Barney Returns and celebrates 50 followers! Who’da thunk it?

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I learned a valuable lesson this morning, one that I though I had learned when I was writing poetry several months back.  When the words and thoughts are jelling in my head, that is the time to put them on paper, to set them free and let them flow.  It happened at about 7am and I was soon to get up and get ready for church, so noooo000, I mistakenly thought I could remember all this.  I even heard that still quiet voice in the back of my head whisper a scripture that I promptly googled and found.  In church the pastor’s sermon tied in very well with the scripture I heard as well as his own sermon references.  and then just to top it all off I ran into a friend who told me on the sly that she has struggled with depression all of her adult life and then she promptly wrote down the name of her medication and stuck it in my hand.  I had no idea!   And so I sit here at the keyboard that I have a love/hate relationship with…  it loves to misspell my words and I hate it….  and try to recall all those witty intelligent things I had to say at O Dark Thirty this morning.  I’m coming up dry, all but the scripture that came to me.

Well I can do this!  A hearfelt Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!  to each and every one of my 50 followers. Humbling it is, I never in a million years thought that anyone would want to hear what I have to say, a struggling sinner trying to find his way.

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So where has Barney been? Driven into my bed and my head under the weight of depression.  Sometimes it’s encouraged by a trigger of sorts and other times it just slips up behind me and pulls me down before I realize what has happened.  Some of my blogger friends are able to perfectly describe what it is like to be in their head when they are struggling with mental illness.  Me? Not so much. One of the absolute best is my friend Summer Imani who, due to her training in Psychology ( a Bachelors and Masters degree) and her writing prowess has this amazing ability to analyze what she is experiencing and express in a way that is incredibly vulnerable, brutally honest and sometimes funny as hell. She is a BadAss and I love her to death.  I have learned so much from her. You can find her blog at Summerstartstoshine.wordpress.com or just click here.  So, back to my buddy depression.  When he shows up in force I retreat from everything and everyone.  Not healthy, I know!!!!  I stopped blogging, 33 days worth, not that there wasn’t anything to say but I had zero motivation to do it.  Pretty much stayed in bed  all day everyday. didn’t read the bloggers I’m following, didn’t look at email much and avoided phone calls.  I cut myself off from everyone and promptly relapsed. That really fed the depression. I skipped three recovery group meetings, several church and men’s group meetings as well as the Christmas Eve service.  I simply couldn’t bear to be around people.  Nothing like beating yourself up when you fall or jump off the wagon.  Even in all this it has been a tremendous lesson to me.  What to do, what not to do.  Learning to reach out to others which is incredibly difficult for me.  It is hard learning to make myself this vulnerable but I have learned that it is a necessary part of healing.  Several of you stayed in touch with me offline and I am grateful, Thank you so much! I’m much better but still in the fog a bit.  the scripture that came to me this morning.  

3But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.   (Mathew 6:33-34)

Pulling away from my Lord and Savior when I hit bottom was not the smartest thing I have ever done but I learned a valuable lesson.  No matter how low I go or get He is right there with me. and in addition to that as another beautiful Blogger friend has reminded me, several times, His mercies are new everyday!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Perhaps it was appropriate that I learn such a lesson during this season that has just ended.  The time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior who a few short years later would willingly offer his life as atonement for our sin.  Despite the pain and suffering I endured, the feelings of complete emptiness and despair, I can only imagine the pain that Jesus endured while praying in the garden and asking His Father, if it be His will, to take this cup from him.  On the cross he bore the sin of the world, past present and future.

