LLI Group Diagnosis

LLI Group Diagnosis

[Transcript]

Hello!

Today I’d like to give you a view of my personal experience with the diagnosis of low latent inhibition. And to be perfectly clear, the reason why I’ve not stated the name of the professional who diagnosed me as a child is because she has not given me her explicit consent for me to do so.

I was referred to a therapist by my school authorities because I was having what they called social adjustment issues. For instance: I only responded to rewards, never punishment. I had serious problems with authority, and I constantly challenged them because they were irrational and illogical in a lot of their behaviors and decisions. I had no interest in interacting with or connecting with my peers, and the school work was so easy that I could basically yawn and, you know, get a couple months’ worth done in a day. And it just wasn’t engaging enough.

My therapist initially thought I was a good candidtate for PTSD or Complex-PTSD because I had a rocky childhood, although she didn’t know the details. And my mother at that time was not present in my life, so we started going over all of the details of my upbringing from the ages of three to seven: um, all of the meaningful events that I had been through, and what I thought and felt about them. And she ended up diagnosing me with Complex-PTSD.

Over the course of the first few visits, she started to notice that I was very meticulous, that I was pretty hyper-active, even though I came across to most people as mellow, and that I was extremely hyper-aware. That it wasn’t just hyper-vigilance that she saw in relation to the Complex-PTSD diagnosis. So she started to explore that more with me, asking me questions about how I perceived the world, how I analyzed everything and its parts, microcosmically, and also macrocosmically. How I basically learn better if I can see an entire system working rather than being taught how each individual part works, then being taught how it all comes together.

So after a few sessions of discussing some family issues I won’t go into here, um, we also started to delve more into the details of my hyper-awareness, and she started to suspect something, but didn’t say anything to me. So she wanted to rule out a couple of other possible conditions first, including autism and schizophrenia. We started having conversations about my ideas of people and society in general, whether or not I was seeing or hearing things that weren’t there, how paranoid I was, and whether or not I had any delusions.

So she let me know that I had come out pretty, well, above average, really. But normal in terms of not being autistic and not being schizophrenic. And she told me that a diagnosis of OCD was probably a good idea at that point because it could help people to understand my meticulous nature and how I’m sort of almost compelled to make things very orderly, whereas most people would ignore those details. Then she segued into testing my aptitude and my intelligence levels. We started with the Weschler test, in which I got very high scores in verbal and performance IQ. Then she administered the Woodcock-Johnson test, which is basically an aptitude test which can also determine what your learning style is. Uh, although that’s probably something that will shift a lot from the age of eight into adulthood. And my lowest score, I think, was in name memory, which is definitely still true.

It was at this point that we started having more personal conversations. It had come to the point where we could really speak like peers, although I was still learning the vocabulary and how to articulate with a professional. And she administered the Rorschach test, which I scored 4 out of 10 doing. And at the time I had no idea that that’s actually an indication of a disturbed personality. I didn’t learn that until years later; she didn’t say anything in our session.

It was during the next session when she asked me if I had ever heard of latent inhibition. And she described, basically, that it’s a cognitive filter of sorts, as best she could to an eight-year-old who had no idea what some of the terminology meant. Of course, you know, she knew that I would go and research it later. And she asked me to imagine what the differences would be between somebody who had a high level of that, and someone who had a very low level. And she said that although an LLI diagnosis was not something that I would every likely hear of for probably many, many years, that she felt that it would give me some peace of mind, and give me a way to put all of the puzzle pieces together. Because she knew that I was the type of person who had to take things apart and analyze all of those little pieces and how they fit together to understand the bigger system; including with my own mind and how I interact with the world.

It was at the end of this session, when she told me about LLI and that I had it, and that she hoped that it would help me to understand myself and navigate the world a little bit better, that she also told me that she was leaving her practice to go back to college. I was absolutely devastated because this was the first person besides my father I had really, truly related to on such an intellectual level. And it was exactly what I needed in my life. That was what I was lacking in school, with my peers; with most of my family. And I didn’t have any friends, you know, who were on that level. She was the only one. And when we said goodbye, you know, for the last time, I told her that one day I would find her again, and actually, that is something that I am planning on still doing.

