And here I am. Alone. Trying to remember pain is not the enemy. That this sudden flare up isn’t going to last forever. That my life isn’t pointless. That it isn’t hopeless. 

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Life Lately

Lately things have been better in so many ways…but in other ways they’ve also gotten worse. Now that the antidepressants are out of my system I have gone back to feeling. I’ve rejoined the world. I’ve been able to remember myself. To remember who I am. And everyday I am more grateful for that fact.

Though I wouldn’t change anything about the past few months, getting off cymbalta was the best decision I’ve made in years, this new found sight has also allowed PTSD to come back full force. The reality is almost everyday something ends up triggering me.

For example, a friend, has invited me to stay down at his place, we are both stargazers–though I suspect he is less interested than I am in staring at the stars, and he invited me to stay at his place for the solar eclipse and the preceding meteor shower.

I decided not to go. Then he asked me again. I said I would consider and since that moment I have been in a state of panic and terror. I haven’t had good experiences with men and the last guys house I stayed over at became a living nightmare. To even consider it takes a level of trust I never thought I would ever allow myself to feel again for a guy.

I’ve spent the last hour trying to talk myself down from this edge. Spent the last hour reminding myself that even though I am reliving countless terrors in my mind, I am not who I was. He is nothing like anyone I’ve trusted before and we’ve been friends for awhile now.

He’s suggested that one day when or rather if I am ever ready to we could become more than that. But he’s never pushed me. Never forced me into anything. Never pressured me–except to read Contact by Carl Sagan which he was completely right about, it is an amazing story.

This fear I’m feeling now will end up becoming just something else I’ve overcome, one day. This will get easier. Of that, I am certain.

I am

      devastated. 

Grief-stricken 

Alone. 

Alone

Alone 

     alone in dealing with this. 

                            Again. 

am 

alone. 

Relapsing. 

Terror and panic say I need to run. 

                  ….or at least escape……

Drowning. 

And what do they say? 

Think happy thoughts and it won’t happen again. 

All

As I 

am dragged 

  back

      into the 

               nightmares 

             that were once my daily reality.  

The ones each one let happen.  

What We Don’t Say

We hide from ourselves. We fear not only our own darkness but our light. Our vulnerabilities lead to insecurities and we believe them to be weaknesses. Yet, the secret is they are our greatest untapped strength. Yet, there’s nothing that requires more strength than owning your flawed, imperfect human soul. And don’t let them fill you, nothing requires as much courage as admitting you’re flawed, that you’ve been broken, that you need help. That you’re scared. The greatest kept secret is that we’re all scared and yet vey few of us are brave enough to admit that. No matter where you are in life you do not have all the answers.  You can’t. You never will. These things, this fear, our vulnerabilities we don’t talk about. This is something that needs to change. Stop being paralyzed by fear and let it drive you forward. 

On My Mind: Antidepressants, Inner Certainty, and Answering A Call

Have you ever experienced a strong but calming certainty take root in the pit of your stomach; replacing the anxiety and depression and fear that usually dwells, churning inside you like lava. Or raging beneath your skin, like a storm in turbulent water. It is as if the lava suddenly cools. The storm on the raging sea, calms.

And what had been a constantly seething and turbulent monstrosity that fed on the indecision and depression and uncertainty and fear and anxiety about everything; about the direction of your path, about your life, about success, about the past, about the pain, about the loss–about everything that haunted you late night, or at 3AM–calms.

That monster, be it a raging ocean inside you, or churning lava forcing its way out, lived and waited, stronger than you, it took over everything; until bit by bit, you lost who you were–until, suddenly, the ocean calms. The lava cooled. Your head clears. Everything suddenly fell silent and everything could almost be described as feeling safe. The rage and fear became quiet, as the molten lava that had been eroding you, layer by layer, began to harden and soften into stone. The certainty made everything less severe. You knew without a shadow of the ceaseless doubt that haunted you, that what you were, in this moment doing and being, exactly what you needed.

That certainty became solid ground beneath your feet. Your spinning mind, the unending grey, the demons, the noise…all fell silent. But, not the silent of tension or charged air, the silence of the world after the storm demolishes everything. And with the rain, you found your suffering, your self-hatred, your unending anger and frustration, had begun to drip from you. As if your body was rejecting that poison.

This is a feeling, I hadn’t ever experienced until this past month. First, it was glimpses, these momentary breaks from the turmoil inside me, but in the last few weeks, the certainty has taken root inside me. And what had started out as complete and utter chaos and destruction of my world has become the birthplace of something so much greater than I can yet comprehend.

