Ranting uncovers my insecurities

Ranting can be cathartic. I think people who journal or write know this well. I read somewhere that stream of consciousness writing has been proven through studies as an effective tool for people experiencing a mood disorder. But it’s hard for people supporting someone with <insert disorder> to cope through a rant. In my life, they just don’t know what to do.

A close friend got an eyeful tonight. Circumstances triggered my insecurities. This friend has more than enough to try to cope with, and I feel selfish to send the email. But I did and now I’ve posted it here. I am going to write more for this blog: it is evident that I need to.

Hi.

I felt like I needed to share this article with you. But I don’t know if I’m sharing this for my own reasons, or for you. Typing this email, I’m reminded of when I spoke to my supervisor about self disclosure. She asked me to reflect on the intention of the self disclosure, is it for me, or for the other person. Does the desire to share come from a place to validate my own experience/feelings, or is this really about a positive impact for the other person?
I probably over think this kind of shit. I think we talked about this earlier today, but I have come to judge myself for being negative, or, for talking about my sadness or pain. I feel that to maintain relationships, I have to either self censor my emotions, or, put on a brave face. I have experienced people close to me drift away or look uncomfortable when I talk about what goes on in my head.
And I really do admire how you are changing right now. Your focus on gratefulness is a perspective I’ve not been able to maintain. And I don’t, for not even one second, want to disrupt your positive reframing of your perspective. This strategy seems right for you at this time. You’re a kinder person, you draw strength from spirituality and you see goodness in people, even if you sometimes don’t see it in yourself.
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Loss in Change

Hurt

What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end

And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

Written by Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails)

and covered by Johnny Cash


Recently, I’ve experienced a lot of loss. Less recently, I’ve experienced a lot of loss. And I will continue to experience a lot of loss. The difference between drowning in grief (I keep trying to convince myself) and short-lived sadness, is that loss is a part of change and if I look hard enough, I can see the beauty in my loss and in change.

My 2 best friends from my school days now live across the globe, one of which only moved to London a couple of months ago. I realise that in the year prior to M’s physical departure from my current life, I could have been a better friend; I hardly saw or spoke to M in that year. I mourn the lost time with M in that year now that M is in London. I mourn the time that I currently don’t have with M. But I know that M is where they need to be and appreciate that M has far more courage to face change and to step outside of their comfort zone than I do. Mourning seems to me to be a selfish emotion, which is not necessarily a negative. There will always be loss in life and now I know the importance of cherishing my connections and the importance that I nurture these people: my family.

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Taking Away The Safety Net of My Meds

I just realised that I’m scared. I thought that that it was just normal anxiety, but the root of it is fear; the fear of taking away my safety net.

Today I started to gradually lower my dosage of the antidepressant medication that I have been taking for the past 2 years. It is the only medication that has worked; I have only taken 2 types. This transition will take 3 weeks: 1 week to gradually wean off the current meds to no meds, and 2 weeks to gradually get to my estimated new dosage of the new meds.

I have been feeling really anxious for the past month. I have been very busy with work, commitments to a men’s workshop that is now over, and also lots of assessments due for the end of term for the course that I’m studying. I had a lot on my plate (I study full time), and my psychiatrist and I have been planning this change since 2 months ago. But I submitted my last assessment this morning and I’m still feeling really anxious. My jaw is constantly clenched, the point in the middle of my brow tense. I think my tongue has been clenched too; it is now. My body feels weak and my appetite has disappeared over the last couple weeks. I hardly eat and sleep is scattered and poor.

Cognitively I am okay with changing my meds. I made the decision because I was frustrated with the side effects of the current meds that I’m on. The new meds belong to a different family of antidepressants, so I expect the side effects to be different. I don’t know if it will be better, but I don’t know until I try. Side effects affect each person differently. But I couldn’t keep going on the same meds wanting a different result. I think that I was even optimistic and hopeful about the new meds. But now I’m just scared.

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There Is More To My Story

Arm muscles tense, anticipating.

I look to the ceiling, focusing on the hanging light.

A brief distraction; the needle drags across my skin.

Fuck. My courage falters.

I couldn’t do this to myself.

ying yang semicolons

I got a tattoo today. Physically it is two separate tattoos on separate parts of the body, but I say that it is one; connected. It’s a strange feeling, being ambivalent about something that is permanent. It is still fresh, colour jarringly bright, not yet aged and faded. I don’t yet love it: I don’t know if I ever will. It’s not really aesthetically nice. A lesson on acceptance of permanent imperfection?

One on the inside of each wrist, a marker to remind me that when life is totally fucked up, there will be more. Just, more. Not a qualitative “more”, I don’t know if it will be better or worse. The important thing is that I don’t end my story.

