Waiting To Exhale

Who out there (like me) is craving/dreaming/ fantasizing about something like this?

It used to be my backyard. I grew up in places (yes places) like this one and that time like most people who are living in what westerners called “paradise”  I didn’t realize how lucky I was. I wish to go back there right now. Not to live but to breathe, away from hassle and bustle of the rat race and soak the atmosphere and for a while relived the memories of my youth, when in spite of the “circumstances ” life is a little bit simpler.

Today’s Mantra

Give yourself a break. You’re not perfect. No one is. You don’t have to be at the top of your game every day. No one is happy all the time. No one loves themselves always. No one lives without pain. Be willing to embrace your imperfections and excuse your bad days. Don’t set such high standards for yourself emotionally and mentally. It’s normal to feel sadness and pain and to hit some low points in life. Allow yourself to embrace these emotions without judging yourself for them.  ~Vishnu

Bottled Up

I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow. ~ William Blake


repressed

pent-up

stifled


bitter

begrudging

resentful


envy

jealousy

spite


scheme

action

danger


Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. ― Mark Twain


 

Time Traveler

Just because I’ve made it all up doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

Remember this, this, this and this? Among so many others that belonged to this category? Check it out and we will discuss it when you come back.

Done?

Okay.

My son once told me that I imagined the whole thing. When I asked him why it seems so real he said because to me it is. Granted. Maybe I hallucinated the ones that involved solely me. But what about those times when there were other people present, they have imagined the whole episode with me as well? How you call that? Collective insanity? Folie à deux? Herd mentality? Mass delusion? Tell me.

Do you believe in magic?  I don’t.

Not even after those experiences which have no logical explanations. But I strongly believe in a parallel universe(s) and other dimensions and I also believe that there are people who are able to navigate in both. I don’t know if I will consider that ability a gift or a curse. Personally, I don’t mind the idea as long as the traveling stays more or less cozy and doable but not when things turn into some kind of nightmares and you end up running for your life.

What about you?

What do you believe in?

Empathy, Sympathy, Affinity, And What Have You.

A long time ago

Someone accused me of

Not knowing what empathy is

I never put myself in the shoes of someone else he said

I said I don’t understand

He told me it is because my mind is closed.


If he means that I am not empathic because I can’t understand why he wanted to ruin our relationship by demanding to incorporate “benefits” into the friendship, then I am not empathic indeed.

If not joining the group when they shed unnecessary tears because someone committed a stupidity of doing the same mistakes over and over again but expecting a different result, then I am not empathic. Besides, crying in unison (because it is expected or to show you understand or in order to belong) is not a form of sympathy, it’s collective madness.

If someone truly cares, they will help you to improve the situation and yourself. They will make you understand the mistakes you are doing and help you find the solution to the problem, not crying with you and do nothing.

I cry in most people would think inappropriate situations. Like watching (not romantic) films Like Glory, Transformers, Big Hero 6 not because I sympathize but because it moved me. Likewise with babies, puppies, and paintings. I cry upon seeing senseless violence and act of kindness. I cry when I experience unexpected generosity, friendliness, and consideration from total strangers. I cry if I witness heroism and sacrifice for the greater good. But I don’t cry when someone breaks up with someone or the Notre Dame is burning. My heart reaches out to people who are victims of tragedies but I seldom cry. But issues like James Bulger, Marc Dutroux and such, I didn’t only cry, I still have nightmares.

I know there are three types of empathy that psychologists have defined: Cognitive, Emotional, and Compassionate.

Read this:


Cognitive Empathy

By definition: Simply knowing how the other person feels and what they might be thinking. Sometimes called perspective-taking.

What it’s concerned with: Thought, understanding, intellect.

Benefits: Helps in negotiations, motivating other people, understanding diverse viewpoints.

Pitfalls: Can be disconnected from or ignore deep emotions; doesn’t put you in another’s shoes in a felt sense.

It is about thought as much as emotion.
It is defined by knowing, understanding, or comprehending on an intellectual level. As most of us know, to understand sadness is not the same thing as feeling sad. Those who react with Cognitive Empathy risk seeming cold or detached. To truly understand another person’s feelings, don’t you in some sense have to be able to feel them yourself?

Emotional Empathy

By definition: “when you feel physically along with the other person, as though their emotions were contagious.” – Daniel Goldman

What it’s concerned with: feelings, physical sensation, mirror neurons in the brain.

Benefits: Helps in close interpersonal relationships and careers like coaching, marketing, management, and HR.

Pitfalls: Can be overwhelming, or inappropriate in certain circumstances.

