Friday, December 20, 2019

"You sound desperate"

This has been a very challenging week for me.  I have had every possible panic button pushed this week. Fortunately I have maintained my integrity and haven't created any messes to clean up or hurt anyone's feelings...as far as I know. But my anxiety has been through the roof. Thursday I had my weekly massage and she barely touched me and suddenly I couldn't stop myself from crying. Simply being touched by another human being felt so soothing and powerful. Just being in the presence of another person is so rare for me now, let alone being touched. And rarely anyone to talk to ever, about anything. I am able to be around people by going to a mall or coffee shop.

I am not looking forward to the next couple weeks. Since I'm not yet functional enough to work I've filled as much time as possible with recovery activities available to veterans. During the holidays VA staff, like most people, have holiday activities with friends and family. So the holidays are voids of time for me to find a way to fill.

My circumstances are crazy.  All of all my closest buddies are gone, I have very little family, no wife, no girlfriend, my career is over.  My carer end was a shock, I never planned to retire. I loved what I was doing.  My career consumed most of my energy in the past and WAS my hobby as well.  Due to divorces my family has holiday obligations with other family, not just me. 

The places I typically go just to get out of the house have shorter hours on holidays too. So like it or not, I'll be isolated in solitary confinement for most of the next two weeks.....24/7. It sucks.

It's beyond my current comprehension to understand why isolation and loneliness have been such a prominent presence my whole life. My cross to bear if you will.  I have lots of virtual friends and acquaintances, you know Facebook. Rarely, if ever do I see, or even meet any virtual friends. I keep Facebook because I hope it helps me meet or see people in real life. It's really not doing that very much. Everyone is busy. No one has time except me. All I have is time. A large empty void to fill as I simply wait. I keep putting one foot in front of the other, working on getting healthier and stronger, and wait.  I stare at myself in the mirror and see nothing but isolation, sadness, and loneliness. 

My dilemma reminds me of being a young business man. It was so interesting to me how banking worked back then. A business couldn't actually borrow money until the business was successful enough that it didn't need to borrow money. Or starting out in a career and unable to get a job without having experience which was unattainable without a job.

People say I sound desperate. Lol. No shit?  Like I don't know that? Then it's something to the effect of you're not healthy enough for me because you should heal first. Okay, well, rebuilding my life, reconnecting with people, trying to make new friends IS me trying to heal. I'm trying to connect with you because I want to heal and have friends, and a girlfriend. I'm trying to escape my isolation and loneliness. I'm trying new things all the time.

I have literally existed my whole life isolated and alone. Most of it in loveless marriages with emotionally unavailable women. I recently learned from where this pattern began in my childhood. Even now I interact with women I know are unavailable and I rarely, if ever, see them. I hope someday perhaps they'll get over whatever it is and decide to become available to me.

I have met numerous women online and tried to grow a relationship with a couple of them. But I have honestly not met a single woman (with matching chemistry) who is actually "available" emotionally. Every woman I've met has been so hurt and so damaged by life they've given up on love and are bitter, hurtful, and selfish. I honestly don't understand why they're trying dating. My feelings have been hurt by several of these women now so I am beginning to notice some warning signals much quicker. One immediate warning sign is lack of willingness to be flexible scheduling when and how we meet. Another warning sign is when they start looking for excuses NOT to meet. The world, for sure, is a very shitty place if we focus our energy on fear. We create that which we fear. I try to create positive energy with hope and anticipation of meeting an awesome person I'm being drawn to.

I'm diligently focused on living peacefully in the moment. I'm creating a life filled with calm, peace, love, laughter, and play. I'm doing this with diet, Yoga, exploring different meditation practices. I'm using everything I've learned in my life to make this last stage something joyful.

You'd think it would be easy at my age to find a woman. I can assure you that could not be further from the truth.  I'm not sure if I've ever in my life met a loving, caring, compassionate and unselfish woman. I'm looking for one now. Yes, of course I'm desperate. I'm desperate for human interaction.  I'm a human being. That's the appropriate feeling for someone in my situation.  I'm honestly in a desperate situation so I'm feeling desperate.

