Quiet Reflection

9.24.2017

I didn’t disappear off the face of the earth, I’ve just been taking time to handle my real life. I spent some time with Stardust and other friends, and I’ve had a wonderful conversation with Sunshine at least once a week about work/life balance and the really important things.

It strikes me every so often that I haven’t disclosed my mental health problems to my friends, and I wonder if perhaps there isn’t more there worth exploring.

At the end of the day I know that I really, really enjoy writing–the physical act of putting pen to paper and making words appear as if by magic–so I intend to spend the next few weeks writing in that space. As long as I’m in this the-drugs-are-working-today-so-let’s-embrace-the-hedonism swing, I’ll ride it as far as I can go. ❀

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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. ❀

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. ❀

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.