Turn On All the Lights

It is as if the corners of my mouth are fatigued. My cheeks have atrophied. The dreary gray of October has drained the life out of my face, like Winifred drains the souls of the children.

I am not quite sad, but less interested. The contrast of colors are muted, blurring one into the next; their vividness passing through the doorway of dull.

Monotony.

Anxiety in the dismal is worse than the frenetic angst. It calls forth demons of the past without warning. Does the smell not exist when the sun is warm or does the sun provide hope and reassurance, its absence known in the bleak fall?

Turn on all the lights.

Wisps

I find myself wandering the halls of my mind, aimless. I have a sense I am searching for a book. A collection of somethings. Perhaps a how to manual?

There are times the shelves of my mind are neatly organized, categorized, even alphabetized. Other times it is more fluid, malleable, flexible. Presently, my surroundings are like clouds; they appear to have shape and texture, but my grasp returns nothing. Indeed, my hands shape shift. Like wisps of smoke, diffusing into abyss.

It’s almost beautiful. An improvisation of a well-known melody; recognition just out of reach.

An unlikely composition juxtaposing peace and urgency. I am calmly terrified.

Melody MaLady

She smiles sweetly. A bit seductive. Slithering in as security takes a smoke break. She whispers in my ear, “Hello honey. Having a hard time, huh?”

I am lost in the melody of her musing. She promises poise and perfection. A played-out song endlessly mesmerizing.

No. Music breathes life, even on repeat. She is the damsel of destruction. Coy in her captivating charm, she is a siren.

Almost erotic. Almost ethereal.

“I am Panacea.”

Deafening Stillness

My ribs are straining under the weight of breath.

For a full inhale draws awareness to the storm in my belly.

Spouting funnels of agony to the crown of my head.

I am alive.

No, no, no mustn’t be still.

To be still is to acknowledge. To permit. To accept.

Ribs straining.

Awareness of the storm

is agony.

I am alive.

They are dead.

Honest Grief – Trigger warning

I lost my dad to suicide. Oh just jump right on in – that’s a hook. “It’s not a hook, be quiet.”

The thing is I understood. I never got angry with him for choosing to end his life. I have been angry with him while he was alive, but the very reasons I was angry during his life are the reasons I understood his suicide.

Oh you’re a saint – it was easy for you to move on then, huh? “To the contrary. I developed post traumatic grief. But I never questioned his motives.”

He was close to receiving a terminal diagnosis for his alcoholism. The death certificate cited Bipolar Disorder as secondary cause to the suicide. This was before I was a therapist (indeed it would be the catalyst to my becoming a therapist) and knew anything about the disorder. But I knew he was a troubled man. And I knew the relentless cycle of promises and failures that is addiction because I, too had been far too friendly with the bottle.

The most agonizing part of losing my father in that way is knowing he died alone, feeling unloved and hopeless.

I think I cried for three years straight. I couldn’t go to funerals, couldn’t hear the word suicide, couldn’t go to recovery meetings, couldn’t be around men with similar features, couldn’t smell alcohol of any kind, couldn’t hear certain songs, had flashbacks for 8 years (yes they just ended – I think).

Complicated by other trauma . “Yes, shh. That’s another blog.”

Dance proved to be my saving grace, and I was a fairly new dancer then (side note you don’t have to start dancing at age 3 to be a performer). Improvisation and composition helped me express what I couldn’t put language to. Because with grief, language doesn’t make sense. Grief is a deep, guttural emotion – it isn’t logical and can’t be healed using the prefrontal cortex. We must feel it.

So I went to therapy. I think losing him in that manner gave me some sort of permission to go and face my demons. Of course I had no idea I was opening Pandora’s baggage.

Good job, I see what you did there. “Now you’re complimenting me? Hush.”

I would then go on to learn my empathy for his pain came from a real place of understanding as I learned about Bipolar Disorder. If you’ve followed any of my blog you’ll know the apple didn’t fall far for me.

You need to wrap this up, kid. “I’m aware. My story doesn’t end there, so how does one…”

My journey begins there, really. 27 years to find a path out of self destruction. I miss my dad so much it still aches everyday but him dying may have saved my life. And pushed me toward helping others. I hope he is smiling down on me. I sure hope I’ve made him proud.

I love you Daddy. Always be your girl. I know you’re at peace.

Sometimes I Forget

I didn’t expect it to be painful. Rather silly. You’ve been doing this for how long now? And you didn’t think it’d be painful?

“Listen. I was unprepared for my words to summon a tsunami of anguish and confusion.”

Who are you talking to?

“Myself, obviously.” I gesture wildly at the crowd of no one.

Back to the story.

She asked me when I first attended. “So I attempted to describe the timeline – you know, scrunching up my face and calling up the details of the first day.”

Seems a fairly benign question.

“But somewhere between my mouth forming words and recalling the emotions of that time I was catapulted into the past and lost my mind.”

We’ve done that in therapy before.

I sighed, “I know but I just thought I was done with all the surprises. Now I have to deal with this thing.”

Yes you do. Still waiting for why you’re surprised?

“Eff off.”

Untitled

Destabilizing. That’s what they call it when you start to go mad. Teetering between reality and psychosis.

Who is crying?

She said “Ok we’ve taken a look around; now let’s go back.”

I hear her, but she seems far away. Or rather I am far away. Where is this place? I hear sobbing.

Who is crying?

My body sees. My eyes do not. I am deafened by blackness.

Who is crying?