Lonely Not Alone

crowdJohn looked for an easy way out

Steven looked for love, too embarrassed to say a word to display his need for it

Mike waited for a stranger to say “hello” first

George had the want that overpowered the need and couldn’t tell the difference

John, and Jack, and Mike, and George are the same person

But he is too frustrated with the mediocrity of his life to be just one self.

He became aware of the limitations and failures

But wouldn’t act to improve the condition.

He became lonely way before becoming alone.

He blamed others for something that was only in his power to alter.

He sees life as survival and living as existence,

Joy is being flushed out.

He’s feeling deserted in a crowd of people

With no hope in sight on a sunny day

He listens to the air move around the room,

Concentrating on breathing,

Thinking that meditation is key to happiness,

That communicating with others is too much work.

He starts doubting self,

Starts reading self-help books.

He met a girl, bored her to running for her life

So, he committed himself to a mental hospital.

Four walls feel friendlier than life with responsibilities.


the image was copied from https://www.flickr.com/photos/127972570@N06/34202407680 thank you.

Rain People

rainSo, I changed jobs recently and now work directly in the field with people who have serious mental issues and because of that their independent life is limited to zero. It’s a challenging job, even compared to what I used to do before, which was similar, but now the level is more acute. It’s a good challenge for me to stay objective and caring in the face of the intensity of the issues these people experience on 24/7 basis.

Some of my patients are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, and this is something I have never worked with / faced before, except for hearing some stories about family members of one or two of my friends or classmates. And then there was this movie.

I watched Rain Man for the first time when I was 13, I think. And I thought it was funny. Well, up to about ¾ of it. And then it started to get more emotional, and I thought it was a great drama. It challenged something in me, and it felt good. But when I watched it again, I thought it was funny, again. The way Ray acted/behaved, it was hilarious. It became one of my favorite movies.

“Are you taking any prescription medication?”

“What?!”

“That means he likes you.”

Up to that point I watched the movie and for many years after I haven’t met people with any kinds of mental disorders, and I never heard of autism and of what it does to people. I had no family members who had a mental illness. I knew no friends who had it either. If I saw a person on a street or on a bus who was exhibiting a strange behavior, which was rare back in Russia, I just told myself they were “not all there,” and I just stayed away and didn’t make eye contact.

So, Ray The Rain Man was funny. To me he wasn’t one of thousands of people in the world afflicted with a debilitating disorder. He was just one unique fellow from a movie. Good story. Funny movements and peculiarities.

“Hey Raymond, am I using you? Am I using you, Raymond?”

“Yeah.”

“Shut up! He is answering a question from a half hour ago!”

Time passed. I finished school, changed work places, battled addiction, and came to work at a downtown city homeless shelter where I witnessed people behaving in every way imaginable. There was addiction, grief, loss, behavioral issues, and there was mental illness at all stages experienced by people from near all walks of life. I worked at that field and some other similar ones for over ten years. Around the time I started that journey, my brother started experiencing serious issues which were eventually diagnosed as the bipolar disorder.

Now, as I said earlier, I changed jobs again and now work with folks, among whom there are people diagnosed with autism. And though it hadn’t happened before, on the second day of working there, I recalled Rain Man movie. The scenes from it started jumping out at me. I was amazed how little I knew about something that I was directly dealing with. So often I had no idea how to be of help to my patients, sort of glad that I was not a nurse or a doctor.

“What is the issue?”

“He lives in his imaginary world.”

“OK, but are there any issues?”

So, I went and bought the movie to watch it yet again, because it’s been a long while. Had a great time watching it, but it didn’t feel the same. I mean, it was still fun, but it wasn’t hilarious anymore. Now that I have experienced, from a spectator and mental health worker point of view, the tiny bit of what people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder go through, there wasn’t as much roaring laughter out of me as it used to be. I then knew he was not a peculiar funny guy. He was one of so many rain men and women who were terrified of the world around them if one small thing was altered, rules changed, new people appeared. Ray as played by Dustin Hoffman was the person with a high functioning form of autism, but in my eyes, he still suffered, which is something I didn’t realize for a very long time.

