Tag Archive: memories


Address Anxiety

Almost precisely 48 hours until my address on the “Free Speech” platform during the DNC.  I’m not really sure what to expect.  The platform is a good four blocks away from the arena where the actual DNC will be taking place.  The roads will be blocked all around, so there will be 4 blocks between my message and all the politicians and delegates in the arena.  I understand we have the Secret Service to thank for this completely absurd perimeter.

But I’m not going to sit on my hands just to spite them.  I’m determined to be heard, or at least determined to speak even if there’s no one around to hear me.  There will be a microphone and a PA system.  And I will speak.

I’m not really anxious about it yet, but I have every expectation that I will be.  Even if it’s not until the moment I step up there.

I need to rehearse my speech.  I never expected myself to memorize it, but I want to become comfortable with the language and play with where I need to emphasize words or punctuate with arm movements.  I’ve spent the last forty-five minutes or so reading “The Count of Monte Cristo” aloud to myself, so I’ve grown a bit tired of speaking.  I need to let my palate rest a bit before I jump on that.

This is one of these things where I feel I probably belong.  I feel like I have needed to do some public speaking, that I am, if not naturally good at it, at least I am not afraid of it in the way many people are.  This is my chance to take a microphone and shout “I” into the heart of the world.  This is my chance to affirm my own existence.

It seems strange that I should feel the need to do this.  Maybe it’s something everyone feels in one way or another.  But no, I recognize welling up in me the crying out to be acknowledged.  In anticipation of this moment I feel every tantrum I ever threw as a child, every opportunity I saw to do something better than someone else but was too shy and thought myself too small and unworthy to act.  This is why this moment is so important to me.  My aching to be acknowledged, affirmed, even loved for all my life is waiting impatiently to burst out through my pores, my voice, inside, is screaming to be heard with an intensity I understand but did not expect.  It’s easy to forget, going through life day to day, how our bodies remember those little slights.  I had not expected it to build up to this degree but here it is, I understand it and I accept it and on Tuesday evening I will speak.  Even if it is only to an empty field.  Even if it is raining and I stand with an umbrella preaching to nobody.  I will speak.  I have needed to speak.  I have only wanted the means.

** Note: “The Beast that shouted ‘I’ at the heart of the world” is a reference to an episode of Evangelion; the phrase struck me the first time I read it and I continue to identify with it; it is apparently a bastardization of the title of a Harlan Ellison story called “The Beast that shouted ‘Love’ at the heart of the world.”

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Another minor epiphany

Had a lovely night with SMF.  Things are still very informal but I am really just enjoying it.

I was pondering things on my lunch break a few days ago, something I often do if it is too cold/rainy to go out to my car and listen to the radio.  I take out my little notebook and just freeform journal for a few small pages.  This particular day I was picking apart a depressed-ish feeling I had experienced the day before, reminding myself to pay attention and be aware in those moments. I then moved on to examining the possible source(s) of said feeling.  The feeling is one I have fairly frequent encounters with.  I want some company or attention or something, but what I want is for someone to contact me.  Since that rarely happens when I’m in these moods, that feeling then intensifies.

What I realized is that this has been my MO probably since before I was cognizant.  At least from a very very early age.  And what did I use to do when I was a child? To get attention? Tantrums.

So here’s my hypothesis about that sad/lonely/listless feeling I’ve been getting for so long.  Since childhood, I have been passive-aggressive about getting attention.  (due in part to my being an introvert sandwiched between two vocal extroverts in the family)  When I didn’t get the attention I wanted (but no one else knew I wanted because I didn’t tell anyone, or know how to tell anyone), I expressed my frustration through temper tantrums that became rather famous in the family.  Now that I’m an adult and have outgrown the tantrums, I still have to contend with the feelings of frustration and neglect I’ve been experiencing all along due to this passive-aggressive behavior pattern.  So THERE is the source of that feeling.  I am pretty close to certain that I am right about this.  It just makes sense.  What I’m not sure of is what tack to take in order to change the cycle.  My tentative proposal is 1) be more proactive about socializing when I want to be social. Rather than waiting to be called, call someone. 2) Reach out even if it’s not to hang out. Send a text, write a nice e-mail to someone I care about. 3) occupy myself with active, creative and/or productive tasks/hobbies — less downtime may result in less need for someone else to amuse me.

