TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Asperger’s & Autism

It’s been a long, hard time since I wrote.  But unlike the bird above I was not alone, thank the Lord. Beloved husband was at my side.  I have thought of many of you and wondered how you’re doing, if you’re still blogging.  Kit, Running Elk, Bert, Paul, Michael, Sue, Palestine Rose, Joshi, Ashley, Didi, Val and so many others.  I check my hundreds of blog emails unread and see you are.  Have not only not been blogging but not reading the blogs either.  Been sick, selling our barn, moving and withdrawing from a major benzodiazepine, Klonopin, a “benzo” as they are called.  My doctor got me addicted to it.  And, while selling the house I took extra because it was so stressful and I had to function no matter how sick I was.  Now I am paying the price.  Withdrawal is at a snail’s pace and fraught with physical and psychological symptoms.  It seems futile to be angry with my doctor.  He didn’t force it down my throat but he did dispense a very dangerous drug.  This is one of the seldom talked about pitfalls of being mentally ill.

The house is finally sold and all the headaches with it.  We will miss the nature and our home in the depths of it.  I have lost my inspiration.  My muse.  Pictures were everywhere.  Now in New York City there is so much stimulation I cannot even see images to capture.  But in many ways it is  good to be here.  Although I remain sick and sick at heart with what is happening to our country, even so, my husband and I are blessed to have each other.  But today, with the March for Our Lives, I finally have new hope.  Perhaps the new generation can succeed at peace where we have failed.  Perhaps the world can stop destroying itself.

And finally now, at last, I can find time now to look within.  I continue to follow Sadhguru and his Inner Engineering.  That is my priority now.  So I don’t know if I can go back to blogging as I used to.  Inspiration is at zero.  But at least I hope to visit sites now and again. Let me take this opportunity to say hello and happy Spring to all of you!


Sadhguru’s Cure for a Spiritual Lobotomy

Another invisible illness silently
sapping quality of life
vertigo and acute nausea
now join
constant migraines
and, with Aspergers, I am
more of a recluse than ever
But my beloved stands by me
A few weeks ago
I wanted to die
Bipolar, too, you see
too sick to sleep
too long a wait
to see a doctor
My beloved, my savior
keeps me going.
But I must fight on my own
and have enlisted Sadhguru
an Indian mystic and Yogi and guru
who promises bliss.

Meditating and chanting every day
with my beautiful husband
whose love
pulls me through
My husband the healer
who worked
with the poorest of the poor
the dejected and rejected
the condemned
My husband who married me
despite my mental illness.

Sadhguru says my mind
can poison my body
Sadhguru, my last best hope
I meditate and chant Aum
with him daily
living the life of a hermit
in a 3 room box in New York City
rather than in a cave in the Himalayas
Desperately seeking
the spirituality of years ago
before antipsychotic medication
gave me a spiritual lobotomy
A trade off
it offered me
some sort of stability
to have a quasi normal life
with my devoted husband
of 28 years.

Why can’t you have
pharmacological sanity
that allows you to love
AND spirituality???
I am going to try…
With Sadhguru.


Messages from God

Sue at Silent Eye recently posted a discussion of bibliomancy on her blog…

https://thesilenteye.co.uk/2017/06/04/divination-by-the-book/

As a former librarian, I had an experience of bibliomancy with an encyclopedia. It was at a time in my life when I was in a sort of parallel universe. In any case, I had the distinct feeling of a prickly scalp and I wanted to do what I called “readings” which meant basically opening a book randomly to anything looking for messages from God. So I did just that and opened to a page with a picture of Christ and His crown of thorns. I can’t remember how I interpreted it but I knew I was “connected” to something way bigger than my mind.

I had many such experiences and they are delineated in my book, Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things.


Alternatives and Non-Pharmaceutical Aids for Bipolars, Depressives and Other Mentally Ill

I am Manic-Depressive, more specifically, Bipolar 1. Unable to take the mood stabilizers usually prescribed for Bipolar Disorder—Valproic acid, Lithium Carbonate, Tegretol, Neurontin and Depakote, my therapist had me on a cocktail of anti-psychotics. Been on an old anti-psychotic, Thiothixene, for about 20 years and a new, atypical anti-psychotic, Zyprexa, for 15 years (more on that drug later).

