Saturday, October 30, 2010


Woke up with a feeling of despair. Don't know where that came from. But do know I have guilt over my behavior yesterday. My husband came home with not one but two boxes of chocolates for the Halloween anniversary of our first date. About a month ago he bought me a necklace as an anniversary gift. I guess it was the devil in me but I wanted the earrings too that go with the necklace. The earrings were expensive, more than half the price of the necklace. But I thought, "If someday I want to wearing the earrings and the necklace together, I must buy the earrings now before someone else buys them and they are unavailable". The necklace was a large lemon checkerboard cut quartz, oval shaped, and the earrings are smaller lemon checkerboard cut quartz, all embedded in silver. I know that the necklace could always be simply worn with silver earrings, and in fact in most cases that look would be the best because who wants to be all matchy-matchy, you look like you are trying too hard. I begged my husband for the earrings and he said yes.

After I bought the earrings I checked our checking account and it looks like I will have to do what I was hoping to avoid this month. I will have to dip into savings to cover the monthly bills.

Also last night I ate all the chocolate my husband bought for me. All two boxes worth.

So I binged on money, buying solely for myself, and I binged on calories. Thus it seems I have done nothing virtuous, except perhaps I swam last night for 50 minutes. So I exercised. Am hoping on going for a walk today, it is beautiful outside, and then going swimming again on Sunday morning.

I got a call and an envelope from the church for the yearly pledge drive. I have decided not to tithe to the church this year, as I did last year. It seems that most Sundays my husband and I have been going swimming during sermon hours. When I do go to church there is a problem. I participate in the social coffee hour after the sermon and then come home feeling as though I have just walked through an ordeal of terror. Smiling and making chit chat is terrifying for me, but I hide it very well. I just think about the difference between the person I am talking to and myself and the difference seems big and horrible. I feel like such a crippled person on the inside. I think I would like to save myself from the social interactions which I know on the one hand nourish me, but on the other hand completely wreck my peace of mind. The only thing that doesn't end in emotional terror is the ladies spirit group, a group of elderly women who meet Thursday afternoons. I haven't been going to that group but they are sweet, and they make me feel welcome. One of the other problems with church is that I have made no friends. The elderly ladies are friendly, and even endearing, but nobody my age has made a connection with me. There is familiarity with faces but an underlying loneliness at church. It is probably mostly my fault. I'm not naturally social. And I'm horribly shy.

I have a bible which I intend to read all the way through. It is one of those types of bibles where you read a section a day, they are clearly marked, and by the end of the year you have gotten through the whole bible. I am curious about the bible, I think I owe it to myself to really get to know it.

I read a lot of religious books and I will continue to do that. I would be happy just go to women's spirit group although that seems wrong if I'm not financially contributing to the church. I wish, if I could have anything at all, to financially contribute to the church and to buy the swimming membership, but they come out roughly to be per year about the same. I know my husband would throw caution to the wind, and do both, but in good faith I can't do this. My expenses for this next year have got to be less than my expenses for last year. My husband is working a little overtime but the money seems to be used up. I hate dipping into savings, and yet, this happens again and again. It was worse when he wasn't working overtime.

I fear as well that the project my husband and I are working on, a book about relationships and schizophrenia, is a joke. My faith in my writing powers is small. My faith in my husband's writing powers is even less than in my own. We clash on the outline of the book. I keep changing and "improving" the outline, because I feel that the way the outline stands it is stupid. My husband likes the outline. I think my husband lacks education and is an idiot. I am afraid that I am a downer and not making the project any fun for my husband. I say to my husband, "you are merely copying what I have written" and he says, "no, this is all new". What is reality? We are going to have to rely on friends to proof read our writing for us because we simply can't agree. Also my husband knows a lot less about schizophrenia than me and he is googling info and getting all his knowledge off the internet. His writing reads like a high school term paper. I don't want to quench my husband's zeal. But I'm afraid that I'm damaging his ego. My ego is so low that I'm starting to think I'd rather be dead. New earrings, new necklace, anniversary date and I feel like road kill. Run over and squashed by life. I hate myself. I haven't accomplished anything. If I die tomorrow I leave behind a grieving husband, grieving mother and that is all. Everyone else can do without me. I've accomplished nothing significant in this lifetime. Yes, the despair I woke up with is catching up to me now.

I better go watch television. When you feel like you want to die do something that gets your mind off yourself.

The only thing I can think of to make myself feel better is a commitment to not buying anything new except the essentials in life. We have to save money, money is frightening me and depressing me, I think, or else I am going down and have the illusion that there is some reason for it. Truth may just be that I'm just sick in the head and I'm grasping at reasons why. Depression and the season change does come to mind.

