Archives for posts with tag: Mental Health

Yes I’ve emerged from the black hole once again.  Life has gotten in the way somehow–and we all know that when it rains, it pours and one misfortune can easily call up a bunch of other misfortunes in a short period of time, sweeping us away in a torrent of self-pity, regret, anger, and depression as we constantly ask ourself “Why did it have to happen to me?”  There is no satisfactory answer because the presence of the misfortune in and of itself will eclipse any philosophical or religious feel good point of view shared with us.

While it seems that the path of least resistance is to just allow the downhill slide of emotions, sometimes we are fortunate enough to be in the midst of people who will not allow us to go down that road.  They will try to pull us out of our misery with advice and attention and discussion but we may resent them for being cheerful or optimistic and think that they would not know how it feels unless they are in our situation.  It is most likely true that other people do not know or will not know how we really feel unless they themselves have gone through what we have gone through–but what are the chances that they go through the exact same thing?

Nonetheless, it doesn’t make their well wishes and good intentions any less viable.  After all, in the midst of misfortune, being able to keep our wellbeing and sanity would already seem like a huge blessing and sometimes, it is.  It’s a great starting point for being able to pick up the pieces and get past the rubbish and the rubble of whatever has occurred.  We must take our lessons for people who are doing well in life mentally, psychologically, emotionally, and physically.

It might seem to us that it’s sheer accident that some people are doing well and some people aren’t.  It might seem that it’s all the luck of the draw. However, once we have gotten sick and tired of our whining and wallowing in our own misery, and we are lucky to not have drowned in it, we might realise one thing about these people–Winners do not wallow.  They survive not by sheer chance or laziness.  If we examine their lives, they have a lot of setbacks as well–on different scales and of different qualities as our own, but one thing you won’t hear them do is bring it up over and over again.  They do not drag around the corpse of defeat and misfortune with them and that makes all the difference.

If wallowing were a sport, I might be a professional at it  However, it’s a profession that doesn’t have a good return of investment so I have to rethink this preoccupation.  Less wallowing might not ward off life’s challenges but it doesn’t help as well, it also makes our disposition sour and disagreeable and causes life to be more unpleasant. While there are a lot of things which are not going quite right, and while there are a lot of things which still want for improvement, we can make it easier for ourselves to look at people who have made it and be inspired by their example.

Undoubtedly, people who have it together have other qualities and habits which make them thrive in life, but even if we learn just one thing from them for starters is that they do not make it a habit to wallow in misery and replay the past in their heads, they are fully in the present moment with their eyes set on the future, no matter how hard or difficult the past has been, they do not let it factor into their present endeavours.  This is something worth striving for–a step in the right direction.

(c) Niconica 2015

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It seems that somewhere along the way the real essence of weddings has gotten lost in the billion-dollar wedding industry.  We are being sold a dream and a fantasy while we lose our grips on reality on one of our most important life decisions.  There are only a few things more important that selecting our life partner and we must not get lost in the illusions which popular media and society have created.  

We may be exposed to Western television series which portray divorces to be as casual as break-ups, but we still live in a society where divorces are not legally allowed and annulments are mentally, psychologically, and financially costly.  With this in mind, our society encourages the idea of lavish weddings which may allow the faint-hearted to lose their grips on reality.

The wedding is not the endgame.  It’s just the beginning.  Therefore impractical notions should be checked at the door.  We cannot judge the quality of a relationship or a marriage on how much the weddings costs and how flamboyant the celebration was.  These are not definitive factors of what is more important–the relationship of the couple and their marriage and family life together. 

Truth be told, the wedding is merely a means to and end–which is joining ourselves legally with the person that we love and being able to start society sanctioned life and family together.  It was probably a bigger deal in the olden times when there was no indoor plumbing, no vaccinations, no electricity, and no modern conveniences–therefore weddings were a means to literally surviving. 

I think that we have, as a society, become obsessed with the trappings that we have lost the point entirely. We must endeavour to always keep it real. 

(c) Niconica 2014

When we reach our thirties and forties, many of our friends and acquaintances have most likely gotten married and already have kids or are having kids.  Being single among our peers might make us stand out like a sore thumb and make us wonder whether there might be something wrong with ourselves–and similarly others might have the same thoughts about us.  After all, if we were probably more emotionally skilful or otherwise appealing, shouldn’t someone have snagged us by now?

