Chasing the black dog



  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Thanks Doone. The day got worse, then a phone call from a friend and some very physical gardening transformed it.

    Today I am all set to do more strenuous gardening or some baking if it rains.
  • I'm glad there is some light in the darkness, Hula. I find gardening very therapeutic.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Yes, definitely getting outside usually helps. I’m going to try some watercolour painting today, should be interesting 😂!
  • I have started some gardening too. It is proving quite good, getting out there with the hose watering stuff in. I have been battling the non-clinical sads right now - I have shingles, and I'm sick of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Oh, Simon Toad!!!!!
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Ouch, @Simon Toad, I hope it clears up very quickly!
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    edited December 2020
    Oh poor you, ST - shingles is (are?) horrid. Take it easy, and get well soon!
  • Eeee. Well, took muh daughter's advice of a year ago and got an off the peg on-line shrink last month.

    An American fundamentalist Gen. 1-11 literalist, a YECist pastor, a bishop no less. I couldn't believe it when I looked him up (shoulda got the Harley Street Rottweiler?).

    Who also happens to be a full on Rogerian Ph.D.

    He's perfect.

    The trouble is he's recommended meditation, for rumination, and I see the therapeutic justification for it, but I can't start. The idea does my head in. So after some weeks of not consulting - by video - I admitted all this by email and gave myself a deadline for this Friday by making an appointment.

    I'm reinforcing that here...
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Well, that’s an interesting mix, @Martin54! I’m having a bit of difficulty in aligning a fundamentalist world view with Roger’s core principles, but one can live and learn (I really rate Rogers, who greatly influenced my counselling practice too many years ago)! It’ll be an interesting road to walk and I hope it’s also really beneficial for you.
  • Meditating at the same time as weeding the garden works for many.
    Apparently it is Not Allowed tho’
  • b*gg*r what is and isn't allowed. Meditate as you can, not as you can't!
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    edited December 2020
    From my experience, after I had been meditating a while it slipped into my day to day activities, such as weeding the garden.

    Good luck with it Martin - meditation really helped me recognise when I was ruminating and interrupt myself.

    I have also designed a piece of cross stitch that says Rumination is for cows.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    RockyRoger wrote: »
    b*gg*r what is and isn't allowed. Meditate as you can, not as you can't!

    Totally agree!
  • Reposting here what I have posted on All Saints, in regard to Waving not Drowning:

    You may know that for reasons of legal liability, Waving not Drowning, our private board for Shipmates living with any form of mental health difficulty, will be closing at the end of this year. We have found a new home on the inappropriately-named Discord, and you are welcome to apply to join us there. This link will expire in 24 hours for security reasons, but I will revisit every few days to post a new one. After Dec 31st, I will still be on the Ship and you can PM me to ask for an invite. Looking forward to connecting with you, Esme x
  • {{{{{{{Martin}}}}}}}

    Sounds like an interesting guy. Has he recommended any particular style or content of meditation?
  • Huia wrote: »
    From my experience, after I had been meditating a while it slipped into my day to day activities, such as weeding the garden.

    Good luck with it Martin - meditation really helped me recognise when I was ruminating and interrupt myself.

    I have also designed a piece of cross stitch that says Rumination is for cows.

    That is superb!

    I find it pretty easy to "meditate", whatever that is. I focus on a particular spot on my forehead while steadying my breathing and closing my eyes. If I drift into thought, I refocus. The sweet spot feels like it is inside my head, not on the surface, at least to start with. The more I do it the stronger the feeling gets, like practice makes perfect or something.

    Anyway, that's what I do. I like to identify that feeling with an awareness of God's presence.
  • Posting another temporary link to Waving not Drowning on Discord, to pick up any stragglers who'd like to join us there. This will be here for 24 hours, I'll try to renew it in a few days, after that you are still welcome to DM me on the Ship after the Ship's version of Waving disappears.
  • My 2 cents

    I’ve had two significant episodes over the last 20 years or so. The second wasn’t as severe simply because I was able to recognise the warning signs and get myself onto medication and some support.

    The first was much more difficult. Things fell apart for me in a number of areas. Dropping out of the church and throwing the towel in with God were just two of those areas. I ended up couch-surfing and growing increasingly suicidal. I didn’t attempt anything but I definitely planned and had that empty conviction that those who knew me would be better off with just their memories.

    What helped me was going prodigal; a very entertaining way to treat symptoms rather than causes. It’s not a smart thing to do, but it kept me alive -or rather just feeling alive, which at my level was the more important. Any port in a storm, you know? A feeling that there was something worth getting out of bed for, even though I knew that it was an illusion and wouldn’t last.

