“…riding this unending wave of…unrealistic optimism…delusions of grandeur…”
I had been manic for over a week after sharing my art in a sexual assault survivors show, and talking to people there. There are times when I forget what lurks just under the surface, because I have been way off center since then. Of all things, I was so high the night of the show that I went next door to this Huge sculpture shop and blabbed about myself and how I want to sculpt (which I do), and introducing myself th the owner. He was very kind and personable, and sent me to talk to his designer, who was also very kind, very charismatic and really got me wanting to work in a shop again.
I got a wee bit off the beam, though. I came home and started writing a grant proposal while simultaneously applying to this famous sculpture artist’s shop, while also offering to be an apprentice, and messaging the director in a crazily familiar manner… Whew! I am mortified when I think about it. Not only was I manic that day, I was on a roll for days and days, seemingly riding this unending wave of optimism. Unrealistic optimism, which I do believe is called delusions of grandeur.
Ah well, I guess I have a lot to be grateful for, I am clean and sober today so I didn’t try to seduce anyone, or get drunk and puke on anyone! Yes, that is a huge thing to be grateful about, because 21 years ago I had serious regrets after a night out. Oh boy. How easy to forget how far I’ve come!
I know now that I never have to go back to being an addict or an alcoholic, but how dare I ever forget this gift of sobriety. I know in the rooms of AA we would talk about keeping it fresh…I’m glad I’m writing to you now or I may not have remembered to be grateful. “Out of the mire and the sediment… You put my feet on a crag…a new song in my mouth…praise to our God!”
I just heaved a great big sigh of relief, that all I have today is a gift, and I have so, so much more than I could ever deserve. To breathe to cool night air, to reflect on a day well lived, with a soft bed to sleep in and warm food in my belly. There was a different time back then- but it’s time to walk away from that wreckage in my mind. Pack it all back up into the little ammo can it lives in, bury it deep in the earth and let it dissolve into nothingness. I know that one day the memories will never hurt me again, and I will keep pushing on until that day comes.
AMAZING!! I really have felt exhilarated , even in just this first week of “future me” thinking!
That’s just wonderful, I neeed this;
After all we have been thru this past year, and my isolation, my thinking had become sluggish, self-centered and negative. Too much couch potato activity, not enough oxygen getting into the ole noggin. I needed a jolt, a wake up, a SHAKE UP! And I received just what I needed, just in time.
(as a side note: I am EXTREMELY SPIRITUAL, so I credit God with leading me in the right direction, because I prayed to be able to serve him more fully. I believe the Bible where it says that when we request in our prayers the things that help us do his will, he Always answers us. Not like asking for a car, or a million bucks…)
Suggestions for refocusing have inspired me and are easy for me as an artist, because I am naturally a very visual person. I used my handmade visual prompts to great success when I lost 70 pounds in 2013-2014. I AM MAKING A BUNCH OF LITTLE POSITIVE NOTES, AND POSTING THEM ALL AROUND MY HOUSE! As has been suggested, I write some goals on them, a little doodle of what that looks like to me, and encouragement ; the kind of motivating encouragement I would offer a dear friend, or loved one. Notes like I used to stick everywhere for my Mom to cheer her. NOTES LIKE THESE:
This method of visual perks has helped me heal from Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and years of Emotional Abuse! I first was introduced to “ART Therapy” as an adolescent in a Psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. To get at the ‘real’ problem, this method allowed us to let out the pain, albeit subconsciously , by use of color, shape, pressure of marks, etc. The aim wasn’t to create a thing of beauty, it was to allow the anguish(or anger, etc.)to vent.
(For myself, this was insightful, and extremely freeing. I have uses this technique in my art practice to this day, very intense, more focused version of it. )
***I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL!!!*** ATTENTION!! IF YOU FEEL LIKE HARMING YOURSELF GET PROFESSIONAL HELP IMMEDIATELY!***
visualizing my goals has been HUGELY beneficial! as someone who had to depend on herself for positive confirmation and encouragement, I feel this small action has been pivotal in my motivation now!
