Month: November 2011

2011 in Perspective

Almost a year down the line and no blogging! I just cannot let go of pen and paper! My study is littered with A5 Moleskin notebooks. But then again, I struggle to keep my pen on the same piece of paper, let alone in the same notebook.  I write in several at the same time, although on different themes. One for dream interpretation. One for contemplation. A daily planning and recording journal  that helps me get things done.  A felt and leatherbound, handmade book for poetry. Even an A4, leatherbound journal with handmade paper, intended for recording the profound.  Needless to say my scattered writings have yet to manifest something profound enough to record in that  journal.

What a year it has been. From January onwards a longstanding relationship with a key client ended, and so did my income. this has been an incredibly tough year, financially, mentally and emotionally. Yet strangely and most satisfying, it has been a purifying and healing year. My dream life exploded with inciteful, prescient dreams that have guided me throughout the year. Some dreams providing insight into relationships, career, money matters. Others being of a prophetic nature, giving exact information as to what was to happen with whom and by when.  it is ironic how money, or the absence of it, drives one to look inward. Or upward.  How the extra time available through being underemployed leads to a “cleaning out” process. Letting go of the old.  Dealing with matters long postponed. Examining ones health and seeking solutions to long unattended problems.

Probably the single most important action I took this year, was to recognise that my ongoing depression was unnatural, and to seek help.  I am not one for chemical medications, particularly antidepressants, as a result of an unpleasant experience after my divorce in 1996. I chose St. Johns Wort as a natural antidepressant and within weeks noticed that my mood started to lift. Having plenty of time  to contemplate, I considered how I could deal with my ongoing depression that I had been carrying with me for years. I decided that the one thing I could do, that would make a difference, would be to find someone to talk to.  Not just anyone, a professional who would really understand me.  I sent up a silent prayer and contacted two therapists that I had dealt with in the past.  The first refused to see me (was I that bad?) and the other was on maternity leave.  She however, referred me to a man practicing from Mosaic Health Centre ( Dr Johan Ferreira.  Over the next 3 months I visited him every two weeks in a series of encounters that have changed my life. We would sit in his rooms, ensconced in couch or reading chair, and just talk. At first, my intention was to deal with my dreadful track record in relationships. Not just with women, but men as well.  I struggled to maintain healthy, non-sexual relationships with my female friends (if it wasn’t about sex the friendship faded). I could also not maintain close male friendships, particularly not when that person became involved in a serious relationship. Something about me was too intense. But in this process, as we dug deeper into my behaviour and what motivated me, it became apparent that a core underlying issue, was Adult Attention Deficit Hypertensive Disorder.  At 44 I discovered I have ADHD. Of the 16 symptoms identified, I have 15.

A lot began to make sense, with that revelation.  Appropriate medication brought the world into sharp focus for me.  Where before everyone around me seemed to be so slow, finally I was able to slow down.  And smell the roses, so  to speak (or suffer fools gladly).  The single biggest effect was the absence of anxiety.  where before I was constantly haunted by a sense of dread, now I was able to focus on the task at hand. I could plan ahead.  I could prioritize and get things done. I was able to obey the First Rule of the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy: Dont Panic! No more mood swings. My two personalities (yes, we all have at least two) have become closer to each other than ever before, and finally, my Holy Grail of personal growth, that the man I am on the inside is the man I am on the outside, seems to be within reach.

A bizarre side effect of the anti-depressant was that it solved the “sex based” friendship problem. As a result of the medication my interest in sex fell from hero to zero in about two weeks. Now most men would not think that a good thing, but for me it was a blessing.  All of a sudden I was no longer sending the kind of signals that got me the kind of attention that could get me into trouble in the first place. Don’t get me wrong.  I was not philandering with every young thing that came along.  But I was definitely getting the attention.  I could not seem to establish and maintain a friendship with the opposite sex that did not, eventually take that turn.  Either way, no matter which way I turned, that friendship would fade.  But this social problem was solved by a pill!

It did however, cause me to look at my partner in a new light.  Where once sex was fulfilling and regular,  it now became a chore.  Not through any fault of hers, but rather because the underlying reason why I was with her, was based on sexual attraction. Not intellect, not conversation, not personalities that sparked each other off. Just sexual adventure. Not a healthy place to be for any relationship.  This revelation was motivation enough for me to seek out a new anti-depressant that does not affect the libido (yes it does exist!) and to reexamine if and how, I can find other aspects to her and us, that are worth staying together for. This process is ongoing. If you want to find out what living with your wife is going to be like at 60 or 80, try going on antidepressants for a few months.

And so, with my new-found lucidity and calmness, I was able to reconnect with my children. My youngest daughter (15) has been living with me for about two years now.  The older one has lived with her mother despite an extremely tumultuous home environment.  And just as I began to settle into my new (improved) personality (iamwill 2.0), my  18 year old daughter pitched up on my doorstep with all her belongings and moved in.  Now I have both my daughters living with me. A happy, calm and peaceful home.

My mid-life christmas is over.  But something else, much more precious has taken its place.  I finally get to be Dad.