New friends, old friends

Today was an exercise in helplessness.

A new friend (the guy I’m seeing/banging) is just at the beginning of what could become a bitter custody battle with his ex.  I grant, I only get to hear one side of the story, but in my opinion if a couple separates and both adults are self-sufficient, gainfully employed, not abusive, drug addicts or criminals, each should be entitled to 50% custody of their progeny. That is, assuming both are interested in the progeny.  In this case, they are.  It sounds like his ex is trying to find a way to prevent him from having reasonable access to his child — for reasons unknown to him.  I think maybe she’s trying to punish him for whatever pain she’s in which may or may not be related to their breakup/separation/pending divorce.  By all accounts he appears to be a warm and devoted father.  No apparent history of violence or intimidation.

But as I said, I only hear from him.  And I’m somewhat biased, because I like the guy a lot.

update on that whole “herpes and us” thing: turns out he had HSV-1 already. like most people (*coughmy ex cough*), apparently, he didn’t really associate cold sores with “herpes”; what ARE they teaching kids in health class these days??  In any case, we’re free to fuck each other silly, which pleases me to no end.

The most difficult thing for me is that I know I can’t actually do anything to help.  It’s not my problem, it’s really none of my business except that I prefer when he’s happy and not stressing out over something jerk-hole-ish his ex said or did.  So there’s helpless scenario #1.

#2: a woman who has been a friend of mine for over 10 years, whom I have tried to love and mentor as something of a sister, has had serious psychological/emotional issues for the last 5 or so years.  We’re talking in and out of hospitals, psych wards, wherever they could pass her off to, they did.  Off medication, on medication, stuck at her parents’ house, kicked out of her parents’ house, she’s just never been able to find her feet.

I remember visiting her in the hospital a couple years ago, staying for hours because she begged me not to leave.  Her moods were all over the place, pleased, childlike, tormented, sobbing, pained, fearful, bitter, depressed.  All in spans so brief I wouldn’t have been able to believe it if I hadn’t been there.  Her mind was all over the place, undirected, then fixated, distracted and distractable.  She couldn’t, or wouldn’t, support herself standing for very long.  We’d take short walks, just down the hall, and she would have to stop and sit for a few moments.  She clung to my hand as if, somehow, my presence could take away some of the indescribable suffering she was living with.

For about a year she’d actually been doing ok.  Living with her parents was wearing her down, she had issues with her mom and (i think) some anger issues in general, but she was off the anti-psychotics, on a regular antidepressant and trying to raise her 3-year-old (but that’s another story).

A month ago her big sister, her actual sister, was killed in a hit-and-run late at night. No witnesses.  From then the whole family broke down.  The house, which was already claustrophobic, became like a hell (for all of them, I’m sure).  Everyone was grieving, everyone’s fuse was a little bit shorter, and my friend’s anger became less rational and less focused.  One night she called me, saying she’d been in an argument with her father and he’d stormed out. Her mom told her she should probably be gone before he got back.  I tried to suggest she stay, apologize, try to work it out.  The service for her sister hadn’t even been held yet.  When she continued to insist that she had to get out, I admitted to her that I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, come get her.  I didn’t have the energy to take care of her.  And I couldn’t afford to bring her negativity and illness into my home.  It was selfish, but I can’t say I regret it.  I knew then, as I know now, that I can’t do anything to help her.

I’m not sure what happened after that.  I was certain she had ended up back at one hospital or another.  The suddenly, a couple days ago, my phone rang and it was her number calling.  I didn’t have the nerve to pick it up then.  What could I expect at the other end of the line?

