My Mental Story

The following post is part of a series written by Linds B. It follows her journey from there to here. It speaks to the change that is within us all.

In the past 2 years, I’ve spent hours, days . . weeks taking the time to better myself as a human and allow my mind to grow. I can truthfully say, as painful as it was, it was one of the most beneficial and gratifying experiences of my life. To those few rare humans out there who can attest to the fact that it is absolutely no easy task, my hat goes off to you. Self-transformation tries you in every way possible and even in aspects you never knew to exist. But here I am, standing proudly and so much better for everything I’ve endured. To those of you out there who struggle, I’m here to tell you that, as cliché as it sounds, it does get better and I beg you not to give up.

I write this in the hopes that my experience will drive you to keep pushing even on the hardest days where the only thought you can produce is “I can’t”.

Two years ago, at this time, I can tell you for damn sure I never thought I would be sitting in my own place, writing a story like this; my drive to move forward was all but nonexistent due to being comfortable in what I was yet to discover. I was in my own personal hell. I was googly-eyed, caught up in a woman who only knew of greed and manipulation. She used me for everything that I was and could have become at the time. However, I didn’t exactly realize that, and I can tell you if I did, I likely would have denied it to the ends of the earth. I allowed myself to get so comfy in working a job that offered me next to nothing, while living at her grandmother’s house. Getting a new, more challenging job? Getting a place of my own? “No thanks”.

The universe, however, was not having that mindset of mine. Our relationship started getting “rough”, for lack of a better term. Even in the midst of realizing that she was in fact cheating on me and had been for some time, I still didn’t want everything I “had” to go away. That would require a lot of change, and that’s scary. Thus, began the long strings of endless and unexpected breakdowns and anxiety attacks, to which I was told I was being “too loud and expressive about my emotions”. Fuck you! Stifling emotions never got anyone anywhere. As the strenuous emotional activity continued, things got more tense, and before I knew it, she had broken up with me in one of the shittiest ways possible; Showing up with her new “parasitic host”, or girlfriend, (whatever you want to call it) and not even looking me in the face; simply saying “it’s over”. She needed answers, she told me. To this day I still can’t help but wonder if those answers were indeed in another woman’s pussy, since that was the only place she seemed to look. All petty business aside, I didn’t know it yet, but that breakup was one of the best things that ever happened to me. With that, I got all of my things out of her grandmother’s place and moved it all back into my parent’s place.

The depression really started setting in. To shine a tinge of positivity on this situation, I had landed a better paying, full time job as a vendor. Unfortunately, that proceeded to push my limits even further, which at the time I could not handle. Before anything could begin in that job I had to complete a thirty-six-hour online training seminar. Sounds like a breeze, right? No, of course not. I knew not of an easy time. I went a solid two months with minimal sleep due to waking up at all hours with severe anxiety attacks and unmovable depression, thus triggering constant vomiting. I don’t think I could have told you what happiness was, that wasn’t even a word my mind understood anymore. I was fragile, alone, I pushed everyone away for the sake of putting all of my being into one poisonous bitch. I never left the house, I hadn’t been outside for the longest time, until I finished that training and had to leave the house in order to work. My emotional state remained the same, broken, I was an empty shell. “New opportunities are a good thing.” I attempted to convince myself, as the entirety of what makes me, me, was stripped away. Hire me first and then tell me how you find my hair unprofessional. Every morning began the same way, six thirty in the morning . . a piercing alarm. I would lay in bed trying to decide if I actually must work and try not to vomit at the idea of leaving my room. I’d work up enough strength to remind myself I needed to make money, then I would proceed to all but fall out of bed, put on my “good Christian straight woman attire”, and cram my rainbow hair into a long brown wig. “Who the fuck are you?” I’d ask myself, staring into the mirror. I wasn’t happy, nothing could make me happy.

There is no I in acceptance

I remember the time I almost went mad in the middle of a beautiful day.

Everything went quiet, as if my brain was busy spinning the sounds into a dull series of thuds whose trespass became increasingly indecipherable to me. Simple conversations required a herculean effort. Words became pin pricks, sentences became wildly rampaging herds.

As far as anxiety attacks go, this fucker was ambitious, It went on this way for several hours with no real let up. There were ebbs, but it was mostly just a long and rolling flow of my heart beating out of my chest, my legs shaking as I walked, sweating as if I’d just gone for a run and shallow breathing.

I was working, which actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I don’t know what I would have done if I’d been home alone. So there I was, going just a little bit insane, in the middle of a beautiful day.

And nobody saw a thing.

