When Did I Cease to be a Person?

A few weeks ago, Dr. T asked me to think about what would nurture me as a person. I had no idea what she was talking about. Nurture? As a person?

I said that I did plenty of things I enjoyed – Hapa Papa gave me plenty of free time (more so than he had for himself). I wasn’t sure I needed any more time.

Dr. T replied that things I enjoyed doing such as reading or watching TV or hanging out with friends wasn’t necessarily the same as something Life Giving. Or something after which I felt refreshed and renewed.

I just stared at her blankly.

I thought all week about it and got sadder and sadder.

How could I have no idea what would nurture me? How could everything I thought of only address the surface of things?

Every thing I thought of, I came up with an excuse of how it would be too hard logistically to implement. Or how it depended on too many other people.

And finally, I just wanted to cry.

When did I cease to be a person?

When did everything I do revolve around getting through the day and making sure my kids are alive at the end of it?

How is it that I long for deep connections with my children yet cannot stand spending time with them without constantly checking the clock or texting or Facebooking?

And when I think about what would make me feel like a person, it seems like all those things aren’t actually what would make me a person. Just things I think a person outwardly resembles.

How can I not even know what I want? Or what would make me happy? Or what would give me life?

I feel like I’m a hollowed out discarded exoskeleton, seemingly whole but with no real bones. Fragile.

All the things that I think would make me happy, “If only I did XYZ, then my life would be better…” type things – they pile up and add to guilt and feeling bad and inadequate.

Dr. T believes that I constantly feel bad about myself. I have to take her word for it because it is like background noise to me – a situation that I am likely to only notice once it has ceased.

This week, Dr. T wants me to stop myself when I feel guilty. She says guilt is an indication of moral judgment so she wants me to examine what I’m feeling guilty about, what the underlying moral belief is, and whether or not I truly believe it. If I do, great. If I don’t, to throw it away.

I just nod and say, “Ok” even if I’m not really that sure what she’s talking about.

Am I the only one? The only non-person amidst a sea of Real Persons?

That may explain why I am so, so lonely.

 

 

Verboten Music

One of the most regrettable parts of no longer constantly being depressed is the music. There are entire categories of music I love deeply but am afraid to re-listen to other than in passing on the radio due to an intense fear that if I start listening again, I will be dragged down into the awful, desperate dark spaces in which I used to be mired.

Like an addict returning to old haunts or old friends, that’s how I view certain artists and albums. Little triggers. Hidden minefields.

I used to lock myself in my room and listen to Radiohead, Erasure, The Cure, or Tori Amos on repeat for days – even weeks. All in the attempt to wallow. (And quite frankly, what an enjoyable wallow it was.) There was something beautifully broken about being gloriously depressed. Reveling in pathos. Tragically melancholy.

Seductive lies about art and sadness. I mean, seriously. Why can’t our culture glorify art and joy? As if only true art stems from a dark, broken place.

What is my fear, exactly? That I’ll be drawn back to the lures of tragedy. To want to go back to the siren song of drama, insecurity, and unbearable sadness. There is something still so dangerously enticing to that old life. The lie that angst and brokenness and irreparable damage are more beautiful than wholeness and healing and vibrant living.

I turned in my Manic Pixie Dream Girl Card ™ a decade or so ago. I don’t want to lose my fourteen year sobriety chip just because I miss some tunes. (Plus, who’s going to take care of my three wee ones?)

However, I’m slowly coming around to the idea that I can listen to this music again without triggering a depression spiral. That enough decades and healing have intervened and the music is no longer a minefield and back to just beautiful music.

Sadly, I can’t say the same for movies or fan fiction. Entire broad categories of Spuffy BTVS fan fiction (especially those by the incomparable Herself) and certain angsty Alias Sarkney fanfics (but especially the Complicity fic by Behind the Red Door) are now either unavailable except through the Wayback Machine or by personal choice. Now by all means, these are not my favorite fan fics, just ones that particularly trigger my angsty self. There’s a reason why I tend to read Regency Romances nowadays.

And as for movies, no matter how much I loved it on first viewing, I will never again be able to watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I think fiction and movies get me too invested in characters and I just can’t divest myself from the feelings. THE FEELINGS!!

Actually, I feel somewhat embarrassed at just how much I have geek-checked myself in this post but WHATEVER.

Anyhow, since I’m the one with the trigger problems, there’s no need for YOU to deprive yourself of some awesome (albeit, somewhat older) music. Here then, a sampling of songs with which I would put on repeat for days:

– Radiohead: Fake Plastic Trees, High and Dry

– Erasure: Rock Me Gently, Piano Song

– Tori Amos: Winter (ok, pretty much everything)

– Delirium: Innocente (ft. Leigh Nash)

– Sarah Mclachlan: Fear

By no means is this list all-inclusive. It’s only what I can easily recall late on a Sunday night.

So tell me, am I crazy? Am I the only one?

 

Fear and Loathing

Author’s Note: Not sure how to preface today’s post. For my friends who may worry about me, please know that I am ok for the most part. These thoughts are not the usual state of being for my brain. They do tend to run this way when I spiral into shame or when I despair. (As was the case when I wrote this.) When I was younger, these bouts would last days or weeks. But now, they last for at most, a few hours. 

This is not to say that I am perfectly fine. But mostly, my thoughts are manageable and I am not sitting in pain throughout the day. I am grateful that is the case because I know for many people, this condemning internal monologue is the norm and any respite from it is the deviation.

If you are suffering from Depression, please, GET HELP. You are not alone.

Deep down, I am deeply afraid.

What if they’re right? That I am nothing but a bully. Not good enough. Bad. Causing untold trauma to my kids.

I want to scream, “I can be good, too! I am not all bad!”

But I drown.

I want to stop breathing. Black out. Cease to exist. Except that would cause further trauma to my children.

How can I want another baby?

Jesus, have mercy. Jesus, help.

How do I get out of this dark, closeted space? Could this darkness be a mercy? If so, it is a severe mercy indeed.

I want my heart cut out. I want the earth to open up and swallow me whole. To curl up in a corner and die. Literally die.

Depression lies. 

Please let that be true.


Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255. (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)