We met for coffee today.  Or rather, I picked her up from her parents’ house and bought us coffee at a Starbucks nearby.  I knew — because I had seen what previous her hospital stays had been like — that her experience over the last few weeks had surely been unpleasant.  Beyond that I wasn’t sure what to expect.  We conversed relatively normally at first, but it became clear and clearer that she was not as functional as she had been before Thanksgiving.  She would interrupt, take over the conversation with no allowance for input.  She would tear up and express how much she loved me, how she didn’t know what she would do if I weren’t around.  When she began emoting in broken Japanese — we had both picked up just enough from watching anime that she could create simple clauses and I could more or less understand her meaning — I realized how bad off she must be.  That time a few years ago, when I visited her in the hospital, that was one of the things she did regularly.  I almost cried right there beside her when it hit me.  At the end of the visit I dropped her off at one of the hospitals nearby so she could pick up some medication or another that she said she needed.  Her parents would pick her up, she said.

It was such a relief when I pulled away.  And heartbreaking, too.  After all these years, she’s still fighting the same demons, the same pain, the same lack of reason whose source I don’t know.  And she wants me to help her, to cure her, because she associates me with warmth and comfort, because I did what I could to comfort her during her awkward “tween” period (I was in high school at the time).  I know that there is nothing I can do for her.  My presence isn’t enough to chase away the demons.  Soothing words won’t clear her sky of dark clouds.  I honestly don’t know if there’s anything that can help her.  Persistence and family, I would say, if I thought her family capable.  But time and again they have shown me they are not.  I don’t know what her future is.  I’m afraid she will find herself back in hospital very soon.  Even there they don’t seem to do much for her.  And in her illness she is unable to determine what she needs herself.

By comparison my life, my little chronic depression, is a blessing.

Fully medicated reflection

God, yesterday was so miserable.  This morning I felt like a completely different person.

But now I find myself up against a different wall.  Why is all this coming to the surface all at once??  Maybe I’m ready for it, and my subconscious knows it.  I really, really hope so.

I have some work that I agreed to take home over the weekend.  It’s a relatively small thing, just a 4-page mailer (front and back of one 11″ x 17″ sheet, folded in half) to promote some new products that will be available for one of our segments at the start of the new year.  I have a spreadsheet with the necessary data, I have my notes from the brief discussion I had with my boss about it, I took home some samples and the digital camera.  I just have to take a few pictures and throw it all together in a Publisher file.  I keep finding reasons why the conditions aren’t acceptable for working on it.  The light’s too low (admittedly true), the screen’s too bright.  Having a cat who wants to stand in front of the keyboard and butt his head against my hand when I’m trying to edit the pictures doesn’t help.

What gets me, though, is that the same feelings from yesterday have come creeping back while I have been struggling through the work.  It’s as though my defenses are pushing back.  Maybe I’m stretching a bit, but I feel like my subconscious had some silent alarm that went off when I tried to sit down and do Work at Home.  Home Work.  Homework.  The thing I stopped doing, period, when I was 11.  I wish I could better describe how clearly I can feel this analogy.  I wasn’t even thinking about it as “homework,” but my memory, my defense mechanisms weren’t fooled.  And they are pushing back with all these horrible feelings that just cripple me.  It’s the only weapon they have.  To steer me on a safe path. On the path I want.  Right?

Maybe 20 years ago.  These defenses are still in place, trying to steer me to a way of living that has no relevance in my life anymore.  They are screaming out, DON’T DO THIS!! as loud and as frantically as they can.  At one point I was almost on the verge of crying, that sense of loneliness was so overwhelming.  The feelings of rejection.  Everything that wrestled me to the ground yesterday was back, albeit in a lower dose.

It’s so strange to look at it in this way.  To feel it, as I am now, but also to observe it from a distance.  To observe it mindfully.  Knowing that this is not a real feeling, that it is only triggered by a mechanism in my psyche that’s been in place for 2 decades, does not make the sad and lonely feelings go away.  But it does help temper it.  My defenses are like a great snake, hissing, afraid, ready to strike.  I think I will sit mindfully for a few moments and try to be kind to it.  Just pushing back is no good.  I have to welcome it, invite it by the fire, pour it a cup of tea and serve it as a guest.  I can’t resent this part of me that is just trying to protect me in the only way it knows how.

I must love it.  And in loving it and accepting it for what it is, maybe we can work together to develop a new, more relevant function for those energies.

I exhale deeply.  This is huge for me.

