Nostalgia

runningawayWhen did everything change? When did we become adults? The world is no longer adventures and imagination. Somehow, it has become twisted with responsibility, lack of sleep, and no fun. Happiness means nothing went wrong that day. We dream big and it never seems like the end. Stress is always looming over you like rain clouds.

At some point, we became adults. We had to buck up and take care of ourselves. We aren’t allowed to ‘have fun’ anymore, because that means work doesn’t get done. If I spend time for myself, my house is a disaster. If I spend time working on my house, my work doesn’t get done. If I actually get enough sleep, I can’t seem to work out in the mornings. It’s an ongoing cycle of what do I have to give up today?

We planned a trip to visit family. Work won’t just wait for me to get back. Work doesn’t stop because it’s the weekend. I still have live beings I need to take care of. They can’t just hang out until I decide it’s time to work again. I work every single day. I’m a dog trainer. Dog trainers don’t get days off. Well, I’m trying to figure out a way again how I can get a day off. I’m changing everything. I love owning my own business and I love what I do, but sometimes I wish I didn’t. Sometimes, it’s too much. Sometimes, I just need a fuckin day off!

I want to feel like I’m balanced. I want to feel like I have my shit together. I don’t. I’m not feeling stressed or overwhelmed. I’m not feeling that because I’m not at 100% capacity yet. I function at 80% stress every day. When I have less, I try to find problems because I don’t know to have a stress-less day. When I’m at more, I feel productive. When I finally get to 100%, I feel like it will never be over. Why do I have to function at 80% or higher all the time?

maps05We’re building a dream. A beautiful dream that is everything I’ve ever wanted. Just as it always happens, when things start to settle down, something is thrown at me. What lesson am I not learning? Why can’t I just experience peace for a short amount of time before something else blows up? My future dream is affected in this hurricane I just entered into. I was looking down the road, but it seems I’m walking that road now, and I have to make decisions that may affect the next 10 years of my life. I’m scared.

When did this happen that I took on so much? I’m only one person. I make a difference, but I can’t change the way the world works. I feel like this is big, and much bigger than I was prepared for. I got a taste of it, and now it’s being shoved down my throat.

I want to go back to when things weren’t this way. When decisions were about which game to play when you got home, and what shoes to wear. But instead I’m faced with decisions like should I clean the house, or should I file clients and make training videos? I just need some time where I’m not thinking about work. It seems impossible.

Burned Out

I have been going, going, going for far too long. I’m tired, and I rarely enjoy any of the things I can really enjoy when I’m not so tired. I’m just so tired all the time. Things that are fun should be relaxing and help me recharge. But when I’m doing hobbies or trying to unwind, my mind is racing with all the things that I haven’t done.

I am trying to focus on the things I HAVE done instead of everything I HAVEN’T done, which is lot on both ends of the spectrum. I graduated high school with a 3.95 a YEAR early. I graduated college with my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science when I was 20. I bought my first house when I was 21. I opened up my own business when I was 24. I was successful and quit my full time job when I was 25. I am a successful business owner and bought my second house when I was 28. I have been homeless (in a sense). I have felt love and heartbreak. I have felt loss. I have felt failure and success. I have seen death and also new life. I have built the life I have now on a dream that I made come true. I am proud. I sacrificed to make the dream come true. I missed out on so much because I was building this. There was light at the end of the tunnel. It’s there, I’m in the light now. My business is self-sustaining and now I have too much business for just one person. I have for quite a while. It’s taken over.

overwhelmedI see it like mint. My boyfriend taught me how to plant vegetables and herbs. I learned how to keep it alive and how to nurture it and meet its’ needs so it can thrive. I learned what a struggle looks like, and I learned to love our plants. Now, back to mint. It’s a hearty plant that takes over. At first, I was worried about it growing at all. I thought I would kill it. So I took care of it, watched over it, loved it. Now, it’s taking over our planter box. I can’t keep up with it. It’s going to take over everything else in the box because it’s just growing all over everything. My business has taken over every area of my life, and now I need to prune it. Trim it back, and let the other areas have a chance to thrive too.

