Working Through Complicated Emotions

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Over the horrible suicidal hump again.. It always ends, but in those moments, I’m worthless. I hate how it’s never the same. It’s never after a ‘high’ or a specific time of the month, it never comes at opportune moments when I don’t have 1000 things going on, and it never lasts the same amount of time. It’s unpredictable.

But now I’m over that hump, and I’m “fine”.. if I person like me can be fine. I’m training, I’m working, I’m cleaning, and I’m focusing on the things that make me happy and feel like I have a reason.

I wish there was a pill I could take that would get rid of the lows while I could still feel the highs. But it doesn’t work like that. I have to suck up, buck up and bear it. And in those moments, I am at my most raw, vulnerable state. I focus on every negative thing that is happening, and I can’t see how much people care about me. I only focus on hurting. It’s blinding, I feel like I can’t breathe. Like there’s a weight on my chest and it’s going to crush me at any moment.

My newest dog helped me quite a bit this time by giving me the support I needed to work through the panic, the pain, and the feeling of being totally lost. The last time I felt like this was almost 5 years ago. It hasn’t been this intense in so, so long. I forgot how powerful this feeling is and how much it hurts. Last time, I didn’t call anyone. I just did it. This time, I called my mom.

then-it-hits-youI got news my divorce was final. I was already overwhelmed, depressed, stressed, and anxious. And then I got that email. It floored me. So many complicated emotions. I couldn’t handle it. I called my mom, and had a panic attack on the phone. I grabbed my dog and she stayed on the phone with me the whole time while I thrashed around and screamed and cried and held Thorin. He just laid there and let me grab him, and thrash, and he handled it. My mom stayed on the phone with me the whole time. I was in the ‘red zone’. The most dangerous place to be mentally. This time, I asked for help. I couldn’t function, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t work. My mom was there for me the whole time and didn’t leave my side once. I vented and cried and screamed and let her see me at my worst. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been in this place. And fuck, I was wishing so badly a jet engine would fall on my house and crush me. I wanted my house to spontaneously combust or fall into the Earth and take me with it. I just wanted to end the horrible feeling.

After the feeling of utter helplessless, I feel nothing. It may take a few days to get to that point, but then I can’t feel anything. Usually after that, I have deep gratitude for everything and everyone in my life who make me a better person. My mom is a big one. I hope she realizes how much she means to me, and if not, I hope I can show her. She drove all the way to my house that day. And then left at midnight, with an hour and a 1/2 drive home. Then, came out to me the next morning to be with me. To watch me, to protect me. To be there for me when I really needed someone. She was there. I hope I can be there for her as much as she’s been there for me.

I know quite a few people with mental illnesses, disorders, or depression. It seems these people have a trend. We feel everything. And we feel it so incredibly deeply. When we feel sad, we feel our world is being torn apart. When we are happy, we feel joyful and like we can take on anything. When we get hurt, we want to die. When our heart breaks, it’s exemplified to the point where we don’t ever want to feel again. It hurts too much. When we love, we love with all our heart. We would give everything to the people we love. We would do anything for them.

As for the feelings about my divorce… I’m still sorting through them. When I feel I can accurately describe this, I will share. I can’t today.

What’s the point?

All those times of I said my life was getting better, I was manic. Feeling great. The higher they go, the harder I fall. I want to die now. I want to rip my heart of my chest and throw it in the garbage disposal. It hurts. Everything hurts. I hate my heart. I hate the way it makes me feel. It tricks me. I don’t know what to feel anymore.  I’m so stupid to get caught in the same traps over and over again. It’s the same shit it always is.

The 15 cognitive distortions, and their definitions. The links below also talk more about each disorder. When dealing with a mental illness. I do all of them, but the ones I seem to always fall back on are:

Emotional reasoning
Mind Reading
Mental Filter
All or Nothing Thinking

I’ve talked about Emma before, and I’ve recently seen her again. A lot lately.

I hurt so much. It seems like no one understands what this is like. I can’t talk to ANYONE who understands. I want to scream and self mutilate. I want to cut and bleed and feel real pain. I want to feel something other than emotional pain. Physical pain is a release. Death is a blessing.

I hate it. I hate feeling. Drug me or kill me. I can’t do it anymore. Once again, I can’t do it anymore.  I would rather be dead than feel the way I feel.

I put on the face. I pretend. I smile, it’s fake. “You ok?” “Sure. Yeah. I’m fine.” I play the part, I do my job the best I can. When I’m alone, I cry and panic and think about cutting and dying and ending the pain.

