Woke up at seven to a temperature of eight degrees outside and quickly decided it would be unfair of me to curse the recent trend of season appropriate, frigid weather patterns without acknowledging such a generous boost of the thermometer. So I was up and out by 7:30am, walking like it was early October again. Granted, the heavy winds are pushing like an arctic blast of fury, so what was anticipated to be a comfortable stroll has turned into another episode of frigid fingers and icicles from the nose. Luckily I put on my big boy, winter warm underwear so I remain committed. You got me though, Mother Nature, you got me.
I'm taking advantage of a short indoor respite before heading out again but the sun is on the rise and I will be out walking soon enough with a grin on my face. Not too big a grin mind you, as I'm afraid my face will literally freeze that way and I refuse to give my mother satisfaction by lending credence to her early childhood warnings.
Whatever the temperature that awaits you as you begin your day, I wish you good will and fortune as you step forth into another Tuesday. Amazing how they seem to show up every seven days or so.
Tuesday tunage to accompany a shiver or two: Thomas Dolby "She Blinded Me With Science".
OK, I'm at my desk - dressed, showered, caffeinated, wearing my new slippers from Giant Tiger, and my sexy koala earmuffs from the Dollar Store. Time to give this morning another go and be someone else again. I'd say be myself again but then I'd still be a cranky bastard with a pessimistic outlook and questionable motivation so I'd like to try something different and see how it goes.
But you be you, people. You're doing just fine.
Also, I posted a new poem today titled She Is That Strong.
Wow. Now that was a brutal crawl out of sleep and into a new day. Like an infant slug forcing its way through the membrane of a balloon. When the muffled sound of your phone's alarm burrows its way into your consciousness through several feet of water, while someone slowly increases the volume until you can no longer convince yourself you're deaf to its existence and the first utterance you can muster is "Awwww no, no, no, no, no" as you fumble clumsily through the dark, cursing your inability to physically choke the life out of the object of your torment, rather than struggle for what seems like a lifetime, manipulating dead fingers across its dimly lit screen in a futile attempt to mash the tiny icon that will finally bring back the blessed silence. You debate resetting it for another hour of sweet unconsciousness, but begrudgingly accept defeat when you realize you will only be stealing from yourself and cursing your decision when you're scrambling to squeeze too much work into too little time and wondering where the day went.
And thus Monday is born and another week is upon us. If I wasn't an Atheist I might plead to God to have mercy on my soul. As it is, I'm content to make do with a simple "shit" uttered through clenched teeth.
Song of the day: The Soup Dragons "I'm Free".
Sunday morning and the temperature has dropped back down to zero but I was up at eight, showered and dressed, and here I am, already outside and on the move. A big change from yesterday morning. On the outside, at least, but this is the first step to changing the inside. It may not make a difference but at least I know I will feel better that I tried. That I didn't just roll over and go back to sleep. That I didn't choose to hide. If depression wants me today, it can come and find me. I don't see why I should be the only one doing all the work.
P.S.: I finally figured out how to put on my scarf properly but as I have it wrapped around a hoodie and I'm still wearing my motorcycle jacket, I fear whatever I might have gained in intellectual progress, I have sorely lost in fashion acumen. I still have to work on that whole "hat" thing.
Sunday sing-along: Otis Redding "Hard To Handle".
Very late start today. I find when I sleep in I am more vulnerable to the negative thoughts and emotions that can plague me so I try to make sure I get up first thing, even when it's hard. This morning I slipped and sure enough, Depression came to visit with its brothers Hopelessness and Worthlessness in tow. At first I was prepared to just give in but then I decided I didn't want to waste another day. So I said "fuck you," threw on some 80's music, grabbed a shower, got dressed, and got my ass out into the sunshine. Some days, all it takes is a pair of red Converse and a red cup of coffee and you're back on top.
Music to get moving: Clarence Carter "Stroke It".
The kettle I use to make my coffee is manufactured by Betty Crocker. I keep trying to get it to make me cupcakes but it's stuck on the hot water setting. I figure more coffee will help me figure it out.
According to Bon Jovi, someone has been giving love a bad name. My hope is it isn't a name like "Ignatius Thunderbottom". Enough people have difficulty telling others they love them and this sort of thing will kill any hopes of getting them over that hurdle. Not to mention how difficult it's going to be signing those little cards you send with a bouquet of flowers. I think that person is being very selfish, making everything much harder on the rest of us, simply because they have a grudge against a simple four letter word.