I know exactly what I need. I know what jobs I need help with. But it’s taking the time to train someone else and get them up to speed that takes away even more time that I don’t have. Training directly under me…someone should be paying me to teach them what I had to pay for. I need a student. “Dog Trainer Seeks Apprentice”. Too many have phased out. This life isn’t for them. They can’t handle the stress, or the intensity. It’s too hard, it’s too stressful, and it takes over. Too many people think they want this life, but they don’t. It’s not easy. It’s not playing with puppies all day. It’s mentally challenging, physically exhausting, and emotionally draining. You get attached, then it gets ripped away. You get frustrated when your clients can’t do what you can do. It’s not a realistic expectation for them to do what you do. You have to constantly remind yourself people aren’t being stupid… they just don’t know.

On a personal level, I sometimes don’t feel good enough for the other areas of my life. I feel like I fall short. Like, other people could do a better job than I could. Like I hold them back from better things. I’ve spent too much time building this business-life that I’m retarded in other areas to the point where I will always fail. I don’t voice it because I’m ashamed. Ashamed of not being better. Of not being able to perform as excellently in all areas of my life as I do in my business. I’m a phenomenal dog trainer. I’m an excellent teacher and coach of people who need help with balancing their dog. But balancing my life it seems I constantly fail. I feel like I’m spinning out of the control and I can’t catch the string of my life that is floating away. I’m watching it, but I can’t catch it. It’s going too fast. My lungs can’t get enough oxygen, my muscles are sore, and the space between my fingertips and the string is getting bigger and bigger.

I tried to balance. Work hard, play hard. I scheduled time off MONTHS in advance so I could enjoy a weekend here and there without dogs. One weekend a month. 12 weekends a year, I wanted to enjoy a couple days off. Even if that just means staying home, but only having our dogs. Day hikes, trips to visit my family (It had been 4 years since I had visited my dad at home until June of this year). I’m feeling pretty upset since this probably means I will need to work and miss my boyfriend’s friend’s wedding in Georgia, miss his birthday weekend, miss rock hunting, breathwork energy classes, parties, holidays, family get togethers, hanging out with friends because I’m too tired, camping.. etc.

I need about 4 more people besides myself to run the business where it’s more self-sufficient than it already is. I dream so big that in order for me to do everything, I need 4 people here, and then I need me. I have such big plans and wants in my life that it’s overwhelming for me to think of more than just today. And then when I do, I don’t want to do anything because it’s too much.

I don’t feel good enough. But for me to be better, I need more energy. I feel like I’m failing. I feel like my needs are being met and I’m being selfish. I do my best, but I feel like it’s not enough. I’m not enough, but I’m too much at the same time.

Roll of the Dice

Have you ever had that feeling where you are so going through so many emotions at once, where you feel like you might puke? A physical response to an emotional problem. That feeling has been coming and going all day.

That feeling like you want to do everything. And at the same time, want to do nothing. You want to change the world with new ideas… but getting out of bed seems like a monumental task.

Or being painfully excited at the same time where you are run down and depressed. A brand new journey is about to unfold and things are changing, growing, expanding… but you can’t seem to mentally get past the fact that you don’t want to do anything at this given moment.

Where something really good just happened, but all you can think about is that one bad thing. Negative feelings always trump positive feelings. It takes 10 good things to make up for 1 bad thing. POSITIVITY… change can happen, it’s not always a bad thing.

You think you are hungry, but really, it’s nausea.  That feeling right before you throw up.

That moment when you wish you were medicated so you didn’t feel so overwhelmed, but at the same time, glad that you aren’t because you want to feel the high. The highs are so worth it.

bipolar_disorder_not_in_control_of_feelingsWhere the only thing you want is the thing you can’t have.

