Comparisons.

Feeling guilt over the validity of my pain
Comparing my childhood story with yours

Yet I know this is no competition
And we each bear our own challenges
We each learn in our own ways

Why does comparison even come into it?

How do we accept this and grow?

Wanting life to be right and just, does not make it so

All we can do is live our own integrity

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Falling into a Moment.

Today, is just as times before. When I feel the pain of another’s story, long after my ears have heard. When I remember back to my own journeys through the pain of chronic ill-health. And the mental anguish of being unable to function for days, weeks, months. The self-imposed stresses. The very real stress of maintaining a relationship whilst unable to maintain yourself. Being unable to work, unable to generate income, unable to meet deadlines.
Unable. Disable. Needing more enable, but those days were rare.
I have known defeat, suffering, struggle, and loss. Somehow I have found my way out of those depths and stand here today.

.

Pain reaches forwards
Up from the past
Clutching and dragging me
Back
Fearing all that
Now, as then

And I tell myself right now
These are emotional ghosts
They have no power over me
Except that which I give them.
Though I feel unsteady, unsafe
My comfort lies in others
Asking for help
Accepting supportive hands
Belief in my own inner strength.
These are my tools
With these now I survive
And prepare to thrive once more
This is my hope, my truth.

Advice You Never Asked For.

I admit I don’t know your full story. 

But I encourage you to write because of my own experiences of that being a hugely beneficial path to take. 

When I was depressed for years, 

frequently suicidal, for years

when writing was my only emotional outlet, I pushed through it all and eventually pushed out through all the hurt into something that was truly a little bit beautiful amidst the terrible darkness. 

It was on the advice of a dear friend I started blogging. Fear made me keep it anonymous. But what I met was a writing community that embraced me and encouraged me in every way. I found friends who taught me about understanding and grief, about strength and persistence, about discovery and perseverance.

And I am forever grateful for that experience. 

I see now how I pushed myself through the fear. Partly out of fear of the darkness, but mostly because ALWAYS inside me, no matter what other shit was going on, there was the tiniest spark of light that guided me onwards. Perhaps it was a genetic gift from my mother, of hope or optimism. Perhaps it was the repeated words of a few close friends who reminded me during those darkest times that it wouldn’t last, that life will get better, that I deserved better, that just hanging on for another minute is all I needed to do in the moment. 

How can I not be grateful for experiencing that genuine expression of love from people I’ve only known for a few years?!

And now it’s my time to shine for myself, and for others. It’s my time to pass on the love. To “pay it forward” to someone else. Not out of any duty, or karma, just because its who I am. Simple, honest, caring for other humans. (And because, well, in that place, there are new lessons for me too.)

So I don’t know what you want in your life, what your personal goals are. But I see you already caring for and discovering yourself in many ways. We all want to “be better” or perhaps just “feel better”. While that path is a very personal choice, I see you finding your way forwards already.

And I just want to encourage you to do, and to keep doing, whatever it takes to maintain forward momentum in your life.

I encourage you past the fears in whatever way it takes, because that is just the way forwards. 

Don’t be afraid. Just be who you need to be.

=

[ feature/title image aerial photography of Mona Vale Beach, Australia, by Bo Le @safromabove ]

Black as Coal Dust.

Wanting to write words of meaning
Of guidance, love, and trust
And finding thoughts, instead
Preoccupied with pain, unease, and
Me.
No room for anythink else, when
Frequently preoccupied with
Thoughts of survival, escape,
Unhappiness.
Here, there is no magic kingdom
Only a coal face of hard work,
Struggle.
I want to dance, but
The headroom and atmosphere
Down here is so,
Oppressive.
Crushed by the very thought
Of a cave-in
While lighting a candle, will surely
Ignite the explosive dust
Surrounding me;
Safety
Is the only pain prevention
Ever drummed into me, and
There are pills for that
Tonics for your health
Yet they all fail to medicate
What matters to me
I grip the bottle tightly
But it’s gone,
Already emptied.
Weak muscles wish to unravel
This tightly coiled,
Personality.
I see bones, I see skin,
I see nothing within
And the shock of emptiness
Is all that carries through,
Carried back home.
Before everything else
There was nothing
And the future holds nothing, but
The contents of today.

Stepping Backwards.