It's been great chatting with you. Be sure to give my Ignatius Thunderbottom to your mother for me when you see her.
Today I've got a little bounce in my step, a little pep in my stride, a little go-out-and-get, and nothing to hide. There's also a little tear in my underwear but let's agree to focus on the positive, OK?
The loneliest place you will ever stand,
is on the rocky shore beneath your own skin.
Trapped between your now and the past.
The "who you were" and the "who I am",
the “where you will go” and the “never began”.
An island onto yourself.
And from the jagged cliffs you will dive
to the darkest depths,
holding tight to the belief
that the weight you have carried for so long,
has made you strong enough to swim.
I am continuing my pursuit of broadening my literary content, especially when it comes to poetry. I would also like to attempt different styles and rhythms of poetry but I am having some difficulty doing so (so far). I have added another children's book appropriate poem to the site...
In these dreams I dream these days
that a secret fear I’d locked away
and hoped to never bring this way
has finally come to call.
I stumble forth from sheets still wet
in sleep I dampened them with sweat
while try I might but never yet
have I made it past these walls.
I struggle now to find a door
and running circles round the floor
my heart it breaks again once more
to hear the echo of my calls.
There’s no door that I can find.
No ladder to the top to climb.
No window shares the sweet outside.
In the corner now, I weep and hide
from fear that wells up deep inside
it bubbles up within my mind
and traps me yet again.
The open air that was my friend
has left me here to break, not bend
Claustrophobe with naught to lend
but the dreams of which I fear.
Even though it's Sunday, I decided to get up at 6am so I could squeeze in as much work as possible before heading to London for the afternoon. I was sluggish but incredibly proud of my motivation and industrious ambition. As I made my way to the shower, I mentally rehearsed the discussions I would have later in the day, boasting of my incredible feat and patting myself on the back while criticizing others for the opportunities they had wasted by sleeping away those few extra hours in their warm, cozy beds. Then I reached the end of the hallway and discovered that anything not permanently affixed to a wall or floor had been removed from the kitchen and bathroom and were now occupying a significant portion of the living room. Turns out my father had taken it upon himself to execute a thorough, and in his words, "much overdue" cleaning. He was even rearranging some of the furniture to optimize space. He smiled and wished me good morning as I, wearing my boxer shorts and a dubious look on my face, struggled to remain upright - still half asleep and barely able to string together enough words to be coherent. Seems he had been up since three and was still going strong. Now he is outside shovelling the driveway. Touche, old man. Touche. He stole my thunder but proved once again why I continue to be inspired by him. I love you, you old bastard.
Sunday song of ambition: The Irish Rovers "Wasn't That A Party".
After forty-four hours or so of being awake, I finally crashed last night. Fully dressed in underwear, socks, jeans, t-shirt, sweater, and even my slippers. It must have been a restless night because I had to untangle myself from the sheets and blankets which had me trapped like a cocoon. Similar to a fever, the unbreakable grip of constant fear and anxiety has broken, but it's not all clear skies and rainbows yet. I am now slipping between multiple states and have already had one panic attack and broke down crying twice, overwhelmed by unprovoked bouts of grief.
For the most part, I haven't left the house all week unless I had to, and I couldn't motivate myself enough to change my clothes (except for throwing on a different sweater when I took photos so people wouldn't notice) or shower (very, very yuck, I know) and I drank when I shouldn't have. I did all the things I'm not supposed to do if I want to maintain positivity and balance, and yet I've felt powerless to do otherwise. To many, I'm sure this must seem a ridiculous excuse. Just don't do it. It should be that simple. I wish it was that simple. If it was, I wouldn't spend so much time disappointed in myself.
But I'm making this morning different. I showered and put on new clothes and I'm about to focus on catching up on some of the work I've been neglecting. I don't know if I'll make it outside but at least inside, things are different. It's another start. The key word being "another" and it's a word that will be in my vocabulary the rest of my life, at least if I want to continue having one.
There is a quote by Naoki Higashida which goes "Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight" and I believe it's a sentiment that can make all the difference for anyone living with a mental disorder. I also just decided that the number eight is now my favourite number (it used to be 42, for any Douglas Adams geeks out there).
So what have we learned on a Saturday morning? Life can suck, but most importantly, it can also suck less. I know, not exactly a stellar inspiration for most, but for those who share some of my same challenges, I think you know exactly what I mean.
Saturday's sing-a-long as picked by my father: Don Williams "I Believe In Love".