The anti-psychotics, however, or the neuroleptics as they are called, while keeping me out of the mental hospital and enabling to live a somewhat “normal” life, had a depressant effect on me, robbing my life of all the joy and creativity I used to enjoy, as well as, my mystical experiences in nature.

In an effort to get my spark back, I was put on practically every anti-depressant there is. From the old ones like Tofranil, Elavil, Norpramin and Pamelor, to the newer ones like Effexor, Wellbutrin, Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. All of them were rejected for reasons as numerous as the drugs themselves. From blunted affect, severe nausea, and weight gain, to a total inability to function or outright mania, even minute doses were problematic. As were my trials of the newer anti-psychotics. And I have heard from many that they have had similar or even more severe reactions to the same medications. A friend of mine attempted suicide on Wellbutrin.

Finally a psychologist recommended St. John’s wort. I was very worried about taking that after all my bad experiences with anti-depressants. But I found a research grade St. John’s wort and gave it a try. I felt a difference the very next day despite being told the effects would kick in gradually. The change was dramatic as demonstrated in what I wrote after one day on St. John’s wort:

Ko-ko, our four-legged, faithful companion, runs into the bedroom, eager to join me on the bed, awash with pure joy. She takes a flying leap up and we lounge together like lizards basking in the sun, reclining requisitely together. It is day 2 of St. John’s wort. Am filled with a loving glow as Ko-ko nestles down to sleep beside me. The beauty of yesterday lingers in my memory—a vacation day spent with my husband in the Palisades on an early October day. The sweet, crackling autumn air filled our lungs as we climbed the Palisades for a spectacular view of the Hudson River. Our path strewn with crunchy, dry leaves. A trail leads us further upwards, the spongy ground, soft underfoot is strewn with paint box colored leaves. Yellow, crimsons, golden russets lay on the damp path, wet from yesterday’s rain. I give thanks to God in this cathedral of color. Try to experience the mysticism of my youth. Yearn to return to the photography and poetry writing of my pre-breakdown days. A revival of creativity. Thank you , God, for giving me my sight back.

As the days went by, more and more of the depression lifted. My husband was happier with me on the St. John’s wort because I was more loving. I also stopped drinking. Completely. And I had been a borderline alcoholic. The door to the prison had been opened and I was now freer. This improvement gradually leveled off and at times I found myself fighting depressions at times but nothing like the deep, black depressions before the SJW.

Still without a mood stabilizers I would cycle, but not psychotically. Next change to be made was to learn the hands on healing technique called Reiki in an attempt to recover my spirituality. Reiki continues to be a blessing as I do it daily to myself and in a prayer form for others. But I was still craving the spirituality of my youth.

Brought up Presbyterian and made to convert to Catholicism in grade school, organized religion was not working for me. I had done Transcendental Meditation in my twenties and dropped it for a reason I no longer remember. Continuing to pray rote prayers I followed Pema Chodron and Paramahansa Yogananda and others. I took about twenty of Yogananda’s lessons offered by Self-Realization Fellowship and meditated according to his teachings. I regard Yogananda as a saint, a true saint, but his path was not “doing it” for me. Tremendous anxiety would take over. And then, through Hariod Brawn on Contentedness.net, I met Mooji and I began listening to his guided meditations and watching his satsangs. Additionally, while convalescing from pneumonia recently, my husband read books written by an old friend he had while pursuing religious studies at the University of Edinburgh. A Celtic Christian minister and reformer, J. Philip Newell. Curious, I read him, too, and he helped me on the path with Mooji. Through Mooji I found that the Self is not Bipolar or OCD or Asperger’s or depressed. Those are troubles of the body/mind/ego self. The “person” in other words. If I can go into the “Presence of God” as Newell says, or into the “Self” as Mooji says, I can be well. Mooji has helped me regain my spirituality and is making me whole.

The last change I made was to get off the newer anti-psychotic, Zyprexa, for health reasons. The drug has horrid side effects including dizziness, heavy weight gain, problems with heat and more. The withdrawal from Zyprexa is very,very hard. I still have .5 mg to go to get off it completely. Meantime, the same company where I buy the research grade St. John’s wort, offers a homeopathic Lithium Orotate (not Lithium Carbonate) spray called Symmetry. Have been using that with great results. Am very even. Gone are the manic nights of insomnia and the deep, dark depressions that sometimes broke through the St. John’s wort. Gone is the rapid cycling.

