Monthly Archives: September 2014

return from lake 22

pioneer of television, robin williams loses his battle

this week on pbs on the pioneers of television series honored robin williams. it followed his career from his humor in high school, his work in stand up, his work on television and his work in movies. unfortunately the program ended on a sour note; it ends with pam dawber of mork and mindy fame asking the question, “why? why did he leave?”

wel pam, that’s another show unto itself. let me give you a brief overview. what authority to i have? none really. though i am someone who has come too close to making the very decision that robin made.

it all starts innocently enough; we experience some trauma, whether it is a loss of a job, a fight with the spouse, or some fender bender.  for a period of time measured in days or weeks, the amount of joy we feel is less than the pain we feel.

if this imbalance isn’t corrected, the person can end up in depression. often times with work and sometimes medication, the person can experience a turn around; they begin to restore balance to their joy/pain equation. if not the slide continues.

as the slide continues, the depression gets deeper. it becomes harder to get out. if this slide continues it is no longer a joy/pain question, but perceived joy versus pain.  i defined perceived joy as all the joyed currently being experienced by an individual plus all the joy they can imagine ever having.

if the slide continues, the pain comes close to perceived joy. the person enters a dangerous place. crazy thoughts come into their mind. they start to imagine an end game, how to seemingly correct the joy/pain imbalance they are feeling.

if the slide continues, the pain becomes greater than the perceived joy; they lose their battle. they follow through on their crazy thoughts. it’s not the suicide that takes them; they die from the depression that drove them there.

so pam, he left us because his pain that he felt became too great and at the same time, all the joy he thought he could experience became to small.

could anything been done? yes; robin’s joy could have been increased or  his pain decreased. that’s a tall order; or is it?  for some examples, take a look at would-ju-of. it’s  really not that hard.  maybe doing one of those things would have changed the joy/pain quotient just enough that he would seen another day. and that day could have made all the difference in the world.

a way to elevate bring-me-down emotions

i strive for intimate communication and relationships. as i see it, there two parts to intimate communication; the first is an emotion and the second is the situation. they don’t necessarily have to be in that order though. let me give some examples.

  • my friend did not call as i asked, so i feel angry.
  • i feel excited because my team won an important game.
  • i feel sad because i lost my pet.
  • i did well on my test so i feel joyous.
  • i am upset because i got written up at work.
  • i feel trusted because you turned to me.

i have noticed a difference with how pick-me-up and bring-me-down emotions are handled. when pick-me-up emotions are involved, people are willing to join in on the emotion and  celebration. for the most part, there is no need or desire to visit the situation. it is easy to feel excited when someone expresses happiness. with bring-me-down emotions people tend to turn from the emotion to the situation. your sad? what’s wrong? how can we make it better? how can we make you happy again? maybe the emotion causes great fear, so, many people turn the emotion into a problem to be solved. in the process, the person experiencing the emotion can feel like their emotion got run over by a freight train. their emotion remains unaddressed.

this is a problem i experience often. after my emotion gets decimated by an exchange, i feel crushed. if i’m lucky, i recover in hours. unfortunately for me, right now, it’s more like days. the emotion never really gets a chance to get out so it stays inside gnawing  away like a ravenous worm.

last night, i pondered the question,”how can i get my needs met with bring-me-down emotions? how can they be heard? how can i  have a better chance to get the comfort i so desire when it comes to bring-me-down emotions?” an answered seemingly came from no where and popped into my head.

for starters, how about letting the feeling stand on its own? who says the emotion needs a situation? the situation gives people something to bond to avoid the emotion.

i’m afraid or sad or disappointed. the emotion now scarily stands on its own.

with the situation gone, the other person could be grasping at air, wondering what to do. they could try to get the situation back where they want it,”why are you afraid or sad or disappointed?” don’t fall for it. the emotion can stand on its own…with your help.

it’s time to offer some loving direction.

help me. (pause) help me to be with this feeling. (pause) help me to not feel bad or wrong because i have this feeling. (pause). help me to know i’m still accepted and love. i know you can’t do it perfectly, but help me.

extra credit for the over achievers out there; you know who you are. 🙂 practice this on yourself. be willing to love and accept yourself like you expect others to love and accept you. i tried it; i found it to be powerfully calming to the bring-me-down emotion.

like me, don’t expect miracles. it will take time and practice for this to work. hopefully with the time, practice and work, a truce with the bring-me-down emotions can be reached.  and with time, practice and work, some of the underlying wounds can begin to heal. that’s my hope for me.  that’s my hope for you.

blue boat getting away?

equal rights for the bring-me-down emotions

have you ever noticed how the crappy bring-me-down emotions get the short shift? how they don’t get equal treatment with their cousins the pick-me-up emotions? think about it.

think about when someone shares a pick-me-up emotion. what is the typical response? it is usually met with a equally pick-me-up response.

p1: i am having a good day.
p2: that’s great to hear! ( and if it someone particularly close, you’ll also here,” can i give you a hug?”

the bring–me-down emotions don’t get equal treatment. often times the first attempt is to change the emotion or some how make it better.

p1: i am having a bad day.
p2: you are? how can i make you happy? how can i help you make this badness go away? how can i make you better?

