I like routines, do you? – A Fresh Perspective

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I am in year 3 of my blog.

In the early days of this blog, there are posts that received little exposer.

I have a new category ‘Reruns – A Fresh Perspective’.  This category reposts these earlier posts that received little exposer and a fresh perspective on how I feel about them today.

This post was originally posted on May 15, 2015 –

rou·tine

/ro͞oˈtēn/

1. a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.

“I settled down into a routine of work and sleep”

synonyms: procedure, practice, pattern, drill, regimen;

I like routines, do you?  We all have them in our everyday life; we follow them without even thinking about them.  We have routines in all parts of our lives: personal, work, social, family, relationships.

Think about it, everything we do every day is a routine.  What do you do first thing in the morning upon rising?  How do you dress yourself, left sock first or right sock first?  How do you open your car door and what is the first thing you do in the car, start it first and then put your seat belt on or buckle your seat belt then start the car?  Do you have a routine of what time to eat your meals every day, when to exercise, when to run errands or what day of the week to do laundry?

I like routines, do you?  I like them because for me personally they keep me stable, sane and balanced.  Routines are constant and constant is familiarity: knowing something, feeling close to it and feeling good about it.  Routines that are constant keep us focused and not having to put much effort into them, they are as natural as breathing, sleeping, seeing, hearing and thinking.  They just occur and we let them take us through our day.

I like routines, do you?  Routines can sometimes not be good for us and may even cause harm, pain, heartache, suffering, stagnation and yes even death.  Am I the only one who thinks about these things, about routines and how they control us?  Really think about it.  I have routines I live by every day of my life, both good ones and bad ones.  I allow them to control me to the point, that if one routine changes, it causes me to become disturbed and I let the change in routine ruin my day.  I am trying to change the results I experience due to the changed routines in my life.  Doing things differently is good at times, some routines need to be changed and with that change brings acceptance and freedom.

I like routines, do you?

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A Fresh Perspective –

I still like my routines, but I no longer allow them to control me and ruin my day if they change.  When this post was originally published Gary and I were living in a 4000-sq. ft. home and therefore I had my time and space to myself in the mornings, which I greatly enjoyed.  Today we live in a 300-sq. ft. RV and the morning routine at times changes daily.  And that is okay, I have learned to let go and as they say, ‘Go with the flow’.

no noise please

Living and Learning –

I have written in past posts the difficulty I had learning as a child.  You can read more about these difficulties in these posts ‘Learning the Hard Way‘, and ‘A Slow Learner am I‘.   I was labeled as a ‘slow learner’ and a child with ‘learning disabilities’.  Per Dictionary.com, certain criteria consider me ‘retarded’.

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Some of those learning difficulties I had as a child continues today.  The difference is today I understand and accept that which makes it difficult for me to learn.  But, still today at times I become frustrated with the learning process.  The frustration is mainly due to my learning style or method being interrupted and then concentration is lost.  First of all, I am a visual person: I need to see something to learn something.  Me sitting and listening to a lecture is a lost cause – I will receive very little from it.  And if there is a visual portion, I may receive a little more, but I need my own set of visuals to learn.

And for me I learn best by myself; reading, researching, documenting, speaking out loud to myself – this is a great learning method for me.

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I also need quite time, no noise please.  No TV in the background and sorry Gary – no phone calls with speaker phone – please?

In the last job I held before retiring, I was a IT Quality Assurance Specialist.  This company created software for devices related to delivery of communication.  On the surface of any software; what the end-user sees and uses – we take for granted that it will work.  If it does not work, someone did not do their job, usually that someone is Quality Assurance.  My job was to make sure the software worked per specifications and requirements and it would not break anything else and it would be easy for the end-user to understand and use.

Sounds like an easy job, right?

For me not so easy, but I did find it challenging – and challenging is a good thing.

I would arrive early in the morning; several hours before anyone would else because I needed my quite time, no noise please.

You see, I had much to learn about those specifications and requirements I just mentioned.  They were complicated and I had to know them inside and out; it was my job to ensure the software worked as it should.  So there I was early in the morning with no noise no interruptions with my visuals and I read, researched, documented and spoke out loud to myself.  I learned my way and I was excellent at my job.

