Thinking Out Loud

People tell me I’m “strong” and I think they’re ill informed. I’m not strong, or at least it doesn’t seem so to me. Almost every time things happen my first reaction is to get overwhelmed, throw up my hands in some fashion, and give up.

Eventually, I’ll pick up whatever, most of the time. But there’s a large part of the time I just don’t. [Which is why it takes me so f’n long to get things done, you think?]

So I’m strong because I haven’t gone down for the 3rd time already?

I told someone not too long ago that being an alcoholic is a career path I’m sometimes surprised I missed, and I meant it. I also said that if I get a notion in my head that I don’t want to do (?) I can frequently push myself away far enough that I don’t. That’s how I stayed away from alcohol and drugs.

But it isn’t a straight line. It isn’t just a decision I make to do X and then I do X. I waffle, excuse myself, down right fail, get embarrassed and try some more. If that’s “strong” the human race is in trouble.

The effort here is a prime example.

I’m doing it, badly, begrudgingly,and, yes, emotionally it’s a toughie for me. [Understatement!] Shedding the stuff is the least of it, but that’s not the point. If I do it, people will only see the symptom, the yardstick, the count of things I’ve managed to get rid of. And as embarrassed as I am by how badly this effort has gone, I’m vain enough to want to forget how hard it was. And, at some point, someone will call me brave or strong or (?) – and I’ll feel like the fraud I know I am, again.

Not strong.

This is further complicated by the people who’ve known me for a long time. If I say depreciating things about myself they say things like, “You have no self-esteem! You really have to change that.”

And that’s just wrong too. [My self-esteem is fine, thank you very much.]

Frequently, I’ve found that writing things like this out will present me with an answer or a thread to pull. This time it didn’t work, darn it.

Back to the drawing board. [Now where is it again? I know it’s here somewhere . . . .  it used to be in that pile– I think?]

J

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4 responses to “Thinking Out Loud

  1. Cuz – You ask too much of yourself. You don’t hafta be strong, you just need to survive to fight another day. Sometimes that day is down the road. I think people tell you you are strong because they think it will strengthen you. It’s like people who quote 1 Corinthians 10:13 , “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. wGod is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” They paraphrase it to “God won;t give you more than you can bear.” Uhm???? What they really mean is, “Sucks to be you.” (IMHO)

    If people think you are strong, it is because you are a survivor. If you are a survivor, it is because you know when to play dead, crawl into a fetal ball & bawl. So you are strong…because you are still here, still trying. Love you!

  2. I’m sorry you are having such a difficult time right now. But, yes, it is exactly because you haven’t gone down for the 3rd or 33rd 333rd time that people have called you strong. You said it yourself, “…get embarrassed and try some more.”

    Let me give you three contrasting examples of my ex-in-laws from my first marriage in the 1970s. One brother-in-law shot himself in his garage (and leaving his body to be found by his wife and children) over financial problems. Over money?! Of course, nothing is as simple as that, but he could have at least drove out to the middle of nowhere to do the dirty deed.

    A sister-in-law died in the streets from a drug overdose… she was a victim of rape and molestation from and early age… she lived in the seedy part of town and prostituted to get more money for drugs.

    Another sister-in-law is permanently locked up in a mental hospital with the horrors of paranoid schizophrenia, et al (same crazy family, same f’n problems). She is so drugged up she cannot even recognize family members and she refuses to see anyone who might care about her.

    These are the weak people who quit trying… dead at an early age or drugged or drunk out of any sense of self. You are strong since you have survived this long. We are strong since we have survived this long and with afflictions no less dire, no less miserable, no less dangerous than those that beset them.

    You think yourself a fraud, Dear One? Through all my reading I believe that most humans feel some degree of fraudulence. It is part of the human condition, most likely due to amateur parenting. I worked as a non-degreed electronic engineer and software engineer throughout my career and I felt like someone, anyone would burst through my lab door at any moment, point at me and yell, “Fraud! You don’t belong here! Get out!” I never got past that feeling and still feel it today. Hell, I didn’t even finish high school… I have a damned GED!

    People seem insensitive because they do not understand the agony of PTSD or the fact that there is no “cure” for it. There is only surviving ptsd. Frankly, there are times that I have no patience with them.

    The worst for me is when someone says, “That happened in the past. Can’t you put it behind you and move forward with your life?” Or when L. quotes Depak Chopra to me as if some bon mot will suddenly cure me.

    I was going to say you were strong for creating this blog, but in reality, you are gutsy! You have brass ovaries, woman! This blog shows you have the one thing most do not… direction. The amount of progress you make from time to time is immaterial. Your blog subtitle says it all: Changing my life by changing my space.

    You cannot survive ptsd in one jump or one deep understanding anymore than you can eat an elephant in one sitting. You eat an elephant one bite at a time (refrigeration should be considered). You survive ptsd one day at a time (refrigeration optional).

    And you, Dear One, are strong… day by day. That is all that matters.

    • Wow.

      Okay — thanks! Also for the smile about the elephant. Never thought of it that way.

      Thanks. Cogitation required.

      Thanks again for the elephant, which both made its point AND made me smile.

      Blessed be —
      J

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