If that's a deal breaker then what I hear is you don't want to feel needed.  You don't want to be expected to give....only to take, right?  In my view, a person of compassion would view my situation as an opportunity.  An opportunity to show someone affection, caring, and kindness in a desperate time of need.  An opportunity to help a guy get back up who got knocked down.

My whole life has been in service to others. I always found the best solution to depression is to get outside myself and focus on serving others.  It's been quite disheartening to me to feel so forgotten by those I thought of as friends during my career.  Other than my daughter and her family, my presence seems to be of little or no value to anyone.... unless of course they want money.

This entry is depressing. It's because I'm depressed because my reality sucks and is very depressing. I remember hearing a saying that the best predictor of the future is the past. I've learned in the past months through my PTSD counseling that I've actually been isolated and alone for over 50 years. I keep praying for God to send me a partner. It appears I may need to reconcile myself to simply accept life on life's terms. I'm alone and that's unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

I think I might quit trying to find a girlfriend.  It's a waste of time, money, and just seems to build false hope. I guess I'm going to join that pool of fish with a perpetual online personal ad hoping to be caught. I'm done chasing. It's simply futile and fruitless.

(Update: The next day. I finally broke down and took .5mg Ativan and slept about 11 hours. Today I'm not so negative. I'm looking forward to a nice day....but a little bummed to be spending Saturday alone. Jill and I will go for a walk and fire up the patio heater. I'm beginning to be able to focus enough to read again....yay. Attitude of Gratitude!)






Monday, December 16, 2019

Heartbreak

Today I was stabbed in the heart by a man I thought was a true friend. A wolf in sheeps clothing. I'm very hurt.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Future

Ahhh, the future. Untold possibilities for happiness and joy, or I pray not, more pain, struggling and suffering.  When I first decided my illness wasn't going to take me without a fight I was unprepared for the challenges ahead. Especially Kim leaving me. Knock me over with a feather... I was really stunned. Of course, that's mostly in the past. We still don't have a property settlement to get the damn divorce finalized. I'm going to fight all out legally if this isn't resolved by the end of the year. I'm ready to throw that anchor overboard.....way....way more than ready. For God's sake I've already had two failed relationships since she left. lol Confirmation she was right to leave right? lol

I am starting to understand a little about the road in front of me. Women at this age are much, much different than younger women. They have scars emotional, spiritual, and physical. As a teen if a girl felt chemistry with me it was a whole different beast than today. It was like there were no fears or boundaries then. All they knew was a nice cute boy liked them and they seemed so excited to be with me whenever I wanted to.  They would bend over backwards and cancel anything to be with me. Now days it's like, "no not now, because ya know...whatever reason"  I'm like, "Oh I get it that makes perfect sense to me. Okay, we'll catch up later"  (my honest thoughts.... there likely won't be a later because I feel disrespected and you don't have regard for my feelings).

I'm not going to list the lying excuses I've heard. I know when I hear it but I most typically just play dumb. Why go through the drama of some silly game right? I did actually come down hard on a woman who I really, really liked because I didn't feel she was being considerate of my feelings. It blew up.... just like most bad relationships do. So I thought, well God's trying to tell me this is the wrong woman. So I experienced a couple difficult days. Then she texted me that she made a mistake. I'm not going into details except to say her absolutely perfect attempt to make amends blew my mind. Her grasp of the complexity of the situation and her genuine personal response touched my heart. So much so that I decided to try to create a permanent life partner relationship with her. Unfortunately, she turned out to be unavailable.

After the conflict she blew my mind when she said I was kind throughout the entire disagreement. 😳 Wow, I'm getting better for sure. Though I'm grateful to God for my challenges and opportunities to learn and grow, for now God please allow me to heal a bit more first. Perhaps the reason I'm currently so isolated and alone is God knows I'm not yet well enough to spend too much time around others without being an asshole.

I have no desire or intention to return to counseling. I'm beginning to get strong enough to see light at the end of the tunnel. I'm almost strong enough for the next chapter. I'll be making a comeback before you know it. Stay tuned.


Monday, December 2, 2019

The "Oh Shit" Moment

Dating at any age is difficult for sure. Online dating is a whole new beast.  I'm finding interesting complications and unexpected twists. Of course I'm still not recovered 100% and at times, when I'm upset, I'm not sure my thinking is clear so I just freeze. Look at this post as a confused old man processing and trying to figure out my own shit. Probably what I have to say here is 50/50 valid and the rest my own bull shit I haven't figured out yet.  I'm not trying to bullshit. That's for sure. But you know sometimes when we're bullshitting ourselves we don't know it because...well...we're bullshitting ourselves. I guess I'm writing this perhaps to help myself make sense of some of this nonsense.

