Striving to be

I’m at a place now where instead of choosing to be alive, I’m looking to choose to be happy. I honestly didn’t expect to make it here and I’m terrified that I’m still teetering on the edge, but seeing that option in front me is comforting. It’s a visible step forward.

Things are still hard, but in a different way. Over the past couple of months, I’ve gradually cut more and more people out of my life. I could barely manage the everyday interactions I was having, so I canceled plans, I stopped responding to messages, I spent as much time by myself as I could. Now that I’m finally ready to stop moping around, I’m finding myself unusually alone.

Its not the worst problem in the world to have though. Part of where I am now is little by little understanding the things that take me to a dark place, working not to overreact, and striving to be happy regardless of circumstance. Because I can’t guarantee that my life won’t sink to shit ever again and I want to be ready.

I’m not quite there yet, but having the option in front of me means that I’m moving forward. Here’s hoping I continue in that direction.

Sundays

I wake up on Sundays with my heart racing, a pit in my stomach.

It’s a habit now.

Another week is coming, but what have I accomplished this week? What have I accomplished this weekend? The obsessions never stop.

Things have settled down now. I know I’m on the upswing, but cycles of anxiety grasp at every thought. The meaningless worries, which used to sit in the back of my mind, seem to have nestled in and made their home. No amount of mental power will make them budge.

I’m trying to take things one step at a time. To appreciate the glimpses of light in every day, but I can’t help but dwell on the negatives. My brain seems to wander in search of the tiniest anxieties I’ve been running around to avoid. Last week, I couldn’t breathe. I thought my asthma had finally heard about LA smog. But it was just anxiety. I guess my subconscious knows, because the nightmares haven’t stopped in weeks. Swarming me every night and with every nap. Ironic since sleeping is how I used to avoid the world.

I’ll be patient.

I’ve gotten to the point where the me I’m trying to hide doesn’t slip out as often. I walk around with smiles, suspiciously positive retorts to the day old “how are you?” Things are seemingly back to normal. And I haven’t cut in a month. But every second of every day still feels like a war. To not get sucked in again, and to forgive myself when I do.

Sundays though. Sundays I aim for survival. Sundays I don’t make plans because I don’t know if I can live up to them, but when the day comes, the loneliness settles in. I walk around with a tightness in my chest, an urge to throw everything up. Sundays I despise, but secretly wish would continue forever.

Today, I’m remembering to breathe, be patient, and practice a little bit of metta.

Recovery

Recovery feels like finally realizing that the sun is behind the clouds and that its been there all along. But it’s not the same thing as seeing the sun.

Recovery is acknowledging that your life is worth it and fighting like hell every second to remember that. Refusing the vicious thoughts and temptations you used to rely on. Resisting the ease of slipping into a dark hole and lying there because it’s easier not to get up.

Recovery is struggling to remember that there is good in every moment even if you can’t see it right now. It’s being grateful for the ten minutes of every day that you have a smile on your face and it’s real.

But that sinking feeling in your chest is still there. Once in awhile it gets a little bit lighter, but you know that it’s there. You have to remember that those dark habits you relied on have consequences. So now before you reach for your razor, you stop, you breathe, count to ten, think of alternatives. You remember that people care. You remember that you should care.

Recovery is knowing that the sun is there, but fighting every second just to catch a glimpse. And every time you lose sight of it, you’re filled with terror.

Forgive yourself. Be kind. Be patient. Someday, every day will be filled with sun.

that sinking feeling

Every second of every day, I feel like I’m drowning. Like my heart’s about to burst and nothing I can do is gonna stop it. And all I can do is cry when I’m alone and put on a smile, patch myself up, and hope that as little as possible of me seeps out.

I wish that I were stronger. That I could handle life like an adult. That I could feel that warm glow from deep inside knowing that everything’s gonna be alright. I can’t i can’t i can’t. I can’t breathe anymore. And I think that just one more little nudge would send me tumbling.

Taking the First Step

2016 is has been a doozy of a year. It started off okay, got really really good, took a minor turn for the worse, and ended up in the midst of a perfect storm clearing a massive path of destruction. So as I head into 2017, I am partially homeless, driving a car I probably shouldn’t be driving, and a $1,200 laptop out. That, and I’ve called about 15 therapists at this point and still have no appointment.

