I’ve been, as of late, un-well. I’ll smile the lie and respond with all the sunshine I can muster; but those who know – truly know.
There’s a pity that drips from the corner of a smile that turns slightly into pursed lips, pressing hard against one another, preventing the errant comment of shame. People just don’t know what to do with the knowledge that another human being – liked, disliked, stranger, or friend – When someone declares themselves ‘unwell’, it seems to be human nature to attempt a ‘fix’. And I too, am guilty of being the onlooker. But this week, month, - fuck! – half a year! – I’ve been the pitiful one on the receiving end of the discomfort, both inside and out. And yet, it's hard to say the word aloud, “unwell.” Perhaps the shame of younger days. Perhaps the embarrassment that I have not yet figured it out. Perhaps the unwillingness to cope with the onslaught of care – both real and feigned. So, my words lie, just as my smile does, until I’m alone with myself, screaming lyrics to a song, while I juggle inspiration to write or beat myself down for losing the poetic eloquence I remember having in my younger brain. Something important – Something of importance. Or interesting. Or meaningful. Or distracting. Or just something. Some thing. Some thing that can be pointed to and said, this is the thing. This is the important bit. Draw this in. But I have nothing. I have no inspiration and some days no imagination. I have nothing. And that, for me, does not seem to be okay.
This week, not unlike any other week, but different than every other week, I melted down. I could not constrain the tears and I could not control the thoughts in my time alone and my face was wet and my words were harsh, internally and externally…. I was overwhelmed with simple tasks like taking a shower or drinking a cup of coffee. And, with great exhaustion, I gave up my position in this war I wage with mental illness. Now, this is not to say I do a phenomenal job hiding the crazy on a regular basis – and I shouldn’t hide it – it’s who I am for fuck’s sake! - But I can usually hold myself together with a bit more decorum than in recent days.
So I cried. I cried tears. I cried out words. I cried out in pain and in anger and in fear and in isolation and in desperation and all the things to the left side of apathy. And I’m still crying. It fucking hurts to know that some of this is chemical. Some of this, I have experienced as long as I can remember and it’s part of how my brain is wired. It’s an affront to my reason that I cannot fix this. And some of it is situational and I just have to work through it. I just have to get shit done until there is more shit to get done and then get that shit done. And in the event I can learn something or glean some pleasure while mucking about in the shit, I take a breath and allow myself to feel gratitude.
Specifically, I’ve gained quite a bit of weight over the past few months and I’ve been in steady pain from my pancreas and ulcers. I’ve been revisiting some – not regrets – but maybe regrets -I don’t know words some days. -So, the PTSD has surfaced again. Simmering on the back burner. Then last week, I ate foods and drank drink that my body was not on board with. As of today, I’m in day five of excruciating stabbing pain under my ribcage – The walkin’ around kind of pain/not hospital pain. On day one of five, I had a blinding headache to accompany it and I was happy to stay in complete darkness, except the sunlight piercing the corners of my bedroom curtains. The physical pain wears away at my spirit and although it’s manageable in the sense that I’ve become indifferent to it and have adjusted my stance and posture to lessen the pressure, it’s just exhausting. More annoying than painful at this point, but exhausting.
So, being alone, and trying to sleep off the pain in my head and belly – I wasn’t mindful about the simmer on the PTSD. And it boiled over. I was hallucinating, both auditory and visual. I lost my peripheral vision every now and then. I lost comprehension. I was a mess. I was hardly functional. But I functioned. And that’s important. It’s important that I’m on the decline of the pain. It’s reassuring that I retain the strength to see a sunrise and a moonfall, because I’m not done yet.
And it’s not a coward’s way out or the easy thing to do – It’s a fucking war and some just lose the war. It’s reality. It’s reality for some to negotiate with suicidal ideations and set forth the pros and cons of action as if it was an innocuous task like choosing the right shade of paint for a back room that no one uses. It’s not fucking easy. And it’s not stemmed in fear or whatever motivates a coward to fly instead of fight. Although I could debate on the merits of flight when given the choice, thereby negating the word coward. And today my blood is in my body and the pills are in the bottle and I’ve showered and brushed my hair and all the boxes are ticked for the folks who check up on me. And I still don’t have a plan and I’m not in crisis to answer those critical questions that professionals ask. But it doesn’t go away. Ever.
So I’m in physical pain, that is waning. And I’m in emotional strife, that is plateauing. And I’ve become mechanical, which is helpful on the days that I can’t be a person. Like yesterday and today.
I signed up for a writing challenge in May and I didn’t know what unfinished piece to work on; but I thought I needed this boost of creativity. However, I think working on Heavy Drapes is probably a better project so that I can purge some of the dark thoughts.
My word this year is Restore. And more than a quarter way through the year, I have not restored any of the bits I enjoyed of myself. I have been to exactly one peer counseling session – and that was riddled with internal anxiety peppered with the compulsion to leave. Breathing that night was an arduous task. I have not cleaned the floors in my home. My home is run by the dogs. They pull the trash apart. They decide when it is quiet. They decide when it is noisy. I take a bath and I have two faces sitting and watching me shampoo. I avoid the neighbors – Like, wait until no one is outside before walking out to my car. If unavoidable, I wear dark sunglasses and look at the ground so I don’t have to choke out the words good morning. My car is disgusting. Covered in pollen and dog slobber. I can’t even keep the washer fluid full. I apologize when taking it in for an oil change, and the guys will lie and say the punkin’ looks like a million bucks compared to some of the cars they see – and I respond in kind with a smirk and a hyperbolic tale excusing my neglect of the interior while they comment on the milage and drag out a summary of my latest adventure – which is just another distraction I’ve set up.
I love my adventures. And they nourish my spirit. But there’s a subtle avoidance inherent with the adventure. I want peace. I want to sit in peace with a song spinning off an old record player while I sip a glass of whiskey. But I don’t have any of that. So I embrace the chaos. I probably seek the chaos at this point in my life. I have never known the peace in which I seek, and therefore, it should be no surprise that I know not how it appears – thus, peace escapes me. I have never had a quiet moment, both inside and out. Even when in yoga class, in the very throws of meditation – my brain was in overdrive. So this one more distraction I call adventure may be more chaos, but I will never be done with my adventures – Some call it travel. Some call it wander. I’m out looking for something – everything – that some thing of interest or importance.
I’m feeling the disgorge has unraveled a bit and is off the rails on tangential rides that require specificity I haven’t the time to articulate.
In short, I’m unwell but appreciative for the sunshine I am fortunate to feel today – or something. I’m not quite sure.