Daily Archives: April 18, 2016

After Divorce: When a Fling is Not Just a Fling



According to the dictionary, a fling is a “short, spontaneous sexual relationship.” I never had one. Okay, I had one: I was in college on spring break in Florida and with enough cheap beer, the lead singer of the cover band became a stand-in for Bono, never mind he spoke with a Jersey accent instead of an Irish brogue. But bookending that one night, I had always fallen hard and fast into long term relationships. Sure, I went through a phase of collegiate hookups fueled by alcohol, a lot of alcohol, but what happened under those conditions was mostly forgotten by morning. The alcohol, as Peggy Orenstein suggests in her new book Girls and Sex, creates “compulsory carelessness... a way to signal that the sex was meaningless.” Also, in 1990, if you were a girl, and you wanted sex, soberly sought sex, you were a slut. Easier to circumvent that label with a few Jell-O shots.
I met my now ex-husband when I was twenty-two, and within a week, we were, for all practical purposes, living together. I kept my apartment for over a year to placate my more conservative parents, an expensive extra closet. Suffice it to say, when my friends were having their exploratory entanglements, discovering what they liked and how many ways they liked it, I was swooning over an All-Clad stainless steel saucier and Pottery Barn accent pillows. Sex was pleasant, domestic, often fraught for me, and never often enough for him. For the tenure of our marriage, I had enough of the latent Catholic in me to believe in the commitment of our marital vows: fidelity at face value. Maybe it was just my lazy libido. Maybe I should have looked more closely at phone records.
I had my first adult fling (unaided by Jell-O shots) six months after the divorce, hopefully long enough so that it wasn’t in angry reaction to his infidelity and my need to have my self-esteem buttressed. Because that was the default rumination long into the dark hours of night after learning about the affair. Why wasn’t I good enough? The voice of deficit and shame crept in, undermining every ego inflating belief I had about myself. Leaning into the mirror to apply mascara, instead of noticing what I think are my prettyish eyes, I focused on the lines winging out from their corners, or pulling on my jeans, I was enraged by the folds at my tummy, or snapping on my bra, I was deflated by my breasts which were no longer perky after breastfeeding two babies. Always, the self-directed spite flaring up as I compared myself to her, the younger, tinier, shinier her. I am not enough. She is more.
Many of us hear this voice in some form that whispers, “You aren’t good enough to be chosen, to be wanted, to be loved. Not for real. Not for keeps.” As a girl, I was obsessed with horses and imagined galloping over fields and fences. When my parents finally sent me away to a ritzy horseback riding camp, I was ecstatic and terrified: me vs. rich girls. At the evaluation, I was sent into the paddock and told to mount up. The other campers, accomplished riders, sat on the fence watching me. I fumbled my way onto the horse, forgot everything I’d imaginatively rehearsed in my head, and kicked the horse hard in the sides. The girls exploded in derisive laughter. That was it. I’d shown myself to be a fraud and would not be chosen. For the rest of my two weeks, I spent most of my hours sequestered on the tennis court, thwacking balls lobbed by the ball machine. Too scared to ride again.
There are so many ways we convince ourselves we will never be enough. Too skinny. Too fat. Too awkward, too inhibited. Too crazy, too unhinged. What might it mean to be enough? Not just to be sufficient, but to be someone in an ample supply? Ample in feeling, ample in body, ample in desire, ample in truth, ample in love?