I went to several other professionals over the years, for various reasons, from childhood through my early twenties. And none of them ever related to me on the level that she did. They were just very judgmental; very closed-minded. They decided that they didn’t know what LLI was, so I stopped mentioning it, as I hadn’t been able to research a whole lot on it aside from its link to autism and schizophrenia back then. And it always got to the point with these other professionals, after just a couple of sessions, where I would become their therapist. And when I fully realized and accepted that I knew more about psychology than most of the professionals that I was paying to see, and the human psyche in general, I finally decided to stop looking to others for that expertise, and to make my own way.

So, everyone who’s looking for an LLI diagnosis, there is something that I’d like you to keep in mind that’s extremely important: The professionals can give you a lot of information that you can analyze, you know, sort of point you in the right direction, but you’re the one who has to take those steps. You’re the one who has to analyze and accept who and what you are, and how you became that way. All they can do is give you the details. You have to put them together. You have to make that mosaic, or that puzzle. You have to complete it. No one else can do that for you, whether it’s in an LLI group on Facebook, or the more renowned psychologist on the planet. So, take this information however you’d like. This is my personal experience, and I’m sharing it with you not because I consider myself to be an expert in psychology, but because I have been there, and I have taken those steps, and I’ve helped other people along that journey.

Thank you for watching yet again! Please subscribe, and let me know what you’d like to see in my next video. I do have a whole list of them queued up; I’m just working down the checklist. But, as always, I am open to suggestions and critiques, and any other input you’d like to give.

www.lowlatentinhibition.org

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwT4BReli5U&feature=youtu.be

https://www.coursera.org/learn/creative-problem-solving/lecture/vv3EQ/2-1-divergent-and-convergent-thinking

http://personality-testing.info/tests/HEMCR/

https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/diagnosis/dsm-5-diagnostic-criteria

https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/the-new-dsm-5-schizophrenia-spectrum-and-other-psychotic-disorders/

 

 

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LLI Group – Introduction Video

LLI Group – Introduction VideoDiagnosis

[Transcript]

Hello to the LLI group!

 
My name is Natalie Marsh. You may have recently met me, or you may have known me for the last several years, since I joined in 2011. It’s nice to finally meet you face to face!

 
You may be wondering, “What is low latent inhibition?” To understand that, you need to understand the concept of latent inhibition, which is something in classical conditioning which states that new stimuli will be more meaningful to your conscious mind than familiar stimuli.

 
This has to do with your basic instinct of survival. If you’re in a familiar environment and you encounter the same types of stimuli every day, those stimuli are probably not threatening to your survival. However, if something new pops in, say a tiger jumping over the fence while you’re gardening, that’s probably something you need to pay more attention to than how to care for your tomatoes.

 
I found the LLI group after an extensive online search, which involved reading every available study on latent inhibition and low latent inhibition, which were not numerous back then, and reading little snippets on forums and in chat rooms from people who claimed to have LLI. This was following the ever-famous episode of Prison Break, which is not actually how I was introduced to LLI, but a reminder of that introduction.

 
I was first introduced to the concept of low latent inhibition by my therapist when I was 8 years old. I was put into therapy because I was having “social issues,” in school mostly. But I wasn’t able to adapt like the other children. I couldn’t make friends with the other children. I barely related with the adults, and I was constantly in trouble. And they thought this had to do with my troubled upbringing.

 
But my therapist saw through that, and realized that there was more to me than just post-traumatic stress disorder. She told me about low latent inhibition, explaining that it was essentially hyper-sensitivity in every way, that my brain was wired differently than most people’s, and that I might be able to learn to relate to other people, but I would always feel very different.

