Alone But Not Lonely

I have spent most of my life by myself for a variety of reasons. When I was a kid, it was because my family moved so often (military family). I was always the new kid with no friends or I was left with the friends who were rejects from other social groups.  Consequently, I was either bullied or ignored (or both) by my peers for much of my youth.

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As a young adult, I made friends through sports and drinking. But off the field, off the water, out of the gym, or out of the bars, again, I was mostly invisible.

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From so many years of experience of trying to make friends, I meet people and make good impressions easily. But my phone never rings for invitations. If we should meet again, everything is wonderful, but such meeting times are rarely planned. If not for my siblings and one or two other people (generous estimate), I would not need a phone.

I give my best and 100 percent of social-ability when I’m with people, but I know that it will only last another hour, then I will be alone again. I am a master at meeting people, but I can’t seem to hold on to them. This makes me sad. Such is my life. I work so hard and end up feeling used and lonely in the end.

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BUT something new and strange is beginning to happen. During my therapy and life in the clinic, I was always by myself. I might go days without ever talking to anyone who was not a therapist getting paid to talk to me. In the beginning this crushed me. But towards the end of my time in Freiburg, I began to actually enjoy the freedom that comes with being by myself.

I have been out of the clinic for about a month now. Currently during the days I attend therapy in a day clinic program and at night I’m home for sleep. At first I found myself trying to swing from one social situation to another so I’d never be by myself. But the cost was that I was also rarely doing anything that I wanted or needed. Everything was a compromise or simply denied. With reduced self confidence from the depression and anxiety, I could not stand for myself. Everything was “if it’s ok with you…”

Currently, my  treatment team is making adjustments to my medicines and my energy levels are all over the place. Sometimes I need to sleep for 15hours. Other times I need to move and walk for 10 hours. Previuosly, I would suppress these urges because they are not normal, and I would feel miserable. Now, I just do as my body and mind needs and simply try to let people know what’s happening so they don’t need to worry about my safety.

Because my life cycle is largely out of sync with normal society, I am once again by myself most of the time. (I think my body runs on a 36-hour day) The first time I had the urge to be up and out, I felt guilty and lonely that no one was with me. The next time I realized that I could walk anywhere, in any direction, for as long as I wanted, and do as I pleased when I got to where ever. I was free.

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Im sure this is difficult for anyone close to me. I am creating a new world that I absolutely love…and I am the only one allowed in. I doubt that many people could even keep up in this world of high energy and spontaneity combined with looooong periods of simply sitting. In this world, I am by myself, but never alone. The particular rules and structure of this world have no resemblance to those of my “other life”, but they make perfect sense to me and I don’t need to explain or justify them to anyone else. Even the noise in my head finds peace in this.

My next challenge will be finding a way manage both worlds and fit both into my life. Unfortunately, I am not sure that I can have only one. If I could…however, I know which one I’d pick. And I wouldn’t need a phone.

Building up a new world where I can be alone but not lonely.

Building up a new world where I can be alone but not lonely.

Street Art – First Project With Wood

This was a curious and fun project. I truly let myself “trust the process”. From one day to the next, I had neither a plan nor an idea of what to do. Merely did what I enjoyed and watched the pieces come together and slowly reveal themselves.

This video follows the path of artistic uncertainty from the beginning to the end. Street art. It is so dynamic.
I love it!

 

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Memorial Day is something like Easter for the military community. For me it is absolutely the most significant holiday of the year. This is when I pay my respects to all of those who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice so much. As a military child, this is especially poignant because every aspect of my life has been shaped by my close relationship with the military. In some way or another, I have never been more than one step away from a world of military and political conflict.

I have many problems because my life with the military did not prepare me for a life in the larger world. As I grew older, I realized that a career in the military is not for me, but I did not have the skills or knowledge for surviving a life outside of the gates. I have tried to do both (live as a civilian, but support the military), but this does not work either. I’m still searching for my Way and it’s scary as hell.

Here is a post from 2015 that I wrote about military children. I wrote this about two months after a suicide attempt that was triggered by a flashback to my youth in my military family (I failed a room inspection by my parents). When I see military children, I still want to save them all, but there is nothing that I can do that is big enough to make a difference in the weight that they carry. I love them so much it breaks my heart.

So, I dedicate my Memorial Day to the children of our service members and government employees.

Journal 25 May 2015a

Journal 25 May 2015b

Everyone Needs…

I have been struggling lately with “what I have” vs. “what I deserve” and punishing myself no matter the answer. Then I decided to take a view of things from 30,000 ft. I realized that my struggle is largely unnecessary and just tearing me apart, when I could be using this energy to build myself up. Maybe I don’t need to feel guilty for needing something. Maybe it is ok to need, want and fight for certain things. There is no shame in needing some things. Then I started to wonder how many other people might be wrestling with these same feelings. So I quickly made a list of things that might be good for everyone. This list became the theme for a series of stickers I call “Everyone needs…”

These stickers have been placed in conspicuous places throughout the city. As I think of more items to add, I will make more stickers and share them with the city.

Featured Photo (and Poem)

imageThis poem is from an amazing lady. Her blog is http://www.reclusivedreams.wordpress.com. With her permission, I take her poems to the streets and share the photos. It is a fun combination of street art and poetry. I am honored that she trusts and allows me to add something of my style to her poems (which do not need anything additional). Pleas enjoy. If you like her work, stop by http://www.reclusivedreams.wordpress for more.