And so the fling. Definition #2: in Old Norse, a fling is defined as “a reckless movement of the body.” This is closer to what I now choose open-eyed as an adult learning what it is that I like and the ways that I like it. Not that I advocate freewheeling promiscuity, at least not for me. I tend to flood things with meaning: words, gestures, touch, breath. It’s why I burrow into etymology. Words have history and weight and substance and backwards and forwards implications. You say “fling,” and mean “meaningless sex.” I say “fling” and mean “a wild connection that breaks things apart and puts them back together in disruptive creation.” Everything all at once and fraught with equal significance. But I can choose without regret now since I choose sober (alas, the Bono look-alike was a pasty-faced 7-11 clerk by day) and unafraid (or at least, have the courage to have courage).
New York City. July. A coffee shop in the West Village. I’d been pretending to be cool but was mostly just feeling alone. As I was getting up to leave, the most objectively beautiful man I’d ever seen started talking to me. Taller than me, so I had to look up into brown eyes that I could swim in. I think I wobbled.
“I like your boots,” he said.
I laughed. Was he hitting on me? Honestly, no one had hit on me in the twenty years I’d been with my ex, so I didn’t know how to read the signs. Maybe he just really liked my boots? They were great: soft brown calfskin, stacked heels. We chatted, back and forth, prickles of electricity. I was a writer from Pennsylvania; he was an actor and musician from L.A. Though it was difficult talking because he had this wide open smile which fell across me. In my sixth grade diary, I pasted photographs of Rob Lowe scissored from Teen Beat and surrounded them with purple glitter-glued hearts. So when this man talked to me, it was hard to focus because a glitter-glue heart throbbed around his face. He asked for my name, so shaky-handed, I wrote it and my blog address on a slip of paper and left. That was that, I thought. Dreamy. Tuck it away.
Except. He emailed that night. He’d read my blog and connected. The end of love, the sadness, the resurfacing. What better way to seduce a writer than to tell her you were seduced by her words? We met for coffee, talked breathlessly. Time constraints: I was going back to Pennsylvania, he was going back to L.A. When he kissed me? A movie kiss. He was an actor, so he maybe had it down; maybe he had the whole thing down, and I hadn’t learned anything at all from my ex’s infidelity and my naïve, wholehearted trust. Too good to be true, right? Actor/Musician/Beautiful/6’3’’ (to my 5’10”)/Funny/Serious. A script, one of those romances that I dismiss as easy, unearned froth. But it felt real and simply, my heart stopped. Cliché, I know.
The rest of the story is mine and his.
We only had a few days. That’s the definition of a fling. But because I tend to speak my truth, I suggested (oh-hopeless-please-pick-me-don’t-laugh-at-me-from-the-fence) that maybe we could attempt the impossible, or at least see if it was a tiny bit possible, and see each other again. Isn’t it worth the risk of getting hurt for a wondrous payoff? Here’s where my bipolar brain comes in: happy = HAPPY and he was making me HAPPY. Bipolar brain sped up: I could raid my 401k and fly out to L.A. on the weeks I didn’t have custody. I didn’t say this, but I did say this:
“My whole brain lights up around you,” I said. Maybe this was a bit much. But I don’t play small anymore or run off to the safe tennis courts.
We returned to our geographical corners. He called a few times, which was confusing because that meant maybe more, and we texted, and never inside a texting “relationship” and on brain filled with sunshine, I texted too much. Terrible, a little shameful, but this was now me: better too much than not enough, better careening than hiding.
You know where this is going. It was, for him, a fling: definition #1. Which is okay. (Not really. But in time, it will be.) I fell hard because that is what I do. That is what recovery and wholeheartedness teach me. I feel it all now: what is wondrous and what is painful because it tells me who I am finally becoming. Irrationally, my heart was broken. But here is the important point: my heart was not broken by anything that creates genuine damage like infidelity, but by the bliss of hope which is damage that can be repaired, which is damage that teaches me what to long for next.

