No where to go, nothing to do.

My mom has been wanting to make plans for the summer and I just can’t bring myself to decide on anything. Mostly because I like the thought of having no where to go and nothing to do. Suddenly, the world is full of opportunity. People with no where to go take leisurely walks, and read books, and cook breakfast. All my favorite things. People with no where to go plant gardens and dig holes and sweep. People with no where to go drink tea and smell flowers and pet cats. People with no where to go clean up after themselves and organize everything. People with no where to go take their time and do only what inspires them. People with no where to go sit and listen and understand. People with no where to go, finish things. 

This is what I want out of my life. No where to go, nothing to do. That way I can do everything I want to do. This summer I want to plant an herb garden, I want to take many morning walks with my kids. I want to cook with them and clean with them. I want to get wet. I want to read and watch movies and eat ice cream for lunch (maybe once). I want to paint rocks and make bird houses and dream about the beautiful garden we hope to grow one day. I want a lake vacay and a beach vacay too. I want to make shadow puppets and fall asleep tellings stories.

I want to be free to be together, without an obligation forcing us apart. I only want fun, laughing, and freedom. I don’t want posed, or planned, or staged, or paid for. Give me free, and easy, and willing, and remembered.

My son starts Kindergarten in the fall, and my daughter starts first grade. My life changes come end of August and I want to enjoy these last couple months of life the way it is. I want to be here, wholly, committed to the moment. I want my eyes open, drinking in the summer, so I will never forget what it was like to learn to be a present mother. How hard I worked to focus my attention on my family. That is all I have time for. Being a totally awesome-committed-healthy-loving-inspirational-patient-giving mom. Not for anyone other than my kids. I just want to be what they need, what I think the world wants of me. I want to be tailor fitted to suit their needs, not draw attention on instagram. I want be their safe place and that’s it.

The Beginning of Healing…

For me, it all started hurting when my parents kicked me out of the house when I was 19. They would probably describe it has me moving out, but they made it clear I was not welcome in their home. They gave me no other option but to submit to their will or leave. So I left. They called me selfish, I was. They called me immature, I was. They called me young and naive, I definitely was. But what they failed to recognize is that I was hurt. I felt like such a bad kid to be leaving my stable family unit, but I couldn’t allow myself to continue to fight people for what was making me happy. I had met my would-be-husband that year, fell in love with him immediately, and my father was not happy about it. I saw a future with this guy but all my dad could see what his emotional issues, coming from a single-parent household. That’s all my dad knew about him, and that was enough to want to violently prevent me from loving who my heart had chosen. I was told it wasn’t God’s will for me to form a relationship with him and that God would not bless me or protect me since I was being disobedient to my father. I chose love over the cage they tried to keep me in, thankfully. It took a lot of strength to tell my parents they were wrong, but I did it because I felt like I knew better. I didn’t fully recognize how we were two puzzle pieces, our broken pieces aligning nearly perfectly. But eight years later, I can tell you, we are star-crossed lovers, soulmates, always meant to be. 

I was an open bleeding heart for years. My relationship with my dad and step mom had completely crumbled to the ground. My safe place was now a pit of snakes. My step mom passed within a couple years of our breaking, before we ever got the chance to talk about things. In the wake of her passing, my father reached out to apologize to my husband and I, but we never got to clear things up either when he passed a year and a half after her. Without their existence, I was now bottling up all of my anger, brokenness, and pain. That relationship could never be repaired. So, I imploded. For years. I upheaved my entire life, changed my world view, my morals, my values, changed my career path, changed my hair, my home, my style. The worst part was when I began acting out my anger and becoming dangerous to the people I loved. I acquired bad habits, addictions, obsessions because I wanted to be distracted from my own bullshit. I went on hurting and hurting and hurting for so long that I soon began to get calloused to the ways in which I was now hurting others. 

I couldn’t be the mom I wanted because I was so distracted by my own emotions. I couldn’t be the wife I wanted because I was distracted by the lives and problems of my friends. I couldn’t be the creative person I wanted to be because I was distracted by social media and politics. I couldn’t be the healthy person I wanted because I valued pleasure over discipline. I couldn’t be the productive person I wanted because I was consumed with fear. 

No one could love me because I hated myself for everything that happened. I abandoned morals, I could see no purpose in existence. I needed there to be a reason for living through all this pain. I sunk into a very deep depression, the lowest I’ve ever been and I continued to hurt and sabotage myself. I think every person deserves a couple years to sort of fall apart and put yourself back to together in a way that can help you survive a human existence. I just wish we didn’t have to hurt ourselves so much to be able to do that. I knew it was my time to start cleaning up my mess when I made a really important mistake that nearly cost me my marriage. Thats when I knew I needed to change. I saw finally that I was now the bad person hurting everyone. My villains were dead, I couldn’t go on blaming them for all the ways in which I was a violent, explosive fuck up.

