You Can Pick Your (fill in the blank), but You Can’t Pick Your Family

I am upset. I am anxious. I don’t exactly know what to do to calm myself. Perhaps watching a movie will help. Perhaps the bubble bath I promised myself with the glass of demi-sec. Maybe all combined. Peace.  Peace.  My mantra tonight is peace. Tranquility. Yes, the best thing I can do for myself is to calm myself and distract myself from my anxiety. Action is the cure for anxiety. A book and a bath and a glass of champagne. Scented water. I was going to use rose petal essential oil.  Lavender? Grapefruit? Warm water. Candle light. Soothing.

OMG.  I feel so much better. I can’t think how long it’s been since I treated myself to a bath. I never really used to like them. I never thought I could take the time. Always something to do. I found some bamboo flute music to download. An hour’s worth. It was blissful. I used to think that the way to feel like a woman was to have a man. I’m finding out that the way to feel good about who you are is to take care of yourself. I’m learning. I once gave Terrence* a bath. The same treatment that I hadn’t given myself in years. I didn’t necessarily have expectations of him giving me one in return. But it would have been nice. I was barking up the wrong tree. I don’t need a man for that. I can do that for myself–I just did. Yay me! My birth-father says that right about the time you realize you don’t need a relationship is the time you’re ready for one. I appreciate his wisdom and his care so very much. I am so fortunate to have him in my life.

The scary thing about the way I was feeling this morning is that I’m afraid it will never end, which makes me even more frightened. Once I get into that place of feeling afraid, it is so hard to break out of it. I really need to take my EFT seriously. I haven’t done it in ages. It’s a significant tool for reducing anxiety. I don’t know where my dvd is. I don’t know where my book is! I will not upset myself with that right now. I will not destroy the calm I worked to achieve.

I do have a significant number of tools in my mental health toolbox at my disposal and I must be sure to utilize them: 1.) medication; 2.) therapy; 3.) exercise; 4.) EFT; 5.) this blog; 6.) talking to friends; 7.) journal writing; 8.) Play soothing music (I’m listening to Veni Creator Spiritus Canto Gregoriano right now); 9.) action upon what is making me anxious, or any action at all!

Today I saw both my therapist and my psychiatrist. Double the pleasure! I rarely write down my dreams because I take trazodone and I can’t wake up enough to do so. But I had a dream the night before last, actually it must have been before I woke up, and I immediately came to the computer and wrote it down. Laila, you’re going to love this (!  I took it to my therapist this morning and we worked on it. Dr. M. says that the way she sees dreams is clusters of feelings and concerns to which the subconscious gives imagery. She says dreams are always weird, but they always have something to tell us. This is how it went:

Until a few years ago, reunions on my father’s side of the family were held in the Ozarks. This dream was set there. It didn’t look like any place we stayed, but as is so frequent in dreams, it had that quality of knowing where you are even though the landscape is different. Each cabin had a fishing hole in front of it. It wasn’t a lake or a stream, it was a small deep oval hole, with circumference of maybe 10-15 feet, and it was dark. From the first I saw it, I wanted to go fishing. In real life I am not much of a fisher-person. Okay, I admit, I’m not a fisher-person at all. But I had a child-like excitement of something not regularly done to go fishing. My mother, father, sister, and I were all there. Interestingly enough, my brother wasn’t (perhaps because he is 8 years younger than I am? Let me leave it at that). The cabin was small, and my sister and I were sharing a room as we did when we were young. Odd, but the room was like an abandoned storage place. It was dusty and dirty, and there were boards and saw horses in it and bunk beds. My sister slept on the bottom bunk and for some reason I tried to make myself comfortable on the boards (perhaps my claustrophobia?). We slept and when we woke up I had bug eggs all over me.  I am easily creeped out by bugs.  The eggs hatched into wiggly little worm-like things.  Double-yuck. Somehow I got them off of me.  The next thing I remember is that I wanted to go fishing but I needed worms (go figure, I could have used the little larvae things). My sister was going to the resort office, and I asked her to get me some. She “forgot” and I asked someone to remind her to get me some, which irritated her (just like I knew it would).  She did end up getting them. My mom came in, and it was somehow nearing dark. She was sad, and I told her to sit down, that I would take care of everything, I would go fishing for our dinner. I sat her in the living room in a comfortable chair with the light on and went out to go fishing. It had started raining, though, and I couldn’t fish. And somehow or another, it rained so much that our cabin was leaking, and there was a room that had a door like loading dock. The water was pouring on the linoleum floor in there, and actually seeping under the linoleum. My father came in by a door next to the bay door with someone and he was angry at me (nothing new). Somehow it was my fault that there was a leak and that it was affecting the floor. The water issue was somehow resolved, the rain had stopped, and I was then sitting outside.  It was evening and there were fireflies flitting through the air. I was sitting on the stairs going outside and I got a text message saying that someone in a chat room didn’t like me. And all of a sudden, there were all kinds of plants and people staring at me from behind them. I went upstairs into a room, and there was what appeared to be a dead body on the floor.  There was a note on the body that said he’d been given some type of body numbing substance, he wasn’t really dead, but I should kill him, because if I didn’t, when the substance wore off, he would kill me.  But I read the note wrong.  I thought it said I shouldn’t kill him.  So, the substance wore off, and he commenced to try to kill me. Initial methods were somehow comical, later methods a little more on point. Then somehow or another, my mom and I were in space, on a space craft. And everyone seemed to be employed by this same company, except perhaps for me. It was decided that I was a spy, and had to be eliminated.  That’s where the dream ended.  Whew!