But somehow I don’t do it, and I get up in a huge mess and do it all over again. I torture myself by being alive. What’s the fucking point?! What is the end goal? Do I even have one? No. I don’t have an end goal. Because the end is to die. What is the point?Strong

The Return of Emma

Heather Hamilton Rose Panic Attacks anxiety bipolarEventually, the everyday stressors add up and you start to make mountains out of molehills. The tiniest little inconvenience sets off the balance of the day. These little things start to wake Emma up over time. She starts to take over the cognitive thinking. She turns every thought into something negative. She starts to think things and feel things that are not my own.

Then it’s a war between Heather and Emma. And eventually, one of them has to give up. I always want to just curl up in a ball and die. I want to find a release to the pain I feel. Death is such a sweet release, but I won’t do it. I won’t let Emma win. That’s her game. To get me to give up. She is part of the demons I face.

She is the one who wants me to take the magic pill. She’s the one who wants me to cut. The one who starts to put things into my head. She is the one who makes me feel worthless. I’m an adult. I treat Emma like the child she is. I don’t let her control me. But she makes me weak. Sometimes, she wears me down to the point where I give in to the tricks and the lies. She makes me emotional and makes me feel stupid.

I hate Emma. But she’s a part of me. I hate part of myself. When she starts to wear me down enough, I start to feel trapped. I’m claustrophobic. I can’t breathe. I can’t think. The air to my lungs becomes thin and I need to inhale faster to get more air. It keeps constricting, and it gets harder to breathe. I give up an panic. I’m suffocating. I feel like my insides are being crushed. Like I can’t take any more pressure or I’ll die. And then, that’s all I want. For this pain to end. And I feel cold, but I’m sweating. I’m hyperventilating and choking while I want to scream for the pain to end. For it to kill me. It hurts. Everything hurts.

Once it seems I’m dead, Emma is laughing. Making me feel stupid for feeling. Stupid girl. She won. Another little piece she takes. How many pieces of me does she need before she stops? And what game does she play to keep wanting to take more from me? She is the game master and makes up the rules. She changes them at her will, and punishes with disasters when things aren’t chaotic enough for her.

I live at an 8. How bad is it? Depression is 7, anxiety is 10. Emma is thriving. Heather is drowning. Emma 1, Heather 0.

Plastic Bag

I hate this. I hate it when I can’t stop it. When I know it’s coming and there isn’t anything I can do. I feel like the tears fall silently for no reason and there’s no stopping it. I’m not sad about anything. Nothing is wrong. It’s just me. I’m wrong. I’m broken. I can’t explain it and I can’t win. I never feel good enough. I feel like I’m always suffocating. Like I can’t breathe.

Deep breaths don’t help. I try to breathe deep and slow, but it doesn’t help. The deeper I breathe, the more I feel like I can’t. The more I feel like I’m trying to breathe life into a dead husk. It feels like I’m dead inside.

Deep sadness that I can’t stop, I can’t change. The deep depression that never stops. It doesn’t go away, I just have to live with it. It comes on so fast. It’s like I was fine the second before, and then it just hits me, and it feels like there are worse things than death. Death is a release from the invisible pain.

It hurts. It hurts so much to live. I wish sometimes I could step out and come back when it feels better.

It starts with the muscle aches. The misalignment in my spine, the aching in my jaw, and the headaches. Then it continues onto aches throughout my whole body. Then anxiety, and then the irritability. After that comes nausea. Each step, I know it’s coming. Then it’s like someone hit me. I’m overwhelmed with the feeling of lack of self worth, no energy, and it feels like everyone I know would be better off without me. A waste of space. A mistake. A failure. In the way. A problem.

I feel like a problem with no solution. Broken, with no way to fix me unless I’m totally replaced. I feel like my heart is broken. For no reason, which makes me feel even worse. There is no answer, no solution, and I feel like I have a mental plastic bag over my head and I’m underwater. Like I’m choking on toxic air, and everything is so happy around me, except for me. It’s like I don’t fit in in the world. It feels like I bring down every person who is around me. Like I always come up short. Always making mistakes, creating problems, complicating for everyone else. The tears won’t stop, and I can’t make them stop. I feel like to help everyone else, I have to stay away. Keep my ‘downer’ personality away from the world. I should just hide in a closet until my ‘sunshine self’ comes out again.

I try to put on a happy face and fake it. But it hurts more when I have to try to be ‘stable’. I hate this.I_can__t_Breathe__by_EllyDelice_large

Sticks and Stones

Sticks and Stones SpeechIn our adult lives, we are faced with many crossroads. Decisions, mistakes, and consequences we are faced with every day for our choices. Sometimes, we are rewarded. Sometimes, we take the heat of the consequences like a stoning.

