Mornings used to be my favorite time of the day. Now I dread them. Life at 36 is not life at 16. Simple enough concept, right? But it's one that clobbers me over the head every goddamn time I open my eyes.
The nights are easier, though as the days go, Jesse sinks and I do not know what to do to catch him. Arms can be a lifesaver, but getting out of my head seems impossible somedays.
I must try, though. My goal of having meaningful interaction (face to face) with another human being 30 minutes every other day has had some success. I don't always feel better, but I know it's necessary to get moving out of my sickness. Re-socialize to eventually back to being able to work.
I've managed to keep every appointment set in the last month. My case manager and I come up with a new goal every week. I've accomplished most of them. I've got a peer-support-specialist to call back tomorrow.
My dreams keep throwing me back to the psych ward, where no one will tell me why I'm there and no one will let me leave. It's a stark juxtaposition to how I feel WHEN in the psych ward. (Safe, protected, and somewhat scheduled with all their groups.) But I really, really want to stay out them. That helps.
I'm setting up every goddamn mental health resource available towards my outstretched hands, because it's either this or resigning myself to the 6th floor every fucking month. And while I feel safe there, it also holds my recovery back, because life ain't no psycho ward, and I've got to learn to live outside of it.
See, a person gets so many screw ups before their support group has to start pulling away for their OWN sanity. I don't want to do that. I've an AMAZING support group, both online and face-to-face. I just need to get better at utilizing it! I'm terrible about reaching out, especially when push comes to sharp objects and extra pill bottles laying out.
Gonzo, your suggestion of removing all the sharp knives and razors, the extra bottles that whisper to me to take them all at once - the easy-go-to's for destruction was taken and it has helped immensely. Not that there aren't another million ways to hurt myself (broken glass, jagged pencil edges, hell, staples and thumb tacks), but those are never as satisfying.
I don't even know where the knives, razors, and extra bottles are. I think Jesse did the smart thing and handed them off to a friend, because if there's one thing an addict will do (and cutting and making entire dinners out of a pill bottle is an addiction) is to tear apart a house, stone by screaming stone with their bare hands, to find their favorite fix.
Existential angst is in full force in the mornings. I tell myself that THAT is perfectly normal. It is the human condition. Sometimes it is enough to calm the anxiety enough for me to allow me to practice other mindful exercises to get me through.
The next step - the goal set up for this week - is to find someplace to volunteer. I'm physically well enough to do at least twice a month. It will accomplish several things at once: Developing a schedule (which has been destroyed in the last year), helping others, finding a sense of self-identity.
And for fucks sake, I need a goddamn sense of self-identity. I've been so aimless, so in my head, so completely out of my mind, I think to find things OUTSIDE of myself that help identity myself, to give good labels to apply to myself will be a life-saver - possibly literally.
I CAN DO THIS. I am not destined to sink and swim in the mud in my veins. I am not going to let all the years of building myself before mean nothing in the force of what is currently destroying me.
The demons are many, and I am in an ocean where the sharks smell the blood and constantly circle. I will fight them. Somedays will be better than others. Somedays a shower will be the best I can do. But I am finally beginning to see some light on the other side of the tunnel, and I can say with some certainty that it's not just another train barreling straight for me.
My pain didn't change me, I changed my pain. MY PAIN DID NOT CHANGE ME, I CHANGED MY PAIN." - Icon for Hire "Demons. I've done this before. I can do this again. I listen to this song every day. It is anthem. It is reclaiming power - both mine in sharing the struggle and mine in remembering my strength, my endurance, my resilience.
If God shall send a fire, so be it. I will be reforged.
No matter what I may believe about David's gender change, (1) that's all him and (2) it was there years before we got together. Not to mention, David's parents, for all their faults, are exceedingly civil people. It might be awkward if we all found ourselves at the same restaurant, but I know they wouldn't be confrontational about it.
SO annoying to dream something like that to the point where it would wake me up multiple times.
The rest of the dreams centered on anxiety symbolism. Falling through ice and have to claw through arctic cold water. High waves dragging me under, suffocating and quickly freezing me to near death. Being trapped somewhere and not being able to get away. The typical bullshit my brain puts in the movie reel when I'm worried about the other shoe dropping.
Thanks, brain. Good to know I can always rely on you for a pep talk.
