why I really want to work on my physical health, because I think that will be incredibly beneficial to my mental health.

 

At the moment it is just therapy, therapy and more therapy!

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Hi Jonty,

I had my first visit yesterday with a psychologist. I have 10 sessions in total to help me learn strategies to deal with my anxiety. He says that nearly all of us are very deficient in Vitamin D and this is important to address. He was also talking about some professional association he is a member of (mostly doctors) which is some type of network of research information, etc on mind-body connection. Karen Phelps is the president so I would think it is reputable.

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How was your first session? Has he discussed some of the techniques and strategies he'll teach you?

 

I get social anxiety that comes and goes. I don't think it is anything in itself, rather it is linked to my low self esteem. During times of low self esteem, I become more conscious of my social interactions and become very critical of my social skills, which causes me to become anxious. Lately I've been having issues with social anxiety, especially in terms of people putting me under pressure, hassling me or crowding me. I have a bit of a thing with personal space when it comes to strangers. I don't like being too close to strangers.

 

Wow, even in Australia we have problems with Vitamin D? I didn't know that. I generally try and get half an hour to an hour of sunlight a day. Maybe I'll look into supplementing that.

 

I had a blood test for various potential causes for depression, lack of energy etc last week and it all came out good. They thought there was a possibility that I had an issue with my thyroid as all the females in my family have thyriod issues, but even that turned out fine. It sounds bad but I was kinda hoping for something to be wrong, at least then I had a problem with a name, that I could correct or manage.

 

That's interesting. Done some digging around, is this the professional association? link removed

 

They are running a conference in Sydney that looks pretty interesting too. link removed Damn, I wish I could go to that!

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My shadow's

Shedding skin and

I've been picking

Scabs again.

I'm down

Digging through

My old muscles

Looking for a clue.

I've been crawling on my belly

Clearing out what could've been.

I've been wallowing in my own confused

And insecure delusions

For a piece to cross me over

Or a word to guide me in.

I wanna feel the changes coming down.

I wanna know what I've been hiding in

My shadow.

Change is coming through my shadow.

My shadow's shedding skin

I've been picking

My scabs again.

I've been crawling on my belly

Clearing out what could've been.

I've been wallowing in my own chaotic

And insecure delusions.

I wanna feel the change consume me,

Feel the outside turning in.

I wanna feel the metamorphosis and

Cleansing I've endured within

My shadow

Change is coming.

Now is my time.

Listen to my muscle memory.

Contemplate what I've been clinging to.

Forty-six and two ahead of me.

I choose to live and to

Grow, take and give and to

Move, learn and love and to

Cry, kill and die and to

Be paranoid and to

Lie, hate and fear and to

Do what it takes to move through.

I choose to live and to

Lie, kill and give and to

Die, learn and love and to

Do what it takes to step through.

See my shadow changing,

Stretching up and over me.

Soften this old armor.

Hoping I can clear the way

By stepping through my shadow,

Coming out the other side.

Step into the shadow.

Forty six and two are just ahead of me.

 

Tool - "Forty Six & 2"

 

This song makes TOTAL sense to me now.

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Hi Jonty, yes that is the organisation he belongs to so I will check out the link. Well, first session was telling him my background and what I feel so anxious about. I thought it went very well. I was referred to him by my GP. I know that he is going to give me homework, and that some of that will entail mindfulness and that I'm likely to also be going to meditation classes at some point. He talked a fair bit about research linking anxiety to cancer. I personally believe that anxiety had a lot to do with my cancer. When I went through the breakup, before and after, I had some really terrible things to deal with at that time at work. For months, I barely slept or ate and cried a lot. I ended up, a couple of weeks before the diagnosis with these shocking cold sores around my mouth which took more than a month to heal, and the doc couldn't give me much for it. I have since learned that there is something that works very well, but can't remember the name just now. You can buy it over the counter and you take 3 tablets at once. It costs around $27 but for people like me, it is well worth it.

 

He isn't going to see me for 2 weeks as I had my most recent bout of tumors removed yesterday and had been expecting to have chemotherapy, but due to shortage of that drug, did not have it yesterday.

