Inside my head

Inside my head I’m hearing a debate. Normally I’m quite a private individual ( some might say unfeeling) but because of a blog I read I felt maybe I should share for once. The blog I read is by the wonderful Paula Acton http://paulaacton.com/2013/05/02/r-i-p-laverne/#comment-4578   @Paula-Acton who posted about her friend Laverne (who was previously Robert) who took her own life this week after awful comments from others and as a result of being shunned by some. People can be very cruel.

I felt it time to admit that I have battled much of my life against this feeling. Maybe it’s why I am prepared to jump on any bandwagon against bullying knowing what the end result can be, especially with the young but also with people as vulnerable as Laverne who needed so much support and was refused it in some quarters by those who felt she was wrong and weren’t afraid to express it. People who have obviously learned to love their own voices more than the old adage , If you can’t say something nice, say nothing.

I saw a psychiatrist on Tuesday because I’m not handling the death of my beloved Julia very well. I don’t seem to have been able to mourn her properly yet. Maybe it’s because I’ve had so many people around me showing great support and being private I’ve had to hold myself together for their sake or maybe it’s because I’m somehow refusing to come to terms with the reality of it. I have to say it’s less likely to be the latter since I’ve had some very dark thoughts since Julia’s death. There may be many reasons I haven’t acted upon those thoughts so far. Amongst them may be the fact my daughter is pregnant or maybe it’s the residual effects of a promise Julia extracted from me some time ago to fight these thoughts as much as possible, reiterated before she left me for the sake of the baby to come.

I’ve never been the best sleeper in the World. I’m blaming my brother for this as he can go to bed at midnight and happily stay there till noon next day. He’s pinching my share so I’m left to sleep four maybe 5 hours a night. Recently even that has been cut and last night was just over two and a half hours. When you’re up at four in the morning the dark thoughts are less easy to fight and if there’s no-one to share them with you’re less inclined to fight. Poor Laverne had so much negativity thrown at her she didn’t stand much of a chance in such a major fight. Knowing that will not give her detractors much pause I don’t suppose and probably no feeling of guilt. Some will have been from the Christian community who felt she had defied some biblical law or other, the same people who write such terrible things about gay people being abominations. Some will just have been from those who attack others for the feeling of power it gives them. Some from the other religions who feel Allah or some other deity is offended by the presence of someone different and who can’t face a challenge that asks for understanding. I’m prepared for the fact that maybe I’ll have suggestions from all those same people which won’t be designed to bolster my self image in the early hours.

I’m very fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive family who understand that the chemicals in my brain are not making personal statements about them when I think about death and when I feel I want to join Julia rather than remain behind. I can even rationalise some of these feelings sometimes and that helps me fight them but sometimes they overwhelm me. I have the knowledge of my support that has recently stopped me doing what Laverne did. I’m not sure I would have managed so well had I faced what she did, and it may have tipped the balance. For now I’m going to try some sleeping tablets to give me some rest and keep me away from  the dark hours in the night. It’s too late for Laverne.

If you know someone or hear of someone who has suffered a crisis of identity like Laverne did or who suffers from an illness that leads them to have low self esteem or other issues that lead to suicidal thoughts, I’d beg you to remember. Either say something nice, something supportive and positive, or say nothing. For those of you who believe in a God, consider that you’ll suffer if your comments have been the negative or nasty ones that tipped the balance and cost someone their life for I’m guessing your conscience won’t bother you. For those who don’t believe in God, believe this, somewhere, somehow, karma will get you and pay you back. It’s too short a life to be nasty, try being nice.

