Metaphor Monday

Metaphor Monday | Memories

You know those makeup kits they sell around Halloween? Usually it’s a “pirate” kit, although sometimes the costume in question is a little more…questionable. The kits come with a plastic container of black substance that I imagine is the approximate consistency and flavor of Play-Doh, designed to go over selected teeth. The idea is to represent a lost tooth, a gap in the dental line. It’s not.

Traumatic memory loss is like this black tooth cap, for me. I can’t remember what I ate for lunch on the third Tuesday of last month. That lack of memory is a hole, an actual gap like a lost little baby tooth in a row of tiny chompers.

There are other memories. I don’t know details, whens or whats or wheres or hows. I don’t even bother asking myself the whys anymore. These memories are capped, glossed over in black, a solid substance pretending to be a gap.

One of the many shrinks I’ve seen over the years recommended to me, once, to not try and peel back the blackness. She said that repressed memories need to stay that way until they’re ready to be exposed.

I don’t like the waiting, don’t like the feeling that I’ll choke on a lost chunk of black Play-Doh on a perfectly normal day. Still… I sit on my hands, and resist the urge to peel. I don’t know when the darkness will lift, when I’ll have to look at all the decay and destruction underneath. I just pull what pieces I can feel together, and try to be prepared for when it does. ❀

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Quiet Reflection

7.22.17

I had lunch with Sunshine yesterday. I meant to post something then, but I’d had a long week so I went to bed early.

I’ve read a lot about trauma over the last six and a half years. I’ve learned a lot about relationships, too, and how they relate to trauma. The short version is that trauma separates us from our relationships with other people, and the best way to overcome trauma is to re-forge those connections.

It amazes me how much a simple 25-minute lunch helped. I don’t think he evens knows the depths of this hell, let alone that I’ve been backsliding. It doesn’t matter. He doesn’t need to. Sunshine is steady, a grounding force no matter what kind of hurricane I feel. I am so grateful for his friendship.

❀ ✩ ✿ ✩ ❀

I’ve been thinking about the blog, and what I intended to do with it. It’s part journal, part essay collection (topic posts being marked by alliterative theme titles). The essay-ish things have been on the thin side, facilitated mostly by a pretty severe backslide that I’ve been fighting this year. I’m sorry. I’m still fighting.

The journal is sporadic at best, for which I also apologize. I haven’t quite grasped the concept of a publishing schedule yet. I’m still trying.

The important thing, I think, is to keep taking these tiny steps. And someday, I hope, I’ll be out of the woods.

Again. ❀

Warrior Wednesday

Warrior Wednesday | Mental Health Days

In true Warrior Wednesday fashion, I took a day off of work. I don’t do it often, because I don’t like to. I feel like I’m contributing to the stigma against people living with mental illnesses… but today I took a leap of faith. I thought I’d be in bed all day, struggling to function.

I still messed up a lot of stuff today, but I also managed to clean two parts of my home that haven’t been touched in—no exaggeration—over a year. I have more space, less crap, and surprisingly I find I feel less mental clutter.

I hope we all have days like these more often. ❀

Warrior Wednesday

Warrior Wednesday | Open Doors

For the first five years of my recovery, I slept with all of the doors closed.

The front door had to be closed and locked and opened and unlocked and closed and locked and opened and checked and closed and locked and checked.

The bathroom door had to be closed, the closet door had to be closed, the drawers and cabinets had to be closed.

I did not sleep in any space that had an opening, a doorway, a deep dark space that would grow in the night and swallow me whole. I don’t know, now, what I thought was hiding inside of my drawers, but whatever it was—it wasn’t getting me as I slept.

I know in hindsight that this is not an uncommon symptom. It’s a symptom that’s harder to explain, one that’s less known by the general public and therefore less accepted. It’s not typically viewed as a symptom so much as it’s viewed as a personality quirk, like not eating yellow food or only dating people whose names begin with the letter “R”.

But it is a symptom. I have an illness, and keeping the doors closed is a symptom.

❀ ✩ ✿ ✩ ❀

At Christmas, I was given a cat. She wanted to sleep with me, in the bedroom. She needed to have access to her box, in the bathroom. A less stubborn person, a person fewer years into recovery might have just moved the litter out of the bathroom at night. Me? I just cracked the door.