I'd lain back down, hoping to catch up sleep. Not much luck there. I'll drift comfortably for an hour and then have to get up. It's making the self-destructive behaviors (always at our worst when we don't sleep well) stir, taking interest in my lack of defenses.
So I did some cleaning. Still having annoying urges, but they are in the background. Will lay back down again soon. A clean house is always easier to sleep in.
Girlyswirl, as soon as I'm able, I'm going to give your journal a thorough reading. I've missed a lot going on in your life. I find it so hard most days to reach out to other people, but it sounds like you and I got some shit hand-in-hand to walk through.
The voices were back yesterday - and they were much clearer than ever before. Two women having a conversation. A conversation about me. I actually heard words this time. "She's so useless right now...might as well...why does she feel this way about herself?"
This is a first. I've never heard words, just the sound of people talking. I don't know what to make of it. The weird part is how they were talking about me as if I wasn't there.
Is that common????
Reclaim. Your. Power. Incorporate what you've been through in the last year into your power, because you didn't lose it, you just gained it through a particularly painful way.
Every entry where I screamed, every entry where I poured out the fear and the babble, that's power. It's not easy to show the entire world just how messy you are. Every time I cut myself, that's power. It's a hell of a thing to be determined to knife yourself repeatedly, a thing that most people couldn't dream of doing for the sheer pain they'd feel. Every time I tried to kill myself, that's power, because it takes immense force of will to barrel over the human need for self-preservation.
Every time I admitted every psychiatric ward stay, that's power. That's accountability for something that shame would bury. Every hospital stay that I allowed endless needles to be shoved into me, every time I made the right decision about food despite kicking and screaming about it, every time I made the wrong move about what medications to stay on, that's power.
That's acting like a human being with a vicious sense of self-will, run-riot or else wrestled down issues that John Cena couldn't suplex. That's power.
And it's not the only power I've gained over my life. It's not as if this is the first time Life curbstombed me. This is not my first rodeo. I was powerful before, survived, reached out and got help for it every damn time, and came to discover a me that I knew and loved.
That's fucking power. I've gained power through every slash of the skin since the first transgression against me as a child and more power through every wound that healed to scar like glue.
I haven't lost myself. I just lost some of the things I can do. That's not the same as losing who I am. And all of it - the Crazy, the pretty writing, the Lupus, the love from my support circle - it's been loud and it's been powerful.
"Oh no, no, am I getting too loud?
Am I getting too loud? Am I getting too loud?!"
This last year has been LOUD. Sheer volume doesn't always make for graceful pile-driving down your issues. But it sure as hell makes it more powerful - and for the first time in over a year, I see the power. I see MY power.
"You can't ignore the truth inside you!!"
The truth inside of me is that I have power. Have had it, have it, and trial by fire, gaining more of it.
I know I'm not the only one whose had a year that's blasted out their eardrums. Let's take the volume and feel it hit our pulses. Let's take that loudness and rip our damn well earned power from it.
And Girlyswirl, I can definitely get some kind of playlist, though a lot of can hit melancholy spots. Or it's whimsical about the Crazy. Is that okay? It is so good to have another soldier standing with me on these front lines. Thank you for being here.
So, to get through a really strange place in my head this morning, despite my actual hair ALREADY being purple, I played a bit of dress up.
Remember last year how I lost over half my hair and I was sure I'd be bald by September? That thankfully didn't happen, but I was prepared and bought a few wigs. WARNING: TOTAL NEWB AT THIS. Going to be watching tons of Youtube videos on how to make it all look more naturally placed. Anyone have any tips or videos to share on how to make wig placement look more natural?
(Oh, and product placement: WET N WILD'S glitter makeup IS ACTUALLY GLITTERY AND STAYS ON. It's not just a top coat of glitter in the case, but glitter the whole way through. MUCH LOVE, WET'N'WILD)
( Fun with wigs! )
Goals. Goals, as far as I am concerned, are nothing but vile cursewords, designed to shock with revulsion and vulgarity. Or at least that's how I feel about the word. Goals are something people with safe lives set. Goals are something people with sane lives set. Goals are something people with stability set.
Goals are not set by people who wound up getting expelled from three high schools because they were a fucked up, abused youth. Goals are not set by people who have lived such life-long poverty that they make it a point to take handfuls of napkins from any restaurant they visit, awaiting the inevitable day they don't have a dollar to buy a cheap set of toilet paper. Goals are not something ex-junkies who still miss their drugs, 20 years later, make.
