Kokoro Is Blue


Fumbling

The past few weeks have left me in a state of fumbling. I’m allowed to live at a building not my own out of kindness, as I have nowhere else to go. Said building recently had the gas shut off. It will have been off for over a week through no fault of my own. There was money, just no payments were made. Things timed poorly, I suppose. Accidents happen after all. This combined with continual working on my divorce have been extremely stressful, and the evil demon that always lurks in my medicated mind has been slowly clawing its way back to the surface.

Because the gas can only be turned on one day this week, it inconveniently is the day my therapist appointment was. This is another huge source of stress, as the therapist is often, literally, the only person I see for weeks at a time. He doesn’t have any appointments this week, which isn’t his fault. He’s a busy guy. And hey, it’s my problem. It’s frustrating, though, unspeakably so. I’ve been, to be honest, fumbling much of the past month.

My birthday in May was sort of alarming and unexpected. It dredges up unimaginable sorrows that are hard to express. I remember five wasted years, the past five, in which I slowly was letting myself drown in depression. I’m scared, because I feel that familiar trace returning. I feel the fingers of sorrow and aching mental pain daring to return.

What to do, what to do? The alternative is unquestionably a Bad Thing, so Dear Reader, know that I am tightening the belt and stepping forward, as the Japanese expression goes. Right now, tonight, a part of me wants nothing more than to give up, to shrink into the inconsolable mingling of darkly ecstatic pain and self-abuse that depression can be. If it gets worse, I won’t hesitate for a moment to go to the hospital. My life means too much to me to gamble it away, even when the waters that normally float me home are threatening to drown far more than my spirits.

If nothing else, the peonies are starting to bloom – ironically, a symbol of the Japanese samurai reminding me of my little joys, such as they are, and I want to be here to see them at least. So, for tonight, happy thoughts are in order, with a phone kept nearby, and a friend’s stories to keep my attention focused.

There are many people all over the world that live one day to the next, barely surviving. Sometimes that’s all I can do. One step forward is still forward. Even if I must sit tonight and rest lest my progress is prematurely halted, I force myself to walk once more. As long as I keep moving ahead, it doesn’t matter how slowly, it doesn’t matter the bleak and bleary nights such as this…I know in my heart this storm shall pass. Now it’s merely a matter of reminding the creature lurking in the shadows of this as it tries to kidnap my thoughts.

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Mental Health Crisis – Rosalynn Carter

Here’s an interesting interview from Time. Rosalynn Carter, first lady and mental health proponent, answers some questions.

I do think the big two reasons so many people avoid treatment are shame and financial. Shame, from the reactions of others and stigma being mentally ill generates, and financial because, well, it’s really expensive. Drugs alone can run hundreds of dollars a month. Mine run about $100 – and that’s with very good insurance. That’s a huge chunk of change if you are living hand to mouth every month.

There seems to be a self-stigma, as well. It’s all in our minds, right? I do believe that to a large extent happiness is a choice – which may be an odd opinion for someone whose illness is the opposite. The fact remains that a large portion of most people’s emotions are under their control…to some degree. Sadly, it’s not true for everyone, and assumptions of folks at large can be as damaging as any self-inflicted suicidal thoughts.

Awareness is good. Mental health is a complicated thing to say the least, made more so by societal standards, self-perception, and the medical and insurance machines. All this red tape and outside pressure mean just one thing, at least for me: self-awareness and self-mindfulness is all the more precious to strive for.


Amused

It says something that when, in no particular order, the first three Google ads a website shows me are:

1) Ice cream trucks for sale.

2) Daily Chicago coupons.

3) New York Psychotherapist.


Dying By Inches

People often focus on suicide where depression is concerned, zoning in on that one final act that hurts both the living and the deceased in an unforgivably permanent way. To have depression is to continually die. You lose yourself inch by inch. It is a slow death. By the time you find yourself in the head-space where your own pain is so overwhelming, so numbing. . .there is only one thing left that will alleviate it: to die.

It’s hard to explain being suicidal to someone who has never experienced it. To live that way is to spend every moment of your life in stressful agony. If you’ve ever had your life in danger, ever lived with death and torment haunting you, being suicide-prone is not much different. The stress often doesn’t get discussed. It’s overbearing, life-consuming, almost unrecoverable from without help. Stress leads to pain, pain leads to self-hate, self-hate leads to stress. This becomes the quickly unbearable rhythm that sings one to endless sleep.

Long before you first whisper to yourself, “I want to die,” you have been perishing by inches. You retreat from friends, cancel visits, cancel phone calls, avoid people, act sullen and/or ill-tempered. You create the self-fulfilling prophecy, as people begin to avoid you. Isolation then comes from without and within, both self-inflicted, and both reinforcing and expanding on the horrible whispers of your mind.

I have lost so many friends at this point, it’s, pardon the pun, depressing. I’m still responsible for that, as I often repeat here. It still is a pretty low feeling. It’s hard to move past our past.

Next week I turn thirty-three, and I am no longer married. I have no career or family to show for the past ten or so years, most squandered to illness. It’s very tempting to quit. This is the precise time that I choose to do the opposite. I must go on. Some days it’s because I want to, some days it’s because I need to, and other days it’s because there is simply no other choice. To not walk forward is to die.

And so, I walk forward. If you’ve been in my shoes, you understand. If you haven’t, then I am very grateful for you, more than words can express.

I’m not depressed about my birthday which surprises me. I’m hopeful for the future. My one request from any who read this is that if you haven’t seen someone in a while, if you haven’t talked to someone who means the world to you lately – don’t hesitate to do so. Every gift is precious…and you shouldn’t wait to be depressed to relish this small and simple gestures that really make a whole world of difference.

Happiness is a choice, not a right, and not a privilege. We have to fight with ourselves, and with others, to achieve it. Don’t settle for anything less today! As spring turns into summer, live the fullest you can, even if that means inch by inch.