 

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42 Comments

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42 responses to “Inside my head

  1. David, this is a sad but necessary topic to address. I believe all people, especially sensitive ones, may be prone to depression. I’m so frightened to learn of your negative thoughts, and I understand you are feeling overwhelmed by Julia’s loss. But your wife was right. Your daughter, son-in-law and future grandchild need you here. Who else to teach the little one all the important things in life and about a dear grandmother who has already passed. We all have our time, and I believe it shouldn’t be up to us to end it before then. I didn’t always feel that way, but have grown to that understanding through the years. I feel for people like Laverne, who have so many against them, just for trying to be who they are. I worry, too, about my child, who is bright yet impacted severely by his autism. People can be so cruel, and sadly those can be the very same people who proclaim to be Christians. I often say to my son, “God doesn’t make mistakes.” He didn’t make a mistake with my child, Laverne, or you, David. God bless you all, and have mercy on those who try to convince them otherwise. We are here for you, and we understand you need time to grieve. No need to show us the stiff upper lip, you know. (((hugs)))

    • Huge Hugs back to you Jolyse along with thanks for your understanding. I’m sure your son must bring you great joy and for that alone he couldn’t be a mistake. He’s also fortunate in his mother which is no doubt why he chose to come to you. xxxx

  2. David, those who behave badly toward another miss the true nature of God, whose love is infinite in spite of anyone’s lifestyle choice or belief system. As a Christian, I am called to love others–all others. Not just those who agree with me. Not just those who treat me well. Not just those who call on the same God I serve. ALL people. ALL. That’s not a limiting statement, is it? It doesn’t give me the right to be cruel to anyone. EVER.

    Oh, there are folk who make me mad. Politicians I’d like to un-elect. Murderers I’d prefer to hate. And I struggle with this. I’m far from perfect. So, do I always act in perfect accordance with the teachings of this God who loves? No. Do I always even act as kindly as my beloved, unbelieving mother? No. But I’m trying. That’s all any of us can do.

    I weep for Laverne and for anyone else who has suffered rejection. May we each — but especially those who supposedly follow the One who loves us all — take heed of our own accountability. And our own imperfections.

    I also stand with you in your grief, David. I understand that sometimes it feels harder to go on that to let it end. But Yvonne and that baby need you. And you know what? I need you. Your other readers and friends need you. You’ve been blessing me since I first read your notes and then your books. I’m glad you’re writing it out. Keep doing so. And remember that someone else is awake in those night hours, though I hope you’ll soon find yourself able to sleep a little better. To rejoice at the small things. And to find a semblance of peace.

    Your friend,
    Normandie

    • As ever Normandie you’re an angel. You show the way to those who do little else but snipe at others and teach them that we all have a place and are deserving of love, though I struggle too with those who kill and with some politicians ( just those who open their mouths).
      Thank you for so much support and for making it clear there are people who give us reasons to go on.
      Love and Huge Hugs xxxx

  3. David,
    I certainly know exactly what you mean about the dark hours of the night. I have found that it helps to become almost a total night owl. I tend to be one anyway, but for me, it is easier to stay up through the night, especially when I’m editing, because it is quiet and zen-like, and I can really focus on my work. Then, when it’s just about sunrise and I can hear the lovely dawn chorus of birds singing, I drift off to sleep to their sweet music and wake up at around noon. It helps to have curtains or some other kind of window covering that blocks out almost all the light.

    I still get plenty of daylight and sunshine when I wake up at noon because I’m here in Florida, but I would probably follow this schedule no matter where I lived.

    This is a simple, practical solution that really helps me a lot because the nights are hard in general.

    On another note, maybe you’ve struggled with grieving Julia’s death because now that she’s gone, your mind has a greater opportunity to contemplate the underlying thoughts behind this sentence early on in your post: “I felt it time to admit that I have battled much of my life against this feeling.” I wonder if by “this feeling” you might be alluding to more than the tendency toward depression and suicide. What I’m trying to say is that sometimes a person struggles with those dark thoughts because there is an aspect of themselves that they aren’t being honest with or facing full on, and now you have the change to be completely true to yourself, and that can be scary.

    If this helps, please know that’s my only intent. If what I’ve written makes no sense, please forgive me and disregard it.

