Suffering in Silence


suffer-in-silence_2If you make it to the bottom…;-) This could be for any loss.

There are many days since January 30th, 2014, the day my life to me turned upside down that I sit alone in solitude contemplating my future.  After my wife left I was lost, there was chaos inside my whole being.  Dramatic effect I have never really felt before.  Lost and confused I reached out.  I had to because I had no ability to defend my self against myself.  Intimidating to say the least.  I am a type A personality, I usually have control over most things, well…at least I think I do.  When I was left after 17 years I had zero control over my emotions.

I thought I had it all.  I mean nothing is perfect but I never imagined being left and not having a chance to have any closure.  Never knew that on January 30th I would only have two chances to seek answers and even ask for a chance to seek outside help.  I never knew it was really over on January 30th.  Seems like a nightmare that does not want to go away.  Initially I panicked.  Many rallied around me to try to console the pain I was feeling.  Indescribable but full of tears and anger.

Almost 6 months has past.  I have stayed distracted.  My beagle has passed away when I distracted myself with a cross-country trip on my motorcycle between May and June.  Another sudden loss.  On going separation issues keep the wound open, one that I am trying so hard to heal. I try at work.  I try to separate the mood swings based on my personal circumstances from my professional life.  Seems to be catching up to me there too. I used to feel such passion for my job…now, I feel fear.

career-opportunitiesI thought my job was my dream job. I thought there was understanding and support and there is to a point. I completely understand I need to be at 100% full capacity there but is that humanly possible?  Perhaps reality is what it is..one step forward Leslie, everyday one step forward…I am aware that my stress can be projected on others.  Hence, the need to isolate and stay away.

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My point of this post is this.  I too think I should be in a much better place by 6 months but the truth is I am not.  I have some good days but the bad days are intense.  I look around and there are many who still care and love me.  They still want to support me but I have noticed that there is an expiration date on tolerance.  Not anyone’s fault.  I am intolerant of myself.  “I should be feeling lighter shouldn’t I?”  There are no rewards for speed?  I wonder. 

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In order to not exhaust my support system I feel I need to give them respite from “my” “problems”.  I try to smile, socialize and try to forget what it’s like to be me in my present state.  Am I depressed?  Probably. Am I having adjustment difficulties?  Yep. Is this hard for me to admit…?  Absolutely.  Why am I blogging this?  I hope some can relate and this blog is my journal into my life.  The good the bad and the ugly.  Will I regret posting this?  Maybe.  I know some are frustrated with me and so am I.

My nights my head and body fill right back up after a days distraction.  Full with grief, confusion and pain.  Insecurities I never knew I had, I mean I am a type A highly functioning professional.  I find myself lost at night.  Wanting so much to reach out but becoming aware this is getting “old”.  I know I hear from those close to me they are always there for me but my inability to rely on myself, be independent in dealing with my own conflicts internally and externally…is indeed getting old.

Grief, suffering and mourning any loss can be a lonely place.  Everyone experiences loss differently and loss comes in all different forms.  There is no one correct way to heal and make it though the tough times.  No book, no words of wisdom can be carbon copied to “fix” each individual.  We all have to make our own way through the unknown.

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When I was on the road somehow I was able to keep my head on straight and ride over 11,000 km’s on a 560 pound motorcycle. Roads less traveled which allowed me to evade reality and convince myself everything is okay.

I am not a victim of abuse or neglect.  I have a good life, was better when I had a partner but I have a fortunate life.  I should feel fortunate and look forward to everyday being a new challenge, a day of hope, contentment and look to the future.  My diabetes is in control, I have lost weight and in the best shape I have been in years.  Many have said I look my best too…now to get all those good things internalized and then I can say I am making progress.

I once had a sparkle in my eye now?  I feel like everyone is looking into my eyes hoping to see that sparkle come back.   I am right there with them.  I want me back.  I hear all the time you will make it through this and become a “better” person.  I guess the old Leslie was not that good?

Am I sensitive to comments meant to be loving and kind?  Yes.  Does this make it sound I am ungrateful for the love and support I have received and still do?  Probably.  But I am NOT.  I am grateful because at times like these I have become even more fearful, egocentric and selfish maybe?  Everyone has lives going on, do I expect them to stop theirs because I feel like I don’t have one?  Sometimes but not really. I am grateful!

Accept the reality SHE’S gone ;-)

Am I looking for a magic pill or do I want to have someone else solve my “problems”  yes at times.  At times I wish I could just sleep until enough “time” passes and I wake up and it’s all over.  I thought my job was stressful and labor intensive but this is the hardest work I have ever had to do…fix myself.  I do have good days…days I feel relief but it doesn’t take much to set me back.  Am I unstable?  ;-)  I suppose it sounds that way.  I am being honest and truthful.  Many don’t speak about “feelings” that are not full of laughter and joy.

