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#448279 - 09/26/13 07:22 AM Reason for Living?
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
**********PROBABLY TRIGGERING************

This is a touchy subject, but I need to put it out there for comment from those who have felt similarly because it's been a rough month-and-a-half. Six weeks ago I pretty much knew for certain I'd lost my feline companion of 16 years, Ricky. Neighbor had called me. Two weeks later, again on a Thursday, I had a heart attack, two stents put in the next day. Felt like I'd been roundly kicked when I already was down.

I'm in my late 50s, have survived with HIV for 21 years, and swore I would stay alive long enough to see my companion, the last of nine in 26 years, through his life. Much to my relief and satisfaction I did. I feel like, flawed human I am, I did the best I could with my commitment to him, to all of them. My cats, frankly, have meant more to me over the years than people.

My Welsh bestie and my cousin, who've had their own heart attacks, have told me I can expect depression for a while, perhaps months. I've had good days and bad post loss and post heart attack. Good days are okay. Not great. But I get things done and feel a sense of accomplishment at the time. Had a few days like that this week. However, bad days can get really bad for a few days in a row. For one, I'm facing hospital bills I fear may eventually wipe me out (as they did 11 years ago).

This sounds silly, but I know a feline companion or two would help me emotionally. I fostered one for a couple days last week. Returning him felt a bit like losing Ricky all over again. And there's another at the shelter who's taken to me as well. (Originally I visited the shelters just to get a dose of purrs and head butts). I feel insecure about my ability to make a commitment when I have more doubts than ever if I'll be able to see them thru their little lives, as much as I know they'd have a great home, more love than they could imagine and they'd be helping ME.

In short, guys, I need more. I need a reason for living and I just don't have it. I sure as hell don't know why I've survived the HIV, been given a wonderful new med in February and even survived a heart attack. For that matter, I don't know why I survived parental abuse that led to my CSA...and even survived that, albeit as an only partially functional adult. Nevertheless, I've done reasonably well with my craft over the years, but nothing that's made any mark. Now I'm just settling that I simply may not leave much of a legacy. And no one really gives a damn anyway.

I'm tired of fighting it all. I'm just plain tired. I don't see the cardiologist again until March. I'm taking the new BP, thinners and other meds. He wants me off the cigs, naturally. But I just don't see the point in prolonging the torture. No, I'm not inclined to take an irrevocable action. I'm more inclined just to let the next heart attack take me.

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#448305 - 09/26/13 09:53 AM Re: Reason for Living? [Re: Lancer]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3620
Loc: South-East Europe
Hey Lancer,
well it is very difficult to talk and fight depressive feelings.
Finding reason for living is some difficult task and somehow I see it out of reach of our rational minds. Maybe I'm wrong but that is how I see it. It is like some weather forecast, some storm is coming and no one knows when will leave but always some sunny morning shows.
Could you find some small and usual things that you like to do and enjoy every day, something that could keep you busy?
You love your car, can you take out that white beauty and enjoy in it here and there?

Fulfilling time with such activities trough some period can ground me pretty much and give me some sense of direction and focus.

And man you achieved so much in your fight, you deserve some good time and enjoying fruits of that.
I'm sure new feline buddy would make easier and bring some love.

And what about shingles?
I know it is completely wrong to cry for them but I think that we need some similar topic wink ?

Pero
_________________________
My story

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#448306 - 09/26/13 10:10 AM Re: Reason for Living? [Re: Lancer]
Onesimus75 Offline


Registered: 08/22/13
Posts: 158
Loc: Minnesota
I don't know how much exercise you can do with a bum heart. But maybe even walking, or sitting in the sunshine have always helped me.
_________________________
We are not defined by our faults, or our wounds, but by the truth within us, which nothing can take away.

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#448309 - 09/26/13 10:51 AM Re: Reason for Living? [Re: Lancer]
Jacob S Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 614
Loc: where the shadows lie
Sometimes, if I were to be asked why I go on, I'd be able to give some very optimistic answers. I have found that I inherently enjoy doing things that few people have done just for the sake of being different. They don't have to be big things or things others ever know about me. For ME, that's something I find inherent joy in. Another thing is adventures, especially out in nature. That's something I find inherent joy in. I don't expect that to be the same for anyone else, but for me the trick has been to figure out what makes you happy and then do what you need to do to make it happen.

But their other days where I feel like another person, and I have to take the word of past Jacob (and hopefully future Jacob), because present Jacob just doesn't see the point. On those days, what keeps me alive just boils down to: as long as I'm here, I have a certain amount of choice in how I spend my time. As soon as I'm gone, that choice evaporates. No more adventures. I have a yellow mustang that I love. It won't last forever, but while its here I have fun with it. I don't let knowing it'll die one day keep me from enjoying it now. Then there are lots of days where I don't feel up to driving it. But I'm not going to take a sledgehammer to it. I enjoy the good days and the bad days I say "what do I have to look forward to?" And if I can't think of anything, I make something. Something realistic but happy.