I didn’t sleep for three days.

It’s been a year and a half since I’ve slept with all the doors closed. I sleep with open cabinets and open drawers. The socks aren’t out to get me. I still go through the whole routine with the front door, more cautious now than paranoid. My cat has no idea what the difference is. I do.

❀ ✩ ✿ ✩ ❀

I made a bad choice last night. I made a bad choice this morning, watched it snowball into a series of bad choices. I’m pissed at myself for starting this whole thing, and I’m pissed at myself for acting in ways I feel like I can’t control. I knew it was a bad choice. I made it anyway, made excuses for how it was beyond my control. It wasn’t.

Bad choices snowball. Good choices snowball, too. And just because a door is less open today than it was yesterday doesn’t mean it has to be closed tomorrow.

I’m going to go crack the door. ❀

Metaphor Monday

Metaphor Monday | Hell is a Labyrinth

The difference between a labyrinth and a maze is that a labyrinth consists of one path. There are no wrong turns. No dead ends. Just a long, winding path that feels never-ending. It twists and turns and takes you deeper into a darkness that you didn’t know existed, didn’t know you were in until it was too late and you couldn’t turn back.

When you’re in a maze you can get lost, take the same path in the wrong direction, or  spend an eternity wandering lost in circles. When you’re in a labyrinth you have a lot of quiet time to think to yourself.

(Sometimes I don’t like the quiet, don’t like to think to myself… but that’s another post for another day.)

Hell is a labyrinth, because when you’re here you know exactly where you are and exactly where you’re going, only you don’t know how long it will take you to get there and what kind of monster will be there when you do.

Some people die in their labyrinths, never making it to the demons that live at the core of it. Some people lose that fight. And for everyone else? The trek back out of the labyrinth isn’t any easier. It’s still a long winding path full of random turns and no clear end in sight. You’re tired, and dirty, and hot, and probably covered in monster blood. You’re still alone with your thoughts.

But you have to keep going.

Quiet Reflection

7.16.2017

It’s been a rough day.

I got a lot done today—little things. Personal things. One big thing I’d been meaning to do for months of my life (maybe six, now?) and haven’t because of the depression. I wonder what I must sound like to people who don’t know what this is. Crazy, I’d imagine.

I’ve also been restricting, which is something I’m not proud of. It’s not on purpose, which I guess is some kind of relief. It’s just that I don’t want to eat, so I don’t eat, and intuitive eating only works if you’re not anhedonic because when you are…you wind up in this mess. Been taking my meds on time, though.

I’m in a lot of (emotional) pain, and I’ve been having a lot of epiphanies. I’ve been writing a little bit, and I think I need to start doing a lot more of that because for some reason, ink and blood are the only ways I can make my feelings real and I’ve sworn off the latter.

I have food ready to eat for breakfast tomorrow. I have food ready to eat for lunch tomorrow. I have enough water that I ought to be okay tomorrow. Everything seems to be ready.

There are things I want to write about on this blog, things I want to say but don’t have the courage to yet. I keep telling other people to be strong, that there is power in sharing stories. I don’t hold myself to the same standard that I hold other people to—in any aspect of my life—and so it seems I’m going to do the same here.

I wish I was braver. It’s something that I keep telling myself throughout my life. I also keep telling myself that being brave doesn’t mean you go looking for trouble. I also keep telling myself that being brave means trying things that you want to do, even if they scare you. Bravery is a practice, not a static trait. One can lose bravery. One can develop it.

As for tonight, I’m just trying to make it as easy as possible to be brave tomorrow. ❀

 

Quiet Reflection

7.15.17

My mother’s birthday is in a week. I’ll probably send her a card, because I still love her more than anything in the world and I know she’s having an incredibly difficult time with the estrangement–both mine and my brother’s–but I also know that I can’t even begin to heal from this monster if she and her husband a part of my life. I know that I need to carve out a space in the world where I can heal, and they can’t be a part of that.

Still hurts like hell, though.

It seems like I’ve been having a lot more bad days than good days recently. Somewhere deep down I know that it only feels that way because I’m doing the emotional work, that the emotional work fucking sucks and when this is all over with I’ll be grateful. But I’m also not entirely sure that I’ll ever reach a point where it’s all over with, and I also know deep down that if this is the case then I’m ready to fight for it. I’d rather have these days and live than let go for good.