Goals are not set by people who randomly tell their husbands of 10 years that they want a divorce and then plunge themselves into a 5 year partnership with someone who misspends 14 thousand dollars of rent money. Goals are not set by people who get job after job after job, losing them because they just "weren't a good fit". Goals are not set by those who lose their dream job that they were actually making headway at because their kidneys decided to play Russian Roulette.
(And there's only two chambers in that version of the game.)
Goals are not for people who cut themselves because they're bored, or who always seems to land in the psych ward on the day they've made active plans to hang out with friends. Goals are not for people whose immune system has made a game of Devil's Chess a fond pastime.
Goals are not for people for whom, either having done it themselves or who just have an adversarial relationship with Fate, make. We just don't do it. It's pointless. Why put all that effort, time, work, and HOPE into something that Life's just gonna yank out from under you anyways?
I loathe goals. I do not believe in them. I do not "do" goals.
And because Fate has decided it knows better than me (and hey, it probably does sometimes), my case manager have been setting goals for the last two weeks. Small goals. Infinitesimal goals. Toddler steps.
Goals such as (set today) I will call and make an appointment for food stamps tomorrow. I'm far less likely to blow off an official appointment than if I just wait till I feel like going. Goals such as coming up with three places I might consider volunteering at and bringing her the information when we meet next.
Goals that make me feel like a 12 year old, instead of the 36 year old who SHOULD be raking in her 401K by now. Goals that make me feel like I'm starting out on the bottom rung again. Goals that I'm terrified I won't be able to keep because I'm just so fucking bad at them, no matter how simple they may seem.
Goals require reliability. I am not reliable right now. And I know that THAT is what make the goals so important right now, because one gains reliability THROUGH ACCOMPLISHING GOALS. Beyond abolishing boredom (a huge problem right now), giving a person a sense of identity (also a huge problem right now), accomplishing goals is a life-raft someone can hold onto when the waves get too rough. "Can't go off the rails now, I have (INSERT X GOAL) to report on next week."
And it's so goddamn cliche, but really, I am that typical "afraid to set goals because I'm afraid I'll fail" person. There's fear - real fear - here about the idea of goals. About the stupidly small goals I set today.
What if I can't hold it together long enough to get to her next week with anything? What if I wind up doing something and bleeding and spend the next week in yet another psych ward stay? What if I get the appointment for food stamps set and get sick and can't go? What if I don't fit the volunteer requirements for the places I want to volunteer at?
Worst of all, what if I just don't want to do it because it's fucking work?
What if I have to face not only my fear, but my laziness as well?
What if I have to let go of a lifetime of not believing in something (goals) and have to build a whole new structure around the concept, which is a FUUUUUCKTON of work?
What if I can't do it?
I have to make theater of it, because if I'm dancing with it, the dance eventually ends. It bows and eventually something else to dance with steps up to my outstretched hands.
I've been trying to do what the psych says and that's staggering my meds so my heart pressure doesn't drop too low. In the middle of it, I like to take long, hot as my skin take without melting baths. I smoke cigarettes like a luxury hot tub in the bath. It gets me tipsy. I walk a little off center. I feel good.
Jesse admonishes me to keep the baths short, the water cooler. I can understand where it'd be disturbing to watch your partner climb out of the water as if she'd just taken six shots of vodka. But I get defensive.
"Everyone else in the world gets to have fun with their chemicals! You drink! You smoke weed! You get to have fun with it! Why can't I? I'm not stupid enough to drive in these states. I don't wander downstairs and get into dangerous or uncomfortable situations with strangers. I stagger around the apartment a bit and then crawl into bed."
I don't drink. I don't do illicit chemicals. I don't have wild sex with every hottie I see from the balcony. I take care of my appointments, my meetings, getting us food, getting the bills paid, all of 95% of 100% of the time. I'm pretty goddamn responsible. So I like to get a little high from hot water?
Count yourself lucky, because my favorite other way to get high is to bleed, and we're a few weeks out from that. Which would you prefer? Someone who weaves into the closet door because the water was too hot, or someone who left the bathtub a mess of blood?
Cuz like it or not, sometimes those are the only two choices you get. I'm learning more everyday, but what's ingrained is written deep and will take a long time to be penned over.