 
What makes me feel different in relation to LLI? Well, it boils down to my ability to see everything, and to process at a speed that those around me just can’t seem to keep up with. I forget, pretty often, actually, that people don’t see everything I do. And when I point those things out, they look at me like I’m an alien species. And a lot of the time, I feel that way. And one of the reasons for that, aside from noticing a lot of things that people have conditioned out of their conscious minds as irrelevant stimuli due to latent inhibition, is the fact that I’m learning as much as I possibly can every day, and I’m spending every night dreaming to process all of that new information and integrate it into my larger macrocosmic understanding of the world and the way everything in life works.

 
The LLI group means so much to me! And it’s ridiculous because I never even took Facebook seriously, but the LLI group has become so important over the last several years because I have met so many incredible people there. I mean, I converse with some of the brightest minds on the planet, all over the world, because of that group.
I mean, look at Jason Brown, for instance. The guy who’s responsible for putting LLI into the Prison Break script! How many of you would actually be in the group now if it wasn’t for his input? I mean, think about it. A majority of the people that we bring in, with LLI or not, you know, including the supporters – the people who have someone with LLI in their lives – think of how many of them wouldn’t have ever found the group, or the website, or heard of Samantics, if it wasn’t for that one person? And that’s just one of my many very good friends!

 
Thank you, to everyone who has interacted with me, positively and negatively, because, really, without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

 
I created a poll in the LLI group asking you guys which co-morbid condition, similarity, etc. you’d like to hear from me personally, on video, in relation to LLI, and I believe that the top-voted item is still mental illness. So I will be working on that one next. In the meantime, if you could use the comment section here, in the aforementioned thread, via PM, or via email, and let me know which mental illness you would like me cover first, it would be greatly appreciated, as it is a huge topic. A very, very wide spectrum. And I have a lot of insight on quite a few of them, actually, because of my personal experiences with people who have suffered from all sorts of mental illness, who I’ve known from the group and outside of the group.

 
Until next time, thank you for watching, and please give me all of the feedback you possibly can about my video-making abilities, as this is pretty new to me, and trust me, you’re going to have a very hard time offending me. So any constructive feedback that you have will be greatly appreciated, as always. And I look foward to making the next video for you!

 

http://www.lowlatentinhibition.org/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/151833815112/
http://samantics.net/2010/05/03/low-latent-inhibition/

Father’s Day

My father is a mercurial man. Those who know him understand that he’s thoughtful, deliberate with his words and actions, and prefers not to be social for extended periods. Those who know him well also observe that he’s a perfectionist to the point of procrastination, his words and actions can be harsh with their lack of sugar-coating, and that he’s far harder on himself than anyone else.

My father was the engineer who designed my foundation in life. I have long since followed my own path, but the moral code, integrity, and work ethic he exemplified influence everything I do to this day. I owe him my life, and I am doing all that I can to live up to his expectations: to be happy.

Today, while everyone else is forcing their ideals of what Father’s Day should entail onto the fathers in their lives, I’m going to give my father a gift he truly deserves: the freedom to do whatever the hell he wants. It’s only right that I return the favor.

I love you, dad!

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An Impromptu Trip to San Francisco

10th June 2017

Just a few days after Gregory posted out podcast conversation online, he messaged me to say that he would be in staying in San Francisco with a guy named Jason from the LLI group within the next few days. I asked him to let me know if he would be around when I had a couple of days off, which was this last Friday. That morning, I had a look at my transportation and hotel options, and decided to just go for it and try staying in a hostel for the first time!

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By the time I arrived at 200 Folsom Street on the Greyhound, it had been decided that we would meet up somewhere near my hostel. I decided to walk the several blocks instead of waiting for transit. While I was walking, Gregory messaged asking if I could meet them at the Pause Wine Bar. I said sure, I’ll look it up.