This is all just me. But I hope some of it made sense.
_________________________


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#448314 - 09/26/13 11:59 AM Re: Reason for Living? [Re: Lancer]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1778
Lancer

What you have survived shows you inner strength. A strength that you may not accept but it is there. Life is not fair but you as a person offer much to everyone here. Take a breath bask in the sunshine and remind yourself you have endured and survived.

Find a place to talk so you can laugh. Laughter helps sooth the pain. I bet if you open up people would embrace. I have learned there are many who are not compassionate despite how they portray themselves to the outer world. But there are many compassionate people who will be there for you.

Do your best and life may surprise you. You deserve a break.

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#448318 - 09/26/13 01:00 PM Re: Reason for Living? [Re: Lancer]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 605
Lancer,

I know this is an incredibly overused phrase, but I really, really mean it when I say it - "I'm sorry." I'm sorry for what you're going through. The HIV, the loss of Ricky, the heart attack, the bills...not to mention your past, with the CSA and the parental abuse...I'm so sorry.

I think I'm honest when I say I most likely don't know what you must be feeling or going through at the moment. I do, however, amidst my own petty problems, often catch myself asking - or perhaps more accurately, feeling - the same question you pose...what are the reasons for living? I think Pero touches on a good point when he said how this is something beyond one's mental capacity to fix. Perhaps the 'answer' - if I can be so bold as to use such a word - lies hidden on a more emotional level, rather than a logical one.

To expand a bit - for me, the experience of getting moved by something gives an overwhelming sense of 'life' that it overrides my nihilism, however temporary the feeling may be. Vitality, is perhaps a good word to capture this. A piece of music. A movie. A letter or a card from a friend. A book, a poem. Reading about exotic places. Memories, photos. Nature. Anything profoundly beautiful. Being moved by these things tends to help me transcend many, many things in life that drain me, even if momentarily. So, maybe the trick is to keep 'hopping' - from one experience of getting moved, to another - while taking the fits of inevitable depression CSA is bound to give us everyday in stride.

I think there is a powerful, dark force within, and it always threatens to overwhelm us and render us unconscious of the profoundly important need to constantly seek these things. I know you feel, to put it colloquially, 'burnt out'; that being said, I also know, from getting to know you (albeit behind a computer screen), that there is a fire within you that simply needs reigniting. I hope you find your box of matches.
_________________________
Husky

My Story

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#448328 - 09/26/13 04:01 PM Re: Reason for Living? [Re: Lancer]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Thanks guys, as always. A couple of my own comments. Difficult as it is, I've "handled" single knocked-on-my-ass issues. (Shingles, btw, was exactly a year ago). When they come simultaneously, however, I have a real problem.

The flavor of this one is different because it's felt like a more immediate reminder of mortality...and the feeling I haven't done or been able to do much with my life. I think husky nailed it with nihilism. Perfect description.

I've sorta been able to avoid the temptation of comparing my insides to others' outsides. At least I'm aware of it.

Though I've done a lot of satisfying things such as my craft, outdoor activities, traveling, even have had relationships (one particularly fulfilling that died shortly after Dad's death), there's no spark now, to carry husky's metaphor. I'd started to feel that way about my craft lately and these events feel as if they snuffed out what remained.

Usually over the years I've at least been able to find something personally satisfying, even personally inspiring, in my activities even if they meant nothing in the Grand Scheme. And it now feels that ability has simply disappeared.

On a scale of 10, I usually operate at 7-9. Now it's 4-5.

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#448338 - 09/26/13 06:05 PM Re: Reason for Living? [Re: Lancer]
Chase Eric Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 1477
I think there is a lot to be said either one of the effects of health crises and loss. But when you bring them together, they seem to add synergistically (2 + 2 = 5). So I am definitely in the camp of riding it out (not easy, I know). My guess is that the sunshine will come back - likely in the form of fuzzy paws walking all over you.

And if I get run over tomorrow and come back as a cat, I'm walking right up to your front door.
_________________________
Eirik




Click my pic to see why I'm here

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#448342 - 09/26/13 06:36 PM Re: Reason for Living? [Re: Lancer]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2024
Loc: durham, north england
@Lancer, I know I can't say much but will say I'm really sorry to here about Ricky.

In 2008, just after I crashed into recovery, Jessy, my 14 year old staffordshire bull terrier died of a stroke. She'd been with me since she was four weeks old and I was 13, over half of my life. after she died I said I would never have another dog, and still! miss her now.

