Blindsided

Blindsided with news that hits you like you’ve been punched in the gut. It makes you feel like you were set up. Betrayed, even though this was long before you were in the picture. It’s nonsensical, but logic doesn’t have a place in emotions. Emotions don’t always make logical sense.

Just because it was in the past doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting. Old news from the past brought up in the present, is the present to the people who weren’t there. It’s new news, and a fresh trauma. That’s was life is… trauma after trauma. We just get better at dealing with it.

Avoiding the issue and burying it doesn’t fix anything. Just leaves a giant mess to deal with later. Typically, when left alone, these things have a tendency to get bigger. Rip it open. Talk about it. Listen and be compassionate towards each other. Accept there are differences, changes, pasts, and mistakes. But that’s easier said than done. Emotions get in the way.

You visualize it because you are a creative, emotionally intelligent person. You play it out in your head like you are watching a movie. You see it all happening in front of you like it’s real, playing over and over. Like it’s right now, and you are just watching on the sidelines. There’s nothing you can do but just “watch”. It’s so real, you can almost hear it. You feel dizzy and feel your heart in your throat. But if you make the smallest sound, the floodgates of emotion will consume you.

So you say nothing, sit in silence. You want to throw up. The blow in the gut makes you nauseous. Wait until the threatening choking feeling resides. You try to remind yourself this was in the past. Try to talk yourself down and hide the hurt because it doesn’t make sense. You can’t. You can’t because emotions aren’t logical. So you lash out. You question everything. You doubt because you’re hurt. You ask questions you never thought of before. Emotions are threatening to cause as much damage as possible. So you swallow it to avoid making it worse. You just hurt more.

Vulnerability can make people mean. Make them angry and defensive. So, eventually someone gets angry and lashes out. The other gets defensive. There’s a big fight. There are tears, and there are wounds getting deeper and deeper. The more lashes, the more yelling, the more damage is done. But underneath everything is just hurt. Hurt drives all the symptomatic feelings and causes the problems.

You have to get out. Fight or flight. Fighting made it worse, so you leave. You leave to cry and mope and scream and feel the hurt. You’ve learned to sit with your anger, your sadness, your hurt. You’ve learned to feel it, because only then, you can process it.

Drowning with Demons

heather_hamilton_bipolar_depression_suicideIt’s a web of feelings you can’t understand unless you have gone through a period where you felt the feeling of complete sadness, despair and loneliness. Sometimes, this onsets for no reason at all. Other times, it’s because of a trauma, an event, or stress. It feels like dying is less painful than being alive. You wish for death to end the suffering. To end the pain. To stop feeling so damn awful.

Physical pain sometimes accompanies the mental anguish. But the physical side is nothing compared to what this level of depression feels like. Pain feels good. This hurts worse than any cut, bruise, bite, or broken bone. It’s like your heart is dead. To feel any physical pain is relieving. For just a moment, you don’t have to feel the inside pain.

Crying is a sign there is still hope to climb out of this hell hole. Crying means you’re still in there … somewhere. I’ve been crying. That means I’m healing. It’s an outlet. Crying is an outlet of all the energy my body can’t handle anymore. Panic stricken attacks, hyperventilation and crying release some of the tension inside my body. And I feel a little better.

depression_drowning_bipolar_suicideScreams rip through my body while I writhe around, hoping all the pain and hurt I feel will disappear. So much hurt, so much pain. Letting it out is sometimes the hardest thing you can do, but letting it go eventually will feel better.

Sleep comes and will overtake your sore and exhausted body. I dread sleep when I am in these state of minds. Dreams invade my sleep, and usually they aren’t good. I tried turning off the dreams using drugs before, but then I just dealt with the demons. Since I don’t take the drugs anymore, I don’t see the demons… most of the time. When I am in a deep depression, I do see them. I hear them. They talk about me. They torture me. If I don’t move, if I stay still, they don’t bother me. If I get up, adjust my body position, breathe too loud, or talk to them, they assault me with their whispers.

It feels like this will never end. But it’s happened before, I know I’ll get over it. Logically, I know. But inside, I never know how much I can take. I’m drowning again.

Stages of Grief

Ryder was not my dog. Sometimes, like when he was at my house for boarding or for workshops, I felt like he was. He got to stay in my basement and snuggle up with Napoleon right at my feet while we watched movies. I really miss him.

Over the weekend , I boarded a few dogs, and on Friday when I got home from the vet, I heard one of them barking. Without thinking, I asked my husband, “Is that Ryder barking?”

My husband looks at me and says, “That’s not Ryder, Heather.” And that’s when it really hit me. At the vet, it felt like he was going to wake up at any second. He looked like he was just sleeping. I was honored I got to spend the last few moments with him and whisper to him how much he meant to everyone and how much I loved him, and how this wasn’t his fault. How he’ll be able to play all day with the other dogs and chew on as many bones as he wants. He’ll be free.