It might also make us emotionally inept.  Lacking experiences, we might be wont to believe the anecdotes of our married pals who do not have a successful marriage and therefore have the time to still hang out with us and ‘kiss and tell’ so to speak.  The successfully married ones are less wont to tell interesting stories or spend time elaborating about the virtues of being single or go on about the woes of being ‘too loved’ by their wives that they feel that they are emotionally tethered and unable to be free.

We must beware of drinking water from a polluted well even when it’s the only one available.  At the risk of stating the obvious, these unhappily married people are the polluted wells I speak of, they are widely available and have the time to share their emotional toxins and negative thoughts and woes with anyone who would care to listen, and we might think that their tales are cautionary and informative of what might be to come for ourselves.

We must not seek advise or tips on having a healthy relationship or marriage from people who have failed miserably at it, despite their protests that they had nothing to do with the pitiable state of their relationship and claim to be the hapless victims in the situation.  As a friend, perhaps we might lend an ear to them if they need to share their story but we must discern that their predicaments need not create a map of fear in our heads about what relationships might be like–and make us cling to being single and causing us our chances at having a happy and healthy relationship.

When we drink (or take advise) from ‘polluted wells’ (negative people) we are setting ourselves up to fail by being contaminated by their thoughts, behaviours, and misconceptions.  We have probably lived in this world long enough to know that each experience requires our participation and it is very rare to find a relationship failing at the hands of merely only person.  We may wish to provide more wholesome point of views to our unfortunate friends and help them improve their relationships instead of enabling their negative thought patterns, or even worse, adopting their tainted view on relationships.

Do not seek advice about health from a sick person.  Do not seek guidelines on a successful relationship from someone who has failed/failing/ailing relationships.  It is simply this simple.  If we forget this fact, we will doom ourselves to follow in their footsteps and we will have no one but ourselves to blame for allowing it.

(c) Niconica 2013

 

Perhaps there is some virtue in dragging out a situation for longer than is needed, but I can’t seem to see it.  I think that there are some things which have gone out of fashion together with the horse and carriage, and the manual churning of butter.  While advertising seems to extol the values of good old fashioned processes, I think that extending a courtship past a certain point just feels pointless and reeks of disrespect for the time and feelings of the other person.

Time is money and in the realm of budding relationship it also equates to emotional investment which is the currency of emotional connections.  The more time spent on getting to know the person may just equate to more emotional pain when the bandage is suddenly ripped out and the final results kick in.  I think that past a certain point, mulling over the viability of a relationship is just plain indecisiveness in disguise.

When we get to a certain age, we have an idea of what we prefer and it’s just insulting to claim to have no idea what one feels.  If it happens to be true then we might be emotionally retarded and that is just another matter entirely.  Nevertheless, it’s never too soon to to cut someone loose when we don’t have the intention of carrying through a committed relationship with them.  It’s cruel to drag a situation on with no intention of taking it to a more serious level.

We live in a fast-paced world whether we like it or not and when we take too much time to decide on whether someone is right for us, we might risk disrespecting their precious time and inadvertently lead them on–and this is just plain wrong and many other things along those lines.  It is true that only fools rush in but at the same time, taking too long is just similarly foolish, but only in a different manner.

It’s all well and good to go at snail’s pace during the time when there was still no electricity or even no internet, but in this day and age where everyone needs to earn a living and is not merely in a manor waiting for their servants to cater to their every move, we must be mindful of the opportunity costs our dillydallying may be causing the other person–or even ourselves if the other person decides to go for other options due to the prolonged mind games and lack of emotional clarity and direction.

(c) Niconica 2013

The wide-eyed idealism which kept us in its thrall during our early twenties as we emerged from the rebellious teen years will be sorely tested and destroyed after at least three decades of existence when we realize that the notion that we can determine our fate is a limited one because there are many things which are beyond our control.  

It is said in Buddhism that the nature of human existence is such–plagued by constant change, uncertainty, and suffering.  We acknowledge the truth in this yet we do not fail to be surprised or shocked when people around us suddenly fall ill or die.  Another relative has been rushed to the ICU again and it is jarring because one minute, everything seems like it is going well, and the next minute, everything can be swept out from under us. 

The feeling of calm and peace is only there until, it is not.  Last year was punctuated by many upheavals, and just when I thought that perhaps this year might be different, here we go again.  It got me to thinking about how luck runs out and how it affects our lives.  Of course, luck is a cavalier way of putting it because luck is not accidental.

Even chaos theory perpetuates that there is some order in what appears to be utter chaos and this is the same way with good and bad luck which we perceive we experience.  Good fortune is not capriciously bestowed by a God or a pantheon of gods randomly, and the same goes for misfortune.  We are far enough into the age of science that we know that everything which happens is caused by other phenomenon.  Every single effect has a cause.  