I am going down. I want to cry but nothing comes. I wouldn't even know what I was crying about. There really is no crisis in my life. There really is no real reason to cry. My husband loves me. The book project is a lark, supposed to be fun. If it is a flop, who cares? We can just publish it electronically on Amazon and make it available to kindle readers. We can say whatever we want to say, critics be damned.

I've turned my back on a years worth of writing to work on this project with my husband. Maybe this sense that I'm lost and wandering is feeding into my despair. But my own book project was not going as I liked it. I spent one year writing the happenings in one day of my main character's life. I don't know what is good or bad, interesting or not, compelling or boring, pertinent or drift. I just don't know the quality of my mind. There is a horrible pitfall to being a writer,- the isolation.

I have to go hug my husband. He is writing on the book and I have said nothing to encourage him, I have only shown dissatisfaction of his work today. He tried giving me more chocolates, from some secret stash. I ate two and handed the rest back to him saying that I am making myself sick with sugar. He gave me those chocolates in an attempt to apologize for his writing that I rejected and mend fences. He shouldn't have to apologize for his writing. Or maybe he gave me the chocolates to cheer me up. He can tell that there is something wrong with me today. I wonder if my aura is doing weird things.

I would rather eat a banana. Much healthier.

Would a banana save me from despair? A banana and a cup of tea.

There is nothing wrong with my life. I know I am blessed. I'm just particularly unbalanced at this moment.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Christian or Buddhist

Fourth day without a shower. Don't care. Supposed to go to water aerobics tonight. Will take soapy shower after that.

Woke up this morning saying "Karen, Karen!" and hiding my face in the pillow. So ashamed of how things went last night at church. I spoke up and just felt like an idiot after. So went home and ate to much and had a stomach ache this morning. Yes, I tried to drown my sorrows in potato tater tots and ketchup.

I have been reading the most Buddhist book I've ever read, "LovingKindness" by Sharon Salzberg. Oh, I've read a book by a Buddhist monk, and a Buddhist nun, but this one really sucked me in the most. In the introduction is a kind of prose poem. As I was reading the prose poem I thought to myself, "This author is fantastic! So wise!" and then I turned the page and found out that everything I was reading was attributed to Buddha. I don't read Jesus quotes and get the same passionate response.

Part of my basic problem in life is that I don't like myself very much. I didn't like myself before the illness, and now that I've got schizophrenia, there seems to be so much more instances of flaws, lacks, failures and general mediocrity. In the Buddhist book the author starts out with meditation exercises that generate self-love. Exactly what I need. It seems pretty clear to me that in order to practice Buddhism you have to meditate. And to practice Christianity you have to read the Bible and pray. I don't do either. But I need to start doing something. I've pledged a tithe till the end of the year to the Church, so every week, I'm paying money to the Church. Makes me want to stick with the Church for a little longer.

Last night we learned about the fallacy of the virgin birth. Yes, it was pretty much mocked by my progressive Congregationalist church. It is a myth that I've painted two paintings about and that I can't seem to ever get behind positively. Both paintings, inexplicably, are full of horror at the immaculate conception. In order to understand the bible you need to know so much history, and meanings of words in Greek, and general knowledge to understand meanings, not the surface meanings but what people actually thought about the scriptures as they were historically writing them. I see Christianity distorting so much and turning so many myths into concrete facts that I'm turned off. I'm a scientist's daughter. I know scholarly research illuminates. But my sect of Christianity is so progressive that the message I'm getting is disbelieve what you read, or else, read it with a higher knowledge of its historical source. Buddhism seems to be about transforming the mind - you are your thoughts. And so much of my thinking is garbage. I know it has to do with being emotionally abused as a kid. I almost never think about my childhood but it is producing self hating self doubting thoughts in myself that I would prefer to get rid of. Buddhism promises to get rid of the thought junk. Very appealing to me.

I like the myths and parables of the Buddhist religion. To me, they teach more. There is, after reading them, more of an "ah, ha" moment of thought. As a kid my first reaction to my children's bible of Old Testament stories was "God is so cruel". I couldn't believe all the wanton killing. Ultimately of course there was the sacrifice of Jesus. Never could wrap my mind around the need to to do that. It seemed a tragedy, nothing more. Never believed he rose from the dead. Now, according to my church, you don't need to believe that. Christian education is a big myth buster. All these myths to prove the glory, to prove that this is what you should be impressed by. Jesus impresses me. I don't need the magic. I don't need to eat his body and drink his blood to honor him and make him part of my own body. Communion. It doesn't strike that much of a chord with me. But when I take it, I try to feel its holiness. I really do try.

