Getting through it all SOBER

My friend Gina – her husband left her about ten years ago for another man – ugly, ugly situation. Her doctor gave Gina something to “help her relax.”  The drug was Ativan — and he’s had her on it for EIGHT YEARS.

There’s something unconscionable and unethical about putting a patient on an addictive drug for that long.

And did Gina need it in the first place?

Look, of COURSE your nerves are shot — you’ve been living with a homosexual – a misogynist – for how many years? And now you know the insanity you’ve been blaming on yourself (and he’s probably been blaming you for) is because he’s homosexual? and the earth is rocking and rolling under your feet and you don’t know which end is up and at any minute you’re absolutely sure you’re going to toss your cookies?

WELL, DUH — of COURSE YOUR NERVES ARE FRAYED. OF COURSE EVERYTHING AROUND YOU IS GOING BATSHIT CRAZY.

IT is — not you.

And so you toss your cookies.  Is it really the worst thing that can happen to you? Personally, I think continuing to live with a psychologically abusive and severely disturbed spouse is far, far more undesirable.

Look.  You can take the immediately easy way out and medicate with booze or prescription drugs in order to numb the immediate oh-God-I’m-losing-my-mind feelings.  But I’m telling you, you’ll still have to face the music when you sober back up or the prescription expires.  And if you’re on the junk long enough, you’ll have compounded problems, coming off the crutch AND facing your reality all at one time.

Problem is, the crisis doesn’t go away just because your brain checks out for a while. It will sit and wait for you, however long you try to run away from it.

It’s a LOT easier to grit your teeth and just body-surf through the batshit crazy until you can find some terra firma to plant your feet on.  It takes ten times as much work to pull yourself BACK together as it would have done simply to hang on for dear life in the first place.  Yes, that’s a borrow from Mockingjay — in which book too damn many needles are used to get Katniss and Finnick — to CONTROL THEM instead of healing them. Because, dammit all, it’s so much easier to drug your way through a crisis than it is to have to think and work your way through.  Until you sober up and the emotional upheaval is still right there waiting to say GOTCHA!
Stay sober.  Honestly.

Freud and Homosexuality

I’m reading some excerpts here and there — not specifically from Freud himself (yet) but synthesized through others.  An interesting point that I felt worthy of sharing (and inviting discussion) is that one writer, in a post on a NARTH page, asserts that Freud did not see homosexuality as a mental illness, per se, that is, not on the same level of illness as, say, schizophrenia.  Instead, he saw it as more of a developmental disability, an indication of an arrested emotional development, “an intermediary stage between self-love and heterosexuality.”

I don’t know about heterosexuality being a “stage.”  Every little boy I’ve ever known, no matter his age, has been fascinated with women’s breasts.

But the idea of homosexuality being a condition of arrested emotional development intrigues me.  It certainly fits in what I’ve observed in gay behavior, not only my ex-husband’s but others’ as well.

What’s been your experience? Does this resonate with you? or do you think it’s a bit far-fetched?

LGBT vitriol

I questioned why the professional community taxed with screening gender reassignment candidates has not been more capable of recognizing the severe dysfunctions operating in the LGBT community, particularly in those lesbian households that are putting little boys on the transgender trainwreck. But perhaps the answer to that lies here:

“. . . the aggression shown by the LGBT community toward people who question whether children should prepare to have their genitals surgically altered and be injected with massive doses of hormones is such that clinicians are terrified to continue searching for the truth.”

The original article is available from the Wall Street Journal, but they demanded I subscribe before I could access the article.  I’m not in the market for a paid subscription of a work I only use a few times a year, rather than daily, cover to cover.

The LGBT community certainly is aggressive, even hostile, in the face of opposition.  Last week I posted a story by Janna Darnelle about her experiences divorcing, or being divorced by, a man who’d decided to come out of the closet.  Later in the week, this article appeared with an update, revealing that, in the aftermath of Janna’s article’s publication, and widespread sharing on the internet, the Gay Mafia has gone berserk with trying to punish her.

I highly recommend Rivka’s update, full of great information and insights such as this one:

“You want to marry a man and you are a man? Society does not owe you women’s children, women’s eggs, or women’s bodies.”

I would add, ” . . . or our hearts and souls.”

Taking care of yourself: Grown-up pleasures

In the pursuit of wholeness and recovery after the divorce – maybe any divorce, but certainly a divorce from a homosexual husband – it is necessary we should pursue some adult-level pleasures:

1. Readers Digest has had it right, all those years: Laughter is the best medicine! Enjoy friends who make you laugh. Watch old comedies (for some reason, old comedies are much funnier than newer ones). I don’t know how many times I’ve watched Kathryn Hepburn and Cary Grant movies, Philadelphia Story, Holiday and Bringing Up Baby. And my first relationship after my divorce, I entered into simply because my friend made me laugh… and I realized after our first date that I’d nearly forgotten how to laugh.

2. As a reader posted in a comment, last night, Take up a new hobby. She mentioned learning a musical instrument; I already play a couple of instruments, and I can attest to the therapeutic value of music.