Realizing I was hurt is not where healing began for me. Realizing how I was now hurting the people I loved in the exact same way I had been hurt was when I began to heal.

In order to change my direction, I had to tap into something no one had ever taught me how to do. I had created a shit hole of misery in my mind and I needed to reprogram the messages I was telling myself everyday. To do that, I changed the content I was consuming, I limited my distractions, I thought, and read and meditated and took long long walks. I talked to myself and my loved ones, I opened up about the scary sides of myself that I didn’t like and I kept exposing my darkness so that I couldn’t be consumed by it. 

Healing takes brutal honesty with yourself. It takes a lot to look in the mirror and ask “who am I truly? Is this who I want to be?” it takes a conscious awareness to realize how the world experiences you. Did I like this person? Hell no. But I could not even begin to heal when I hated myself. I could only begin heal when I accepted my broken self the way I am. I became committed to fixing all those cracks and holes and wounds with the salve of self love and gluing myself together with the discipline of being true to myself. Further, I also needed to allow the time, space and solitude to do so. I have to take every day the way it is, no matter what happens or what mood I’m in. I just have to sail the seas. 

For a long time I was waiting for something to inspire me to change. I would sit in my miserable emotional home and hope that my depression would pass, or my anxiety would settle. At one point I asked myself.. what am I waiting for? Is that thing or person ever coming? I was waiting for a savior… but I needed to be strong enough to save myself. I had to realize I was heading in the wrong direction and I was the only one with the power to change my life. 

Healing has not been easy, or quick, or fun, but its worth it. It’s worth it when I see the relationship I have with my own kids. How we are connected and present and full of love for one another. That could never happen when I was broken, so that is why healing is necessary for me.

NEW MOON INTENTIONS – MAY 2019: Attention on Intentions

My intention this moon is manifest Love and Inspiration.

I don’t need much, I have a lot of good things in my life. But the things I do need cannot be bought. Typically they are the things I must wait patiently to drift into my life. These weeks I realize I am desperately thirsty for love and severely itching for a good dose of inspiration. As a new writer, it’s been difficult to force myself to sit down every day and write something because some days I am even tired of writing about myself. I think having so many writing projects helps me stay inspired, yet, some how I come to these dry areas and must sit and wait for the water to flood the grounds again.

One thing I am beginning to realize though, is I can be prepared to receive love and inspiration. In fact, by keeping my heart open and free of contempt, unhealthy anxiety, the need to control and by setting aside moments every day to be still and wait for the muse, love and inspiration seem to flood my life. 

So much so, that I have found myself now becoming afraid of being as happy as I have been. My mind says there’s no way I can be this happy and not fall off the cliff. I’m bipolar, I know how this works. Every high time has been met with a low time of equal depth. Over this past month, I have been ruining all these really amazing moments because I am terrified of how far I might fall.

There’s something I was failing to recognize though. Previously, before this year of my life, I have been a completely unbalanced person. I had a very limited concept of responsibility. I was not prepared for the adult life I jumped into so quickly. However, since moving into our house in Feb 2018, I have really stepped it up. I stopped being lazy and keep my house clean every day. I eat well, I work out, I stay creative, I cook, I prepare and organize everything I can. I’m growing up and finally feel like an adult!

So I think I’m in a much better position to stay balanced when I let myself be fully happy. I fear that I will spend all my money, eat until I explode, and begin sabotaging my art work by becoming distracted with helping people who are unimportant to my life (eating up all that free time I need to be inspired and read and write). This is what has been my pattern of happiness so far. The difference in me now is I am unwilling to fail again in the same way.

I have felt myself slipping a bit recently because I have been so afraid. It’s funny how fearing something (no matter what it is, because in my case I’m fearing happiness) actually causes it to manifest in our life exactly the way we imagine it. I feel my mood improving, and I am desperately holding myself down on the ground, fearing an emotional binge (which I have already been doing) fearing letting go of my routine (which I have been forgetting about) fear of unnecessary spending (actually, I have been able to curb this with $20 spending sprees at goodwill and the dollar store). All this fear manifests my worst fears.

So my intention now is to let go of fear so I can love! If my mind wants to send me on another manic high, so be it. They are always fun, even if I do end up destroying half my life. I won’t this time, hopefully. I will create this time and not destroy.

I guess that’s been my problem. Until this point I have been so used to creating in the low times, and when I am in my high times I hate everything I have tried to create because of the heart it came out of (sad, negative, victim heart). So I destroy everything and start again. Cause I knew it was wrong. Now I’m entering into a high time and I can create from a happier, light hearted, loving place. That seems as if I might actually like what I write finally! Haha, yes!

I heard this morning that this is how manifesting works. You set your intention and focus all your attention on your intentions and that’s how they come to be. I never thought about it this way, but that’s what I am trying during this moon. For now, everything is about love and inspiration. All my attention is on that.