    I realise that this is a NSFW recommendation, to put it mildly. Others on this thread have offered far more sensible advice; exercise, group activities, doctor’s orders etc etc. (Much better: do that instead)

    My point is that just as falling down the pit, or being in the pit can happen in many awful, painful ways, so then climbing back out again, or even just getting higher for a little more air and a bit more light can be an equally messy business.

    And that’s okay.
    Not smart
    Far from ideal
    But okay.

    And it helped me toward more stable solutions.

    (Plus it annoys certain sniffy people when I remind them that it is biblical!)
  • what do you mean by going prodigal? Returning to your family for support?
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    what do you mean by going prodigal? Returning to your family for support?

    It’s the bit before that in the parable. In that one, a man struggles to handle gain correctly. I struggled to deal with loss.
  • {{{{{{{Bill Noble}}}}}}}
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
  • Love to you from an internet random, Bill Noble.

    @Martin54 I first tried meditation in a group setting when I was about 17. It was a total disaster. I got more and more anxious and had to get out. Now, at 40mumblemumble I really enjoy it, but it’s a practice I’ve built up very slowly and steadily. A wise woman I once heard said meditation can be quite activating and unsettling for some people, in which case, her suggestion was starting for a very short period 2-3 minutes, with one’s eyes open. Sometimes it’s good to focus on things I can see - where are the vertical lines, the horizontal lines, what colours can I see? Etc. I often used to do this whilst walking to get the kids from school - a short, defined period of about 7 minutes.
    Just wanted to share in case that was helpful, absolutely not giving advice!
  • {{{{{{{Everyone}}}}}}}

    May we all have a healthier, happier, more balanced, more stable year in 2021.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Jemima I agree with your wise woman, but when I first posted I was rather carried away by my most recent experience. When I first started meditating I was a bit discombobulated by meditating, and feeling really good and returning to my default setting (depressed and anxious). I was fortunate to have a friend I could talk to about the bumps as well as a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction teacher on hand and decided to take it more slowly.

    Martin I hope things are working out for you. Christmas /New Year can be really stressful at the best of times.
  • amen.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
  • Golden Key wrote: »

    May we all have a healthier, happier, more balanced, more stable year in 2021.


    And if 2021 turns out to be more of the same (and then some) may we recall the resilience we have gained from the past, together with the grace of the everyday to remain standing.

  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I like that reminder - thanks Bill Noble.
  • ZoeZoe Shipmate Posts: 41
    My thanks also to Bill_Noble. Came here to say I'm struggling - in a relatively modest way, but still struggling. Past resilience and one-day-at-a-time approach are both useful reminders to me currently.
  • {{{{{{{Zoe}}}}}}}
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Zoe 🕯
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Zoe, from memory of your posting in All Saints in the past, the jobs you have had in the past and done well have been challenging.

    I have always admired you for that.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    February. Time to have a moan about the black dog. My own particular Moddey Doo* has been popping out of his bricked up passageway fairly frequently to cause havoc. A lot of it is that I am just expected to cope. The Missus gets a fair amount of tea and sympathy because it is her disease. I don't think anyone quite puts two-and-two together what an enormous strain it is on both of us, and on our marriage.

    Anyway, what shoved me over the edge this time was a couple of Sundays ago when I passed comment to a friend that it had been a rough day for both of us, and I didn't even get a 'you poor thing' it was straight to 'poor ***** it must be terrible for her.' I wanted to add, 'Cheers, pal, and not much fucking fun for me, either. I was the poor bastard who spent lunchtime going over the moral objections to sucking a bullet because her pain level is through the roof.'

    The thing I really hate about the terminally awful days is that I am acutely aware of how much I do not want to do this anymore.

    * - the reference is to a spectral dog that haunted Peel Castle, IOM.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    edited February 8
    {{{{{{{PDR}}}}}}} {{{{{{{Missus}}}}}}}

    I'm concerned for you. Please find a support group online for people who are going through the same thing. It can make all the difference to have people who understand what you're going through.

    And please please please: no bullets to yourself or anyone else. A ) You matter. B ) We would miss you. And C ) We've already lost Shipmates to guns--their own or someone else's.

    And maybe the next time someone neglects your situation, tell them. "It's really hard...", etc.

