35 years

September is almost over. My husband called out my “September Blues” as soon as the first leaf (and tear) fell. He stayed on my team all month and helped keep my shame at bay. With one day left in the month, I feel confident saying that I survived September 2017. (note: The confidence to say that I will survive tomorrow was not something I’ve ever had.)

I survived my birthday too. I made myself the gymnastics birthday party I’ve wanted for a while. Friends came with all their kids and we all did gymnastics together. I was probably the only adult looking forward to it but most of my friends showed up and I think everyone had fun. I don’t have many friends but the ones I have are gold.

So, all in all, September was totally okay. I think. My memory is really shot. There might have been lots of crying and dissociating… But I survived without noticeable scars, so that’s what counts.

Since this is my birthday post (annual)… I should probably reflect and analyze my life maybe.

On my birthdays, I typically look backward with shame and regret. But this year, I don’t want to. If I allowed myself to actually admit it, I would probably say the positive version of, “this year wasn’t a shit show of me screwing everything up”. But I can’t actually say that. I might jinx it.

I wish that I wrote more often. But there aren’t words and ideas in my head anymore. I just think about today and the logistics of the coming week.  This is probably typical of my phase in life. (and maybe the meds and all the pot don’t help with the motivation.)

I don’t really have much… I’m struggling to find the word of what I am missing… optimism? ambition? hope for the larger world? activism? Maybe this is also typical of my phase in life, but I don’t want to stay this apathetic about the world.

I feel like I did all the big things already. I finished university, got a job, got married, had (awesome) kids, got diagnosed with mental illness… But now what? I don’t have any grand ideas about what I want to tackle next.

I don’t see myself going to feed children in starving countries when I can barely feed my own kids. I used to feel like I could volunteer my time to help others but my time is all accounted for now. I don’t have any to offer.

Maybe it’s my time of life, maybe it’s my mental illness, maybe it’s my meds, but either way, I will sit here and drink my tea and try to remember when pizza day is for the grade 3’s and not be sure what the next adventure is.

And maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.

xoxo

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When the wind starts getting colder

With the fall wind blowing, my mind is getting tossed around. My husband told me that it’s just the seasonal change and that this is a pattern for me. I didn’t believe him so he told me to read through my old blog posts. Reading my blog was like reaching in and re-living my own past. It was surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) painful.

I want to cry with pity for myself. I want to give that scared hurting me a big hug. But she would probably cringe and push me away because she hadn’t learned yet that hugs could be comforting. I want to tell her that she’s not alone, that I’m here for her. But it’s not true. She is terribly alone, lost in her mind and alone with herself. Even I couldn’t really help.

Today, I find comfort in hugs. And I feel less alone- most of the time. But no matter how hard they try and how tightly they hug, I will eventually, (and I’m scared this time) be completely alone with the enemies inside my head. I know that it’s coming. But I don’t know when or how hard it will hit. I’m scared of sliding down.

I’ve changed so much, and also not at all.  I’m very grateful (dead) that I wrote. Especially since I have a really hard time remembering my feelings once they have passed. Also, my hair is turning grey and falling out – but that’s not exactly relevant right now.

My husband tells me that I should write more often. But sometimes it just…seeems…so…pointless. I don’t want to annoy all of my blog followers and friends with more narcisstistic musings. I should wait until I have something really interesting to say. But nothing I can think of seems terribly original or interesting.

I had a thought recently that the goal of art is to let/make us see Ourselves. My writing forces me to accept that I felt that, thought that, did that and survived. My writing shows me myself.

So…I guess I am not really writing for others to understand me, I’m writing to understand myself. So that I can read my words and finally be able to see myself.

I am writing so that my words can be own my memories.

Keep on truckin’

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On the futility of writing

A few words from Doris Lessing’s book The Golden Notebook.  Written in 1962. Still relevant.

‘Why can’t you understand that,’ I said, really wanting to make her understand, ‘that I can’t pick up a newspaper without what’s in it seeming so overwhelmingly terrible that nothing I could write would seem to have any point at all?’