The company that offers the research grade St. John’s wort (the only brand of St. John’s wort that has worked for me) is Hypericum.com. The homeopathic Lithium Ortotate is offered by the same company. I have no interest in this company and am not paid by them to offer this information. I am not saying that all these things will work for those you touched by the fire of Bipolar Disorder or the black hole of depression or any other disorder. And certainly you must consult your therapist before trying any medication. For example, you cannot mix St. John’s wort while taking certain drugs. Specially mixing St. John’s wort with other antidepressants can be very dangerous. I am just offering alternative to those of you who may have had the same experiences and presenting what has helped me in my own battles. Talk to your therapist if interested.

And last but not by any means least, is Mooji. All information about him is to be found at Mooji.org. There are many, many free Satsang and guided meditation videos available there and on YouTube.

He answered my question about being able to being “realized” despite having Bipolar Disorder and I see now what he said made all the difference in the world. The person is Bipolar but the Self is not! Through watching his satsangs and doing meditation with him daily I am returning to the spirituality of my youth, before my breakdown. I have miles to go but with his help I am more able to cope with this dream we call life.


The Benefits of a Nervous Breakdown

Below is an excerpt from my book, “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things.”  In this section of my book I am describing to my therapist a theory I had researched in grad school before my psychotic break with reality at age 28, long before I was to start my life over from scratch as a conceptually-challenged yet more feeling person.  Breakdowns can destroy cognitive functioning. It did for me. While I was never ever good at conceptual thinking, the breakdown has made it virtually impossible to understand even the most basic concepts.  Despite being on medications for Bipolar Disorder, my mind simply does not work as it once did. This is often humiliating and frustrating though I am mostly okay with it.

Yet, in the past few months, I found Mooji and am following his path– something I thought I would never do because Buddhism was so “beyond” me.  And I find myself following many Buddhist blogs. Many times reading such posts and poetry sail way above my comprehension.  But this, too, is good.  It is humbling and it deprives the ego of its food supply, which according to Mooji, is good.  A “chop” at the ego-self is needed over and over again in order to be in the Presence.  But the mind still yearns to understand.

For what it is worth here is the excerpt from a therapy session in which I describe my “theory” to my therapist.  What is synchronicitous is that the theory sounds somewhat Buddhist in nature.  It opens with me talking to my therapist, or rather, reading from my notebook, because I found it difficult to talk at times.

 

“Alpha = life in utero.  Birth = the end of life in utero—  death of a sort, a seeming death.  Birth is entering the world of light— Reality.

“Reality is too much.  People need to escape— to regress.  Therefore, the mind goes into altered states of consciousness.” I look up and stop reading and explain.  “I studied this when I was in graduate school.  I hit upon the literature of altered states of consciousness while I was in a Psych class doing a research paper on creativity and I became obsessed with the topic.  I nearly had a breakdown then because I wasn’t eating or sleeping or going to classes.  All I was doing was this research and writing.  A friend in the dorm used to make sure I ate something.  But all that time I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall.  The material was difficult and I was afraid I was really going off the deep end and writing far out stuff. But in the end the professor gave me an A+ on the paper…”

“Anyhow,” I say as I start to read from my notebook again, “many altered states of consciousness have been found to coincide with the production of alpha brain wave patterns.”  I stop reading again and say, “I know this first hand because I did biofeedback once and the feeling you get when you’re producing alpha waves is the same as the one you get in mystical experiences and meditation.  Altered states of consciousness typically occur under conditions of sensory deprivation or sensory overload because overloading the system shuts it down, so in effect it becomes a condition of sensory deprivation.  The first experience of sensory deprivation occurs in the womb.  The ultimate form of sensory deprivation is death.  Death is a return to the womb.  The womb of the earth.  Therefore, Alpha = Omega.”

 

So there it is in a nutshell.  The book is mainly an emotional chronicle of relationships, and finding love, despite being very handicapped by Bipolar Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome and OCD.  If you would like to purchase it for $2.95 please click on the link below:

http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html

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Life vs. Death, Living vs. Existing

 

I know the importance of mental health screening first hand, as a person who is Bipolar, with Asperger’s, OCD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  Therapy works.  So does the right combination of medications.  It is the difference between life and death.  It is the difference between just existing and living a productive life with loving relationships.  If you are having difficulties coping, feel you cannot go on as you are, are depressed or have any number of emotional problems, get screened.  Get help. You cannot do it alone.  I know.  I tried.  This may be the single most important decision of your life. And if you are interested you can read about the story of my battle against mental illness.