In the scheme of things I can come to only one conclusion, I am Blessed!
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Only The Lonely, Part 3… Chickened Out

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Insomnia strikes again, no that’s not true, depression has entered the room and insomnia is riding it’s coattails.  Three nights now, it’s bad.  I’m upset with myself as well, I chickened out.  After convincing M we would talk tonite after I returned from men’s group I got cold feet.  She was watching something I forget what and then the old fear of rejection slipped in and convinced me to shut up. I have never been good at speaking up for my own needs.  I will always give in rather than create a confrontation.  It didn’t help that I wanted to talk about male sexuality and my own needs for physical intimacy.  I didn’t think she would listen to what I had to say personally so I found a series of short articles about sex & intimacy and a husbands needs in marriage and thought I would just read them with her, they are really well written.  You can check them out here. I couldn’t speak about it so eloquently myself so I thought this would open some dialog. I’m not sure how to get her to realize that without physical closeness, sex, I am slowly starving to death and simultaneously drowning in loneliness.  I have gone back forty-eight years to being that little boy again.  Every night I come to bed alone, shed a few tears then commence rolling over, over and over again in an attempt to sleep, but it never comes. I have almost given up asking God for someone to love me.  She’s either in the bed five feet away or in the living room. She never gets the message I guess. I love her but sometimes I have to ask myself why? So, when I tire of spider solitaire I find myself here pouring out my heart hoping I will tire and find some much needed sleep.

I have another therapy appointment this morning but I am thinking of chucking the theophostic prayer healing and asking for an evaluation for an anti-depressant.  Right now my faith and hope are running seriously low and I want to chuck the whole holistic approach. Maybe that is just sleep depreviation talking. I should feel a little better because M has told me it’s ok to ask about a referral/advice on who my therapist would recommend that she see but I am not holding my breath. Now it’s time to try that horizontal hold thing again.

Only the Lonely, Part 2

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I hesitate to write this morning wondering if I share too much, it has been a long, long, lonely, nite.  Starting with a tear-stained pillow my mind would not turn off, a vortex of every imaginable emotion, loneliness, anger, desperation, suicidal thoughts, I just want the madness and overwhelming confusion in my brain to stop!  I’m not suicidal, I don’t have a plan and as a HSP I learned I am less likely to do it because I am consumed with the thoughts of what it would leave behind.  NO vengeance on my mind.  Pissed off, Oh Yea!  At her at me, wondering if its time to pull the plug on this sad excuse of a relationship.  I think of it often but that would be giving up and I’m not ready to do that, not sure I could do that.  In a couple of hours I have to get dressed for Church, I don’t want to go today.  Dressing will mean putting on that facade, the happy face, I am so far from happy it isn’t funny.

M and I had that talk the other nigh, it’s a start I think although I did all the talking and this time I didn’t hold back, much….  she talked a little, very little, did say I always back her in the corner with talk of sex, Really, It’s been twenty years, Yea! it is on my mind, Then she says “I don’t like sex”  No shit Sherlock I think to myself.  I tell her I know, remember the honey moon?  Three nights and we made love one time, She wears a sexy little baby doll nite which i get to see for just as long as it takes her to walk out of the bathroom and turn out the light.  In the last thirty-seven year I have seen nothing!  So Yea, I AM PISSED!  That nighty, never to be seen again.

OK, so now I know what I need to do. Facade or no I do need to go to church.  I need to dump all this anger and confusion at the foot of the Cross.

 

 

Only the lonely

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I am lying here trying to sleep, unable, tears in my eyes, dreaming of making love to my wife, married thirty seven years today, we couldn’t be much further apart, I am reminded of the Roy Orbison song, “Only the Lonely” never realized the full title is “Only the Lonely, Know how I feel” and the first line, Only the lonely, know why I cry.  It tears my heart out. I am afraid to go into the living room where she sits in her easy chair in front of the Tv, probably asleep, and tell her how I really feel, the overwhelming sadness, the loneliness the desire for human touch and connection, the emptiness that lies atop me like a heavy blanket. I am coming to grips with this HSP, what it means to be a highly sensitive person. I always thought there was something wrong with me, wondered why I never fit in  and always felt out-of-place, why no one understood me, worse yet I thought it was my fault. So now I learn it’s a genetic trait, simply the way I am wired. I can’t begin to tell you the shame I felt for just being me. “TOO SENSITIVE, CRYBABY! I am slowly learning how it has handicapped my relationship, this constant avoidance of conflict that keeps my mouth, my thoughts and feelings firmly shut inside where they wither and die. I have learned from a friend how do just dump my thoughts and feelings on the page, raw and unedited. I must say it is EXHILIRATING! and strangely freeing, like the first tear to drop. And now I know I can share this with her in the morning. But for the moment I am alone in the bed, not at all how I want to spend my anniversary, I would rather be trying to remember how to make love. It has been so many years now I imagine it will be like the first time, that is not necessarily a bad thing, but I do hope it is not as short-lived. Haha! Just sayin… well this must be cathartic, the tears have dried and I’m wearing half a smile. Time to dump all this and push the button.