For every action, there is a reaction. If we wade through all the shit, all the hurt, and all the words, we come out the other side unscathed. Or do we? I believe we change. Permanently. Every time we are faced with a life-altering decision, we can go one of two ways. No matter which way you choose, there is a future. Sometimes, those crossroads and that future are hard to see. That’s what life is: Decisions, mistakes and consequences. That’s one way to look at it.

No one can change back time. If we did each time we made a mistake, we would never move forward. We would live out each section of our life, make a mistake, and then start over from a ‘checkpoint’. This isn’t a game. You can’t reset. Those decisions are permanent. If you don’t move on, you fall into a depressive state where you can’t get up. You will never see the good in those decisions. You will never get up and look up and realize the sun is shining. It’s a new day. Start again. There’s so much to do. So much left to live. Get up and get over it.

For each of those decisions that may have a consequence, there is also a blessing. I feel if we dwell and sink into the hole of lack self worth, we miss that blessing. We pass it and realize later and regret it. Then, there is more thing we have missed out on. Then, you are living in regret as well as wanting to go back and change everything. In those crossroads, there are the things that will try to hold you back. The people, the events, society, social media, whatever. Haters gonna hate. If you don’t get up, you can’t get stronger. Face it, you made a decision. Own it. For that decision gets put on your permanent record. But don’t forget about everything that goes along with it. The aftermath, but also the future. Good things can also come from shitty situations. Get through the shit, move on. Things will get better. And things are phenomenal for me now. I see that and everything else is sticks and stones.

One decision led to more serious, bigger decisions. Reflecting on these decisions, looking back only gets you so far. Moving on and looking forward is exciting. Black marks are inevitable. Make the best of your life, each and every day. Not everything is a pretty picture. Sometimes, things get dark. That’s ok. Learning to move forward and accept those black marks makes us strong.

In making these decisions, sometimes you lose people on the way. It’s all part of the game. You find out who you truly want in your life, who lifts you up and supports you in all the struggles you face. We choose our relationships based on quite a few factors. For me, I choose the people who make me feel positive about my life, who intellectually challenge me, share my same sense of humor or values, and who I can enjoy a good time with. I also want to try new experiences, and be with people who are willing to try things with me, make me laugh, support me, and who will love me for me. I want to treat them how I am treated. Making them dinner, helping them clean, move, shop, keeping them company when they are sad, entertaining their kids, meet their friends, WHATEVER. I want to be there for them. I want the same in my life.

I try to eliminate people in my life who are toxic. We all mislabel people on occasion. Sometimes, when we make these decisions, we make the wrong ones. We make poor judgement calls at one time or another. I have a hard time with this because I like to see the good in everyone. This is a fairy tale. Not everyone is good. And sometimes, it takes a while to see the truth. I have learned in my adult life, people are not as they seem. I’m having a harder time trusting people in my adulthood. I’ve been deceived, betrayed, lied to, played on, abused, and shot down. I won’t be making these same mistakes again. I ignored some red flags. I won’t make the same mistake twice. I’ll be listening to my instincts a little closer from now on. I will not be caught in anyone else’s web of manipulation.

This is my story. I’m the only one who can tell it.

Wrong Choices Bring us to the Right Places

Admitting It

Been at peace for a couple weeks now. My life is amazing. I have downs… and BIG downs. But my ups are HIGH ups too. I’m level still, and instead of feeling ‘meh’, I’m excited and happy. I’m focusing on the positive things in my life. When negative things happen, I’m just facing them head on, knowing they too shall pass. There is always an end to each situation. I don’t know what the ending is, and I don’t know how far down the road it is, but there is an end.

I have a really good life. I love my career, I love my dogs, I’m fortunate enough to make enough money to be able to live the lifestyle I want, as well as have extra spending money for fun things. I am in love with an amazing guy, and every day he makes me feel special. It’s hard to be depressed or sad, or even ‘down’ when you have someone who can lift you up without even trying.

I hear this sometimes when talking about relationships.

It’s easy.

When I think of that, I smile. Because this time, it’s easy. There’s no guesswork or drama. It’s fun and ‘easy’ and right. There was a time I fought this because I wasn’t sure I was ready. Each big step, I hesitated. I was scared to commit. Scared to love again. Scared to get hurt. I held back, and I was scared to admit I was having feelings. It took a while for me to admit to myself that it’s ok to feel. Each new step, I resisted it, I hesitated.

I’m not scared anymore. And I’m openly admitting it. I’m in love with him. I’m happy. Every day, I wake up happy. I wake up excited. I’m having feelings. Right after my ex husband and I separated, a medium told me I would find someone. And I would find someone sooner than I thought. I scoffed and thought why would anyone want me? I felt like I was nothing. I felt like I should be thrown away. I felt like my life was spinning out of control and I was making terrible decisions and losing everything. I thought she was saying that because she didn’t know me. She was just trying to make me feel better.

