Tag Archives: shame

great blue heron

why didn’t you tell me before?

those are powerful words.

on one side, it is a sign of something held back. maybe it was something considered so minor, it didn’t have to be brought up. perhaps it was fear, that if you really knew how i felt, you’d think less of me or even reject me.

on the other hand, there is the courage of breaking through those barriers. perhaps, the barrier is this is significant enough to bring this forward or maybe it’s overcoming the fear of being thought less of for what has been held back for far to long.

that act of sharing is a courageous act, being vulnerable, exposing a little more who that person really is. sure, the person asking the question likely has every right to be asking that question. the problem is, in asking the question, they have not only overlooked the gift they have just received, they have also totally disrespected the vulnerable person fighting through their desire not to share.

by asking the question, the question asker expresses their distain that it took so long to get this bit of information, overlooking the courageous act. the person hearing this question is made to feel wrong for their inability to share before. they feel shame.

when the person receiving the bit of information can see it as a gift, they can be joyous of their new discovery. the person sharing gets treated with the utmost respect. they feel safe. that makes it all the easier for them to share the next time.

the choice is yours: distain and shame or gift and respect. given the choice, i’d eliminate that damaging statement from my mind. i hope you can do the same.

clouds and sunlight

down the rabbit hole

down the rabbit hole

i don’t really want to write. why’s that? it a story about how getting a few ducks in row, and how just few incidences can send me scurrying down the rabbit hole. it’s a story i have to tell because i need to get it out of me. kept inside of me, it’ll just fester and get even more ugly. even though i will feel shame telling the story, at least it will be out. i also hope that someone else will read it and benefit from it.

those of you who read my last post, know that my wife has 1x1x2 mass near her knee. think of about 1/3 of a length a regular size plump hot dog. she got the results of the mri less than three days ago. it had scary words like suspicious and liposarcoma, sarcoma meaning cancer.

mri can only look for typical patterns. just because a pattern matches doesn’t mean it “matches”. For instance, i could give you one of 100 cards with shades of green. just because i gave you one of the cards, doesn’t make it a certainty that I gave you the true green. they all look green, but there’s only one true green.

just because Mary’s mass looks like a liposarcoma doesn’t mean it is. if may be green, but not the true green. it still is very possible that even though it looks like a liposarcoma doesn’t make it liposarcoma. mri are still too imprecise.

the next day, we took as a day of distraction. we went for a sunrise hike on a local trail, went to a movies in the afternoon and took advantage of coupon our real estate friend gave us and went to dinner. We had a pretty good day, having a good and fun time at each undertaking.

then, came the next day. i came face to face with my nemesises fear, doubt, uncertainty, sadness, disappointment, just to name a few. yesterday, they kicked my ass. that started a tailspin.

the tail spin continued in a weird way.

i was passing on some math riddles to a friend with a degree in mathematics. I passed the on for fun and entertainment. my friend felt lest than because they couldn’t figure out the riddles. I didn’t like that what I did troubled my friend. i quicker felt less that myself, feeling responsible for my friends struggle. all too quicker, i called myself a “loser”. it seemed like a huge leap but pointed to inherent instability.

and who would of thought things would get worse…

taking my nightly med, i stared down the openings of a vial to one of my meds. knowing the fatal dose, i made note that there wasn’t enough there.

nothing like that for a wake up call. not, but a week ago, things weren’t perfect but nowhere near unbearable. last night i contemplated my life.

that’s a precipitous fall in a very short time, in just a day, really. It also served as a wakeup called. It was face these feelings, no matter how scary or face the alternative of them controlling me.

I spent a lot of time conversing with friends, and getting real with myself. i gave name too the scary feelings. i talked about them. i talk about my precipitous fall. i talked about where I didn’t want to be. that day sucked but far less that the previous day’s suck.

sure, i still feel fear, doubt, uncertainty, sadness, disappointment, and the anguish of waiting. now, i choose to look them in the eye and not run from them. thankfully and for reasons not completely understandable to me, that process robs them of their power.

please remember my relearned lesson that i’ve had to relearn over and over again: running for emotions makes no sense. escaping from them is an i possibility. stop, and look those scary emotions in their eyes. they are likely to flinch before you do.

blue boat getting away?

my one, no two, no three sides to stigma

chrfull disclosure: this was a comment to a thought provoking post i hate stigma, it’s everywhere  from one of my new blogger friends my side of the pole.

stigma come from everywhere. they can come from the outside. in this case, they the oppressive nature the society puts on people with mental disorders. they can come from the inside. In that case, the personalization of the outside forces effect who we are internally and how we think about ourselves. the third side talks about what can be done to counter stigma. Continue reading

return from lake 22

that one little label, that one little stereotype

I have been reading Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. i am currently working my way through a chapter on shame.

as i parsed my way through the list on why people feel shame, i read the line, “because we are stereotyped or labeled.” with that, i had a new found understanding about my journey with my mental disorder, why i felt “”unclean”. i came to recognize with that one little line, through that one little label, that one little stereotype,  i had been thrown into a shame induced stupor. Continue reading

seattle japanese garden panorama

a reflection on shame

as i reflect on my recent post the choice is yours:guilt or shame, i realize much of my current depressive cycle is tied up in unmet expectations.