I'm not normal, so I don't get to have fun like normal people. And a few prescribed pills, taken exactly as the professional tells me and a bubble bath is coming off pretty easy when I look out at a world that makes fools of themselves with chemicals.
So I'm crazy? I like to get a little dizzy when I can. I'm not fucked up.
I'm fucking human.
"So tell me, what's a woman to do? No, scratch that
Tell me what's a human being to with the fact that
What gets us ahead just holds us back more! - Icon For Hire "Now you Know"
Cuz if I'm rational, I know that's exactly what the Crazy does. It gives me an advantage above all the FB'rs, lets me sail higher than the average journaler who talks about their days cooking and shopping. It sure as hell sends me above the Youtubers who "unbox" and the intensity shoots me ahead into the stratosphere. It is my gift.
I can make you feel what make I feel. I can make you feel like YOU feel like. That's my power. I can lure you with my words and keep you caught, keep you watching for years. I know this is my gift, my power, and I could not have it have without The Crazy.
It also holds me back, the weeks when I cannot write at all or write about the mundane. The weeks that I'm stuck in padded rooms, no access to the public and their view. The days when the crazy pours out without the pretty, just insanity and babble. When the gift is lost in the endless pouring of insanity without closure.
What's the balance here? Where's the place where I can have the two meet? The intensity and the beauty without the mess that makes it unreadable from any sane perspective.
"The if the truth ain't pretty,
will you love me, love me, ugly." Cuz some of this ain't pretty. It's flat out hideous. Oh, maybe the words paint a picture worth giving a glance, but the colors and forms make it hard to stare at it without a sliding glance.
I make them just as uncomfortable as I do relatable. On purpose sometimes. Make you feel something just as I am feeling something. That's what whole this point of sharing this do, a feedback loop between me and you.
I've got a gift with chains and sometimes I can use it to bitchsmack the words and the people reading it. Other times the only thing it does is wrap me in shiny silver links.
What am I supposed to be about?
Tick, tock, the clock is always counting down. And riding out one more twist of the second hand feels amazing.
And nothing feels as good as cheating Death. Especially the last year. The deal I signed with the Devil erases itself one more time.
Didn't think I'd make it this far. Hell, I'd didn't think I'd make it past thiry. And there's no saying a wayward semi-truck will go off roading, ending this day with me being smashed road hamburger along a concrete divider lining the road.
But goddamnit, I made it 36 years, body and mind still functional. A heart that finds new walls to smash through, a heart that always seems to find just one more person to take residence in.
That's a hell of a goal and I'm damned proud of it.
You be bright when I'm starting to rust
You be why behind the what
I'm counting on hearts like yours to help remind me
Keep ignoring the white noise behind me
Don't ever let them water me down!
Will you tell me when it isn't enough?
And never let me live halfway
I'm counting on hearts like yours to get me through it
I'm a fighter now let me prove it!
Don't ever let me water it down!
But I will never let go
Never let up my hold
'Cause I know
Once you feel it you can't unfeel it,
Once you dream it you can't undream it!
Some things are not as they seem
Holding on tight to yesterday's dream
Some things are worth fighting for
ALL WE NEED ARE OUR HEARTS LIKE YOURS!!!"
Thirteen years of this here, of collecting the hearts and souls of each of you, everything that each of you bring to the table, beautiful and different, nuanced and screaming, that keep me going. The days I can't stop writing, the weeks of silence that make you all worry, the words that leap off the page, talking themselves into existence with hurricane and fire.
Those of who you only read, those who comment, those who circle around this spinning gyroscope only once in a while. Never forget the role you all play here, invaluable and needed like air.
My gratitude for each of you rages like oceans. Drown in it, treading in it, swim in it, I need it all.
He does love dating someone with colored hair. My mind also loves it. Thank you again, Michael.
THE FACE BEHIND ALL OF THIS RAMBLING
"We didn't come this far just to get this far.
We didn't come this far just to fade to black.
FIGHT, BABY, FIGHT!!!" - Icon For Hire, Demons
I WILL NOT FADE TO BLACK. THERE'S TOO MUCH IN ME LEFT TO BE SAID TO LET IT BE ECLIPSED BY THE SICKNESS THAT THREATENS TO SWALLOW IT ALL. I AM SO MUCH BIGGER THAN THE DARKNESS.