What the fishing hole reminded Dr. M. of immediately was an expression that she uses about family that isn’t giving or supportive, a family that’s a dry well.  Mine was a cold fishing hole, none-the-less, it wasn’t a warm river bank or a beautiful lake, but a cold dark body of water. What struck me was that I could never seem to get around to doing what I wanted to do which was to go fishing. What struck her was that there were all of these obstacles in the way of me doing what I needed to do to take care of myself–to go fishing in order to feed myself,  they were nearly all put in my way by my family. First there were the creepy crawlies (I had them on my body but my sister didn’t have any on hers,  the fact that I wasn’t sleeping in a habitable room, and I wasn’t sleeping on the only place meant to be slept on, a bed! I chose to sleep on boards instead. Then my sister wouldn’t get the worms for me, and for some reason I couldn’t get them for myself. Further, instead of fishing being something that I wanted to do, it became something I had to do to in order to take care of my mother and myself. Next my father came in, making me responsible and at fault for something having to do with the rented cabin–how could it possibly be my fault that the roof leaked and the water was getting under the flooring? Blustering and angry as he often was and still is! (By the way, even until the end of the dream I never did get to fish or eat!)  Moving to the second part and the misreading of the note, Dr. M. says it’s my psyche’s way of telling me…read the note and get it right or you will die.  The body to me seemed like a sleeping dragon, one that I needed to kill or it would kill me…not that my family would kill me, but seeing my family as I have in the past, as people from whom to get emotional sustenance, only hurts me again and again. I need to let die that vision of my family and see them as they really are– cold dark body of water. The last part of the dream, again, is family-related. My family, except for my mom, united against me–they belong to the company, I am the spy, the outcast. I don’t belong. Hey, but it’s not all grim! We talked about me seeing myself in a different light.  Not as the outcast, but someone who chooses not to participate in the fucked-up family dynamics. And what a good thing it is that my extended family is loving and supportive! And that karma is a bitch! (No, we didn’t talk about that, ha ha! That’s just my little addition).

“The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you.” ~ Kendall Hailey

“The Family – ‘That dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.’” ~ Dodie Smith

“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”  ~ Charles R. Swindoll

I was so very upset yesterday that I didn’t list my gratitudes:

1.) My families – the one that raised me and the one that didn’t.

2.) My children, may I do right by them, my joy and my inspiration, ma raison d’etre.

3.) Dr. M. for keeping me alive and giving me hope, and Dr. K.

4.) Patricia, for teaching me EFT.

5.) Trey*, for far too many reasons to count.

