Tag Archives: coping

Night Three

Here I am. It’s Night Three: the third night in a row of the wild swings, from giddiness to despondency in moments, that characterize my depression and anxiety. I am twisting and writhing, trying to fit myself into a world that I’m sure doesn’t want me. I am worthless, stupid, ugly. Wasted space, wasted potential. I should have been better, different. Somebody else.

The refrain from that chorus of voices, the youngest parts of my psyche: Why can’t you just be somebody else? Somebody normal? You’re broken. We’re broken. Fix us. Fix yourself. Be better. Please. Be better. Please.

Be better. Please.

I know these are defense mechanisms formed in my early years. Parts of me saw the world and how shitty and unfair it was — fuck, were they in for a surprise in 2017 — and figured the only way to survive was to internalize ALL the bad and make it my own. Make it me. If I was the bad thing, I had some control. I could improve me — the world, not so much. But I could be better — had to be better — or the world would swallow me and spit me out like so many others who couldn’t “handle it.”

God only gives you what you can handle. I don’t believe in god, haven’t for many years, but that saying still makes my stomach sink like a stone before the rage bubbles up into my chest where it burns red-hot. You only give us what we can handle? Do I look like I am handling this relatively easy life to you, you vindictive, omnipotent fuck-face, lying on the floor in a heap of tears and snot and sweat? How can I handle anything with this useless, broken brain you saddled me with? And don’t even get me started on those who have it worse. You accept their prayers while killing their kids and destroying their homes and tearing holes in their bodies and devastating their souls. Either make yourself useful for the first time in thirteen billion years, or go back to your cloud palace and leave us the fuck alone, you gossamer-winged douche canoe. Also, your wine fucking SUCKS.

Okay, that felt a little good. For a moment.

Still: four years of steady therapy and sixteen years of every medication under the sun feel worthless tonight, on Night Three. I’m exhausted to the point of collapse, but when sleep comes, I dream in rapid, flickering images, full technicolor and too well-lit. Vignettes of violence and humor and fear and love and death and that British lizard from the insurance commercials. Snippets of songs and whispers and horns and sirens and bad-movie dialogue.

I wish I could say that I had a good reason to feel this way. There isn’t, though. It’s just me, and my brain. It’s not Vegas, or the Orange Fucker, or work stress, or life stress – though none of those things help. It’s just me, and the voices.

Be better. Please. 

My therapist says to be nice to these voices – they’re only coping mechanisms, after all. They’re trying to protect me. And they are asking politely.

But I cannot be better right now, tonight, or really anytime. At 32, I am mostly baked – I am doing my best, and I am not going to become a superhuman anytime soon. I also cannot control the shitty, unfair world we are stuck in. But I do have work tomorrow, so, voices, here’s my offer: calm down, shut up, and go the fuck to sleep. Be better at being my psyche, will you? Please?

Here’s to a better Night Four.

 

 

Not alone

Be warned: this is an honest post about depression and self-harm, so don’t read if that is not what you need right now.

Tonight was not a great night. Depression combined with PMDD combined with injury combined with rain combined to form a cocktail of true shitty-ness.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I have an intermittent history of self-harm. My depression and anxiety kick in, I get angry and disgusted with myself, and instead of just crying or shouting or hitting something else, I hit myself, usually in the head or leg, or both, to the point of bruising. Obviously, this is not good.

Tonight I was thoroughly convinced that I was a mean, fat, disgusting, stupid, lazy, weak-willed, worthless, uncouth, ungrateful, shallow, timid, and boring person, all at the same time. The cognitive dissonance required to think all of these things about myself at the same time was pretty impressive, but the result was not–I hit myself for the first time in probably over a year.

Besides the physical pain I caused myself, I also caused my mother, who saw me do it, emotional pain. I feel awful, and thinking about her distress brings tears of guilt as I type. But I am also grateful to her for helping me calm down and redirect the urge to hurt myself into actual discussion of my feelings, which she often shared when she had PMDD in her twenties and thirties. I’m grateful that she hugged me and dried my tears and told me she loved me. I’m grateful that she forgave me for the fear and hurt I made her feel by hurting myself.