I arrived at the hostel, provided my bank card for the $32 stay, and gave the little Philipino guy $10 in cash for the room key. It read “307.” He handed me bundled red sheets, and I headed up the winding back stairs. The place was dank, but kept well enough for one night. I found my room at the very end of the hall on the third floor and walked in to find a rotund woman in her mid 50s sitting on the bottom bunk nearest the door. I returned her greeting, and asked if she’s ever stayed in a hostel before. She said she’s stayed in one in Ireland as well, thanks to her three daughters, who had been there with her this time for the previous three days.

I took the valuables out of my backpack, left it and my sheets atop the mattress, and found an available bathroom before looking at the map Gregory sent to set a course for the wine bar. It was just a few blocks away. I passed a reeking tent city on the way there, tucked back into a quiet alleyway. The roads all stank like piss and beer, and the pedestrians were all fiercely avoiding eye contact with the homeless, but nothing could spoil my positive mood at being out on my own again!

I arrived at the wine bar about 12 minutes later and immediately spotted them sitting at a corner table. They had already ordered a flatbread pizza. I greeted them, sat down beside Gregory, and formally introduced myself to Jason. I asked what led him to the LLI group, why he never spoke, and about his work.

I ordered a glass of bold Zinfandel and munched on a slice of the flatbread pizza.

Jason said that he and Gregory had only encountered one source of conflict. He feels emotions very deeply but can’t explain all of them, while Gregory doesn’t feel as much, but he can explain them in great detail. But Jason was frustrated because Gregory was only able to describe the most basic emotions without what he felt was depth. He asked me about my thoughts on the matter.

I told him that he’s describing the difference between affective and cognitive empathy. I told him it was obvious to me that he feels emotions around him easily, and I pointed out his nervousness and general anxiety. I then suggested that Gregory has likely developed cognitive empathy to understand emotions he doesn’t feel, or feel strongly, so that he can interact with other people more easily.

I explained the difference between me and a few people I know well: they feel everything intensely and deeply, while I feel everything except most forms of fear, but it dissipates quickly. I told them it was basically the same issue because I could objectively analyze an emotion they were feeling, which is exceedingly difficult to do while they’re feeling it. I described how I’ve been developing my understanding of emotions via cognitive empathy throughout my life because I’ve always felt very alien, and I wanted to be able to get along with any and every sort of person.

Jason said he’s a software engineer working for a small startup, and before that, he worked for Twitter for a few years. I asked him why he left and he said Twitter was going downhill, the stock tanked as a result, and everyone he knew when he worked there has now left.

The bar was getting unbearably loud, so we all agreed to find greener pastures, preferably which provided tequila. We walked a block, stood around awkwardly for about ten minutes, and finally decided to catch an Uber to the Cigar Bar.

There was a $10 cover because they had a live band playing salsa music. When we pulled out our IDs, Gregory showed me that he’s a citizen now of three countries, and is working on the fourth. Neither of them was interested in dancing, so we hung out, had drinks, people watched, and talked.

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We found a relatively quiet table in the back corner of a room open to the courtyard, where everyone was sampling cigars. I offered them a mini cigar each and we lit up, then realized that we were under an emergency sprinkler head. We decided against temptation and stepped out of the ceiling to floor open window into the courtyard.

We went and checked out the dancing in the next room, which was painfully graceless, then went to the bar. Gregory had mentioned Pisco at the wine bar, which I’ve never had, so I ordered it in a cocktail. He settled on the same, and Jason bought a neat scotch. We went back to our little corner table.

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There was a couple on a date at the next table. I had been watching them since they arrived maybe twenty minutes earlier. The girl was showing increasing disinterest, and the guy was desperately trying to force an intimate feeling. I pointed out the details to the guys and asked how these things wouldn’t be obvious to anyone. She was leaning away from him, kept looking at her phone, and when he scooted in next to her instead of staying sat across, she started flicking her eyes around toward the exits.

This led to a discussion on attraction and sexual orientation. Gregory basically described his relationship style like mine: A decision beyond basic instinct to be with someone for more than sex. Jason described a few facets of his relationship journey, and intimated that he wants to find someone with whom he has a deeper connection.

