Emotions – do I really need them?

At some point in my early development as a human, I deemed it prudent to hide away my emotional self.  I carefully wrapped it up in brown packing paper, taped it up, put it in a box, taped the box shut with packing tape, then taped it again with duct tape (just in case), wrapped it in some newspaper (and more tape) and hid it away behind my pancreas.

Some dust that was touching my emotional self may have filtered out over the years but ultimately, it’s stayed packed tightly away. I don’t remember a time when it wasn’t hidden away and I’m not even sure it’s still alive.

Maybe it’s outdated, like a VHS and it won’t even be compatible with the current version of myself. So, what’s the point of going to all the trouble to unpack a box full of VHS tapes when you don’t have a player for them?

Maybe I need to unpack a bit more because I’m trying to make a new movie and keep tripping over all these boxes in my studio. Or maybe that old footage would be really helpful to look at while I plan the sequel….

Or maybe I should stop this stupid analogy and realize that a smart person on this podcast was right when he said, “I think we just don’t want to face the realization that the pain is as huge as it is and that we were as vulnerable as we were.” Bam. 

 

 

Which me is me?

In the past six years my identity has been completely knocked off the wobbly legs that it teetered on.

My sense of self has always been somewhat unstable. I was dependant upon extended periods of time alone to help me present only my best self to others. My sense of self was deeply dependant on my sex appeal, my intelligence, my mother, and my place in the Jewish community. 

Having a child and postpartum depression changed me profoundly. In the months and years that followed, each of these tenants of my identity fell away (crashed and burned).

I no longer had any time alone (because I was  afraid to “abandon” my daughter for even a moment). My body became something that belonged to and served my relationship with my baby and not my husband (or even me). 

And my mother… well…I could no longer base my sense of self on the feedback I received from her. I had to disentangle and became disillusioned with her and everything that she taught me. Including the central place that the Jewish community was supposed to have in my life. It just didn’t make sense to care about interacting with people I didn’t know or like. that I had to choose my friends from such a small pool or

The other element of my identity as a writer and reader, as someone who had impeccable grammar and a strong basis of literary and cultural references. 

Beyond ‘mommy brain’, the postpartum depression that I experienced made it hard for me to read or recall what I’d read. As my friends graduated from professional school and got high paying jobs, I also began to realize that maybe I wasn’t as smart as I had imagined I was. 

So, the external elements by which I defined myself began to fall away and the only thing I could lean on was my husband (lucky me) and my inner voice. 

The trouble was, my inner voice was not very nice to me. It was depressed, riddled with anxiety and misinterpreting everything. It whispered mean things in my ear and loved to tell me exactly why I was a complete waste of space. 

Experiencing postpartum depression and a complete nervous breakdown was enough to shock my soul. But to add a cherry on top, I experienced severe symptoms of bipolar disorder. 

Once diagnosed, I looked back and realized how much my memories of my entire life were tainted with effects of my disordered moods. From my behaviour at school and work, and the decisions I made, to my social relationships and my daily interactions. 

The trauma that I feel from the experiences of realizing that I am ultimately not entirely control of my own mind is intense. My perception of reality is perpetually skewed. I literally cannot trust my senses or ideas. 

In her famous poem Lady Lazerus, Sylvia Plath writes: 

Dying is an art, like everything else.

It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.

It’s the theatrical comeback in broad day to the same place, the same face, the same brute amused shout: ‘A miracle!’

That knocks me out.

I hope that you understand what I’m saying here. The falling apart hurts like hell but it’s like rolling down a hill. There is momentum to it- it is painful but almost effortless. The putting back together, on the other hand, is brutal. 

First you must decide to try to survive the war against yourself (which never completely ends), then there is finding the strength to continue fighting and try to build a new life with the people you love. 

But then, and this is the kicker, you must address the fact that you can’t actually figure out how to be the person that they used to love- the person that you wanted to be and thought you were and only vaguely remember anyway. Because, she doesn’t exist anymore. 

Rejoining the living is hard. Who am I? What do I want? Am I being the person that I want to be? Am I actually even acting the way that I think I am. Can I trust my own self perception? (I can’t). It’s just hard. 

And now my battery is running out. Both emotionally and technologically. 

I came this far- I know I can figure this out. I’m just not quite sure how right now. 

  

Well, isn’t this fun

What the fuck… I was so depressed the last few months. But when I was in it, I didn’t know. Maybe you wouldn’t have noticed either or maybe you would have… Regardless, I finally took more meds and felt much better.

But it was like a four day rest stop in stability on the way to another shitty place. My therapist says that today sounds like a “mixed episode”. (not to be confused with a ‘mixed drink’, which is something you may enjoy but I cannot.)

So, now I’m feeling like a useless wet towel that people I love have to drag around with them. AND I’m aware of how stupid that is.

Here’s an annotated screenshot of where I’m at today. Fun times.

lyla

I actually have no patience to write anything else. Sorry.

Hugs and Kisses.

xoxo

Lyla

ps. my moon flux is also upon me.

Quiet the mind

At some point before I completely stopped talking to my mother, I realized that I needed to stop listening to her. I mean that I had to completely ignore every word that came out of her mouth.

She just didn’t make any sense. She didn’t keep her word. She was manipulative. Her reactions were too intense and too urgent. And she always changed her mind anyway. There was just no point listening to her words.

Lately, I’ve started feeling the same way about my own thoughts. They are always coming and going, with varying intensity. They change and then they change again. What seemed so right one moment, is clearly so wrong the next. It seems there’s just no point in giving my own thoughts any consideration.

They say, “Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.” But I don’t want to hear my soul either. I can’t trust anything I tell myself. Hmmm… I have a new goal to take “quiet your mind” to a whole new level. If I sense a new idea coming, I’ll try to snuff it out before it peaks my interest. (Oh shit. Not listening to ideas is really just another idea that I’ll probably render useless tomorrow, if not by the time I finish writing this.)

I’ll stop writing quickly (idea) lest I change my mind (idea) about not having ideas. This really isn’t working. I guess I can’t actually ignore all those words in my head. I’m doomed to dance with them forever. Breathe in. Breathe out.

flower heads