It wasn’t even that I was lonely.  I just felt like no one would want me. When I started dating, I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I knew I didn’t want a relationship. I just wanted to have fun, meet people, have a good time, whatever. I didn’t expect to actually find someone I wanted a relationship with. To make plans with. I didn’t want to see anyone else. I don’t want to see anyone else. I’m making plans. We’re making plans. And it feels great.

I feel good. I’m happy.

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Difficult Dog Workshop 2015

k9Lifeline__heather_beck_difficult_dog_workshop_heather_hamilton_projectk9After an incredible weekend learning new things at the Difficult Dog Workshop at K9 Lifeline, I’m refreshed and refocused. For some reason, this time was different. It seemed every single thing we discussed, every question, every demo, every quote meant something to me. I’m exhausted, but also re-energized and I’m excited to practice all the new thing I learned. I have picked out a few bad habits I need to adjust, and quite a few new things to add to my toolbox of awesome skills. This was quite an emotional weekend for me.

On top of learning a bunch of new things and attending this workshop, I had to deal with my first ever training dog emergency. Of course it happened on the first day of the workshop. I had a training dog, a boxer, who wasn’t doing so great. He started to get lethargic the morning of the workshop, and had refused food for the last few days. He lost some weight, and also had blood in his stool. He was also vomiting. There was blood in his vomit. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving him for a few hours, so I called the owners to tell them about the situation. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a hold of them. I made a judgment call, called the emergency contact, and got this kid to the vet. Pretty much all morning, I was on the phone with vet techs, my client, the emergency contact, and the vet, trying to figure out what was going on. I decided to send this guy home and we would do training when he was healthy. What an eventful way to handle the first day of the workshop. Updates on the dog now are looking much better, but we still don’t have any answers. We are unsure on what is happening health-wise with this guy.

k9Lifeline_difficult_dog_workshop_heather_hamilton_projectk9Alright, back to the workshop, I realized I do ask for advice, but I don’t always hear the answers. Some stories were shared today about mistakes other people have made, and there were consequences. And I realized all of a sudden, that can happen to any one of us. A little mistake can mean fatal consequences. As I have my own stories of things that have happened, some of the stories I heard were worse than my own.  I won’t get into details, but we all start to deal with the hard stuff at some point. I am changing the way I do things a little to make things even safer than they were before. Just in case. It wasn’t advice I heard in these stories… It was a warning. And I’m going to abide by it.

Whenever I hear other people’s hard stories, and realize I’m not the only one who lost something besides a very special dog… I feel a little less guilty. However, it makes me miss Ryder a lot. He wasn’t ‘just a dog’ to me. He was a milestone in my career. I fell in love with this dog, but I also took it upon myself to fix it. It was my mission, and I failed. I talk about my failures. I’m not ashamed. The scars are how we learn. Damn, this was a hard day. Being at K9 Lifeline, hearing about other people’s stories, remembering my own like it was yesterday… just too much. Lots of tears today. I was very close to having an anxiety attack. It felt like the wound of losing him was ripped open again.

I have to remember to put my emotional side on the back burner and buck up and make dog trainer decisions sometimes. One my clients struggle with is unnecessary affection. Affection is never the answer. I had to learn this too. No petting, talking, or food rewards for dogs who don’t deserve it. I learned this a long time ago, and it took me a long time to realize I wasn’t following the “you get what you pet” rule. Now, I love on my dogs, but only when they are 100% deserving. Just because they want attention, doesn’t mean they deserve it. I have learned to respect dogs’ space by not giving them eye contact, affection, or verbal attention until they are deserving. The hardest part is telling people to ignore my dogs. I have started teaching my clients the “no talk, no touch, no eye contact” when they walk into my house. It’s quite hard for the majority of my clients. Respect their space like you want them to respect your space.

I was able to experience what it feels like to be a decoy for bite dogs. It was AMAZING! It was so fun, and I learned so much about this sport. I have decided I want to get a few of my dogs involved in this, and play. Dante and Jinx. Dante loves any game, but he has a high drive, and a lot of energy. Jinx has the drive, the energy, and she loves to bite. Now, don’t confuse this with aggression. Dogs with aggression should not participate in this sport at all. I realized I don’t know much about bite work, but I’m going to learn. I won’t get too much into this, as that’s a whole new blog post!

Anyway, I’m feeling invigorated by this weekend, and today was the first day I was able to put into practice my new daily routine, the new skills I learned, and focus on my energy a lot more when I’m working with dogs. Today was exhausting too, but I’m so happy. Finishing the day off with what I love to do is the most rewarding thing I could ask for. I absolutely love my life!

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