Reason for Hope

I feel good even if it is Monday.

I got a letter from my dad last Friday that said I’ve dishonored the family name and I need to repent. When I read the letter, I felt nothing. I knew that was not really the best response. By that evening, I was angry, which seemed more appropriate. The next morning in meditation, the grief came. That also seemed like an appropriate response.

I’m happy to say it faded. I’m completely over it. I will take that letter with me to my next therapy appointment, and I won’t read future letters from him.

I had a second date with a man last night. We went out for coffee for our first date, and we’ve been regularly texting since. This one feels different. He feels different. He doesn’t feel like he needs any fixing. He feels whole. He’s whip smart and has a very singular sense of humor. We had a good conversation about many of his ways of looking at life.

I honestly feel like I’m approaching this budding relationship in a different way. Regular readers know that I can rush things. I’m really not doing that with this man. At least, I’m not doing it and then acting on it. I have had some fantasies of being with him long term and what that might look like, but I’m not telling him about those fantasies. I’m allowing the fantasies to have their space, and then I let them fade. The result is that I’m allowing this relationship to develop organically.

I met him at a monthly gay professionals group that I’ve been going to for some years, so I’ve known this man for a while. That’s also a good thing. One of the points that makes me the most hopeful about this relationship is that he asked me for my number. That’s only the second time in my recent life that’s happened. It’s always me asking the other man for his number. This man asked for my number, and then he followed through and texted first.

So I survived an abusive letter from my dad, and I had a good second date. I have reason to feel good this morning.

My Flaw

Despite my best efforts, I have a flaw that lies inside me liking a gaping, open wound. My parents don’t love me, and it’s likely they have never really loved me. The undeniable evidence is that they disowned me because I’m gay.

I have felt this lack of love my entire life. I have sought out ways to fill that lack. I filled it with being busy when I was still in high school and college by being in lots of clubs. I filled it with being busy as a working adult by choosing jobs where I had to clean up messes other people made. I had one job with a large Japanese corporation where I basically went around the world closing ill-conceived subsidiaries. That really wasn’t good for my sense of self-worth.

I fill the lack of love from my parents through an anxious attachment style. To explain it simply, I attach to possible partners quickly and overwhelm them with my good intentions. I’m doing it now even after having talked about it in therapy.

The only good thing is that I’m doing it in the privacy of my home without telling the other man that I’m wanting to overwhelm him.

I had a coffee date with a man recently that went very well. We talked about what to do for a second date, and that’s always a good sign. I went home and began to obsess about being with this new man. To my credit, I must say that I effectively resisted texting him a lot and bombarding him with my well wishes. However, in my own little home, I invented scenarios of us together in the future.

I wasn’t able to get together with this new man this past weekend, and by the end of the day Sunday, I was morose. I was sure that he’d forgotten all about me and was moving on to other possible dates.

This depression came after one date! Sigh.

I stayed in that sadness all evening, but then I got an idea. I decided to call an elder in AA I’ve met at several meetings I have been to recently. I picked up the phone and called her. I didn’t tell her I was sad. We talked about the weekend and meetings and a mutual friend. It was a completely delightful call, and by the end, I felt a million times better. I hung up the phone feeling so much better. I was so surprised. All I needed was a little human connection.

I reached out, and it worked. I will do it again.

And then at bedtime, I looked at my phone, and there waiting for me was a text from the man I was languishing over. He’d taken a long nap. There was a perfectly reasonable explanation. I went to sleep feeling fine and had a good night’s sleep.

Ten Years Blogging

I started blogging ten years ago today. Wow! Where has the time gone?

When I look at old entries, I’m amazed at the change. Ten years ago, I was beset by despair. Today, I live in hope of things getting better.

As regular readers know, January was hellish for me. On January 4, my dad called me telling me – much to my surprise – that he’d recently discovered I was gay and therefore he and my mother were disowning me. I say I was surprised, because I’d come out to my mother more than twenty years before. I always assumed she’d told my dad, but obviously she didn’t.

Then in late January, I found out that in the reorganization at my work, I was being demoted and would have my salary slashed. January was plain hell for me.

Ten years ago, I would have had dire reactions to these events. This year, I had some strong emotions, I took some days off work, but I never thought of giving up. I have tools today to help me in times of trouble: medication, meditation, therapy, exercise, diet, and sleep. I used all but exercise to get myself through the pain of those events, and I’m not beating myself up about not exercising.

Ten years ago, I wrote about living in the hell that was my head. Today, my head is pretty calm. It’s not great, but it’s not scary. In all honesty, I have to admit that the thought of being unlovable since my parents disowned me did occur to me just this past weekend. I talked about it in therapy yesterday. It’s a false notion. My parents are warped. Hopefully, I won’t date warped men.

