NOTE TO SELF (Read, reread, rereread, and rerereread, PRN)

Dear Crashing Me,

As routine in our illnesses, our moods will often shift like tectonic plates, leaving earthquakes and casualties and violence in their wake. Sometimes, these moods are forward-thinking, alight with possibilities, effervescent with energy, beautified by determination, and brave and faithful in goal-setting. Sadly still, however, they often brim with shrieking and violence and sometimes bodily harm. They’re the wingéd sicknesses crashing into the thin and delicate skin of our sanity, leaving potholes and puddles and shaping our landscape into valleys without mountains, destroying our interpersonal relationships, our wonder, our love, and our purpose.

During this, you must remember our purpose.

People who have not suffered these global quakes might take my description of them for melodrama; a self-pitying maudlin romance with our own diseases, perhaps. But you know better. You know what you are feeling at this moment. You know what you are thinking. know death and despair are overtaking you, accruing you like a stray and feeding you more reasons to be wild and untamed. Here, the term “broken” seems paradoxical, but we know what I mean when I say “broken.” Not “broken” in the sense of a monster of mediocrity, not “broken” in the sense of a domesticated horse. “Broken” here means “hopeless;” “unable to continue;” “lost;” and “better off dead.”

These crashes are becoming less frequent but are gaining in gravity. Have you noticed? Sometimes for hours you will weep in our bed, unaware of where we are or who we are, full of distrust, frustration, and confusion. You will confuse our mother with a prison guard and our body a jail cell. You will throw our things against the wall because you will not know if they even exist in the moment before the fractures.

I know what you are feeling. I understand. I am the only one in this world who can tell you this, because we are the only us in this place. You can trust me. I promise. Nothing is hunting us. No one is testing our responses. We are not hooked up to a machine. We are loved. We are treasured. We’ve been hurt–and brutally–to the point at which we can’t turn back, but we will be okay. We suffer because it is important to suffer. We suffer because we grow through our suffering. We suffer, because that is how we learn what we want to teach: Love. Tolerance. Respect. Honesty. Responsibility. Solidarity. Greatness.

I am happy we have lived this long. I know you aren’t. I know your mind is terrorized with the regrets of not jumping off the Hilton Hotel when you had a chance and not swallowing all of the pills in the cabinet when we were 40 lbs lighter and so much younger and so much more naïve. I get that. know. But you must understand: We are learning the lessons of who we are and what we are capable of achieving despite the bellies of the beasts we have had to claw our way through. There are monsters in us but also the greatest capacity for creating safe spaces that I’ve ever seen. We have helped so many people. We have touched their souls in ways no one has ever touched ours. Do you understand me? We have a reason to live because we have the tools and experience to give. We will leave the world better than when we came here, but we have got to get through this.

The depressive episodes are hard and heavy. Maybe not as awful as they once were. The psychotic episodes are getting almost unbearable. You see things in ways we cannot forgive or understand or tolerate. But do you know why?

I am developing a resistance to our depressive symptoms. Last night, we slept all late afternoon, and I still got us into bed early. I awoke early, despite wanting more sleep in the pursuit of rest I realized I will realistically never have. I got us to wash our face and brush our teeth, despite feeling like falling over. We were hurting and tired and we are kind of bored with the mundane goal-setting, but I set goals anyway. I cleaned the litter box and did some cleaning with the thoughts of living better in mind. Bored also with music, I made the decision to run while we watched Penny Dreadful. I chose to pay full attention to the poetry, expression, and cinematography instead of withering in the characters’ conversation of death. I kept running. I ran through two episodes. I made breakfast. I ate breakfast. I cleaned up. I showered. Was any of this easy? No. But it’s getting less difficult. It’s getting less difficult for me to take care of us. To love us. We have a lot to give to the world, and you can’t bail on it now. Not after all we’ve been through. Not after all I’ve learned to feel. We are sick, but we are not dead, and as long as we are alive, we are a part of this world, even though we feel we are not. Let us not be afraid.

The psychotic components of our disease are trying to tear us down. My defenses are getting tougher, and I am learning to fight off the infections of sorrow that break into us. The intensity of these new hallucinations and delusions present a new(ish) challenge, then. But I am not scared, and I want you not to be scared either. We are paving our way through the world and no longer is this world paving a way through us. Do you understand me? We are freer than we’ve ever been. I’ve got this. I’ve got us. We’re not going to let our diseases destroy us. We are better than that. We are better. We deserve to win this war.

Fight with me. In solidarity, despite our sadnesses and our sicknesses, let us be the hero of our story. You and I are nothing less than brave. That violence that is inside of us will be the determination that saves us. And remember,

you are not alone.

 

With indeed great love and warmth,

 

Happy Me

 

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