My tongue is in my hand…

Archive for the ‘psychology/mental health’ Category

Purgatory

Posted on: May 18, 2011

Sometimes, there is just this restlessness. I don’t know what to do with it. I feel antsy and trapped. I feel like I can never really breathe, like I’m waiting for something…something to set me free. I feel like I have no place to be. I feel groundless, but not in a way that is okay.

I feel like I’m just biding my time until I can do what I’m really supposed to be doing. Nothing fits, nothing feels right, there is an unrest. I don’t know what to do with that, where to go with that. It unravels me. It makes me feel not okay with no rhyme or reason to why, or what, or how. I feel like there is something upon me that I need to shake off and I’m too apprehensive to do this, too fearful of the repercussions. Fearful maybe that I will shake the wrong thing off? Or do it the wrong way, at the wrong time? I don’t know, I just don’t feel well.

Part of me wants to crawl into bed and call in sick (from my whole entire life) but the other part of me is pushing me to keep trying to figure this out.

I’m afraid it will end with me breaking down in a parking lot somewhere.

Maybe that’s what I’m supposed to do?

And I don’t know why I have to write it out, I don’t know why I have to post it. But I do. Ridiculous.

Belief

Posted on: June 6, 2010

Sometimes, a lot of times, writing is the only thing that makes me feel powerful…it’s empowering…it’s active…I don’ t know why I just don’t write sometimes. I should write all the time, but it’s like there’s some block…not writers block, something else. And it’s not just with writing, there are the walls I hit, far too often that just knock me down, or that I just keep hitting my head against, over and over until I feel defeated. I don’t know how it happen, what it is, but it takes me down…anyways, I’m writing right now…

Do you ever feel like there is only one lesson you are ever really supposed to learn in your life, something that you keep coming back to, over and over in varying degrees? Belief is my lesson. I just know it.

I will not let anything steal my joy. I won’t. New decision. Our joy is our strength, so I won’t let it be stolen. Even as I write this, I am struggling to believe it, but I’m going to write it. Because writing is powerful.

“If you would just trust me, your whole life would be amazing…even the struggles would be adventures, opportunities, open doors…open your mind to more than the world, what the world says is good or bad or scary or sad…get beyond that, beyond people, even the people you love…they have their own lessons, their own journeys and all you can do is live your life the best way you know how, that’s the most help you can ever give, honestly…it really really is. I love you. I’m the mountain mover. Why don’t you believe me? Just believe me. It’s a beautiful world, it’s a beautiful life…you have to believe…and write even when you feel blocked. Don’t get discouraged when you feel exhausted, cloudy…just give it to me, just let it go. Just believe.”

I’m trying, I’m trying. Guide me Lord, I need you. I keep falling back into the same thoughts, the same habits, the same fears. I keep getting overwhelmed and exhausted. I’m not delving into your grace, into faith. I need help to be free from what holds me back. I need help with clarity. I need help with follow through. I need help living the best I can. I know I’m not right now. There’s too much negativity and anxiety for this to be the “best”, so please deliver me from the chains, help me please be free in you. Lift me when I fall, encourage me when I feel defeated, give me energy when I feel exhausted, grant me clarity when I feel confused, hope when I feel despair, strength when I feel weak, joy when I feel depressed, peace when I feel worried, please please help me. I can’t live with anxiety, exhaustion. I need your deliverance. I know there are life circumstances that I’ve been letting get the best of me- instead of seeking your magnificence, I’ve been fearful, anxious, confused, weary. I want to let that go, I’m letting that go. You are more, life is more. I can not live worried anymore. I have to let it go and believe you will guide me, you will show me the ways to go, you will make a way where there seems to be no way, so that’s it. No point in knotting myself up about it. You are in control, you have it all in your hands. I need to let it go. And the thing is, it’s everywhere…the things I fear, the anxiousness – it can be triggered anywhere I am, anytime of day or night, all thinking about money or the lack there of and what the world tells me that means, what the world says will happen, what the world thinks of that, how scared the world is of that and it makes me feel like I should be scared, like I should be freaking out all the time and like I should feel discouraged and defeated and I’ve been believing this crap. Please help me believe in miracles, in your miracles, not just water to wine kinds of things, but the miracle that is life outside of this earth, the miracle that is trust, that is belief, that is hope and joy. Lead me in these ways, in the ways of peace and in the powerful presence of everlasting hope and eternal love, redeeming, powerful thing that it is. May the things that bother me become convictions to seek you out, to delve into hope and belief, to pray for peace and guidance to move as you will have me move, to allow you to move as you will move, may my worries become convictions and my convictions become actions of faith…I want more than worry, I want more than the world…  Please, help me let it go…I love you.

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.

Excerpt from work email: (Names removed)

“(Person) was just released from (psychiatric hospital) and is quite psychotic/aggressive. (Manager) felt you would be best to work with him since you are most experienced and good at what you do!”

Awesome.

It’s been a good night. Enchilada casserole, cake batter and wine (for me) with Nat while watching Beethoven’s 5th…just nice…

but then I get overwhelmed, tired, there are a million things to do and I just want to sleep but then I’m afraid the things will never get done…I just have good, organized, productive times followed by disorganized, anxious, confused, overwhelmed times, I want something I can’t have so I guess I’m going to bed. Leave everything as it is. I want to stop that, I just can’t tonight.

It’s like I get really foggy and there’s no room to think and I feel unsure of what to do next, so I kind of don’t do anything. I don’t understand. it did not used to be like that.

I can’t figure out if something broke, something changed, or it’s just the progression of life, of growing up, of learning.

I feel awkward parameters…I want out, I don’t fit, it doesn’t work like this.

I think, sometimes, it’s just pushing through the fog that gets you there.