i am not the provider that my wife, or me for that matter, wants me to be.

i could not make a go of my first business endeavor.

i isolate because i don’t want to call my friends. perhaps, i have done something wrong and won’t meet, or haven’t met  their expectations.

i am not the brother my family wants me to be. i have seemingly alienated my brothers and sisters with things i have done or said. i am not meeting their or mine own expectations of what a brother should be.

all of this ties me to shame. shame makes the leap from i feel bad to i am bad. that feeling, “i am bad” ties me up and holds be prisoner. the stronger that feeling becomes the stronger the grip of depression becomes. i feel like the walls become thicker and thicker, like there is no way out. i fell like i am in an inescapable place.

That reminds me about the three i’s of depression, but that will have to be another post.

so, my challenge going forward is to explore these expectations. they seem to be the root of my current depressive cycle. perhaps some of these expectations are misguided. perhaps some of them need to be re–explored. perhaps some of them need to be re–adjusted. maybe some of the expectations are now truly unattainable.

i must truly face and hopefully defeat these expectations if i am to have a chance to break from this current depressive cycle.

fall on the way to kendall catwalk

the choice is yours: guilt or shame

this is a rework of an earlier post I wrote, written in a better time, but holds true more than ever.

i watched brené brown’s ted talk, listening to shame, a while ago.

it dealt with many aspects of shame. one thing she talked about is the difference between guilt and shame. to paraphrase: guilt is I did bad. shame is I am bad.

is it any wonder that children raised to value themselves as the gift to the world that they are, can stay away from shame. they learn just because they did bad doesn’t make them bad.

on the other hand, children raised to not value themselves, the jump from doing bad to being bad is so much easier to bridge. for them, it has been ingrained in their mind that they are bad, that doing something bad almost automatically triggers being bad. it’s what they know.

for those of us who fall in the second group, we are faced with an ongoing challenge; guilt or shame. falling into the I am awful, horrible, bad, whatever negative, is so easy to do. It is what i learned growing up. when I do I am snared in the trap of shame.

just like any trap, the longer the time spend in the trap, the more damage that is done. the trick is to find a fast escape from the trap. how can that be done?

just as i have learned to have a hair trigger reaction from doing to being bad, I can also teach myself to go the other way. when i fall in the trap of being bad, i challenge the thought. i ask myself why that is true? what happened to make me bad? i know i am a creature of god and worthy of being good. this feeling bad must be a ruse. i ask myself why I am feeling that way?

most often it can be traced back to recent events. it is not hard to find where i haven’t lived up to my or some one else’s expectations. when I have done wrong, bad or maybe something worse. it is usually as plain as the nose on my face. that pathway has got turned around. it has gone from me doing wrong  to me being wrong, worthless, good for nothing, a loser.

i am left with the choice, guilt or shame. do I stew in this horrible feeling or do I challenge it? if I stew in it, i choose shame. if i challenge it, challenge those feelings that have been a part of me since my youth, those beliefs that just because I made a mistake  makes me a mistake, i choose guilt and i am better off for that choice. i am closer to being that creature worthy of love that god wants me to be.

believe me, that choice is not easy, forty some years of learning is difficult to challenge. but, challenge it i must if i am to be one of god’s creatures, one worthy of love, not a creature absent of love that has been too much a part of my life for to long.

i add the following:

somehow living in depression makes that jump from shame to guilt seem like a deep and wide chasm, one that is impossible to make across. it is as if the switch of guilt or shame is solidly and completely frozen in the shame position. there isn’t even a pang of guilt. a strong arc jumps the gap and seemingly permanently welds the switch to shame. every thing that goes wrong ends up with an, “i am bad feeling”.

perhaps that is why depressive people like me sometimes struggle with suicide; they feel no guilt, only shame. any and everything that goes wrong, they equate it with how bad of a person they are. after awhile that becomes both wearing and something one can start to believe.

that being wrong, worthless, good for nothing, a loser, awful, horrible, bad, pounds in our heads like a big bass drum; pound pound pound pound pound pound pound pound pound. one wants to be free of it. in that broken state of mind, taking ones life seems like the only way to be free of that endless beat.

as i reflect back on what i wrote about a year ago, i notice so much of my depressive struggles is tied to expectations, unfortunately unmet expectations. i am not the man i hope to be not in the place i wanted to be. because of the ingrained shame of most of my life the fact that i am not where i want to be, that i am not measuring up, turns into shame. this shame is powerful and seems to have a shame mind meld on me.

i also have a pang of  hope. i once had control over the guilt/shame switch, that same switch that seems broken now. perhaps, i can once again somehow break that bond that keeps me attached to shame and feel the ‘freedom’ of guilt again.

ps. as a finish this, a realize that catholic guilt, and any religious guilt for that matter, isn’t really  guilt, but shame. it is most often a manipulation to make use feel bad. so, don’t get the two confused.