Scratch

As writers, we know the hardest thing to do is to write.

I hold myself back. I acknowledge this. I am a procrastinator, through and through. “I’ll do it tomorrow” is a staple in my vocabulary. “I’ll write in my journal tomorrow.” “I’ll write a paragraph for a story idea tomorrow.”

Joke’s on me, right? Tomorrow never comes.

In these uncertain times, my usual anxiety is heightened; I feel scared, irritable, sad, angry, and numb, in the space of minutes. My emotions swirl around in a wheel, the colours all mixing and bleeding into each other.

I overeat all day, or I don’t eat all day.

Control is vital to me. It is a main source of my anxiety, it’s why I’m scared of flying on airplanes, it’s why I’m an annoying passenger in vehicles – I’m not in control so I can’t relax. But I can control food. I can’t control if my family members will get sick during this pandemic, but I can restrict my own eating. I can binge and shovel food into the gaping hole made of anxiety and stress and fear until it’s (very temporarily) filled and buried.

The current state of the world is wreaking havoc on my brain, body, and soul. No doubt about it.

I have a follow up appointment with my psychiatrist next week, thankfully. I was doing pretty well three months ago, when he last saw me. I’m looking forward to telling him what’s going on inside me. It will be a tiny bit of relief.

I have no support system; I have no one to lean on, no one to go to for advice or comfort.

I carry burdens by myself. It’s so heavy all the time. Crippling.

And yet… I continue to stand and move forward. Sometimes I stagger; sometimes I take a few steps back. I fall and scrape my knees and palms and cry.

But I get up. I always get up.

Hope is there; hope is all around us, you know.

2020

I’ve always loved the idea of new beginnings. Fresh starts. Next chapters. The thrill of reinvention, rebirth; wiping the slate clean.

We, as humans, give time meaning. We have followed the movements of the moon and the sun and other stars for as long as we have been on earth. The sunrise always means a new day, a time to start again. So does spring. All living things have a season – us included.

2020 feels special to me. I am so aware of my patterns now, both the destructive ones and the positive ones, and I am looking forward to actively and purposefully making changes.

I need to let myself breathe. I need to be just fine with existing. I am not worthless because I don’t have a job. I am more than my depression; I am more than my anxiety. I am allowed to rest without feeling guilty.

I am doing the best I can with what I have.

I cannot control others, and that is okay. I only control what I do and what I think. I want to embrace others and see them for who they are, not for what they can be or who I want them to be. This part is difficult, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. I have fallen in love with others’ potential so many times, it’s kind of embarrassing. But now that I see this so clearly about myself, I can actively work toward accepting people as they are.

I also know I can’t be hopeful and optimistic all the time. Cycles exist for a reason. Even with medication and therapy, I have dark days. Sometimes I feel bogged down and sad and grey. For me, ‘pushing through’ with a smile just doesn’t work. So, when I can, I let it hurt. I feel the blackness, the loneliness, the despair.

The sun pokes through eventually.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Mettle

My emotions have been VERY BIG lately. Overwhelming. A towering wave crashing over me, again and again, not caring that I’ve fallen over and I’m struggling so bad to get back up. I feel sad. I feel lonely. I look back over this year and I dwell on the things I should have done, the things I didn’t do. The negatives seem to outweigh the positives, but as I want to be more forgiving to myself, I’ll list the positives:

  • The creative writing course I completed
  • Ending a romantic relationship that was headed nowhere
  • Reconnecting with old friends
  • Making an effort to build new friendships
  • Practicing patience in the face of frustration

I have a physical journal that I keep. It’s leather-bound and quite beautiful. It was a gift to myself in the spring of 2016, to honour the ending of a chapter in my life and the beginning of a new one (as a single woman for the first time in almost a decade and as a mother). I have to be in a special sort of mood to read the oldest entries. I’d love to give that version of myself a big hug. I fell in love with someone, in those early days – someone selfish, controlling, and utterly broken inside – and the thing he said he admired most about me is my perseverance.

The concept has stuck with me: to persevere. I’ve felt so low, so terrible, so bleak. I’ve wanted to give up so many times. I get so exhausted and don’t want to fight anymore.

But I do. I’m here to stay.

So, dear reader, I hope you’ll stay too. Tomorrow is the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. Take time to huddle close and feel some warmth; be kind to yourself and to others.

Turning Points

Today I turn 30.

I struggle with milestone birthdays. 25 was a hard one, too. At 25, I was on the verge of a completely new life – single after many years in a relationship, a young daughter in tow. I came out the other side, obviously. I survived 25. I moved on. I did what I could to put the pieces into some semblance of a picture.

But 30?! I had all these plans and ideas of what my life would look like by now. A white picket fence sort of thing, with a doting, successful husband, a few children, a few pets. A garden. A front porch with a swing. A fulfilling career for myself. By 30 I would have all of those things. Wrapped in a perfect pretty bow.

I can still have those things. I know this. But it felt like 30 was a deadline and if I hadn’t achieved every single goal and dream by then, I’d be a failure. And so for the past few days, I’ve been feeling like a failure. I wanted to stay in today and hide from the world and not acknowledge anything or anyone.

But I didn’t. I went for supper with a few friends. We laughed and talked and had a good time. I’m glad I didn’t hide. I know ‘age is just a number’ and it’s ridiculous to think that life somehow ends at 30. I’m remembering to breathe and to remind myself that life now is good. Not perfect. But good. And that’s okay.

There’s loads of time for me to get what I want.

I am being very intentional about how I spend my time and where I put my energy now. I want love and compassion and reliability, so that’s what I put out into the world. I do my best to be kind and to be understanding. When I feel sad or frustrated, I take time to actually sit with the emotion, hold onto it; I acknowledge that shitty feeling and then I let it go.