“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” – Confucius


About ZephyrLiving

Join me on my journey, if you like. A return to mental health. When I started with my first blog in 2011, I was three years in. Now it's 2015, and I am so much better. I though I had nothing less to lose. I was so very wrong. So arrogant--or deluded! OCD, Compulsive Hoarding Syndrome, Chronic Depression, PTSD and Histrionic Personality Disorder. A big list, a big task. I've come a long way and still have far to go. But I've built my foundation and I'm working at it every single day! Join me for some laughs, some inspiration, some hope, and support. Peace.
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4 Responses to You Can Pick Your (fill in the blank), but You Can’t Pick Your Family

  1. laila Alive says:

    Oh my! Okay, you win the weirdest dream of the week contest! But so interesting to hear your therapists interpretation of it.

    Perhaps more importantly however….congratulations on taking a bath! (Hahaha….I don’t mean that in the “you stink” kind of way of course, but wouldn’t it be funny if I just ended my comments right there? LOL)

    I’ve only done that a couple times but it is indeed so unbelievably relaxing. Why we can’t manage to do nice things for ourselves like that more often, I don’t know. As if we don’t deserve it (because we do!) or because it’s reserved for something already relaxed, well-balanced, I’m-entitled-to-everything women do. Damn them. Let’s be those people, T!

    Hang in there my dear 🙂 For goodness sakes, turn all that anxiety into excitement. Your muffin is coming into town! Yay!!!

    • zephyrliving says:

      You crack me up. If you’d left your comment hanging right after saying, “congratulations on taking a bath!” I’d have died laughing (and gotten you back! ha ha!) Shoot, Lailita, a candle-lit bath is probably the cheapest form of relaxation after a stressful, difficult day. And I can’t say why I’ve been reluctant in the past. I guess I thought other things were more important.

      So yes, let’s be those woman who take care of ourselves “on the regular” as Trey would say. And speaking of Trey*, work may interfere with his visit. So I’m just hoping we can pull this off, because we’re both looking forward to it so much and needing it so much.

      Love ya girl! Oh, and do I get a prize? For weirdest dream of the week? : )

  2. RubyRed says:

    It’s great that you can remember your dream in enough detail to write it out like that – did you scribble it all down with eyes half-closed before you forgot it? Even the ones I DO remember seem to mostly evaporate by the time I’ve pondered their oddness in the shower for a bit. Although your mention of the hatching egg/creepy-crawly things just made me feel utterly grossed out for a moment there (and I’m not unusually squeamish about such things) while I groped around in my brain to figure out why… and yes, I had a hatching grub-thing dream a couple of nights ago, I now recall. UGH! Mine were nasty insect/worm/yuckything eggs that were hidden between every page I turned in a book that I was reading, and I (rather stupidly) shook the book, very hard, to get all the eggs out. Then they hatched into nasty tiny revolting things that bit my cats and poisoned them, and I was running around trying to save them. I had TOTALLY forgotten that, until I read about your hatching eggs. There was more to it than that, but… I’d need some more cues to remember what happened!

    Anyway… I digress (all I ever do is digress, I think), what I actually originally wanted to say was that I’m impressed at anyone who has mastered the noble art of taking a bath as relaxation. I always run the stupid bath, fill it up with lovely scented stuff, light some candles, turn up the nice relaxing music, get in there and then… yeah. After about two minutes I’m bored and distracted and thinking it’s time to get out. This relaxing bath stuff should be pretty elementary, but I’ve never quite got a handle on it!

    Wait… you had a book. And a glass of champagne. Were these IN the bath? If so, I may have figured out where I’m going wrong. Books and glasses of champagne would help keep me in the bath for at least a few minutes longer, I’m sure of it.

    I will shut up now. Sleep deprivation is getting the better of me. Time to go have some weird dreams…

    • zephyrliving says:

      Ruby, I did exactly that. Half-comatose, I could barely read my writing, but I wanted to get the essence down before it dissipated like mist in the morning. I’m sorry that I made you remember your own creepy crawly gross insect/worm dream. Interesting they were in your book. I wonder what that means? What does the book represent?

      I have to admit that is the first such bath I believe I’ve ever successfully taken. Like you, I’d fidget, wash, and get out. But I was determined that night. And yes, the glass of champagne and the bottle were on a little table within reach. I don’t have the little pillow to lie on or the tray to put stuff on, but I managed to do it up quite nicely and I may even have another tonight. Did you hear that Lailita? I’m bathing again! Ha ha! Nice to meet you Miss Ruby.

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