Yes, missing animals can hurt as much as missing people, especially if you have been close, so as far as it is possible to understand, I do understand.

On the multiple problems front, one thing I've noticed myself is that evaluation is an amazingly tricky beast. You mention for instance "not doing well at your craft" or "having a life that has no impact" and yet, I do wonder how much of that migh be your own perceptions. I have learnt to intrinsically misstrust any evaluation I make of myself, or of anything I do, from simple everyday things to extremely major life evaluations as a hole. I am just not qualified to answer such questions, since I know whatever answer I give will be negative, and generally the worse I feel, the more negative that answer is, ---- heck there have been days I couldn't even face doing my laundry because I was certain I'd end up with everything in a mess.

When i considder reasons for living I always remember a doccumentary I watched about a person with epidermolosis bolosa, a truly horific medical condition where the skin is so weak and damaged even the slightest contact causes it to blister and flake off as though burned, meaning a life of constant extreme pain.

The chap in the documetary who'd lived with this condition for his entire 30 year life said quite openly that he actively believed any foetus diagnosed as having the condition should be abborted, since he genuinely believed that death was better than a child growing up with the sort of pain he lived with. Yet, what was absolutely amazing was how much of a major part music and nature played in his life, how much he enjoyed the things he did! enjoy, indeed he admitted himself that despite his position on prenatal diagnosis and abortion he wouldn't have been without his own life expressly because! of those things, and he admited himself the contradiction.

About the abbortion issue I don't know, but I do find it significant that if someone with that level of pain can still find something that makes him say that he'd rather be alive than dead just! from miner experience, there has to be something more to the simple act of enjoying what can be experienced than just saying "oh I liked it but it's gone and doesn't mean anything"

This is very similar to what Jacob said, it's all about the little things, not the big "legacy" Heck, I've myself got my legacy. if I were to drop dead tomorrow, there is a published doctoral thesis with my name on, there are principles that are uniquely mine, I've contributed to the almighty course of philosophical dialogue, ---- well woo bloody hoo!

Not that it didn't need writing, but has the fact that I've "got my legacy" if you want to put it like that made a massive difference to how I view my life? well the plane and simple truth is no! Indeed I think if all I had been doing was trying to achieve some sort of longer footnote in the cosmic who's who I wouldn't have written the thing at all. Oh yes I now have "doctor" before my name, ---- but on especially dark days that just makes me "doctor complete failure"

If I can sit and enjoy a peace of music, if I can taste all the flavors in a decent cup of my freshly brewed coffee, if I can still stand outside for five minutes just admiring the sun on the grass, ---- then! for those few minutes my life is worth living, and that is what makes the difference.

One other helpful thing with removing the authority of self evaluation, is it stops me from prejudging what is likely to make a difference.

After jess died I absolutely and quite distinctly didn't want another dog ever! I just wanted Jess back. For necessity however I had to go on the guide dog list, since there is no other way of saying that guide dogs are very good at what they do and do make life easier.

I was on that list for nearly three years, until in 2011 they found me Reever. She is utterly and absolutely different to Jess. Where Jess was a distinct and dominant personality with a huge amount of energy, reever is totally relaxed (indeed lazy might be another word).

Jess had a lot f instinct and felt distinctly protective towards me, indeed she naturaly guarded everything! Reever however is the other way around, reever is extremely gentle. Heck, even the breeds and colourings are different since where Jess was a heavily compact, brindle bull terrier with extremely short hair, Reever is a long hair black lab retriever cross.

I won't say it's been easy, indeed the first month of training with reever was absolute hell since I can't think of anything more depressing than being stuck 24 hours a day alone with a dog who just wanted to be with her trainer and didn't care about me at all, (indeed when I went to stroke her she'd turn round and walk off and spent her entire time sitting by my front door waiting for her trainer to come back).

Yet, it's worked out, indeed now I'd not be without Reever at all, and not just because of her job, indeed she's lying on my feet while I write this. She isn't! Jess, and I do still miss Jess, however she is a really lovely dog in her own right.

I'm not saying "go out and buy a cat" I'm just saying that if you became so close to one cat, you likely will again and that in itself is worth while.

Again, it's the little things that matter.

I'm really sorry to hear about everything that has happened at once, and I absolutely agree with Husky, you don't deserve any of this, and that's why I hope some of these ramblings can be useful in some way.

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#448353 - 09/26/13 09:03 PM Re: Reason for Living? [Re: Lancer]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Everything has a reason Lancer, and a time and a place. Can you breathe into the uncertainty and loss, just curious to see what else may arise for you?

Everything has a reason! Including you!

I'm glad your heart is still beating!

Smiles,
Mark

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