After Divorce: When a Fling is Not Just a Fling



According to the dictionary, a fling is a “short, spontaneous sexual relationship.” I never had one. Okay, I had one: I was in college on spring break in Florida and with enough cheap beer, the lead singer of the cover band became a stand-in for Bono, never mind he spoke with a Jersey accent instead of an Irish brogue. But bookending that one night, I had always fallen hard and fast into long term relationships. Sure, I went through a phase of collegiate hookups fueled by alcohol, a lot of alcohol, but what happened under those conditions was mostly forgotten by morning. The alcohol, as Peggy Orenstein suggests in her new book Girls and Sex, creates “compulsory carelessness... a way to signal that the sex was meaningless.” Also, in 1990, if you were a girl, and you wanted sex, soberly sought sex, you were a slut. Easier to circumvent that label with a few Jell-O shots.
I met my now ex-husband when I was twenty-two, and within a week, we were, for all practical purposes, living together. I kept my apartment for over a year to placate my more conservative parents, an expensive extra closet. Suffice it to say, when my friends were having their exploratory entanglements, discovering what they liked and how many ways they liked it, I was swooning over an All-Clad stainless steel saucier and Pottery Barn accent pillows. Sex was pleasant, domestic, often fraught for me, and never often enough for him. For the tenure of our marriage, I had enough of the latent Catholic in me to believe in the commitment of our marital vows: fidelity at face value. Maybe it was just my lazy libido. Maybe I should have looked more closely at phone records.
I had my first adult fling (unaided by Jell-O shots) six months after the divorce, hopefully long enough so that it wasn’t in angry reaction to his infidelity and my need to have my self-esteem buttressed. Because that was the default rumination long into the dark hours of night after learning about the affair. Why wasn’t I good enough? The voice of deficit and shame crept in, undermining every ego inflating belief I had about myself. Leaning into the mirror to apply mascara, instead of noticing what I think are my prettyish eyes, I focused on the lines winging out from their corners, or pulling on my jeans, I was enraged by the folds at my tummy, or snapping on my bra, I was deflated by my breasts which were no longer perky after breastfeeding two babies. Always, the self-directed spite flaring up as I compared myself to her, the younger, tinier, shinier her. I am not enough. She is more.
Many of us hear this voice in some form that whispers, “You aren’t good enough to be chosen, to be wanted, to be loved. Not for real. Not for keeps.” As a girl, I was obsessed with horses and imagined galloping over fields and fences. When my parents finally sent me away to a ritzy horseback riding camp, I was ecstatic and terrified: me vs. rich girls. At the evaluation, I was sent into the paddock and told to mount up. The other campers, accomplished riders, sat on the fence watching me. I fumbled my way onto the horse, forgot everything I’d imaginatively rehearsed in my head, and kicked the horse hard in the sides. The girls exploded in derisive laughter. That was it. I’d shown myself to be a fraud and would not be chosen. For the rest of my two weeks, I spent most of my hours sequestered on the tennis court, thwacking balls lobbed by the ball machine. Too scared to ride again.
There are so many ways we convince ourselves we will never be enough. Too skinny. Too fat. Too awkward, too inhibited. Too crazy, too unhinged. What might it mean to be enough? Not just to be sufficient, but to be someone in an ample supply? Ample in feeling, ample in body, ample in desire, ample in truth, ample in love?
And so the fling. Definition #2: in Old Norse, a fling is defined as “a reckless movement of the body.” This is closer to what I now choose open-eyed as an adult learning what it is that I like and the ways that I like it. Not that I advocate freewheeling promiscuity, at least not for me. I tend to flood things with meaning: words, gestures, touch, breath. It’s why I burrow into etymology. Words have history and weight and substance and backwards and forwards implications. You say “fling,” and mean “meaningless sex.” I say “fling” and mean “a wild connection that breaks things apart and puts them back together in disruptive creation.” Everything all at once and fraught with equal significance. But I can choose without regret now since I choose sober (alas, the Bono look-alike was a pasty-faced 7-11 clerk by day) and unafraid (or at least, have the courage to have courage).
New York City. July. A coffee shop in the West Village. I’d been pretending to be cool but was mostly just feeling alone. As I was getting up to leave, the most objectively beautiful man I’d ever seen started talking to me. Taller than me, so I had to look up into brown eyes that I could swim in. I think I wobbled.
“I like your boots,” he said.
I laughed. Was he hitting on me? Honestly, no one had hit on me in the twenty years I’d been with my ex, so I didn’t know how to read the signs. Maybe he just really liked my boots? They were great: soft brown calfskin, stacked heels. We chatted, back and forth, prickles of electricity. I was a writer from Pennsylvania; he was an actor and musician from L.A. Though it was difficult talking because he had this wide open smile which fell across me. In my sixth grade diary, I pasted photographs of Rob Lowe scissored from Teen Beat and surrounded them with purple glitter-glued hearts. So when this man talked to me, it was hard to focus because a glitter-glue heart throbbed around his face. He asked for my name, so shaky-handed, I wrote it and my blog address on a slip of paper and left. That was that, I thought. Dreamy. Tuck it away.
Except. He emailed that night. He’d read my blog and connected. The end of love, the sadness, the resurfacing. What better way to seduce a writer than to tell her you were seduced by her words? We met for coffee, talked breathlessly. Time constraints: I was going back to Pennsylvania, he was going back to L.A. When he kissed me? A movie kiss. He was an actor, so he maybe had it down; maybe he had the whole thing down, and I hadn’t learned anything at all from my ex’s infidelity and my naïve, wholehearted trust. Too good to be true, right? Actor/Musician/Beautiful/6’3’’ (to my 5’10”)/Funny/Serious. A script, one of those romances that I dismiss as easy, unearned froth. But it felt real and simply, my heart stopped. Cliché, I know.
The rest of the story is mine and his.
We only had a few days. That’s the definition of a fling. But because I tend to speak my truth, I suggested (oh-hopeless-please-pick-me-don’t-laugh-at-me-from-the-fence) that maybe we could attempt the impossible, or at least see if it was a tiny bit possible, and see each other again. Isn’t it worth the risk of getting hurt for a wondrous payoff? Here’s where my bipolar brain comes in: happy = HAPPY and he was making me HAPPY. Bipolar brain sped up: I could raid my 401k and fly out to L.A. on the weeks I didn’t have custody. I didn’t say this, but I did say this:
“My whole brain lights up around you,” I said. Maybe this was a bit much. But I don’t play small anymore or run off to the safe tennis courts.
We returned to our geographical corners. He called a few times, which was confusing because that meant maybe more, and we texted, and never inside a texting “relationship” and on brain filled with sunshine, I texted too much. Terrible, a little shameful, but this was now me: better too much than not enough, better careening than hiding.
You know where this is going. It was, for him, a fling: definition #1. Which is okay. (Not really. But in time, it will be.) I fell hard because that is what I do. That is what recovery and wholeheartedness teach me. I feel it all now: what is wondrous and what is painful because it tells me who I am finally becoming. Irrationally, my heart was broken. But here is the important point: my heart was not broken by anything that creates genuine damage like infidelity, but by the bliss of hope which is damage that can be repaired, which is damage that teaches me what to long for next.

