Sunday, June 26, 2011

I can always give up later

*** FOREWARNING: This is not a happy blog post. This may act as a trigger so if you are in a vulnerable place skip this one. Inspired by the likes of bipolar fragments, @youshouldsee, and @beckami I am going to try to express the other side of mental illness. Mental Health is not just roses and recovery. This post is an explination *of sorts* as to why I've not blogged in three weeks. As with any recovery there may be relapses. This is what happens after I have a relapse. ***

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Silence wakes me.

The fan drones back and forth.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Keep doing it. If I stop trying is my body going to give up on me? Why is it taking so much effort to just Breathe in. Breathe out. Steady. Don't stop. Keep gently breathing in, long steady breath out. Stop clenching your jaw. Relax your neck and jaw. So stiff and tense, my neck hurts. My head hurts like today may host yet another migraine. I should get up and get a glass of water and stretch but I don't ever want to get up again.

There is a dinstinct clicking as the fan makes each round. Pinching my eyes closed, hiding from the light. They feel swollen and moist, like they might slip open if I don't press them shut with extrodinary force.

Breathe in. Breathe out. In through my nose, out through my mouth.

I feel sick. Maybe if I go back to sleep today won't matter. Panic sets in. My stomach lurches. All I feel is someone playing the accordian with my stomach and pain from deep inside my chest. I feel a resounding hollowness like someone is inflating my heart with awkward, jagged edged memories that I can't quite make out at this distance from sanity. The dark and hollow space where I used to camp out in this body makes me heavy like gravity is my enemy. I am the enemy. This space between places is leaving me numb with agony.

Breathe in. Breathe out. The fan keeps a sense of stagnacy from consuming me. I hate the noise. Don't turn it off or you'll be alone. click... click... click... click is my company.

Breathe in, Breathe out.

Unclench your jaw. My mouth is dry and tastes awful. I should get up. A drink would make me feel better. Do I even have any clean glasses? How pathetic, no clean glasses. I could drink from the jug. Even worse you pig, just wash a glass and don't be so lazy. Maybe I'll just throw myself in the shower with the hope that might jolt me back to life.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

I look at my hand outreached and limp in front of my face. Inches from my nose I see every hair follicle and tiny square of aging skin. I sigh from lack of recognition. This is my hand. This is my hand? This is my life?

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Using all of my will and convinced of my irreversible weakness, pathetic for having to try, I turn my hand over and stare at my wrist. Two tiny blue veins clearly visible beneath my translucent untanned skin. I don't have to endure. In fact, I don't have to do anything. Empowerment starts to wash over me. I can get up and get in the tub right now. Not much mess at all, I bet the landlord could have this place re rented in two weeks. Images flash through my mind like a slideshow from a vacation I thought I would never of planned. Where am I? I'm in the tub full of blood. Full of me. I tidy little mess of death in the tub to be cleaned up by someone who doesn't take their life for granted.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Deeper now.

STOP! My mind screams for a moments of peace. I am still in my bed, crumpled under the blankets like a wilted flower waiting to be tossed in the bin. I already have a shaving razor with the safety edge ripped off. Ready, waiting, and well hid in case of emergency. I'll just get that out, jump in the tub and be done with it.

Breathe in. Breathe out. click... click... click... click. Breathe in, breathe out.

If I have to get up anyways I might as well get that glass of water. It'll only take a second to wash up the glass.

Breathe in, breathe out. click... click... click... click.

If I can get up I'll stay up for now. If it gets bad maybe one little slice on my leg.


And if that doesn't do the trick...

... in.

I can always give up later.


I'll just go back to sleep for a little while longer.

... out.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Climbing out of the Cooking Pot

I want to write about perspective because as we all know that how we look at things can drastically change our perception of events... if you don't think so, take a look at the picture below.

Is it a cup or vase?
Is it two people face to face?

Can it be both? Depending on our perspective of course it can.

How can I apply this to what is out of focus in my life?

I look at where I am. I am in recovery from a mental health crisis. No doubt about it. But thats not enough for me. What do I want next? I want to get the hell out of recovery and to dive head first into living exuberantly but I have a feeling I'd end up right back where I am if I don't take manageable, tangible steps to get there (and I WILL get there). SO WHAT NEXT? I get to choose!

I want to shift my thinking from 'in recovery from mental health issues' to a less fallible:


That is a reasonable next step. It's only a SLIGHT perspective shift yet I am having trouble making it come into focus. If I cover one half of the picture I can kind of see what it looks like. I mean, I have been focused on my mental health for a couple months now so I can see what being focused on my mental health looks like. What does it look like to be focused on my body's health? Its been a long time since thats been a priority. I know that if I can get my body back into shape that in turn my mental health may improve. If nothing else I may have more energy - even if my self esteem didn't improve, which I am sure it would. 

Everyday I do something for my mental health. EVERYDAY. When I first started climbing out of this crisis even just taking my medication qualified. Now I meditate daily, keep an anxiety journal etc...  So what small thing can I take pride in doing every single day for my body's health? What am I already doing that I can recognize as a genuine feel good starting point? 

Everyday I feed my body. I may not eat as well as I *could* but I do eat. I try and make healthy choices but I am far from perfect. That is OK. The next step is to make a change. Before I make ANY changes that I feel OBLIGATED to fulfill I will simply BE AWARE of my body's desire for nourishment and how my body feels when I do eat. How it feels to actually eat whatever I'm eating. All I am doing to bring the body part of my next perspective shift into focus is to be aware and take pride in being aware. 

Sometimes gaining perspective is really and truly as simple as being aware. I can make changes later but how will I know what the most effective change could be if I don't know where I am now? I can weigh myself, measure myself, calories, carbs etc etc etc but unless I know how it FEELS to be where I am now I may not be able to see where I want to go. Once I see things for what they are I'll be more apt to try and start climbing out of the cooking pot...

A frog living at the bottom of the well thinks that the sky is as small as a cooking pot lid.~ Vietnamese Proverb 

What are you currently bringing into focus to change your perspective? 
(No matter HOW big or small!) 
What do you WANT to see more clearly?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Crazy Changes

Something totally crazy happened about a week ago. I didn't need reminding to go shower every couple days. I wanted to be clean more than I wanted to die. I started eating something during the first couple hours of the day more often than not, even if it was just a dill pickle and yogurt (I'm judging this on extraordinary effort - not perfection, folks). I was actually looking forward to seeing my significant other rather than viewing it as encroachment on my self imposed exile... but when did this change happen, why did it come about?

I became aware of my healing power about the time I realized my difficultly with accepting that PERFECT little ME (not really, thats just what my inner critic thinks) was TRULY in need of HELP (gasp) because I am SICK with a TREATABLE condition (Ummm, conditions).

Far out, right?

I took that knowledge with me to a trigger situation today. I spoke to someone from HR(work) about my current state of affairs financially and mentally (they leave much to be desired).

I realized my success when I was done with the conversation. I hadn't started crying. I didn't cry on the call OR after the call. Nor did I feel the urge to cry. I was a little uneasy, anxious if you will. You know, the whole seasick from your brain-swishing-around feeling in the pit of your stomach. My shoulders were tense, my breath was short and my jaw was clenched. But it wasn't a panic attack. I wasn't a sobbing emotional mess and I wasn't in full on panic mode. Just being AWARE of my body in this form gave me a moment of pride.