I look around, see a beautiful day.  Warm, sun shining, kids laughing, adults drinking beer, socializing, talking about their plans for vacations, smiles, hugs and companionship.  I don’t see it that way.  I feel a bit alienated or should I say like an alien.  Again, I can laugh and feel companionship, but there is a void.  Do I have hope?  Yep.  Am I struggling still after 6 months of separation…YES.  Do I think it will get better?  Depends on what better means….in the meanwhile I can dream about my dog Cruizer, my dogs that are with me now, Xander and Sierra, my motorcycle,

P1040088trips, my family, my friends and that time does apparently heal all wounds. Not all days have to look like this do they??

If you make down to this part of post and you know me…I may deny writing it.  ;-) OK, now I feel better. 

 

63 thoughts on “Suffering in Silence

  1. Hi Leslie! Your pain comes through loud and clear! So sorry you are going through this. No easy fix but time and introspection. Yes family and dear friends do get tired of the same story over and over. They want to see you make progress bit by bit. Six months is not a long time, you have suffered two deaths in a very short amount of time. Your separation blindsided you with no means to try to fix things. You are treading water the best you can. Do not beat yourself so much, skip the labels as they can be self fulfilling prophesies. Getting professional help will save your friendships, job. They deal with grief all the time, can give you “unbiased” help. They can be your sounding board as long as you need them to be. I know you will come out the other side of this dark tunnel, that’s who you are. Never forget you are a loving, caring, fun, positive person to your family, friends, colleagues, patients and all those you come across in your day to day life! Please take care of yourself emotionally as the physical is on track. Always thinking of you. Sincerely, Maria 8)

  2. Know this: It will take time…more than six months after seventeen years! Work can help to keep routines and distract your mind, but take it easy, take time to do nice things, more regular bike trips, time with friends, pottering in the garden, that massage you promised yourself …do it! Here’s a possible idea to distract you for next year summer
    fhttp://www.stella-alpina.fsnet.co.uk

  3. I wanted to write something profound, but it is 3am.

    Listen to Roll the Bones. Think about what Neil said about loss and recovery in Ghost Rider.

    If all else fails, come down to Portland. I’ll be your designated driver and we can hit all of the nudie bars. You’ll be supporting single moms as you do tequila shots and throw away a stack of $1.

  4. There are so many hackneyed responses to your clearly, deeply troubled feelings and there is no short term fix. You are bereft in just the same way as a death in the family. The only way forward is to look outwards. Have you tried online dating as a way of finding new companionship? It may not be the solution but it could just give you a bit of lift, feeling that you are trying something positive.
    Hope you can avoid any further downward spiralling and I am sure that your friends will remain supportive..

  5. The pain remains, it’s a question how you handle it. Reading your story above it seems you’re a lot further in the process of giving it a place in your life than you might think. Very courageous to write down your feelings, respect for that. Your life isn’t going to be like pre January 30th. Count your blessings and start over again. Easier said than done, yes it is. There is no universal solution for heartache, it is different for each and everyone of us.

  6. Would it be appropriate to suggest counselling? I guess I did anyway. Sometimes we need a professional, not to make it alright, but just to confirm it is not all wrong…….. Onward

  7. Garth is correct about counseling. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. I went thru a bout of depression due to circumstances I’m not going to go into and at the time I felt the very things you are describing. It is a horrible feeling and you feel line you will never feel life again as before.
    With counseling and the support of friends and family it does get better. I was too proud to ask for help.
    When you are feeling this way your mind gas a tendency to run away on you and I was constantly telling myself not to believe those negative thoughts.
    Hugs and Love Leslie. With help you will see life as you used to.

    Dave

  8. Your friends and family are there always. Never feel like you’ve exhausted their patience. This is a process that you must go through. It’s the same as handling a death. Pure loss. I know it well. I don’t know how I would handle this if this happened to me at this stage in the game. Probably much the same. Lean on friends. That’s what they’re there for. Much love and positive thoughts. I wish I could hug you. <3

    Robert

  9. Give TIME TIME! From what I know about you since joining your ADVGRL site, you are strong enough to survive this life changing event. I have been there. It’s just not easy. Life is not easy.
    Many will benefit from your life experience. The saying goes “you will be a stronger person” on the other end.
    Get a good therapist. They can do great things if you can connect with a good one. One more thing…. Try not to become bitter about life. That will destroy you. And RIDE ON!

