The Mirror

There comes a moment in every good piece of artwork that it does not much resemble beauty. The lines may be harsh. The blocks of color too bold. One might go so far as to say it is ugly. I often find myself hating a piece as I struggle thru the initial laying down of color and line. It just doesn’t feel right. It is sometimes impossible not to resist the urge to scrap the piece and walk away. But sometimes you stick with it. Those lines soften, and in an instant the colors come together. It is a breathless moment. Your heart skips and you realize it is there. Each touch of the canvas brings it closer. There are the hints of “it”. The indescribable rightness of that image taking shape. It was the patience and the trust of the process that allowed access to that place. The deep residence within our minds that has the ability to unlock the beauty. It is hard to trust, as it is unseen and unheard. It often gets overlooked. It isn’t quick, nor is it easy. That singular moment of epiphany swimming up there amongst synapses and gray matter. But it is there. Therapy is no different. My experience of therapy with Virgil has bits and pieces of all of it. Moments of ugly, when willful stubbornness grinds the process to an impasse. The moments of quiet reflection, when nothing but the sigh of breath puts the period on a sentence. Years upon years have laid down the lines and the colors. A slow and steady process, complete with stops and starts. At times a canvas left to sit in the studio, either in frustration or because of life’s distractions. But never thrown away. Never given up upon. Even in the darkest of hours the canvas remained. As my life has shifted course, and I suddenly find myself miles from where I once stood, I realized it doesn’t matter. Nothing will ever take away this piece of artwork. We may be far from where we started. I may be very different now, but it is okay. We created this piece. A piece of connectedness. Come fear, or pain, or disaster, that connection remains. It was a pause between sentences today when I glimpsed our work. Not in the midst of some incredible insight on her part. It was in a second of vulnerability. I found myself understanding it would be okay. We had created a bond so complete, and strong, it could weather this coming storm. Those years of conflict, and doubt next to the ones punctuated by milestones and growth, all coming together to weave this durable resilient fabric which is our relationship now. I don’t know that I have ever experienced anything like it. When asked what my gut was telling me, I listened to myself respond. In awe of where I was. Who was this person? and where did she come from? I know where she came from. She came from the patient and steady work at Virgil’s canvas. Never thrown aside, in frustration. Even in the ugliest moments when anger and hate colored the picture so brightly. No, this canvas of my psyche remained on her easel. Year in and year out. In time it took shape, and today I am here. Stronger than I have ever been. I know few therapeutic relationships last like this. In a life filled with horror and trauma there was a silver lining. This was mine. Regardless of where I end up, I know there will always be a constant. It gives me hope and it gives me strength. I know I must find it for myself, and must figure out a way to foster it within me, but for now I can walk onward knowing I will never be alone in my fight to stay present. I am proud to have worked this hard for this long, and to have created a strong stable, beautiful bond. For a kid, so many dismissed as far too flawed to ever find such fulfillment and growth, I am so very blessed. For from the broken and skewed framework of my adolescent personality I overcame a dismal future. Together we reinforced that weakened foundation and broke the downward brakeless decline to climb into a new life. There is no doubt in my mind, without her this would never have been a possibility. I know there will be more trials and tests. Life will not just idly sit by and let my world be a paradise. I know that. It will be fraught with twists and turns. There will be love and loss. Great happiness and the blackest depths of despair. That is what life is. In my moment of epiphany today I saw a brief glimpse of the person I will become. For that I thank you Virgil. You are truly a gift. Not just for the countless hours, and sessions, or the patience, but for presenting that mirror so I could finally truly catch a glimpse of my potential. Within that glazed pane I see my strength, and I feel the ever so faint beat of my heart grow stronger into the staccato tap of my battle drum. I will survive.

made it

Well I honestly didn’t think I’d make it. 10 days alone on the farm. In the midst of some of my darkest moments I just hung onto trying to make it thru. If you had asked me when she left, I’d have told you there was no way. But here I am, just a day shy of her return and I’m still standing. I found some strength I didn’t think I had in me. I found I could temper those awful dark thoughts in a way I never thought was possible. It was a rough go, don’t get me wrong. But I did it. If I can make it through this week, maybe I can get past the coming weeks and months. It is one of the hardest parts of facing a depression. Will it lift? quickly? or will it linger? will it wrap itself around my soul and drag for months? There is nobody who can answer that question. I can’t help but feel it will be here a while. I just know it, in my heart. As I watch my mood sink, and my body shrink, it is only evidence that this is a bad one. I am frustrated. It has only been a few months with the provigil. It was going so well. I still think the med is great, because I am not spending hours in bed. Without it, I know I would be sleeping every afternoon. I can manage to get to the gym, and I can get things done. It is doing something, just not stopping this slide. There has to be another option, something to add to the cocktail to slow this, or right the ship before we are in the depths of winter. I just hope there is something.

