Hello 2017, nice to meet you!
I know, I know, my hiatus to the public world in terms of blog writing has been long-lasting, mostly fueled by my own depressive waves and the crippling inability to do anything “extra” besides the necessary painfully present. I wish that I could say that I am sorry, that I apologize for reemerging into the world like a flower bud after a bitter winter, but I’m truly not. Sometimes a person with Mental Illness just needs a BREAK. Well, lots of breaks. They will probably need more breaks than you're used to allowing a person, than feels comfortable to your own moral stability. They will test you in every sense, mentally, emotionally, physically. However if they allow you into their walls protecting their delicately broken psyche, you will be rewarded with the most colorful, fascinating interaction of your life.
A person with Mental Illness is a cluster of complex contradictions, someone who will redefine your perceptions of normality and acceptable social behaviors.
They will always be your flakiest friend, however constantly the most loyal when you need them. They will seem to disappear and reemerge into the world like a hulking bear lumbering out of its cave from recent hibernation. That’s really what it is, though. A Depression Hibernation. Nothing is stable, dependable, you feel utterly alone on an island you built yourself. You could have everything defined in a successful life, with support all around, and still feel like you have no one who gets it.
The pain is unbearable. It seeps into your bones and positions itself in your core, releasing doses of unbearable negativity at the most unexpected times. The weight on your chest feels like a thousand bricks piled up creating a stony coffin that slowly suffocates you. Breathing becomes labored, thoughts become angry and erratic like irritated wasps swarming in your brain. There is no out, no relief for a creature as pathetic as you. That’s the worst part: you don't feel deserving. You don't want to be saved because you don't feel worthy of anyone’s effort. You deserve to wither away, a fresh flower bud that isn't tough enough to withstand the last leg of icy winter. Sometimes the winter seems infinite, with no relief in sight.
These fits can last for months, for days, or even for a couple of hours. Honestly, it doesn't matter. Time seems elusive in this existence. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments of brightness, of strength in pervasive frailty. There are actually many moments, of joy and laughter and raw thankfulness, that snap you out of yourself and remind you of WHY you fight.
This is the contradiction, the steep inclinations and dark valleys that make you up. You can be utterly euphoric and in a moment a normally insignificant bump can throw you completely off course. One morning I was running late for one of my little sister’s dance recitals and had told my mom, who was already there, that I would bring her a coffee. So I rushed across the valley to the coffee shop that I was so sure was there, only to find that it had been taken over by a sushi restaurant. That was all it took. I sat in my car in that sushi restaurant parking lot hunched over clutching my chest, heavy sobs wracking my body. I lost it. In my mind, I was so inadequate and unsuccessful that I couldn't even complete a simple task without butchering it completely. The imperceptible pain inside, the warm poison that slowly spread the breadth of my chest, was so awful. I can still conjure the feeling in this moment, it seems that I will never forget my sorrows and never remember my triumphs.
Needless to say, a break is healthy for many with my afflictions. It is the breath of fresh air, release from responsibility that is necessary for survival with a mind like mine. Breathe, breathe, breathe, and rest. Take as much rest as you need without the guilt of missing out. Surround yourself with positivity and make sure to do things that make your soul happy. Practice positivity, especially if it doesn't come naturally. Take walks just to look at the shape of the clouds, hang out with friends just to see their warm smile. It may not seem to help in the moment, but each piece rebuilds your will. Slowly you will repair your armor, your resistance.
I feel renewed as we start 2017, more capable of facing the monsters that undoubtably lurk in the darkness ahead. I feel like the flower bud that has persevered throughout that bitter winter, and fought its way to the warm, healing sun above. The icy layer sought to suppress, to stifle the beauty growing just below the surface. With a little help, and a lot of support, the little growth can break through and stretch to the sky, slowly growing stronger and soon to be impervious to threats that will come.
You can grow, you can shine, you can feel the warmth of the light on your limbs. The light is waiting, just remember to keep fighting your way to the surface.
Keep your heads up my loves.