I’ve spent the last 5 days in a beach house with my mom and three of her sisters.  Today is the last full day (we leave tomorrow).  It’s been interesting on a number of levels.  In the first place, I really don’t know any of mom’s family very well.  I know them by name and most of them by sight, but I wasn’t familiar with their personalities or how they interact together.  I found it very interesting to discover that mom appears to be the political black sheep of the family — she’s a registered Democrat, and the three sisters all identify as “Conservative” or “Libertarian.”  There is an unspoken agreement that they do not discuss politics when mom’s around, which makes it much more peaceful than it would be otherwise.

The biggest challenge for me on this trip has been fighting the depression that typically plagues me on the weekends.  Vacation, even a lovely beach vacation, is really just a week-long weekend, so I have had to be very conscious of my moods and take care not to let them dip too low if I could possibly avoid it.  For example, I left a couple things undone, things I had fully intended to do in the week before we left but simply didn’t do, either out of laziness, bad timing, forgetfulness or the confusion of preparing for a week away from home.  I had made promises to a client that I would take care of something for him and I didn’t get it done.  It has definitely been a struggle getting myself to not think obsessively about this failure.  I know that I have disappointed him with this, but I also realize there is absolutely nothing I can do until I get back to town — I was supposed to mail some manuscripts out along with some demo recordings and I certainly didn’t bring them with me.  I’m not trying to not think about it at all — that would be impossible.  But I am trying to keep from beating myself up about it… too much.  It doesn’t help anyone if I ruin my vacation because I’m too busy hating myself for being lazy and/or forgetful.

My mom has had great success with daily “affirmations” — simple statements designed to contradict the negative thoughts she has about herself, others, and the world.  My difficulty with this concept is that I don’t think I have the dedication to keep up with it.  In order to have the maximum influence possible, affirmations should be repeated daily.  It’s easy, so easy, and yet I have never cared enough — really I guess I’ve been too afraid, to cynical — to give myself wholly into it.  Additionally, I have the excuse of having some trauma which I associate with affirmations on notecards.  Basically, when I was in high school (sometimes I look back and think, how could I not have known it was wrong?) my dad was dating a woman who was an LPC (counselor).  Actually she was his counselor, which already is a huge violation of counselor-patient ethics.  Anyway, she had this system where we identified the thoughts and views I had that were negative and contributing to my depression.  On one side of the notecard you write that “false” statement.  Then on the other side you write the “truth” — an affirmation that contradicts the false statement and that you’re supposed to repeat to yourself every day.  The relationship didn’t last, and my dad and I both emerged rather traumatized by the experience.  So notecards, especially when used in the therapeutic process, kind of bring that back to me, this uncomfortable feeling of being used, misused.  I’m getting to a point where I think I may be able to reclaim notecards and use then for my own daily affirmations.  Really I think I’ll have to.  It’s too hard to remember all the things I need to remember about which of my perceptions are dark and skewed and which I can truly rely on.

As soon as I move out of mom’s house (I say this about all the changes I want/intend to make) I will start with some daily affirmations and see how it goes.  It certainly can’t hurt, right?

Childhood treasures

I just finished watching the recent movie based on the C.S. Lewis story “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”  Now, The Chronicles of Narnia were some of my favorite stories, and I bear no small amount of nostalgia, not least because they are tied up with all kinds of childhood memories.  My parents read these books aloud to us.  I remember the setting vividly.  Hair wet because I just got out of the bath, in an oversized T-shirt that served as a nightgown, curled against my dad’s side as he read a chapter or two at a time, then it was time for bed.  No movie can compare with that memory.  And, true to the trend started in the last movie, they took great liberties with the plot and cut out nearly everything remotely humorous.  Too many special effects to fit in, not enough time for humor.  But now I’m sounding cynical.  It is definitely one of the things I remembered and loved about the books though — these moments of levity!

After I cut the TV off I found myself thinking, “I wonder what Roommate thought of this movie?” Maybe it’s because we lived together for a semester and a half, but I have this recurring delusion that I could ask her something, and she could be emotionally honest in her response.  That we could meet as equals. The fact is that I can almost hear what she would have to say about it.  The words don’t matter, but the tone, the tone is so familiar.  Not really condescending — I don’t think she was ever condescending to me — but knowing.  Studied.  Didactic.