It’s not easy, of course. I have a tendency to dwell on negative thoughts and feelings. Stew in it. Or push it down and bury it until there’s no room left and it all comes out at once in great howls of despair.

I don’t want that anymore. So I’m trying something new. I’m going into 30 with with as much hope and confidence as I can muster. That hope and confidence is a tiny, flickering flame right now, but it will grow.

I’m sure of it.

Intentions

Six months from now, it will be March 5, 2020. That feels very far away, but at the rate this year is flying by, March will creep up on me quickly!

So I want to write my future self a letter.

newmoon

Dear future self,

Right now you are feeling hopeful. You’ve been getting job interviews lately so that has been a huge part of your increasing confidence. I hope you are working at a job you enjoy. Remember to relax and breathe and still take time for yourself.

If you are in a relationship, I hope you are content. I hope you are loved, appreciated, and adored. You deserve it.

Do not settle! Put yourself and your daughter first, always.

Keep writing and try to be good to yourself. If you are going through a hard time, remember: this too shall pass.

So far you have made it through some hellish times and experiences. You are stronger than whatever tries to break you.

Love,

the September 2019 version of you.

Symptoms

Everything has been difficult lately. My anxiety has ramped up and my depression has, too. When I’m not feeling panicked about unemployment, lack of money, and familial relationships, I just want to lay down and sleep and sleep and sleep.

close up photo of water
Photo by Emiliano Arano on Pexels.com

I saw a new psychiatrist today for the first time. I told him, despite being on the highest doses of Wellbutrin and Cipralex, how my mental illnesses, but especially my anxiety, have been increasing.

Back in May I attended a busy, crowded school event. My chest tightened up, breathing was hard, and I broke out in a cold sweat. I had never felt panic like that in a crowd before, and it really freaked me out. Since then, the same panic ensues when I go to a store or to the mall, etc., so I try to avoid spots I know will be busy.

However, I’m a mom and I like taking my daughter to special events, like the fair. So there are a lot of ‘suck it up’ moments for myself that are supposed to be fun, but I can hardly enjoy them when I’m screaming internally constantly being aware of who is around me and where the exits are.

I got in to see my family doctor right away. She made the referral to the psychiatrist. He wants me to try Lyrica, three times a day, on top of the other two medications. Needless to say, I’m exhausted. Perpetually so.

Does anyone have experience with Lyrica?

I don’t know what it’s like to feel well.

For the past few days I’ve been feeling grey; colourless. I went for a walk. I read a good book. I spent time with people I love. And yet, the feeling remains.

darkfog

Depression is this insidious, oily, thick black smoke curling around me, clutching at the back of my neck. It whispers all kinds of mean things – you’re worthless, pointless, everyone would be better off if you were gone – and I try to close my eyes against it. But sleep brings too vivid, sometimes frightening dreams, so sleeping the fog and the ache away does me no good.

I would love to channel these feelings (lack of feelings?) into writing. I have a story to tell; I feel its claws. It is digging itself out of me. I really should stop fighting it so much.

That’s what I do, you know. Fight. Every day is a battle against something: the feelings I have about myself, about others.

I am tired. Again. I am scared.

It’s funny, though, how I’m afraid to break. I’m already broken. Lots of jumbled up, jagged pieces in my head. In my heart.

What happens if I embrace the broken?

Fragment VI

There are fates much worse than death.

She knows this now, more than ever. Lying curled up on the warm wet floor, blood and water swirling together like a macabre painting left outside in the rain.

Spending eternity wandering the darkness alone… Being chained to a boulder, eviscerated over and over by razor sharp beaks, with no hope of salvation… Or forced to torture others, skinning them alive, unable to stop your blade from slicing and slicing…

Yes, there are many fates worse than the cold starless void of death.

There would be no light at the end of the tunnel. No dead relatives waiting with kind smiles and outstretched hands.

Not for her. Not after what she’s done.

A sharp, shrill noise, like keening, makes her raise her aching head. At first she thinks it is someone – or something – attempting to break through the beautiful gilt framed windows above the overflowing bathtub.

Her eyes slide away from the windows to the locked door. Blinking, her heartbeat slows, pumping the last of her blood from her body…

The door bursts inward, hinges splintering, and suddenly someone is shouting her name.

“Leave me alone,” she whispers. “Let me go.”

The Things We Do…

 

neighborhood

Prompt: Description of the devil recruiting a new servant.


The devil is drawn to tragedy.

She inhales the despair and savours it on her tongue.

Lucky for her, this world is rife with tragedy.

The flavour of the day is vengeance.

Beneath the bows of a weeping willow tree, she watches the police cars drive slowly away from the scene at the tidy cottage across the lane.

A woman sits on the front step, head bowed. Her long blonde hair falls over her face and her shoulders shudder with sobs.

The paramedics have come and gone. The neighbours, drawn outside of their homes by the earlier commotion, have melted away.

Thick clouds darken the sky. The devil makes use of the shadows and is mere steps away from the blonde woman before she is noticed.

“Go away,” the woman pleads weakly. “I have no time for you.”

The devil grins. “Yes you do, Rachel. You now have all the time in the world.”

Rachel slowly gets to her feet. She roughly wipes her tears away with trembling hands. She does her best to appear strong and unafraid. Her bloodshot eyes meet the devil’s piercing gaze.

“The deal is complete. What a fine job, too. Truly well done, Rachel. So much blood!”

The devil proffers a delicate, beckoning hand. “Come,” she coaxes. “There is much to do.”