Dreams and emotion possession

I think what we dream while we are sleeping gives significant insight into what we are experiencing during our waking hours. In fact, interpreting my own dreams is so important to me, I have been keeping a “dream journal” for more than 20 years. I will admit that some of these dreams have been very powerful and insightful, while other dreams remain a mystery to me.

Last night, I had a dream that I lost control of my car that was suddenly being swept away by muddy flood waters. I somehow managed to escape from the window of the car before it was swallowed up by what looked like violent rapids on a rushing river. I woke up gasping for air.

Interpretation:
Car losing control symbolizes anxiety about a loss of direction in life
Water symbolizes feelings and emotions; muddy water symbolizes a lack of clarity about those emotions/feelings
Flood symbolizes that these emotions are overwhelming and I am guessing that because it was violent rapids it probably also symbolizes chaotic emotions.

It is no secret that I ignore my emotions/feelings most of the time. Obviously, I fear them or else I would not ignore them. I have often imagined negative emotions to be akin to what some call “demon possession” (not that I believe in demons or possession)…but, you know? The way it is portrayed in the movies. Negative emotions seem to be like this outside entity that comes around to possess me at random times and just takes over my mind. It is the only way I know how to make sense of it.

And although I do not know what flooding emotions this dream was referring to, I do feel like negative emotions are flooding…and chaotic…and usually turns me into someone I do not recognize…someone who scares me…so yes, I am afraid of them. But to say that these negative emotions are an entity outside of myself…well, that just keeps me from being accountable, doesn’t it?

-Shadow

Know your why

I went to see my psychiatrist and told him about my father’s death and how I do not know what I am feeling. It seems as though nothing is there. He asked “Do you think your medication is working?” I responded, “medication is 10%, and the other 90% is up to me, isn’t it?”

I am always trying to fill myself up with something so I do not feel the emptiness. It has been a constant feeling throughout my life. That is where addiction comes in, doesn’t it? I don’t choose drugs anymore…now I seek more…”legal” addictions like spending sprees and cycling through religions. Although whether the former is always “legal” is questionable.

So several weeks ago, I decided to take a different approach and began listening to Gregorian chant (again) to help reduce anxiety. Now I have a routine of listening to it in the morning and again in the evening. I do not know what they are saying as it is in Latin but it does not matter. The tone is soothing and I have found it to be beneficial.

For months my counselor has been talking with me about mindfulness and meditation. Both of which I was completely uninterested in until recently. I have engaged with mindfulness before…several years ago and the forms of meditation I have tried to engage in seemed to be fruitless. So, I decided to take a different approach with that as well. Just sit in silence for 5 minutes everyday. I have found that incense helps.

I have the Meditation Sidekick Journal by Habit Nest that has also proven to be useful. The first thing it suggests is to “know your why”. Why do I want to do this? I want peace, that is all I seek. I once told a counselor that I don’t have good days and bad days, I have good hours and bad hours. If I am going to be on a roller coaster because of some illness, I want to make peace with that. If there is just one small chance that I can change it and have more control over the internal chaos and find that sense of peace, I want it. That is my ultimate goal. Before I can acquire this, I must be able to know what I am feeling. To know what this internal dialog is like. What is it saying? Why is it saying it? (Sorry, it is a habit to separate me from my emotions. Separating different parts of me is how I make sense of it.)

So these are the things I have been doing since I wrote last. We will see if I am still doing it in June. It is up to me, isn’t it?

In other news, my long distance friend contacted me today for the second time in… I don’t know how much time has lapsed since I last contacted her. She is the one I mentioned before under Disappearing. Why did I want to abandon her? Because I am afraid. It is easy to never give others a chance to abandon you by abandoning them first and devaluing them makes it easier to walk away. If I am to be totally honest, she has probably been a favorite person for a long time and I didn’t realize it until today. I don’t know how people become favorites, they just do. And when I realize it, it makes that fear of abandonment that much more terrifying.

-Shadow

Preparation for abandonment

A few months ago, my counselor asked how I can prepare myself for when she is no longer available.  She assured me this does not mean she is leaving right now.  I have seen enough county mental health counselors to know, they all leave eventually.  They move on to other jobs…to other cities or states.  And I have difficulty dealing with what I call “being abandoned” especially if it is a favorite person.  My mind interprets it as “they are no longer available” but my emotions interpret it as “they have abandoned me”.

When my mother died in November 2017, I didn’t feel abandoned.  Although, to be honest, I still don’t know how I feel about it.  When my father died in November 2018, I imagined that this must be what it feels like to be an orphan.  Although I suppose an adult can not be orphaned, emotionally I think I am still six.

In any case, below is the list of “how to prepare yourself when a favorite person abandons you” that I came up with December 2018.

  1.  Don’t take it personal.
  2. It may open the door to meet another favorite person in the future.
  3. It is okay to allow yourself to cry about it.
  4. Realize and believe you are not helpless or worthless on your own.
  5. You do not have to blame or punish yourself.
  6. It does not mean you are unlovable.
  7. Pray you don’t come apart at the seams.

Then, this month I came up with this:  O, good grief!  Stop being so dramatic!  It is not the end of the world.  Change is the only thing that is assured.

Numbers 3-7 from the December list comes from a place of emotion.  Numbers 1, 2 and the January 2019 comes from a place of rationalization.  I hope when the time arrives I do not engage in what historically, I seem to automatically do…ignore the emotions.  In the past, I have handled them by telling “self”: “What are you doing here?  Go away, I am busy and have more important matters to attend.”  They go away only in the sense I can no longer recognize them.  If I can not figure it out through reason and logic, it is discounted as unreliable.

