My tongue is in my hand…

Everything great I will ever do or be

Posted on: January 22, 2010

I’ve been thinking lately, about poetry, about writing, about my sanity, my mental health. Now, being in mental health as a profession, it makes sense to think about mental health. What I’ve been thinking is that everyone could have a diagnosis. There are so many diagnoses, we could all be diagnosed with something. I think a diagnosis is merely a description of behavior and symptoms. It is not a definition of a person. It does not  give or take anything away from someone. It describes something about them. Mental health is so tricky. Everyone struggles at one point or another, some of us struggle all the time. It’s so different for everyone, even people with the same diagnosis. Because people are so different, because situations are so different.

But there’s a line…a line beyond just dysfunction or struggle…a line that is easy to see in some, and hard to see in others. Environment plays a factor, as do personal/family history, support systems, and the internal drive of a person. Anyone could just lose it at anytime, really. I think they really can….

I think if we’re really perceptive and insightful, we can look our madness in the face and do something with it…of course, I only truly know what I can do. I can channel it. I have been channeling it for so many years. It is why I believe in and talk to God, and it is why I write. I confide in, trust, and accept the love of God more than I do anyone else, I always have. Sometimes, it’s just God and I. I know I make it that way. I leave parts of me closed and that’s how I feel safe. That’s how I have room to create. I write to cope, to process, to claim, to create something I can record, something I can have and do something with. It is, and always has been, my coping. Sometimes it’s an obsession, and constant need. But it works. As time has gone on, I’ve had to pull other things in as well. Every day is a concentrated effort in coping, in feeling alive.

Maybe there’s a medication that would make that unnecessary, but I don’t want that. I want to make the effort every day to find a way to be okay. I think that’s important. I am conscious. I am feeling and being and claiming moments as mine, whatever that takes. I truly do mean whatever it takes. My mental health is the very first thing on my mind, all the time. Being okay is the only thing that matters. I think that’s all that really matters. If that means doing things others don’t like, don’t agree with,or don’t understand, who cares? I am the only one who has to live my life. And I will live my life. I will look upon my life and say yes, I was alive, I lived to be alive. And that may sound selfish, but really, we can’t be anything good for anyone else if we are not, first and foremost, focused on being okay within.

I feel a lot. I feel sad and hurt and worried and scared and happy and joyful and thankful and excited and curious and intrigued and annoyed and bored and angry and encouraged and loved and loving and sexual and disappointed and discouraged and silly and safe and peaceful and sincere and free. I feel intensely, and I feel free.

And perhaps, that’s what matters the most to me, feeling gives me freedom. It gives me freedom to do and say and be whatever I need to be when I feel. And it gives me something to do something with.

Sometimes that means I leave dishes in the sink for a few days. It means clothes pile up in my closet floor, it means I layer today’s eye makeup over yesterdays because I never got around to washing my face. It means sometimes I turn in paperwork late, sometimes I eat excessive junk food, or sometimes I eat pasta for a week straight. It means sometimes drink a lot of wine and read a book in a day, sometimes I work out for an hour and count my calories. It means sometimes I hang out with a bunch or people and sometimes I ignore everyone’s calls and texts. It means sometimes I watch tv all day in my pajamas and then clean the house at 2am. It means I talk to people other people think I shouldn’t talk to, go places other people think I shouldn’t go. It means I keep secrets and tell lies, I drive around for no reason, I stay up late and get up early. It means I find random things to engage in that give me joy or reflect meaning. It means sometimes I’m on a wild goose chase to get right with myself, seeking out, taking in everything I can and doing something with it, making it mean something.

It means I claim my life for me, and no one else gets to tell me how to do it, no one else gets to tell me how to live. And I struggle with that. I struggle with the responsibilities I have (by choice and consequence) and the way I want to, need to, crave to live. I am not where I want to be. But I am trying.

And yes, sometimes, I have to fight the quiet veiling darkness, the numb, the desperate sadness, the ache that makes me feel useless, that makes everything seem pointless, the fog that stops me from feeling, from doing anything. Sometimes, I have to do anything I can to make that fog go away. Anything. Usually that means feeling something. Sometimes it means feeling something someone else would say is inappropriate. I don’t care. I am, intrinsically, oppositional and independent. I need to feel. I need that rush, that movement, that stimulation of my senses, of my self. I need it consistently.

There is nothing wrong with me. I am, And that is fine.

Maybe I was supported enough as a child, gifted enough with attractiveness and intelligence and caring parents and a safe environment that my madness will always be beautiful. Maybe it will always be manageable, because I was able to cultivate it in my quiet room, on my peaceful gravel road. Maybe because I was held in and up by the standards of my environment, my natural attributes, and these things gave me something that makes it possible for me to not quite lose it, left me feeling some kind of responsibility to manage it. Maybe I dove into wife-hood and motherhood and a profession in mental health to hold me here, to keep me here, to keep me from falling off the wagon of the functioning world completely, to keep me weaving myself between the two worlds.

I don’t know. I don’t know exactly how it works out that I can do this and some people can’t. I don’t know how it will be as my life goes on. I know it keeps me thinking, it keeps me trying, it keeps me praying, it keeps me creating, it keeps me seeking, it keeps me offering myself in the field I work in. I see brilliance in people where others see none. I want to do what I can to help people do what they have the potential for.  Because I know it’s there. I will offer what I can to give it some space to be something more. It is part of me being okay.

And there is a great possibility that my consistent brokenness and the efforts I make to cope with it is what will keep me alive, is the key to everything great I will ever do or be.

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