The feeling of loneliness, but at the same time, knowing how much you are loved.

It’s where depression and the manic cycle collide. It’s this black box where everything changes from one second to the next. It’s a spiral of devastation and wonder. A roll of the dice is how much control I have over how I’m feeling. It’s like I’m being controlled by the Game Master in Dungeons and Dragons. He decides my fate. All I can do is act and hope for the best. Roll the dice.

It’s exhausting, and invigorating. Both feelings fighting each other. A battle you can’t control. The feelings come in waves. One after another. The first one may be immense joy and happiness and excitement. The next ,despair, sadness, and depression. A second later, the third hits, and it is determination and drive. The cycle continues through all the emotions. Back and forth until I can’t stand it anymore.

The shaking starts. The fever sets in and vomiting is inevitable. I have no reason to be overwhelmed or overcome by emotion. I should be able to handle it. Why does this happen at the most inopportune moments?

Saying I’m living a roller coaster is an understatement. What is this even called?! Is there a name for this insanity!? Can’t sleep.. so I’m writing.

Feeling is Good

Sometimes, certain events will knock us down. Hard.

Other events will make us feel like we are sky high and can do anything. And then we do.

And then we realize we are all just people. We all have issues, we all have stories, traumas, and it can always be worse.

Sometimes, you have to take a step back and realize you have to let some things go. As hard as it may be. You’ll know the time to move on, and you’ll know when you are strong Depression Sayings Grievingenough to stand up again and face the challenges that come with being human in this fucked up world.

So much pain. So much emotion. Memories and the stories sometimes get in the way of us moving forward on with our lives. But I can’t see it that way. I don’t see it as getting in the way. I see them as rocks and potholes in the road on our way somewhere.

I have always believed the journey is more important than the destination. And when it seems like you are finally getting close to being there, the road or the conditions change. You face an unexpected storm, and your route is altered.

Sometimes, you get derailed. You crash. I crashed. And sometimes, you never really recover from these crashes. The scars will be there forever. Some people won’t understand why you can’t move on after the injuries are healed. It’s a phantom pain. The actual wound isn’t there anymore, but the memory of it happening is still so mentally jarring.

When other people don’t understand, it hurts us more. All we want is someone to listen. Don’t try to fix anything, just listen to us vent and remember and cry and break down. No one can fix it. I don’t want anyone to fix it.

I’m past the point of screaming, and I’m at the point where I’m using distractions to help me heal. Movies, friends, cooking, games, working out, and working very hard to stay in a balanced state of mind.

Those little things that sent me wanting to jump off the edge before just have me irritated now. I’m healing. Slowly. And I’m starting to notice the world around me again.

Heather Hamilton Project K9 Depression BiPolar

This is the beginning of the healing feelings. 🙂

This thing has been one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. Losing the person I spent my entire adult life with. Going through the death of a marriage. I wish these feelings upon no one. I am generally a very happy person. Being broken is exhausting, and it’s even worse when people tell you to get over it, move on, forget about it. The numbing pain gets so excruciatingly sharp. I have lost so much, I can’t turn off my feelings. What I needed to heal was time and space to breathe by myself.

When I shut down, when I am hurting to the point where it feels like my heart is about to literally break, I don’t need people to tell me it’s going to be fine in the future. I know, but that doesn’t make me feel better now. I want to take time, meditate, be alone, and think. Mentally heal. I was torn apart.

Alright, I’m a nerd and this is totally a geeky reference, but this is what I can relate to. My Hyrule was turned into the Dark World. Everything was the same, but demented. Monsters and demons invested all my thoughts. It seemed I had tasks to complete, even though I didn’t agree with everything. I did them because I was progressing in my healing. I was escalating through the murky swamp that was my cognitive thinking. Nothing made sense. And then, finally, I feel a little bit of peace.

