Another apology for a lack of posts. October was so hard on me, and truth be told, positivity is hard to maintain. I’ve been more social than perhaps ever before, which is good, but I’ve also been mega stressed. I have many complaints, but this entry is not going to be a place for those complaints. Instead, I’m going to write about what I’m most grateful for. I feel everything has at least a duality to it. The human experience, when truly lived, is neither singularly joyful or melancholy. It is complex. It is both. It is all. It is neither.
Chronic suicidality makes gratitude hard for me, because every good thing, event, place and/or person is often enough proof to me that I should stay and bear the pain. I don’t resent these, but it makes gratitude itself more complicated. I love, and I am grateful, and I have always loved and always been grateful, but allowing that gratitude to be a positive motivator is something new to me.
- “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” – Walter Winchell ; This is one of my favorite quotes, particularly because of the subtle implications. I don’t believe friendships always last forever, real and true or not. I used to have friendships with people who abused this sentiment but never wholly grasping what it meant–at least to me. To me, “walks in” means “supports;” alternatively, “walks out” means “disowns,” “neglects,” or “betrays.”Real friends are hard to come by, but for me any friend in general is particularly hard to come by. Despite this blog, or tied into this blog I guess, I am in reality a very sad person who is easily triggered. This is something I am working on, both via the blog and life. Books. Classes. Therapy. You know, many methods and mediums. I am difficult for people to handle, because I am intense. That is something that will not change no matter how hard I try. Intensity is tied with me, and so it is tied with my sadness.
I have had two (2) friends I have experienced this sentiment with. I am luckier than most in this. Maybe luckier than anyone. Although our friendship is more or less over, my first best friend is one of the most important people in my life. I say “is” because I still and will always love her. She showed me what friendship really is; what platonic love really is. She ran to my house through a blizzard in her pajamas to ensure my safety for the night. She ran to my rescue every time I needed her at such a crucial age. I was 14ish when we got close like this, and I lost this bond as early as 15, due to life-changing circumstances on both our parts. We still talk occasionally, but we were absolute best friends for a singular year. It feels like a lifetime. She defended and protected me. She listened. She reasoned with me. She was my rock, my guardian angel, and my best friend.
The second friend is my mother, who will always be my mother first and friend second, but she and I are friends nevertheless. She has grown. We both have. Significantly. Our interpersonal relationship has improved, and she nurtures me and loves me.
My heart bursts with gratitude for both.
- I can eat well and often enough. I have a roof over my head, a pretty safe environment, a loving mother, nice clothes, supplies for creative expression, healthcare, and to sum it up: Enough to live well at this moment.
I have great battles every day, but I’m grateful I do not sleep on a dirty floor or in the streets. Despite financial troubles, I am richer than many and have a lot of support.
- “…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?” – Vincent van Gogh ; I suppose there’s a dark and serious irony here, since the Impressionist painter committed suicide. But he had a beautiful soul from what I know of him and beautiful ideas. And truthfully, in these moments, there are few things more important than these. I am grateful for human expression and creativity.
- My “gray matter” in many matters. I have strong education however informal, I have great creativity, some awesome skill sets, a knack for art, an immense love for the world, and am able to see beauty in small things. I suffer from mental illnesses that are heavy and complicated and painful. I suffer from chronic suicidality and other severe symptoms that impact my day-to-day living. But yesterday I bought a bag of apples and found one still with a leaf on it. The sun is shining beautifully, and I am not overheated, despite my hyperthyroidism. I am happy. If just in this moment, I am happy. I am hopeful. I have a break from my suicidality. I can breathe. I know what I need to do. I know how to plan to achieve those goals. I am grateful for my flawed, beautiful, and capable mind.
- “When you know in your bones that your body is a sacred gift, you move in the world with an effortless grace. Gratitude and humility rise up spontaneously.” – Debbie Ford
The body I’m in is not limber or ever comfortable. I have days during which I am bedridden and crying out in pain. But it is a vessel to carry me, and I can still–on most days–paint with it, dance with it, and hug with it. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to create, dance, and express affection.
I choose gratitude today.
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. I 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. I 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,
First, let me state:
I have never liked the term “bullying” when it comes to a student’s peers. It diminishes the effect of their abuse and harassment. There are definitely an infinite amount of “grades” (as in severities) when it comes to “bullying,” but many of these “grades” are enough to damage a person. I understand we are all responsible for our own actions, but even in CBT the general consensus is that you can control your thoughts and invariably take charge with your feelings, but feelings themselves are natural and often do what they want.
Let me begin simply by saying you are no longer welcome here.
Your abusers’ language and actions are motivated by a voracious hunger for control, lack of conscience and/or lack of empathy, and deep insecurity. Thus, with me having recognized this, your abusers’ behavior will no longer find my empathy, fear, or obedience. I am not yours to do with what you want. I am not yours to damage.
I am simply not yours.