 

Anyway, he also talked about the Ian Gawler Foundation, and there are conflicting and controversial opinions about the foundation, but a lot of people, one I know personally and several the psychologist knows who have faith in it. Gawler, and I think his wife had both been diagnosed with cancer many years ago, and turned to diet changes and mindfulness techniques which they feel enabled them to keep the cancer at bay. I think that some of the controversy came from the medical profession because I believe that Gawler did have medical intervention as well, and some doctors believed that some of his claims were misleading.

 

I hope you are feeling much better today. Hug.

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So sorry, I didn't mean that to sound as though I blame my ex. Prior to being with him, I was in a 10 year relationship which ended badly when he developed bipolar. I feel that I made very bad decisions in the love stakes - I stayed with people far longer than I should have. The last breakup brought back so much sadness for me and anxiety about the future. I think that the thing I had wanted the most was to be happy and to be with a person who I had a steady and loving life with. I really thought that with my last ex, that he was the person I would have all of that with. My cancer is believed to have started not long after the breakup when my body also went into physical shock and as well as what I said above, I smoked very heavily. Some of the most important things to rid our bodies of toxins are: drink at least 1.5 litres of water every day, don't smoke or put other toxins in your body, breathe deep clean breaths, control levels of stress. I know of people in remission who believe that diet has played a part for them as well.

 

Of course, I can see now that none of the matters I was so anxious and sad about where worth damage to my health, but I have to take a positive spin on everything. I've heard cancer described as "the messenger" to tell a person that something is wrong with their lives which they need to change. It does help you focus more on the important things.

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I really do wonder about how mind and physical health are linked. You know, alot of the stuff that buddhists have talked about for a couple of thousand years relating to meditation, and its benefits, has been since proven by science. I've read studies that say meditation actually changes the brain in beneficial ways, as the brain has some plasticity. I wonder if a unhealthy mind compromises your physical health and immunity. Mind you, sometimes cancer just blindsides people. I know people who lead unhealthy lives; smoke, drink and eat junk, yet manage to go through life cancer free.

 

I think mindfulness and meditation will be good for you, bring some peace to yourself, provide some clarity and help maintain a positive outlook. That can be nothing but beneficial to you. Whenever I look at people who have meditated for a significant amount of time, I'm always in admiration at how calm, cool and collected they are. I'd like to be like that. At the moment I feel like sometimes I'm a frantic, nervous ball of energy. I like the fact that your pyschologist has been looking into research, that to me is a sign of a good pyschologist.

 

Nah, I didn't take it as you blaming your ex for it. I can understand why you were so distraught. Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure I've read that you are now with a decent guy, opening yourself up to new experiences, you are looking after your diet etc?

 

Yes! I believe that too. I think that's a beautiful and dignified way to look at it. I think my depression is a wake up call for me. A kick in the backside to sort out my life. I believe if I can get through this, I'll be a much better human being than perhaps if I never had this adversity to begin with. I'll have learnt how to look after my mental and physical health. I'll have alot of life experience which could be used to help someone else in the future. I'll have exposed myself to so many new ideas and philosophies. I'll have a better understanding of who I am, who I want to be, where I want to go and what I want to do. I'll be a more open minded and a stronger person. It's what I'm holding onto and like you said, you've gotta put a positive spin on it. I have to make something good come out of it.

 

Have you read "A Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl? It's written by a holocaust survivor who lost his entire family in the extermination camps but left with his humanity intact. He was a big promoter in finding meaning in even the worst situations. Sometimes you can't change the situation you are in, only how you react to it and whether you hold your head up high. If someone can do that faced with something as horrendous as the holocaust, I can too.

 

Thanks for the hugs. I hope your chemotherapy goes well and you find success with your pyschologist. Let me know how the mindfulness and meditation goes.

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Hi Jonty, yes, I am with somebody today. It certainly is very different for several reasons - we were friends first, and in most ways, the relationship has gone much slower. We are both more independent than both partners have been in previous relationships. We also have some important shared passions as well as our own interests and friends. Physical distance (about an hours drive away) and work have meant there is no possibility of living in each others pockets or seeing too much of each other. I'm constantly surprised at how handsome he is!! Well, I think he is beautiful on the inside too though definitely quirky - he likes that I think he is quirky.

 

Yes, I read Viktor Frankyl. What struck me was that it wasn't just his positive attitude which got him through life after the concentration camp, but how he was able to protect himself through trying to remain invisible in some situations with the nazis though of course, being a doctor also helped keep him alive as the nazis had use for him.