Emotional Empathy, just like it sounds, involves directly feeling the emotions that another person is feeling. You’ve probably heard of the term “empath,” meaning a person with the ability to fully take on the emotional and mental state of another. The quote that comes to mind is: “I have a lot of feelings.”

This type of response might seem disconnected from the brain and thinking, but emotional empathy is actually deeply rooted in a human’s mirror neurons. All animals have neurons that fire in a certain way when they see another animal acting, making them relate to that action in their own body and brain. Emotional empathy does exactly that with the feelings someone experiences in reaction to a situation.

When your partner—or anyone you deeply love—comes to you in tears, it’s a natural response to feel that pull on your heartstrings. Like crying at a wedding or cringing when someone stubs their toe, it’s a deep-seated, gut reaction that often feels like a visceral human response. Connecting with another human in this way is intimate and can form a strong bond.

Like Cognitive Empathy, Emotional Empathy has its flip-side. One downside of emotional empathy occurs when people lack the ability to manage their own distressing emotions and can be seen in the psychological exhaustion that leads to burnout. Feeling too much can make even small interactions overwhelming.

Compassionate Empathy

By definition: With this kind of empathy we not only understand a person’s predicament and feel with them but are spontaneously moved to help if needed.

What it’s concerned with: Intellect, emotion, and action.

Benefits: Considers the whole person.

Pitfalls: Few—this is the type of empathy that we’re usually striving for!

The majority of the time, Compassionate Empathy is the ideal. Cognitive Empathy may be fitting for political or monetary negotiations or surgeon’s offices; Emotional Empathy may be the first response in children and for our loved ones; Compassionate Empathy strikes a powerful balance of the two.

Feelings of the heart and thoughts of the brain are not opposites. In fact, they’re intricately connected. Compassionate Empathy honors that natural connection by considering both the felt senses and intellectual situation of another person.

When your loved one comes to you in tears, you want to understand why she is upset and you also want to provide comfort by sharing in her emotional experience and hopefully helping her heal. It’s a lot to handle!

Most of us will skew to one side or the other: more thinking or more feeling; more fixing or more wallowing.

Compassionate Empathy is taking the middle ground and using your emotional intelligence to correctly respond to the situation. Does the situation call for quick action? Without either becoming overwhelmed by sadness or trying to fix things with logistics, compassion brings a mindful touch to tough situations.

[Source: Daniel Goldman and Enid Spitz via Heartmanity’s Blog]


I think I am more of the first and the last and less if not at all the middle one.

How about you?

Which kind of empath are you?

It’s Okay

… that’s what I always say to myself when I feel so bad I want to give up.

When it hurts so much I literally double up from the pain.

It’s okay.

I tell myself every time I encounter injustice and people treat me bad because of who I am.

It’s okay, don’t cry.

I say to myself when people that matter to me forget I exist.

And I miss them terribly.

It’s okay.

It’s okay.

It’s okay to feel sad, lonely, miserable, isolated and misunderstood.

It’s okay not to sleep. It’s okay not to eat. It’s okay to suffer and it’s okay not to feel safe.

For years I tell myself it’s okay. What’s happening to me is normal. It’s okay.

Yesterday I thought:

NO

It’s not okay.

It’s not okay that I have so much pain physically.

And emotionally I’m empty.

Psychologically I’m a wreck.

It’s not okay that my family betrayed me, my ex abused me and people took advantage of my generosity.

It’s not okay that I don’t see my children much and it’s not okay that the person I care about the most is taken away from me.

NO

It’s not okay.

In fact, I feel bad and some days I want to end it all.

And today I am really convinced that it’s the right thing to do.

I have only one wish:

That I see my Sunshine once more and hold her again in my arms and kiss those soft cheeks.

Then I’m going to sleep.

Forever.

Strong Women Are Molded by the Hardships They Endure

Life, as we all know, can be painfully difficult at times. Many women just can’t seem to endure all the hardships. Some, however, are molded by the challenges and have found a way to deal with things. Strong women never let hardships define them and bring them down. They don’t get hurt by the fire – like a phoenix, they rise up from the ashes and are reborn.

Strong women learn from their mistakes and see them as challenges that will ultimately make them stronger and wiser. They are an example to follow and the inspiration we seek. The strength these women radiate is living proof that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

They believe in themselves and use pain as a shield. Unlike the rest of us, strong women do things differently in life. They are created by the storms they survive and have amazing traits that define them. Here are some of those traits we can’t help but admire:

They Don’t Fear Emotions

Many of us are afraid of our emotions and showing our vulnerable side. Not strong women, though – they are human after all and not afraid to show it. These women are not afraid of emotions – whenever they’re hit by hardship, they get off the ground, dust themselves, and move on.