For any of you who are unfamiliar with HSP like I was just a week ago, check out this site and look for Dr. Elaine Aron on youtube, her research and book are changing my life.  http://hsperson.com

Happy Thanksgiving

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As you contemplate the true meaning of this most wonderful of holidays I ask that you take time to think not of all the savory goodness that will soon take it’s place on the table before you or even the college bowl games that you will take in later or perhaps the magical parade you viewed in the morning. Instead take a moment to reflect in gratitude on the lives of those who will be seated to your left or right or across that table.  Soon enough all thoughts will turn to gifts both given and received.  Gifts are nice but to my mind they will never be as important as those with whom I am in relationship with, those with whom I share my life, my journey. To my family, friends and my precious WordPress followers who shower me with love, understanding and encouragement as I stumble through life, Thank You and God Bless You!  I am truly blessed to have you in my life!

Happy Thanksgiving,  Barney

 

Damn Remote

 

'Do you think we need more conversation in our relationship?'

 

connection

or lack thereof

it’s what my marriage

is made of

the television

i despise it

it always seems

to come between

nothing real about the audio and pixels

HD, 3D or 4K

7:1 artificial reality

like a thief

it robs us blind

of other possibilities

my heart cries out

to know you

body, soul and mind

instead of your favorite buttons

on the damn remote 

 

Hold Me

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murky

life in the shadows

half dead

half alive

never quite present

hold me

please hold me

let me feel your life

emotions

scrambled

all but the pain

it is always real

hold me

please hold me

let me feel your life

your love

 

Writers Note: This was written while sitting in the cafe at Barnes & Noble with tears streaming down my face.  I had only left the house a half hour before having had a anxiety attack while sitting at the kitchen table on the Mac. Out of nowhere I was weeping and sobbing and filled with dread and fear. In an instant I was straddling time and space, half of me that hypersensitive, lost kid begging for my father’s love in June of 1968,  just days before he died. The other half of me firmly in the present dreading a therapists appointment the following day. Dreading the real work that is to begin, afraid of the answers that may be found, the vast swaths of time that I have no memory of. Most of my childhood it seems  Sometimes I don’t feel as if life is real, like it’s a big lie, a bad joke, like I’m not quite present. More to come I’m sure………

Falling Off

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Have you ever wished for a Delete All button in your head.  I am right now.  I just realized it has been 13 days since I last published. Thirteen days since my last therapy session and not one call from his office telling me that there is an open appointment.  My head hurts with all the thoughts, ideas, potential blog posts that are slamming against my skull trying to get out.  And the guilt and shame. I have been too bummed out, depressed, and pissed off at myself to uncover the keyboard.  Yup, I wish I could just push a button and make it all go away. Well here it comes, as if you couldn’t figure it out.

