Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Question from A Reader

Here is a question, a burning desire, from a fellow reader Kelly

Here is here question;

" Hi, I have a question. I'm having a terrible struggle with thoughts of death -- my death, the death of my qualifier -- and they're nonstop. Every awake moment is torture. Which step, slogan, or other reading would be most helpful. I've been focusing on step one and applying it to death in general -- that I'm powerless over death. But even that thought is frightening.


fulltimedad said...

Hello Kelly

I would like to offer you my perspective. My qualifer and soon-to-be ex-wife torments me and tortutes my soul. It has advanced to the stage that merely talking with her it toxic to me. Her attempted manipulation is so blatant it is pathetic to me but others seem to get sucked in.

When I started this process I begain to feel like I wanted to just die. I didn't want to commit suicide rather I just wanted the end to come so that I would stop suffering. I considered checking myself into a psychiatric ward. Soon thereafter I saw my Primary Care MD and he noticed my affect - it's not like I could hide it.

I told him that I was in despair, that I wanted to live and thrive again but that the misery was so intense that I would equally welcome a natural death. In talking about it with him I slowly began to find ways to change my affect, including a couple of books that were so well written that they effected sudden changes.

I never wanted my qualifier to die really. I have said that but I have said it out of frustration and anger. I don't REALLY want her to die. I want her to recover and be a mom to our kids or to go away and leave me the hell alone.

Some of the books that I really connected with: Breaking free from the Victim Trap, Regaining your Personal Power; Escape from Intimacy; Co-Dependent No More; How Al-Anon Works (Part 1.)

I will keep you in my thoughts.

Syd said...

Kelly, I find that saying the Serenity Prayer over and over helps when I am having a bad time. It becomes my mantra. And you might also want to pray the St. Francis prayer. It is a wonderful calming prayer.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. If you are having thoughts about your own death or suicide, you should not be asking us you should seek professional mental health counseling immediately. Your doctor can refer you to someone.

When my qualifier was drinking heavily I used to pull into my garage every evening and wish I was dead. That is an awful, awful feeling. I had myself so worked up about his drinking and had imagined all of the worst possible outcomes for my family in the future. It truly made me crazy! My imagination and fears had run away with me! I was not at all keeping the focus on me and what I could do for myself. I was totally and completely 24 hours a day obsessing about his drinking.

I went to a couple of different counselors and finally ended up getting referred to and seeing a psychiatric nurse practioner. I was on anti-depressants for 4-6 months then got off them. The meds definintely got me through a rough patch. There is no need to be embarrassed to ask for help. The brain has its chemical processes which can be disrupted temporarily by grief, shock, etc.

If you find the first counselor you see not to be much help, keep looking. Not all mental health workers are created equal. You need to give it time for the therapist-patient rapport to develop. You should find someone you are comfortable talking to who is actually helping you. If after sometime goes by and you still feel awful, keep searching.

Once I got over that really awful depression and started eating right, sleeping, and excercising, my brain became more receptive to the Alanon message and slogans and things began to slowly change for the better.

Finding a counselor is your first step in taking care of you/ keeping the focus on what you can do. My heart goes out to you.


Anonymous said...

My suggestion is that you read, The Power of Now, and, A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle.

I realize these books are not alanon approved literature but I've read Joe's blog referencing the book A New Earth in the past for very good is a very valuable book.

The idea is that "now" is all we have and the goal is to stay present in "now" to achieve awareness and peace. I recommend it to anyone obsessing over anything and it is really and truly helping me heal.

Also..."live and let live" comes to mind...with emphasis on the "live" part. To really live I am realizing I must remain in the "now".

Peace to you,

Joe said...

Kelly - I too was worried about the death of my qualifier. I knew she was killing herself. There were things happening to her body that - well - were not normal.

I am not a doctor, but if I described them here - you too would see it that way.

Alcoholism is an insideous disease. It is almost - to me anyway - disease that attracts attention from others and sucks the life out of those of us it attracks.

Our belief is we can fix it. And somewhere it tricks us into thinking we caused it.

My word for you is to - DETACH. With or without love. With love is kind and compassionate with understanding that this is a disease. MOst importantly - it is kind and compassionate toward yourself.

If you have too - just DETACH. Don't get angry or blame or cause anxiety with yourself by arguing, or trying to presuade. The arguing and persuasion part - is the disease working thru us and once again, putting the attention on him/it/the disease.

Think of the disease as a disease except with a psychological attraction that grows by you feeding it with hate, anger, persuasion and frustration.

If you want to defeat it - then of course you would never do the above things. But it has gotten to you and filled you with anxiety and the NEED to control and fix it.

You can't.

The only thing you can fix it YOU. You are numbero uno. You fix yourself and the world is a better place. Family, friends and relatives see you as the good guy and healthy. When you get healthy - you make better choices. You have more options.

I can say all this now. For I am not living with the disease any more. My wife's disease carries on. I see it in her emails and hear it in her voice. She baits me. She wants me to engage. Sometimes I am trapped in the snare and I react. I fall prey to the disease and I am not even living with it. So everything I say above - while it is true - requires real fortitude and strength.

Reprogram yourself and reprogram your responses to your husband.

Reprogram your thoughts of death as perhaps a metaphor that part of your life is perhaps over. Not a physical death - but a mental death.

I felt this "death" - I think we all have. It's called shattered dreams. We lived a life - and wanted something - a vision - a dream of what could be. It maybe that it never materialized, or you saw glimmers of it.

Detach. Detach. Detach.

Focus on yourself is a great slogan.

Read Chapter 10 - hell read all the chapters of How Al-Anon Works.

I really found The New Earth by Tolle and his earlier book the Power of Now great books. I sat and read and reread The New Earth and the Pain-body sections over and over and over all summer. I read - I think it was pages 160 to 220 - about 12 times. In fact, I was thinking just yesterday I need to reread them again. It is about detaching, being powerless over someone else, surrendering your thoughts and realizing your ego - your own ego needs to be fed. The ego wants you to think you are less than. It feeds on your misery. And it makes you see everything is a light of being miserable. First step - be aware of it coming up and starting. It starts as a small voice and then it calls a meeting. The committee meets and you are being knocked around by the voices. FIRE your committee and rehire new people for your committee. You can hire Jesus or Budha or both. What would they be telling you? How about one of your closest friends too? Or someone you admire and respect? Abe Lincoln? It's your head. You can control your head - we just don't. The mind is a terrible master - but a good slave(no offense intended to anyone - it is only a metaphor).

Love yourself. Have compassion for yourself.

See a therapists that DEALS with alcoholism in families.

If you have an EAP program - the program from your work that has trained counsellors they can guide you and provide assistance in finding a therapist/coach/Sherpa.

You are a good and worthwhile person. And everyone is thinking about you.

Anonymous said...

((HUGS)) I wish I could give each of you a big hug. It's amazing how many of us have been through the same thing. fulltimedad, "torment" and "torture" sure describe how I've been feeling lately. I'm thrilled to read that those books were so inspirational to you. I'll definitely check them out.

Syd, I'll check out the St. Francis prayer. The Serenity prayer is the one prayer I've been saying over and over. It helps to some degree.

Anonymous and anonymous, yep, I am obsessed with his drinking 24 hours, now that you mention it. It hadn't occurred to me like that. I think I own one or two Tolle books, and I see Joe also recommends them. I found Oprah's interviews with Tolle intriguing and bought the books but haven't read them yet.

You all have given me lots of tools to try and suggestions, too. I really feel like I'm not alone. And I feel some relief already. Thanks to you all.