The low side of this New Moon will be a deep seed of fear and competition, so if you feel yourself beginning to feel like you need to win, you need to be the best, you need to be on top. You’re entering into the low vibration of this energy. Check in with your energy and see how much fear is taking up residence in your heart, clear out that energy with some meditation or quiet time or abstaining from an addiction. Controlling the desire instead of desiring to control. Being present today will remind you that you are exactly where you need to be and there is nothing more you need to do but follow the path you are on. No need to stress or worry that your life will become that dream in your head. If you are headed towards that goal, you will get there and if you surrender to the journey and the lessons of every day you will show up prepared with everything you need to succeed.

I leave you with this quote from the poem “Here Am I” by Anis Mojgani (my favorite poet of all time)

“And the answer comes:
already am,
always was,
and I still have time to be”

I’m Responsible for Me.

At the very beginning of healing, when I first begin to realize just how affected by everything I truly had been, I was really overwhelmed. I saw all the bad in myself. Habits I had formed to protect myself or to please myself without anyone else’s judgment. I was sneaky, angry, dramatic, and irresponsible.

At one point, I crashed my car. I was in the midst of leaving an angry voicemail for a family member and I had become so distracted by my emotions, I ran a red light and T-boned another car. Sadly, in my immaturity, I blamed my family member for my accident. My reasoning was if they never would have mad me so angry, if they would have just answered my call, if they weren’t making me drive across town in the first place, I would have never gotten into an accident. No one was injured in that accident, except me. Which says a lot, because the truth of this situation was that I was the only one responsible for that accident. I was on the phone, I was distracted, I didn’t stop at the red light (whether I saw it or not). I was wholly responsible for the crashed car and my crashed life.

I was at a terribly low mental state. I was weak, and refusing to take responsibility for my own actions. I assumed if everyone wasn’t so shitty, I wouldn’t need to be this person defending myself all the time. I wouldn’t be reacting if they stopped attacking me. There is a small amount of truth there, but what I really needed to see was that my actions are my responsibility.

My husband and I were laying in bed one night as I was ranting about what was happening to me. He leaned over, with some stern tough love and said, “Rhea, you need to grow up and take responsibility for yourself”. I shut up immediately. While there probably is a kinder or more loving way to communicate this message to me, tough love is something I have always responded too. In that moment, I needed that tough love.

So, I needed to own up to my actions. I needed to take responsibility for myself. I started first by cutting out the people who were triggering me to react like this. I used to say I would put them in “time-out” but now, being a bit more mature than that, I know I just needed some space to think. It was a couple months before I realized where I had messed up with my family. I had reasons to act in the terrible way I did (given my history of emotional/psychological abuse and the fact that I was grieving my dads death) but that cannot be an excuse to being a shitty person to the people around me.

Everyone has a life that we know nothing about. I was 24 long years of pain and confusion. Everyone has hurt and pain and not many people acknowledge it and try to change it. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be kind because I know people are hurting. I’m not going to operate from my hurt because that only ends up hurting more people. I want to be detached from this pain game of stabbing one another in an argument. I want to be understanding not judgmental of people reacting to pain. So I had to stop making my pain an excuse, heal it finally, deal with my triggers and then be better. (not that I’m all the way there yet, but the progress is definitely evident)

I assume everyone around me is a bleeding mess. Why? Because when I was a bleeding mess I was in good company. I had a lot of people who acted the way I acted, when I retold the story of my accident without taking responsibility for my emotions people agreed with me and understood me. When I started to heal, and accept my fault, and actually try to change, not many people understood that. When I tried reacting to my problems differently it was like a whole new world opened up for me.

So how does one take responsibility for one’s self? I don’t fully know the answer but I’ll tell you where I started.

  1. Feed and water myself every day.
  • This is taking responsibility for your body. You have to eat and drink water everyday.

2.   Sleep well.

  • This is taking responsibly for your energy. Plus sleep is wonderful and healing so don’t skip out on it. 

3.   Commit to a morning routine.

  • This is taking responsibility for your mind. Giving yourself a chance to wake up and be ready for the challenges ahead facing your own healing. I find this to be crucial to every adults life.

4.   Learn new things.

  • expanding your knowledge, expands your consciousness which helps you see who you are and where you need to change. Learn philosophy, history, cosmology, gardening, storm chasing, anything that keeps you grounded. Learning about the world and its history will help you understand yourself.

5.   Get exercise

  • Just take a walk. I promise you’ll feel better. Sun, movement, sweat. It’s good for the mind. Pushing thorough pain and resistance in your physical body is what helps you conquer the pain and resistance in your mental state.

Taking responsibility for your physical wellbeing is where you start. Once you start to feel good, you’ll emotional problems will bubble up, you’ll get triggered, you’ll react, but you’ll feel so good in your body that you might get the chance to think about a new reaction before you react in your normal way. 

