‘Feel the hollowness inside of your heart And it’s all, right where it belongs.’ Nine Inch Nails

I wrote this :

http://FUCKMS.CA/2018/03/21/A-TYPICAL-SICK-DAY-IN-THE-LIFE-OF-A-YOUTH-WORKER/

A year ago today.

My heart hurts

Looking around at my life

I still can’t quite accept that this is actually mine

Then I get mad at myself

Because that’s probably why I can’t move forward

I miss who I could have been

I miss who I should have been

I miss who I almost was…

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‘Armed With Skill And It’s Frustration. And Grace, Too…’ The Hip

It might look a lot like weakness to the outside world

Maybe even to inner circles

But there is nothing weak about the daily struggles that it takes to survive through a mental illness

I repeat

There is nothing weak about it

There is nothing weak about me

Yeah I get it

Maybe you see someone who is fragile

Someone who is broken

Maybe you see someone who is crazy

Fuck

I don’t know who or what you see

I know what I see

Every single time I pass my reflection in a mirror or window

I see a fighter

Someone who has spent their entire life fighting

Fighting to live

Fighting to find happiness

Fighting to find peace

What an oxymoron

I read somewhere once that,

Fighting for peace,

Is like fucking for virginity

I get it

But its the truth

I fight tooth and nail

I dig in my heels

I scratch

I claw

Anything

To make my way back from the war that is constantly waging in my own brain

If you’ve never been there

You’re blessed

Truly lucky

That you’ll never understand how totally terrifying it is to not feel safe with just you and your own thoughts

You’re lucky that you don’t have to wonder when it will all come crashing down around you

Again…

I’ll never be grateful for having mental illness

I won’t lie and pander about how its taught me so much about myself

About the world

Trust me

There are things I’d never wanted to learn

Like what Paxil withdrawal can do to your once functioning brain

Like how food can cease being appealing to a die-hard ‘foodie’l

Like what the inside of a single room at a crisis centre looks like

I could have happily gone through two lifetimes not caring to know any of those things

It hasn’t made me wiser

Or kinder

So I can’t find it in myself to express gratitude towards something that has stolen so much from my life

From my family

From my father

From me

What I can unequivocally state

Without any doubt in my mind

Is that anyone surviving with a mental illness

Must want to be alive a whole hell of a lot

To be persist

To continue

To just keep going

To anyone who doubts it

You have no fucking clue

The strength and determination it takes to do it all over again

Tomorrow

‘The Jealous Are Troublesome To Others, But Torment To Themselves.’ William Penn

When your world feels small and your life seems shitty, and you see the people around you…people you love or like a whole lot…living their lives, happy and maybe not perfect but pretty damn good

How do you cope with that twitch of jealousy in your heart?

The one you don’t want to experience

And the one that it pains you to admit to

How do you feel happy for them…

And still long for your own

Without that green-eyed monster taking up permanent residence in your heart?

-Asking for a friend 😳

‘Putting up with means withdrawing from panic in panic; adding panic to panic, hoping that panic will go away quickly and not come back; it means avoiding people and places that bring on panic so that one’s horizon becomes narrower and narrower unit it is finally bounded by the front gate…It means continued illness.’ Dr. Claire Weekes

I’m feeling frustrated today

I consider myself a pretty smart person

Also someone who is more self aware than the average person

I’m well versed in all things anxiety and panic related

I feel like I graduated with a masters in this shit

I can recite all the therapy talk

More so

I actually believe in what I’m saying

I am perfectly aware that nothing worse than the panic attack itself, will happen to me

And yet

Every morning I wake up, heart pounding, mind racing

In fear of the next panic attack

Those same panic attacks I’ve been having for over two decades

Those same panic attacks in which what I’m most afraid of, does not come true

In fact

It never comes true

So what the fuck is the problem?

I think my own fear is greater than my knowledge

So I give in

Day after day

Even with the meds I obediently take

I watch life pass me by

Feeling less and less like it’s even my life that I’m missing out on

That’s how far out of reach things like dinner out or going to my sisters house seem

I can’t seem to stop from being hard on myself

I feel like yelling at myself:

AFTER ALL OF THIS, WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU STILL NOT GET?!

HOW MUCH MORE TIME WILL YOU WASTE BEFORE YOU FINALLY MOVE ON?!’

I’m sitting here shaking my head

Because, after everything

And I still don’t have the answers to any of that

A little more bent, still not broken

I’ve come a long way from those scary nights when I was too consumed with my own troubling thoughts to sleep

And those seemingly endless days where it felt like I was experiencing unrelenting panic attacks

2019 didn’t start off the way I had hoped

But in the last two months, I’ve been unapologetically selfish

I’ve focused on little else but getting myself healthy

My medication seems to be evening itself out

I’ve reduced my Ativan intake by half

I’ve started seeing a psychologist and am going to an info session held at a local hospital for an upcoming 12 week program for people to learn to cope with anxiety and depression

I’m living part-time with my parents and going home almost every day during the week to let out the dogs and practice my ‘exposures’

(‘…exposure therapy is a process for reducing fear and anxiety responses…a person is gradually exposed to a feared situation, learning to become less sensitive over time.’)

My fear is the dreaded feeling of having another panic attack

So that means I need to put myself in situations where I particularly anxious

For example, being alone or going to stores or other places by myself

It’s still very hard for me to understand why things turned out the way they did

I did everything you’re supposed to do

I reached out to my psychiatrist and family doctor about my intense apprehension over withdrawing from Paxil

I asked about inpatient facilities

During the crisis period, I went to hospitals, crisis centres and my own psychiatrist

I’m upset over the way things were handled

From my concerns not being taken seriously to the lack of care from the hospitals and most of all

That I feel like I did this to myself

And it was all for nothing

You know, I was speaking to my mom about going through tough times

She said it would be better if you knew there was a lesson of some sort you could take away from all of this

But I can’t for the life of me, find any valid takeaway from this experience, that I didn’t already know

Instead, I’m left feeling dissatisfied with the current mental healthcare system and most of all…

I feel defeated

Once again

By something that had and continues to have way too much impact on my life

And I’m tired of it

Tired of it’s overwhelming presence throughout my entire life

Sick of the powerful it yields so easily over me

Frustrated that the only way to move forward is to accept it and learn how to ride the wave of panic

So here I am

Sick and tired

Frustrated

But still riding the panic wave…

And trying to just live

‘Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.’ Dr. Seuss

It’s hard to actually see your own recovery

Unlike your relapse

Which you can replay without hesitation in your mind

Recovery is different

It’s like one day you’re a total fucking basket case

And then you blink your eyes and you’re you again

Maybe if you’re like me

You started to experience brief moments of you again

So you hoped and wished that it meant you were finally coming back

And then one day

Visiting your own condo

You instinctually know

Something is different

Something has changed

The me that was gone

The me that I was so sure I’d lost

That me came back

Now

Looking at her in the mirror

It’s so hard to imagine how badly things had gotten

How far away she seemed

How trapped in her own mind she’d become

And now

Here she is

Standing before me

Looking back at me

She’s far from perfect

Not even close to almost

And yet I’ve never been happier to see my own reflection staring back at me