    Hugs, Janet 🙂

    • I’ve never known you not make sense yet Janet and today is no different. At one time they’d say I suffered from manic depression but they have to keep changing the names so that even I don’t know what it is any more.
      Suffice it to say that I have known great love but it’s never been enough to overcome totally the wish to not be here any more, to not see the terrible things we’re capable of doing to each other. People expect you to be mad to admit this but in fact my brain works very well to rationalise things but perhaps it magnifies or dwells on the cruelties others might take for granted. The dark hours are so quiet that sometimes I get to think too much hence spending as much time as possible on the computer.
      Well, life would be boring if we were all the same.If there’s anything I need to face about myself I’m ready for it.but all I get is sadness.
      Sending you Hugs xxxx

  4. It is so good to share this. I’ve been at that place a few times where I wonder why I am bothering to hold on. Really, the only thing that keeps me going is curiosity and sometimes there I reach the I don’t care point. Not wanting to leave my one daughter and her kids is why I am still here. My other daughter is the other side of that coin. I have been on meds and every different kind of doc for at least forty years. I just notice now that snowflakes are prettier and I get a bigger thrill when the deer run through my meadow or munch in my yard. (leaving huge ticks for my dog.) get sleep. First priority. My husband can fall asleep mid sentence so I know how you feel about your brother. And use your feelings. Journal if you don’t want to hang it all out here. I know you miss your Julia but you will be an adorable grampa. Hugs.

    • You’re wonderful Virginia. Not many people would show support by admitting they’ve been there, done that and bought the tee-shirt. It’s there. it exists but it’s not easy to explain and give reasons to. That you can enjoy the snowflake shows it can be overcome sometimes. In your case I’m certainly glad it was and I’m sure your one daughter and the kids feel the same way. ( I share the same feeling with another daughter being the other side of a coin).
      Thanks for the kind words.
      Huge Hugs xxxx

  5. As shocking as this post was, David, it left me feeling some hope. Hope that you are talking about the problems you face. Hope that you are seeking professional help. And hope that you are tackling the lack of sleep. But the thing that gives me the most hope is your ability to step outside yourself and champion someone else. That generosity of spirit is what makes you who you are. Don’t you dare give up. You still have work to do. – massive hugs-

    • Thank you Andrea. Championing someone else is easy because very often their cause is easy to explain.Few would take the time to try and understand my feelings because they’re not easy to put into words. I have to say that you’re one of those special people who’ve helped me hold it together. Some of your causes have become mine because we share an outrage as I’m sure the story of Laverne would hurt you, but you’ve been good enough to encourage me to share Julia’s story as a way of recognising some of my own emotions. You’re a great friend and I thank you.
      Hugs galore. xxxx

  6. Although I am sorry to hear that you are struggling with your feelings I am very glad that you are sharing them with us. Keeping negative feelings quietly bottled up inside just seems to magnify them, doesn’t it? At 4am nothing seems easy to deal with.

    I have a friend who in recent years has been through the same change as Laverne. She has nothing but my admiration for making her way through such a minefield of prejudice and cruelty, I am not sure I could walk the same path so well. I was horrified to hear of the way she was treated by people who I thought would have better attitudes to someone who they percieved as different. I don’t understand how people can be so horrible to others. If you don’t like someone’s choices there is no need to treat people so badly to try and force them to your way of thinking. As you said, karma will get you in the end.

    I am sure you can tell from the lovely comments above (and I’m sure the many that will follow) we all just want you to know that we are all here for you. If you aren’t here to share tales of your future career as a grandchild-spoiler we will be VERY displeased.
    Extra hugs for you.

    • You’re very kind Metan and I’m sure your friend must be over the moon to know she has you on her side just as I am.It appears there’s very little sympathy out there for those people perceive as different and yet it’s not true as there are obviously people who are willing to accept those differences. It’s the loud ones who cause he pain.,I’m lucky that my difference doesn’t show and can be kept very quiet unless I want to share it. People like Laverne often struggle for years before doing something about their problem and the moment they do it can’t be hidden any longer opening them up to ridicule and hate. Unless there are folk like you who offer such great support and can counter the nasties ( how close that sounds to Nazis and how appropriate).
      I’m as grateful as your other friend that you’re in my corner.
      Hugs Galore. xxxx

