Really – do I have to just keep going !

In response to Writing 101, Blogging U course.

Ok stream of consciousness – I’ve to write for 20 minutes then press ‘Publish’.

So it’s going to be messy, no editing, no finely honed phrases. I’ve permission to been ordered to be carefree.

The thing is this….

It’s a bit like meditation – the breathing one where you just watch yourself breathe in and out. But I start having thoughts about thoughts about thoughts, like Russian dolls. Each thought I always perceive as the outermost Russian doll only to find that actually the following thought was watching the one before.

Here I’m writing and watching myself be ‘carefree’ and by definition I’m being care -full. So I suppose it is hard to be spontaneous on demand.

Spontaneous on demand – also known as – awkward fun. Team building days when we’re asked to take certain ideas and express them however we wish, someone always jumps up and says ‘I know let’s do a dance’ and I shrivel up inside while it seems everyone else leaps to their feet and says ‘Oh yes lets’.

So maybe it’s only me that finds difficulty with spontaneous carefreeness.

I’m sure it’s not.

Really – really – do I have to just keep going…. my first spout of words is drying up. I know !  Is this the point where I come out with something really good ? Yeah right.

Looking at myself in the mirror that is facing me just now I realise that I am not ready for the outside world today. I don’t feel or look presentable.

It is interesting therefore that I however do choose to present a stream of consciousness to a potentially large number of readers. When I don’t feel I can present myself to a shop assistant to buy milk just now.

I’ve frequently pondered on the blogosphere and how it feels like a safe place. It is the place I bring my ‘stuff’. Nobody I know in the ‘real’ world reads this blog. I would change the content if they did. There is something unique about knowing that your words will be read but not knowing any of the people that read them.

I have a relationship with various bloggers, we chat, acknowledge each others’ blogs in our posts – but for all I know I have passed them in the street, neither of us would know. Much of my content is of a dark nature, I talk about depression, self harm and suicide frequently. New readers take note.

In the risk of repeating some of the content of my About page, I will try to describe why I blog.

I need somewhere to vent my stuff. I live mostly very functionally and seem well. Much of the time my head is full of loud unpleasant thoughts, so loud that I sometimes wonder how come other people can’t hear it.

The process of passing the stuff through all the filters and getting it down into writing seems to help. The added bonus that it is actually read and that I get feedback is huge. It helps me to remember who I am, and not who I present to the ‘real’ world.

So, getting to the end of my 20 minutes and desperately trying to wrap up neatly.
Messy, verbose, dark and a little meandering, in 20 minutes this is who I am.

Thank you for listening.

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Darkness that feels permanent

In the last few years it could be said that I’ve ‘come to consciousness’. Meaning that I”m more self aware and that I stay in the moment, some of the time. I’d like to think it was most of the time but I know that actually I stay in the moment for fleeting moments.

But the flip side of this is the darkness. Previously I knew this as a foggy confusion. Now I see it – I name my demons. Depression, suicidal ideation, despair.

For the physicists among you, I see it as ‘intensity is conserved’. Meaning that however good I feel in one moment is matched and balanced by the darkness I may feel in another. It can taint my positive moments but doesn’t really lift my darkness.

I’m there just now. There is a recess of my consciousness knows that it is the flip side to knowing real joy. But it is so dark. My worry is that in a moment of weakness / impulsivity / despair that I’ll do something that I regret. I do want to live, but sometimes it is so hard. Like now. It’s a ‘What’s the point !’ moment. I may derive much meaning from some moments. but this particular one feels hopeless.

The isolation feels complete.

What a thought!

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World.”

The difference between me talking in the real world and writing in the blogoshpere is that this is my stage. This blog is my world. People may reply, respond. But nobody gets to interrupt. Nobody.

So I can think or write as slowly as I choose without fear of somebody finishing my sentence or stealing my punchline. So, I can write at my speed, be as spontaneous or deliberate as I want.

I have enough followers to know that someone will read this. Whereas in the real world every time I speak I may think ‘Did anybody hear this?’.

So there is a guarantee of being heard……. WOW  that’s a thought !

Noticing the signs

Depression –  I am getting a little better at noticing the signs.

My usual routine can unfold over months or weeks and goes something like this :-

  1. Feel fine – slightly wired.
  2. Anxiety kicks in, it’s all about work – I know I’ll just try harder.
  3. Anxiety about everything joins the work anxieties – I keep trying harder at everything
  4. Cracks in my idea that I’m fine become apparent to me – I don’t feel fine, it is still all about x,y,z. It it wasn’t for those things I’d be good.
  5. An inkling of realisation that even if x,y,z were totally and permanently fixed that I’d still be feeling bad.
  6. Suddenly, I want to kill myself – now where on earth did that come from.

Just now I think I’m at about 4 or 5.

Only as lead player do I get to live this moment

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In the life of my movie – that inspired the movie of my life.

The producer and director sound like they have control, make decisions, pull the strings. But, they don’t get to embody their own visions.

Many people are director / producer / writer of the events in my daily life

  • Employers throw in curveballs that mean I have an eventful day – cue the volcano eruption
  • Family and health throw huge events in my direction – earthquake
  • Social norms dictate much of the dialogue I have with acquaintances, to the lady I hardly know but pass in corridors ‘how are you today?’ …’very well thankyou’ – background music time passing, clocks going round at speed, pages being torn off a calendar as the months fly by

Give me the role of lead player because only I get to embody the content, live in this skin, breathe this air, feel this moment and know what it is like to be on the inside of me ………. When I remember………………

Because much of the time I don’t remember and don’t live my life. I sit and watch it slack jawed as part of a passive audience. I watch things happen to myself and live in knee jerk automatic response to much around me and not noticing the slide downwards.