One thing is crucial for me as someone with Bipolar Disorder, I have to constantly gauge my level of Mania when I feel so “UP”. If it is a Manic Episode I must reach out to my doctor before it escalates. For someone with this illness, mania can lead to devestating extremes of behavior. I ALWAYS take my illness seriously, TAKE MY MEDICATION, AND FOLLOW MY WELLNESS PLAN!!
I love my life today, and now that I pried myself away from Poptarts, Ice Cream and endless Film Noir, and my woman-eating Couch, I am feeling that love again!
Here is another therapeutic tool that has been Life Altering for me: Forgiving the Past Me.
. Fall in a heap, exhausted. Then get up, clean up, and do it all over again.
. There is joy in this. This “living” we do. No matter how sweaty, or dirty, or ugly, this “living” is a beautiful thing.
. There is no ‘give up’ here, no ‘quit’ , no ‘over it, no ‘packing it in’.
This is where every. breath. matters.
. DO YOU HEAR ME?
EVERY BREATH MATTERS.
Right now, in my little trailer in the middle of down, down, way down and out USA, I am deciding to care. I am deciding that my sufferings will amount to something, that all this silence and fear and worry in my heart will be done away with, that with this breath of life my Creator blessed me with will be used to help someone else live, too.
. I know I’m a rag-tag mess. I can’t think straight most of the time, and there are days I can’t leave my house. I am oppressed by an illness that tells me I don’t have it, and that feeling like I’m sick is a sin. I’m not exhausted, it tells me, I’m lazy. I’m not in excruciating pain, I’m a dope seeker. I was not abused, assaulted and raped, I was promiscuous.
. I am here, I am now, and with my God’s help, I will reach out to someone else. And with my God’s help, I will not believe the lies. Instead I believe the Bible, God’s own letter to me, and to all his children. I want to live.
What do I say to a black mother whose son was murdered at the hands, or knee, of a white man?
. I saw George dying, in front of all the world, murdered. Every fiber of my being cried out for action to save him, knock that cop off of him, hurt those who were hurting him, scream “STOP!!!!!” at the loudest volume my wind and stretching vocal cords could scream. I saw him die. I could see the actual moment the life left him, we all could. His killer’s arrogance galled me, I cried as if George was my own. Those awful, endless minutes are now emblazoned on my conscience, and the world’s. But George’s suffering was finally over, the pain had ended for him. His family’s pain goes on.
. My daddy died unjustly, and it took years for my anger and pain to subside. But, then, I am white. And it wasn’t a police organization, or even a police man who killed him. For me it was a hospital, who killed him just as surely as if they kneeled on his neck. And he was a Sicilian man, very dark complected, 1st generation borne of immigrants to this country, but I suppose he will be considered a “white” man by history.
. But the pain I felt is the same pain George’s loved one’s feel in this sense: there was death, it was not natural, there was injustice, and there is anger. I feel it now, these years later. I was righteously indignant, I loved my daddy more than any girl ever loved her daddy, ever in the whole world. Whole universe I thought. I never saw his flaws, he was a hero to me, and they murdered him, and someone had to pay. I had to make it right , for him. For his memory.
. They hated me at that hospital, I believed. They had been out to get him, because we were poor, and because everyone knows doctors and hospitals only want one thing, right? Money. And we all know that there are very baaaad people in the medical field, there is a long, very, very long history of distrust in the Sicilian immigrant community against the “establishment”. It carried down from tyranny and mafioso, in the “home” country, where my ancestors were murdered and enslaved and oppressed by terrible injustice. Not only was the regime murderous and corrupt, even the local officials were, requiring payoffs and inflicting gross injustice and physical pain on the poor people who were supposed to be under their care. They had no choice, starve, be murdered, or board ships of misery with their last pennies to try living in a beckoning land across the great sea.
