What it amounts to is that, even if I totally eschew anything overtly personal, I have to know where I’m blogging from: any comment on or response to anything at all starts with some sense of myself in relation to it – and my sense of self is in trouble.
There is bad stuff: the sense that I’m living on a flood plain, much too close to the river of despair and insanity. Especially insanity, which actually hasn’t been my greatest fear in recent years.
But there’s also stuff that’s just confusing. Like, following serious fear of despair and insanity, I get up and stalwartly plod on as before. No superhuman effort, more the force of habit and that always surprising rediscovery of your own amazing resilience (I guess the knowledge of this inexplicable resilience, this life force, is the nearest I come to believing in God).
So I plod on, very busy - even busier after two days sick, mostly calm and mostly ok. Except that every now and then I spend about half an hour wanting to die and wondering why the hell I keep plodding on. And then I plod on again as before.
Somewhere inside, a voice is crying ‘help me – let me live before it is too late’. But there’s no help to be had. So you walk on towards nowhere, a tight-strung, patched together semblance of a person. You’re not really here. You’re holding up a cardboard cut-out.
Quite often when I want to die the problem is mostly tiredness, which is no doubt why just stopping for a bit will enable the plodding to resume. But I know, of course, that simple tiredness – however extreme - and despairing madness kind-of, um, shouldn’t feel like the same thing!
What lies beyond a fairly complete and lasting sense of hopelessness? It's an important question, but I don't have the time or energy to grapple with it. So I’m a bit lost right now and have nothing much to say about anything.
Oh my poor friend.
Remember this: what you feel has emerged from a dark place in the past. Look around you: it has nothing to do with who and where you are right now, in this moment. It's the pull of the past, telling you in no uncertain terms how you felt when you were younger and in no position to resolve your situation. And so you couldn't afford to feel it back then, feelings had to be buried deep underground to resurface at a later time, when it was possible to let those emotions have some space.
Short of trauma in the here and now, nothing is as painful or devastating as those feelings which emerge from a childhood time of severe distress. But it will help you to deal with them if you recognise them for what they are: intruders from the past that are asking for your acknowledgement, and that have probably been triggered by situations in the present that remind them, somehow, of old hurts and disasters.
Be gentle with yourself. Recognise these thoughts, see where they come from, understand what sets them off, change anything you can about your circumstances that causes you distress. Because there is always more that we can change than we readily admit. And know that you have many friends in the blogworld who have been in similar situations and feel for you very much.
Dearest Litlove, you are wise and lovely and kind. I will think about what you say. My first thought is that although what you describe is very often true, it isn't - mostly - true for me. It's not that I'm objectively ok, but demons from the past rise up and grab me. It's that I'm objectively not ok at all, but I have a strong ability to mostly keep dutifully marching on regardless - often a good thing, but I think not always. I might be completely wrong, of course - I know we're often the last ones to understnad ourselves. And also a mixture or alternation of both can probably be true.
I wonder (and don't need to know the answer) if you had thought about what help would be for you, if it were to be had. Will mail you.
Dear Jean. Lots of love.
The way you go on does seem, to me, positively heroic, but I share your doubts about whether that's necessarily a good thing.
I don't know. If this life isn't working for you, you might have to do something radically, radically different. And you could.
You really don't have much to lose. It doesn't get much worse than this. I think that you have a little "overprivilege patter" that starts up, about how much worse it can really be, and how your life is really quite comfortable -- but that's really not true. Anyone who has serious stretches of not wanting to live is about as miserable as people get, regardless of a comfy home and viewing rights to the spoils of empire.
I know I'm supposed to be saying, "oh, it's not that bad, dear," but actually I think it is that bad, and you shouldn't stand for it.
I don't know if it means anything to say you deserve to be happy, but I do at least know, for absolute certain, that you don't deserve to be unhappy.
:-) This is the sort of post that invites officious advice, I'm afraid. As if my life was a model, with all its flailing and bad faith! But still, you know, since nobody has the faintest idea how to live any more, we're all experimental scientists. All we can do is try things out.
All this chatter! And all I really want to say is love, lots of love to you.
Hugs and much love to you, take care of yourself, Jean.
Oh Jean. So much pain here. I feel very far away. Feel a hug from where it's still morning...
Oh my, I can't say I know how you feel, because I don't, quite. And I'm not sure it would help if I did. But even I do get a glimpse of the void sometimes, and I can't account for it, and I can see how close it can be.
Yes, it passes, but it gets harder to just let it pass when it takes such a toll.
The others are surely right, there must be some alternative to a life which leaves you like this, other than no life at all.
Sod the blogging, no one does such consistently luminous and lovely stuff as you, but if not doing it helps we'll manage without, but you are too precious to break yourself like this.
Rest well, and I wish you a safe place and time to heal. And something better beyond. And again, lots of love.
I know people think that meds are a cop out, but sheesh. We don't tell someone with a tooth-ache to grin and bear it or someone with a sprained ankle to limp along without any help. It's always different when it's the emotions/mind, no? Somehow we're supposed to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps in that case, and it's considered an utter failing when we can't even find our boostraps to pull up. One need not have serious depression to get help for awhile - meds or therapy, support, or whatever - so you can regain the strength and energy and wherewithal to make changes to have a better life. Life can change, but it's so hard to see that from the bottom of a deep hole. Couldn't some kind of step-stool help? Just a thought. I have seen people go from suicidal to having a joyful life.