I don’t force myself to do what I think I should be doing, anymore. All the anger inside me, has soften and all but slipped away. I’m done playing the comparison game–it is one you will only ever loose. I’m done hating myself. And, I’m done with being borderline abusive to myself. I’m just done with pain. I’m done hating my body because it is ‘defective’, I’m done hating every aspect of who I am. Done putting myself beneath others. If something does not feel right, then I won’t be doing it anymore. I’m not going to try and force myself to do what I think I should be doing. Basically, I’m simplifying my life. And, I’m moving on. Whatever calls to me, I now answer.

All of this self-love-revelation-esk stuff has come somewhat out of the blue. It started off as these little decisions–after putting it off, I started watching documentaries that forced me to stop and examine my life; how I live, how I want to live, how I was currently living, and the impact and consequences of my decisions–from what I eat, to what medication I take.

And, in part, these documentaries spurred me into action. The past year, I have spent in relative isolation, clinically depressed and suicidal. I was on insane amounts of pain medication and antidepressants, and yet I was losing days at time, in this grey haze–this fog that muddied my mind. Nothing was working. And, I wanted to die. I wanted to just not exist.

And then, a few weeks ago, the antidepressants I was on began to make my nerve pain 10x worse. I immediately reduced my dose and called my doctor. It’s take about four weeks, but I’m now off all the antidepressants I was on. I’m no longer attempting to stop my chronic pain with insane amounts of prescriptions narcotics that never worked anyways. I’ve been coming at pain management and depression management from an entirely new point of view, and though the pain is still there and the depression is always going to be with me, I am not suicidal. I am not spending every in bed. I’m not angry. And when I get sad, I’m only sad, I’m not dragged into the depths of despair. And, ironically, I am actually in less pain than I have been in. I’m no longer numb. I’ve actually been relatively happy. For the first time in years, I’m actually okay with everything.

I only recently found out via message boards and various websites that the antidepressant I was on, has caused and continues to cause severe problems for people who are on it for an extended period of time. Fellow people who deal with chronic pain and depression, have reported the same things as me, after awhile of being on this medication, they were all suicidal, more depressed, in more pain, they had no memory, they basically lived in this grey fog–for me, I was floating through days, that became weeks, and weeks that would feel like days. Time was passing by me and I had no ability to actually see anything. I was so severely depressed, I was spending basically everyday in bed, in extreme pain, I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t drawing, everything I had loved–turned into this grey inability to feel anything.

And, then, I started getting these feeling in my legs, hips, arms, body, that felt as if I was being electrocuted. Which was a side effect of Cymbalata (the antidepressant I was on). So, I reduced my dose, talked to my doctor, and I’ve now been off it for a week. All of this happened because I started listening to what I felt was right for me. And, the difference it has made in my life is nothing short of a revelation.

And, now with a clear head, and still hurting body, I’ve resolved to listen to that inner voice I used to drown out with shoulds and have-tos. Don’t force yourself to do what you think you should be doing. Make life work for you. Find things that make your soul sing. And seek out those things. Be happy, when you can. Don’t be scared of anger. And if you’re taking antidepressants, and you’re still living in a grey world, losing time, forgetting days, and still suicidal, talk to your doctor and maybe do some research on what you’re taking. It may be time to consider other options to treat your depression or anxiety (of which I have both–and also PTSD which is a whole other story) but consider these things WITH your doctor. You can not just stop medication without him or her knowing that is incredibly dangerous. Never stop your medication cold-turkey. And remember, this is just advice based on my own personal experience. Being on antidepressants was the right move for me at one point in my life, but they outgrew their usefulness a long time ago, I just didn’t have the ability to realize it. And, they were only exacerbating everything else which I also didn’t know. Something I didn’t know about many mood-medications was that most of them after a few years stop helping and, for whatever reason, start harming you.

If they work for you, great! But if they don’t, think about whether or not the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

And, regardless of whether or not you are on meds or not, be nice to yourself. Whatever you need to do is to survive is okay. And whatever you are doing right now, is exactly what you need to be doing.  Even if what you are doing is rewatching the same TV series for the third time this year. You are doing the best you can, and all you should ever demand from yourself is to try to improve upon who you were yesterday.

When something calls to you, answer it.

Certain things had been calling to me for years–the most random things, documentaries and books and music, and though this calling was persistent and incessant, I never answered it. I think on some level I believed it would make my life harder–somehow. And I was in such a bad place, (I didn’t know yet but I was experiencing severe adverse symptoms from the antidepressants I was on), that even the idea of possibly considering thinking of answering that call was nothing short of impossible and exhausting.

But, slowly, I began listening.

And, that has changed everything.

 

"I would have you know that, if you kill such a one as I am, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me. Meletus and Anytus will not injure me: they cannot; for it is not in the natureof things that a bad man should injure a better than himself. I do not deny that he may, perhaps, kill him, or drive him into exile, or deprive him of civil rights; and he may imagine, and others may imagine, that he is doing him a great injury: but in that I do not agree with him; for the evil of doing as Anytus is doing -of unjustly taking away another man's life -is greater far."

Socrates