I had this feeling, even though the period of our cohabitation was during the front end of my emotional collapse, that we had this connection, that we were “friends” that would stay connected even after she moved out and I left school.  She was important to me.  So when I find myself thinking, “what would Roommate say about such-and-such?” it strikes this poignant, bittersweet note within me.  I’m not very good at staying connected with people, but with her I really did try.  Even until recently I threw myself at her.  I even tried to get her attention by being willing to read her novel-in-progress.  After the second bulk e-mail to everyone whose e-mail address she has access to, I started to feel just insulted.  I can’t be bothered trying to have a friend who only wants a beta.  I’m worth more than that.

I still feel a lot of sadness when I allow myself to access it, but it’s sort of like being sad that spring is gone, or that a favorite T-shirt is too raggedy to keep.  There’s really nothing to be done about it but accept, sigh, and move on.

V — my other great love — is far away in many ways.  I never realized it when we were best friends, but since we graduated high school I have felt…. less than.  I have recalled so many times that she helped me, shielded me from my own pretensions, guided me to a well-reasoned solution but somehow let me feel like it was my own process.  In fact I really don’t know her at all.  I never went inside her house — something I always resented a little, despite her protestations that it wasn’t fit to be seen — never paid enough attention to who she was, what her dreams and aspirations were.  I have no idea what her family was like, outside of occasional comments about her older sister.  In short, we were not the intimate friends I felt that we were.  I felt that we were intimate because she became a part of me, she had an enthusiasm, a patience for the supercilious, sarcastic, shy thing that I was.

Talking about this is really making me teary.  I try very hard not to regret the past.  I know I cannot change what’s past.  But I sometimes wonder, if I had been just a little kinder, just a little less self-centered, if I had lashed out less.  If I hadn’t been so broken.  Maybe she wouldn’t have gone away.  Maybe I would have been able to stay near her a little longer, grow just a little more into something I respected.   Something more like her.

We used to joke about having a place together.  We used to joke that she would marry my brother so we could really be sisters.  There’s no becoming a child again.  Those sentiments, however beautiful, would not play out in reality and I know that.  I wonder sometimes how I could have had such a connection when I was so otherwise incapable of connecting.  And so desperate to do so.  These friends I have had over the years, they have been such gifts to me.  Each unique, comfortable, hilarious, and with each parting sadness.  Every change in our lives, large or small, requires some small amount of grieving for the loss of what was.  I think maybe I never finished, or never allowed myself to admit what I was grieving.  Too embarrassed, or simply no forum for such an admission.

It’s late, and I still need to shower before bed.  A little black kitty is curled up behind my laptop.  The ceiling fan gently pushes cool air onto my arms.  The sound of outside comes through the open window.  I have my own beautiful things now.  Even though they are not the friend I so greatly desire, I can’t pretend these things aren’t worth loving.

People

I start thinking sometimes, especially on the weekends when I’m feeling listless & unconnected, that I need to reach out more, get involved in more groups, meet people who have interests in common with me, make new friends.  I feel dissatisfied with my social life, with my current relationships.  But then I start thinking about actually going places, hanging out with people, and it stops seeming so appealing.  I am such a homebody, and seem to be even more so as the days go by.  Going out, spending time with others, it’s all so draining.  I could be at home doing crossword puzzles, curled up with a purring kitty.

It’s something of a dilemma, because we really are social animals and my cravings to connect with others are natural and instinctive.  And it’s much more difficult to connect, to find good friends, when you’re an introvert like I am.  When talking, socializing, being engaged (and trying to be engaging) is so damn exhausting.  No wonder I always talk myself out of it.

It’s a problem with no simple solution.  It just occurred to me that I could start a group geared toward introverts, something lower-key than your typical social gathering.  But the fact is that a room full of introverts probably isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time.  So that idea’s out.  I don’t have much in the way of hobbies, and I don’t have enough dedication to the interests I do have to pursue any group on a regular basis.  I’m even disenchanted somewhat with the atheist group; even there (I don’t know why I always think it will be different) people are loud, talking over each other, inattentive, self-absorbed.