Gregory talked about meeting his current girlfriend in a club in Spain. They’ve been staying together in Ecuador for a while now, but she’s going back to her home for an unspecified amount of time. I asked him how he felt about being thousands of miles away from her. He said it’s difficult not to have the physical intimacy, but it’s good to have time away to grow individually before coming back together again.

They were both showing signs of being tired at this point, which was just after midnight. Jason decided to leave us to it, and wandered off for a night cap. We landed in an Uber.

We had a rideshare with a talkative Philipino couple. Gregory allowed me to have the front seat and squeezed into the back with them. He told them about his travels there, where he apparently stayed to explore several months. They got off at the Holiday Inn on Market Street, which was near my hostel, so I got out there as well. Gregory and I shook hands through his window, and he invited me to visit him in Ecuador.

I walked back to the hostel, tried to make my bed quietly and failed massively because it was so unstable, and finally fell asleep in my day outfit. I woke up just after six in the morning, waited for seven to check out, and went exploring the city alone for the first time in my life.

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Most of my exploration occurred at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. If you haven’t ever been, it is definitely worth $25. I spent nearly five hours exploring six floors and dining at their café. I recommend the curry soup.

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After I finished drinking in all of the art and culture my mind could process, I walked to Pier 14, where a newlywed couple was becoming more and more agitated at their failed effort to have photos taken professionally without interruption. Passersby didn’t seem to care about being in the way, and neither the couple nor the photographer and his assistant were attempting to communicate their intentions. I watched them and a drone a boy was flying about for a little while, enjoying the sea breeze, then headed off to peruse the nearby market. There was a woman there selling mini cheesecakes, so I tried a butterscotch one.

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As I walked over to the Greyhound station, I realized that most of the frustration I’ve been feeling lately had vanished. Apparently, I needed to travel again more than I realized! It may not have been a long journey, but now I can say that I’ve truly seen San Francisco, and had the hostel experience.

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My First Podcast

A shift in perspective changes the way that we view every detail in our own little world. After a recent paradigm shift, I became aware of a like-minded individual named Gregory Diehl, who has been engaged in efforts I appreciate on many levels, including doing podcast interviews with individuals who have a unique message for the world. He invited me to be a guest, and for the first time in my life, I thought doing an interview might be useful.

I messaged him beforehand, asking if we should have any particular topics in mind, or if it would be better to just freeflow. We never did settle on one topic, so the interview was very impromptu. The only significant difference between this conversation and the ones I’ve been having throughout my life with my inner circle is that it was recorded! Speaking with someone who is on the same wavelength is a profound, and yet lighthearted experience which leaves an impression, at least for me, that there has been a connection between us for years.

More than anything, this was yet another experiment I needed to conduct on and for myself. I’ve been playing with ideas on how to branch out and express my interpretation of the information I’ve been collecting and collating for the last 28 years, so why not give it a try? And, thanks to this interview, I felt confident in my decision to finally come out of the shadows and let the world get a good look at the whole me. On June 2nd, we put Skype to good use:

https://gregorydiehl.net/ucwg-029-natalie-marsh-neuroatypicals-society-low-latent-inhibition-lli-divergent-thinking-social-integration/

Do you want to hear more from me on any of these topics? Would you prefer to hear about other topics? Do you think I come across as an arrogant twat who shouldn’t ever be recorded again? Tell me how you feel! Please at least include constructive feedback.

On the Air Mic

The Grass is Always Greener…

I’ve had conversations about this recently with a few friends, and it has caused me to realize that people are far too focused on some fantasy about what they could be missing instead of valuing the extraordinary, and often irreplaceable, things unique people in their lives are giving. Always striving to be better, and to improve your life, doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to prepare yourself to throw away what you’ve earned when you see greener grass somewhere else.
 