  10. Good luck to you Leslie. Three years ago I was where you are now. I still have those thoughts, but friends and an interest to distract you will help. No need I am sure, to quote the time truism. I am just hoping it really is true. If I may be so bold, one thing I have learned is that here are two roads you must never go down: “What if? Street, and “Maybe Because I” Loop. I am sticking to the “Shit Happens” Highway and hoping for a new adventure. The ride is more important than the destination and I hope you find a way to enjoy it again.

    I am only sad it ended, but I never regret it happened.

    • I am sure I will come out the other side. I felt the need to express myself and as always I am true to this blog. I have a counselor and taking the necessary steps to make sure I get back on the road in more ways than one.

  11. It’s definitely not an easy process. Pardon my “French” but there’s no frickin’ timetable either. I can totally relate to feeling like you yourself “ought” to be feeling better by now…. but please don’t add judging yourself to your burden! Continue working through and know that eventually, you do get through.

  12. I’ve been in a deep depression for almost a year now. So much of the pain and conflict you have expressed is what I have been through and felt.
    I do have a suggestion though. It may feel wrong and counter-intuitive, especially when you know so many people are trying to help you move forward. The inclination is to try and take the advice offered, but that isn’t the whole answer. My suggestion is to allow yourself to be ‘selfish’ — do what that deep part of you that seldom gets a voice wants to do. I suspect your Motorcycle trip was born of that part of you whether you realized it or not. For me it has meant pulling away from the eagle watching and moving in to doing more story writing. I feel so bad not being a nest watcher, but I feel SO Good when a great paragraph comes together or when my critiques of the stories I read are in keeping with other readers. I have always enjoyed working with fiction but the Eagles took over my world for too long and finally in the depths of the depression I heard the call to write…. It’s not a cure-all but it’s helping me to find the ME that was almost lost in our eagle nests.

    LISTEN TO YOURSELF! Hold the optimism of your friends and supporters close to your heart, But never let it drown out your own instincts…

    • Interesting I love eagles and watch eagle nests live and online. I wonder will you get back to the eagles? They are so majestic and soothing for me. Thanks for your candid comment. I appreciate it and do I know you?

      • terrytvgal, Leslie!! And yes I will always be around for the eagles and for HWF, I just need to shift my priorities a bit at the moment.

  13. Hi Leslie!

    Peart also said you can’t tell yourself how to feel; I like this as a canned reply to my brain telling what me I “should” feel. Rush’s “Ghost Rider” is on the Vapor Trails CD that came out around the time of the book, too. Music gives voice to the rage of the soul like little else, I think.

    I also just wanted to say thanks for keeping the writing going (and of course the bike pics too)! We must keep riding, no Parked Motorcycle Syndrome allowed :-)

  14. Yes, it´s terribly dificult and unfair. But hope is what is there always ahead. One day, someone will make you feel that you can be whole again. It has not happened to me in many, many moons but you’ll bounce back. Selfishly hoping it’s true for everyone.
    Ster.

  15. Hi Leslie.
    I’ve written before and I have a bit of understanding of your situation and emotions. I was in a great marriage and right at 20 years, my wife returned from an overseas business trip and told me that she was divorcing me. The irony was I was just thinking the week before how happy I was and was in the perfect time of my life. What was really important was we had two beautiful kids, they were 16 and 14 at the time. That was 13 years ago and I have not dated or have been interested in another woman since then. My former wife was a wonderful lady, beautiful and perfect in so many ways. I am lucky that we continue to be friends and I like her husband, of 10 years. It took her over 2 years before she could tell me why she divorced me. The reasons? I failed to put her and our family first and loved my work more than she. I was clueless.

    As the time went by, I began to understand and recognize the clues that this had been happening, months or maybe longer. But I was just clueless. My feelings now, is that I never expected to be single at this stage in my life, but satisfied in being single now.

    As I have written you before, for the last five years I have been traveling full time, traveling with my BMW GSA, riding and exploring in remote locations. Maybe that is a result of my divorce, or a result in the way I was that caused her to feel pushed away. I am aware that is the reason I chose the type of jobs I had, solitary jobs, in remote areas. But I also found I enjoyed spending time and visiting friends from past and present.

    Leslie, I see some of the same similarities in what you have been going through, including the loss of a long time and loved pet. It was hard for me to realize and accept, for a very long time, maybe years, that it does take time. For a very long time memories her, clouded my mind every minute and every hour. At the beginning I felt that would be the way the rest of my life would be. It wasn’t. It took years but I moved on and even like her husband, who is very different than me.