Holy Triumvirate

For almost all mental illness, three questions are evaluated, and three treatments are prescribed. This is as true of one time “clinical” depression as Major Depressive Disorder, or as true of Agoraphobia as Bipolar Disorder or even the ‘big one’, Schizophrenia. Those three things that are evaluated are the duration, the intensity, and the frequency […]

Holy Triumvirate

For almost all mental illness, three questions are evaluated, and three treatments are prescribed. This is as true of one time “clinical” depression as Major Depressive Disorder, or as true of Agoraphobia as Bipolar Disorder or even the ‘big one’, Schizophrenia. Those three things that are evaluated are the duration, the intensity, and the frequency […]

Feeding The Fire: Toxic

Ready. Set. Sail! Hey… If only you can hear how exhausted I am in even just typing those letters….. Oh God… There are so many things going on right now. And to top it all off, bipolar is adding the usual, “Things are too difficult for you”, “Just give up”, “Just give in”,  and “Life… More Feeding The Fire: Toxic

My First Love…

This morning a dear friend (more like a sister) posted this meme on FaceBook. The first thing that caught my attention was that this woman was wearing purple. I then automatically sang the words beside her. It wasn’t until I … Continue reading

well it’s a bipolar linkdump

Blahpolar is a genius! And thank you for the Huffpost shout out!

blahpolar

Thanks to socialworkerangela for the reminder of this shot straight to the heart mhm… “I think there’s a flaw in my code”. Halsey is bipolar and also genius. Volume UP.

Now go listen to more y’all. Girl got game.

image

The them section coming up is dominated by Patty Duke, which I think is more than fair considering the sheer length of time she was vocal about her stuff. Aw and then she went and gave us lovely Sam Gamgee Sean Astin too. Rest in Peace, warrior woman.

Them:

image

Sean Astin on Mom Patty Duke’s Bipolar Disorder: ‘We Were All in the Storm Together’
ARCHIVAL VIDEO: Patty Duke Seeks to Promote Understanding of Manic Depression in 1989
From the PEOPLE Archive: Patty Duke Opens Up About Her Battle with Bipolar Disorder

10 Celebrities With Depression, Bipolar Disorder, or Both

Don Cheadle: ‘Miles Davis was probably bipolar

Blah F. Polar: yo…

View original post 548 more words


Love and Other Drugs

  
 So many of us who have been traumatized as children, who were unloved or not loved enough, who were rejected, abandoned, abused, develop addictions later on in life. The trauma that we suffered in our childhood leads to pain, anxiety, emptiness, depression, self hate, and on and on and on. All these feelings are extremely unpleasant and painful to feel, therefore we try to get away from them by using something or someone to mask the pain. This can lead to addictive behavior. Addiction is not only to substances like alcohol, or drugs, you can also be addicted to a person. In the case of alcohol, although a depressant, it increases dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, and one of our feel good chemicals. So initially, alcohol makes us feel good, due to the increase in dopamine. However, its depressant effect takes over soon after, and also one needs to drink more and more to get the mood enhancing effect, all of this can lead to alcohol addiction or alcoholism. Same with drugs, they can alleviate anxiety, make us feel good temporarily, but again, it may take higher doses to achieve the same effects and that can lead to addiction. And people can have the same effect on us, this is known as “love addiction,” one can be addicted to a lover or friend, as this also produces feel good chemicals in our brain.