Barney fell off the wagon.  No! That’s not exactly true, I f’ing jumped off the wagon straight into the pit, and I played there all week, until I was totally covered in mud, like a pig in a pen. I binged, went on a bender, acted up, whatever you choose to call it, it wasn’t good.  Then it was time to go to recovery group.  I felt like shit, still do a little, thought about not going but I did.  I had a ton of homework to do, reading, questions to answer, a lot of introspection.  Home alone, never good, that’s when I get into trouble so I packed up everything and headed to the cafe at Barnes & Noble. One grande Latte and two and one half hours later and I was done, not a lot of time for introspection but I got all the questions answered and it almost killed me.  The subject of the reading: Confession.  Oh God!  Might as well shut down the meeting!  It’s going to take the whole two hours for me to confess. You see, we start the meeting with what we call check-in.  We get it our small groups, usually four to six guys and we start receiving confession from one another.  Honestly, the thing I dreaded the most, confession, brought the most freedom. Just nodding heads, no judgment, just forgiveness, understanding and love. Not usually something associated with a bunch of guys getting together. No need for a mask, no need to hide the secret life, no worry that they will see the real me. They know, they know and accept me anyway.  Me, the real me, not just the person I so often pretend to be or the person I so desparately want to be.

Leading up to my “episode” I had been contemplating a post on surrender, the topic of the prior weeks homework.  I remember thinking as we sat in a circle for the evenings  teaching. “How do you surrender?” and “How do you forgive yourself?”  It stuck in my head so long I wrote it down.  I mean really, how do you?  I struggled with those questions in my head for quite a while, it was distracting. Later I heard that wee small voice, “Nike!” “What?” I thought. “You know,” it said, “Just do It!” Seriously, is it that easy?  When I think of surrender I envision someone popping up from a foxhole waving a white flag on the end of the rifle  and promptly getting shot in the head! And forgiveness?  Why is it I can forgive others but when it comes to myself I haven’t got a clue. I mean, I have no idea where to even start. Seriously, I’m open to anything.

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The very next day I took a trip to the local Apple store.  My Iphone had been acting up, occasionally freezing up and not loading.  Well once I got to the Genius Bar I was informed that the memory was full and the best way to handle it was to wipe it and reload from the cloud. I didn’t listen to even half the music I had on it anyway, so ok. Twenty minutes later I walked out of the store with a fully functioning cell phone and no internet filter/accountability application installed. Danger Will Robinson! Not a good idea and as it turned out it was way too tempting.  Lesson learned, however it kills me that I was such an asshole for a whole week and M has absolutely no idea. 

Sex Addiction Sucks!

Barney

Therapy Session #2

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I just returned home from my second session with my therapist and was greeted by the scene above. My neighborhood is swarming with dump trucks (some from the company I will soon be working for) and claw trucks. The claw trucks are picking up the ruined contents of my neighbors homes after Matthew flooded our neighborhood on Oct. 8th & 9th. They then meet a dump truck in my court and transfer it to be carted off to the dump. My heart grieves a little more every time I witness this. Many of these folks do not have flood insurance and lost almost everything.  I, in comparison, was relatively unscathed.  What I lost was minimal or can be easily replaced.  My only concern at the moment is my heating and air conditioning system that might get replaced by the insurance.

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My car, although flooded, runs fine and everything works, the smell however is another matter. I vacuumed seven gallons from the trunk  (boot – that’s for you Summer), another gallon or two from the interior and I have had a whole house dehumidifier running in the passenger seat for four days.  It is still pulling out water.  A good shampoo later should help with the odor.

While sitting here at the window and watching the activities in the court I couldn’t help but reflect on my conversation with my therapist. He described for me in great detail the entire Theophostic prayer healing process.  What sticks in my mind is the process, all of which is bathed in prayer, of embracing your feelings and allowing the Holy Spirit to expose the lie that is behind the feelings.  i.e. “I can’t do anything right, I’m worthless, I will never amount to anything, etc.” At that point through prayer we can ask Jesus to bring His Truth to the situation, banish the lie or lies and bring healing.  Logically I know some of the lies I have bought are complete rubbish but in the deepest recesses of my heart I’m still that screw up of a little kid. It is in the deep recesses of my heart that I am working and not my logical mind.  God knows how much I want to experience His love, joy and peace. As I watched the trucks in the court I couldn’t help but think, Jesus does love me.  So much so that He wants to go into the deepest recesses of my heart with one of those claws and remove all of the putrid, rotten, stinking lies that I have been stewing in for all these years and replace them with His Truth. I am looking forward to this next step in my journey.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”   Rom 15:13

