May 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
Healing is hard. Really really hard. It takes a long time and often it is not very much fun. I think we have this picture of healing that has something to do with a woman’s peaceful face upturned towards the morning sun and she is free and she is happy and radiant on a mountain-top near a stream which symbolizes how she’s cleansed of all the toxins that had previously oppressed her before this great liberation claimed by her own self. Healing is actually very painful and frustrating and usually reminds me that I am one of the most impatient people I know. Healing feels icky like an itch that happens over a scab that you shouldn’t touch. But want to. And deciding to heal is only the beginning of a very long cassette tape that you have to listen to in a hot, cramped car on a road trip with all the family members you dislike. When the last song on the second side fades out that moment of silence where you have to sit with your hateful thoughts is the worst because you know that fucking tape is clicking over and getting cued up for another round of the worst song of all, the first song, the one you started with, the one you always go back to, the day you realized you were really fucked. But years later, you’ll be in the car again, this time with someone you love, and that first song will come on, and you’ll smile because even though you now have the freedom to turn the song off and/or smash the stereo in with your fabulous made-for-walking-shoes, that song reminds you of the hot, disgusting car ride with many versions of your hateful self and that even though you are certainly not on a mountain-top with your radiant face upturned towards the sun, you have never left the road, and you have come just as far as you could.
May 10, 2013 § 4 Comments
I only saw the therapist with the long stares twice. In that time, her stretched-out stares made me feel as though we had enjoyed weekly visits for years and that we had walked all the way to the end of my earth and returned again with the sun setting on our backs. She may have even come to a few of my landmark birthday parties, later, when we became friends. I bought her a bracelet that looked like driftwood trapped in silver and she met my mother and they talked about canning vegetables with a knowing kindness. This is not to say she made me feel comfortable. No. She did not make me feel comfortable. But I sat right down in the armchair of my discomfort and I suppose I’m glad I tried to settle into her quiet strangeness.
I finally made the first appointment after months of talking about it. As soon as I made the appointment, I felt better. This is how it is with self-care, with professional help, we procrastinate because we think we can do it all alone, and when we finally admit we need help, when we make an appointment with an understanding that business will occur, we feel better, cleansed and ready to take on more of life’s weight. I was propelled towards the professional lamp because of all the thoughts flying around inside of me, like moths that seem frantic and stupid in the light and cryptically morbid in the dark. Even though I had watched the YouTube video posted on her website in which she talked about her focus, I still wasn’t prepared to know her when I saw her. It is a small thing but I was so surprised to feel a clicking into place, like Lego pieces that make the right sound against the soft carpet of your bedroom. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 4, 2013 § 11 Comments
The furious rabbit has been rattling its cage today. It is carrying out its usual business of tearing up the inside of my heart, lungs, and stomach. It runs its path of busy, futile escape again and again.
The furious rabbit is my anxiety and I am its helpless pet. I didn’t realize this comparison until a friend admitted his anxiety to me the other day and I said, without thinking first, “Oh yes, I know, it’s the furious rabbit”. As the recognition spread across his face, I realized that this simile had been a secret I didn’t know I was keeping. I had given my demon a face, some fur and some really long ears. The furious rabbit is just an innocent being born from all the goodness in humanity but because it has lived so long trapped inside my body, it has eaten holes in my insides and started gnawing on my system wires, growing too large for its cage and scratching and scrambling for a way out. It senses that it will never be free and this tiny flame of knowledge ignites a fire in its feet. Furious furious rabbit churning me into a storm of fear and paranoia. Settle down you touched fucking creature. Let me sleep and breathe and smile like the others.
And then I went to yoga. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 24, 2013 § 10 Comments
Here is the post in which I tell you about my own “mental health”. Can you even read that without cringing and wanting to leave? Me neither. While I hope you enjoy this experience of selective honesty, I ask you to be generous about the pace of it. I need you to understand that I cannot share all of it at once. It isn’t a grocery list or a river of narration in stereo. It isn’t ordered or poetic or even particularly interesting to anyone but me. To me it is both amazing, as is the first cell I started from, and mundane, like the way I part my hair after I wash it in the shower.
I’m learning more and more that people really like it when you share yourself. Now I’m not looking for likes here, I’m only searching for a deeper connection to myself and therefore to you and ultimately to the Great Pulsing Now-ness. So. In the spirit of extending my humanity to you as a plant turning toward the sun, I confess to you, I’m awesome. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
Dear Future Trout,
I am writing to you from the past. I hope you are taking care there, in that future that none of us is supposed to think about if we ever hope to achieve enlightenment, which in itself cannot exist without the concept of future but never mind that now. Listen Future Trout, Everyone is going around defining Itself in this public parade of inside-out masks called the internet, and I think it’s high time you made your own statement. Declare yourself. Step away from under the burnt-out light bulb and show your naked face in the laser bright machine screens. Here, I’ll start.
I’ll tell you about something that I, Past Trout, called Speaking Freely. At the present moment, which will be your past, I’m the only one who knows about the movement. It’s a revolution of one but I believe in its sweeping power all the same. Basically the movement relies on a concept currently known as, “making the world a better place”. Do you have that there, in the future? I really hope so. Please tell me the future is the better place we all dream about. The current world seems to be having what we’re calling a mental health crisis. The human species is shaping a suicidal world and Earth is slowly turning into a psychiatric hospital with no staff. And none of us are seizing the opportunity to speak freely now. We’re all so busy recording our lives for the future that we are pouring our present voices down the drain. I hope you’ve got a whole happy world of Free Speakers there, in the future, and that the oppressive shepherds of fear are the minority, instead of the other way around, the way it is now, in your past. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 18, 2013 § Leave a comment
When we are sick, the hardest but most important piece of the recovery puzzle is to become involved with other people. Mental illness typically causes us to withdraw from the world, which is not so surprising when that world seems so hell-bent on killing itself through a slow parade of the ridiculous “normal”. When we have an insurmountable debt of hope, trust and faith in others it is very difficult to participate and communicate within our community. When we do not believe in others, we cannot connect with others. Isolation due to mental illness robs us of the intuitive and innate feeling of power and authority vibrating from our peers. The “normal world” wants us to feel disconnected from our fellow humans. It is oppression. It is the tool to keep us down, it is the kool-aid for the cult, it is the pill that drowns the water and leaves us thirsty for ourselves.
And here I am typing from the cool womb of my apartment staring safely at the sun.
March 18, 2013 § 6 Comments
I wrote this ten months ago in a fit of insomnia, sadness, unemployment and some surprising 4am clarity. You know what it proves? That what we call personal progress is slow and circular. We make concentric circles in our efforts to be better people and we come back to the same stuff, the same issues, over and over again. Beautifully frustrating.
I would describe it as a mental health week. That’s what it has been, this past stretch of days. We like to name sequences of time so that we can remember them or feel like we’ve learned something, made the most of it, or maybe we’re just self-absorbed. So while I was busy being so aware of myself it happened. My mental health week crept in through the backyard even though I had been watching carefully from the front porch, thinking I’d see it strolling down the street and get ready for its arrival. Five or six days later and there it is, boozing and smoking it up on the back patio, like I had been entertaining it on purpose. It was taking up space without my even knowing it. Although, that’s why I’m writing this. I know it. And it’s real. And once again, I have to face myself, my situation, and say, yes I have a mental…I live with mental…I have a low grade depression called…this is who I am. « Read the rest of this entry »