The long and the short of it- at the end of this blog entry is a call for donors to renew my website. However I can’t in good faith ask for donations without clarifying that I am a month and a half behind on bills, have about 25 dollars in the bank, a paycheck of less than $150 coming on Friday and have no resolution in sight to my financial situation. It started long before Covid and I take full responsibility for the bulk of it, even though I didn’t start the ball rolling. I was doing well at making progress until December. The rest of this entry will be a ramble of why my mind wants my body to go to the woods and stay there until decomposition is complete. But I’d prefer if people didn’t take my emotional state in to consideration when providing financial assistance, lol.
Anyways. So this has been the worst and longest consecutive few days of awfulness since BQ. Which is ironic, because my mood and anxiety has been so roller-coastery for the last month that you’d think I’d welcome a few days of stable emotions. Except this is not a good place to hang out in. It’s too easy to get stuck and the path down is far easier than the path up and once I’m here, it’s extra difficult to not succumb to the path of least resistance.
Why am I being so vague? Why are people so vague when they talk about their own negative emotions? Personally I think I do it because I worry about my audience- you can never know if what you say will be a trigger or tipping point or what the consequence of either of those things will be. So. Trigger warning for heavy shit. Suicide, cutting, depression, anxiety, financial destitution, etc.
So, the last few days have been difficult. I started this month’s on-call rotation on Friday. I hadn’t had a call since my March rotation, right when things started to shut down and get serious in this state as far as social distancing and such. Last month’s on call was rough because there’s always some level of anxiety associated with it, but generally it’s reasonable. But this month, my anxiety as a whole is higher and the depression is more intense than it’s been since December/January. And Monday was mother’s day and I miss my mum fiercely but also the anxiety around traveling to visit her and the possibility of contracting or transmitting anything to her is…well, it seems appropriate to me, but it’s also a bit debilitating so that’s not good. I mean. Anxiety is a bigger problem when it prevents you from doing activities you want to do, right? But what anxiety keeps you from doing activities that are scientifically more dangerous for you than they might be to someone else? Is that good anxiety or bad?
So I’m slipping in to the Freeze stage. Where I’m aware of the depression, the anxiety, the maladaptive ways in which I’m trying to cope with them but don’t have the resources at my disposal that help me cope more effectively or healthily so I get overwhelmed at being stuck in between a rock and a hard place. Yet logic tells me if I keep wiggling, something will come loose and I’ll have more options. The trouble there is, those options don’t always turn out to the be the best ones. Like yesterday, I was at my house working in the basement, trying to get rid of some of the disgusting cardboard for Trash Day because it needs to be done and the deadline is coming up. And at the same time, was engaging in a comment thread that I simply should not have engaged in but I needed to speak my truth because for a change, I was 99% positive that MY truth was the more common reality in the matter I was discussing, and was not willing to let another person’s negative reality prevent my sharing of resources that may have been helpful to the primary population I was sharing it with. But. I let myself get too worked up about it when I was already in a fragile state and I stared at my options for about 2 minutes before choosing and using. I am not proud of using sharps again, but it was effective. It stopped the noise in my brain long enough for me to recognize the danger I was in (at that point, really only the danger of making more superficial cuts on my skin. But I know where that leads to eventually, and I know enough to know I need to stop it sooner rather than later.) So I was able to finish what I was doing and head back to safety. Safety, at that point, was nesting in bed with my dog under a pile of blankets listening to familiar music- but nothing too sad and nothing too happy. P!nk was the perfect pick. And after a bit, I was able to uncocoon and medicate and feel human again, for a bit.
The problem is, those moments of feeling human are starting to slip from the normal to the exception. If I’m not constantly vigilant about pushing thoughts of being done away, they are right there getting more urgent the longer I sit with them. And it’s not even about wanting to be dead. It’s about wanting to be nothing at all. “Heaven, that wasn’t what you were aiming for. You didn’t think the other side would be better. You thought the other side would be nothing at all. Imagine choosing nothing at all. Imagine hurting that bad…”
I recorded this video on April 28. 2018 when I saw Andrea perform in Ithaca, NY. It was general admission, no seats and we were standing in the second row, essentially. It was such an intense experience, to be so close to someone who spoke thoughts I could barely admit to having. To listen to someone speak my language without me having taught it to them. I was able to get their autograph and a photo with Andrea, and mumble out a rushed “thank you for helping me save my own life”.
I have been blessed with so many amazing teachers- somewhat ironically, a large proportion of them are not only teachers by calling but also are/were teachers by profession, too. And helpers. And combinations. But endlessly patient with my slow progress, my stumbles, trips, falls, and mistakes. And endlessly encouraging and proud of my every step forward, every small and large accomplishment.
I am grateful that, even despite having no fucking clue how my mortgage and bills are going to get paid again or caught up again…I am 100% confident I will always have a comfortable room, couch, attic space somewhere to sleep on and space to store as many of my meaningful possessions as possible. I will never go any hungrier than anyone else in my circle because I am loved and cared for, and I know this with my soul.
But that doesn’t ease the anxiety. I do not want to lose my house. Because, despite it not being the safest place for me *right now*, once the threat of covid decreases to me, my home will again be a safe and comforting space. And while I know there are other places that I can be physically safe anywhere if I take the appropriate measures, it’s more about psychological safety. My home is the first place I felt truly rooted since probably 2001. Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel and adventure. But I need someplace safe to come home to. And I don’t want to rely on other people to pay my bills or keep me fed. I want to be financially independent again. While also maintaining my mental health. These go hand in hand. The better able I am to meet my own needs, the better I do mentally. The worse I am doing financially, the worse my mental health. There’s a definite relationship. I have tried really hard to get them to break up and go their own ways. So far I’ve been wholly unsuccessful. And while it is necessary for me to ask for help, it comes at a pretty big cost to my psyche. Not because of needing the assistance, but because I can’t be self-reliant. And more than that, I can’t pay anyone back financially. Asking for a loan is different than asking for a grant. Getting a loan is different than getting a grant.