For screening go to: 

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-screening-tools

 


Confessions of an Agoraphobic

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I will do almost anything to stay at home. Granted I have a few chronic illnesses that keep me in but it is mental illness that is the real challenge. Mental illnesses, plural, and phobias, to be more exact. Bipolar Disorder, Asperger’s, OCD, Emetophobia, Claustophobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Agoraphobia. And I do what mentally ill people do.  I isolate.

Life can be lived through the ethernet. Luckily for me and many others. One can stay in the apartment for days. Today, however, I had to go out. My husband asked me to check the car. And there was shopping to be done and a trip to the post office required. Shit! Forgot to take major meds last night and was not in good shape yesterday either.  Dreading going out!  A one mile errand for me is like a trip to China. First off, take the missed meds. And make the preparations to go out, hiding money in case of a mugging, packing a phone, emergency meds and emergency numbers for my husband, etc., etc., etc.

Then comes the moment of truth, going out the door. Meet a neighbor and surprised that could handle her in my fragile state, and was, in fact, good with her. Not always the case. Helped a new neighbor and walked out the door into the street. A man coughing. He may vomit. Terrified of vomit and vomiting. I search out the streets and buses for people who look sick or sound sick, coughing, etc. The origin of this phobia– an alcoholic father who was often sick, but knowing that does not help matters. Make it past the coughing man and note his location to look for vomit on the way back.

Then there are all the unknown. This is New York City after all. Dirty, smelly, overstimulating, overcrowded, noisy New York City. People approaching you for good causes, bogus causes, begging, anything is possible. It is not like I am a newcomer here, having lived in New York City for six-plus decades and worked all over the city for three of those decades. Until I couldn’t any more.

Someone once asked me what was there to be afraid of? What could possibly go wrong? Oh, wrong question. I could easily rattle off twenty-five scenarios of disaster and then some. But this morning surprisingly and unusually, am happy to be outside. Greet my Indian newsstand lady friend and my friendly Hispanic super next door. All goes smoothly. The clerk in the post office ends on a kind note after my botched addresses had to be fixed. It actually, and can’t believe I am saying this, but, it actually feels good to be out.  Give a beggar a dollar and talk to him. Feeling good outside is a rarity. Perhaps it is the missed medication. Secretly I still believe the medication takes away something good in me. Still suffer from the delusion that all ills come from the medication, though “know” I cannot function without it. Actually perhaps it is doubling up on the dose that helps. Perhaps I should be on a higher dose of the anti-psychotic. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…

Trip over. Glad to be back home. Didn’t feel faint until back home. One of these days  will venture out to shop for a new pair of jeans. One of these days…

(For more writing on battling mental illness please see my e-book, “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things” on Amazon.  Also available on Smashwords, iBooks and Nook.)

 


Review of Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things: Learning to Love as a Bipolar Aspie

Kitt O’Malley over at Kittomalley.com, so generously reviewed my book on being Bipolar and Aspie and the  fight for sanity and love, in a post on her blog.  Kitt, a psychotherapist and mother and wife,  writes about vital and informative topics pertaining to mental health, ranging from being a Bipolar parent to a relationship with God. She can also be found at @kittomalley on Twitter. A big THANK YOU to Kitt for posting this review.

Kitt O'Malley

Book Cover of "Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things: Learning to Love as a Bipolar Aspie" Buy and read this book! I did.

I greatly enjoyed reading and highly recommend Ellen Stockdale Wolfe’s autobiographical story of love alongside psychological and neurological growth: Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things: Learning to Love as a Bipolar Aspie. In her memoir, Ms. Stockdale Wolfe writes of her struggle with Asperger’s and Bipolar Disorder with psychotic features. Her autobiography traces her growth in her ability to love deeply and truly, her mental health history, and how she overcame challenges of her unique Aspie brain (Asperger’s is an autism spectrum disorder). She uses that unique brain as well as her sensitive soul to create beauty, whether it be this memoir, a poem, photograph, or painting. To see more of her stunning work, check her out at StockdaleWolfe.com, her site is appropriately entitled  | TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART.