I can breathe, I can think, I can be. I can go as fast or as slow as I need to. I’m not rushed, I’m not ushered into making a decision. I’m me again. Though, I still have moments of the dark world, I can finally function normally and I don’t have a feeling of uselessness anymore.  I’m starting to breathe on my own again.

I look up and realize the sky is blue. I haven’t seen the sky in so long. I haven’t actually felt the rain or a breeze. I know it’s there, but I didn’t pay attention. I can feel again. And feeling is good.Rainbow After the Storm Depression Blog

Anger in a dark place

It comes in cycles. Sadness, hopelessness, the feeling of wanting to curl up and die. Then, comes the pissed off, no bullshit attitude where I don’t take anyone’s shit. I’m angry and hurt and mad at everything. I’m depressed, but pissed. I don’t sleep, which makes everything more maddening. I’m touchy, and can’t seem to actually cheer up. I have moments where I’m not in as much pain as normal.  I want to punch something. Violent video games and/or alcohol aren’t helping. Walks, baths, training, meditating, reading, nothing helps. My normal stress relievers aren’t working.

I’m productive when I’m pissed though. I can’t sleep, so I clean and pack, I advertise my business, I get shit done. I’m bold and assertive, sometimes abrasive. Not necessarily a good thing, and sometimes I use too much pressure when working a dog. In knowing this, I have chosen not to work with severely difficult dogs right now. Oh yeah, I get brave too. So, here’s my announcement.

I’m getting a divorce. My husband has moved out, and I’m moving out in the next few weeks. It’s too complicated to get into anything as to why right now, and honestly, I don’t want to talk about it. Bottom line, my security blanket is gone. My comfort level is at zero. My life is a mess, I feel like I’m floating, watching my life be torn apart. My business, my finances, my house, my mental state of mind, all dissolving.

I’m moving in with my best friends for the time being. I will still train, but I don’t do boarding, daycare, as many board and trains, or group classes. I may be able to start up group classes later in the summer, but right now, I need to focus on getting my life back together. I’m just focusing on private sessions right now, and making sure I always have at least one board and train for the next few months. I’m unhappy about having to do this, but I need to move out, and I need to move on.  And I am with the only people who make me happy. Of all the options I had, this is the best one. I need support more than I need anything right now, and I can still work and do what I love. Hopefully I’ll climb back up to the top of the cliff again…

So, as I mentioned previously, I’m shattered. I’m strong though, too. I can get through it, even though it seems I’m getting deeper and deeper in a sinking black hole. I’m not the first one to go through this, and other people have had way worse situations. I shouldn’t even be sad. There are starving kids in China, and people who don’t even have homes. I should buck up.

Shattered Broken Strong

I'm Heart BrokenA world turned upside down.

Everything I have worked for, dissolved. Gone in just one decision.

Plans made, and disappeared.

Dreams shattered. Steps taken back.

Decisions, so many decisions. Make them stop. Just make them for me.

Overwhelmed. Too many feelings. Drug me so I can’t feel them. I can’t take any more.  Make this go away. I don’t care if I’m numb. I don’t need feelings anyway. Lithium, take over from here.

Depressing thoughts accompany me. Envelope me. Feelings of self despair and hate. It’s my fault. I did this. I could have stopped this.

Thoughts of the end start to appear. Myemotional side fighting my logical side.

“You’re strong…” “It wouldn’t take much. Just do it.” “It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” “Just the thought makes me feel better.” “Stand up, you can do it.” “Just go to sleep, don’t wake up and you won’t feel anything” “There is light at the end, I promise”

STOP fighting. It’s exhausting. I can’t think. I can’t breathe. I can’t move.

I stand up, and start again. And I fall again. I can’t seem to keep my balance. I’ll just stay down.

I’m going against the grain already. I’m being pushed back, and I don’t have the strength to stand up again. Just let me lie here. Just for a while. Let me rest and just absorb the punches for a minute.