 

Yes, I suppose I am taking better care of my diet too. Years ago I was vegetarian but after a couple of years chose to revert to eat meating due to health reasons but that was a long time ago, and there is a much better variety of health and vegetarian foods available. I became vegetarian again a little over a year ago and enjoy eating vegetarian food.

 

Thanks for the good wishes Jonty - I'm sending them back to you and hope you have a great week! More Hugs.

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That's great you've found someone like that. Hopefully I find someone when I get through this time. I've put dating on the backburner for a while. I don't think I have much to offer anyone currently and need time to focus on myself. How can I love someone else if I don't even love myself? Any relationship I have now would be poisonous, either for me or for her.

 

Viktor Frankl is an amazing human being. Even his feelings towards the camp guards was admirable - forgiveness and understanding. I don't understand how someone could go through that and not be jaded by humanity. You've seen it at its worst. How much better would the world be if we could just end the cycle of hatred? Just stop! We've had enough now! I've been to Auschwitz and I don't think I've ever had an experience quite like it. Going into one of the gas chambers and being told 600 000 human beings lost their lives in there just leaves you speechless.

 

I've considered going vegetarian (for personal reasons, to do with my values) but I'm not sure if I could really do it. Walking the talk is something else. I'd need to get better at cooking for a start. I'm not sure how I'd do nutritionally either. Most vegetarians seem to struggle with health issues. Generally if I go out and there is a vegetarian option I'll eat that over meat or if I'm given a choice. I worked as a storeman for a while and I used to have to load livestock carcasses onto hooks and push them into a meat room. The smell of the meat room has put me off red meat altogether. It smelt of death and blood and ever since I've struggled to eat steak. Can't really get over the idea that I'm infact eating part of a dead animal body. Militant vegans annoy me but people who are militant about eating meat annoy me just as much. Live and let live, damnit.

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Been feeling pretty good lately. Suprisingly zen about life. My car was broken into last Friday night and it didn't phase me at all. I think it has alot to do with the mindfulness and meditation work I've been doing. Its allowed me to take a step back and react to situations in a more skillful way. I've found lately I've been less inclined to get angry at others or snap - especially when I don't agree with someone. I guess I'm picking and choosing my battles.

 

I do a Living Philosophy course, which I've found really helpful. Alot of it is to do with mindfulness, Self (and self) and being in the present. I learnt a really good zen meditation practice which is similiar to the basic practice I've learnt which is following the breath. Instead of saying in my mind "in...out" with each inhale and exhale, this counts each inhale and exhale until 10 and then restarts. Don't ask me why, but I've found that more helpful than the other basic methods I've used.

 

The Living Philosophy course is helping me think about other things than just my depression. I've also been given some really great reading material. I read a book by the late Alan Watts which is mindblowing.

 

I'm so glad I'm doing this course.

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Hi Jonty,

I'll try your practice of counting. More recently, I've gotten into the habit of mentally saying: "Breathing in all the wellness, holding, breathing out the toxins". I feel good when I do that. Your philosophy course sounds good too. My son went to Cambodia and he went to a place there like Auschwitz, and I'm sure it left it's mark on him forever. As well as that, he had an involvement with some people who tried, perhaps just in a small way to help the people, mostly children currently homeless and living in appalling conditions. He is planning to live in Berlin next year for a couple of months. I haven't been anywhere like that but was extremely moved when I went to Port Arthur in TAsmania 2 years ago. It was humbling and amazing to see what the prisoners had achieved and so sad to know how their lives were. I also have been to the Old Melbourne Gaol and sat in the solitary confinement cells which are totally pitch black - so hard to believe people were put there for years.

 

First time I was vegetarian, it was very difficult for a while, but not this time. There's a much wider variety of foods available - especially I like Asian and here you can also buy things like Falafel already made up in the cold section of the supermarket. There are lots of varieties of tofu and beans. As well, there are plenty of supplements. I've just started again taking barley grass powder in fruit juice to keep up my iron levels- I had been taking something called Supergreens. I haven't had any problems with iron deficiency. BTW, the cancer would have been in my body before I was vegetarian. I am probably going to stop eating soy products for a while though - I/ve had soy milk for over 10 years. I don't think it causes any probs with me, but I'm likely going to try something called the Budpest diet (for cancer) and you aren't supposed to have soy.