This is the same way with good health, luck, and fortune.  These pleasant experiences are a result of good merit which we have acquired in this lifetime or perhaps previous lifetimes if we do so believe in reincarnation.  There is a time lapse between cause and effect at times so it is not always the case that doing a good deed immediately yields a positive result but we can be sure that any action which we undertake is not lost in the cosmos. 

When we observe that one’s luck is running out, it is simply because one is running low on the factors which cause good luck or health, which are merits accrued through good deeds and helping others; consequently, the unpleasant circumstances arise due to the negative seeds which have been planted in the past.  We know that seeds do not immediately sprout into plants or trees, and it takes certain causes and conditions, as well as time, so see the growth of the plant coming into fruition and it is the same way with ‘luck’ as we designate it.

When one’s luck appears to be running low or running out, it might be a wake up call to replenish the lucky currency which is good karma or merits which can be accumulated through helping others and alleviating others’ suffering.  This is a way to keep some control over circumstances in our lives even if the past cannot be altered and we might have to reap what we have sown, it need not be the case that what we reap should always be negative.  It is upon us to decide and make a choice now as to what our future might be–whether in this life, or the next.

(c) Niconica 2013 

 

It has been said that idle minds are the devil’s playground and it certainly applies in the realm of romance when we are suffering the pangs of unrequited love.  If we are mature enough to not stalk or prostrate before the object of one’s affections and beg for their love or attention, then we must know that keep ourselves occupied with something other than thoughts of the person whom we believe has ‘broken our hearts’ is the best way to deal with this.  It does not pay to go down the road of wishful thinking nor speculation as to why we have found ourselves in such a predicament.

The facts are clear when the person is not inclined to reciprocate our feelings–we need not delve into their inner thoughts not intentions because no good can come of it.  We must also avoid thinking that there is something that we can actually do to win their affections because once it becomes very clear to us that it is a lost cause–it often is a lost cause.  It can be hoped that we have lived in the world sufficiently long enough to harbour a realistic worldview which includes knowing that there are many things–in fact, most things–out of our control, and this just happens to be one of them.

As much as we would want things to turn out a certain way because we are convinced that they are our soul mates or that they are perfect for us, we must swallow the painful truth that they cannot be perfect for us because no one is perfect as well as the fact that they cannot be our soul mate if we don’t even warrant a strong or intense romantic response from their part.  True, soul mates can come in the form of friends, but that’s another topic altogether.  Back to the topic of dealing with unrequited love, we must strive to channel our frustration elsewhere and it would be good if we use the energy towards something which benefits the world in general such as volunteering for worthy causes, or raising funds for a non-profit organisation, or even, simply by donating time, money, or goods to charity.

There are many things which are out of our control.  We cannot make someone who doesn’t love us, love us… But instead of becoming a whirling dervish of gloom, we can instead choose to give happiness to others who need them even more instead of sulking and pining to the detriment of our own physical and mental health–as well as those who are around us who have to put up with our black moods.  Ideally, we must learn to accept the situation and let go of it but it might be too much to ask so perhaps keeping busy would be a better immediate antidote which might lead to eventually being able to let go.

(c) Niconica 2013

Perhaps it is because we are used to the constant motion around us–fast food, fast internet, fast love–that when everything suddenly falls quiet, we go into a tailspin and we wonder what is going on.  It incites anxiety and even panic.  It does happen though and more than once, and to more than just us, that communication with a certain romantic interest suddenly stops, and we wonder whether they have fallen into a black hole or have been eaten up by wolves or something.  As painful as it may be to hear it, chances are, they are completely fine and have all their limbs intact; it’s just that their opposable thumbs or any other finger is occupied with whatever is holding their attention instead of sending us a quick e-mail, a short SMS, or giving us a call as we might have wished.

They have not fallen into the black hole, but we have.  We have fallen into the void.  We find ourselves stuck and lost in a vacuum wondering what happened and what it is that has occurred to cause the ceasing of all communication and we wonder what we have done to cause it.  We then sink into a depressive reverie which we should eventually manage to extricate ourselves from, for our own good.  They might have a perfectly good reason for not contacting us that has nothing to do with us, or on the other hand, they might just not be inclined to continue further contact with us because we might have fallen into the background noise in their lives, or they might actually be avoiding us.