Don’t ask if I’m alright. I’m not. But then, I have to be. People count on me. Why? What do I have that can help them? There isn’t anything here, move on to the next person. I’m all out of things I can give people. I’m exhausted, drained. Out of service. Go somewhere else.

One Day at a Time

Emotions. Why do we even have them? What’s the point? They just create unstable, unbalanced feelings that we act on, and then make decisions based on what we are feeling in that moment. Had a good day? Great, reward yourself with a high calorie, sweet treat from the ice cream store. Because that just makes things even better. Feeling depressed? To the bottle, yay! Feeling frustrated? Start a fight in a bar! Overwhelmed? Just throw your arms up and give up on life. Feeling sad? Mope and watch sappy, stupid movies while eating chocolate and drinking wine.. Alone.

Alright, maybe not everyone does those exact things, but I’m just saying we act on them. So, because when I’m overwhelmed, and possibly turning my entire life around AGAIN (yeah, I know. Sounds like me, right?), I take on a foster dog. I really like this kid, and if he fits in well in a month or so, he may just join my pack. I don’t know yet though. So far, he’s shown quite a bit of improvement in just a couple days. I’m on a roller coaster, and I can’t get off. So many things, so many situations, so many decisions. I can handle it, I can’t handle it. I’ll be ok, I’m going to puke. I think I’m almost off, then we start to go up again. And I wait for the fall. When does this end?! Overwhelmed, frustrated.

End of My Leash great Danes Aggressive

Haven and Tank (Boarding School clients)

I also just had a de ja vu experience with a great dane (yeah, another one. This has nothing to do with the breed, I promise) who reminded me a lot of Ryder’s situation. Her name is Haven. She is a beautiful black dane who is unpredictable around dogs, people, and sometimes food. When the owners were talking to me about her, I had a sinking feeling that reminded me of Ryder. It’s been almost a year since I put him to sleep. This new dog had similar traits that sent up red flags and made me take a step back. I observed, I did an evaluation on her, and still had a feeling about her. During the eval, she gave me absolutely no reason to feel like I couldn’t handle her. She was responsive, sensitive, and showed zero aggression towards me or the other dogs. I asked for advice from more experienced trainers, and I was told to let the past go, learn from it, and give her a shot. Try her out for a week. I still had a feeling about this, but it was only because of what the family was telling me. Feelings of … caution.

Anyway, I took her as a Boarding School client, and we started training. Two weeks (out of the four weeks she is supposed to be here) go by without an incident, and she is responding to training beautifully. One day, as I was letting the dogs out, our streak was broken. Over the course of two days, she went after four different dogs. The only warning I had was a feeling I had before letting her out of the kennel. No real warning signs that I could see. It isn’t like I haven’t handled ‘aggression’ before, but this is different. I wasn’t comfortable. And I was emotionally attached, and saw Ryder, not Haven. I called my trainer friend and explained the situation and said I couldn’t work with her – she was too much dog for me. I cannot begin to explain how guilty I felt. Thoughts of failure, guilt, sadness, loss, and how I had let down Ryder flooded me. I was again overwhelmed with a sense of complete failure. I couldn’t help this dog. I have been told time and time again I cannot save them all. It sucks when this happens, but it does happen. I know that, but it doesn’t suck any less, and I’m too fucking sensitive for my own good. So, feeling of heartbreak.

Project K9 Pitbull Foster Dogs

This is Rocko

Last time, I chose to continue working with Ryder, even though he was quite a bit of dog for me then. This time, I asked the owners to pick her up, and referred to another trainer. I handled it the best I could for the situation. It’s messy, and I feel like again – I couldn’t help. What if I had been training for 40 years, or if I was the best? Feelings of doubt.

So, now I’m here. Thinking about all of it again. Overanalyzing. Learning. Advancing. Yes, I have high standards, and for some reason, I feel like emotions make us weak.

So, I’m choosing another emotion. Numb. Let’s try that one for a while.