I don’t believe in a heaven or hell or God or devils. I believe that all life is returned to the planet. No, I’m not stealing the plot from Final Fantasy VII, it’s just the best way I can explain it. When a person, animal, or plant dies, their spirit is returned to the planet so we can keep living on this Earth. I believe this, and I believe Ryder lives on in a different way. I won’t see him again, but I’ll feel him. I’ll feel him in the air, and in the trees, I’ll see moments of him in my clients’ dogs or within my own house. I’ll remember him and laugh at how goofy he could be.

I know I made the right decision, and the family knows that too. But I’m feeling all the things anyone would feel for making a hard decision. Guilt, pain, sadness, depression, anger. Sometimes, I’m inconsolable.  I’ll be sitting at my computer, or talking to a friend, and then I’m completely overwhelmed with sadness and I just end up crying.

GriefI’m experiencing the 5 stages of grief, and as soon as I feel like I’m ok, I remember something about him that was goofy and silly. Like how, when he thought he was going to get some food or a treat, he would sit automatically and back up about a foot so that his long legs could comfortably sit on the ground. Then he’d stare at you with his adorable face. If you waited long enough, he would paw at you to give him what he wants. No, this isn’t ideal behavior, and we had really worked on this. But last week, he got away with it. Why not? He was on death row, he could have whatever he wanted.

Or that time when he was at my house for the workshop and was exhausted at the end of the day. I accidentally dropped the leash and he bolted into my house, down into the basement and snuggled up in his kennel all on his own. I miss these moments, and he’s not even my dog. I just… got attached.

And it will take time to be ok. Sometimes, it’s only once a day where I am in a depressive state. Other times, it’s pretty much the whole day.  I know I’ll feel  better with time, and I know this was right. Sometimes, it feels like I have to remind myself that this is what he needed. Because it feels like I made the decision to kill him. Which isn’t what happened, but emotions sometimes overcome logic.

Today, one of my coworkers asked me how I was doing, and I could barely speak. If I kept talking, I would start crying and would have to step out. So I said I wasn’t ready to talk about it yet. But on Sunday, I could talk about it, and I felt confident with my decision. Yesterday, I had a migraine to keep me occupied, but then when I was feeling better, I just wanted to curl up in bed and go to sleep. So, I went to bed around 9:00 pm and didn’t go to sleep until after midnight because I was crying. It just hurts so much sometimes.  So, if you ask me about it, there is a chance it could go either way. I could be fine and tell you about Ryder and about my decision, or I could be completely overwhelmed with sadness and be put into a depressive state… walking on eggshells, I guess.

In time, everything will go back to normal.

Overwhelmed

It seems the harder I try to make a difference in the dog training world, the more depressed I get. I have so much to learn, it feels like I am drowning in all the knowledge. I think I get ahead of the game by reading a bunch of training books, taking notes, watching seminars, going to social class on Saturday.  Then, I get one little piece of advice from another trainer. One sentence on a dog I have been working on, that’s all it takes. My whole world comes crashing down onto me. I failed…again.

I work and learn, and practice, and then execute on others’ dogs, and then I do see improvement within a week or so. More importantly, the client sees it. I’m thanked, and I’m happy with myself. This tiny moment makes me happy. I’m proud of the accomplishment the client and dog have made. And then I explain to another trainer what I have done. And instead of saying, ‘Wow, you made great progress’, they say something like, ‘Well, you should have been progress within a few minutes’. My hopes, dreams, and all the work I have done … crushed. *Poof*. Gone. And I’m back in my place of feeling worthless and unimportant.

After this happens, I’m swallowed again by the darkness and I feel small and the world would be better without me. I’m a waste of resources. There are better trainers out there, why does the world need me? I get myself all worked up feeling this way, usually crying the rest of the day, and feeling like I want to throw up. This makes my husband angry, and usually we end up fighting. I understand he doesn’t want me to pity myself and to ‘get back up on that horse’. It’s not his fault, I know – he just doesn’t like to see me sad. But I’m always sad on the inside. I just wear my happy mask and try to pretend while I am around people.

I JUST WANT TO BE GREAT! And I have always been willing to put in the effort. I study almost every day, I try to network with other trainers, I try to figure out my next steps. I don’t want a miracle, or just to magically become an awesome trainer. I enjoy learning about different techniques and methods, and I want to learn from other trainers. I want to breathe dog training. This is so much fun for me… but I don’t know if I can make it in the real world. It seems every single force there is, is trying to stop me.

Why do I continue? It’s easier to just give up. To just be a follower, don’t even try. I can’t face the rejection. Why?

Because this is what I want. And I want to put in the time and effort to make it. I love doing it, and it gives me a few moments of happiness. Those few moments are enough for me to get up, take the ‘abuse’ as I like to call it. The world is abusing me. . . and I just have to take it. I have no other choice.