Monday, May 12, 2014

Bringing you the truth! No matter how BAD it hurts... but now, some music!

I was going to post this to my Facebook before going to bed, but somehow I've grown weary of self-indulgent, emo posts on Facebook.  The kind that say, "OMG I'M HURTING BUT I CAN'T TELL YOU WHY SO PLEEEEEEEASE ASK ME!!!!"

So, I thought I'd be self-indulgent here -- mainly, because it's my blog, and secondly, because not many people read it anymore.

But also because my self-indulgence reminded me that I need to get back to writing, and that I've got a direction for what I want to write.

Sometimes I wonder if I am completely, irreversibly screwed up.

THERE.  I SAID IT.  But at least I'll tell you why.

This is sort of a reminder to me (and to you, dear reader) that I need to actually get to writing on this subject.

I read a book recently called An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Redfield Jamison.  She has Bipolar I, and also happens to be one of the most accomplished psychiatrists on the subject.

The book was at once heartbreaking and cathartic for me.  It was a harrowing journey, indeed.  A lot of it resonated with me.

A little over a year ago, after years of treating me for depression and anxiety, I had a little *snap*, as it were, and my MD diagnosed me.

Gotta love it.  Didn't quite know where to put me, so he stuck me in the mood disorder not otherwise specified box.

I like it here DO NOT

Anyhow, he suspected that I was Bipolar II -- sorta like its big brother Bipolar I but a little less intense.  Kinda like that cousin you see once in a blue moon, the one you're mostly comfortable around until he breaks out the BB gun, then you get nervous.

After months of meds that only sorta helped, he gave up and referred me to a psychiatrist.

Not to be confused with a psychologist.  They deal mostly in talk therapy, from which I could greatly benefit.  That reminds me, I should get in touch with Tom, my therapist from the days my marriage was falling apart.  He's a good guy, could really be helpful about now.

As always, I digress.

Psychiatrists deal more in diagnoses and treatment plans, as well as medication management.

After a detailed history of bearing my most disjointed, tired, and beaten yet hopeful heart, he came to the conclusion that I'm not bipolar.

Wanna know what he said?  I sure did.

"I think what we're dealing with, Jason," he said in a reassuring, familar voice -- in spite of the fact I had just met the man two hours prior, he came across like your favorite uncle, genius -- "is a few things."

"I don't think you're bipolar."

My eyes brightened.  Finally a diagnosis -- a roadmap for getting better, for improving my mental health and wellbeing.

  • Chronic episodic major depressive disorder (read, had it for a long time, pops up sporadically or in "episodes", and otherwise is soul crushing, black, despairing depression.  Ding ding, thanks doc, already knew that.)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (Never quite thought about that, and it sounds really simple.  But when you read about it, it's quite debilitating, as it has been for me -- I was at another zenith of a breakdown, living somewhere between severe and severe at the time of my visit.)

The last one really threw me.

Post-divorce traumatic stress syndrome.

Say what?

I can't be surprised, but at the same time it made my head tilt.  Could the echoes and faded tendrils of divorce still be haunting me, affecting me?  Seems to be the case.

More next time, and I'll get into the book I read and how it's helped me.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Most Important Thing

As the journey toward authentic self remains, this morning I had a thought.  I was so pleased at it's profundity and amused at it's clever nature, I posted it to Facebook.

It's a new day.  Remember not to leave yourself at home.

I know.  I amaze even myself sometimes.  No doubt the Pulitzer people will be calling soon.

But until my time is filled with awards, sycophants, book tours, and dubious flirtations with the soul-destroying light of fame, I have my blog :)

And, hopefully, dear reader, I'll always have you.

I digress.  

I've remained tossed to and fro on the stormy, emotional seas of life since the Crash of Jason circa 2010.  I'm closer and farther than ever to finding again, but maybe for the first time, my authentic self.  I can see him on occasion.

It's like catching sight of an old friend in a crowd.  You smile really big at each other, but just as you open your mouths to say hello, the ever moving flotsam of fellow travelers whisks your friend beyond your field of vision.

You make a mental note to reach out to them again, perhaps via e-mail, Facebook, or text -- a note you may or may not remember later as your own journey once again swallows you whole.

It's all-consuming, isn't it?

I've been trying desperately to both find and cling to my authentic self, as it's during the times when I've found him that I feel true peace and contentment.

Then a maelstrom of  thoughts and emotions roil through my mind, such things as
Are you addicted to feelings of peace and contentment, you pathetic addict?
Are you an addict?  Am I?
Damn Jason, your internal monologue is quite negative.  You should fix that.
Says you.

You understand.  Don't pretend you don't.

Yet, I do think happiness, beyond feeling, well, happy, is something good, something to perhaps look for and aspire to living every day.  If you feel happy and at your best, not only will the physiological effects bolster you, but the emotional and spiritual effects will put you in a position to really do some good, be it at work, in your relationships, or in your personal life.

Though I think balance would be even more important in that pursuit.

So, about this morning's clever epiphany...