I am lucky that I wasn’t alone.

I’m still somewhat stuck in a depressive a black hole, but my mother’s being present with me tonight was like a tiny sliver of light in that darkness. So I want to pass it on, right now, before I lose my nerve and delete this post:

If you are in despair tonight and there is no one there to comfort you, you are still not alone. There are millions of people who are with you. I am one of them. Even if no one is there to physically hug you and tell you that you are worthwhile, I will tell you now: you are not alone. You are a good person. How you are feeling is temporary, but whether this feeling lasts one hour or one day or one week or one month, you are NOT alone. 

Consider this a hug from me ❤

Love you.

 

 

The Power of the Doodle

I had a great weekend.  On Saturday, I worked on NaNoWriMo and followed it up with a fantastic evening complete with Thai food, wine, friends, and Mad Men.  Then, yesterday, a friend visiting from out of town and I took the Caltrain down to South Bay to see our other friend’s (too adorable to exist) new baby.  Finally, last night I started knitting a new sparkly scarf and decided to re-watch a couple of my favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls before conking out for NINE UNINTERRUPTED (HUZZAH!) HOURS OF SLEEP!  It was a fantastic weekend, full of friends and activities and fun and personal time.

It was also the weekend containing one of the worst breakdowns I’ve had in recent memory.

From about 11 to 2 am from Saturday night into Sunday morning, I cried uncontrollably and felt like a horrible, worthless, bad, evil person.  The demon voice in my head was at full volume.  I’m not sure why I lost it so hard.  It’s likely that the equivalent of a whole bottle of wine I drank had something to do with it (note to self–when your brain chemistry is already effed up and making you clinically depressed, do not consume additional substances that are known depressants), but I know it’s also likely the effect of the season and the upcoming holidays.  November and December are two of the best and worst months of the year.  I love Thanksgiving and Christmas in general, but I hate the pressure to enjoy food and drink without gaining weight (ha! hahaha!) and the societal expectation that I have a significant other to share all the festivities with (whether or not I want to be coupled at present).  I love the decorations and lights, but hate the fact that the sun sets IN FREAKING CALIFORNIA at 4:45 pm, which makes me want to vomit endlessly and also live inside a giant onesie until March.  As Dickens said, it is a good and bad epoch at the same time (I think that’s what he said…ish?  I’m paraphrasing.  I haven’t read that one since high school because I have an aversion to stories depicting decapitation).

The point is, I had a really bad night of weeping and dark thoughts.  I wanted to talk to someone, anyone, but it was too late to call friends or family without being exceptionally rude.  So I had what turned out to be a good idea: I went online to my favorite website’s Saturday Night Social open thread, where a wonderful poster gave me the following advice:

If you’re at a loss for something to do tonight, while you’re in this dark place, create something beautiful. A painting, a sketch, or (as a friend of mine who battles self-harm herself does) use markers to draw beautiful designs wherever you’re tempted to harm. Make beauty there.

I read this person’s post and immediately went to my “Crafts” box (yep, I have a crafts box because I AM IN MY THIRTIES AND LIKE TO MAKE HOMEMADE GREETING CARDS SOMETIMES OK?) and dug out my markers and colored pencils, and I drew this:

wpid-wp-1447105687891.jpg

It took about 30 minutes to make, and it’s obviously not, you know, good*.  But in those thirty minutes, I stopped crying.  I also had some fun.  I explored, uh, symmetry (is that a thing you can explore, art people?  You know what, I’m just going to say it is.  Go symmetry!).  Best of all, after finishing my doodle I was able to curl up in my bed and finally fall asleep so I could spend the following day with my friends and one hella cute baby without passing out.

So it was still was a great weekend despite the breakdown–not just because of my great friends and fun activities (and in spite of too much wine), but because I discovered a new tool to dig myself out of a tough spot.  I discovered the Power of the Doodle as yet one more way for me to manage my often unruly brain.  All Hail the Doodle!

Have a great rest of the week, and stay strong through those early sunsets 🙂

*So, art people, if you actually do think this is good in some sort of avant-garde way please let me know so I can sell it for one million american dollars.  That’s how art works, right?  RIGHT?