Love addiction is extremely destructive. You are dependent on a whole other human being for your happiness! Really?! I know, I get it, I’ve been there. The feelings swirling inside of you from your childhood trauma are so painful and heartbreaking, that you, without even knowing it, put the responsibility of your happiness on to someone else’s unsuspecting shoulders! 

This is because you do not know how to soothe yourself, so when you are thinking of your 

“love” interest, you’re not thinking painful thoughts, or you think this person you’re addicted to will do it. And believe me this has nothing to do with love, and everything to do with addiction. You think you can’t live without this person, you get a high when you see this person, it’s all about you. True love is selfless and you care about the person you love more than yourself, ok if not more than, at least as much as… Addiction is different, it’s a fix, it’s something you crave, it’s a very self involved thing. With addiction, most people are trying to reduce their own suffering, unfortunately, they are using self destructive behaviors to accomplish their goal of no suffering. The goal is positive, the methods… perhaps not so much…

It’s because you don’t know how to tamp down your fight or flight from going from 0 to 500 in 5 seconds, you think the presence of the person you’re addicted to will do this.

It’s because no one taught you to love yourself, to value yourself, to forgive yourself, you think the poor person you are addicted to will do it.

Your boundaries were continuously violated, you never learned what a boundary was, so you want to be totally enmeshed with this unfortunate person you are addicted to, and whose boundaries you don’t know how to respect.

The above three are skills that people who grow up in loving, nurturing, normal homes learn when they are young children.

We people, who grew up in abusive, abandoning homes, do not learn these skills when we are children.

Well it’s never too late to learn. Never too late to reparent yourself, or work with your inner child. Meditation can be used to calm your flight or flight response. There are apps for your cell phones such as Headspace (https://www.headspace.com/) that will help you learn meditation. This can take as little as 10 minutes! There are resources that will help you heal from love addiction, here’s a link to a book that helped me a lot; http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004HW88LU/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1

And one last thing, this is very important, we adult survivors of child abuse and abandonment sometimes get so involved in our feelings and feel so sorry for our own selves that we don’t even realize that we are trespassing on other people’s rights. We do it totally unknowingly, however, we do do it. Let me give you an example, the person we’re addicted to, known as “poor person” from hereon in, is busy, hasn’t answered our texts in a few days. Our abandonment issues are extensively triggered by this because we think this poor person has now abandoned us. So we bombard them with every manner of contact we have for them, Facebook messenger, Snapchat, texting, emailing, Whatsapp, and many others in this age of technology, all begging, apologizing, and generally making as big a pest of ourselves as possible. We have no boundaries, we think this is ok. Well it’s not ok. This poor person should not have to put up with this level of, frankly, harassment. If this poor person is our friend, they did not sign on to deal with this. The bottom line is: You and I are responsible for our issues and for healing from them! Some friends will hold our hand and walk with us, and some won’t. But, no one has to. It is wholly our own responsibility to get help, to realize what our issues are and to heal from them. And once the healing has taken place, at least to some degree, we can be friends with anyone, yet be dependent on no one. We’ve won the war of independence, congratulations! This is not to be harsh, but to help us realize what we’re doing is not in anyone’s best interests, including our own. It’s a difficult lesson to learn, but once we learn it, and we (and I am definitely included here) can live our lives without being dependent on anyone else to make us happy, once we own our own lives and become responsible for ourselves, then really and truly, we’ve healed and we have arrived! :-) 

Yours in mental wellness and health,

Samina. 

Bipolar1blog

http://m.huffpost.com/us/author/samina-raza


well it’s a bipolar linkdump

Thanks to socialworkerangela for the reminder of this shot straight to the heart mhm… “I think there’s a flaw in my code”. Halsey is bipolar and also genius. Volume UP. Now go listen to more y’all. Girl got game. The them section coming up is dominated by Patty Duke, which I think is more than … Continue reading well it’s a bipolar linkdump

well it’s a bipolar linkdump

Thanks to socialworkerangela for the reminder of this shot straight to the heart mhm… “I think there’s a flaw in my code”. Halsey is bipolar and also genius. Volume UP. Now go listen to more y’all. Girl got game. The them section coming up is dominated by Patty Duke, which I think is more than … Continue reading well it’s a bipolar linkdump