  7. Oh David I know just where you are. While I never contemplated ending my own life I went through many nights of misery after the death of my beloved. And I really didn’t grieve until 2 years after his death when I quite literally “hit the wall”. People who haven’t been there find it hard to understand.
    But I would encourage you, as others have, to lean upon your family and friends and take any support offered. This may help to get you through the days and hopefully some of the endless nights. Fortunately, I am of the lucky few who turn out the light and sleep soundly for the next 8 hours but it was not so when Robert died. I know the ghosts and gremlins that inhabit those hours. I see that one of your correspondents suggest you use those dark hours to write – that is a good suggestion as I know. I used to get up and sit at the computer during the dark quite hours.
    You will be a great grandfather and that little person will blossom under your care and in hearing the many and varied and lovely tales you with tell him/her of her grandmother. I talked much of Robert to my grandchildren of how he would have loved to see them excel at school and sports and how he would have taught them to fish anywhere and anytime.
    For now be very sure that you are supported both physically by friends and family and by those of us in blogosphere far away but very close.
    Hugs and more hugs dear friend.

    • Dear Judith, how you unintentionally ( I hope) just gave me a laugh suggesting I’d be a great grandfather rather than a good grandfather or something similar. I was wondering just how old you think I am? Sorry, my mind works in some strange ways. I try always when I’m approaching tiredness to turn the computer off and have a short read before sleep, as soon as I wake and know I can’t drift off again I’m back on the computer. Even though I try to answer messages, add comments to blogs etc the dark thoughts still creep in. In one way or another I’m attempting to write but still can’t find the words or inspiration to get back to writing proper.My fourth book is in the pad that sits handy waiting for the moment I’m ready. I’ve seen very well over these last months just how much support my friends offer and it’s given me hope and kept me going yet I know the thoughts can still overwhelm. That’s the time I need to talk and will have to search out people who are live online at that time.
      Thanks so much for your kindness.
      Huge Hugs xxxx

      • After I typed “great” before grandfather I reconsidered and typed “good” but then reverted to great. So I hope this caused a chuckle even if it was unintentional on my part. Hugs

  8. David, I’ve met you only online through Metan and acflory, and I cannot even begin to understand what you’re feeling having been through none of it… but I risk offering this. As a small child I lost my mother & carer grandparents. There’s a point at which recovering from the loss stops, and 40 years later even, it exists. I have one parent left, my Dad who is 70, incredibly as he has been so hard on himself through life. He’d be the one who could empathise with you. I’m so happy he’s still with me, even though he can be bloody annoying. In that I’m told, we’re much a like. Although it won’t be by my doing my greatest wish is to see him become a grandfather, because then someone else will have the same opportunity to love and be loved by their Pa, as I did. All the best, EllaDee

    • Ha, no doubt I’m considered just as bloody annoying as you consider your dad. I’m sorry you went through so much loss as a small child. That must have been so hard. At least I was a young-ish adult before life’s losses started to hit me. I’m so glad your dad has been constantly there since then. I empathise with him and I’m sure he would with me though his loss may have been felt more keenly having come to a young wife. I hope your wish for him to become a grandfather comes true, a shame it won’t be through you as you’re obviously a caring person.
      Thanks for the understanding and the laugh.
      Huge Hugs xxxx

  9. Lady Ju was the tree and you were the squirrel who ran around it. She was your foundation, support and balance. Now the tree is gone with just an empty hole to show where it once stood. And you, the squirrel who loved its’ tree, is left not only with a hole in the ground but a hole in your heart. That hole is bleeding, and it will take a long time and lots of patience for the scar to form. These are rough days, days that you couldn’t even contemplate in your posts while Lady Ju was dying.
    I understand depression. I started with bipolar disorder when I was 12, then fibromyalgia 2 years later. Life is often a drag. As a friend of mine says: Life sucks, then you die. Short pithy truth to that statement. You have every reason to feel despair right now. But if you have an underlying disorder like bipolar (periods of intense sadness that swing up into periods of insomnia/irritation/extreme activity) then you really are in danger, as persons with mood disorders experience moods to an exaggerated degree. I am glad that you are getting help, but therapy may need to be supplemented with medication. Tell your therapist that you are feeling too sad to keep on. They will be able to help you. Right now the goal is to keep breathing. Remember the day is the darkest before the dawn. You know the catharsis of writing. Here is a poem on catharsis for you called
    “Catharsis Fibonacci”:

    Vile

    Dart

    Piercing

    Hindsight Thoughts

    Bring Anguish and Grief

    Remove this Vile Thing from my brain

    Memories flow out with arterial bleeding

    Flushed out with unconstipated relief, as catharsis regains hold on reality

    Hold on and don’t let it crush you. You are a unique soul and I will miss your quirky humor, your honesty, your kindness. You now ARE Lady Ju’s memory. Don’t let that honor go to waste.
    Hugs and tears,
    Lori

    • Hi Lori, yes, that which would once have been called manic depression now has a new name of bi-polar and I too have shared it from quite a young age. when people at last understood I wasn’t just a miserable sod. I rattle with medication for that, diabetes, COPD and unstable angina. I’d imagine people would understand why it’s difficult to go on at times. Yet we’re not mad and have brains that function well in the normal way. Just a small chemical imbalance threatens to overwhelm us sometimes. I’m lucky that my psych is the most understanding of men.
      Thanks so much for the poem which says things so eloquently. I try always to hold on for Ju and keep her memory alive.
      Massive Hugs to you. xxxx

  10. Thankyou so much. last night I turned the computer off after learning about Laverne I was just not in a place to discuss anything I too have been in the darkness in the early hours and like you it was knowing the pain it would cause those closest to me which stopped me, I do not want to think about those final moments Laverne felt deciding this was her final solution, this morning though tears are rolling down my cheek I have a smile on my face on her behalf as I know she would have been amazed at the support she would have found here, after years of not fitting in it had shocked her in the cyber world so many of us happily accepted her change it was as it so often is the ones closest to her that could not accept the changes, though her children had fully accepted it to a point and I am sure would have fully adjusted if they had had time, The only comfort I can take is in my own beliefs and knowing that Laverne is now at peace and will finally know true acceptance, your friendship is very precious and in the darkest of hours remember you are never alone with the press of a button you have a world full of friends waiting I just wish Laverne had realised that xxxxx

    • I know Laverne must have treasured you and the support you gave her Paula, as do I. It’s a real shame that the negativity can sometimes tip the balance an cause a fatal reaction. If everybody just reacted to these problems with understanding, maybe we wouldn’t lose so many people who’re sadly missed.
      Thank you for your beautiful words and for your kindness.
      Huge Hugs..

  11. Dear David… I love to read what you write… sometimes you make me cry, sometimes you make me smile and through you I have had the pleasure of getting to know Ju. Your soon-to-arrive grandchild will need all those things from you too. Much love xxxx

    • Thank you so much. That’s a wonderful ego rub. I didn’t realise until recently that my writing affected anyone other than giving them the odd smile. All being well my grandson will see and hear the things you attribute to me, and mainly he’ll have all my friends like you to thank for it.
      I send Huge Hugs xxxx

  12. Dear David,

    I completely agree with you about the too-often mindless cruelty of people. I’ve always felt it’s a phenomenon similar to sharks scenting blood in the water. I’m sorry that Laverne had no one to lift her up or even give her a hand. You final paragraph to those judgmental, thoughtless individuals are spot on.

    I’m sure you’ve heard grief compared to the ocean. For me, it has always seemed like the best way of explaining those feelings, because at times during the grieving process I felt as though I’d been dropped in the middle of a vast, dark ocean with no sign of shore. The shore is there. It’s just sometimes difficult to see it while treading water, most especially when you’re treading that water in the early hours of the morning on very little sleep. I’m glad that you have a supportive family. That is so necessary. And I hope the sleeping tablets help you get some much needed healing rest. Take care. xoxo

  13. Hi David, Carl and Storm here. Sorry to read that you are feeling low, this is a difficult time but time is a great healer! Plenty of fresh air will help lift your spirits! I am pleased to tell you that i have collected the plaque. It will be put up in the indoor school shortly and i think it is just beautiful! I will ring you when it’s up and you and the family can come and see it. Keep well, Carl and Storm xxxxxxxxxxx