Mornings are difficult for me.  I'd prefer to spend them sleeping, and if I have to be up, I prefer to spend them in quiet reflection, maybe doing some reading or enjoying the sunrise.  When I have to get up, be it for work or some other have to activity, it's a bit more difficult.  I sleep as long as possible, then I'm up in a whirl, showering, prepping for the day, and stealing myself psychologically and emotionally.

One day, I'll write about all the weird, metaphysical shit I've heard about what's actually happening in the morning, but today is not that day.

I had my clever epiphany, then I imagined that my true "self" was some kind of precious object that I was carrying around in a box.  The kind of box I imagined was kind of like a classic birthday gift box -- roughly squarish but sorta rectangular, requiring both hands to properly carry, adorned in bright colors with a thick, bright bow.  

Your mileage may vary.  And may say quite a bit about you.  But I'm no psychotherapist.  You cardboard box toting granola.

See, I tend to think of my "self" as a conglomeration of my body (all the physiological processes that carry out the ineffable human experience), my mind (which thinks, judges, and gives logical advice), my heart or gut (which feels, intuits, and generally makes my life either a living hell or blissful nirvana), and my soul (the underpaid liaison between my head and my heart).  

But for the purpose of this illustration, my true, authentic "self", the one thing that was truly unique, precious, and most important of the expression that is currently Jason Arlie, was this precious thing I had in the birthday box. 

And I knew that as long as I carried that box with me wherever I went today, I would be okay.  I would feel okay.  I would be at peace, feel balanced, and life would be good.

I could keep it safe, but not be selfish with it.  I could share it, but not squander it.  When necessary, I could keep it in the box and out of sight, but I could also open the box and let it shine.

I'm not sure about ownership.  It is me, but it isn't me.  It belongs to me, but it belongs to everybody.  The ineffable, universal One.  We are One, but We are not the Same.

It worked, by the way.

So, to come full circle, remember the next time you wake up that you have your precious awesomeness in a box of your choosing.  Hold it close to you -- keep it secret, keep it safe! -- protect it, but remember to share it, let it shine.  Listen to it, nourish and nurture it, and it will do wonders for you.  As well as, perhaps, bring a bit of light and precious healing to others.

You should never leave home without it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Can you tell me that everything is cool, that it's gonna be okay? Because, to tell ya the truth, I'm just not sure anymore.

I'm gonna be thirty in a few weeks, and my life - what it was, what I thought it would be - completely fell apart in my 20's. I'm having to rebuild in a big way, but I feel so completely behind now that I am completely overwhelmed.

I've recently realized what a big role I played in the destruction of my life, which may sound kinda silly. But I did, and I'm not a big fan of myself as a result.

And I'm not a big fan of not being a big fan of myself. I wanna stop that, but I don't know how. I'm in survival mode - doing what I have to do versus what I want to do. But I'm not even sure of what I want anymore, or if that even matters.

But I do want to be happy. More, I want to be at peace. With myself, with my life, with you, and everybody else.

What do you think?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Journey to the Authentic Self

Perhaps the most harrowing journey of all.

It's been a couple years since my last post.  A lot in my life has changed.  Here are some things brewing in me that I wanted to write about, to share with you...

  • My journey through functional medicine and how it identified the causes of my fibromyalgia, the subsequent (grueling) treatment, and the cure (yes, cure)
  • The fallout of my divorce in my life and the lives of others, how I've realized and accepted my own role in it (where before I only mentally recognized it), and what happens next (beats me?)
  • What happens next?  With a blank slate and a fledgling identity, the struggle to find my authentic self again and defeat my own demons rages on

Perhaps, most of all, I've realized how much a tinge of fear has driven me in my life.  It's something I still struggle with, especially seeing the effects of it in my life the last few years.

I used to share my soul via writing to a public audience so easily.  The words are still there -- the longing still exists.  But there is fear -- fear of being exposed as an impostor, not worthy, not good enough.

There is a difference between "I am a failure" and "I have failed."  On days like today, that line, for me, is blurred and fuzzy.

I hope that by simply telling you I'm afraid that I can expose the fear itself, rob it of it's power, and perhaps find strength among this community of people to banish it once and for all.  Or a way to keep going, keep plodding, keep landing one foot in front of the other.  For answers, for peace, for happiness.

What do you think?

Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What Divorce Feels Like

Following in the same vein of the last post, and expounding a bit more on my failed marriage, I give you Divorce, and What It Feels Like.

What Fibromyalgia Feels Like

Sorry I've been away.  This year has been a rollercoaster for me -- adjusting to a new, chronic diagnosis, my marriage falling apart (divorce will be final in November), having to move twice -- I'm a mess.  But I came up with a little something that might help you understand Fibromyalgia a bit better than words.  I'll get to the words later, but for now, I give you a novel in pictures.

Sorry, I couldn't figure a way to collapse them into a thumbnail gallery.  It may be as simple as getting a Picasa or Tumblr and linking from there, but as most every post relates to FMS on this page, I just don't have the energy or will to do that right now.

Let me know what you think.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Hilarious irony

I was going to do a Fibromyalgia Awareness education poster for work, but my fibro has kept me from being able to complete it.  Ha!

(It's also the reason why I've been absent via blog.  Well, if you can't laugh at yourself...)