I feel like if I had all the answers then things would make sense. if I knew all the things, if I could puzzle everything parse everything. if I could see where every single little thing fit in the world where all of the things had their place then perhaps I would know where my place was Because I do not. I see all the things and I don’t know how they fit I don’t know how I fit I don’t know where I fit. . big things huge things loom out of the dark like I didn’t know they were coming like I just fucking forgot (no, you didn’t forget you just forgot where you put that part of your memory ) does anyone else see the difference?
(in searching for something I can’t remember now, I found this. I never published it. I remember the pain as clearly as if it just happened.)
However, I am no longer this person. Not exactly.
8:18a 17th june, 2020
enduring days of abject depression, sending me into disintegration out of the clear blue. With summer comes dysphoria and rage and fury. Depression so deep that it wakes me up at night, gasping for breath at the depth of pain; the length of the blade through my chest.
I know that I have been coasting fairly easily (really? are you really going to say it’s been fairly easy?) on a swell of euphoric mania, tempered by cannabis and isolation. this depression though, this abyssal plunge into despair, this parsing of whether I feel suicidality or suicidal: do I just want to not be? Or to do something about it? (it’s suicidality, it nearly almost always is.)
The days since I found the “Gary 🖤’s Lysa” CD in the attic have been upending for me. My entire, well, my entire everything is upended. My disallowing of fantastical and supernatural beliefs has been integral to my sanity. Being able to depend on science and logic and reason has been super fucking important. And I’m supposed to just, what. Forget all that? I’m reminded of a joke that I’m mostly forgetting but it comes down to the idea of believing that there are signs when they’re shoved in your face. How on Earth do I do this? As someone who is as interested in codes and ciphers and symbols and yes, signs, as I am, as Gary was. But as a communication tool used by the living, the sentient, because what else could it possibly be?
What else could it possibly be?
Four days ago but not last night I started taking edibles before bed so that I could sleep through the night and not be woken up by my own sadness. It worked, I got about six hours each night. I was still a depressed wreck the next day everyday. I couldn’t be counted on to not completely break down. Yesterday was so hard, so painful. I knew that on top of everything that is already happening, it is now the beginning of summer and while springtime is for suicidal thoughts, summertime is for the homicidal ones. (I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.)
I used every tool in my toolbox yesterday morning, to try and feel better. Nothing worked. There was nothing wrong with my tools, it’s just that my brain needed more power, more help than these tools were capable of fixing. it was getting close to getting to be too late to go to the pottery, and I had to decide whether I could trust myself to get there safely, and get home safely. Whether I could count on myself to make the hour’s drive safely. I had to weigh the pros and cons of getting in a car and driving for an hour in order to get to my happy place. I decided that I needed to go more than I could stand not going, and so I would pour all my concentration, my focus into getting there safely.
The first flashes of dysphoric mania broke through my depression in a terrifying way. I realized how outsized my reaction was, and while I didn’t do anything to encourage it, I also didn’t do anything to stop it. I let it just sort of die down, looked at it, and realized that I needed to stop it. I was consumed with rage. While driving. This did not bode well for arriving safely.
I concentrated on relaxing my shoulders, taking my tongue from where it was stuck to the roof of my mouth and relaxing that, trying so hard to remember Kellen’s voice in my ears, giving me permission to be nowhere else but listening to her voice.
To my credit, I did not yell at myself for trying to do these things. I did not make fun of myself for trying to do these things. I did not give voice to any doubt that I would be able to do these things. I tried as best I could to just relax and drive and space out as much as I thought safe to. keeping the reward of a safe place in mind as I drove the familiar route.
I got there, smiling wanly at the familiar markers, seeing the two hand-painted rainbow signs way up in Trump country, always heartening. Anxious that I would once again get to the pottery and see cars belonging to people I didn’t want to see, knowing that this was a possibility, steeling myself for it. Managing my expectations. I turned up the drive.
No one here but us chickens.
