Sometimes, I find myself with an almost insatiable urge to be forlorn. It’s a self destructive desire. I’ve gotten pretty good at seeing it before it becomes a tremendous mess, but it lives within me, and in the fall season, it seems to beg for my attention with the relentless persistence of a politician canvassing the neighborhood.
As I write, it is October, and recently, I have been staring out the peephole of my happy mindful, in-the-moment existence, looking to see what else might be there. No meds, two weeks. Why? Not due to said minfulness, certainly. No, it is the product of an inward drama, a passive agressive power play by overtaxed rational thought, silently provoking cognitive distortion out to play.
Two weeks. By last Friday I was past melancholy. I was a crabby irrational mess. Okay, not to everyone, not all day, not even all that noticeable to most folks, because I have beaten the snot out of that demon, and it only gets a small chance to nip at my heals. But I knew I had to reel myself in.
So, I regrouped, watched some Fox news and taunted my rational thinking right back into working order. By the way, you may want to write that coping skill down to use for yourself, because it is extremely effective.
So what happened? Why did I let myself slide? Is it some kink in the armor common to folks who have endured intense, repeated trauma? I don’t know, but I’m pretty damn well sure its not common for folks who haven’t. It leads me to believe that most people have to wonder… why on earth would anyone ever mess with something that is working well? Why on earth would you want to feel anything other than good? Take your stupid meds!
For me, this fall from grace, this deadly attraction, happens because there is a part of me that is severed when everything is going well. A part that consumed my identity for many, many years. A poet, a dreamer, a beggar, a world traveler, a liar, a thief, a storyteller and a miracle worker. A creature of constant thought. My inner dialog was endless, whether in a class, at a movie, giving a speech. It never stopped. On paper or in my own imaginings, I was constantly creating, pondering, tasking. I have stacks of papers, journals, cocktail napkins filled with thoughts that demanded to be written. Lecture notes that contained nothing of the lecture, except perhaps the homework. Characters ever so slightly less than fictional, words, tender words, jagged words, so many words. Epiphanies. It never stopped. I can’t explain it. I spent so many years in one degree of disassociation or another, it just happened. It defined me through my twenties, where it slowly began giving ground until the scattered bits of my present self learned it was safe to come out and play.
Now, most days, it is literally just a thing of my dreams, and there’s the rub, because this mad creativity was my drug of choice.
I want every reader to understand, we are all so much more than the simple sum of our interactions. We don’t catalog and file our experiences, we live them. We grow, we flounder, we thrive because of or in spite of them, but we are formed of them. I am made of sorrow and joy and both have their place within me. It is through self-isolation and sorrow that I remain able to tap that magnificent state of overwhelming creativity and emotion. I wish cheesecake was my trigger, but, nope.
So, two weeks. 14 days, out of which I manged about two endorphic days of mental nirvana before I caught myself. Impressive really. I’ve never been able to slap myself in the face so quickly before. I think it may have been the last hurrah, but in have thought that before. Either way, I’m not afraid. I can do this. It doesn't have to be easy.
Dear reader, I weave this little piece of me into your life , in faith and trust that you will look at each person with a little bit more awe, a moment’s more thought, and acknowledge that even the most hateful words may come from a place inside someone that is sorry, so very sorry to be so horrid, and screaming to be loved, but at that moment, simply and utterly lost.
I leave you with Robert Frost. I read this in 6th grade. I said to myself, “This poet is inside my head.” It is still one of my favorites, for “not yesterday I learned to know, the love of bare November days.”
My November Guest
MY Sorrow, when she’s here with me, Thinks these dark days of autumn rain Are beautiful as days can be; She loves the bare, the withered tree; She walks the sodden pasture lane.
Her pleasure will not let me stay. She talks and I am fain to list: She’s glad the birds are gone away, She’s glad her simple worsted gray Is silver now with clinging mist.
The desolate, deserted trees, The faded earth, the heavy sky, The beauties she so truly sees, She thinks I have no eye for these, And vexes me for reason why.
Not yesterday I learned to know The love of bare November days Before the coming of the snow, But it were vain to tell her so, And they are better for her praise.
- Robert Frost
Tia lives in Alaska with her husband and three sons. She's hopeful that we can erase the stigma of mental illness so that today's children can grow to be open-minded and accepting adults. Tia loves to sing, knit, crochet, and to make people smile. Her diagnosis is C-PTSD with dissociation, which means she can survive quite nicely through long, boring meetings.
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