“We should all replace constantly looking for better with striving to be in better relationships. Become a more effective communicator and encourage your partner to continue growing. Be present when it comes to dealing with the painful emotions that undoubtedly come up in a new relationships.”
 
How can anyone attract something or someone better when they’re half-assing their efforts in current relationships? If someone isn’t right for you, fair enough, but you can’t logically make that judgment if you’re not all in. That’s like trying to play poker without cards: sure, you’re limiting your risk, but you’ll never know if you could have won the jackpot.
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This applies to life in general, not just relationships! I know a few people who give in to the “grass is greener” mentality in relation to jobs, where they live, and where they socialize. We should all be striving to improve every day, but trying to improve your life by seeking out greener grass is avoiding the real issue. What you’re looking for isn’t external, it’s in your own mind.
 
I found some great insight on the matter on Reddit on how to get over that feeling that you’re missing out by being in a long-term relationship, of all places!
“I just don’t. I know there are other hot, fun, amazing women out there… but I already found a hot, fun, intelligent, caring, witty, amazing woman who I’ve shared 9 years so far with, with so many shared experiences and growth together. Honestly having something like that is rare, especially as early in life as we found it. I wouldn’t want to give that up for all the variety in the world.” ~Dajbman22
“If you leave a stable and happy relationship because you think there’s something better out there, you’ll probably never be happy.” ~RightCross4
“My wife and I began dating a few weeks after I turned 20. I’m almost 33 now and we’ve been together ever since.
For what it’s worth, I totally get that feeling. I struggled with it a lot early on in our marriage, especially after we had kids. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had somehow missed out by not being part of the partying, meeting girls, having random sex, etc part of being a young adult.
What I eventually came to realize is that I was just looking at it wrong. You’ve got to assess one simple thing: what do you want?
If you want a loving, fun relationship with someone who can make you laugh, share your life, etc, then no, you aren’t missing out. What you’re missing out on is the stupid shit many people have to go through to get there.
If, on the other hand what you really want is a life of partying and sleeping with random women, then yes, you’re holding yourself back.
Deep down, I don’t think that’s what most people want, and ultimately, I realized it wasn’t what I wanted. My desire for something “else” wasn’t about what I was actually “missing” but rather my imagined version of it which was full of sex and glamourous parties and traveling the world and basically all kinds of things I probably wouldn’t really have been doing that much even if my wife and I hadn’t met until I was 30.
Basically, the grass is always greener, and your imagination is likely filling in the blanks in the lives of your friends with a lot more endless fun than they’re really having. 
If you enjoy the life you have with this girl, the relationship is fulfilling, and she meets your needs, then really, you aren’t missing out on anything at all. You just need to realize it.

“The grass is greener” phenomenon. Usually a symptom of a scarcity mindset vs. abundance mindset.

The basic formula for getting rid of grass-is-greener is:

  • Accept that what’s going on right here is largely in your own head. For example, can you visualize a guy in his 20s constantly getting laid, yet feeling empty because he has no real companion in his life? Could you imagine any scenario where your situation might look better from the other side of the fence? If so, you realize just how relative all of this nonsense is.
  • Shift from scarcity to abundance mentality. This is huge, because grass-is-greener is basically another symptom of scarcity mentality. Why? Because you believe that you’re “losing” your 20’s by being in an LTR. Well, why couldn’t you have fun in your 30’s? And 40’s? What’s stopping all that? Only you, and your scarcity mentality. (Further decisions on whether to commit to your LTR in the future are a separate issue.) You have to believe that success is around always around the corner, and that there’s enough fun and partytimes out there to be had no matter what your age.