“Raymond, do you know what autistic is?”

“Yeah.”

“You know that word?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you autistic?”

“I don’t think so. No. Definitely not.”

Still, I had a great time watching it and telling my partner who watched it with me about my few experiences at work regarding the behaviors Ray was exhibiting on the screen.

This time the movie has taught me something else about mental health and people. We’re all vulnerable. We are imperfect, and we hate to show it. We can be affected by events out of our control so often and so quick. And this movie, although I didn’t realize that for a long time, showed me that. The fragile sides of human personality. The sides that push away our inner desire to be caring for others. And that when we don’t understand something, we laugh at it. That laughter can be endearing, but it could be hurtful, especially if one misunderstood stranger is faced with a group of the ones not in the know. Now because I know how addiction affects mental health, I can understand how people can feel when they are ostracized, laughed at, shamed, and persecuted for something they have no power over.

Thank you yet again, Levinson/Hoffman/Cruise team. I learned something again. And thanks for the laugh again, but with no roar this time.

“Well, Raymond, aren’t you more comfortable in your favorite K-Mart clothes?”

“Tell him, Ray.”

“K-Mart sucks.”


Quotes used in the post are from the movie, tracked by memory or copied from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095953/quotes/?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu . Front image was copied from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095953/?ref_=tt_mv . thank you.

 

Awakening

vestido1Soiled mattress.

Bed creaks every time he makes the slightest turn.

Light bulbs are broken, so at night darkness is absolute.

Window panes are broken to open no more,

Glass is gone, wind blows in uninvited at all times.

Ceiling leaks, cold blobs hit him on the head,

Waking him up in shivers.

Wallpaper shouldn’t be called that anymore,

“Nightmare of a stained paper in ribbons” is more appropriate.

How can he live like that?

What kind of a person could ignore

The glaring signs of such disgust and stagnation.

What a disaster of existence that is!

 

I looked at that and shivered,

But not in repulsion.

More of recognition.

I forgot that I used to live like that

Not physically, perhaps, but in my mind.

Stagnation of thinking and reasoning was my unconscious motto.

I used to poison myself with things that I believed made me well,

That helped me escape reality and emotional pain,

And so I lived in a dump of a mind,

Disaster of a belief,

Brain room with leaking ceiling and stained walls shred into ribbons,

Sleeping in a soiled bed that creaked loudly and annoyingly

Each time I turned.

Every once in a while, I would wake up from that sleep

That felt eternal, oblivious to reality,

And I looked at what I found myself at,

Terrified, refusing to believe

What have I got myself into on a seemingly permanent basis,

And scared of the truth of it, I’d shut my eyes

And try to sleep some more,

Resisting reality, closing my eyes on the self borne insanity.

 

It’s a miracle that one day I woke up and stayed that way.

I could no longer breathe in the stench

Of my own mental decomposition,

Could no longer fail to see

The almost complete destruction of sense and equilibrium.

I stopped making peace with enslavement.

Stopped letting the fairytale sooth me for another day.

It’s a miracle that I still stay awake.

My room is clean now.

The bed is fixed, and I do laundry regularly.

I fixed the windows and changed the wallpaper.

I will not let the lie win.

I don’t allow myself fall into forgetting what I am

And how I can so easily fall into a trap

Of embracing the escape from balance.


image was copied from https://blog.flaviomarinho.com.br/jovem-posta-foto-de-vestido-provocante-mas-bagunca-de-quarto-rouba-a-cena/ and mangled by me. thank you.

old life

life-doesnt-get-easier-you-just-get-stronger-me-now-3675925Somebody at the meeting said they heard others being regretful and remorseful, talking about wanting to have their old life back, before they started getting in trouble. The response to them was: “Why would you want your old life back? Clearly, it didn’t work!”

That is such a good insight. Change is something we all go through, and I think I won’t be the only one to say that not many people love change. Change brings stress and vulnerability, new challenges, just as much as it brings change in vision, new friends, and a promise of fresh start. Lots of anxious times, even if half the time positive.