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Fears

In tears fighting fears, I prayed to God to speak to me and he did, moments later, through the beautiful words of Dennis Ference, at Merging Traffic

Merging Traffic

battered and bullied
by fears that rage and roar
let us trust that we are
bigger than our fears
let us know that we are
so much more

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Secret Spaces

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The cool of green shade

steps to a secret place

locked doors of a shed

the innocence of childhood lost

in a matter of minutes

and no one knew

for years and years and years

dare break the silence even now

Grandpa did a naughty

and it remained

forgotten for years

until you shared your story

of what happened to you

there were other times

of lesser evil

but sketched in memory

enough to sting

even now

so many decades later

I have forgiven

but no longer forgotten

from so early in life

I adored him

the trust

etched deep wounds

though the misdemeanors minor

by most standards

just enough to give pause

if I see a secret place

all too inviting

for the sins

of

a forbidden intimacy

just enough to

add guilt and shame and fear

where they do not belong

inside me

in stillness

in the shade


New Life, Old Love

 

 

Tree skeletons

acquire accoutrements

each passing day

pale green regalia

not the deep green

of Summer when the

change in color

is so gradual

as to be imperceptible

nor the fleeting riot

of color of Fall

no, in Spring,

ephemeral  evanescent

slight light green

appears by the moment

right before my slow eyes

as I discern

shadows in the woods

a flash of white tail

deer fleet of foot

fly through the brush

dancing to the deep trill

of the wood frogs and

the echoing, haunted cries

of pileated woodpeckers

in the sudden density

of the fast-growing woods

inside the booming forest

whilst where I sit

at the edge of wood

bumble bees hum

and magically lift off

the teaming ground

and fly to the sky

where birds sing to mates

sweet songs of desire

in a crescendo of new life

as you have sung to me

for nearly thirty years

in an ever-changing

ever-growing love

whilst a breeze caresses

a newborn leaf

that tingles to its touch

as I thrill so very much

to the searching clasp

of your hand in mine

(As yet another killer, this time on the campus of Santa Barbara, California,  is identified as possibly having Asperger’s syndrome, I, as a Bipolar Aspie, offer this poem written to my Aspie husband for May 14, 2014, on the occasion of our 25th wedding anniversary, to show that not all people with Asperger’s reach for a gun and are violent.)


How To Get Low-Cost or Free Psychiatric Medications – HealthyPlace

How To Get Low-Cost or Free Psychiatric Medications – HealthyPlace.


Video

A Tribute to Paramahansa Yogananda

I wish this were my tribute to Yogananda but it is not.  Perhaps you will know of him in his”Autobiography of a Yogi”which is world famous.  That is where I first found him.  But he has written many other books and lectures.  In other posts, I have written much about how psychiatric meds for my Bipolar Disorder have destroyed my closeness to God.  Only in Yogananda’s writings have I been able to feel God– to go back to communion with God.  Interestingly enough, my husband’s best friend is a monk in Self-Realization Fellowship which Yogananda founded to bring Kriya Yoga out of India to the West.  Yogananda came to me recently when I was sick and brought me joy in my despair and rekindled my dedication to learning Kriya Yoga. Yogananda is an avatar, a man of God.  I hope these images pay him homage and inspire!


Eye-Contact and Animal Healers

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As someone with Asperger’s who spent much of my life avoiding eye contact until I was properly medicated, I still feel uncomfortable with eye contact in human interaction.  Yet I actively seek out eye contact with animals.  I am not alone in this.  For people with Asperger’s and Autism, eye-contact with humans is fearsome and yet with animals, sublime.

People say eye contact with animals is less threatening, yet I believe there is more to it than that.  Gazing into the eyes of an animal, I feel love, depth of consciousness, and connection– all qualities quite impossible to feel with humans, except in fleeting moments with my beloved Aspie husband who, too, has problems with eye contact.  Perhaps because Aspies and Auties are so starved for affection, so hungry for a form of love that they CAN handle, animals offer pure and simple love, and unconditional acceptance. The truth is animals are excellent therapists and natural healers!!  P.S.  Animals are good for depressives, too.

(For more information on eye contact and Asperger’s and Bipolar Disorder, see the memoir I wrote of my experiences with love, called “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things” http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html)

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Beguiling Wiles

Though I write about meditation, spirituality, animal rights, mental illness and nature on this blog, I would be remiss in not sharing my passion for Indian dance and Bollywood movies.  Bollywood movies, like Western movies, are vessels of escapism, but Bollywood movies add morality, family values and frequently, religion, into the mix.  The dance and music is uplifting and, yes, sensual, without resorting to the blatant obscenity of Western films.