10:42a 18th June, 2020
I couldn’t do it all in one day, get it all written. I am grateful that I had enough time to write what I did, but then I had to get ready for work and go to work and deal with work. Too many hours, too many people. Too much of everything. Back to the story.
The relief I felt at not seeing BT’s car, well, to say that I could finally lower my fear would be an understatement. All of the anticipation of having to possibly deal with her and avoid her and her narcissistic bullshit, because every single time that I had come up here needing solace, needing peace, she was here. In my way. She wasn’t there.
I had planned on going up there to work, to make new work. With no plan to sell anything or any kind of brain power to work on that but it isn’t ever about the selling. It’s about the making.
(I am regretting not working on this last night when it was still somewhat fresh. I am foggy on the details of the day now. Perhaps that isn’t important.)
I know that Lynn and I had raised voices, and that I was in distress, and I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t see how much I was struggling. I know how much she loves me, I know how much she wants for me to be as sane and as happy as I can be. I also knew that nothing would be solved by not telling her how much I was hurting. So I did. I said that I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. And she said okay. and if we could have hugged we would have hugged. But we couldn’t hug, so we sat six feet apart and smiled through the sadness.
We talked more about things we both agree on, talked about upcoming firings, talked about new friendships we were making and how grateful we were for each other. We made plans for the next time we would see each other, Sunday. I left, with nothing made but progress.
I put my Phoenix playlist on shuffle, one that I started making when I first started coming into my badassery for real.
The opening notes, soft, haunting voices. The Night We Met.
I am not the only traveler Who has not repaid his debt I’ve been searching for a trail to follow, again Take me back to the night we met And then I can tell myself What the hell I’m supposed to do And then I can tell myself Not to ride along with you I had all and then most of you Some and now none of you Take me back to the night we met I don’t know what I’m supposed to do Haunted by the ghost of you Oh, take me back to the night we met…
The night we met in person for the first time, the night we spent together eating, talking, walking, falling in love. Walking past the Salvation Army building with its new sign, lit but covered, ghostly and creepy.
He took photos.
This suggested one person to me Jan.
As I was listening, I began to nod. Yes.
Driving guitar. Insistent drums. Hurricane Jane.
Go ahead call me a hurricane Got no regrets I accept that name Sound the alarm big storm comin’ run for cover get gone My screams make the wind My tears become the rain My body rolls like the waves And my heart is the eye of the storm Kali, Goddess of Destruction got nothin’ on me I’m Queen Calamity
I pulled the car over. Off the road, blinkers on. Okay, I get it.
I pull over so I can text Jan. To tell her that I need her help, her counsel. Not right that second, I didn’t want to needlessly worry her, but that right that second was when I figured it out so I’m telling her. She got back to me somewhere on my way home, made plans to meet and chill. This afternoon.
Seeking the counsel of a retired priest.
I wish I could say that I am eased, now, having made plans. I’m not. If anything, I’m more amped up and tightly wound than I was. I am hyper aware of exactly how rigid my shoulders are, how every terrible thought is barging its way into my head. How a photo of the partner I haven’t seen in months is breaking my heart with how the look on his face echoes my own. How all I want to do is tell him it will all be better.
But I don’t know that it will. What I do know is that it can always get worse, and often does.
One thousand, eight hundred twenty six days ago was the last time I heard your heart beat next to my face.
I miss you. I miss you every day. I am glad you saved me from hearing your voice that day, already altered by the stroke. I am glad your face was already placid and sedate when you heard me telling you that I loved you. I can imagine the smile. You were actively dying. You knew I would be angry for not waiting and you knew I would understand.
You were dying and you saved me. You have saved me.
I wish you got to see me today I have my new glasses My curls; the color of the hydrangea we planted out front and the porcelainberries that grow wild out back. hopefully soon they will belong to someone else someone else who will take so many closeup photos of them.
The curve of the tip of my nose I wish you could see it. You would kiss it.
This figuring out of things this Figuring out of how things came to be Things came to be me how I Became.