The required effort to
Externalise the internal
Share, as isolation rebuttal
Reveal the darkness
Expose lies and truths
All of this drains
Scarce resources
All of this, necessary
The battle for survival
Begins deep inside
Striving for my own life
Sharing for other’s benefit
Hoping for collective strength
Believing that surviving
will be embraced by us all.

Stockholm Syndrome.

This environment is my familiarity
My friend through long association
Warning intentions are long silenced
Pushed back and smothered by
seemingly real existence.

I have embraced my environment
in order to survive
in order to feel some comfort
when there was insufficient elsewhere
Now I cage myself in the familiar
And hope can only be expressed by others
The sweet syrup of darkness,
sticks and engulfs me
Your light is not bright enough to shine through.

(12 May 2016)

Neither Pride Nor Joy.

  
Sunday was survived. And anyone I choose to discuss this with would no doubt congratulate me, with understanding that to do so is not a failure in any way.

But I hold no pride, nor joy. Even though my focus for the day was solely on caring for myself, the pain of the struggle has taken it’s toll.

I feel wrecked from the push and pull of feelings. Exhausted, from the effort required to maintain a functional human form today. Lost, from the lack of any spiritual connection. And forgotten, from the missing physical contact that comes with closing myself away.

I don’t wish to isolate myself. Keeping in touch with others just consumes more energy than I feel capable of handling. While the influence of depression leads to numerous scenarios, real and imagined, that drag my emotions in disparate directions.

And it’s all shrouded in fear. Wondering if I won’t be able to function tomorrow, because I don’t just bounce back. Concern over the lasting impact the physical and emotional tolls take.

I’m tired of dealing with the crashed feelings. I don’t want to stay down there. The further struggle to pull myself back up is also draining. It creates more feelings of loneliness and exhaustion.

Mostly, I choose not to burden others with this. Because when they don’t understand and don’t know what to say, or how to respond to me, it breaks my heart that little bit more each time.

So many days, I sit here between hopelessness and helplessness. Afraid to move, afraid to aggravate one or the other. Feeling stuck; silent but conspicuous.

Survival is not my choice. It simply must be, no matter how I feel. And so, I mostly feel, little pride, little joy.

Protecting What Matters.

I spent about an hour of semi-conscious breaking-dawn light trying to remember names from the past. I had dreamt about them just before waking and the compulsion to reconnect was strong. Over twenty five years ago, that’s how far I was reaching back. I didn’t quite get the intended result in the end. But I did manage to pull up another friend of the time, finally got a name, finally remember a particular spelling, finally found them on a google image search (cyber stalking much?).

So then I was thinking about why the strong compulsion to reconnect. Particularly given my severe depressive episode this week. Looking for a friendly connection, a greater sense of belonging, a reminder that I am OK as a person? Looking for recognition of me, when I have been stuck into hating myself? Perhaps looking for a reminder that it’s possible to have an ok time of life, to enjoy just being with a good group of friends.

Rose coloured glasses! My quest notwithstanding, I know that depression was a big part of my life back then as well. Less understood, so not acknowledged at the time. But the more I gaze back into that past, the more I remember the negative feelings, the pain and the searching for comfort.

And right now, I really don’t want that sort of reminder. I easily slip into thought patterns of “why bother” with myself, and “life’s always been such a struggle – see how broken you are”. None of these are helpful. A little voice in the back of my mind says “none of those are true”.

It’s a daily struggle. Sometimes I can help myself. Sometimes I cannot. But one thing I am learning right in this very moment, is this. It is not easy, but it’s worth the fight. And it’s necessary to fight for what is valuable and important.

I don’t particularly feel those last adjectives in regards to myself, but it is being communicated to me through current friends. People I trust and love, people I am thankful for having in my life.

When the thoughts in my head drag me down into my lonely dark hole of depression, I trust these friends to hold my hand, to hang on tight and not let go, to pull me back into the light.

So maybe my dreaming was about rallying the troops. Gathering an army of support close around me. Because I need it.

I don’t know whether this is all for the biggest battle yet to come, or whether this is about everyday defences.

Either way, any way, it’s about protecting what matters.

The Day the World Forgot about Me.

Today I don’t know what darkest days are
Today I am unaware of depression
Today I just don’t want to be

Focus stopped me from falling into the traffic
Focus guided my bicycle through backstreets to the office
Focus kept me moving when I would have just stopped

Today my head floats aimlessly, as work is lost to surviving
Today I gave up on caring
Today the world forgot about me