Everyone enters into the universe of online dating with their own personal view of the world. Each with their own long and painful history of hurt, and the resulting fears of being hurt again. At my age there's a very, very long history of hurts and resulting fears. A boat load.  I call them "my buttons" and "her buttons". When one of these buttons gets hit..we have the BAM PUNCH IN THE GUT "oh shit" moment. It's the first warning sign....lights flashing.....tension....FEAR!!!

I have a couple of major deal breaker buttons. I know I have them. I know why I have them. I know where they came from. And I know they're deal breakers. So much so that I (most likely) will no longer put significant effort to negotiate sustaining the relationship. I simply lose respect for the woman if she pushes one of these buttons.  I've learned these buttons being pushed are most likely early warning signals from God...."wrong woman dumbass".

On the other hand, perhaps that perception is PTSD thinking.... too guarded.... too cautious. Who knows? I sure as hell don't know for certain...ever.

I do know this, if I'm trying to have a relationship with a woman then I'm "all in" UNTIL one of my deal breaker circuit breakers gets flipped. When one of these buttons gets hit and trips my circuit breaker I'm INSTANTLY on high alert "fight or flight"... This is where I am today from getting my feelings hurt two days ago. Don't worry about me though because by the time you read this I've probably gotten myself balanced, positive, and living in the moment again. I'm not afraid of what I'm going through at this moment (though painful) nor am I afraid of never finding "the one".  Simply writing this blog entry is helping me process and feel better. For example, I've already once again realized the woman I got infatuated with was not "the perfect woman for me" who I thought she was. She was POTENTIALLY the perfect woman for me. Then suddenly within an afternoon she pushed EVERY BUTTON, not just one. Seriously? Yeah, well I'm certain she held no malicious intent... at least I don't think so. Just different values I suppose. Nevertheless, let me get past this, wah, wah, grieving for a woman that only existed in my imagination so far...... "the perfect woman for me". Because there's frankly no damn sense in wasting much energy grieving the loss of the woman I haven't even met yet...duh.  On to the buttons.

Button one is the fastest way to end a relationship with me.  I must feel I am important. I want to always feel like being with me is the most important thing in the world to her. I must see effort (actions) to bend over backwards to be with me. I'm not stupid. I know you have kids and grandkids and other obligations and duties. This button triggers an issue from my childhood that's not going away. I'm learning how to adapt the best I can.  So, if I don't feel important it's never going to happen. This category can get very complex, or not, depending on your point of view.

I believe the first meeting should be at somewhere like Starbucks.  A couple of times women insisted on scheduling an initial meeting for over a week ahead of time.  Then an hour before the meeting I receive a text that she was asked to babysit her grand kids so her daughter could go on a date. Seriously? Personally, I get excited and build up hope and anticipation of meeting a potential partner. It's special and significant to me.  I am hurt if she cancels at the last minute when there's no emergency. She's communicated (actions speak louder than words) her self centeredness (as described in twelve step programs).  I will not be a priority, or even have my feelings considered before she follows her impulses or desires. So I now only schedule coffee meetings for "today or tomorrow".  I'm no longer willing to block out time on my calendar two weeks in advance until after I meet the woman.

Another variation of this is being "unavailable" to me. It's being unwilling to shift priorities of her time to be with me.  If I am in a committed relationship then I expect to not spend very many of my weekends isolated and alone.  In my mind this is traditional "couple time".  I once again, understand things come up. In that case there should be negotiation and compromise.

Next button, is basic courtesy. Give some thought to your words. For example, you can say, "do you always wear that hat?" which I find to be a degrading put down. Or you could say, "I like you better without the hat, would you mind not wearing it?" Now I have a chance to please you and I feel good instead of feeling degraded. Which way would you feel better?

Tough couple days. Rant completed.