And if hair dye is a weapon (and it can be), then call me locked and loaded, because while I've got bullets littering my psyche, I've also got safes and locked boxes to keep them in. A gun without bullets has little ability except to pistol whip you across the cheeks.
Hurts like hell, but a A HELL OF A LOT LESS than a shot straight to the jaw.
Sometimes, you’ll see me flinch when you say “I love you.” It’s not a bad thing. I’m startled.
I forget you love me a lot.
And the sad thing is, it’s nothing you did. I’m a depressive. That’s my disease. No matter how much adoration has flowed between us, no matter what grand gestures you make to prove your affection to me, I forget. I’m like an emotional amnesiac, my good feelings forever being erased to leave me with shadows of doubt and terror. Sometimes I read old texts of yours to try to remember what it felt like being loved, and all I come away with is cruel reinterpretations of how those kind words didn’t really mean what I thought they did.
I don’t want this. I merely survive with it.
And I know my inability to remember consistently costs me. My past is strewn with exes who exhausted themselves through increasingly grander gestures, convinced that if they kissed me the right way then all this depression would vanish like dew in the summer sun. And when it didn’t, they decided I was being stubborn, and left.
You haven’t. Not yet.
Don’t think I’m not grateful. Don’t think my endless, shivering fear that today you’ve stopped loving me means that I don’t love you – why would I be afraid of you going unless you meant something to me?
And don’t think I’m not trying. Like I said, I reread your old texts, I recall your warm embraces, I recount all the lovely things you’ve done for me, all in an imperfect attempt to transform cold memories into some flickering ember of love to warm myself by. I will flinch sometimes, and be shocked, and yes, sometimes be the pain in the ass who asks “You love me, right?” at the worst times – but I am trying, oh so trying, to retain what emotional memories I can.
Then there are the days when you ask the right question at the right time. A simple text: “Do you know I love you today?”
That “today” makes all the difference.
That “today” lets me know that I might forget tomorrow, and you’ll be here to remind me.
That “today” tells me you understand my illness in all the ways I need you to.
And yes. Yes, I know today. I know today, and it is wonderful because for a brief moment I can feel that love flowing between us like a river, and maybe I’ll forget the warmth of water tomorrow but for right now I know it yes I know it.
I love you.
That’s something I never forget.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
My head's been in a strange place the last day or so.
Clarity, you said, Ben. That's what struck me, because I feel I am still wandering aimlessly in the dust and haze of wrecked buildings that have fallen all around me. What's clear seems only in the basic sense: I want to live. I want to find a way around my dramatic ability to make pretty with red, because while it's pretty to me, it's disturbing to others.
And while it's not my job to make sense or palatable beauty to the world, it is my job to do so for my loved ones.
Clarity is a long haul. But it's a word for me to get a deathgrip on, (no horrible past-action pun intended), because I guess the best thing that anyone gets out of lives like ours IS clarity.
I'm finding the answer to a question I had in my 20's. I didn't understand how people who lived normal lives - good childhoods, good jobs, good marriages, good financial situations - could find themselves frantically pulling through the Self-Help section at Borders, looking for books about how to find meaning to their lives. They already have everything. That's their meaning!, I thought.
I still don't understand why they fail to see how full their lives are. But it does resonate it in that I, at roughly the same age, am doing the same thing - just about different issues.
Maybe it's not about WHY people search for meaning, only that we all are. The human condition is inescapable, no matter how much money you make or how well your relationship is going.
THAT makes sense to me.
I'm slowly slipping on my goal of "Have 30 minutes of meaningful interaction with a human being every other day". I like to live inside of myself, especially these days. Going outside is fraught with chances of risk, boredom and not being understood among them, even if it's with loved ones.
But this is a goal and goals take effort. So after this shortly, Jesse and I are going to play some Rayman on his computer. It's been ages since I've played a video game, and it's with someone I love, and it's definitely interactive (which is what I've termed the meaning of "meaningful interaction" as).
Even though today I'd be perfectly happy to just float inside of myself, getting out is part of the recovery process.
I want a past life clear of the perverse intentions of others. I want a day today clean of the strain of disease.
But life stains everyone, and certainly by my age.
"How much of it's genetics,
how much of it is Fate?
How much of it depends
on the choices that we make?" - Infected, Repo: The Genetic Opera