Time will tell how I will respond when the moment arrives and I will see if this preparation has been worth it.

-Shadow

What do you know about her?

Note:  I often use kennings in my poetry.  To help make this poem more understandable, I used the following kennings:

the fire of the sky=sun; swan of blood=raven; Thor’s laughter=thunder; weeping of clouds=rain

What do you know about her?

This one who loves to see

The fire of the sky

In the evening, alone with me.

 

What do you know about her?

The one who is intrigued by

The odd swan of blood

But know not what makes her cry.

 

Tell me what you know

Of what she likes to hear

Thor’s laughter in the distance

Music to the ear.

 

Tell me what you know

Of what she likes to smell

The weeping of clouds

Makes her emerge from her shell.

 

Tell me what you know

About all of her tears

Her lifelong problems

Of tantrums and fears.

 

Do you know this little girl?

Living down below

Deep in the shadows

Still in chains from long ago.

 

Who is this little girl?

Who learned to be an imposter

Never growing up

Still waiting for her well-being to foster.

©Shadow

Dad leaves, the phantom man and finding a new home

In April of this year, I noticed that my father was suffering from coughing, fever, vomiting, chills, significant weakness.  As I might have mentioned before, a little over a year ago he had been diagnosed with cancer…melanoma which had metastasized to his liver, pelvic bone, and lung.  He had been receiving chemotherapy and he claimed that it was working. When I told he should see a doctor about his symptoms, he told me he had those symptoms because the chemotherapy was “burning the cancer out”.  

 

One day after I came home from work, my dad told me he discovered what was making him sick.  “It was bad Tilapia from Wal-mart”, so he threw out the whole bag. I’m sure I must have had a puzzled look on my face.  I could not determine if he really believed that or if he was trying to sell me this absurd story. “Bad Tilapia? It wouldn’t have anything to do with cancer or chemotherapy?  Like an allergic reaction to the chemo? Or anything like that?” I asked. He assured me it was the fish. I was left speechless by his ridiculous claim.

 

I decided to spend more time around my father in case he fell out in the floor, without him knowing what I was actually doing.  I was afraid to go to work but went anyway. I didn’t want to leave him home alone. Sometimes I would come home and he would be barefoot…he never walked barefoot.  Cabinet doors would be left open, refrigerated food would be left out on the counter, food in the microwave that he never ate. Sometimes he couldn’t remember if he had eaten anything.

 

Then one evening, I noticed he was struggling to get up to go to the restroom.  I watched him and instinctively knew something was about to happen. I watched the hallway opening from the living room waiting for his return from the restroom.  Nothing could break my focus. Then I heard him coming down the hallway. It sounded different and then I saw him. His left arm outstretched, his upper torso and head leaning to one side.  I rushed to him and he said “get me to the couch” but I knew he wasn’t going to make it. I did help break his fall anyway. He tried to get up from the floor and I pushed him back down. “You are staying right there.  I’m calling 9-1-1 and we are going to find out what is wrong with you.”

 

When he arrived at the hospital, his oxygen level was 40.  He ended up spending three weeks there and most of that time he was in ICU.  He had pneumonia and an allergic reaction to chemotherapy. After that, he was transferred to rehab where he stayed for 54 days.

 

I experienced an array of emotions.  I felt like I had been thrown off a cliff.  I was terrified to be in the house alone. For the first two weeks my dad was in the hospital, I constantly searched the house for what I ended up naming the Phantom Man.  I would check closets and under beds over and over again at night. During daylight hours, I spent my time memorizing the number of paces it would take me to get to the closest exit from various points within the house.  Conducting drills over and over and timing myself to see how long it would take me to get out. At night when I would lay down to go to sleep, I would keep my eyes fixed on my bedroom doorway waiting for this Phantom Man, but he never came.  I listened for him. Nothing. When I closed my eyes, I had terrifying visions of someone standing over me. But when I finally got up the nerve to open them, no one was there. Finally, I decided I would try something when I would close my eyes.  When the images came, I will just say “thinking”. Over and over again if necessary. Eventually, it helped and I was able to sleep and after a while I finally stopped looking in closets and under beds too.

 

As I became more comfortable being alone…in a decent sized house…in a rural area, I found myself wanting my father to stay away.  “My brother and sister will not help me”, I thought, “and I can’t take care of him by myself. It will be better if he dies in rehab.”  My father decided that he wanted to stay in a long term care facility that was one of the best in the area.

 

I made arrangements to become POA for my father while he was still in his right mind.  This gave me the authority to use his money for his care while he resided in the long term care facility.  Once I used it all, the state will pay for his care…after they probed his financial records for the last 5 years.  So, I am taking great care to save every receipt so I can show that his money was used for his needs.

 

But it also meant something else.  A person cannot have a lot of assets if they are requesting financial assistance from the state.   It is for people who don’t have resources to pay for their own care. This means, when I have used all of his resources, his house and land will have to be sold for fair market value…the house I live in.  I cannot buy it because I have $80,000 worth of student loans and $23,000 worth of credit card debt. I am currently in the process of filing bankruptcy for the credit card debt (it can’t file bankruptcy on student loans).  Besides, I don’t like long term commitments. I like the freedom of being able to leave whenever I want. And renting as opposed to buying allows me to do that.

 

I had to find a place to rent.  So, I started saving money and began my search for a new place…preferably a one room house where I can see all of the few possesses I own.  It proved to be more difficult than I thought possible. I didn’t exactly get what I wanted but I did move into a one bedroom apartment and for the next four weeks I lived there, it would be hell.

 

That story will be in the next post…

 

-Shadow