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Children and adults learn different ways – there are many different styles and methods to learning.

What about you, how do you like to learn?

My Best Version

I am wrapping-up some topics that I started to write about and never did finish.  This post I started early last year, and then it sat quietly waiting for me to complete it.

Because my OCD tells me that if I start something I must complete it; this also applies to posts I write – I will be bothered if I do not complete them – so, here I am finishing this post and concluding this topic.

This year will bring many different topics to write about and I have a feeling this one will not be one of them and will be left in the past.

So here we go –

In my post ‘BPD; is this me?‘, I wrote the following –

After I wrote this comment, I decided to do some online research on Borderline Personality Disorder, and after reading several websites, “Yes, this is me.”

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I do not recall ever receiving this diagnosis during my therapy years and I found that Borderline Personality Disorder was not an official diagnosable disorder until 1980.  The late 80s and the 90s are the years I received therapy that was really geared more for my depression, what was causing it and how to get through it.  There were never underlining disorders that were treated, but me knowing me and hindsight being 20/20 indicates I most likely had an underlining issue.

So, I decided to diagnosis myself and believe this is just one of many reasons for the person I am today.

In today’s post I write the following –

I have performed some additional research on Borderline Personality Disorder.  And the results are maybe I do not have BPD; maybe I am looking to label myself so that I can help myself – you know, find a cure for myself.  But then again, why do I need a label?  Why not view myself as an individual and work on myself as an individual.  All these years, this is what I have been doing.

Several months ago, I was watching a movie and heard the phrase ‘I spent a lifetime looking for a lifetime.’  That is what I have been doing all these years and I need no label – I am who I am.

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As my wonderful friend and fellow blogger Osyth put it in her magnificent post ‘One shaft of light that shows the way’ –

Death comes to us all and when it does there is no moment to regret the moments that you forgot to be thankful.  So I implore you to put politics aside, squish ill-will, banish anxiety about things you can’t fix and just be the best version of you that you can be.

I am trying to be the best version I can be.  With all my faults, short-comings and defects; I no longer need to label myself with Borderline Personality Disorder or anything else.

Life is short – I will die someday – I will die being the best version I can be.

The Potato Eaters

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75 years before I was born – The Potato Eaters creation began and took almost a year to complete.

What does The Potato Eaters have to do with my blog?  Well, some crazy dude decided poor ugly people are great subjects to paint.  Lucky for him, his craziness made for a very creative mind.  Yes, I am referring to Vincent van Gogh.

theguardian.com article ‘New study claims to find genetic link between creativity and mental illness’ includes the following –

The notion of the tortured artist is a stubborn meme. Creativity, it states, is fuelled by the demons that artists wrestle in their darkest hours. The idea is fanciful to many scientists. But a new study claims the link may be well-founded after all, and written into the twisted molecules of our DNA.

mnn.com article ‘Why genius and madness are connected’ includes the following –

Many of history’s most celebrated creative geniuses were mentally ill, from renowned artists Vincent van Gogh and Frida Kahlo to literary giants Virginia Woolf and Edgar Allan Poe. Today, the fabled connection between genius and madness is no longer merely anecdotal. Mounting research shows these two extremes of the human mind really are linked — and scientists are beginning to understand why.

I do not consider myself a very creative person, but yes I do consider myself sometimes to be mentally ill.  The major depression as a young man has left and never to come back again.  I do have my days that I feel ‘down’, but not depressed – though I may say I feel depressed.  I do feel however; I continue to have a mental illness.  I lose control of myself, I am a control freak, I am OCD, ADD, and I feel I have Borderline Personality Disorder.  But am I creative?  I believe that it is within me and I can be.  I may never paint a The Potato Eaters and sculpt a David or compose a Second Symphony, but I have created some awesome Christmas displays consisting of over 26,000 lights synchronize to music.  I have helped in creating some beautiful landscaping and my writing of my blog is decent.