3. Dance! I took up contra dancing, learned to shag and swing. Wonderful activity and even more delightful social activity. One of the things I loved about contra dancing is that I could walk in the door by myself and dance every single dance of the evening, with a different partner each time – that’s one of the rules of the game. I’ve got a belly dance instructional DVD now – we’ll see how that goes.

4. Indulge in a “Gracious Lady Luncheon.” Put on your favorite dress and a hat and take yourself out to a “nice” place to eat. You know – the kind where the nice waitress comes and takes your order at your table and brings your food to you and clears away the plates when you’re done. Department stores used to have attached restaurants where customers could sit down for a nice meal; nowadays there are all sorts of little cafés and sandwich shops where the food is good and the ambiance charming.

5. I have go give Sarah Ban Breathnach credit for this one, from her book Simple Abundance*: create a scrapbook of things that you really love, using clippings from magazines, catalogs, etc. I was so confused by all the different messages I was processing about what I was supposed to like, do, be… this little exercise gave me a tangible means of sifting through all the data and discovering just what I, on my very own, like to surround myself with, wear, look at, do (flowers, the colors pink and red, dresses, antique hats, cats and dogs, roses, Chanel No. 5…)

6. Eat right and take your vitamins! — When we’re tired, physically or emotionally, and possibly depressed, it’s so easy to go to the “comfort foods,” and to eat in excess. Take up some culinary skills, go for good ingredients… but don’t just eat sandwiches because they’re easy and effortless.

As for vitamins, spend money and get good ones. The cheap ones don’t digest properly and aren’t absorbable in the bloodstream, so you’re literally flushing your money down the toilet by taking them. Try this: pour 1/4 cup of vinegar into a glass, and drop one of your current vitamins/supplements into the acid. Wait 15 minutes. If the vitamin is still sitting there, unchanged, then you’re not digesting the things. And if you don’t feel noticeably better in an hour or so after taking your vitamins, they aren’t being absorbed into your bloodstream.  I’ve gotten very good results with vitamins from Nature’s Plus (from my local health food store) and from Melaleuca (direct purchase, membership required).

7. Fresh air and sunshine. You’d think that would be obvious, wouldn’t you? But when we’re even mildly depressed, it’s easy to hole up inside the house in artificially heated or cooled comfort. How long can you wait to turn on the a/c in the summer? Fresh air is so much healthier, so much more invigorating, than air conditioned air.

And you don’t want to court skin cancer by getting a suntan, but you do need a few minutes’ exposure to sunlight every day. Open the curtains and flood your home with natural sunlight. Go out early and walk around the yard – or walk late in the day to destress after work. Take up an outdoor hobby that gets you outdoors, regularly.

8. Writing in a journal can be a good way of recording the changes that are going on inside yourself and serve as a very good catharsis.

To be continued…

 

*Ban Breathnach, Sarah. Simple Abundance. New York: Time Warner, 1995.

Taking Care of Ourselves: Count Your Blessings – Literally!

One of the most effective ways I fought depression during the Dark Days was what I came to call my “Blessings Journal.” I saw a bluebird in the backyard – not a common occurrence at the time – and grabbed a brand new notebook and wrote in it:

Bluebird!

After that, I noted rainbows, wildflowers, a deer grazing by the side of the road, compliments… anything and everything that reminded me that there was still beauty and sweetness in the world.

The listings got a bit more detailed: the way the light filters through the dogwood leaves in the back yard. or The smell of plowed ground when it starts to rain. Each incident, no matter how “ordinary,” served as a reminder that God loves me.

And, by making me more conscious of the beauty surrounding me at every turn, the notebook became a major tool in my personal battle against emotional defeat.

Taking Care of Ourselves – Professional help

Since there are no solid statistics on wives of gays, I can’t assert that all of us battle depression or anxiety disorder, but I bet that very nearly all of us do. The question in my mind is whether we would have done, in other circumstances.

No matter. The action must be the same: first, get professional help. Talk to your M.D. and see whether you need to be on medications for a while to help you get out of the emotional dungeon. Get some professional counseling to help you find your balance and you way back to “normal.”

You might even need help learning to know what “normal” looks like.

No, that advice is not 100% foolproof. You might have a doctor who’s eager to write up prescriptions whether they’re really needed, even when non-prescription therapy might be as effective or more so.  You might have to go through several different meds to find the one that balances you out better than the others – a disheartening and costly process. And finding a good counselor can be like pulling hen’s teeth. I’ve been blessed to have found two very good ones over the years, each of whom I saw on a short-term basis to help me over specific difficulties, but they are exceptional men and women.

You can do it all on your own, as I’ve done most of the time. But a good counselor can help speed up the process. Streamline it. I’ve done a lot of wheel-spinning and self-sabotage over the past 20 years, between my most excellent counselors, going it strictly on my own – but I’m stubborn, that way.

But even with professional help, the onus of responsibility falls on us to take care of ourselves. If you have meds, you have to take them regularly. If you have a counselor, you have to explain and too often defend your values systems. You have to pay attention and work with the counselor – he/she can’t do your work of getting well for you.

We really do have to take care of ourselves, that’s the whole point.

I’ll be sharing in some additional posts some of the helps I’ve found that kept my head above water during the bleak times.