    Take care.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Oh, @PDR do take care of yourself as best you can! Come here and have a good rant as often as you can. 🕯🕯🕯
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    {{{PDR and Mrs. PDR}}}
  • @PDR - as another carer, it's the unrelenting never-ending-ness of it all, I find. Can you get any respite? Someone else taking a turn? or just finding her something to do that gives you both a break from each other?
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    {{{PDR and Mrs}}}
  • I remembered I hadn't visited here for a while today, after I had been to my monthly mass. I thought about suicidal thoughts, but I am not experiencing them.

    I reflected that I felt the most powerless when I was certain that there was no possible way that my life would change and that I would be able to live without addiction. That was when I first thought of suicide. But I was wrong, and my life did change. Twenty years on, I get confused about the order of events, or how it happened that my life changed. I think I had already started to change by then, because I could see my problems. I just, at that specific moment I remembered, felt the enormity of my position and could not conceive of a way out. I experienced despair.

    This past year, self destructive thoughts have crept up on me, but always at times of anxiety. There's a clear link, so I know what to do. I must keep learning how to manage my anxiety. If I can do that, I'm golden.

    In remembering where I was and where I am now I thank God.

    PDR, if you are not getting the support you need from friends, try other avenues. Here is good, but don't be afraid to pay for help. It is worth the money, and part of my routine. I don't have a set time for counselling, but I have someone on speed dial for when I feel I need it. I do other stuff too, but our problems seem to stem from different sources.

  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Thank you, @Simon Toad 🕯
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    My friend is down again. He contacted the person who didn't help last year, someone he thought of as a friend, almost a confessor, and I've seen the email exchanges before the bad thing happened, and said person continued not being helpful. He has also told me about the way his mother treated him (I have seen a bit of it), and thinks there is no point in his life and wants to go.
    I don't know how to deal with this.
    He needs a purpose. He needs to meet people and make friends - which he is good at. And he can't because of covid. And he can't go back to the place where he used to enjoy being with people, because he is afraid of more lies being told about him.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited February 11
    I was impervious to help for a while. The best thing that my parents did was make sure I got medical help. The medical help sort of gave me a pause, a gap in which I could see things a bit more clearly, and start to help myself. My parents and friends were there to support me then, and I could see them, and their love. I think that's the role of others in these situations. Show a willingness to help, but keep judgement and advice on the down low.

    My path began with a recognition that I received undeserved love during my period of addiction to gambling. That was sparked by particular friends putting a condition on me seeing them: that I stop stealing from them. So their self-protective behavior, which wasn't about the money I stole or my betrayal, but about their suffering, played a part in my recovery. I recognised the treasure I held but also that it could only ever be conditional. Thinking about unconditional love in this heightened emotional state led to a salvific reorientation that came in a moment, a certainty that there was a force for good in the world. I hold onto and protect that certainty, because it is foundational to life for me. Its the source of my hope, and my motivation to work for the good.

    But my moment of utter despair came after that, I believe. That came when I was trying and failing to stop gambling. Knowing in my bones that there was a force for good in and through the world was important in steering myself away from the risk of suicide at that time in my life. My suicidal thoughts became fleeting and capable of being dismissed. I didn't wallow in them.

  • Friends, if you're newer here, or don't visit often, you may not know that the Waving not Drowning private board, for mutual support of Shippies with mental health problems, has disembarked from the Ship and is now residing on the dry land of the contradictorily-named Discord. This link: will get you there for the next 7 days; once you respond to it, it will take you through the simple process of setting up a Discord account, and then you can read and post on Waving with Accepted status, and once we've checked out that everything's fine (usually by reading your last 50 posts on the Ship), we can move you to Approved.

    Once the link has expired, you can DM me here and ask for another one. We look forward to welcoming you on Waving - it's a small, friendly community.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    ! can vouch for the friendliness.
    Waves enthusiastically to Esmeralda.
  • I'm more an anxiety kinda guy. Though of course I experience lows.
    I'm highly strung. Reactive. It's affected my career.....
    What career? It's in tatters....
    But my mental illness is no excuse for bad behaviour I know
  • I'm more an anxiety kinda guy. Though of course I experience lows.
    I'm highly strung. Reactive. It's affected my career.....
    What career? It's in tatters....
    But my mental illness is no excuse for bad behaviour I know

    Maybe not, but medication (whether for mental health issues, or for other conditions) can easily affect one's mood, and behaviour.

    One can hardly be blamed for that, though people often don't realise why one is apparently *behaving badly*.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    10th anniversary of the quake that changed the face of Christchurch today. Wish i didn't have to go into town.
  • {{{Huia}}}
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