It may be the bit of craziness in me has helped me to be creative.

vangoghgallery.com has the following –

In May of 1890, after a couple of years at the asylum, he seemed much better and went to live in Auvers-sur-Oise under the watchful eye of Dr. Gachet. Two months later, he died from what is believed to have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound “for the good of all.” During his brief career, he did not experience much success, he sold only one painting, lived in poverty, malnourished and overworked.

As a young man I made those attempts to end my life thinking it was “for the good of all”.  I am still here on this earth with a little creativity and a little mental illness.

Will I be well known someday like Vincent van Gogh?  No I do not think so: I have no The Potato Eaters to leave behind.

A Slow Learner am I

A Slow Learner am I.

I wrote a post in June of last year titled ‘2nd Grade & 2nd Grade‘; I would encourage you click the link and read it.  In that post I ended with the following –

As a young child I thought maybe I was retarded or maybe my parents thought I was.  Growing up into my adult years I thought I was stupid, as an middle aged adult I thought I had ADD and OCD, but now I know I have an intellectual disability.

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In today’s post I write the following –

Google ‘A Slow Learner’ and the first results is from the thehealthsite.com and displays the following –

In order to grasp new concepts, a slow learner needs more time, a number of repetitions, patience and often more resources from teachers to be successful. In children with this condition, reasoning skills are typically delayed, which makes new concepts difficult to learn and grasp.

That was me as a young child, as a teenager later in high school and still today as an adult.  A slow learner am I; it takes me longer to learn and to retain.

In my post ‘ME and ADD‘, I wrote the following –

I have always had issues with concentrating, staying focus, impulsivity along with some emotional difficulties.  As a child this created issues with learning and my self-esteem.  As an adult, I learned to deal with and manage the symptoms resulting in a successful career and personal life – I learned to compensate for my weaknesses.  Many of the symptoms of ADD I continue to deal with on a daily basis and now that I am officially retired from working, some symptoms are stronger.  I believe this is due to the lack of focus I previously had with my job which was motivating, interesting and stimulating.  Now with more free time, feelings of not being in a hurry and having no focus, this has created more chaos then calmness in my mind.

In today’s post, I write the following –

My learning to be easy-going, to be cool under pressure and to handle stress is difficult for me.  A slow learner am I.   Every morning with my exercise and meditation I repeat to myself and remind myself it is a new day and with it comes new opportunities to be a better person.  “Stay calm under pressure”, I tell myself.  “Be patient and not controlling today”, is always a reminder to myself.  “Be the breath and stay in the moment” another important reminder.

A slow learner am I.

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I do learn: I need quite surroundings to read, learn and comprehend.  I learn best when I am regimented, scheduled, and focused.

A slow learner am I.

I will learn, I will overcome, I will achieve, I will become.

A slow learner am I.

Repetition, patience, extra time and additional resources, I will learn.

A slow learner am I.

I will learn, I will overcome, I will achieve, I will become.

My Enemy

You may have heard the phrase ‘You are your own worst enemy.’  I know this is true for me.

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When I was a young man I had the picture in my head.  I wanted it badly; but I was my own worst enemy.

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I have my way of doing things: it is my way or no way.  I wanted it badly: but I was my own worst enemy.

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My insecurities my low self-esteem; it was my entire fault.  I wanted it badly: but I was my own worst enemy.

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But, I am slowly getting over this.

malandarras.com article ‘How To Defeat Your Own Worst Enemy’ starts with the following –

For as long as I can remember, I have battled with an enemy.

This enemy followed me everywhere I went.

It talked down to me and told me that I wasn’t as good as everyone else

Made me self-conscious, shy and worried about what other people were thinking

Filtered out good things that happened and told me to focus on only the bad

After decades of battling with my enemy, which I decided was the entire world –  I wore myself out and took a breather to regroup.

And that’s when it hit me.

The enemy was inside me. It had nothing to do with the outside world.  The enemy was a never-ending stream of unspoken thoughts going on in my own head.

Yes, I relate to this.