the pick-me-up emotions can just be. they are warmly accepted like a nice piece of warm apple pie. the bring-me-down emotions are pushed away. people tend to run from them as if they carry  the ebola virus.

is it any wonder people have a difficult time sharing the bring-me-down emotions. few people are willing to receive them. without a willingness for reception, the expression of the emotion falls incomplete. after so many incomplete passes, the attempts to share the bring-me-down emotions become less and less. they just stay bottled up inside with nowhere to go.

unfortunately, inside is not a good place for these bring-me-down emotions to be. they eat and  gnaw at the emotional well being of an individual. left to fester, a person can begin to wonder are these feelings okay to have? do these feelings make me less of a person? and worse yet, because i have these feelings, am i even lovable? maybe not since people tend to run from them.

what if the bring-me-down emotions got offered equal status as the pick-me-up emotions? what if people could learn to not run away from them, to openingly receive them?

people would be willing to share them. they would learn that it is okay to share these bring-me-down emotions. these horrid emotions would start coming out instead of being left inside to stew and fester, and continue to do damage.  perhaps with this progress, the years of emotional wounding could begin to heal. perhaps people could begin to feel whole again.

it’s not that hard. it’s treatment is almost like the pick-me-up emotions.

p1: i am having a bad day.
p2: that makes me sad. i bet you feel sad, too. would you like a hold?

the change is sutle, i know, but powerful. the difference is don’t run from the feeling. don’t change the subject. be willing to face the emotion head on. people are willing to do this and do this with pick-me-up emotions, why not with the bring-me-down emotions?

help me. help me to submit an amendment to the united states constitution granting equal rights to the bring-me-down emotions, whereas people should not run from them but treat them in a similar fashion as the pick-me-up emotions.

and if not the united states constitution, how about your own constitution? make an agreement to treat the bring-me-down emotions in a similar way as you treat pick-me-up emotions. ask others to the same. soon we will have a groundswell. in my grand glorified world, the groundswell  grows and becomes far more powerful than any piece of paper. and we will all be better off because of it.

clouds rolling by…

emotional cripple

i consider myself a rather trusting person. as i sit here pondering life, the universe, and everything, there is one place i struggle mightily with trust; that is with my emotions.

it all starts with what i call my 4-10-16 triumphant. they represent the years of emotional events in my life that have unfortunately scarred me . the events either left me with minimized, or worse yet, denied feelings.

to this day, because of those events and others like them, i have massive insecurities around my emotions. i wonder if it okay for me to feel what i am feeling, i wonder if i am less of a person because of what i am feeling. worse yet, i go off the deep end and wonder if i am even lovable because of what i am feeling.

i’m constantly looking for someone that can help me deal with the emotional pain that never seems to go away. i try to let people in, but they unknowingly poke at the emotional scars. each poke reminds me of the childhood emotional pain that never seems to go away.

recently, i thought i had found a good candidate for my emotional well being. in discussions, they talked about their personal needs to work at their problems at a emotional level, first. they seemed safe. then i called out to them about some emotional turmoil i found myself in the middle of. seemingly, without skipping a beat, they slipped into talking about the situation, leaving the the emotions strewn here and there radiating outward like a middle of and explosion.  poke. poke. poke. poke. poke. poke. each poke reminds me of my primal wounds, of the pain(s) that seemingly won’t go away.

yet another person who doesn’t get it. yet another person who doesn’t understand my pain. yet another person that leaves me with the question, “are they worthy of my emotional trust?” and the other bigger question, “can i find anyone worthy of my emotional trust?” and the still bigger question, “will this pain ever go away?”

with such big questions that still remain unanswered,  no wonder i suffer with depression. lacking a place to deposit all this emotional garbage, it just stays in me, festering and making matters worse. while maybe not the total cause, this struggle contributes mightily.

my search goes on, hoping against hope, that i will find a receptacle for emotional trash or some regular collection service to take this crap away. i keep hoping to find the emotional dump so i can unload all this stuff and be more able to handle what life deals me.

mt rainier fron kendall catwalk hike

the search for joy

hard day today.

you see, it all started some fifty years ago. i came into the world.

fast forward some forty-eight years and i find myself entering what would be my toughest and longest depressive cycle ever.

fast forward  a couple weeks short of another two years as I near the celebration of a half century. unfortunately, depression still reigns and a  pea soup fog blankets my land. it is a thick and ominous haze hiding happiness from my heart. bouts of happiness have been few and far between through my recent journey. that leads to my  biggest fear of the night; there will be a celebration for me and i will feel no joy.

fast forward two weeks; the day of the big celebration arrives. i am anxious and apprehensive wondering what the night holds for me.

the time comes and guests arrive. i didn’t set the guest list. some old stand bys came along with some nice surprises. in the mist of my struggles like wondering if _my_ guest are having a good time and making sure the meat comes off the grill fully cooked, i am able to find joy among friends.

then the last person leaves. the crash begins. though i try to fight it off, i feel strong resentment as i help my wife with some post party clean-up. i feel a brief relief as i slumber the night away. when the brain is in a restful state, it can’t shoot up a stream of uncontrolled emotions.

the morning comes. the now precipitous decline takes off. it’s like a run away train.  quickly i feel much worse than the start of the previous day. soon, i am wondering what people would think if i am not around. i want off this train. i want out of this depression. there is no joy in mudville, or any place for that matter.