The Thing About Bridges II

Interestingly enough the comment thread about the jumper disappeared last night. I don’t know if the OP actually decided to delete it, or if it is just a normal FB glitch. As much as I like Facebook, it is a royal pain in the ass most of the time. Anyhow, the various comments below the post ” Thanks to the bridge jumper for ruining my dinner”, ranged  from – did he jump yet?, to oohh poor soul. Nice commentary on how our society views suicide. Some recoil in horror, others leap to judgement, others look away. No two people respond the same. It is a rough topic, no doubt about that. I think there is such a strong stigma attached to suicide, as strong as the stigma attached to mental illness as a whole. I do wish it were more out in the open for discussion and in doing so, provide information to the masses who know nothing about it.

For those who judge mental illness and suicidality, I can only wish that they knew more about the people they are casting judgement upon. I’m not so much talking about religious judgement. I’m talking about societal beliefs that suicide is taking the easy way out. That it is selfish, and that it is done with the intent to harm those close to the suicide. The old, “pick yourself up by your bootstraps”, keep calm and carry on type nonsense. To anyone that has ever been depressed and suicidal, they understand this is so far from helpful, it isn’t even funny. To me, being that depressed means struggling to find the energy to breath. To find the energy to take a shower, or even eat. There is no pulling oneself up by the boot straps, and there sure as hell isn’t any keeping calm and carrying on. I wish it were that easy. But that is what it is for-  those who stand in judgement, to say things like that IS easy. They have not been there, have not experienced it. Sadly, some of the most adamant individuals are relatives of someone with mental illness. It is all that more cruel, when coming from someone who first hand sees the struggle. I think by saying things in judgement, it allows the person to gain distance. It closes off the doors to communication. It gets them “safe”. They don’t have to hear about it, or think about it, and most of all they don’t have to talk about it.

Sadly. that is what is needed most. Talking about suicide and mental illness. Talking about pain and suffering. This is the only way things can get better, both for the suicidal and for the uneducated. When we are able to talk about our illness, and our behaviors, and our past, we are able to see the future. The future where we are understood. The future where we are embraced for our differences. Loved for who we are.

Morning Med Musings

Well it is that time of day again. The morning process of shaking off the medication remnants and trying to start the day. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way in the morning. Not quite a zombie, but really not that with it either. Can’t tell you how many times I have gone to the fridge to get a mug, or checked the silverware drawer for half and half. Best of all, staring at the microwave thinking it will produce a cup of coffee. Yeah, I know, comical. Especially considering the coffee maker is 6 inches to the right of our microwave. Now granted, they are both plug-in appliances, so there is some logic in it.

Thank god I don’t have to function. Instead I have the time to wake up and watch the gauzy remnants of sleep fall away as anxiety takes its place. Some days it takes a while, others it is there the moment I open my eyes. Those are going to be bad days-  I just know it. Nobody should start their day with worry and dread. I hate those days. Thanks to a recent med change I usually drift thru the day somewhere between dont-give-a-shit and feeling like I should be on a beach listing to no woman no cry. For real, this beautiful little 6 mg of seroquel unteathers those fears and worries. It is a nice change from the daily grind of constant anxiety. Wish we had done this sooner, but sometimes it takes a while to come to something that works. I never would have imagined such a miniscule dose of seroquel would work like that. But from what I understand low dose seroquel works on the brain differently then when it is given at higher doses. Since I take it in both forms, I get to see it for all its glory. Yeah, I know. A love affair with a psych drug. ugh. But it has been in my arsenal for years now, and hasn’t failed me yet. That speaks volumes, since most of them stop working, or don’t work at all.
My usual attempt to ward of the anxiety is to sit in the recliner and check e-mails, FB and take a wander around the internet. Checking the usual news sites and such. Prior to the meds change this was my normal attempt at trying to keep a schedule in the AM, and to try and keep the self judgments at bay. Thankfully I am blessed in that I don’t have to be at a job at 8 in the AM. I can relax and wake up, my morning schedule is fairly flexible, except a few days a week. But without any structure things tend to come apart fast. So, this is my attempt at making this the same each day. I plan to blog soon about the virtues and failures of structure….I am officially awake now, and off to start my day.