As for old stuff, like a suitcase full of decrepit clothes and no longer relevant ideas, it needs to stay in the past. And not only it deserves to stay there, we deserve a life in which the old stays exactly that way, old.

There are some things you don’t want to forget. Your grandparents, the memories of childhood friends, and first love. And the recollections of making through what you thought you’d never be able to do. And the reminders of how badly you can mess up if you don’t keep yourself in check. Those are not to be forgotten, because it made us what we were once, and they can still teach us something.

At the same time, the relationships that didn’t work, behaviors that didn’t help, dreams we didn’t work for to make real, – all those belong in the trash or in the fire pit. There is no use for them. Let them go.

I will not say a word about the easiness of letting go, because I often have a hard time with that one myself. But important thing is we want to let go, and we try to do so. Trying it like we mean it – that certainly counts. Change will make its walk through our lives, whether we are trying or not, only when we didn’t, we’ll know. The old have stays in the past for a reason, just like what we have now is for a reason. And if life passes us by, that’s our own fault, I think.


the image was copied from https://me.me/i/life-doesnt-get-easier-you-just-get-stronger-me-now-2305673 thank you.

Poking the Bear

poohWhen you say, “Don’t tell me what to do.”

When you think you know everything, but keep it inside,

Thinking how much smarter you are than the average bear.

When reality stares you in the face

In a manner you cannot ignore,

And you still do things your way,

Which is the opposite.

When you hang out with people

That always led you to a wrong situation and bad health.

When you know what you should be doing

Because you witnessed and felt the benefits of it,

And yet you go for the immediate gratification,

The satisfaction of here and now.

When you walk away and slam the door, knowing you are wrong,

Cultivating your anger

So that you will “show them” one day.

When you are shown a better way to live

And you spit on it

And live the way that always hurt you, –

That is when you are poking your alcoholic bear

Who will wake up and destroy your peace of mind

And raise hell in a manner

That you still haven’t learned

To safely deal with.


the image was copied from http://musingsfromanotherstar.blogspot.com/2014/09/winnie-the-pooh-is-a-redshirt.html thanks.

Pretty Disgusting

iphone-umbilical-cord-300x215Controversy

What a popular world lately.

You seem to find it anywhere,

But not under your own nose,

And yet it is there.

At least half of the stuff you eat is bad for you,

And half of the things you do

Or not do

Sends you on the path of regress,

As opposed to what you used to want in life.

All the teachings of the world say

Thou shalt not kill your neighbor,

But no one goes to jail after the war mass slaughter.

Same way drinking alcohol is culturally approved,

But how many look into

How it turns people toward aggression

And lack of responsibility

For their actions?

Instead of questioning those ancient controversies,

We look for something new and “shocking”

On the screens of so many kinds.

Spiritual death

Has been happening every hour of our lives

And we cannot see

How disgusting it is

Because we dress it up

In the pretty clothes of “fascinating” and “new”,

Garments that are not even real.


the image was copied from http://www.fingerclicksaver.com/iphone-umbilical-cord-charger-yep-pretty-gross-if-you-ask-me/ thanks.

Words Of Maintenance 3

'Here's your problem, you guys never chose a level.'There are times you hear amazing things when you least expect them, and half of that time it’s when you really need to hear them. It’s when you are either “losing it” or you’re finding something you really don’t need. I heard many things in AA that have changed my life around and for the better, and it’s getting better still. Wisdom doesn’t run out, and humor is on top of it, as well. The funny way to say things is sometimes the best, because it hits you right between the eyes and a good laughter is what you need often, I think. The joke often carries wisdom, so it’s two wins in one.

I heard a person sharing that he came to AA because of his back problem. There were too many people on his back. At least 90 per cent could agree that AA is the best chiropractic, what do you think?

One of the things that was said and that has struck me the other day was “my ego is not my amigo.” Not only it is witty, it is also so true. How many times I wanted things to be my way, how many times I caressed my wild and selfish inner child to, as a result, hurt someone who didn’t deserve it? Don’t answer that.