I’m not perfect at this stuff but I try. I consider feeding and watering myself to be an annoying daily maintenance, but this taking responsibility for myself. I am committed to healing, and I will do the things I need to do to heal.

I think Social Media Sucks.

True Statement – Social Media is a waste of time. I refuse to believe I need it in any form. I don’t need it to market myself, I don’t need it to connect, and I don’t need it for inspiration or encouragement. I find that else where.

Since deactivating Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram two weeks ago, I can truly say I feel free. Do you know how long it’s been since anyone has force fed me their opinions on Trump/politics? Do you know how long it’s been since someone has shown me before and after pictures of their weight loss progress? Do you know how long its been since someone tried to scare me about measles, global warming, or child/pet abusers caught on tape? I haven’t seen a physical fight, bare booty, or perfect family in two whole weeks since disconnecting from the virtual reality of social media.

I see imperfect people, knocking over displays in the grocery store, locking their kids in their cars, and pouting through their days. Normal imperfect people like me. I’m not flooded with happy smiling faces, and other peoples complaints about their normal boring lives, no perfection to witness, only real life reality.

I was waiting in a lobby and witnesses a couple whisper-fighting, I heard parents discussing their 18 year old son and how they will handle his independence, and I watched a socially anxious dude not hear his name being called and freaking out when he got skipped. It was beautiful.

No  fake world of social media here to bury myself into. Only a truly entertaining reality. I don’t know what’s happening in my friends lives until I see them in real life, so now we have things to talk about. Further, I realize who are actually my friends in real life, very few of the 100’s I pretend to know. I read books now, lots of them. Consuming them at an intense speed. I process my thoughts instead of posting them. I’m more content, more safe, more at home with my loneliness now that there is no where to run to (even though social media is the perfect place to remind me of just how lonely I am). I’m not itching for a like, attention or validation. I haven’t taken a selfie in a month or so. I don’t even care what I look like. It’s so wonderfully free. I may never come back. I can’t see a reason to do so.

Social Media sucks, delete it. You wont regret it.

Bad Habits

I’ll admit it. I’ve been feeling pretty down these days. I’m upset about it too. I was on a very steady incline, not allowing myself to become overwhelmed by my increasing energy and happiness until I reached the peak of my mood. In the past, I would have overwhelmed myself with every activity and project, and seeing people, and being social, and trying to impress my children, and marketing my business, and spending spending spending until I was broke. This would all work for a week or so, until my energy crashed and I was spiraling into an equally deep depression. That’s sometimes how being bipolar works. If I’m not aware of how to manage my high times, meaning keeping my energy in check, not getting too excited about things (even ideas), being sure to still schedule lots of rest (and taking it!), and staying on my routine, I’ll go go go until I run myself into a wall.

So instead with all that extra energy, I spring cleaned my house, I prepped a months worth of dinners, I have taken daily walks, I went to the dollar store and bought some things to organize, I organized! I did all the good things for me. I didn’t stay up late talking to people I know when I couldn’t sleep because of the hypo mania, I read. I didn’t run every morning and hurt myself with muscle cramps or sore knees after a 20 minute jog, I walked. I handled myself gently, which I honestly think is the biggest lesson I have learned during this time that I have been healing. I was raised by ministers who were always on. They would get exhausted once all the people left and they had no one to impress. They hid in their room and recharged, every day, leaving me lonely and emotionally neglected. Why then as an adult was I trying to function the same way? Well, we replicate what we see, simple as that. So it’s time for me to break my bad habits.

For the past couple days I have been down. Well, not even down so much, just neutral. When you have been flying through the highs of hypomania, a neutral mood can feel depressing.  This gets confusing for bipolar people who are not as emotionally intelligent as I have become. That’s only because I have been reading and reading and reading about being bipolar so I can actually do something useful with myself and not be a slave to the emotional rollercoaster I navigate every day. 

This morning I woke up “unhappy”. What was I really feeling? I go through the emotional rolodex, I listen to the conversation in my head, I ask myself questions. Did I have any complaints? No, my life isn’t exceptionally difficult right now so it’s not that I’m physically going through anything hard. Was I unhappy with my spouse? No, he’s been dealing with his own healing but there is no distance I feel between us, we are happy and loving and giving to each other. I’m prepared for the coming weeks, I have my ducks in order so to speak, SO WHAT IS IT? Why am I so unhappy…

While the kids are eating breakfast, I’m in my room talking to myself. As of two weeks ago, I deleted all my social media because it was really putting a wrench in my mornings. Instead of having important conversations like the one I’m about to tell you, I’d be scrolling through people’s fake happy lives and feeling more miserable about myself, because I felt miserable. The negative feedback loop. Instead, I’m talking to myself now. Why are you unhappy Rhea? How can we get through this day and still show up for the people who love us while being true to our own feelings and not masking ourselves for others. So I think, I’ll get myself McDonald’s to feel better about starting my day… Now stop there… There is nothing wrong with eating foods you like, but I unfortunately have a very emotional relationship with McDonald’s breakfast menu. And I have been acutely aware over these last months or so of my emotional eating habits. It all started when I was in my pre-teens. As I was becoming aware of the little time I had with my mother on the weekends, I started to act out whenever my dad would come to pick me up. One time, I locked myself in the bathroom. It was a good trick to get him into my house, which only felt awkward and wrong to me once it actually happened. He asked me to come out calmly. I expected him to bust in the door, but he just sat outside and talked to me.