Hope & Faith, Barney

 

 

A Much Better Place

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“The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them”                       Bernard M. Baruch

I am breathing easy this morning. As I look back over the last ten days to two weeks I am amazed by all the goodness that has come into my life despite all the turmoil.  From a massive rain event (13 inches) that flooded my garage, enclosed back porch as well as my car, to overwhelming stress and a job I was extremely unhappy with to starting therapy, I think the image I selected kind of says it all. Everything perhaps, except how much I would really like to be there!

Let me take these one at a time. I am Blessed, I mean well and truly Blessed!  While the remnants of Matthew may have flooded the garage and back porch (both of which really needed to be cleaned out) no water entered our living space. This in a neighborhood that was devastated by the flood.  By my estimate 9 of every 10 homes got flooded in their  living spaces. Dumpsters now occupy the driveways instead of cars. House after house on the streets leading to my court had their entire contents, sofas, dressers, mattresses, clothing, in piles on the lawns or at the curb. It was tremendously sad and for a period of several days I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. When we checked our Flood Insurance coverage we were shocked to discover we had no, I mean zero coverage on contents. We had dropped it years back to reduce the premium when I was out of work. Yup. We are Blessed! As a side note my garage is really, really clean! Still working on the back porch. Oh, I didn’t tell you, when I checked our Flood Insurance I discovered we had zero coverage for contents.

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                  This was a common sight, this photo taken more than a week later.

On the job front, after having an anxiety attack I finally came to the realization that my recovery and marriage are much more important than a specific job, so I made the decision to leave the transit company. The very next day I was offered a job driving a dump truck. I will hopefully start next week. I know it doesn’t sound like much but I’m happy, regular hours for the most part.  No problems attending my group meetings, or church men’s group and during down time waiting in the truck I can blog. I shared my reason for leaving HRT with the owner and my need to attend the group meetings and he was very supportive. I cannot begin to tell you how much my stress level dropped.

On the topic of being real I want to publicly thank Blue of A Broken Blue Sky for finding the courage and calling me out on a comment I made to one of her recent posts.  Blue I can’t thank you enough for calling me on the carpet. I was out of line and I have learned that I don’t learn squat from someone who isn’t honest with me.  As a result I have started searching and following some blogs written by the wives of sex addicts so I can learn more about how my actions have affected my wife. Thank you Blue, keep it real! In addition I’m going to stick my neck out even further and ask all of my online WP friends to keep me straight.  If you aren’t comfortable doing it in a public with a comment just shoot me an email.  I truly value your opinion.

Yesterdays appointment with my therapist went very well. I got a good feeling from him within just a few minutes. We didn’t do much more than review all the paperwork I filled out, review all my medications, and talk about all the feelings I had been experiencing both positive and negative. We will start the real work next time which happens to be tomorrow due to a cancellation.  I am happy to say that the worst of my nerves were put to rest. The type of therapy I will be going through is not traditional, in fact it is prayer facilitated in this case by a licensed therapist. It is called Transformational prayer ministry, formerly known as Theophostic Prayer ministry,  Theophostic being derived from two Greek words that together mean “the light of God.” Instead of using hypnosis to help you remember traumatic events and associated emotions, Theophostic Prayer ministry is focused on identifying the lie-based core belief that we harbor and seeking the Lord Jesus in prayer to receive his counsel through the presence of the Holy Spirit. I have included a link to an article written by my therapist, Frank Meadows, for the Christian Broadcasting Network. It is very informative and explains the process a whole lot better then I ever could. I just read the article and others and I can’t wait for tomorrow!

http://www1.cbn.com/prayer/theophostic-healing-prayer

Blessings to You, Barney