My cat is in the bathtub, hiding from the sound of the storm building outside. It’s July in Phoenix, which means the days are sweltering and the late afternoons are filled with haboobs and the occasional spattering of rain. I used to think I hated the desert. I do hate the heat, but there’s something about watching a monsoon build outside your windows that creates an eerie sense of calm. It is during these moments that I feel the most whole, the most like myself.

It is also in these moments when I feel the strongest drive to create. I believe that everyone has this need inside of them, something that drives them, and if this need goes unfulfilled then our lives will suffer for it. It’s difficult to explain why I feel that I can’t create, why the words don’t come even as the need goes unmet. Everything anyone has told you about depression being the source of your art is absolutely full of shit. Creativity is just another thing the disease eats away.

I wonder sometimes if I will ever find peace. For now, if that’s the only way I can, I’ll take it in late afternoon hours. ❀

Depression Sountracks

Depression Soundtrack | Sound the Bugle

Judge me if you want, but I think Bryan Adam’s work on the soundtrack for the Spirit movie was awesome. The obligatory “turning-point-for-the-protagonist” song from this soundtrack is titled “Sound the Bugle”. There’s a line that sticks with me now matter how many years it’s been since I’ve seen it:

Without a light I fear that I will stumble in the dark
Lay right down and decide not to go on

There are times where I’m having a perfectly normal time, and all of a sudden I’m overcome with the need to just… stop. Stop moving, stop breathing, stop being. To lay right down and decide not to go on.

I don’t. It’s hard. It’s scary. But I know that I have to keep going on, even when it is all of these things. I keep reminding myself that this is an illness, that this is a thing that is beyond my control but a thing I can still live with. There will not always be good days. The days I have left are still worth it. ❀

Warrior Wednesday

Warrior Wednesday | Sometimes I Have Bad Days

I’m not doing so hot. I wish things were better, but I’m at a point now where progress is at a crawl, and some weeks feel like I’m taking more steps backward than I’ve taken forward in recent months. I’m still trying. I’m still working.

I’m finding out that self care is a lot less fun than social media would have you believe. People like to pretend that it’s bath bombs and comfy sweaters. I prefer showers and it’s too damn hot for sweaters. Self care is cleaning your home this weekend. And next weekend. And the weekend after that. And the following weekend. Apparently, adulthood is one never-ending span of not being able to keep a fucking studio clean! No shit.

I’ve been having a hard time sleeping, and a hard time eating, and a hard time remembering to take my meds on time (because I’m not eating regular meals). I’m trying my damnedest to still spend time with people I like, because I know that if I start to backslide then I start to withdraw from my friends and family and that blows because then I’m depressed and semi-medicated and alone. I’m trying to make myself eat. I think I might set an alarm tonight to make sure I go to bed at a reasonable hour.

I flossed today. I brushed my teeth. I ate breakfast. It’s three fifteen and I haven’t had lunch. (pill break….) Venlafaxine tastes like shit, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.

I’m doing my laundry. I hate laundry almost as much as I hate doing dishes, so any time I can accomplish that particular chore is a reason to celebrate. I just have to remember to hang the clothes up when they’re dry.

Some days I am well, and I don’t need to take inventory of what percentage of Basic Daily Hygiene I’ve accomplished. I’m not having a lot of those days recently. I’m having to take inventory of what’s slipping, and grab those pieces even tighter. Some days you just have to hold on desperately to whatever you have and hope you make it through the other side of this. ❀

Metaphor Monday

Metaphor Monday | Layers

People have layers.

Every day of our lives, we make choices. Mundane. Profound. Sometimes in between. Not a day goes by that we don’t make some kind of choice.

Some people think that taking psychiatric medication numbs you, takes away your ability to feel, destroys your creativity, and turns you into a functional zombie. It’s not true. The disease does that.

Depression is a parasite. It can’t live without you, but when it latches on it takes and takes and takes until there’s nothing left. The disease strips you of your ability to make your own choices, peels away layers until it can eat your core. It strips away all the good in your life until all that’s left is the part of you that’s too sick to function.

On the flip side, being medicated isn’t a magic pill. They are pills, and they might feel like magic at the start, but all they can do at the end of the day is give you the ability to make choices again. It’s still up to you to make the right ones.