The people whom you’ve saddled me with have all had problems; it’s true. No one would try to destroy someone else out of a healthful self-love. You’ve sent me ruins of trauma. You’ve sent me shells of people. You’ve sent me killers, rapists, pedophiles, torturers, and bone-breakers. You’ve sent them my way and promised me to them as a way out. But you must understand, traumas, you don’t have that right, and you don’t have my permission.
Let’s get some things straight.
The way I have reacted to you has not been free from guilt or scandal. I have hurt people myself. I have acted impulsively and have even tried to exact revenge–a laughable concept, by the way, since revenge still puts me under your control even though I am tied to it by my own responsibility. I’ve walked down that path and have jumped that bridge. You cannot kill me through me.
That being said, I have attempted suicide in your wake–many times. I have been hospitalized in wards and hospitals both medical and psychiatric in your wake. Many times. I have slit my wrists, overdosed, tried to drown, tried so suffocate, tried to choke myself to death because of how I’ve felt with you.
And consider this:
I am still alive.
There is a girl whose birthday is in a few days. She just found me on facebook, although I’ve only had a facebook under my real name for… less than a month? You remember her, traumas; I know you do. She groomed me well as a kid and early teen: isolating me, hounding me, controlling me, manipulating me, breaking me day in and day out for years. She may have been abused. I do not know. At this point, I do not care. She has had a hard life, I know, and at this point, I do not care. I cannot care. I must be indifferent, traumas, because you will understand this:
Nobody owns me.
I care about the people who could become like her, sure. If I had different neurochemistry and a different situation, I could easily be like her. We all could. But I don’t pity her, and I certainly do not owe her empathy. I do not wish her ill. I no longer wish for her to understand what she has done. She will never understand it, just like I’ve learned I will never understand her. But I don’t cater to or cower beneath these caustic crowds anymore. I don’t feed the snakes, as I’ve learned a lioness needs no pride but her own.
I have a birthday coming up soon, too.
My twenty-fourth is the first birthday I am excited for. One of hopefully many more.
So, goodbye, traumas.
You’ve granted me wisdom and understanding I sometimes wish I never had but am better for. I am still learning; I am always learning. You come back; I come back harder.
You aren’t going to win.
Embrace today while expressing one positive trait about the world you live in. I encourage you to express this creatively, whether in a poem, illustration, coloring page, anything. Just find and “define” something positive however you choose to define it.
(Please share if you are willing to do so!)
I don’t like getting up early right now. Right now, I don’t even like getting up at all. Reopening wounds in therapy last Wednesday was tough. Being in a triggering situation last Thursday was tougher. PTSD is a hypersensitive gun right now, and I’ve had two psychotic episodes in the past two(?) weeks. I don’t know. Everything is running together.
It’s times like these that the positivity is so hard to hold onto or even remember, and of course, it’s times like these when I need it most. I get the “c’est la vie” track stuck in my head, and the suicidality starts back up, and before I know it, I’m lost in a zoo where all predators are loose and hungry and I don’t have a directory to find my way to safety.
But I’ll get through it.
I must remember that.
So many suicide attempts and so many days like this and so many hospitalizations, and I’m still alive. I don’t believe in “plans” or that “everything happens for a reason.” I’m honestly just really hard to kill, it seems.
But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m still alive.
My self-purpose is that I’m here to make the world better: To inspire and encourage and love and express and strengthen and enlighten all those around me, as well as myself. That’s what I want to do. I want to live my faith in people. I feel so separate from the world, so cut-off. I feel angry and bitter and cynical, but I know the hurt and the damage are at the root of all of that. Because I’ve also seen human beings capable of beautiful, strong, and compassionate things. There are figures in history who prove me right. There are people every day who prove me right. I think at the core, people are born selfish because that’s how people survive, but I don’t think that means people are condemned to selfishness. Like colorism, misogyny, and other prejudices, selfishness is something we must commit to undoing. Ultimately, you still must have great significance to yourself and be addressing your own needs and fighting for yourself. But there is a difference between selfishness and survival. Sometimes it’s a gray shaded area, but I believe there is a strong distinction most of the time.
I don’t have unrealistic expectations. I know I cannot save the world; I know nobody can. And I know that even if it were possible, one would have to save themselves first. People en masse are easily manipulated, and mobs appeal to a hubris beyond comprehension. We can’t control anything or anyone outside ourselves, truly.
And why would you want to? Really? I wouldn’t mind the pain so much if there were less of it. I think pain is vital to growth and development. After all, why would someone invent a better way of doing things if they were completely content with the way they were doing things in the first place? but the pain is massive. It’s hard. Stifling. Suffocating, almost. Just breathing in a world like this feels impossible sometimes. Everything hurts.
But there are good things. Always, always, always. There are beautiful things. There are beautiful people. Beautiful stories, good stories. Inspiration. The world is a sick place, but the diversity and creativity and beauty–often tucked away in details–are important to note.
I remembered just now why I used to like early mornings:
Even in this summer heat, dawn is important to watch.