In this excerpt from the film, “Khalnayak,” Madhuri Dixit and Sanjay Dutt star.  Madhuri is the diva of Indian dance and, in fact, I am taking free online lessons with her just for the fun of it. And fun it is.  Madhuri makes no bones about using one’s feminine wiles to beguile.  If interested the lessons are available at http://dancewithmadhuri.com.  Sanjay Dutt is the handsome, irresistibly vulnerable heartthrob of the Indian screen and he dances as well.  Most Bollywood stars not only act but dance, too.

In this scene, Madhuri Dixit plays an undercover cop acting as a dancer to allure and apprehend the soft-hearted criminal, Sanjay Dutt.  They have great chemistry and the dancing is definitely an earthly pleasure, a blatant manifestation of Maya, to which I am attached.  But I think I must follow to see where it leads.  Experiencing writer’s block and artist’s block at the moment, perhaps dance is good for my soul. Critics might say my interest arises from a Bipolar mania or an Asperger’s obsession.  Perhaps.  I don’t know.  I am certainly not manic at the moment. All I know is that the allure of this form of Maya is powerful, and to deny its existence may lead to the necessity of pursuing this manifestation of it in another life.  Paramahansa Yogananda says that all life is Maya, a picture show.  Perhaps by indulging in Bollywood films, I may get a new perspective on so-called “reality” and see it as Yogananda did, as a film show of the earthly passions, a dream from which we will awaken one day.


Interview with Slade Suiter of Authenticity Radio on Being Bipolar and Asperger’s

“http://www.spreaker.com/embed/player/standard?autoplay=false&episode_id=3642270”


Dark Clouds Overhead

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Things have spiraled out of control.  I am following far too many blogs and comments and finding it hard to keep up with all the new posts I want to read.  I am on too many animal rights, environmental and political lists.  Right now I have had a few weeks of migraines nearly everyday and am finding it hard to get myself to Physical Therapy to treat some problems that need addressing.   I am losing my temper at my loving husband and he, in turn, is under so much pressure at his clinical social worker job that he is losing his as well.  Clearly something has to be done.  I cannot stand the person I have become.

This means I will not be posting for awhile and I am not sure how long, or, if this is turning into a bad thing altogether.  I will not give up the animal activism and environmental lists because this is one of the few ways I can give to the world.  There is a reason I have been on disability for the last 13 years.  I have a major mental illness, Bipolar Disorder, and Asperger’s and these take their toll on my life and those around me.  So please forgive me if I don’t read all your posts, or read them and don’t respond.  I love some of you, and care for many of you, but now have to get my life back.  This means more meditation, more Reiki, possibly learning Qi Gong and lots of prayer.  It feels too bad right now to stay on the road I am on.  

Good-bye for awhile and my warmest regards,

Ellen

 


Supposed Indifference in Asperger’s

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I climbed down

from the tangled branches

of my thoughts

to greet you

but it was too late

you were gone.

Don’t give up on me

I love you can’t you see

but there is such difficulty

all because I am Aspie.

(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html  for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.)

 


Eyes to Eternity

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At age 35 I found someone who was more afraid of closeness than I was.  I understood him almost from day one.  This understanding came out of years of therapy that followed my breakdown at age 28.  Before the breakdown, I didn’t know that I was depressed.  Before the breakdown, I didn’t know that my failed relationships were due to my fear of closeness.  Before the breakdown, I didn’t know I was Bipolar.  I learned a lot of things in therapy that helped to change the direction of my life.

And then one day Thomas walked into the library where I had been working for 10 years.  He got a job as a library assistant.  He was a graduate student and wanted to work part-time.  I took the first steps towards asking him out because it was obvious he never would.  I had learned a thing or two after a stint at being gay.  We bumbled our way into a relationship and, after 4 years, into marriage.  We didn’t know that either one of us had Asperger’s Syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder on the Autism Spectrum, until much, much later.  We just thought we were very, very shy.

After some 23 years of marriage we are still shy with each other.  Our instincts are still to run away from closeness, but now we are able to override the first gut feeling.  We have grown together, becoming very, very close.  So close that now my biggest fear is of losing Thomas.  So close that sometimes we communicate without talking, as if we are on the same radio frequency.  In fact talking often confuses things.