Wednesday, November 27, 2019

New learning

This week I have learned more about my condition. One thing I learned is that my brain needs to learn to allow my body to move. Apparently I have habit level chronic pain because with my mind in fight or flight mode, my brain is trying to protect me...essentially a semi-paralyzed reaction which I must over ride in order to complete a movement. So for example, trying to do a focused movement with my left arm...at first my brain won't let my arm move, it's like it's stuck in place. Very weird. So just like I had to re learn to walk, I have to relearn everything.

Essentially I need to reset my sympathetic nervous system. So my brain needs to learn I'm safe, it's safe for every part of my body to move, etc.

Ultimately I have learned, the CURE to my CONDITION is CALM. I must create an extremely calm lifestyle in order to reach my potential now.

I think I'm also going to look into training to provide Biofeedback services to help people. I'm going to move more in the direction of Yoga and getting involved in that community. I also have in the back of my mind to put together a small comedy routine to try out on amateur comedy mic nights.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

What it's all about

Recently I've had the opportunity to meet, or at least dialogue with widows who were married and loyal to their husbands throughout terrible struggles like cancer. It triggered for me to ponder and realize that I've never felt that kind of love from anyone in my whole life except my daughter. Never from a life partner. It's a willingness to self sacrifice if needed to really be there for someone and have their back. It's like an affirmation, life can be tough sometimes, but no matter what you're not alone.

I know what it feels like to try to provide that, "having your back". Whether I was ever worth a crap at doing so is entirely debatable for sure.

Now I wonder if it's possible for a woman to open her heart that much again after such vicarious suffering. When I feel chemistry with a woman I almost instantaneously also sense their panic and fear. If not in the moment, then within a short time for sure. So they run. They don't feel safe. So they run from the opportunity to love because they buy into (and empower) fear. I feel sad for lost potential, momentarily. I say momentarily because I know the universe is simply preventing me from once again attaching myself with another woman who's incapable of selfless love.

As I'm just ready to turn 65 I feel this may be my last chance to try to have that kind of loving partnership. So I really want to try to apply all the lessons I've learned in my life about how to not do it, right?

I had an interesting conversation with my therapist at the VA on Friday. She told me of three stages of PTSD recovery. First is establishing safety, second is processing what happened, and third is reconnecting and reconstructing life. She pointed out stage three is where I am presently.

It made perfect sense given everything I've been doing; yoga classes, art classes, rescuing a dog, diligently looking for a new girlfriend. The biggest for me is to find a new girlfriend. I really like having someone to do things together. I really hate always being alone and isolated. I remember the saying from one of the twelve step programs, "an addict alone is in bad company".

Simply having a girlfriend helps me stay out of crappy and depressing thinking. I'm always trying to think up ways to play and have fun. Life is a thousand times more fun with a playmate, to me.

Alas there are so many obstacles and hurdles to finding a girlfriend. Not the least of which, is they have to want me. Lol. I'm not a normal person in Indianapolis culture. I'm much to extreme in my appearance, I have been told, and I'm extremely open and honest. I figure if I put myself out there you can accept or reject the "real" me at least. I'm just trying my best to integrate my words and behavior to always line up with my values. And when I fail, do what I can to make amends. Bottom line, I'm not everyone's cup of tea by a long shot. I'm not sure if I should change anything about me or not. I consistently evaluate my choices. It's challenging to keep my self confidence high. Every rejection I seem to need to evaluate if I was inappropriate or did it have nothing to do with me?

Learn and move on. One step in front of another. Last man standing wins, right? Peace.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Time Passes

Today I finished another PTSD program at the Vet Center called Cognitive Processing Therapy. This was the second class I completed to get my "high alert" thinking back to a calmer state. PTSD therapy requires teaching the mind and the body to calm down again. So for my body I went through Biofeedback training which basically helped me relearn what "calm" feels like and how to control my breathing. Now I'm doing two other classes working on my body. One is called iRest, Integrative Restoration. They call it sleep yoga. It feels like being hypnotized. I'm also doing a chair yoga class. Medical Marijuana has been a blessing for calming my mind and my body. So has massage therapy. It was an incredibly difficult time to go through but I made it without using opiates or heavy duty benzodiazepines. I have been able to limit use of over the counter Excedrin to probably less than once a week. In my class I learned that when I couldn't walk and was collapsing, it was actually pain. Like if you hurt your foot and can't walk on it. Apparently the pain was enough that my brain shut it off and disconnected from it. I didn't feel pain, I felt weak. I don't really know how to explain this. Apparently however I had enough pain to make me weak to the point of collapse. I do feel pain now. It even hurts to sit on hard surfaces. I think my ability to maintain minimal decent boundaries and limits is returning, thank God. I was having such a struggle and I'm not even certain if this blog post will need to later be deleted. :) My home is almost completely furnished and is full of plants. It looks beautiful.