Another fella was sharing about people interrupting and cross-talking, that’s when you share, and people argue with you. We gather in those rooms to speak our minds without being judged, and yet we also need to learn how not to communicate. Still though, with all the info we have on communicating with others, we still suck at it. Mostly it happens, I think, because we ignore a lot of things that we know we should be doing, or we just avoid hearing about them in the first place. In my group we had one of those situations a couple of days ago. So, in direct reaction to that, the person said that you can take the horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink, and even if you do, you can’t teach it to scuba dive. I don’t think I could say it better.

For those of us who like to use big concepts, and most importantly hide behind them, there is no mercy for those people. This one witty individual pointed out that most of menacing smart words end with “-ism,” and what is stands for is “I Sponsor Myself”, thus providing for the denial and arrogance to take you into a choke hold. For example, “atheism” could be quite detrimental to the spiritual program that AA is, no?


the image was copied from https://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/m/maintenance_man.asp thanks.

Answerz

Piss_509ba2_655651The dumbest thing I could do to calm down a beast is slap it against the snout. If you think it’s not, let me know.

The same way, the worst way to solve a drinking problem is looking at it through the drinking glass.

It is clear to me now that I’ve stayed sober for a while. But back when I still drank, it was totally acceptable in my head to hold on to the liquor store door while trying to figure out how to get out of the mess that my booze-fueled mind has made sick body create.

How the hell did that work?

Quite aware of what a drinking mess I was, I was looking for a solution, but not a permanent one. I didn’t want the way out that didn’t include booze. That would be too much, because booze in my life had a function. If I removed it for good, there would be a hole left, and what will I fill it with? So, I wanted to let go, but not completely. I wanted to quit, but still hold on to the key. Just in case.

As one of my favorite performers wrote “Sometime things don’t work out, Sometimes things don’t work out… ‘Sometimes’ happen all the time… ‘Sometimes’ happen all the time!” (c) Henry Rollins. The thinking that was done in the mind frame of “I wanna, but I don’t wanna” couldn’t and eventually didn’t work out. I made promises to myself that if things go bad, I will do this one thing, but until then, drinking a couple beers once in two days was still OK, and if it became more than a couple, well then, it is not the end of the world either. Promise notes addressed to myself and put on the wall, I’d jump into the fight of every day, teeth clenched, brain spinning and having no idea how to react to a single tiny conflict. What a mine-field dance. I was pushing myself for a failure. I was basically pissing gasoline to put out the fire.

When I came to AA, I learned of this thing called “no reservations.” What it had to do with was that I couldn’t solve an alcoholic problem by finding alcoholic answers. And since an alcoholic is what I was, that’s what I’d be coming up with. Why? Change. Stress. I doubt anybody truly likes those. I sure didn’t. So, I pushed all of that life-changing scary shit out of the way. And when nothing happens, nothing happens, as I heard them say. And nothing really did, until I was “ready to let go absolutely.” No booze, no excuses to drink, no hanging out in bars, no hanging out with drinking buddies. Remove yourself from the drinking culture. Join the group of people who stay sober and want to stay sober. No compromise.

Sometimes things don’t work out… We may find ourselves in the relationship that is unhealthy, abusing, just plain dangerous physically, but we think we cannot leave – nowhere to go, or just can’t break away. But yes, we can. We can, as long as we look for a new solution, not something we chewed on so long that the taste of it is so familiar to us it feels like the only home we can ever have. Old problem needs new solution, otherwise it is a waste of time and brain cells, a joke about worrying likened to sitting on a rocking chair – it will give you something to do, but it will get you nowhere.


 

the image was copied from https://funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/506814/Piss/ thanks.

Anybody Coming Back?

Oops! Road Sign with Dramatic Blue Sky.Crappy choice,

Unfair word,

Heard or said.

Bad time,

Wrong place,

And you fall.

Happened before,

But it hurts more this time.

Now you’re back,

Sitting in the back of the room,

Hoping no one notices you,

And yet

You came on your own,

Knowing well it will help

To get back on your feet,

Fix the problem,

As you’ve learned

Or are ready to learn from the error.

You hear that call,

That is there every meeting,

That question that you hoped all this time

You didn’t have to answer.