    Leslie, your friends are right, talking with someone would help and allowing time to pass. Keeping busy and finding your passions, like your motorcycle and the connections is a great help. Also distancing yourself from those that are willing to be involved with your pain and emotions, enablers. Begin planning your next adventure, you were so successful with this last one, you should begin a new one. My suggestion would be to plan on a few rest days between the travel days. Also, check into finding a new puppy. One that loves you unconditionally. Adores you, depends on you and no one else, as well as no connections with your ex. Get going Leslie, you are a quality person that can solves problems and works around the roadblocks that arise in front of you, not allowing them to stop you. Don’t let this roadblock in your current life stop you, use your talents and work around this one too.

    bryan

    • thanks for your insightful comment and for publicly sharing. I have someone to talk to will see if that helps. May I ask what you did for a living? I wish I could go out on the road for a year…but too many unfinished things to do. I know once some of my “issues” get resolved I will be able to move forward, just feel like I am stuck with too many unknowns right now.

      • Hi Leslie.

        This is what I like about you, you persevere. With time you will succeed, just as you did on your recent Motorcycle Adventure. Just surround yourself with people that encourage you to not dwell and talk about your ex. The sooner you stop talking and writing about your ex, the sooner it will start not showing up in your thoughts. Even after 13 years, my ex’s memories still come up in my mind, but not like it had in the beginning. I might think about her when something comes up that reminds me of her, but weeks and months sometimes goes by before a thought revisits.

        I am a retired state policeman and before that, a National Park Ranger working in three parks.

        Stay in there, Leslie. You are a quality person and others see it too.

        b

  16. Read your post like i promised this morning. If u ever need a clueless princess to distract u on a short bike ride, u know where to go :) sometimes strangers are the most relaxing people to be around. Suffering is. It ends when it ends.

  17. 6 months is a very short time to greave , there is no time on greaving .. Your friends sound cold. “If you make friends with yourself you will never be alone”
    Surround yourself with people that make you feel good and people that make you laugh. Some people come it to your life as lessons some you should let go.
    Become your best friend !

  18. Like Sheri said, 6 months is a very short time, especially after 17 years. This is one of those trips, that doesn’t have a map to follow. But, the mere fact you can open up like this now, means you are on the way back. ;-)

  19. Ugh god, Leslie. The suffering you’ve described is one I’ve both inflicted on myself and on someone else. Nothing anyone can say will make it easier. I hope that by posting about it you are finding some release. I’m so very sorry you’re having to go through it.

    Many have your back..

    Heather

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Thanks Heather I believe that if I can get some closure on the outstanding issues I’m going through I will come out the other side intact. It’s just having to work it all out and for me how long it seems to be taking that is wearing me out.

  20. Hi Leslie.

    Gavin here – we have emailed a few times…. Allow me to weigh in, publicly?

    Nothing you are feeling, or doing for that matter, is wrong. A suggestion or two: first, don’t be attached to an outcome regarding ‘unresolved’ issues. While it’s normal to want a certain ‘result’, in my experience, it just doesn’t work that way. It really doesn’t. What you are doing, is going down the (correct) path of finding a new ‘normal’ ( I have mentioned this to you before, I think….)

    Secondly, release yourself from the pressure of making a deadline; meaning, that there is no time-limit on grief. And this is well and truly grief. There have been a lot of good comments and suggestions here, and that is great, but the answers, for you, won’t be found here. However, you will find them because you are doing the work, and you are forthcoming and open about how you feel and you are working (hard) to embrace change and a new life, or rather, a new layer of the onion, so-to-speak. I wrote you at the beginning of your trip, and I said the following, “Change comes when the pain of NOT changing becomes too much.” I stand by it.

    I too, am in counselling, currently. And I can tell you that I too find it terribly hard. I am 42 and trying to understand myself, and at the same time, adjust 42 years of thinking a certain way. Again, so hard. Leslie, just do the work: as much of it or as little of it at a time, but don’t give up. On that, I am certain you won’t. You are a fighter, that much is evident.

    As far as some people in your life that may leave you with the ‘feeling’ that what you are going through is taking too long to resolve, so be it. Again, there is no time-line here. While we live in a world where many, MANY things are instantaneous, resolving your grief doesn’t tick that box. Again, it will take as long as it takes.