“Why won’t you come out?”
“I don’t want to leave.”
“I’ll buy you McDonald’s, anything you want, if you come out please?”
“…… Ok”

That’s basically how it went. I’m easily swayed by food. He bought me a Bacon Egg and Cheese Bagel sandwich from McDonalds, it had ranch on it, when they discontinued it I cried. He started to do that for me every Sunday, which became a ritual I looked forward too. I hated leaving my mom’s house, but looking forward to fast food allowed me to forget about that.

A clever ploy to get an obstinate child to cooperate, but it wasn’t what I truly needed in that moment. My dad never asked me what got me to lock myself in the bathroom in the first place. To be honest, my dad was never all that comfortable talking to me about my emotions to begin with. This need of mine, an emotional connection with my father, was severely neglected.

Fast forward, I’m 18 going on 19. I’m working part time, I have a miserably controlling and judgmental boss who counted my breaks to the second, I’m budding into adulthood, while my parents were desperately freaking out about it, I’m getting my independent wings, working for a church that is abusing my spiritual obedience by volunteering me to do hard physical labor for free weekly, and I’m beginning to fall in love with someone everyone told me was bad for me. Oh! and I’m trying to take a full course-load of college… for fun because I had no purpose for my life. Emotionally, I’m a wreck. I wake up every morning and dread my 7:00am class. So instead of going, I hide in my car at the closest McDonalds (back when GPS wasn’t so accurate and it would still look like I’m at the college building, because my parents would check). I had stress migraines so bad that I ended up going to the ER for them. I had finally had enough with work, so I stopped showing up and promptly got fired.  I had $500 left in my bank account, that I was saving to buy myself a camera, so I could make money working for myself. Within a 3 month span, without the emotional awareness to see that I was trying to handle an intense amount of stress, I’d spend all my money on fast food breakfasts, pretending I was at college. No one knew, no one cared when I got fired, no one cared when I failed college, no one cared when I was broke. Should they care? In reality, no, but I find it hard to swallow that my dad and step mom didn’t have any questions for me when I suddenly felt the need to sell my first car, cause I no longer could afford it. They didn’t even give me a lecture on “This is why we work, to be responsible for our possessions.” Strange, that we never talked about anything.

I had maintained that emotional eating habit until even now. I’m a sucker for fast food breakfast. I have a hard time staying ahead financially (now at 26 going on 27) because I can’t unnecessarily spending money on fast food! This year though, I am focused on this problem of mine. I started meal prepping to take away the convenience-factor, I started buying ahead and buying snacks I liked, not necessarily the healthiest thing for me. Why? Because I know I am an emotional eater. It’s going to happen, emotions will come, and I’d rather be prepared, instead of being tempted to spend. it’s worked out well for me, and I finally feel like I have a small grasp on this, even though I still am working through my emotional triggers.

So why was I unhappy this morning? Well, for the past couple days, I haven’t been waking up early like I normally do (excuse: I was tired, my allergies were coming on making breathing difficult, I have water stuck in my ear, my back feels tight) I haven’t been working out (excuse: I’m tired, yoga videos are boring, the weathers so unpredictable –– haha, cmon Rhea!) I haven’t been eating well (excuse: it’s the end of the month, so I’m eating what we have until I get to the store again, following my routine so I can save money) and if we are being wholly truthful, the conversation in my head has been hostile because of all this. I’ve changed the way I talk to myself, drastically. I’m finally at a place that I can tell my mind to shut up and stay quiet when I start to get mean to myself, still working on the whole, “now say something nice to yourself” bit but we are getting there. These past three days, I’ve been slipping, I notice all my bad habits now. I’ve been calling myself out, so to speak, but that’s not how you get someone to change. That’s just how to make someone feel judged.

I’ve been judging myself for my lack of energy, that’s what was making myself unhappy, because in the past low energy = low productivity and I like to be a productive person. That seems silly. That also seems like something I could change or work around now that I have identified it. The only reason I was even able to identify it though is because I didn’t follow through with my normal bad habit of eating to distract myself from my emotions. I sat in that uncomfortable bad mood and moved my body, which moves the energy. I got in the sun, I pushed through pain, I told dragged my miserable self through our new found healthy habits!