    • My thanks to you both. This is a wonderful way to remember Julia and her love of horses and wanting others to share the same love. You know she especially enjoyed coming to see you. The raffle at Temptations is due to end this month and since I’ve had no joy at getting funds from Airbus for a scissor lift I hope the fund from the raffle will help. Yvonne and I very much look forward to seeing the plaque and thanking you in person. Hugs

  14. David, I started writing a comment here many times, and then deleted it all because I wasn’t sure what to say… But having lost a brother to suicide, I guess all I can say is that you have to think of Yvonne, you grandson-to-come and all your family every time this poisonous thoughts come to your mind.
    Because they would never understand. It’s an egoistical feeling, actually, but they need you, they love and want you here, no matter how. The guilt is a never ending feeling for the ones who remain after that… o you must not give up. But I know you are trying hard, and is doing the right thing going to a therapist and talking to us. What you’re going through right now is something that only you can endure and understand, and it may take a while. But please, keep talking to us whenever you need. Anytime.

    I really mean it. I consider you a dear friend, and would love to have you, even if from a distance, for many, many years. Because you’re the kind of guy that even in a dark, deep sad time like now, think of others first and try to help. As you know, I also suffered bullying in my school years, and can totally understand and support your words.

    Gigantic hugs from Brazil,
    Renata

    • Thank you so much Renata. I’m actually amazed that so many people have been so understanding rather than accuse me of selfishness which I’ve often heard before. Few people seem to understand that the thoughts aren’t optional, and that when they come it’s very easy to believe you’re doing the world, and those you love, a big favour.
      Your words are kind and all I can say is I value your friendship and I return Huge Hugs to you from Wales. xxxxxxxx

      • Oh, and when I say ‘egoistical feeling’ I don’t mean yours, of course. I mean that when we love someone, we want this person around, alive, no matter how, and that’s kind of selfish, if we really think about it…

        Hugs!

      • I freely confess to that feeling of selfishness. I’d be in a bit of a mess if I didn’t have some family and friends around to keep me going. I need you all around. xx Hugs xx

  15. David, you have made the most valid observation about the indescribably profound consequences of hearing ill-will spoken against one. I know this to be true. The hurt to one’s psyche is so often the hardest to mend.
    The most important behaviours in life are acts of kindness.
    Please consider the power within yourself to help others, and through this, find the strength and courage to continue.

    • Thanks so much Margaret. I try to help others and with Ju’s help have done a lot of good. I’m trying hard to convince myself that it’s my job to carry on doing so even if alone. My daughter and grandson- to- be are powerful aids in reminding me my usefulness is not over.
      I send Hugs xxxx

  16. Just to say… thinking of you always David and sending lots of positive, healing energy to help with the grieving process.
    I too have been in that deep dark place but thankfully my thinking was too disorganised for me to work out how to progress.
    Big hugs flying your way… Catherine

  17. Thanks so much for your thoughts Catherine and also for the healing energy. I’m sorry this is a process you’ve already experienced as it’s a bitter one but I have hope that time helps despite the fact I won’t forget her.
    I send you grateful Super Hugs for your Sunday. xxxxxxxx

  18. My thoughts are with your ight now, David and I do hope you find the courage to vanquish those dark night demons. My daughter’s partner of 13 years took his own life in January, leaving her to bring up my four~year~old twin grandsons alone and grieving. He had been ‘cured’ from cancer but the after~effects were too much for him to cope with and he could see no way forward. His death has been utterly devastating ~ rippling out in so many unexpected ways. Please seek all the professional help you can to help you come to terms with your dreadful loss. Jacqueline x

    • I’m so sorry for your daughter’s and he family’s loss Jacqueline. The poor man must have been in a terrible state to leave a wife and young children behind. His family must be devastated.
      I’m lucky to have been given professional help to come to terms with my loss but it seems the best advice is ‘Give it time’ and take sleeping pills.
      However the dark days aren’t too frequent at the moment so I’m doing OK.
      Thanks so much for caring. I always said I had good taste in friends.

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