Hugs everybody. You're all so kind.
Leslee, I completely agree with you about medication, but - though I could be wrong - I don't think I'm depressed.
Jean, I think change would be good. Even though it's scary, it might be just what you need. Because it sounds like you've reached the end of your tether and you need some relief from this suffering that I can feel through your words.
Life as a cardboard cut-out is no life at all. Chase happiness, love. We all deserve that. x
So sorry to hear you are feeling this right now.
Do kind things for yourself now, or allow others to.
Trust that one day you won't feel like this...you'll just remember how it feels.
A relative of mine is scaling down her life. Her experiences parallel your description above in uncanny ways. She has a secure job and a nice house, but she's very carefully getting rid of the latter (possibly at a loss), trying to acquire a much smaller place in a much smaller town, and applying for positions that promise regular hours (the fewer the better) at much reduced pay. Everyone who knows her, agrees that it will probably save her life.
But that's HER. I... I can only agree with everyone here that you are truly valued in the small corner that is my world, and that it makes me sad that you should suffer so. Good thoughts to you.
I'm so sorry it's so rough for you. Not knowing your circumstances, internally or externally, I can only say that I love your photos and reflections and whenever you're up to more (and I hope that you will)--I'll be here to see it.
Jean, so much of life is beyond our control. We are absolutely slaves to the biochemistry of our bodies, and the biochemistry of the brain is really a mystery to the science of man. Yet there are some ways to mess with the way the brain's chemistry is jerking us around. I join others here in sending you love and concern, and I urge you to seek some help via drugs. Try something, if it doesn't work, try something else.
This post, like your others, is so beautifully written. Does it help at all to write it down?
I was saddened to read that you are suffering. I don't 'know' you well enough to presume to offer any (more) advice. But help is always available. You have to want to look for it though.
May you soon pass through this period and live fully.
(I've sort of been there too so I can really sympathise. Life's not always easy)
Dear Jean. Hang in there. Do what you need to do to reclaim your life. Think five years down the road. If you could work your way out from under the clouds, what would the future-you say to the you that exists now and struggles?
And please do not brush aside medical help. Chemical imbalances make it so hard to see life clearly. There is nothing wrong with taking time off from giving to the outside world to rediscover one's inner core.
More hugs and thank-yous!
So many questions. That I can relate to. At times, their sheer number swallows me. Not a good place to be. I only leave a comment here every once in a while although I stop by to see what you're up to more often than that. Your pictures and words help me answer some of the questions I hold. So it is my fervent hope that the help you are calling for arrives with the answers to your questions. Keep a look out, for it will no doubt come unexpectedly and suddenly.
Dearest Jean: So many before me here have left such wise advice for you to go ahead and change change your life, and to do it with love and compassion for yourself.
I very much want to echo Dale, who said "I know I'm supposed to be saying, 'oh, it's not that bad, dear,' but actually I think it is that bad, and you shouldn't stand for it."
He knows, and I know too, something of the vast territory in which plod along, though of course, the experience for us all is different. I do hope that rr's question is of help, about what help would be for you if it were to be had.
In the meantime, all I can offer is hugs and love, all of which is not enough to help you chart a map to move on out of that territory ... but know you are not alone.
Dear Jean, this plodding on, what a blessing and what a curse it is while really we want to be able to fly.
Your post has moved me so.
What I have discovered in the dark months after I was hit by this oncoming train of ill health is that it is possible to be simply open and curious as to what will happen next even when you shit your pants with fear and panic. Because life is generous but maybe not always in the way we may wish.
I'm so sorry to hear you're feeling as you do: sometimes it's hard to get over extreme emotions (and fatigue doesn't help) - there's sometimes no "should" or "ought" about emotions. Don't want to be presumptuous, but a short bout of medication can make it easier to get over things. And there are the wonderful photos you take, with depth and originality: they really show a poetic side of London which those who know London well must appreciate. Best wishes.
What lovely and interesting people you all are. It's really a privilege to know you. Thanks for all your thoughts.
...yet you say so much, and it means so much... could be a reason to or not to blog, but know that either way you are valued.
Jean, I can only echo what everyone else said and particularly: don't try to resolve it all by yourself, either by will-power or 'just plodding on' or self-analysis or even simply taking a day or so off. Look for genuinely therapeutic help, whatever seems right to you, and preferably one-to-one. Don't underestimate the importance of your current state of mind, state of feelings. They need to be addressed, not in a distant future but now, and not all on your own.
Lots of love and hugs.
"What lies beyond a fairly complete and lasting sense of hopelessness?" Acceptance, perhaps. Accepting that we have no idea why we are here, that existence is without purpose, that we should just "plod on", simply immersing ourselves in little moments of the kind you capture in "Trail Mix".
Take care, Jean. Hang on there.
Dear Jean, I wouldn't presume to offer any advice. All I can do is apologize for not being here when you wrote this, and tell you I love you. Will write.
“ When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits. Anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal,now I see it as self-loving. “
Re-reading, tonight, I find myself stopped by this: "Somewhere inside, a voice is crying ‘help me – let me live before it is too late’. But there’s no help to be had." And I just don't, can't, agree with that statement. You have people who love you, and there is a universe which, if you ask it, will also help you. I can't give you that assurance, but I know it is real and comes from the same place as the love of true friends.
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