Instead of driving to McDonalds, I walked my kids to school (solving the activity problem I was having) I made myself coffee and a nice bowl of weed to cushion my emotions while I worked through them (solving my comfort issue with handling these things) I wrote a blog about it (solving my productivity judgments of myself) and now I have the energy to go do some laundry (which is the lowest energy chore I really have as a mother, but at least I’m still feeling responsible and productive). I’m doing good by myself, even if from the outside I don’t look like I’m doing much. When I feel better, I’ll run laps around them… just watch.

Don’t give into to the need for pleasure.
Allow yourself to be uncomfortable.
Dig a little deeper into that emotion by asking yourself more questions.
Change your habits, walk out the solutions.
Find longer-lasting happiness.

That’s the formula to working through emotional triggers. At least, this is how I work through my emotional triggers. Here’s to healing!

 

What If No One Cared?

I’m a supernaturally creative person. I’m never short of good ideas. I’m used to being acknowledged for my creative ideas. I’m used to being wanted for my insights. I’m used to being looked up to on what to do. I’m used to being taken from and rarely given. I’ve supported a lot of people. I’ve fed most of my enemies. I have become weak in front of people who could care less if I lived or died.

So what happens then when giving all of yourself no longer brings the company you desire. What if reaching out was only futile and texts never returned answered. WHAT IF NO ONE CARED? How would you keep moving forward?

I have been doing this mental exercise to help me become more emotionally independent. I pretend no one exists. I might close the door to my room and pretend absolutely nothing is on the other side of my walls. What would I do if no one cared? What would I do if I was completely alone with all the power to my own happiness? I’d paint my nails regularly, and read books quicker, and keep my house clean. I’d listen to music and learn to play my favorite songs. I’d draw, I’d paint, I’d take walks and plant flowers.

And no one would know. They would only know if they came here and visited me.

That’s where social media tricks us into thinking we need to keep everyone updated on our lives. But how surprised would they be if we were able to tell them all that’s happening while we were away. What if my life were actually a mystery? Would they care then? Maybe I’d feel less sad if I stopped seeing such fake happy faces? I’m apart of some groups on Facebook for mental illness. I find it curious how often people post about how miserable and lonely they are and when I click through to their profile, I’d never be able to tell. It’s all posed happy faces, filters and dog ears, and facetune. No one knows how miserable we all are cause no one cares to talk about it. Even further, no one wants to listen to it either. So we are all stuck in this cycle of silent suffering.

I ask myself if anyone will come to visit me when I’m gone from the virtual world. Would anyone ask where I went? Would anyone text me to be sure I’m ok? Truthfully, it doesnt matter, or at least it can’t because what if no one cared? Would I keep going? Would I keep living a happy life if I never showed anyone?

I don’t want to sound like I’m waving a “No one cares about me” flag, because that’s not what I’m saying. I have wonderful supportive relationships of people who do really love me and I know it and feel it. They come and visit me, they are here in my home, in front of my face with hands I can touch and laughter I can hear and hungry bellies I can fill. I’ve just decided that’s enough for now. I don’t need to pretend anyone else likes me because they “like” my posts. That’s not real. As soon as I stopped posting, I stopped believing they care and that is what I’m getting at. It hurt for a second but only because I knew this was always the truth. Those people I cared about in the virtual world, they like EVERYTHING (even the people they talk shit about) and I’m not just some common person. I’m special and unique and the people who are close to me know that as well. By stepping away I’m leaving the vibration of narcisstic-attention-seekers and superficial-post-likers. I don’t need to be “liked” anymore.

I’m gonna be ok out here. All on my own. I’m still doing shit, creating shit, writing shit, feeling like the shit. So I’m good. I’m happy. Thanks for caring.

I’m a renegade.

Art by: Stefan Koidl

 

I’m a renegade –
a person who deserts and betrays an organization, country, or set of principles.

I’m a renegade of the Christian religion.
I’m a renegade of Jesus.
Fuck Jesus. Fuck the resurrection. Fuck the transfiguration.
Fuck him.

I’m a renegade of hope.
I’m a renegade of heaven.
I’m a renegade of hell.
I’m a renegade of sin.
I’m a renegade of honoring your father and mother.
Fuck honor. Fuck parental respect.
Fuck the parents who don’t earn their child’s trust and respect.
Fuck the parents who abuse the minds of children.

I’m a renegade of Sunday School.
I’m a  renegade of pastors.
I’m a renegade of holiness.
I’m a renegade of righteousness.
I’m a renegade of elitists.
I’m a  renegade of A-teams.
Fuck A-teams, Fuck people who think they are better
Fuck them.

I’m a renegade of control.
I’m a renegade of keeping to myself
I’m a renegade of world peace.
Fuck world peace.
Fuck agreeing to disagree
Fuck the people afraid of confrontation.
Fuck not fighting for your beliefs. 

I’m a renegade of secrets
I’m a renegade of laws
I’m a renegade of rules
I’m a renegade of quiet.
Fuck being quiet. Fuck not screaming the truth
Fuck being silent.

I’m a renegade.
I will not be controlled.
I know the truth and I’m coming for you.