Yesterday my husband and I were going for a walk. We had discovered, mid way through the walk, that I had done something with my computer that was very bad for the computer. The question my husband and I asked ourselves, as we walked, was would the computer work when we got home or would its insides be fried? This was a depressing thought. I was unhappy and probably looking down at the ground. Then my husband said, "Look at the clouds, they are purple and pink and orange" and I looked and saw that they were beautiful. Then my husband said, "Look at that tree. It has been cut funny to avoid the power lines, but isn't it a beautiful tree?" The leaves on it had all turned red and it was very tall. I wondered to myself which of the many trees on the street were the most beautiful, and if indeed my husband had chosen the best. Couldn't agree with him, but it got me looking and comparing the majesty of nature.

So that night at church in our education class I described what had happened and said, "I think my husband's inner divinity showed itself, and then transferred itself to me. Humanity and divinity is really on a continuum. I'm not saying that my husband is divine, but I think that something divine moved through him, allowing us both to lift our spirits and appreciate the nature that surrounded us and to forget our troubles." And nobody commented on what I said. It sank like a lead weight. Are you not supposed to think this way religiously in my church? Was what I was pointing out too mundane? Nobody sees God in sunsets and trees? I would have thought that that was a basic place to find God.

Last week I woke one morning and had a thought in my head. I woke angry. My father invited my brother for an all expense paid trip to California to see my sister and her new born baby. Just another example of how my father discounts me from family gatherings. Perhaps he thought it would have been too much work to bring a mentally ill daughter with him, even though I have flown out to my sister's and back by myself successfully. I guess, in the end, it wouldn't have been as much fun with me. He knew that if I went he would have had to witness mental illness symptoms, and he doesn't like seeing anything irregular. Now I have a choice. Do I let my anger influence my behavior and skip Thanksgiving with my father, to prove a point? Do I write a card to show him how he makes me feel by omitting me and favoring my brother? This is not the first time that he has invited my brother and sister to a gathering and not invited me.

So I was feelings these feelings and reading my Buddhist book and suddenly, quietly, something died. The anger just melted away. I was very quiet inside and accepting. I can't change my father or ask him to be burdened by a mentally ill daughter, a burden that he seems to want to avoid. Why indeed, I asked myself, do I even bother to try to change him? I have my husband who loves me and wishes to be with me. Not everyone can be as nurturing and accepting as my husband. My father would have been satisfied if I had been locked up in a mental institution forever. My father who screamed at me over the phone that I must never, ever call him and tell him that I feel suicidal. And to think that there is the fundamental truth that I love my father and look forward to seeing him at Thanksgiving. If I concentrate on how much I love my father all the bad feelings, all the past goes away and I find myself in the present. The way my father has treated me is wrong, but I don't need to punish him. It is tempting to punish him but I know that that path will probably not end in his remorse, it will end in his anger. Punishment results in retaliatory punishment, it just goes on and on. I'm my father's daughter, but I've stopped being like him a long time ago. At least I hope so.

If I meditate, and learn more about Buddhism, I will be less and less like my father. This is a good thing. The more I go to Christian education the less I understand Christianity. This is a puzzling thing. Now I am afraid to read the Bible because I don't know what is straight talk and what is myth and history and anti Roman sentiment. I am game to believe in myth, but it helps when the myth is prefaced with the general knowledge that what is being stated is myth. I don't know if I'm sophisticated enough to learn from the myth of the virgin birth. Christian education just deflated Christmas. This is what my minister felt too, and it bothered her mightily. She said she really enjoyed Christmas and didn't want to stop enjoying Christmas.

It just seems like you have to fake more being a Christian and fake less being Buddhist. Pray or meditate. It seems like I have to do something. I don't want to be self-destructive and self-lacerating. Religion should help me with this burden. I don't seem to be that swayed by the promise that a Christian God loves me. I'm too far out in the wilderness for this sentiment to reach me.

I'm going to continue reading Buddhist books and going to Church. I feel like a fraud. But I'm searching. It really is o.k. to be lost. I'll permit myself the luxury of feeling totally confused and not make that a subject of self critique. When I say I lack faith, I don't mean that I don't feel that there is something out there that is larger than me, because I do. I believe in my own attachment to the divine. I just don't know yet how I'm going to define this connection, or what steps I will take to make it stronger.