They Believe in Themselves

Strong women know who they are and know what they want from life. Their inner voice guides them and they believe it. That’s how they know they’re on the right path.

They Seek Respect, not Attention

A strong woman is not interested in the limelight. She doesn’t want attention, but she surely seeks respect. You’ll never see these women beg for something – they are only interested in respect. They will never ask for it, of course. But don’t give them the respect they believe they deserve and they will walk away from you.

They Always Tell the Truth

No matter how hard it might be too hear, strong women will always tell the truth. Their hearts are always in the right place and honesty is a policy they live by. If the truth hurts someone’s feelings, they’re OK with it. They’d rather say it than spreading lies.

They Wear Pain As Armor

While we all live in fear of pain, strong women use it as armor. These women are survivors and will never give in to fear. They are brave warriors that stare in the face of fear and relish the challenge. Failures are stepping stones for them and that’s exactly what makes them so different than the rest of the crowd.

[Source: QuotesGate]

Infinite Jest

“If by the virtue of charity or the circumstance of desperation, you ever chance to spend a little time around a Substance-recovery halfway facility, you will acquire many exotic new facts […] That certain persons simply will not like you no matter what you do. Then that most nonaddicted adult civilians have already absorbed and accepted this fact, often rather early on […] That sleeping can be a form of emotional escape and can with sustained effort be abused […] That purposeful sleep-deprivation can also be an abusable escape. That gambling can be an abusable escape, too, and work, shopping, and shoplifting, and sex, and abstention, and masturbation, and food, and exercise, and meditation/prayer […] That loneliness is not a function of solitude […] That if enough people in a silent room are drinking coffee it is possible to make out the sound of steam coming off the coffee. That sometimes human beings have to just sit in one place and, like, hurt […] That there is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness […] That the effects of too many cups of coffee are in no way pleasant or intoxicating […] That if you do something nice for somebody in secret, anonymously, without letting the person you did it for know it was you or anybody else know what it was you did or in any way or form trying to get credit for it, it’s almost its own form of intoxicating buzz.
That anonymous generosity, too, can be abused […]
That it is permissible to want […]
That there might not be angels, but there are people who might as well be angels.”

― David Foster Wallace

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Let The Sleeping Dogs Lie

Hij werd koel, afstandelijk, emotioneel onbereikbaar. Nooit een lief gebaar, nooit een vriendelijk woord, nooit een compliment.

Let’s translate it in English…

He became cool, distant, emotionally unattainable. Never a sweet gesture, never a kind word, never a compliment.

… and you got the gist of my first marriage.

Add to that violence, deception, cheating, manipulation, emotional physical and psychological abuse and the picture is complete.

Why I’m saying this?

Some of you might think that I’m not yet over it. That after all these years I have not managed to move on despite what I stated in my new year resolution. The answer is yes and no.

Yes, I have moved on but no I didn’t forget. I wonder if I ever will.

No, I’m not living in the past. Not anymore. Yes, I still suffer the consequences of that traumatic experience.

Why not let the sleeping dogs lie.

Instead of digging up old bones.

No reasons.

I just came across that passage (the one in Dutch) and it reminds me of my previous existence. Nothing more nothing less.

Honestly.

Don’t look for further reasons. It is just how my mind works.

Pick The Ax, Chop Off The Anger; Burn The Pieces And Bury The Ashes.

“I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding. My temper I dare not vouch for. It is, I believe, too little yielding— certainly too little for the convenience of the world. I cannot forget the follies and vices of other so soon as I ought, nor their offenses against myself. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. My temper would perhaps be called resentful. My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.” ― Jane Austen

When You Don’t Realize Or Believe You Are Depressed

There is a type of depression that is called existential depression. You don’t see a purpose in your life, you feel your life lacks meaning and substance, and therefore nothing appears to excite you. In some cases, this existential depression is masked. You don’t believe or realize you are depressed. 

Hmmm… Finally, I found something that might explain why I feel what I feel.

deep reflection and attempts to make sense of four main topics: death, isolation, freedom, and meaninglessness… Why it sounds familiar? Existential depression can sometimes occur during someone moves from childhood and teenage years into early adulthood and during the mid-life crisis as someone navigates the transition and makes sense of what it means to be a so-called “middle age. It doesn’t sound good, does it?