Thoughts on Depersonalization.

Photo is the cover of the graphic novel, Fight Club 2, written by Chuck Palahniuk, illustrated by  Cameron Stewart, and David W. Mack

Trigger Warning: mention of suicide and self harm.

The first time I felt it I was staring at my favorite blanket I have hung on my wall that I bought myself for my birthday. I’m the type of person who feels a connection with my possessions. My clothes make me feel something, my decor makes me feel something, my blankets make me feel something. I know they are mine. I remember the connection I had with it when I gave the teller my money. But this day, I walked into my house and felt nothing. I didn’t even feel like I was in my own home. I could remember buying it, but it’s like it wasn’t my memory.  If I looked in the mirror I wouldn’t recognize my face. I would know its me, but I wouldn’t feel that thing that makes you a person. That feeling that there is life in my veins. I’m just completely disconnected.

It’s hard to describe depersonalization exactly. My best way to describe it is, it feels like when you drive home from work one day, and pull into your garage and you think, whoa how did I get here and not crash! Was I even paying attention? Is this even my house! Only when you are depersonalizing, you can’t just shake it off and connect, you just sit behind your eyes and wait for the connection to happen again. It’s frustrating when I’m with my kids and I know they are looking for something from me that I cannot give them, emotional connection. In a moment of depersonalization it is impossible for me to connect, so I have ways of faking it for them while they are young. Fake smiles, connected responses. I’m just mothering on auto-pilot hoping that they don’t notice for now. It’s not like I can control this. 

It’s not fun, its not cute, it’s mostly harmless, but its scary as fuck. There isn’t a medication to make you come back to reality, you just float there. Your spirit isn’t connected to your body and your mind is trying to talk the three of you through it.

I walk around my house and think “I know this is my couch. I don’t recognize this couch but I know its mine I have the receipt. I know this is my home. It doesn’t feel like my home but I can check my bank account to know I pay my mortgage.” Depersonalization is just like the movie Total Recall. You have all these memories but you question if they are truly yours. Maybe someone just downloaded them into your head. 

This is a symptom of psychological abuse people don’t really know about. Maybe people don’t even know this is happening because in the culture we live in we are constantly disconnected from reality and connecting to our phones, scrolling socials and distracting ourselves from our pain. For me, its triggered by stress and I had a very stressful day yesterday. It doesn’t happen a lot but I am depersonalized right now. I’m slowly coming back to the present. Describing what it feels like is helpful.

I have depersonalized while driving. Mostly when I have been at that dangerous-suicidal level of depression. I can hear myself having suicidal thoughts but it’s like my spirit cannot talk back to my mind and tell myself no. Sometimes I wonder how dangerous that is. I’m not suicidal today though, or lately so I’m not going to fear it. I can only be aware this happens to me.

The biggest problem for me is the inability to emotionally connect. I’m personally an emotionally dependent person (working on more self reliance) so when I know I want to connect with someone and cant, it enrages me. And I can’t bring myself down from the rage because I cannot find empathy in my heart. It’s like I am split, disconnected, turned off? All those things, together and separately.

I don’t have any helpful tips yet except to maybe find something real. Once I was so scared while I was depersonalized that I had to force myself to go outside and stand in the sun. I could only know that the sun is real. Everything else seemed like a lie. It was the summer and the pebbles in my back yard were absorbing all the heat of a 100*F day. I stood on the pebbles and waited until I felt them burning my feet. I wonder if that Kanye song “Ghost Town” is describing depersonalization. Some people hurt themselves when they cannot connect. I could understand that entirely. Pain is something powerful. Today I played my guitar for the first time since 2010 and the pain in my fingers from playing without callouses was enough to bring me back to the present for a while. See, not all pain is to be avoided. So don’t avoid it. 

When God Stopped Making Sense.

Photo is the cover of the Japanese version of the novel “VALIS” by Phillip K Dick, which are the quotes referenced in the blog below.

“Perhaps this is the bottom line to mental illness: incomprehensible events occur; your life becomes a bin for hoax-like fluctuations of what used to be reality. And not only that — as if that weren’t enough — but you … ponder forever over these fluctuations in an effort to order them into a coherency, when in fact the only sense they make is the sense you impose on them, out of necessity to restore everything into shapes and processes you can recognize. The first thing to depart in mental illness is the familiar. And what takes its place is bad news because not only can you not understand it, you also cannot communicate it to other people. The madman experiences something, but what it is or where it comes from he does not know.”
-Phillip K Dick.

This quote made me realize why I suddenly “fell off the path” of religion, how my life got turned upside and nothing made sense, how my eyes sprang open in the face of reality. Every time I try to close my eyes again the universe is there to rip my eyes open and remind me to pay attention. I have been mentally ill for a long time. I can see the signs in myself as young as 6 years old. But the incomprehensible event, the thing that took that budding illness and forced into a chaotic blossom, was when my step mom died of cancer, 5 years ago.