It is overwhelming in every single way in all three hundred sixty degrees.
It is inwardly and outwardly and upwardly and completely bowling me over and tearing me apart
no it is never too late to learn I just wish you were around so I could show you what I’ve learned who I am who I have become.
Who I am still becoming.
I am sitting in my car and I am smoking and I am shaking and I am full of fear and full of love and they are the same thing.
They have always been the same thing.
As I am parsing all of these things as I am As I am. As I am uncovering all of these separate very distinct very discrete things As I am peeling back the layers and understanding implicitly very explicit differences in things I am filled with patience and sadness at all the time lost in between then and now.
Knowing that I have the rest of forever to be well.
Having promised you the rest of forever to heal.
I had the rest of your forever. and you have mine.
darkness — thick, oppressive congealing as if blood around an open breathing wound i am this the wound ed panic steers this two-ton beast not i racing racing heart racing through mazed streets dimly lit by infrequent lights sudden dip plunge headlong into wooded thick et cricket thicket surroundsound i turn up the radio to shut out the nature nature of this two-ton beast of steel racing heart racing.
I wrote this 33 years ago on the way home from somewhere/something stressful. My engagement party? I was less than a month away from turning 21.
I would have stopped to pull the car over to write this; wherever my first Filofax disappeared to, deep within its pockets lies a piece of looseleaf covered in my handwriting, tense and manic and completely out of control from the feel of it. This was about 6 months before I married my first ex-husband, The Sociopath. I hadn’t yet gotten anywhere close to the diagnosis I finally have, I mean I had finally gotten away from the schizophrenia misdiagnosis and was hovering somewhere in limbo, hinting around manic depression and clinical depression, but no one understood suicidality and ADHD back then, much less accounted for the PTSD I already had and would continue to have. I’m pretty sure by this point I had been put on Prozac which only helped to launch me fully into extreme mania.
The terror that I know that I was feeling that night, it is a familiar one. The time of year, well into the beginning of spring, added to the mania I know I was experiencing. Without understanding that this is how my body acts in spring, without any tools to help mitigate what would always be outside of my control, I can feel (finally, I think) really aware of just how much I have survived, and continue to survive.
I kept going when I had no proof of better times to come. I have that proof now.
I am that proof. My proof lives in me.
It always changes; it always shifts. It gets better and it gets worse and it gets better again. Gam zeh ya’avor / gam zu l’tovah. This too shall pass and it is all for the good. גם זה יעבור זה גם לטובה
Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 53 years old. I spent the entire weekend with people and missing people who clearly love me and who I love so much. I spent the weekend
I spent the weekend doing familiar birthday things, Going to the Lyndhurst craft fair as I have done for decades (maybe half the artists this time, different layout, timed ticketing, all due to covid restrictions) stressing out from all of the unknowns (known and unknown, thank you D. Rumsfeld) wanting so much for normalcy (but what is “normal”, anyway? I certainly don’t have a fucking clue) feeling so much that I have to explain even though I know I don’t It seems like all I have been doing for the past three and a half years is explaining and explaining and explaining because honestly I don’t understand any of it. Just when I think I do I get caught off guard and none of it makes sense again.
I suppose I’m not explaining to others so much as to myself.
I miss all of the things that we talked about, all of those things that we never did. All of the ways we responded to each other, all of the good, all of the terrible. The contrast, I think, the contrast is what’s killing me now. i do not know if I can take being loved this way.
I can say things out loud and I can say things out loud and not worry about feeling stupid for saying them. Being made to feel stupid for saying them. I can say things out loud and not worry about I can say things out loud and not worry about being instantly and immediately criticized. I can say things out loud and not worry about who might be on my side.
I know I know for sure I know now that you loved me but I didn’t then. I never knew for sure. I never knew from one minute to the next. You would rescind and retract your love like the outgoing tide. Snatch it away from me, away from my
craven, grasping, grubby little paws
I want to forgive you for saying these things to me. I want to forgive you for this so much.