But to be fair, here are some things that went really well in 2016. I graduated college with a small group of friends that mean the world to me and have held my hand through some really tough times. I had a GPA that wasn’t superb but far better than what I would have imagined for myself a couple years ago. I spent the summer at home building a relationship with my family that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I moved across the country by myself, started a job that I’m actually pretty happy with, and found a supportive group of friends in a city where I expected to be very lonely. And I finished my first rotation in a place that I’m pretty proud of.

So even though 2016 ended up in the throes of a Shakespeare “comedy”, I don’t know if I can say that it was really a bad year, maybe just one of a lot of lessons learned. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

I do know that I have some changes to make going into the new year. Because I objectively haven’t been taking care of myself and that should always be my first priority. A lot of that comes from the fucked up perspective I have about money and spending. And while I know that most of these thoughts are incredibly unhealthy, I don’t talk about them because I feel like very few could comprehend the experiences that led to this. So these thoughts linger and suck me dry, and they guide me toward skewed decisions that put me in terrible situations.

My New Year’s resolution is to stop being so hard on myself and to treat myself well. To make the choices that take care of me mentally and physically. To splurge on me when I’m down and out. Because I’ve learned that in the long run, trying to skimp on these things costs me more in the long run. Because I wake up at 5am and work 65 hours a week and deserve nice things once in awhile.

Because I deserve to be happy.

I can see the light. I know that everything that has happened is fixable. Soon, I’ll have a home. I’ll sign my lease over. I’ll get my car and my laptop fixed. I can stop commuting 80 miles  a day. I’ll go see my family and we’ll spend a week in Taiwan together. Things will look up.

2017 is going to be a good one because I’m going to make it a good one.

(Not) Caring

There are very few things in life that I care about now. Very few. I guess its a part of growing up. You figure out what really matters and what doesn’t. But I think I’ve gone a little overboard.

I think I used to care a little too much. And I’ve spent the past few years distancing myself from feelings. I thought that they made me weak. I thought that if I were to become apathetic to everything, than I would be impenetrable.

But its impossible not to feel. At least its impossible for me. Because I still obsess. I obsess and I obsess. And I hurt. Not for the things that used to consume me. But for the things that I have found to truly matter to me. And it makes this hurt so much more intense. Because I know its real.

It’s a good thing. And a bad thing. I need to learn how to deal with my emotions in a healthy way. I need to stop going to extremes. Because there is really no good end to this.

Why?

We keep asking why as if it were the most important thing in the world. As if unraveling this mystery would somehow bring everyone back or prevent the next tragedy. It won’t. It’s partly because of our innate nature as humans to assume that there is a logic behind everything. And it’s partly because we just feel helpless. Because we feel we are owed an explanation, because we feel the victims are owed an explanation, because we feel that understanding may somehow help us fix the problem.

But I’m done. I don’t care why. And I think it’s not only unnecessary, but dangerous to keep digging. Because shootings are never logical. Nothing justifies murder in any case, but certainly nothing justifies the murder of innocent strangers. And when there is a motive behind such an act, it is the very intent of the shooter to have us analyze and analyze until his or her intentions are known. And we walk right into it. Other times, there is no motive. And it’s merely somebody who had a psychotic break. In any case, whatever explanation we come up with will never be enough. Nothing justifies murder.

We need to stop. We need to become obsessed with something else. Something that actually honors the victims. Like I don’t know, maybe taking decisive steps toward gun control to prevent anybody who gets a little urge to buy a fucking assault weapon? Or getting rid of legislation that justifies discrimination against LGBTQIA and other minorities? We need to get angry. We are now so numb to tragedy that a mass shooting will leave us reeling for a couple days or maybe weeks and then we forget. We forget the pain endured by mothers and fathers, husbands and daughters, sons and daughters. We forget the fear that these victims felt in the last moments of their lives. We forget the sacrifices that individuals may have made for their loved ones. We forget all the potential each of these individuals had and the gaping emptiness that their worlds, our worlds, are left with. And when we forget these things, are we even really human anymore?

TL;DR I’m fucking pissed.