 

That’s about all I can think of right now. Basically, it’s all in your head unless you really don’t like being in an LTR–in which case, feel free to not be in an LTR anymore. But I think it’s mostly in your head.” ~Anonymous

 

Building an Abundance mindset doesn’t just help with your relationships. It sets you up for every possible avenue of success. Is it coincidence that so many cultures and religions centered on making things better teach mindfulness techniques? People who appreciate what they have while always striving to improve are happier, more productive, and an inspiration to everyone around them.

http://www.success.com/article/john-c-maxwell-6-tips-to-develop-and-model-an-abundance-mindset

“Leaders who allow a scarcity mindset to work its way into their culture pay a high price. When resources (money, opportunity, recognition) are perceived to be limited, paranoia, fear and politics thrive. In this environment, people become nervous and afraid to make a mistake. As a result,teamwork and innovation suffer.”

I think the best piece of advice in that article is this: “Give more of what you want.” There’s an old saying that you attract what you put out into the world. If you expect something from the people around you that you’re not truly giving, why would they feel obliged to cooperate? Hypocrisy is abundant enough in the world. We need more leaders, in relationships and in business, to show everyone how things should be done. And the best leaders are people who consistently apply those morals in their business and personal lives.

Deception

We all deceive ourselves and those around us. Our illusions are, by and large, the reasons why society is able to function. Without the lies to cushion our reality, wouldn’t everything we’ve built begin to crumble?

That bit of truth doesn’t make coping with deception any easier, though. For those of us who always know when someone is lying directly to our faces, it can be a battle to keep an open mind. The things people choose to hide, sugar coat, or completely fabricate are so ridiculous at times that one can’t help but wonder why they’re wasting the energy!

A set of questions which always arise during my discussions about deception are these:

Where do you draw the line?

When is lying wrong?

When is lying immoral?

When is lying intolerable?

Is that line the same for everyone in your life?

If not, why?

I’ve come to accept that everyone lies, and it’s not about me. The only time when I refuse to tolerate that behavior now is in romantic relationships. For me, being intimately involved means forming a partnership. How can a partner in life, someone you trust implicitly, be counted on when they aren’t being completely honest?

Friends and family members alike have pointed out that lying is normal in a committed relationship. I realize that, for the majority, that is true. However, my relationships aren’t typical. Why should lying be acceptable to me simply because it is expected by the rest of society? Being entirely open with that single person, for someone as truthful as me, is about being safe with one another. Isn’t that ultimate level of vulnerability, and the trust which follows, the epitome of love and romance?

Tomorrow We Begin Again the Bitter Dance of Self Deception

Victory!

Victory at last!

I finally tipped the scales.

Moving forward now.

After one entire week of deep depression, I decided that I am ready to move forward. It was necessary for me to experience that sadness. I needed to accept that something changed dramatically in my life, and that everything in my future will be impacted by that change. Now, though, I see the grand potential in what lies ahead, once again.

The pain is still there, centered in my chest, reminding me that the trauma of this year has left a mark. Who wouldn’t still be in that place, or worse, after so much loss? A breakup, devastating as it has been, isn’t even the beginning. It hasn’t even been a month since my Uncle Bill left us. Before him was my grandfather, William Marsh. Just four months before that, his wife, my grandmother, Mildred Marsh. Two days after Christmas last year, it was my Aunt Debbie. One year, and four deaths of family members who meant the world to me.

Some might struggle to find the silver lining in such a terrible set of circumstances. There are many positives, from my point of view, but the greatest one is this: I was able to endure the suffering with such strength that I allowed myself to open up to deep, passionate love. Brief though it was, having my shields shattered, and the level of intimacy which arose as a consequence, has created a lasting, positive change. The experience brings a favorite poem to mind, in fact:

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Infatuation

 

Tell me that I’m special;

that you’ll always cherish me.

Tell me that we’re destined;

that I should let love be.

Tell me that you adore me

more than anyone in your past.

Tell me that I’m the one

with whom you’ll always last.

Show me that those lovely words

were more than empty vows.

Show me how to feel that passion;

how to melt into the now.

If your promises were empty,

  just a way to pull me in,

I’ll hold onto those memories.

Keep your pretty words within.

When that genuine one comes to call,

and unbridled resonance abounds,

I’ll open up the floodgates.

Let go, float on, spellbound.

Burning Passion

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