How can I miss you so much and still be so angry at the things you did to me? That we did to each other.
I told your sister once that I never really had an accurate sense of your feeling for me, not that I felt I could believe anyway. That I always thought you thought I was stupid and not enough and too much all at once. That now I can look at the last things you wrote, and know. I can look at all the small lovelinesses you left behind. I can look at those things and know that they are real, they are proof. Not soon enough to be able to enjoy with you, no.
The very desperate need to hold onto them
((craven, grasping, grubby little paws)screaming to the sky to talk to you for you to hear me
I am trying so hard to do everything I can to be well. I am still so I am still so unwell but I don’t feel crushed by having to hold up every other damn thing anymore if only because I have given up on everything it seems)
I can look at the small lovelinesses that you left and see them for the huge gestures that they were. Everything is relative.
I can see the unexplored and forever unknown possibility of us becoming better to each other, to ourselves. Knowing how difficult it was even in the very best of us knowing I would not be this person if you were still alive proving my progress to the memory of a dead man wanting so much to escape your critical eye, your devastating words and yet wanting to show you that I am okay I am not okay.
Yesterday was my birthday. I felt loved, and cherished, and adored, and so sad for what we never had. If you could see how people treat me now. If you could see how people love me now and aren’t afraid to say, to show. I know you would, too.
Up at four-something; the sound of an upchucking cat isn’t a noise to be ignored. Pushing him (gently) off the bed so I won’t have to wash the entire coverlet again. Tangled in the comedic/horror movie mess of giant bed + weighted blanket + CPAP mask and racing against the threat of a heaving animal simultaneously a thousand miles away and on top of me, I know that my day is going to be a fight.
The waves of depression and subsequent rapid cycling and eventual mixed states yesterday only subsided because I smoked myself into oblivion. I ate a shit ton of sugar and passed out. Took an edible to stay asleep.
I go to the bathroom, look at my phone, my email. I’ve been avoiding the actual mail and swiping left on my email like it’s a dating app. The email saying my rent is posting today.
I’ve been looking at my balance, not buying things. Nothing. How do you get money?
You sell things.
You have things to sell. Good things. You even have photos.
why, then. why frozen. Fogged. Stuck. Frozen.
I can do for Mojo, I can take pretty good care of him. If no one else.
It’s 6:14 in the morning and I realize I can’t go to work. I can’t control this today. I barely could yesterday. (there is no longer any thinking about what would happen if I had to, about how terrible it would get)
there is no longer any fear of safety.
that is a difficult sentence to write. to digest. I cannot breathe. i cannot breathe. . breathe. breathe. . What it means what it means is that I can do what I need to do to care for myself without worrying about getting written up, or in trouble, or fired, or discarded. Left. Ghosted. It means that I have compassionate people who care about my safety for my sake first.
My safety for me, not as an asset. A tool. A toy.
It is 6:27 in the morning and this is what that is, this rage, this dysphoria. This sadness, this depression.
This makes it so clear to me, finally. The sheer disparity. Reminders of how it felt. The unpleasantness, the imbalance. I don’t want that. Not ever. Not even knowing.
So, now what. Delete the playlist (again. It has one song on it.) Done. Back away. Understand this isn’t ever going to change. Really, though. Understand you don’t have to burn it to the ground, either. Really. You can continue to walk away.
you know there isn’t always a trigger but a lot of times, there is.
it is seven in the morning and I am inside as the rain begins to fall. it isn’t, though, raining outside but sure as a rainfall cools the planet feeds the plants smoke slakes my thirst, soothes my fear.
the sky is lightening, the grey becoming less so enough to douse the harsh overhead light and open the curtain.
I am worrying about how I will manage things but right now the fear isn’t strangling me. it’s sort of set apart, a bit. It isn’t going to stay there, not today. Today is going to be
better at home. Quiet, as I need.
it is seven forty-nine in the morning and and there isn’t much getting done today.
That isn’t true, no. no it isn’t.
progress, however glacial a pace, is progress still.