. My granparents had experienced the ghettos in New York when they arrived, cramped, dirty, unlit, no facilities, living in dark, dank, freezing, stinking tenant housing in their new country. Now, instead of their tropical isle, where they knew the enemy, there were new enemies to contend with. Such hatred, such predjudice, such injustice, such poverty. All these conditions shaped the mentality of generations, the distrust of the “system”, the lack of eqaulity, the oppression…
. My father was an angry man. For as far back as I have memory, he was mad at what he perceived as injustice in government. In another age pehaps he would have been a radical, I dont know. But he worked so hard, all his life, had access to more education than his parents ever had, served in the military and was able to move to Florida in his early 50’s. which had been his lifelong dream. He never stopped working, even then, and I had everything I needed as his kid, except love. But I adored and idolized him, to my mother’s dismay. When I became his sole caregiver, he was my child, and I determined to never let anything bad happen to him. For all the grief I had put him through in my life as an addict, now that I was sober I would appease his every whim, and ease his Dementia and Alzheimer’s. He was my reason for being, for except for my dear shih-tzu’s I had lost everyone in my family, and had no children.
. I was a she-bear when it came to his care. Endless research, talking to pro’s and others on caring for the elderly. But no matter what I promised him, no matter how good I cared for him, and no matter how totally committed I was in my devotion, I was not able to save him from being killed.
. So, then. What can I say to the millions of traumatized, oppressed, angry people who are fighting right now? They will do what they believe they must, to find relief for their anger. But to the loved ones of a man who died unjustly, there is something I can say, even in my proverbial “whiteness”: I am so, so sad for you. I can relate. I can relate to the sickening feeling in your gut, that horrendous hot ball of lead where your heart used to be. I remember the anger, the absolute bursting feeling of helplessness, the burning knowledge that this should never have happened to your child, your son, your daddy, your husband, your brother, your uncle, your nephew, your cousin, your dear, dear friend. Your Beloved.
. My pain was real… Your’s is all too real right now. I will never question your pain, or think I know what you should feel, or do. I never want to exaccerbate your suffering. everyone grieves in a different way, for different lengths of time, for different reasons. there is never a right or wrong way to grieve. I wish you peace, someday…healing…a lessening of this great burden you carry.
. My anger was only relieved by my learning the true reason for death, suffering and in justice. Knowing and believing in the the knowledge that God will soon do away with the true source of the evils we experience as humans. the tormenter of us down thru the ages, all the way back to the garden of Eden. The father of the lie, Satan.
God had an answer to Satan’s lie right there on the spot: Jesus Christ, God’s Only-Begotten Son and The King of God’s Kingdom would crush Satan and throw him and all his cohorts into the Abyss!! It will happen very soon, when God says it is time! Then the words of Revelation will come true!
Revelation 21:3-5 reads:
. ” With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them , and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.(4)And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
(5) And the One seated on the throne said:”Look! I am making all things new.” Also he says:”Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
. Such beautiful words…a beautiful dream, perhaps? No. A promised reality from our God who cannot lie, whose purposes always succeed, and whose prophecies always come true. I have a favorite scripture about the surety of all God’s promises coming true, maybe because I am a farmer at heart, who has always loved the rain.
. This is in the Bible book of Isaiah, in Chapter 55, beginning in verse 8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” declares Jehovah. (9) “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (10) For just as the rain and snow pour down from heaven And do not return there until they saturate the earth, making it produce and sprout, Giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,(11) So my word that goes out of my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, But it will certainly accomplish whatever is my delight, and it will have sure success in what I send it to do.”
. Yes, The Creator of the entire Universe has everything taken care of, he has told us that he will be the only Judge, and His Son will carry out his Judgement. The Ride of the Four Horsemen is already well underway. One day soon our dead loved ones will be resurrected and what joy there will be, when this earth is finally free of evil and we will live forever in peace.