I want to remember everything about it. That first 10 months or so. I wonder if what happened the 11th month changed everything and then I wonder how it couldn’t. And then there was starting my “real” job at that same time. It’s hard to know what did what (graduate college, have a baby, completely question and give up on your faith/spirituality, start a career, and the worst birthday ever + aftermath: all in one year). Anyways –

I’d like to preface this by saying that I really couldn’t be a stay home mom. I really really couldn’t. I’m not cut out for it at all. But, that first while there while I was on maternity leave and all I did was take care of Natalie was one of the simplest, calmest times of my life. At the time, it was consuming and exhausting, but because it was those things, it was also the other.

What I was doing was taking care of Natlaie. That’s all. I felt competent (all that time working in daycare). She slept on my chest while I layed on the couch watching The Cosby Show and A Different World  (basic cable). At night, before she was in a crib, she slept in the bassinet beside me and I left the tv on late night talk shows so I could see when she woke up (and I’m sure for other reasons as well).

The summer sticks out in my mind, her little chubby baby self in all the little summer outfits. The first year ever it was irrelevant to me how I would look in shorts or a bathing suit (until after I saw pictures, that is).

But what really sticks out is nighttime, once she was in the crib, which was in the same room as the computer room at the apartment, which I miss a lot, but that’s another story. The computer was a nightlight, and I played this CD by Charlotte Youth Oratorio so that there would always be some noise and hopefully I wouldn’t wake her doing stuff around the apartment.

Lavender baby lotion, pampers, that cd, purple bedding, baby sleepers.

I held her last night and rocked her in my arms while she pretended to sleep and her nightlight was on, a faint blue, her radio was playing, she had taken a lavender bubble bath; it was flashback. Before my head was swimming and overcrowded. Before I was conflicted. When the absolute only thing that existed was the two of us.

I vowed to try harder to create that time for us, to be more present.

It’s like any relationship, the day to day can shroud the heart of it, if we don’t make the effort.

I’ve been told that I’m easy to talk to and confide in, and I’m not kidding you, today a girl I never before met talked to me for an hour on the sidewalk in front of the library. Told me why her husband is in jail right now, why he has been before, why she’s not getting him out, why she doesn’t have custody of her kids, how many times she’s been married, who’s abused her, what she’s doing next, how she’s coped with her life, who’s helped her and who hasn’t, what she’s learned from her life, her relationship with God…

I came out of the library with a little extra time and was going to walk around downtown for a little bit before heading to my car (because I love small town downtowns) and saw her sitting there, looking down for the count, starting a cigarette that she promptly put out once she started talking.  I made eye contact while walking that direction. She said hey. I said hey. She said “how’s it going” as I walked by, I said “alright, you?” She said could be worse, but it’s been better. I said, at least you’re in the middle, hopefully it will get better soon. She looked at a folded piece of paper in her hand and shrugged…I didn’t move.

I didn’t get her name. I did start fiddling with my keys and walking towards my car a little once it started getting dark, but she didn’t stop talking till her ride pulled up, even then, she kept on. I felt bad leaving on that note, so abruptly. But she wasn’t seeking anything from me (outright). I thought maybe she’d end up asking for something; a ride, cash, food, to use my phone, etc, but she didn’t. She didn’t want advice. She just wanted to tell her story.

Maybe she’s always like that. Maybe she nonstop talks about these things to anyone and everyone. I don’t know. I don’t know what purpose it served (except shortening the smoke break she was taking) but I wouldn’t go back and not have that conversation. If ever I am that girl, sitting on a stoop down for the count, I hope someone will spend an hour with me for no reason except to listen to me (or talk to me).

What people need most from one another is the presence of someone. What I think  matters in the lives of the people is the determined attention of someone. The validation that another person can give us just by their presence (real, true presence) is enough to light our little fires within, to allow us to let go of something we were holding on to until someone believed us, believed in us, believed for us.

We look at others and try to find our reflections, who are we? Everyone needs someone in their life who reflects back to them that they are worthy, they are human, they are able, they are accepted fully as is, but they are expected to do good things with their self and their life, because they have it within them.

Her story was a variation on a familiar theme, but she had her own anecdotes. The time the kids tried to pet the goldfish…Everyone’s stories can be reduced to an overly simplified genre  if you’re not really listening. People are endlessly interesting (but still amazingly similar to one another in other ways) if you’re listening to them (and asking questions, and offering your self as well). It’s one thing to extract yourself from people who are negative in your life in some shape or form because you know them to be. It’s okay to be cautious about who you let in your life. But giving someone your time and presence for a while is not necessarily letting them in your life.

When you truly engage yourself with people, you are forced to participate in life, to develop your self, your thoughts, your opinions, your prejudices, your reflection…it makes you acknowledge the storylines you thought you knew were just summaries, and there’s so much more to a life, to a person, than that. All of the sudden black and white shift not just to gray but to all kinds of other things.

The more you know about someone, the more you can see what has shaped them and their decisions, perspectives, attitudes. And the more you see this, the more you understand what has shaped you and your decisions, perspectives, and attitudes. From there, you’re set up to start problem solving, reshaping, moving, accepting, improving, achieving, etc.  From there, it’s a little easier to say “Oh, I get it” instead of “What the hell?”

Accepting, empathizing, and validating are not the same as excusing, enabling, or defending. Most people, if given the first 3 start to realize they don’t really need the last 3 so much anymore. It’s empowering. It’s healing. If someone is ready and willing.

There’s so much we can learn from one another, if we’re ready and willing.

If nothing else, my sidewalk conversation was a catalyst for this entry, and that’s something. Everything is something. I don’t buy coincidence.

Maybe I always play this role. <—–That was my six word memoir at New Years Eve.