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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

You are a Free Person

Dear A. B.

I had picked up a copy of your book in the used book bin at our library. I had been diagnosed bipolar when about 19, as I understand is common. I was hospitalized involuntarily by my father. I continued to proceed through life and had several mania type cycles years apart. I am in my sixties now. After reading your book I took Lithium less and less. I had reduced my intake by half and had been very stable. I found I could think more clearly about everything including clutter in the basement and shed and what to do about it all.

My relationship with my wife is now under stress. We have a teen-aged daughter who in eight months will graduate and go to college so we will be empty nesters. She is a honor student and marching band member.

I was a landscaping gardener for many years and then went into wildlife managemet. I retired and became a house husband so that we could take our daughter out of day care and be there for her when she came home. I found myself unhappy and going to a therapist who said do something you like not for the money. I studied sharpening and started sharpening hair scissors and kitchen knives. I now operate a sharpening service at various locations.

As I started thinking more clearly I started doing things around the house. Getting things done is a constant mantra from my wife,

We don't make love physically much to my disappointment except maybe once a year. I had at times been at my wits end what to do with this lack of lovemaking. I have some how clung to the hope that she would start making love more again. Once going to work was the great joy of her life. Now she just has a few years when she can retire. Things have gotten tense at work and she often comes home and yells at me about things like making a "mess in the kitchen". I might make lunch and being I guess more  of a slob leave a dish on the counter or a onion skin will fall to the floor and not get picked up. She is very severe at yelling. I am sensitive and it really hurts me.

 I like to cook. but I don't like the way she keeps the spices on plastic see thru shoe boxes. I have to dig them all out and then she again accuses me of making a mess. I wanted to build some shelves but she won't let me. I thought a solution would be for me to buils a little kitchen in the basement where she rarely went and I could cook without her being disturbed about Mess making. I started locking my Man cave up but she broke through the door with an ax.

She says I drink which I do. She doesn't want to have anyone over because the house is in such a mess.

As I go ahead and try to fix up things around the house she is getting more and more frightened that I am in the mania stage.

She's off with my daugther looking at a college. I had a festival to go to where I sharpened. She called and  has been very unhappy with me and our declining marriag. She told me I better go to a doctor and start taking my lithium again. I have gone to our family physician and told all of this stuff to him. He had been prescribing the Lithium. He did not think I was in the mania state.

I have been spending money but I am working harder and earning more too.

I want her to go to a doctor because she seems unhappy, not exercising and sleepless when she yells at me If I am up late which I have been a lot lately. I try to keep quiet.

Tonight she said I better do what she says or I will be very unhappy. she will divorce me.

I could add more I guess but maybe I said enough.

I am in an election here in town planning a trip where I will attend a church convention. Then a few weeks later I will go to a sharpening convention and want to expand my business.

Do you have any advice? I'm planning now to consult a lawyer and go back and see my therapist.


Dear R.

I don't have any real advice for you. I will tell you what comes to mind. 

If your house is messy just put away one thing at a time until it is tidy again. Your environment should be nourishing your spirit, and when it is a mess, it saps the energy from your spirit. You are a free person. You are free to be messy and you are free to be neat and tidy. There are consequences for which of these you choose.

You are free to feel perfectly okay if your wife yells at you and is unkind and mean. You are free to be hurt by her meanness. There are consequences for which of these you choose.

You are free to leave your wife and you are free to stay. There are difficulties and consequences for which of these you choose. You are free to allow your wife to make you unhappy and you are free to be happy and okay while your wife struggles with her own demons. You are free to be kind and caring to your wife even though she is unkind and uncaring to you. Or, you are free to be as unkind and uncaring to your wife as she is to you.

Ultimately you are free to make choices. If you make a choice out of fear (anger is the same as fear) of something, it will end up being in some way inappropriate to your life. If you make a choice based on love of something (love of doing the right thing, love of being tidy, love of the world in which you are now living and adding your own energy to it daily) it will ultimately be appropriate in some way to your life, win or lose any particular battle. No one has the answer for what we should do. No one is going to save us. But at every point in our life, we can always reach out to one another in hope and friendship. There is always some person that can profit, in some small way, for our being in the world. I had a quote about this very thing once that I loved. If I can find it on my blog, I'll send it to you. A. B. Curtiss
Dear A. B.

Thank you.

Dear R.

You are welcome. I found the quote
 I have found this quotation comforting. 

“To complain that life has no joy as long as there is a single creature that we can relieve by our bounty, assist by our counsels, or enliven by our presence is to lament a loss of that which we possess, and just as irrational as to die of thirst with the cup in our hand.” Sir Thomas Fitzosborne

Remember that at every moment we can choose to do something positive, or something negative. If we find ourselves negative, we can always insist on some kind of a "do over." We always have that choice. A. B. Curtiss

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