Life, Love, Mental Illness and Redemption

My Life's Journey through Love and Mental Illness.

Lol - lost tales of love and redemption. But there is no redemption. Only being. That’s really the best we can hope for. I suppose I used to find this point-of-view to be a bit pessimistic or cynical. Now I prefer to think of it as the view of a realist. There is no “good” or “bad” - just our perceptions. 

The sooner I can get over this hump the better off I’ll be. Tying yourself to the past is no way to tackle the future. 

And the new meds are definitely helping. But this week will be rough. I can already feel it deep down in my bones. 

On Medication…

I’m numb. I’ve been numb for a long time. I saw my therapist this week. He agreed to let me try some different medication. Part of what spurred this was the increasing research into the apathetic nature of antidepressants. The latest article here: http://psychcentral.com/news/?p=66437 points to a myriad of my issues.

Numbness. Total loss of libido. Weight gain. And just the general attitude that I could care less about… well… anything.  

For me, the numbing isn’t recovery - it’s a mask that prohibits me from seeing myself. But as I found out over the holidays - without my antidepressants I completely fall apart.

Here’s to hoping the new meds help some.  

The Secret Life…

of Walter Mitty was fabulous. Makes me want to run away and do something extraordinary.

I wish…

I wish I had words of hope and courage. But just being here today is a feat in itself. The fact that humans make it at all is a triumph. Life is hard - for everyone. Whether they show it or not. Some of us face different challenges. Sometimes we get knocked on our ass. It’s the getting back up part that matters. Especially when no one else realizes how hard it can be to simply stand back up.

Somewhat happy holidays.

These past several weeks have found me struggling once again. For purpose and meaning.

But we are all still here. And that’s a good thing. For me, I’ve missed the catharsis of writing. And we most often turn and run from those things that are beneficial - typical because of fear, anxiety and sheer lack of motivation.

But we are still here. Hang in there.

I’m still here, are you?

Yes, I am still here. 

Life tends to take unexpected turns. 

All the while, we search for something. Anything to provide us security, stability, a sense of being, a sense of worth. We find this escape in our work. In our children. In our significant others. In our hobbies. 

And it’s all an illusion. Everything is temporary. Everything goes away in the end. 

You are not the sum value of the people and things you surround yourself with. Unless you choose to let that define you. It’s taken me a long time to look in the mirror and confess, to myself, that I make my way. Regardless of someone else’s actions, I always made a choice. I choose my reactions, for better or worse. To go, to stay - there is always an alternative. And we tend to lean towards what is comfortable. What is easy.

We give in all to easily to blaming others. We all play a part. And life is not fair - but it isn’t bad either. It is difficult. For some more than others. Adversity builds strength. Wisdom is derived from experience and from failing. And it is all way too short to wallow in the regrets of the past and the worries of the future.

So, this I have learned…

My divorce set me free. As painful as it has been, it has opened my eyes to the simple notion that I deserve happiness. We all do. In everything. Love and life. Surround yourself with those that benefit you, discard all others. Be kind and generous, mostly to yourself. This is not selfish - looking after yourself FIRST helps you discover who and what you are about. From there the charity and altruism build. From there you begin to heal. To develop compassion. Everyone is trying to find their way.   

My depression has cultivated awareness. I feel more passionate than ever that overall wellness is a combination of factors that we’re never educated about. We sit in our cubes, eating our fast food, saving for a retirement to rescue us from our lives that are happening right now. Why? The richest country in the world is built on the backs of some of the most miserable, unhealthy people. Our culture and society is falling short, and we trudge along. Punching the clock. Watering the lawn. Hoping that someday we’ll get there. Wherever it is. Well, it’s in your passions, your element. It’s right there waiting for you. Some of us just have to work a little harder to find it. And it is not easy. Actually, it’s pretty fucking difficult. At the end of the day, you have to sit with yourself - and be okay with that. 

My anxiety has taught me patience. Everything has a motive, every twitch, tick, nervous moment - there is always an underlying cause. Developing patience with myself has allowed me to take a step back in my most nervous and anxious of moments and ask myself why? I’m in a hurry, I want out of this moment… why? To answer this requires you to go pretty deep. And the results usually are not pretty. To bare your deepest flaws to yourself is to accept that you are human. And allows you to accept responsibility for yourself and develop the patience necessary to begin to at least manage and cope with your fears and insecurities.

For me, it’s all a process. A process of experiences, trial and error. Developing a toolbox that will help me navigate and manage these new areas of life. And in hindsight, I begin to see that every trial, every adversity has been followed by growth and opportunity. The dots connect, and I know that I am always right where I am supposed to be. That there is always something to learn. Always something to be grateful for. And always a choice. 

Don’t Get Lost in the Loneliness…

I’ve been contemplating love, loss and what it means to be or feel whole. Complete. There’s still this hole inside me. But it doesn’t define me. 

I believe this thing we’re all looking for doesn’t really exist, except for in our lofty thoughts contained in a malleable, temperamental organ subject to a wide range of hormones and chemical reactions. Synapses fire - currents connect neurons - data is processed.

We keep telling ourselves if only this or that were different. We keep waiting for a moment of change. Honestly - when those moments come, they are least expected and typically provide an experience that caters profoundly to the opposite of our expectations.

So perhaps that is part of the problem. Expectations. Expectations and an unwillingness to move forward. Or to get help moving forward. Or perhaps we just want someone else to give us a push.

When you’re depressed this can seem impossible. But once the depression recedes, that is the time for action. Don’t worry about when the next bout will come. Don’t expect things to get better - or worse - things just are. Sometimes it’s good - sometimes it’s bad. But those are merely concepts - notions created in that jiggly mass of an organ that we don’t even fully understand.

So the next time you’re feeling lonely - ask yourself why? Is it good? Is it bad? Why? Uncover those deep, dark insecurities that wake you up in the middle of night. Look them in the eye. Confront them. Become their friend. And let them know that you will not get lost in the loneliness.