 

What is the book by Alan Watts on?

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The thing I think people can't really get over with meditation is how basic it can really be. They think there must be something more to it. Took me a few months just to get my head around the fact that just counting my breath was actually a basic form of meditation. I'd always bought into really mystical notions of what meditation was. We've been taught similiar to what you are practicing. I believe it is called loving kindness meditation. I sometimes do a breathing exercise were I mentally say something to the effect of "be well...be happy...be peaceful". Like you said, it leaves you feeling really good inside. We are taught to be kind to others but how many of us are kind to ourselves? Not enough!

 

Yeah, I know the place you mean in Cambodia. Port Arthur would be a sombre place to be. I vaguely remember that happening as I was quite young at the time. I can kinda get my head around one person going nuts, becoming a sick individual and killing people but when many people are in on it, I can't comprehend that. That group mentality to commit a genocidal crime is a scary thought. Your son is lucky. Germany is a beautiful country and I'd love to move there. I have a EU passport (as well as a South African and Australia passport), perhaps one day I'll move to Germany.

 

I have values but because of depression I don't often live them. I'm not trying to excuse myself, I know I could be a better human being than I currently am. That's what I want to work towards - living a life that is in alignment with my values. My pyschologist and mentor reckon I'll feel better when I start to do that.

 

Oh man, I LOVE falafel. I was in Israel last year and the food there is absolutely amazing. I could easily become a vegetarian there - their falafel and hommus is AMAZING. They had a street food which was a basically a eggplant, tahini, salad and egg sandwich called sabich. So delicious! It annoyed me that they had McDonalds there and Israeli's were eating it. They didn't seem to realise how good their own food was. I haven't managed to find good falafel in Perth yet, I always find the falafel is too dry and powdery inside. Maybe I'll make my own.

 

The Alan Watts book is called The Book: On the Taboo of Knowing Who You Are. Apparently he was one of the first people to really bring Eastern philosophy to Western society. The book is basically about how we view ourselves as a lonely ego in a sack of skin, separate and scared. We don't see ourselves as a part of the universe or the world. Don't see ourselves as one with the rest of humanity or other organisms. Instead, we believe we alone and at odds with a scary universe, which we are at the mercy of and pushes us around. Which is why we feel the need to conquer other human beings and nature, because of that fear and lack of togetherness. While we operate as a lone ego in a big scary universe we can't really address global problems. I dunno, it sounds a little hippyish but I think there is an element of truth in that. It just resonates with me.

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Hi Jonty, I think I may have read a brief amount about Alan Watts at some point in time. I recall a woman as well who brought meditation and buddhism to the west.

 

I found a pre-loved book today which is a study of "The Course of Miracles". I haven't ever read any of "The Course of Miracles" but I have known so many who have - one of them a very dear ENA friend so I'm looking forward to reading it and being able to chat to her about it.

 

Jonty, something else I think you would like which is vegetarian and I make is Satay vegetables with cashews and tofu served with Hokien noodles. It's so filling and delicious - my SO's favourite.

 

If you really find giving up meat difficult, at some Safeways, you can buy vegetarian mince in the health food section. (I will see if I can find the brand name - I'm not mad about the tinned Sanitarium stuff. Also you can buy the meat substitute I am talking about at health food stores. You add water to it - they look like granules.) I've made sausage rolls and pasties with it, and even meat eaters have liked it a lot and not known it wasn't meat. I just got some Pampas puff pastry from the frozen food section, and made up the vegetarian mince, add a little onion and carrot and cook in a conventional oven. There will be plenty for you to freeze. Vegetarian food also keeps longer in the fridge. I find that sometimes the food preparation takes longer, but then you don't have to cook every night - maybe every third night.

 

I recently had this Turkish vegetable pattie. I can't remember what they are called, but they are delicious. I make patties from canned artichoke hearts, Romano cheese, flour, egg and a bit of parsley. They are also delicious and for a very long time, I thought they were made from veal - my grandmother and mother used to make them. They are easy to make as well and will keep in the fridge for days. You can either have them on rolls, with vegies or put them with a rice or pasta dish. Very economical too.

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