. Please take the time to learn what the Bible says, I want you to have the peace of mind and heart that I finally found. It is not too late, my friend.
Is anyone out there as old as I am? I grew up to the Mary Tyler Moore show, on every week as I recall. When I was 10 or so, she was beautiful to me, not just as a pretty woman (which she was and is, if she is still alive, is she?…)but as a woman in “the workplace”. I was too young to understand the dynamics of discrimination against women, I was buying into the whole “be a good girl, speak when you are spoken to” misogynist mantra.
Flamingo Billiards Tour at Amy’s Billiards (pictured) The Year Before Fall
Day Old Cleopatra
Mommy and Izzy, in Alabama
my sweet, one eyed pup
That is where the slogan “We’re going to make it after all” first made me feel warm and fuzzy. My folks both worked long, hard hours to feed my brother and I. We saw them briefly each morning. Mom on her way to bed after all night at a local “old folks” hospital, and Dad on his way to the Speciality Steel Mill. The only thing “special” about the steel mill that I could see was the fact that Dad was “‘specially”angry when he got home.
In God’s Memory
baby cleo, in her new dress!
Dad and his Fan Club!
aren’t i the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?
inside the circle of my heart
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Baby Cleo, who had to learn to live with one eye!
. We didn’t want for anything that I ever knew, except that I never got designer jeans like my best friend, with the rich dad. No, my belly was full, and I was as happy as a chubby pre-teen with thick glasses and a mouth full of braces could be in the late 70’s. The only thing lacking was joy, any kind of joy, at home. Even “The Holidays”, when I still celebrated them, were joyless, because there was always disappointment lurking under the tree. Family gatherings were nice before I got old enough to feel the undercurrents of dislike and tension that flowed thru the affairs, like the lambrusco in the fancy glasses.
. We are going to make it. After all.
“i’m not sure how my feet work yet…”
He Love Us!
African Lily, one of my favorites!
sunset in paradise
. I’m in the ” after all” phase of life now. And I have made it, thus far . All the family drama is distant history, now that my parents are dead they don’t fight as much.(chuckle). I have learned to live without them here, and I have gleefully learned to live without my abusive ex and now deceased husband. (No, I’m not gleeful at his being deceased.)
. I have lived on my own for 4 years now, Dad died on 3/7/16, and Mom on 3/21/10. The grief did not stab me like a bayonet to the stomach this year, no, it was a dull, ongoing ache that I thought I didn’t feel, until this very moment. A heaviness inside my heart, a gray, damp blanket on my view. But I have made it, after all…
My Izzy, 2005-2017
This is me now, the pain has mellowed, I see love ahead!
“The Sentinel’s Prayer”, acrylic on canvas, Susan T. Martin2017
. I want to share happy tidings, tho’, not the fear mongering that is flying all around the internet and all the airwaves. Yes, this Pandemic is a very, very bad thing. Many of our loved ones, friends and neighbors will get very sick, and many will die. More people will die than usually do in a “regular” time period. It will be very difficult to work, to shop, to meet with friends and family. However, we must endure these difficulties with a hopeful demeanor, and share our hope with Everyone we can!!! We All need to support our fellow humans, and we CAN!!!!!
You may ask why, and I understand how hard it is not to have a pity party when one has no access to TP or Oreos. I am not immune to this situation, especially the Oreo thing. But as a person who has lived with chronic intractable pain all over my body for the last 20years, I do have experience with the power of positivity shared. This will be a HUGE HELP TO ALL OF US: BE UPBEAT AND POSITIVE WHEN SPEAKING TO OTHERS! DO NOT BOG OTHERS DOWN BY SHARING NEGATIVITY SUCH AS WHAT WE CAN’T DO, BUT FOCUS ON STEPS WE CAN TAKE.
One thing we must do to help is STAY POSITIVE when we talk to others. Just as you would not talk to a Child about negative outcomes of a storm, we all, ALL need comfort from our fellow humans right now. Just as we would not want our Mom to be overly anxious about a situation, think of your friends and neighbors who are anxious also!