This was my car crash. This is when familiarity left me. This is when everything stopped making sense. My step-mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and chose not to treat it, per my father’s insistence. Why? They believed “God” would heal her, and I believed it too. I prayed for her, worried for her, obtained an eating disorder I disguised as fasting for her. I hoped and hoped and had faith that God would heal her.

Then one day, I get the call that she has broken her hip, they cannot do surgery to save her because her cancer is so extensive, and within three days she was gone. On that day, god died too. I still hated her on the day she died. We had so much animosity between us. I felt my sin, aka my angry feelings toward her, caused her to die. I didn’t know it yet, but I was so angry because she was a narcissist who psychologically abused me.

After her death, I posted weird things on facebook. I talked about how she was “an example of love” and that she “gave her heart to the people around her” because that’s how she wanted people to perceive her, but in my heart I knew the truth. She was a hypocrite, she invited both of the people who sexually assaulted me into our home and put us in the shower together, she would spend hours on the phone “witnessing” to someone all the while she was ignoring me and my deepening depression which led me to attempting suicide, she cuddled homeless kids on the street and she would smack me when I got an attitude. I didn’t even have my eyes opened to what really happened to me until probably a month ago. I had no idea this was happening, because I was a child and impressionable and trusting. Most of the abuse she inflicted on me she disguised with Bible verses and Christian-ese. I knew she was a ‘good christian’ but I also knew she was my evil step mother who I hated. I was raised in such a strict religious home, that I willingly spent a year with a Christian-cult and furthered the psychological damage she’d inflicted by willingly participating in thought reform. It’s taken me eight years now to fully understand reality. There was been an intense amount of therapy I have put myself through to finally teach myself the truth about the world instead of the religious lies that were being fed to me.

But then my dad died. Just one day, blood clot travelled up form his knee and lodged in his heart. He was gone. Forever.

Not two weeks before his passing I told my husband I was finally ready to talk about my feelings towards my step-mom and my changing mind about religion. I never called my dad and set up that date. My biggest regret of my life. At this point, I’d already accepted heaven did not exist. So then again, my world shakes and falls apart. My holy and perfect father was now a soul with no where to go. Until I found out the real reason him and my mom divorced, he had cheated on her, with a prostitute. This fucked me up because my whole life my step-mom told me it was my older brother’s fault my parents got divorced. This gave me so many angry emotions for my brother that weren’t even justified.  This is the moment I really started to operate from the unhealthiest sides of my brain. How could my dad just suddenly be gone? How could he suddenly be unholy, he was perfect to me? How could the smoke of our happy religious life be clearing and reality be so painful and cold and dirty. Just like when we cleaned his house after he died. My child hood home was covered in dirt, infested with cockroaches, and altogether the alternate reality of my ‘good’ childhood.

“Just tell me why; why the fucking why?” To which the universe would hollowly respond, “My ways cannot be known, oh man.” Which is to say, “My ways do not make sense, nor do the ways of those who dwell in me.”
-Phillip K Dick

This is the quote that finally led me to the path of healing. Nothing is meant to make sense. Even though my unhealthy brain tells me, it makes sense because God cannot exist. This is just “the only sense they make is the sense you impose on them, out of necessity to restore everything into shapes and processes you can recognize.” Still I say, the world is full of so much chaos, so much malevolence, so much pain, there is absolutely who no one can truly believe in the “good God” of the christian Bible without their eyes closed to reality and their fingers in their ears shutting out the truth. It’s just not possible. Unless of course, the Gnostics were correct in saying the God of this world is actually terribly evil. I could believe that, personally.

I’m here now, in a state of acceptance. I have closed the mouth of my brain and allowed the rest of my life to play out as it will. I don’t want to keep obsessing over the pain. I know the story is not over for me. I know somethings don’t make sense anymore, but that’s just cause the chapter hasn’t ended. Sometimes plot lines are farther reaching than a year or two in life.

My parents’ death opened my eyes to what the world really is. How life is actually very lonely and no one really wants to be around the realist. You have to be a little crazy in order to stomach this bitter pill of existence every day. Some people use religion, I use my mental illness, some people just numb themselves to reality, that’s cool too.

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”
-Phillip K Dick

The point I’m at now in my life is that, everyone is broken. The unfortunate truth for someone like me is that my parents thought they were healed because they had “Jesus in their hearts” but that’s not real healing. It’s throwing a “scripture rug” over the stain on the carpet of reality. You gotta clean that shit up! (I’m cleaning my shit up with the Self-Authoring Suite by Jordan Peterson which I highly recommend!)

So here’s to cleaning our carpets and actually dealing with what happened in our lives. If you’re along for the journey, I’ll tell you all about what’s happening to me and how I am overcoming. Someone had to climb Mt Everest first. I just wonder if they were bipolar too and entered into a crippling depression monthly? Stay tuned.