Ultimately, I’m exhausted. And agitated. And irritated. And terrified. And overwhelmed. And beyond grateful that I have a quarantine buddy who puts up with me (so far) even though I’m a huge drain of mental and physical resources.
And I can medicate and alleviate so much of that for a time. And for a change, my current meds actually help me improve my mental health rather than just mask the symptoms for a time. They allow me to sort through all of the shit without getting stuck on the minutia long enough to let it drag me too far under. And it reminds me what it feels like to feel relaxed. And calm. And not on guard. And my brain can wander without fear of landing in suicidal or self harming waters, because they create a sense of emotional safety that lets me explore my own brain and share those explorations with others, to a degree, in a way that’s really difficult for me to share when I’m not medicated. Unfortunately, the meds also impair my overall focus in a way that makes things like driving unsafe, and while it helps me maintain my survival, it would greatly impact my ability to maintain professional boundaries with clients, so I can’t medicate when I am on call. Which increases the anxiety because I get stuck in a loop of “my anxiety is increasing and I sometimes I can’t alleviate it without meds but I can’t take meds cuz then I can’t perform my job functions if I need to and then I’ll be worse off than I am now and….” and the catastrophizing continues until I find a way to stop it in its tracks. Which sometimes can only be done by medicating. Or cutting. But I reaaaaally have NO DESIRE to get back on that particular path.
On the other hand. I think back to a kiddo I worked with who I immediately felt a connection with. And a kiddo who reminded me- and continues to remind me- why I am called to speak so bluntly. This kid completed suicide, and the comments on facebook, etc ENRAGED ME. The pleas that followed for people struggling to “reach out!” and “ask for help!!!” Fuck that. This kid was basically SCREAMING for help. But no one was listening to us. But I listened to her. And she knew it. Her face would light up when she saw me walk down the hall (until anyone commented on her disposition, then the mask would clamp back down). And she would test the waters and tell me about her decision to be a satanist. My initial “non-reaction” threw her off enough that when I asked her what kinds of things a satanist believed in, she talked longer tgan she ever had to me. Her answers indicated that she basically had no idea what Satanism was, just that being forced in to believing so strongly in a God that, in her eyes, prevented her from doing the things that she loved was not working for her. Yes, part of it was just general rebellion at having to follow rules. But the rest was straight up crying out that being controlled by religion was not working out the way others wanted it to. And even if the rules and restrictions weren’t as strict as she described them…they were affecting her enough that she threatened to hurt herself because of it, and essentially demanded treatment. Which she was denied, because others felt she was “just trying to be manipulative” and “this is her pattern, she’s just trying to get her way…” Ok. And? How is that any different than adults in her life forcing her to believe what they believe to the point they can’t hear her pain? I was removed from her case because I guess I was advocating too strongly for her and her parents didn’t appreciate my professional opinion. Ok. Fine. But fuck anyone who focuses on manipulation while ignoring the reasons behind it. Fuck anyone who says that girl didn’t fight like hell for years to be heard, that she didn’t try to seek out people who spoke her language, that she didn’t try hard enough.
So I speak my truths for her. For Nevin who hung himself as his parents slept upstairs, but the newspapers claimed natural causes. For L who shot herself in the neighbor’s driveway after they dismissed her more times than she could withstand. For Amy, who sparked a movement but in the end wasn’t able to keep her own spark lit for whatever reasons.
Don’t misunderstand. Many, many, many people go to great lengths to keep their pain hidden. And in many cases, they kept their cries silent, hidden, bottled. Sometimes it really does come as a shock because the person was so careful at keeping up the facade and sometimes suicidal thoughts hit at the most unexpected time, catching you so off guard the plans are set to action before you really understand the consequence of your actions.
But sometimes, too, the nothing at all is the only relief from the pain we can fathom.
Especially when, one by one, all of our reliable coping mechanisms are stripped from us. Even if just temporarily. Depression, anxiety, mental health issues in general alter the passage of time. Have you ever been in a car accident, or narrowly avoided disaster? Or witnessed a disaster? The way time slows as your car slides toward the guardrail. The way you can see the deers eyes clearly for an eternity as your car careens towards it but your car is going 40mph and it all actually happens in seconds….that kind of how time is all the time for people. Inconsistent. Too slow, too fast, just right.
And, just to be crystal clear, the professionals in my life know where my head is at. I know what numbers to call and where to go if necessary. This is not my cry for help. It is my way of holding myself accountable and my way of trying to ease the intrusive thoughts enough to not give in to impulsivity.
And it is my way of reaching out to others who may not know how to open the conversation with people in their own lives. Blunt honesty does NOT work in all situations for all people. But know this- you can start the conversation with me. I may only be able to listen. And I may not always be in a place where listening is healthy for me. But I have been so fortunate to have people hear me, even when I didn’t say a word. And I would have long given up this fight if it weren’t for them.
That being said, this blog will soon disappear due to my wordpress renewal coming up in a few weeks and my lack of income. As I said, I can’t in good conscience ask anyone to fund my “hobbies” without disclosing how far behind I am on all of my other bills. We all have different definitions of “essential” and “responsible” and I will survive without a paid wordpress account. But I feel like at least this place can be useful to people other than me, so it’s easier to swallow my shame and beg for a finite amount of dollars for something like this, because it helps me feel like I’m at least paying back/forward something, even if it’s not money…