. We want to help the people we love, and hopefully we want to help our fellow man who we don’t even know. I am going to work on this, and I already know it helps, because people who cared for me when I was incapacitated did it for me. And I made it thru to better days.
. I hope you are doing well, that you can see the sky today, wherever you are. One thing that helps me so much is prayer because I know God is close to me when I pray to him in his Son, Jesus name. Reading the Bible books of Psalms and brings me peace, and talking on the phone to others about God’s promises soon to be fulfilled. If I can just smile at someone, it lifts my mood and hopefully theirs as well. I send out my warm hugs and smiles to all of you.
I am here again, on lock down of my own making. Wanting the isolation while longing for company. I feel unsure, unsteady, and oh, so tired. The dialogue inside my head has slowed, and the gist of it is dire, down and miserable. I hate myself like this, and that adds to my misery because I know self loathing feeds the beast.
I was SO high, So amped up about the Chicago show, the heady whirlwind of celebrities and dazzling attention. I counselled myself about letting my ego run wild, but that didn’t stop my stream of self promotion, so now I feel the embarrassment of mediocrity . It is just so tiring, this circle of negative emotions, this seemingly endless stream of feeling worthless.
I had a feeling that I was riding too high, and that my joyful blasting energy stream was going to fizzle into a mega-void. And my therapist at SunCoast had cut me down to not seeing her every couple weeks, rather to just making appointments if I need to…So this has translated into feelings of rejection, and is keeping me immobolized from calling her for an appointment. I must hold on to the fact that this will pass… this darkness is only temporary… I have to believe this fact and own this fact, and believe that all my efforts to push thru this depression will, in the end, succeed!
This is the emotional space that can kill, when we Bipolar’s can give up and feel so powerless and alone that we embrace the darkness , in the futile hope that the fall into non existence will stop the pain. I must not go that far down the rabbit hole, because that reasoning is from the Father of the Lie, Satan. While suicide may stop the mental anguish that we ourselves are feeling, the unimaginable pain and suffering that our loved ones will feel must stay our hands. I must never believe the lie that I am worthless.
God does not think we are worthless. He loves me, and cherishes me. I have to hold that thought, and believe in God’s love with every fiber of my being. Hold on to Him with both hands and with all my strength. He won’t let us suffer endlessly. He knows our pain, and soon the relief will come.
I am happy to say, I was able to get back into my blogs here at WordPress, after a lengthy absence. I was unable to remember my sign in information for the longest time, but finally I was able to get back here!!! My sister blog, Out of the Gutter Art, has been languishing also, even tho’ I have been furiously creating beautiful “Outsider” Art this whole time.
I have had many upheavals ans bumps in the road as far as my emotional well being is concerned, but with the help of God, the Ultimate Therapist, and my human therapist (who is stellar!) I have come through victorious! The triggers were many, as this is the month my Parents died, and it also houses both mine and my Mom’s birthdays. I am a JW now, so I don’t celebrate my birthday, but it still holds significance in my heart, a marking of the passage of this fragile life.
Now my associations to birthdays is a very negative one, as my Mom died on her birthday, March 21, which also heralds the first day of Spring. Also my Dad was well into the dying process at home with only me there beside him on my birthday 2 years ago. That was a horrible, horrible time, as he suffered much. In the days that seemed to drag on forever, I remember at one point whispering to him “please don’t die on my birthday Daddy…” This sounds to me now like a rather heartless and self centered request, but he understood my trauma, I believe, even in the midst of his own, and did not. Rather, he fought his last fight during the wee hours of the next morning, finally succumbing at 6:15 the next morning. What a long, dark night that was.