We have pushed each other along life’s path.  Tom became a clinical social worker and I became a writer and artist.  The road has been bumpy in spots.  My being Bipolar has been hard for Tom at times.  Many times.  But there have been many more moments of joy that make it all worthwhile.  We both feel the other is the best thing that happened to us, and the journey continues.  New lessons are learned.   There are still new magical moments and new epiphanies.

It is 3A.M.   I lay beside Thomas in bed listening to his breathing as I watch a silent light show outside our bedroom windows.  This is not a 3A.M. awakening born of despair as some are.  At the moment I feel the Presence and that Presence fills me with love.

The moonlight beckons to me, and I respond by getting up and gazing at the twinkling stars and the hushed light of flickering fireflies. In the quiet stillness of a country night I am stirred by the music of the silence.  My ears hum, the sound of the nervous system according to my husband.

The cool air is intoxicating.  I go to the den to write and sit in a moonlit cathedral, watching the seemingly random flashing flames of fireflies flying in a frenzy of love.  The madness of desire.  Well do I know how love possesses one’s spirit and makes one fly through life, manic with emotion.

Yet sometimes, beneath the energy that stirs one’s blood, lies a silent union—a momentary glimpse of eternity in a loved-locked gaze into the eyes of one’s beloved.  It is fleeting, at least for me.  Gone in a flash, and yet it leaves me wondering just whom I am seeing.   The inner voice says that God has touched my soul through Thomas, for the best of  human love is merely a sampling of the Divine.  Eye contact, so problematic for both my husband and me, is wondrous in this context.  For a second, eternity beckons like the moonlight, whispering of another life, another world, something beyond the here and now.

(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html  for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.)


“Words Can Sting Like Anything”*

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Cool clean cut lines

of cold hearted slashes

gashes of color

 drawn blood

sweat beads of  fear

you didn’t mean

you didn’t know

how far your words

would go

to hurt.

* Title from the poem by Phyllis McGinley on silence.


Love Surpasses All

A former New York Times columnist and bestselling New York Times author, Andrew Solomon, gives a very moving account of how parental love surpasses all manner of diversity in their children.   The first few minutes are scary as he quotes an article from Time Magazine from the 60s.  Don’t let that throw you off the beautiful message of acceptance of handicaps and the contribution of those children who are different from a man who is himself a minority and different.


“Living with Fear”

For whatever reason these days are days of high anxiety for me, nervousness to the point of tears.  Meditations are “noisy” with all thoughts and negative ones in particular.  To deal with this I share with you a helpful 9:06 minute webcast on fear and love with Jack Kornfield and Catherine Ingram.


Two Lips of Forever Love

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He didn’t “get it,

the “loss thing,”

when my aunt died mid-April,

and I lost my second mother.

Didn’t “get it” when I lost my first.

This was not the only time

he was lost in oblivion and

puzzled by my tears.

            *

He didn’t see me hurting

from the loss of my lineage,

and his lack of empathy for my grief

as he made me meet and greet

a friend the next day, as if all was normal.

This time I balked, bolder and older,

and he agreed it was time to ponder

and talk with his mentor.

            *

When he came home

one night days later,

full of hugs of apology,

and tulips on the kitchen counter,

it was a breakthrough for us both.

It took a few days

but what came out

brought tears upon tears.

           *

Not having grown up

with emotional displays

he didn’t “get” the meaning of loss.

With no models of grief

he didn’t know how to feel it himself

nor how to give solace,

not just lip service,

to those who had lost.

          *

 I cried for him.

How very sad, as a child

he didn’t know the love I knew.

He, a sensitive child,

in an icebox family

fraught with frigid emotion,

and warm, deep affection only

from his great-aunt, Dot.

        *

He brought me pink tulips,

flowers of a contrite heart,

and held me close

and kissed me

with lips full of apologies

but I was the one

who felt sorry for him

for the years he knew not love.

*

Twenty-eight years ago

God told me “Love this man,

trust him and have faith in him,

and hold him to your heart.”

Many moons later, I love him light-years

more than the day we met

and in then-unimaginable ways

has our love strove for the stars.

*

He has brought me:

kindness and gentleness,

generosity of spirit,

goodness of heart,

and healing humor.

What I have taught him:

the glories of love

and agony of loss.

        *

From the beginning

the seed of love was sown

for better or worse

deeply within the parched,

but fertile soil of my imperfect heart.

And he has cultivated the growth

of a stalwart, staid evergreen,

amid the blooming two-lips of forever love.