Maybe I’m just leading myself back to the mindfulness meditation group.  But I don’t want to be a Buddhist.  I don’t want to revere Thich Nhat Han.  I don’t want to discuss the eight fold path or whatever it’s called.  I want thoughtful, kind, interesting company, people with a sense of humor, people who value intelligence, people who are compassionate, nonconformists, or if they conform they at least think about it beforehand.  I want to be around people I can be myself around.

To some degree that’s my fault.  I’ve taught myself, over the years, to yield to the other.  To be an attentive listener, to basically mask my personality, withhold any true engagement out of some warped belief that I was serving the interest of the other person.  Somehow I taught myself to believe that simply nodding and sympathizing was what everybody wanted.  Maybe just because it was easier, easier than putting myself out there, easier than getting hurt, easier than risking sounding stupid, or being laughed at or rejected.

This is one of the things I discussed with my therapist this past week.  How bad I hurt when I feel rejected.  I mean, unbelievably, ridiculously bad.  And it’s been like that for my whole life, so I can’t even imagine what it would feel like if I were somehow able to value myself regardless of how others treat me.  Regardless of what others think, or what I think others might think.

 

Ahahahaa, battle music from Shinseiki Evangelion started playing.  If ever there was a theme that really brought to mind my fucked-upness!  How I used to relate to Shinji.  I had to distance myself from that whole experience because I related so bad.  Can I just say right now how lucky I feel to be not that depressed anymore?  Sure, I have my days, my moments, but back then was something else.  I called myself an “emotional masochist” because I kept watching that stuff over and over again, and it hurt me so bad, made me feel so shitty, and I loved it in a way.  It was like a huge “fuck you” to myself.  Sometimes I can’t believe how much I hated myself then.

Bit of a downward turn

There are some things I have noticed over the course of this week that have me a little disheartened.  In the first place and most prominent (to me) is how fragile my psyche is, how susceptible to sudden change.  For example, I have almost cried at least once every day on the way to work and once on the way home, brought on by some story or other on NPR.

Second is the constant shivering, which may have little to do with withdrawal and lots to do with a climate in transition and the fact that it’s either too cold or too hot both at work and at home.  Regardless, my spine aches from being constantly tense and shivery.

Third is the sick feeling which, while not incapacitating by any stretch, has prevented me from taking my vitamins nearly every morning this week.  I have just felt too sick to my stomach to take any pills.  I can eat alright, but by the time I remember to take anything it’s been too long since I ate and I don’t trust that I won’t vomit it right back up.  It’s a feeling I associate with stress, which is only fair, as I guess my body is probably pretty stressed out.

I feel like I have gained some weight over the last few months and that brings me down a bit as well.

I do have this feeling that so much of my physical and emotional issues are built up in my abdomen.  I suffer from chronic constipation, cramping/spasms, sour stomach, often connected with emotional stress in my life.  I have never exercised, yet I am not in bad shape overall.  Except my abdomen.  It’s like this big ugly blob that is a physical manifestation of everything in my life that I can’t control or can’t seem to get right, or just seems too hard to fix.  I often imagine ripping it off, like pulling a wedge from an orange.  As though such a violent action would solve the underlying issues.

I remember what fat looks like from doing dissections in school; I have especially vivid memories of giving a frog a liposuction, essentially.  I don’t want to talk about it too much because the person I am now can’t bear the thought of dissection, and remembering being that person who could do such a thing has me tearing up.  But the fat, the fat is what I remember, and so I can very easily imagine what this belly of mine looks like under the skin.  It is vile and disgusting and I hate it.

 

What all this boils down to is that my behavior is leaning towards depressed, which, as I noted in the opening paragraph, is really disheartening.

 

I do have to give myself some credit, though!  I have made it through this whole week on no medication whatsoever and have had to rely on my own power to steer myself away from the kinds of unproductive negative thinking that is so easy to fall into.

When I told my therapist (brand new, only 4 sessions in) on Wednesday that I had gone off the medication (to be fair, I did tell her about my plan when I began seeing her) she seemed… concerned, I might say.  I suppose it does seem a little odd to decide almost simultaneously that going back to therapy and going off medication were both good ideas I wanted to pursue immediately.