Sunday, August 11, 2019

August 2019

I'm all moved into my new home. It's probably one of the favorite places I've ever lived. If it were located in California it'd be about perfect. I'm walking most of the time without a cane. This will be updated later, my appointment arrived.....

Thursday, June 13, 2019

June 2019

I remember a couple years back sitting alone in my living room with my wife basically unconscious in the bedroom just reflecting about where I am and how I got there. And I was questioning my life choices that brought me to that moment. I wasn't sure if my wife was going to survive but I was sure of one thing, I wasn't happy. I decided to blow up my life essentially. Time to get back to basics I guess. I had no idea what was in store or how I was in for the fight of my life to survive.

Well my wife survived but our marriage didn't. I'm still bitter for sure as I invested myself so completely into my marriage and she turned out in the end to be so disappointing. 

I've set about rediscovering myself and doing the work to create this final stage of life based upon the lessons I've learned in how to be happy. So I thought I'd share a little about my life now and where I hope to go from here.

My first agenda has been to get myself physically strong again. Progress is good here. I'm at a healthy weight and still losing. All my labs look great now. One physician told me everything looks much improved from a year ago and it's likely that most of my physical ailments will be alleviated soon, as my body is now taking care of itself since I'm close to a normal body weight. Walking at the mall and other activities with my girlfriend are building my strength more. Very soon I'm going to add sessions on my recumbent machine. Early in my illness I bought a massage chair to help and I've been getting massage therapy weekly. My sleeping has just recently gotten close to normal and I can now usually sleep whatever hours I want.

Recovering mentally has been coming along nicely as well. My psychiatrist at the VA and my therapist at the Veterans Center have helped significantly. The routines and rituals I put into practice to help sleep have contributed greatly. My somatic symptoms have begun to diminish significantly. Especially as I can often now walk and without assistance such as a cane. I still have lots of shaking and twitching, sometimes quite powerful. i was spending lots of time with a new girlfriend and it was remarkable how much this built up my spirit. Unfortunately it didn't work out.



Saturday, March 2, 2019

March 2019

My condition has improved a lot. I now walk without a cane. I'm doing lots of mall walking to build my core strength.  I can choose to sleep or not sleep just about any hours I choose. I finally found a new home. It is a condo on the far south side of Indy. I'm very excited to get settled in as soon as it is refurbished a little. At a minimum I'm going to have it painted and install new flooring. Probably just do the whole thing at once and get it done.

My days are currently very boring. I don't have so many physician appointments anymore as my medical condition has improved so much. All my labs are pretty normal now. Losing nearly 100 pounds has improved my health significantly. For my Conversion Disorder I'm actively receiving services at the Veterans Center. I attend a weekly class and see a therapist every other week. I also get a therapeutic massage weekly. Though it may be shocking to some, I can tell you that I think medical cannabis has been a life saver to me.  I swear I'd go really bonkers without it to help calm anxiety and stop ruminating bad thoughts.  I do really, really struggle a lot with feeling lonely and isolated. But this seems to be common among the vets in my class. It really sucks though. So I go to coffee shops a lot, just to get out of the house and not be alone. I really hope I'll be able to be calmer home alone after I get moved.  I'm so grateful for my daughter Carrie. She's really been there for me in a way no one else ever has.

Last summer I bought a pick up truck because I was planning to get a travel trailer. Well I haven't bought a travel trailer but I am starting to be acclimated to driving the truck. After years of driving a Honda it was quite a change. So I've ran into things a couple times parking my truck. I think I'm done running into things so I got the damages repaired. I'm really enjoying driving the truck so I'm going to keep it for awhile even if I never get a trailer.  I'd like to do some traveling. But I'm really not into traveling alone, at least I'm not feeling that right now. I sure would like to find a new girlfriend.