    In the meantime, like many have posited here, take the minute/ hour/ day/ week, now and again, to pursue the Fun Stuff. The knocks get bigger as we grow older: the kiss and the band-aid just doesn’t cut it most of the time – so do the small things you enjoy. Maybe find some new things to enjoy. Whatever – you will be good. I’d love to meet up with you for a ride and a coffee maybe, one day. Meet a new face and throw away the cloak of virtual acquaintance, and step into a new friendship. Or not…. ;) Whatever you feel like.

    Take care Leslie, you are loved.

    Gavin

    • I am so appreciative of the time you and many others have taken to think about your comments and then write such insightful words. I truly appreciate the kindness that has come about because of this posting.

      One thing for sure where I have a time limit is at work. It’s clear that there is no room for my personal stuff there and it’s clear I need to leave it all for when I get home. I feel a lot of pressure there but not anything I don’t think I can handle I just need a supportive environment to let me sit with ear plugs in and work at times.

      I understand grief and that it will take its own time to work out. Once I get through the legal stuff I can actually start the mourning process which has been stifled with work and legalities.

      I hope one day I will meet the “new” me and feel joy and happiness. I miss that. I miss feeling lighter hearted and hate all the worry. One day and that day I’m looking forward too. Would love to meet up with you. Leslie

  21. Leslie, about meeting that “new” me, in my experience, one day you’ll think “Hey it’s different, when did this happen? And you’ll be hard-pressed to think of THE time.

    Another thing, this blog is probably helping more people than you realize. Others are struggling too, and your posts and those of your friends are helping them (us) as well. Good going!

    John.

    • Nice to hear that my post or blog may be helping others. It helps me to journal out load even if it’s somewhat public lol. Thanks for your on going support and comments as always.

  22. What a great group of folks commenting and trying to be helpful, heart warming, isn’t it? I love our riding community. :)

    Leslie, there’s a lot of good energy surrounding you….take it in and be kind to yourself…. 6 months of “recovery” after 17 years is not enough time to “get over” a relationship nor is it enough time to feel “normal” or enough time to settle all the legal stuff. Of course, you know this now…… The best you (or anyone going through this) can do, is to take it one day at a time. I know, “easier said then done”. The truth is that yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t arrived so you only have the present, now, today. I wish I (we) could say something to help you feel better but this is a personal journey. Its tough but in its own time…you will get through it.

    We’re all pulling for you and wishing you the very best! I hope that helps a little tiny bit. :) Hang in there!

  23. Very late to read this post, but the comments show a very caring and thoughtful community you have gathered. Just try to be kind to yourself, and give yourself the gift of time, time to heal and feel better. Not necessarily better than before, just better than now. ;-)

  24. Leslie,
    I just came upon your blog while browsing through adv’s Tiger800XC pictures thread.
    I followed your adventure in real time back in 2011 to Alaska and back. My screen name is Daytonacharlie.
    Hi.
    I don’t have any wise words of wisdom to cheer you or some great insight into helping you get through this difficult time but I feel so bad for you and can only wish the best for you and hope that you can hang in there until it gets better.
    I don’t know you personally other than your online persona through your ride reports but you seem like a decent, caring and loving person.
    I just want you to know that I and I’m sure many other adv riders are here (at least on the interweb) for you.
    Good luck and hope you enjoy happiness soon.
    An old Indian proverb says (or was it my urologist) all things must pass.

    DC

  25. Leslie,

    It’s a stock thing to say, but take it moment by moment. I could feel your depth of sadness as I was reading your post and it reached into my heart, I wish I could offer some profound words to ease your pain, but there aren’t any. Time is what it’s going to take and knowing it’s ok to feel the way you are feeling. Be gentle with yourself.

    • Yeah time will help but I gather it will take a lot if time to get over not only my relationship ending but the sudden death of my buddy Cruizer. It’s 2 months today that he died and the hole in the house is still very much noted. Thanks for your kind comment I appreciate even today. Leslie

  26. Leslie,

    I lost my dog Muggins, two years ago and it was a hole so deep that I couldn’t cope. I missed her beyond words and I have never cried or grieved like that for anyone. I still keenly miss her, but I now remember her with smiles instead of tears. This too will take time, but I promise it will ease. Hugs lady – remember moment by moment.

  27. Leslie, I have been following you since you got your BMW F800GS. (Since I got the same bike, same color). Loved all the posts about riding and the bikes. I sense your pain and feel for you. Know that you are not alone and that your sharing this time in your life with us is a good thing, There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. God bless you. You will be alright.

    • thanks for your comment…in a way I am alone and learning quickly that my story, drama is getting old for those around me. It’s sad but true..as I move closer to closure the sadder I am becoming but can’t seem to turn to many if any. The blog is my friend and comments like yours help. I need to companion me and get to that light on my own.

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