Here I sit. Back at the public library again. I love the library. I wish I could stay here all night.
I just re-read the long, heavy, revealing post that I wrote about mental illness over a month again. There I go again, I am telling myself, Digging. Looking back.
Why am I doing this?
I wish I could put all my mental health problems aside and keep on going with the nice, pretty, polished life I have on the outside. (Or do I?) Just a few months again, I was in control of my life. And now? I feel totally out of control in an emotional sense.
Not so out of control that I am going to have a psychotic episode, but out of control in a rapid-cycling way. Which means up and down, up and down, up and down.
It’s exhausting, but determination to keep “feeling all the feels” and work out all this internal unrest, confusion, sadness, and pain is my driving force.
Right now, I am obviously feeling pretty bluesy. Maybe that is why I am turning to blogging. Writing is a friend of mine. It feels good. It makes me happy.
I have so many questions in my mind now? Why can’t I get control over my emotions? Happy and upbeat one minute. Sad and teary-eyed the next. It’s like this crazy tug-of-war in my head between peace and discomfort.
Bifurcation, if you will.
I came to the library to work on an essay I wrote last week. An essay I submitted to my writing group and received decent feedback. I want to work on the story — to reorganize, make changes, edit, fill in gaps, remove unnecessary information, explore the message. But the only thing that I am doing is feeling blue and thinking of all the things I need to do.
(This is called avoidance. And I am pretty sure I am avoiding because the essay provoked some vulnerability and a metaphor for some deeper, unexplored feelings).
I want to write my dear-sweet elderly former-neighbor in Virginia a letter. I want to catch up on all the blogs I read, I want to watch more college basketball (even though my bracket is busted), I want to feel balanced.
And isn’t that we all strive for? Balance?
Maybe not (?), but that is what I am aiming for. Balance. I am also trying to merge the two extremes in my personality. The upbeat, happy, chatty, fun, successful girl and the tormented, hurt, uneasy, anxious, flawed girl.
I’m getting there. And I truly feel like I will. But how long is it going to take?
I have so many more demons from the past that I have to face, but it is hard f-ing work. And it’s scary. And it’s forcing me to feel some temporary (I hope) pain until these things play out. I know that I may sound vague, but some of these feelings stem from me not facing some of my past mental problems. Instead, I’ve struggled and endured repeated (probably self-inflicted) hurt, much like that of an emotional cutter perhaps.
I just want to make it go away. To forget it and get back to cheer. But how? Show me the way Big Man in the sky.
There is definitely something triggering the way I am feeling now. That I know. I know exactly what is triggering me. But I don’t know what to do about it. I am praying so hard to find a way to face it, but that means making myself extremely vulnerable and finding the proper time to discuss the problem. (Is there ever a proper time?)
The other conundrum I have is, that should I just run far and fast away from the trigger? If so, how? How do I make myself forget? How do I stop my imagination from creating a reality that doesn’t exist? At least I don’t think it exists, but that’s all part of the problem.
These are way complex thoughts and something that I may have fabricated in my mind, but I can’t completely know. So here I am. I have to face it. (Definitely some questions in here for therapy there because I don’t think I am capable of finding an answer by myself).
To add more complication to the already complicated, I can think of at least three other big things from my past that I need to make peace with. It’s daunting and I don’t know how to go about it. A part of me wants to do what I always do and FORGET ABOUT IT all and keep moving. Go forward not backward. But that bumps up against my belief that I’ll be so much better off if I just break the silence about some of my feelings.
Those are just a few words that describe the way I am feeling now. Maybe just laying them out there will help. I have support people in my life helping me work through all of this — I love them all for it — but I know that I am the only one who can act on my troubles.
I have ideas. No shortage of ideas. No shortage of words. No shortage of feelings. No shortage of ability. No shortage of a lot of things.
But FEAR is holding me back, this I know. I feel scared of rejection, of other people’s opinions, of how dealing with these feelings might change my life, how I might fail, of how I just have no idea?
The good news is that I have an appointment with my psychiatrist on Tuesday and an appointment with my therapist the following Tuesday. I kind of wish that my therapy appointment came first. Therapy is proving helpful, but it’s been over a month since I have been due to scheduling conflicts. I look forward to next Tuesday.
I do not look forward to meeting with my psychiatrist because I am afraid she is going to try to change my medication or add another drug to the mix. I don’t want that now. I want to work through the emotions. I feel confidant that the medication I am on is preventing me from going too far manic or too far depressed. Although at this moment, I feel pretty darn depressed, but it is because I am allowing myself to be depressed. I am alone (aside from other patrons at the library in their own worlds). I don’t have to hide anything from myself.
The great (or maybe not-so-great thing) is that when I go home I can turn it on for my kids. I can be the strong, happy, competent Mommy that they need me to be. I can hide from them. Rightly so, they are only 5 and 3. My husband is award of the mood shifts, which is a wonderful thing. The only problem is that he can’t “fix” me. Hard for both of us. But we keep respectfully and patiently working together and turning to each other as best we can.
Briefly, I cannot have unrealistic expectations of the people in my life and I cannot constantly derive my happiness from others? Sure I have happy moments with other people. But I want happiness to speak louder, even when I am down. Or is that even possible? (I think so). I am starting to confuse my already confused self!
Abstaining from alcohol is a huge game-changer in my life during this time. I am certain it is a healthy choice. I don’t doubt that at all. But then I think about all the fun times I have had under the influence. Partying and drinking with friends. Will I ever have that without alcohol? I truly believe I will, but WHEN?? I imagine it’ll look a lot different — in a way, it already does.
I am still trying to “Trust the Process,” my new mantra as my outlooks and moods shift.
In an hour or so I’ll leave the library. I’ll go home to my family. I’ll look forward to doing that. To eating dinner together like we do every single night. I like that. I love my family. I’ll enjoy reading stories to my kids at bedtime. I like that. I love reading stories. Then I’ll probably hang out on the couch with my husband and watch basketball. I am using the couch more often as a refuge instead of always looking inside myself (or books) for answers that probably don’t even exist and just make my head hurt.
I hope I can continue working on the essay I wrote last week. I hope I can keep up my creative writing momentum and stay the course and feel good about what I write. But I worry, it’ll all just go by the wayside and I’ll keep writing new things without ever finishing the old things. Maybe that’s it. Maybe my writing is stalling because in my life, I have continued to do new things without ever finishing the old things (related to emotions here).
I need closure and to let go of some things and explore others. I’ll keep trying to trust the process. I read something yesterday about emptying yourself and letting the universe fill you up. A good thought about giving up control.
In the meantime, I may as well in enjoy the big fat contradiction and paradox that is life. Up and down and all around.
I am sure I’ll feel better after I publish this. I’ll get back to that essay for a bit, I’ll eventually write that letter, I’ll enjoy my dinner tonight, and tomorrow, I believe, there will be joy.
At least I am learning the pattern.