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In my post ‘Benefits of Therapy’, I wrote the following –

I learned to accept compliments from others without minimizing them.  I learned to be self-confident and to be giving to myself.  I learned and I grew and I became a better person, not a perfect person, but I was a better person.

In my post ‘I am grateful for that person now dead to me’, I wrote the following –

I am grateful for depression, attempted suicides, prescribed medications, many years of therapy, struggles, pain, self-abuse and tears.

I am grateful for many things in my previous life – that someone else that I barely know – a person that is distant and now dead to me.

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You may have heard the phrase ‘You are your own worst enemy.’  I know this was once true for me.

I am an older man and I have the picture in my head.  I want it badly; I am not my own worst enemy.

I had my way of doing things: it is not my way or no way.  I want it badly: I am not my own worst enemy.

I am secure with a high self-esteem; it is no longer my fault.  I want it badly: I am not my own worst enemy.

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to expose me – my voice

I wrote in my post ‘to expose me‘, the following –

Now over 8 months later I have realized fellow bloggers are supportive of me and have welcomed me with open arms and appreciate my writings.  Because of this I decided to expose myself, my identity, to you my fellow bloggers.  But a course I am not doing it all in one post, I still have 3 months to write a post a day.

So I will write a series of posts to expose me – my identity to you and the blogger world.

In today’s post I write the following –

In past years I have documented my thoughts at different times throughout my life by writing them down and by voice recording.  For no particular reason, I usually did not continue the documentation; but these documented thoughts are fragments of my life, that are being brought together here on my blog.  Back in 2009, I made a voice recording where I speak about where I am in my life at that time.  I have a need to write a book, to write about my life, my struggles from years ago and those that continue to exist today.

Here is an excerpt from that voice recording from 2009, several months after my 49th birthday.  This voice recording is part of my ‘to expose me’ series; this is me – my voice –

suicide – it sounds peaceful, it sounds calm

In my post ‘It was time to end my life’, I wrote the following –

I was scared and most likely was attempting suicide as a cry for help and not really wanting to end it all.  Some people say those that attempt or commit suicide are cowards and want an easy way out.  But when you feel out of control and thoughts of hurting others are in your mind and there seems no end to suffering and pain and people are telling you they do not understand you or you need help but they are not helping or supporting you and your weakness prevails – how do you keep going?

In today’s post, I write the following –

Recently I recording my voice early morning and these are the words I spoke –

Suicide, do I still think about it? Yes – almost on a daily basis!  Why do I not want to live?  Why am I living?  I am living for other people; my kids – why I don’t’ know; my husband – why I don’t know.  Will they all be better without me in their lives – without me being here?  Maybe I live because someday I will be happy, really truly happy – but then again I don’t think I will be ever.  The struggles that I still deal with though they are much milder and calmer than when I was a young man in my twenties, they are still in my mind; they are still a constant reminder everyday – here with me experiencing the turmoil that goes on in my mind.  It is difficult for me; it’s tiring, I’m fatigued from fighting everything that goes on in my mind.

Can I go get on some medication?  Yes, I could and that would probably help – but then I feel like I lose the fight.  I feel like that I am just existing and not becoming; becoming better; becoming stronger – but just existing and accepting.  To me that’s not, that’s not good enough.  I have to fight I have to struggle, I have to keep moving forward; I have to keep going with the flow and working on myself and becoming a better person.  That’s maybe what my life is about – I don’t’ know.  Is it exhausting and tiring?  Yes, it is and when I get that way that’s when I think about suicide; that’s when I think about death, that’s when I think about not being here – not existing, not breathing; but just being gone from this world, from this body, from this mind and being non-existent.

It sounds peaceful, it sounds calm, it sounds internal; it sounds like something that’s good to me, something that I want.  But as long as I am still here I am not going to commit suicide – I will not do it.  And though my mind tells me it is an option, there is that conscience part of me that says no, it is not an option.  And I struggle with this still; but it will not ever happen and I will keep fighting the good fight and I will keep continuing to move forward.  And I will keep struggling even though the process may hurt other people I will keep doing it; keep trying.  But it is exhausting sometimes, it’s very exhausting and I lose control and sometimes I just don’t know what to do anymore.