Your knees tremble and your mouth is dry

As you’re about to reveal to the crowd

Of friends and strangers

That you are coming back from the war zone

Where your addiction and weakness rule.

You expect judgement and pointed fingers,

But what you get is a hug and a welcome

That you need the most.

It is here each time, whether it is the first time, or one hundredth,

As there is hope

That this is the last time

You’ve spilled nearly all of your blood on the way in.


the image was copied from http://hub.yourtakeonwords.com/hub/humanistring?w=1366;rh=http%3a%2f%2fhumanisthappiness%2eblogspot%2ecom%2f2013%2f06%2fwas-it-my-fault%2ehtml;rd=1#.W5MKIehKjIU thanks.

about dogs

d4b18c4eb8fc439969cdebd6e488781aMy Dad sent me something last week after he found it online. Below is my translation of it from Russian.

All rights belong to whoever wrote it. And thank you to them. It definitely taught me something about me and my dog.

The mother-in-law got sick. A week later she died. We took the father-in-law to live with us, thank goodness we got enough room. The mother-in-law had a dog, just a black hairy ugly thing. Took the dog as well, for our own misfortune. The dog chews on everything, bites my kids, being mouthy with me, craps everywhere. We take it for a walk out, but you have to have two people walking it. I contacted dog specialists, paid them to teach me what to do with the dog, how to care for it, – no use. They say it’s easier to just put it down. The father-in-law heard about that, he told us that if the dog dies, it’s him time to go too. So, we left it as it was. The kids go out in the summer wearing long sleeves and pants, hiding the scars from me, pitying the grandpa. By the Fall the dog went completely crazy: biting itself, howling. Turns out, besides everything it also needs to have its nails trimmed. We went to all the places where such service is provided, but nobody takes such angry dogs to service them. Finally, we were recommended one place.

I get the dog to the agency, drag it in. The dog fights back, like it’s possessed. Enters a young woman, tiniest I’ve seen. I tell her of the situation, promise her any money, maybe she could do an anaesthesia while she services the dog (in my mind praying that the dog dies under). The little lady takes the leash out of my hands and asks me to come back at a certain time. I come back as I was told and watch the lady cutting the hair between the toes of a beautiful dog that stands on the table, proud, still, rubber orange ball in its teeth. I just stare at that fine picture. Then the dog looked at me sideways and I recognized it: that was my dog! The lady tells me that she will show me how to brush the dog’s teeth and how to trim the nails. I almost lost it on her. I told he the whole story. She thought about it and said: “You need to understand the dog’s situation. You know that its owner died, but its doesn’t. In the dog’s reasoning, you’ve abducted it from its home in the absence of its owner, and now you keep it by force at your place against its will. It can sense that its other owner, the father-in-law, is upset too. So, since it can’t run away, it’s trying to do everything possible for you to kick it out. Try to talk to it, like a male to a male. Explain the situation. Comfort it.”

I put the dog in the car, took it straight to the old mother-in-law’s house. Opened it up, it’s empty there, smells like no life at all. Told the dog everything. The dog listened, didn’t believe me, but didn’t fight or offend me in any way. I took the dog to the cemetery, showed it the grave. That’s when the mother-in-law’s neighbor came over after visiting family’s graves. We opened a bottle of vodka, drank to their memory, offered some to the dog, had a chat. Suddenly the dog REALIZED IT. Raised its head to the air, and howled. Then it lay down by the grave, and stayed that way, head stuck under its paws. I didn’t rush anything. When the dog was ready, so was I. Together we went to my car.

My family didn’t recognize the dog. When I told them the story, they didn’t believe me. I told them what the little lady taught me, and what came out of it. My son didn’t listen to the end of it, grabbed his jacket and car keys, demands the lady’s address. “What for?” – “Dad, I will marry her!” – “You’re nuts! You didn’t even see her!” – “Dad, if she got into the dog’s situation, do you think she won’t understand me?”. Anyway, three months later they got married. Now I’ve got three grandkids growing up. And the dog? The dog is trustworthy, calm, behaves, listens, incredibly smart old dog, helps to look after the kids. And they brush its teeth at night.


image was copied from https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/397090892115085574/ thanks.