I am finally not grieving the devastating sword thru my middle grief this year, but I anticipated the day with much apprehension and mental nail biting, as well as obsessive compulsive behavior, manic activity and lack of sleep. I am still feeling the effects, and most likely will have them build to a crescendo as March 21st approaches. Mom died in a less dramatic, but equally disturbing way, having to be taken to Hospice House rather than dying at home as she so desired, surrounded by her kitties. I have imprinted on my brain her sitting in her bed like a deflated teddy bear, whose sad eyes cut right thru me as she said, “Susie, I’m not ready…” However the cancer was by this point ravaging her brain, and I could not physically care for her at home.
I had a fourteen day vigil beside her bed, singing, praying , reading the Bible to her and holding her hand. Finally at the point of total exhaustion and grief, I fell asleep beside her, and as I dreamed of happier times, she breathed her last. Ours was a bond stronger than death, and I so eagerly anticipate the day when they are both called out of the memorial tombs in the grand resurrection , when I will run into their arms again.
This hope is made even more sure this month as millions of humans around the globe, and me fulfill our obligation to mark the Memorial of Jesus Christ’ death, just as he commanded us to do at the last supper. On this occasion, just hours before his death, be broke bread an drank wine with his apostles, saying, “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”
I praise Jehovah above for the undeserved kindness He has shown by providing the life of His perfect Son as a ransom for the sins of all mankind. By this loving act, every human on earth has the chance for living forever, without sickness, mourning, pain or death on a beautifully restored Earth. I raise my hands and my voice in praise to God, and thank him for his Son, My King and Savior, Jesus Christ!
You can join the Witnesses all around the earth at sundown on March 31st , 2018 as we join in remembering the Greatest Gift Ever given. You can ask any of Jehovah’s Witnesses for an invitation, or directions, or any other questions you may have and they will joyfully tell you. Also, the website jw.org will tell you what you need to know!
So, despite all my challenges, and mental health issues, I can take comfort that one day soon I will be reunited with all my loved ones. I also am so grateful to God for forgiving my multitude of sins by way of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I hope someone else out there
Let me start this blog off by saying that I am not a health care professional, nor am I licensed in any form of mental health capacity. All I am is a person in pain, having lost a dear loved one, and who also happens to suffer from Bipolar Disorder.
So, in a sense, that makes me an expert of sorts. I say that in a lighthearted way, coming from a heart that is anything but light. Ever since Daddy died I have been running in circles, like a dog chasing it’s tail. Somehow, I am dealing with each necessary task: the funeral, the cremation, the memorial, filing for assistance for myself since Dad supported me in my disability, cleaning up all the evidence of his sickness and dying that were left here in the house. It feels like being in the center of a hurricane.
Knowing that I will soon be back in the raging storm, only this time I will be alone.
In my manic state right now, I cannot sleep, cannot rest. I either forget to eat, or I eat the wrong things in the wrong quantities. I baked a cake and cupcakes last night at 11:45, then ate 3 cupcakes before lying down. No wonder I did not sleep, right?
I keep getting up, in a half asleep stupor, thinking I have to check on him. Then I wake up sitting at my computer at 4 in the morning, all crooked and stuck like a pretzel. Once the other day I fell asleep on my face with my glasses on, and they had embedded themselves into my head. Not a nice way to awaken.
But the endless cleaning, and going from room to room carrying the strangest things, and the inability to breathe normally are also very disconcerting. I have the feeling of impending doom, the one I had for years in active addiction, the feeling that came back when Mom died in 2010, the feeling that follows me like a shadow. It keeps telling me that I am all alone now, that there is no one to love me, or hold me anymore.
It is a terrible, sad feeling, and my head knows it is not real. God loves me, and will NEVER forsake me. I am in a cloud of witnesses, all loving Jehovah, and He has tight hold of my hand. So-leave me alone, terrible darkness! Stay at bay, awful sadness!
Please God, help me have soundness of mind, help me to have a quiet heart, a hopeful spirit, and faith sure and strong!! I know that you hear me, in the name of Jesus.
I am loved, and I am safe. I will never walk alone!