But I keep trying.

 

Benefits of Therapy

Many of you know I dealt with major depression as a young man in my 20s that led me to attempted suicides and a long road to recovery and discovery.

My attempted suicides occurred in or around 1987 and this is when the long road of therapy would begin.  I remember visiting several different psychiatrists & psychologists over the first couple of years.  2 years later, after my wife and I got back together after a separation I had the desire to move to a new location.  To start fresh in a new location, my wife, kids and I moved to where I currently live today.  This was in 1989 and upon moving I found a therapist I was comfortable with,  My journey to continue my self-helping and self-healing would continue for another 12 years.  There was the taking of medication to control my depression and anxiety: there was individual therapy and eventually group therapy.

It took me approximately 13 years to learn about me, to understand me and to understand my thinking and to understand my behaviors.  These years of therapy gave me the strength to overcome a major depression that once was going to cause my death.  These years of therapy raised my self-esteem and to have a better self-awareness and a better understanding.  These years of therapy helped to better my relationships with family and friends.  These years of therapy led me to no longer needing medications to control my behavior and control my mind.

I learned to accept compliments from others without minimizing them.  I learned to be self-confident and to be giving to myself.  I learned and I grew and I became a better person, not a perfect person, but I was a better person.

In 2001 that long road of therapy would end with the not needing medication any longer, I was feeling great and decided to end my individual and group therapy.  The day had come that I had worked for so very long, so many years, so many medications, so many therapy sessions, it was all coming to an end.

As I said goodbye to my therapist and my friends I met in group therapy, it was tough.  I may never see these people again; I shared my personal life with these people for many years, these friends who in return helped me to overcome difficulties and to love myself.

People come and go in our lives, some for a brief time and others for a longer stay – saying goodbye to these people is just part of the journey in life.

These people I said goodbye to many years ago, but the memories I have of them are still with me today.

The therapy I said goodbye to many years ago, but the benefits I gained from it will last a lifetime.

‘he’ is coming back to me now

I wrote in my post ‘The Evil Person Inside’, the following –

The majority of the time I am an ordinary person doing ordinary things.  But then there are times the evil person appears.  When the evil person appears, I am destructive, abusive and my physical body is consumed with uncontrollable rage and anger.  These episodes do not occur on a routine basis and will come out of nowhere, unexpected at times and I am unable to find the strength to control this part of me during these episodes.  After these episodes, I hate myself and feel ashamed of my behavior and the usual destructive results.  Why is there an evil person inside, or is it really an evil person to begin with?

In today’s post I write the following –

I read many posts every day and comment for many different reasons.  One reason is that I relate to the content of the post; what the writer is expressing.  One blog I follow, I read their posts every day and we have become friends.  Recently I read a post of theirs and the content brought strong emotions within me.  I literally had a few tears starting to appear within my eyes.  The words written of an experience this blogger went through reminded me of me.  It was not that I experienced what the blogger went through, but it was that I was the other person in the post.

I can be the evil person who appears out of nowhere only to hide once again till future events bring me out of darkness.  This evil person has emerged a couple of times recently, and ‘he’ is coming back to me now.  ‘he’ of long ago that I have kept under control wants to emerge once again.  What is taking place and why is this happening now?  Is it the stress of the major location move and all it entails?  Is it the worry I have about my health, the not knowing what is taking place within my body?

I am weak at the moment; recently I have been going to bed crying myself to sleep.  And the day after reading this blogger’s post, the next morning I woke to crying and realizing my weakness in the current is a break that the ‘he’ of long ago has been waiting for.  This particular morning, upon crying and thinking about ‘he’ of long ago, a song came to my mind.  The ‘you’ in these lyrics are the ‘he’ within me.

Some lyrics from ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me’ sung by Celine Dion –

But you were history with the slamming of the door

 And I made myself so strong again somehow

 And I never wasted any of my time on you since then

 But if I touch you like this

 And if you kiss me like that

 It was so long ago

 But it’s all coming back to me