Some believe that gifted people — gifted children, and gifted adults — are more likely to experience existential depression in their lives. Those creative, gifted, and talented people who actively search and question life’s meaning are often thought to be more prone to existential depression. The deep thinkers, the scientists, the sensitive people – the gifted individuals attuned to everything around them. Gifted children may find it especially difficult to navigate life if they have that intellectual excitability or thirst for knowledge, to explore more intellectually than others who may be around them. [source: Depression Alliance]

That might explain a lot of things…

There is also a premise that existential depression may be a part of, or a form of, a spiritual crisis. When someone questions and delves intensely into their overall belief system, or what their soul’s purpose or existence in life is actually for. Existential questions may be explored around faith or religion as a whole, or someone’s previously held beliefs about the existence of god(s), whether there is life after death, or elsewhere in the wider universe. They may question how much it actually all makes sense. [Source: Depression Alliance]

This one as well…

…people, especially gifted and creative people, do learn and grow in a positive way from what they experience through traumatic experiences and life crises.

Oh, that’s why…

Existentialism is a broad philosophy around the idea that life is what we make it. That as human beings we have the freedom and responsibility to choose and create our existence.

Signs of Existential Depression

An episode of existential depression, like other forms of depression can vary in intensity and severity. Signs or symptoms of existential depression may include:

  • An intense or obsessive interest in the bigger meaning of life and death. The interest in exploring this may override a person’s enjoyment and engagement with other day-to-day activities.
  • Extreme distress, anxiety, and sadness about the society they live in, or the overall state of the world.
  • A belief that changes in anything are both impossible and futile.
  • Increasingly becoming, and feeling, disconnected, isolated, and separate from other people.
  • Cutting ties with other people because they feel like connections with others are meaningless or shallow and they are on a completely different level.
  • Low motivation and energy levels to do anything they would normally do.
  • Questioning the purpose, point or meaning of anything, and everything, in life.
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Feelings of Meaninglessness

If someone feels like their life is completely empty of anything meaningful they are said to be in an existential vacuum, an empty place. Anyone experiencing feelings of meaningless is most likely unable to see the purpose of anything they are doing, or feel like what they are doing is worthless. For example:

  • If they have just experienced bereavement, they may question the point of living if you are going to die anyway.
  • If they are in a job they feel is going nowhere or they have no autonomy over what they do, they may become despondent and stop putting in any effort.
  • If they are experiencing difficulties in forming relationships, they may give up on trying to cultivate connections with other people.

Existential Crisis Definition

The term existential crisis usually refers to the moment when a person metaphorically hits the wall. During a full-blown existential crisis, everything may be too much and seem pointless – from getting out of bed, to basic personal hygiene, to turning on a TV or radio and hearing what is going on in the outside world. Someone in existential crisis may experience existential aloneness, that there is no one else who can relate to how they feel in their lives. An existential crisis may occur during life stages where there is a change in, or loss of self-identity, such as adolescence, or seemingly come on suddenly. [Source: Depression Alliance]

That’s it! That’s it! That’s it! Finally!

Treating Existential Depression

Talk and seek help: Seek a psychotherapist or similar type of therapy that can help with ways of exploring the search for the meaning of life in a healthy way. Many health professionals and therapists already use an existential approach as part of treatment or a method to help people in their lives. There are also therapists who specialize in existential psychotherapy. Existential therapy may help you to:

  • Focus on what is possible: It may not be possible to change everything in the world that you would like to right now. Break it down and start with baby steps to move forward into what is possible.
  • Process grief: If you have been through death or experienced some other kind of major loss of something big in your life, find ways to work through it. Grieving is progress that involves stages of working through acknowledging, accepting and moving on to a different reality.
  • Find your passion: If you have lost interest in things you used to do, explore something new. Think back to what you loved doing and creating when you were very young. It might have been something like learning to cook something new, and something you can do right now. Alternatively, follow up on something you have always had a slight curiosity about but never quite got around to learning more.
  • Accept yourself and others: If you have become disconnected or have feelings of isolation from others because you feel different, accept that people can be unique. Find things about yourself and others that you can celebrate, embrace, and learn from.
  • Think about it as a journey:  It may sound cliché, but one of the key things about existentialism is that we make our own path or journey in life. If you are overwhelmed or stuck with where you are and what to do next, accept that you may have hit a road bump before you take your next small step.

Existential Depression: Bottom Line

The bottom line with any form of depression, existential depression included, is that there is hope and a way out. This form of depression often comes from a very deep place within very sensitive and gifted individuals and existential therapists are out there to help.

[Source: Depression Alliance]

It is certainly educational and definitely worth keeping in mind. I will contemplate it for a few days and I might incorporate these rules in my habits and thoughts and see what happens.

To be continued…