I have one thing to say about this anniversary: recovery is real. People who live with serious mental illness can and do recover and lead meaningful lives. If I recovered, other people can, too.

Turning the Corner

I had a great therapy session yesterday, and I slept nine hours last night. I feel great!

I worked through some important points in therapy yesterday. I’ve been working through them for a long time, but the anger I had yesterday was the catalyst I needed to complete the work.

I have been obsessed with finding a boyfriend. To hell with that! I’m going to date and just leave it up to the Universe. I’m just going to have fun. The boyfriend will happen when it happens. I have released the obsession.

I am worried about the reorganization that is happening where I work. It’s causing me problems directly in the form of compensation. You know what? I’ll figure it out. I do not know what’s going to happen, but I’ve decided I can’t worry about it right now. Somehow it will work out.

I am fabulous! Fuck anybody who disagrees!

Heaviness

My heart is heavy. I had two real traumas in January. The first was when my dad called to disown me. The second came much later in the month, and it had to do with my job.

The agency where I work is being reorganized. As part of that reorganization, my job is being reclassified, and the little office I run is being made part of a new office. The result is that my salary is being slashed by a lot. The reorganization takes place July 1. At that time, the new office will come into effect. It will have a new office manager, and I will be eligible to apply for it, but there is no way to know in advance if I will be successful.

I spent much of last week reeling with this news. There were days my anxiety was so high I had to take sick leave at work. The slash to my income is too high for me to manage. If my application for the new management position is unsuccessful, I will have to take a roommate to afford my rent. I have analyzed my budget, and I can’t make ends meet by simply cutting expenses.

I have done several things to prepare. I have immediately slashed spending. I still have a number of months to go at my current salary. I will save every stray penny that I can.

I just feel very heavy.

Through it all, I realize that I’m quite strong. I have weathered two real traumas, but I’m still standing. I haven’t isolated. I’ve been out on two dates. One man came to my house, and I made him a cup of very good coffee. I met another man for coffee. I was able to tell both about my troubles and demonstrate that I’m resilient.

I’ve been seeing my therapist weekly.

I’ve been sleeping a lot, which can be a sign of depression, but sleep is one of my recovery tools, so I take this as a good sign. I say “a lot,” but it really just is a healthy amount. It’s not too much.

I’m taking all my medications as prescribed, and I have made an extra appointment with my psychiatrist to tell him what’s going on. He needs to know about these things to help me monitor myself for signs of debilitating relapse into depression or hypomania.

I’m meditating as much as I can. I’ve started walking down to the cathedral during work breaks and getting some even breathing in that time.

My diet is unchanged. I eat healthy food. I don’t drink soda. The only thing that is close to junk food I’m eating these days is trail mix, which is mostly nuts and raisins with a few M&Ms.

I’m going to AA meetings when I can. That’s about two or three times each week. It’s good to be around other people working on improving themselves.

One thing I’m not doing is exercising. I’m just not doing it, and I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

Despite two real traumas, I’m going to be OK. Right now, I’m allowing myself to feel heavy. This is grief.

Just Sigh

I did something daring for myself last night. I went out. I went to a popular gay bar. I struck up a conversation with a young lady visiting from out of state. She was in town to visit a friend. I sat and watched the crowd.

There was a two-person band playing. They were fun and energetic. I got up and danced once by myself. I was invisible. Nobody looked at me. Nobody joined me. I danced the whole song.

This morning, I couldn’t meditate for the first time in four years. I think I’m angry at the Universe, but I can’t feel the anger. That’s not unusual for me.

It took courage to go out alone. It took courage to dance alone.

I went to a LGBT meditation group this week, and part of the time we shared in small groups about how we love ourselves. I shared that I loved my courage. I really do have a lot of it. I live with enormous amounts of fear, but I still get up and keep going. I don’t quit. I love my courage.

This morning I feel damaged, but I know this is just a feeling. It will pass. I have things to do today. I will do them, and I will enjoy myself. I will bravely walk through the feelings that I have right now, and I will be in good spirits.

Action and Emotions

Healthy boundaries are important for anyone. I don’t have the best track record at maintaining them, but I am getting better at it.

I recently put in place some new boundaries regarding two exes. The result is I feel peaceful. I took action, and it’s paying off. It wasn’t big action. It wasn’t anything drastic, but I feel much better.

This result makes me realize that I don’t have to completely upend my world to get good results. I can take small steps and feel much better as a result.

I knew this well in the past, but I somehow forgot it. That’s OK. I remember now.