Short of confronting them about not being able to warrant their attention, or manipulating them, we must eventually come to terms with the fact that we cannot fore anyone to sincerely communicate with us.  Manipulation and guilt trips backfire on us because it takes too much trouble to sustain and even if we have the energy and the time to do so, we would know deep inside that whatever they are giving us is not out of their own volition and this will eventually consume us–if it doesn’t, it should. It is not pleasant to be in the chasm of not knowing what is going on and why we are not hearing from them, but we must grapple and eventually accept that this is out of our control, and what is in our control is our own lives, and our own actions.

It may not be easy to reconcile the painful sensation of being rejected, ignored, or overlooked but if we have at least three decades in us or more, chances are, we have survived worst than this communication blackout and we will just learn to call it a day and move forward.  We can tell ourselves that we have given our best effort to earnestly initiate a romantic connection with someone and it has not been reciprocated.  And this is all we could have done, because there is such a thing as free will and it is crucial to be able to respect and remember this fact.

(c) Niconica 2013

 

What do we do with the broken pieces of our relationships? Is there any chance of assembling them back together into something coherent or workable? I’ve recently had the excruciating experience of trying to work through issues with someone and it ended up pretty much the way it started–proverbially still shattered and in a thousand pieces, if not even worse.

I have a few guesses as to why the issues were not resolved–and it is not because they couldn’t be resolved, but it was because our own personal issues were in the way and we were not on the same page. On the surface, we both agreed that perhaps it was time to have “the talk” and try to work through or discuss what had been troubling us, but when it came down to it, one of us didn’t mean it and/or wasn’t ready to be honest about the issues or be on the same page.

When this happens, instead of kneeling down on the ground and helping each other pick up the pieces, we end up cutting ourselves when we are not careful or using one of the loose shards as either a destructive weapon or as an object for self-defense.  There were too many factors which contributed to the failure of the crucial and very difficult conversation–among which are pride, ego, dishonesty, a lack of trust and openness.

Whatever went wrong, the broken pieces still lie there without being swept up or tidied… and it is very painful to not be able to reach an agreement with someone about how to fix a relationship when someone is not ready to be upfront about crucial issues or even the premise of the discussion.  If the basis of the discussion is denied, then anything that ensues after that becomes moot.

So, here I am with the broken pieces and unsure of how to proceed. It can be said that we should recognize a lost cause when we see one, but on the other hand, it can also be said that perhaps with a little bit more discussion and determination, an agreement can be reached… Who knows, but perhaps when there is an impasse, it’s best to pause and regroup and see it how it goes before reentering the “discussion” as it were; lest it feel more like a battlefield.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s

When any relationship is built, it is important–and necessary–that it be built on solid ground. This entails being clear on what the relationship is and where it is heading and being able to communicate it to the other person unambiguously.

If one or the other party is not on the same page as to what the relationship is and where it is heading, then it cannot be considered that the relationship is on solid ground… and yet many a relationship has been built on such precarious premises.

So let’s back up a bit and examine whether it is worth proceeding with the pseudo-relationship and ask ourselves whether we really deserve to be in such a position.  It is imperative that before any lasting foundation is built–metaphorically or otherwise–that we check for solid ground, without which it might be wise to seek another more conducive site to build our lives and dreams on.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s

In a relationship, sometimes it’s not so much the actual presence or absence of the person or the frequency of interaction as much as the feeling of safety where it is understood that one won’t be rejected or abandoned.

The fear of rejection or abandonment can be so primal and embedded that to admit it would make one unbearably vulnerable that despite its relevance to the dialogue, it would be the last thing ever to be discusses or revealed.

This factor then makes the situation more complex in that the other person involved is not aware of the crucial element to be considered and would in effect be feeling rather confused about the dynamic of the situation.

When a person in the relationship is acting out, before anything else, it needs to be established that the relationship is a safe place where issues can be brought up and discussed and the concerns would be treated seriously without the other party leaving or rejecting the other.

Usually a safe zone is established by making a commitment to the other and while ultimately there are no guarantees, the context of the commitment creates a safety net for both people to interact… More so than if there was no agreed upon commitment or relationship.

So in undefined or “it’s complicated” pseudo-relationships, things tend to get messy precisely because of the lack of the safety net which a mutually committed relationship provides.

This then entails that one or both partners must constantly watch out for themselves because any moment could be the last moment in the relationship.

And as time passes and the situation gets more serious and/or convoluted, the hidden vulnerabilities surface and cause more tension without being able to be addressed properly without entwining serious risks in the pseudo-relationship.

Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place.

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s