But even as someone that sleepwalks through life much of the time. It is all worth it for the odd moment of mindfulness, when I dive into my body and drink in the sensations, good or bad and just rejoice at virtual reality 3D life. That beats director / producer / writer every time.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Show Must Go On.” If you were involved in a movie, would you rather be the director, the producer, or the lead performer? (Note: you can’t be the writer!).

They aren’t suicidal so their point of view must be healthier

Well meaning friends making comments that use balanced argument to ‘help’ me see the world as they do.
They aren’t suicidal so their point of view must be healthier.

I’ve seen the other person’s side for most of my life. I can see that people behave in a way that was in a reaction to their own problems. But if their actions (for very good reasons I know) have had an effect on me that means that I want to kill or self harm. Then please

  • don’t ask me to try and understand their side
  • don’t ask me to stop seeing my hurt ‘because theirs is more understandable’

In order to stop the self destruct I need to see my side. I need to remember that from my point of view they damage me (not meaning to I know, I KNOW, I KNOW).

The desire to harm / destruct myself is an effort to validate to myself the pain that nobody else can see.

Please don’t drive me closer to it.

Do you believe in fairies?

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Walk the Line.”
Have you got a code you live by? What are the principles or set of values you actively apply in your life?

My code. I try try to stay present for people and myself
namely

  • Listen to what people are really saying
  • Listen to my own honest reaction
  • Respond to them by including my reaction

A real example from today.

A colleague –

Well I like to keep up the pretence of fairies because it’s nice to think they’re really real.

(said in a joking manner)

My reaction was – whoa what planet are you on ! I’ll just smile and pretend you didn’t say that.

But I managed to take a second….. after a pause

Hang on a minute – you really believe that don’t you. I’m trying not to judge… but that is a bit strange.

We were both smiling and laughing by this time – mostly at the honesty of it all.

She said

Well I am from Ireland… and part of me likes the thought that it could be true.

Me

Okay I am judging, that is going to stay with me for the rest of the day.

It was both absurd and very honest
She could have denied believing in fairies and I could have pretended not to judge.

We both enjoyed the honesty and the absurdity ( apologies to any fairy believers).

 

He did free tattoos, was getting better at doing them, would I like one ?

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Whoa!.”
What’s the most surreal experience you’ve ever had?

 

My most surreal experience was a particular moment when I was in a psychiatric ward. Being there had felt surreal, but in a fuzzy detached way. More unreal than surreal.

I had been in this ward for a few days and was encouraged to go out on a trip to a local coffee shop in a  minibus with other patients. I was very compliant and just went along with it all in a bit of a daze.

I got into the minibus with a group from the ward, we were all there in various states of distress / confusion / fear, I had not really spoken to anyone yet. The person next to me a man in his early twenties started chatting to me.

He had been kept here for 6 months for absolutely no reason at all and the consultant was the devil
– ok well we have different perspectives here…
He did free tattoos, was getting better at doing them, would I like one.
– that was very kind……

I had a sudden moment of clarity and presence. What was I doing here – how did I get here. This man was clearly seeing the world very differently to me and the others in the minibus all felt equally alien to me. This was my surreal moment.

The thing is, it was surreal when seen through the eyes of someone from outside the ward. I momentarily had used outside, ‘normal’ eyes. But the feeling of being an outsider, not belonging, not safe. I have experienced and recognised that back in the ‘normal’ world many many times since.

SELF HARM IS SOMETIMES THE LEAST BAD OPTION

…. A bit of a Trigger Warning here……

I don’t condone self harm, this post is an attempt to clarify why I do it. To myself and anyone that chooses to read this.

Some films like Source Code or The Matrix play with the idea of alternative realities and asking which is ‘real’.

-Spoiler Alert – for Source Code.
The protagonist experiences life in the ‘real’ world but we discover that all is left of him is a damaged torso and a head kept alive in a box so that his brain can function. The brain is unaware of this.

So what does this have to do with self harm?

Well, I do suffer from depression, it has been quite extreme. I can see now that the darkest times have been when my experience of life has been in the ‘real’ world. Vague shadows flickering at the edges of my ‘perfect’ life.

Only in hospitalised in a psych ward did I have the realisation that my real life was the brain’s construct, that really I was damaged in many ways. That might not sound very positive – but actually, seeing myself as having been ‘damaged’ in some way explained why life felt the way it did. It explained why I felt so awful when I felt pressure to be happy.

So actually I felt permission to be sad, depressed, unhappy. I could also find some element of self love when I could see myself and my experience in the context of early trauma.

But I find it hard to hold that permission for long.

I sometimes cut myself.
In the moment that I start to cut I suddenly can see that I am that head and torso in a box, very damaged and suffering. It is clear I have reason to feel as bad as I do. I take myself seriously for that brief window of time. Ironically I feel my most sane at the moments when I am doing something so damaging to myself.

It may sound crazy and you may wonder why I can’t hold on to the ‘sane’ view of myself and know that I do feel pain, and have reason to, all the time. But the habits of a lifetime are hard to break. For the moment I have some unhealthy strategies. I have to be very pragmatic, what does less harm, self harm or suicide ?

Put like that, self harm is the least bad option.