I feel this so deeply.  I find it even hard to convince myself that there was a point in what she wrote. Here I am finding solace in her words 50+ years later.
Here is the next part of the passage:

‘Then you shouldn’t read the newspapers.’

Perhaps I can explain my ‘writer’s block’ through this other passage of Anna’s conversation with her therapist:

‘So the diary you started has remained empty?’ ‘No, I stuck in cuttings from newspapers.’ ‘What kind of cuttings?’ ‘Just things that struck me–events that seemed important.’ She gave me the quizzical look, which said: Well, I’m waiting for the definition. I said: ‘I glanced over them the other day: what I’ve got is a record of war, murder, chaos, misery.’ ‘And that seems to you the truth about the last few years?’ ‘Doesn’t it seem to you to be the truth? She looked at me-ironical. She was saying without words that our ‘experience’ has been creative and fructifying, and that I am dishonest in saying what I did.

I said: ‘Very well then; the newspaper cuttings were to keep things in proportion. I’ve spent three years, more, wrestling with my precious soul, and meanwhile…’ ‘Meanwhile what?’ ‘It’s just a matter of luck that I haven’t been tortured, murdered, starved to death, or died in a prison.’

And this is as close as I can get to writing today.

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Writing lines. 34 years.

Yesterday I wrote 1 line. One blank line.
It was all I could muster.
On my birthday, I had wanted to celebrate me. To celebrate my more than just survival this year, my growth, my success. But I guess there were none to celebrate.
Instead, I spent the day in bed, alone. Quiet. Trying to protect my loved ones from the typhoon of me. Trying not to make the mistake that would hurt them more.
34 years old. Seems young to me. This life is mine to live. But I waste it.
I am weak and stupid. I let fear block my way.
I’d like to re-join the life that I was building but I can’t find the way.
I let fear keep me inside. Alone. Quiet. Disconnected.
What am I even so afraid of?
Last month, it all seemed so clear, so possible.
Then the slide began. I could sense it coming.
Like the smell of the sea before a storm.

At least I’m looking for a lifeboat.

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Come what may

I’m scared to write. I don’t know what’s going to come out. There are so many clearer ideas in my head lately*.

I feel a bit like I’m standing at the edge of a diving board and my life is the swimming pool. I came up here because I wanted to dive in. But now that I am finally here, I am faced with how terrifying the dive might be. And I’m scared that once I set on this path, I won’t be able to unknow or unfeel this life. If I leap, I can’t turn back. Like you can’t stop a dive once it’s started.

Jumping would mean that I am really closing a door on the life I thought I would have. The life I thought I would have when I was a teenager. The life I thought I would have when I got married. The life I thought I would have a few months ago. There’s a ‘whole new world. a new fantastic point of view.’

I also started very intensive ‘integration therapy’ twice a week. It’s very intense and powerful. We are trying to find and nurture my sense of self after trauma. We are trying to strengthen neuropathways that I didn’t even know I had. And through this I am discovering my “inner wise woman” – my sense that I exist as a whole and complete person with wants and needs. (wow. I can’t believe I wrote that. I’m so not quite there yet.)

So, here I stand on the edge of the diving board, wanting to dive into my life and give it my all. But scared. Scared of the leap. Scared of leaving behind my precious coping mechanisms that have kept me ‘safe’ all these years. And most of all, scared of the pain of love. Scared of the intense pain that I would feel over love lost. Scared of the intense vulnerability that comes with all of this.

But I have to try. I have one shot and I might as well make the most of it. I know that I won’t really regret trying even if I fail. But I will regret sitting idly by while my time ticks away. (like my dad did…)

So I’ll raise my mason jar of coffee with milk and maple syrup in a toast to myself. Here here! To trying to join in this thing called life.

L’chaim. To life!

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*I stopped taking daily seroquel and replaced it with abilify in my medication cocktail. The sedation that I thought was the illness turns out to have been (obviously) the sedative that I took each day. I’m able to stay awake past 10pm and the idea of travelling to a different time zone is now a possibility again.