Ohh my, I am feeling so sleepy.  And I kind of want to cry because this is obviously going to be much harder than I thought at first.  And I want to cry because I keep shivering and it’s frustrating that I can’t seem to stop!!  And I want to stop being able to smell myself when I sit indian-style because it makes me nervous, like there’s something irreversibly wrong with my body.

 

Sit and meditate, do some deep breathing, and see if that helps.

“Normal” trauma

Just to keep up with the days, it’s Day 22 of Effexor Detox.

I had an experience of what I would call “normal” trauma last weekend.  I got depressed, like I usually do on the weekends, and ended up telling BF in a very tearful conversation that I thought maybe we weren’t good together.  It was weird and awkward and I felt awful about it because I really, really upset him.  And myself.

We’re OK now, and seem to be addressing some of our “issues,” but I keep thinking about it..  It’s the first real “fight”-type thing we’ve had in ages.  Well, it wasn’t really a fight, it was more like  a day of sadness and uncertainty.  But for years it seems we’ve lived pretty harmoniously, which sometimes I think is a sign that we’re doing something wrong.  But often I just think it means that everyone ELSE is doing it wrong.

I do think we’re kind of an odd couple.  We have both been pretty detached from people in general, and yet we manage to care for each other a great deal.  Not to turn this into a big mushy piece of tripe, but I do feel pretty good about “us.”

Anyway, after going through almost a whole roll of toilet paper (using as tissue for our tears and runny noses) we declared a truce, had one shaky day after that and are doing pretty good now.  We are trying to be more open with each other and more present for each other.  So yay!

 

So the holidays are coming up and I have “Joy to the World” stuck in my head… I think I always get it in my head around this time, because the cold weather reminds me of dad singing this counter-tune-thing during the chorus.  I loved the way it sounded, even though the song was never a favorite of mine.  I wonder where he learned it, or if anyone else has heard anything like it.  It was always something unique to my father, so with him gone I feel like I will never hear it again.  I treasure the memory of hearing him sing.

A World of Pain

I just finished reading the manuscript for my 2nd-year college roommate’s first completed novel, a young adult fiction called A World of Light.  I don’t know what to think of it, I’m no critic.  I think it’s definitely a novel that would have appealed to her when she was around the target age.  It’s smart, it doesn’t talk down to the reader.  It’s a little vague on some points and I think clarifying them would make it a stronger story.  It could certainly make it about more than just hereditary mental illness.  Is that what it’s about?

All I know is that reading this story flashed me back, waay back to times I have tried to forget, so much so that I have forgotten trying to forget them.

Early in my experience of depression I began reading stories about mental illness.  The “fun” kind (from my perspective), the kind where you are in an institution and the people around you all seem imaginary because you have created this rich, inescapable world in your insanity.  I specifically remember a novel called I Never Promised You a Rose Garden about a young woman whose story met that description.

I started writing my own story, pouring my loneliness, my angst — the angst of middle school mingled with the angst of deepening depression that I truly did not understand — my desire to escape, all into a story about a girl my age named Lily who had a “refuge” in her head.  I think she fell into a coma-like state when visiting this refuge.  I think there was another character, a Temptor, encouraging her to spend more and more time out of reality and in “the Area.”

I still had the unfinished, handwritten manuscript up until a few years ago.  It was boxed with years of spiral-bound journals and other attempts and writing fiction or poetry.  I finally threw them all away when I started dating a boy who suggested that keeping them around, referring back to them might not be the healthiest thing.  It was hard to do.  And now, flooded with the memories of a young me, terrified, lonely, confused and terribly depressed, writing this story because I had no real escape of my own, I almost wish I had access to that manuscript.  At the same time I recognize, having reread old journals many times, that going back to those times can throw me back into those feelings, can confuse and strain my slightly-better-adjusted psyche.

Tonight I’m listening to my “instrumentals” playlist.  My favorite tracks are “Yumeji’s theme” from In the Mood for Love and the second movement from Beethoven’s 7th symphony: the Allegretto, used as the main theme for the movie The Fall.  I think feeling a little sadness, mourning a little for the little girl that I was, is a good thing.  Forgetting about her entirely will not do either of us any good.  And if I can embrace her now, she may yet grow into a secure self.