That was my last serious anxiety attack, and it’s been three years since that day. Almost. I say this with a cautious respect for the goings on inside my brain. Because I know how things can change, in an instant. I know how a beautiful day can turn into a struggle not to drown. I am humbled, but I am also hopeful. Both.

When you learn yourself, truly learn yourself . . that’s when you grow. You can’t lie about it though. There’s no cheating to the process, hells no. You have to be bluntly honest in your appraisal. And then you have to do one of the hardest things known to man, woman and sometimes beast. It’s called acceptance. This is the sticky part of the label for a lot of peeps, because they confuse acceptance with resignation. And lemme tell you, the one ain’t the other. Being resigned to something is like wearing concrete boots, whereas accepting something is akin to running barefoot in a meadow. One is limiting, the other limitless.

You become you when you begin to see the character in your warts and the medals in your scars. You will find there is an extraordinary quality to just being who you are. You’ll find that your spirit becomes the same thing as water in that it finds a way. It’s all about moving in the direction of that little voice inside you; the sensible sounding voice . . not the one who sounds just like Keith Richards.

I find Zen in the passionate embrace of words, being there for a friend in need and volunteering my time to a cause I love. I find rhythm in a smile and a laugh and a kiss. I find music in the warble of restaurant conversations whose waves crash robustly on top of each other before dying in the mysterious foam. I find peace in climbing rock walls, long runs and carving black diamonds.

The flip side is a low down dirty shame who has ridden off into many a tenuously sublime sunset. I’ve laughed with the sinners when I didn’t feel like crying with the saints no more. Because the truth of it is, for every positive and healthy choice I’ve made over the course of my life, I’ve followed through on some really bad ideas.  I somehow managed to survive catastrophes of all shapes and sizes and flavors.

So that’s the thing right there. To not hold it against myself just because my cerebral cortex has been sweet talked into just as many bad ideas as good ones. Being true to yourself is a diet for the soul. It demands that you be accountable, disciplined and infinitely patient. When you rise up, be grateful. When you fall, learn from it.

Understand yourself as that old Tennessee Williams quote that goes, If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels. I remember that one every time I think back to that beautiful day, three years ago.

Almost.

 

Needing an umbrella on the sunniest of days

Voices in my head

Sometimes in the middle of a run, my head fills with thoughts that beat the absolute fuck out of my brain. If I let the spill go too long, it can send me into a spiral, so I encapsulate. Crazily. Here’s what I sketched inside my run yesterday whilst I was freezing my nipples off. It’s almost verbatim to the original dictation from the voices in my head.

Memories are a sound, a hue, a scent that whims its way through my head in a spiral. This one an ethereal portrait whose smile is a beautiful deceit. This smile, it  shows up at my doorstep as wolves to a witching hour feast. And this smile, this beautifully vicious thing, took me under. It sublimed my reasoning and scoundreled my cool veneer and repurposed the acquisition of night and hunger and love and pain and forever. It menaced my sleep and ravaged my waking moments. A purring smile, full of dangers and bright shiny hunger whose manifest was delivered from the embrace of a spiteful moon’s rampage on the deep, blue mysteries.

I had to exhale after thinking that shit up. And then I had to quit thinking, because to keep thinking would have sent me into an anxiety attack. Short bursts of something like this are plenty fine, but any more than that? Without benefit of a vehicle with which to shepherd the words? No bueno. Maybe it’s the OCD, maybe it’s an irrational fear of losing those thoughts and maybe I’m really a writer after all. Needy and manic, insecure and submissive to the stimuli of every single thing.

All things considered, I sometimes wish I could do heavy drugs because I am curious as to what it might produce in words, not to mention social entanglements. Shit if that wouldn’t be a trip.

Dali

And speaking of trips, I made zero concrete resolutions for the New Year, as per usual. To me, each new year is a bribe; a tenuous offering. I respect it for the brand spanking new feeling it gives me, I recognize it as a gift, because it really is. A new year is a brand new collection of days delivered to us in the freshly painted spiff of an image whose aperture is a righteous smack of promises kept.

Yoda

Who am I to harsh that kind of newborn mellow with resolutions that are nothing more than a glorified last will and testament of the previous year? I would much rather drive hard on the same tank of fuel- where creative writing and storytelling became a habit. The engine is already revving hot on my running regimen, my martial arts exercises and my workouts. My meditative siestas are paying me on the regular with dividend checks.

I’m grateful for the days spent, I’m hopeful for the ones yet to come. I accept the bribe this year is pushing across the table, and I plan on spending it wisely. I realize it’s not the best deal I’m gonna get and that’s alright.

It’s the only one I’m ever gonna need.