On some  of the occasions that I have thought about harming myself or ideated on suicide, my mind has gravitated to my wrists. I would forlornly look at my wrists, images flashing through my mind. I would cover my wrist with my hand, close my eyes, willing myself to stop thinking. From now on, when I look at my wrists, if I be forlorn and desperate, I will be reminded that there is more to my story, more untold.

The semicolon, a marker at a seemingly end of a sentence, but indicates that there is more to come. Not only something more, but something that is connected to what has just been. I’ve liked punctuation for a long time. Punctuation herds words into ideas. It tells us when to breathe. My semicolons will remind me that there is more to my story; to breathe.

Tattooing, in a way, is a form of self-harm. A sharpness, running across the skin, drawing blood. Today’s act was a defiance to any future self-harm that I may do. And fuck, it hurt. I don’t think I could ever cut my skin with my own hand. If ever I wanted to self harm, my semicolons will remind me that there is more to my story, and the pain that I persevered.

 

Celebrating the Little Things, the Really Little Things …

Joel Robinson Photography

Joel Robinson Photography

This post has been itching to get out of me, but I would never be in the right mind to write it. The moment when this idea hatched has passed, now only, a light glowing through the fog.

Self-love can be a skill forgotten. The ever growing things that should be, filling the basket on my back, heavier, slower. Too often though, after I push and huff, make my basket lighter, I lament how heavy the basket still is.

I try to celebrate these victories. These sometimes very small victories. Yay! I folded the laundry! I emptied the dishwasher! And on my darker days, I will celebrate that I got out of bed. I don’t do a little jig, I don’t have the energy, but I look at my achievement through a microscope to see the strength I have. The more good things that I see through this lens, I can convince myself that I have a lot, enough to nurture.

The fog around obscures my vision, but virtue glows with a dim gold light. I seek out these small gold seeds in everything that I do. Collecting one in every meal that I don’t feel like eating. Every little damned thing I do. The basket on my back is still the same size, the things that should be still fill it. Golden seeds grow within me, my basket seems lighter than before.

Energy Crash

There seems to be a small window that I can write. One one side I have am busy and motivated; keeping on top of things and really not looking after myself nor giving myself the space to just be. I don’t really write, or, if I do write, it is only half done with no real conviction (I have 5 unfinished draft posts waiting on the sidelines). On the other side, I just can’t be fucked to do anything, anything at all: not eat, tidy my apartment, not dry the washed clothes in the washing machine, not get out of bed, not WRITE. That is where I am right now.

For the past 6 days, I have been very very busy. Something has always been there to occupy my mind and I had the energy to actually do things. Today, my first day off at home after the 6 busy days, I have totally crashed. My mood was okay when I was busy, but on this day of “rest”, my energy and mood have crashed. My mind overrides my body. I know that my body wants to eat, but I just can’t be arsed and weirdly I don’t feel hungry. It is 5:30pm, and the only things that I have eaten all day are a handful of sultanas and some chocolate (which made me sick). I have something in my freezer that I can heat up in a microwave, but I just can’t be bothered getting off the couch. Even to go outside for a cigarette just seems like such an effort.

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I wish the ocean was wood.

Sitting, and also creeping through the morning traffic. People on their way to work. On their way to earn the dollars they think they need to survive. Slightly late for a yoga class. Anxious, knowing that I have been told that it is good for me, that it will help my mental resilience. Body and mind are one. It is mindful. I am letting myself down for being late, if only a little.

Where is the available parking? Okay, keep going. It is just a little bit farther. How late will I be if I have to walk more?

I hit the curb. Okay, try again. I hit the curb, again. Tears well in my eyes and I can’t see properly.

I can’t do this.

“Sometimes I wish the ocean was wood. I feel like drowning.”


Such small stresses, but they built up, and I just cracked. For the past 2 weeks, I have been feeling like a fog has been numbing my emotions; I didn’t feel sad and hopeless like I used to, but I didn’t feel much at all really. But as I was failing to park my car when I was late for my class, that fog disappeared and I just started to cry. I couldn’t handle, well, anything. I went home and wrote this post. I started to cry again as I drove home.

I can see objectively that these stressors are relatively mundane. My resilience is so low though. I am just so tired of putting so much effort into normal mundane things. I feel as if, mundane stress is like a 5kg weight that everyone carries around, but I’ve lost all my muscle strength. Most people carry that weight just fine, or even with ease. But I have to use so much more effort just to carry that normal weight. Sometimes I don’t feel like I can even do that by myself. Building mental strength / resilience is such a slow process. Part of me, the saboteur, wants me to fail. Keeping him quiet, not letting the saboteur have power, takes a lot of what little energy I have.

Feeling distressed? Please, see my “getting help now” tab at the top of the page.