As a contrast to the tone of my latest posts, I thought I would share a new poem. Something lighter and a little different than my usual fare. It's titled "The Zoo On The Bus" and I'm toying with the idea of turning it into a children's book one day. If I'm lucky, some kid might enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
It's Friday and day two of my mixed mania, anxiety fueled mini-marathon. I haven't slept since yesterday morning and my insides are in a constant state of compression, like my entire body is a damp hand towel being aggressively wrung without release. It's the same sensation I've felt lying on a hospital cart, with each passing minute of apprehension and anticipation feeling closer to an hour as I await my turn in the operating room. The difference is, these episodes don't come with a scheduled timeline. No opportunity to comfort myself with thoughts of "Just think, by this afternoon you'll be through it and it will all be over." It's more of a grin-and-bear it situation, managed as best as possible with self care and patience, until I come out the other side. I try hard to remember that I always do - or at least I always have. I remind myself that I am strong enough.
Dealing with extended periods of heightened, unrelenting anxiety is exhausting. It takes a terrible toll on your body and your mind as it wears you down from the inside. My particular affliction is commonly referred to as "rapid cycling bipolar", which means I can switch moods and states swiftly, drastically, and often. As frustrating as this can be, there are times I'm thankful I'm not locked into only one condition or another and sometimes during a transition, I occasionally catch a moment of calm and a chance to catch my breath.
So since I expect today will prove to be just as stubborn as yesterday by refusing to stop long enough for me to get my shit together, I suppose I'll have to be just as stubborn and push on. Besides, it's Friday and I prefer to reserve all my surrenders for Mondays when the very thought of the day itself can be daunting enough to drive me back into bed.
Today's song for the haven't yet slept: Creedence Clearwater Revival "Have You Ever Seen The Rain".
Woke up this morning with a lot of anxiety. Edge of panic attack type stuff. Bad dreams all night, upset stomach, the world is out to get me. OK, granted, the last one sounds kind of paranoid, and it is. My life isn't always just a coin toss between whether I love or hate myself, luckily I get a break once in a while when the anxiety becomes so overwhelming it locks all such debate out of my mind, just as it screams at me to hurry and lock all the doors in my house.
For me, there are few words in the English language that carry as much weight as that eight letter 'F' word. I have failed. I failed myself. I failed the ones I love. I failed those who depend on me. I failed to live up to my potential. I failed to be responsible. I failed to be smart enough or strong enough or even to be someone who could be loved enough. I am a failure. I tell myself it's all in my head (literally), that I am trapped temporarily in a skewed state of perception and it will pass. Ride it out and hold on until it does. Still, those thoughts of failure inspire so much fear and dread in me that sometimes I'm positive my heart is going to stop, and I'm not convinced I wouldn't welcome it.
The thing you have to recognize about fear, or any challenge you face in life, is that it can't be conquered through avoidance. You can't dig under it or sneak around it. You can't climb over it or hide from it, hoping it will pass you by. Even if you do manage to slip past it somehow, it will latch on to your back and stay with you. Wherever you go, no matter how far or how long you last, it will always be there, growing larger and bolder each day it remains. Eventually the weight of it will bring you to your knees.
Many days I like to go walking. Today I want to run. As much as I know being out and active help me both physically and mentally, I have learned that sometimes the best thing I can do is plant my feet firmly in one place and stand my ground. Tomorrow I may go for another walk but it won't be with anything clinging to my back and whispering threats in my ear.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or facing something you don't believe you can overcome, if you feel inadequate to the task at hand, then hear what I have to say and do your best to believe it. As strange as it may sound, your brain isn't always your best friend. It can deceive and mislead you. It can have its own perverse agenda and want to take control. Believe in yourself, even if it has to be the self you remember from yesterday, and stand your ground. We'll get through today and we'll do it again tomorrow if we have to. It's your brain and if it can be strong enough to bring you to your knees, you can be strong enough to stand up again.
A tune for conquering: Nine Inch Nails "Head Like a Hole".
Tiny, terse, and to the point for a titular (tee hee, I said titular) Tuesday. Not much to say, but not much is needed. At least I don't believe so.
Be good to others. Be good to yourself. Be good enough to be someone to look up to. Be someone others want to know. Be a better person. A better father, mother, sister, brother, friend, lover, husband, and wife. Do it in small ways if necessary, but be someone who tries. Believe that sometimes trying can be more important than succeeding and be prepared to fail. Be prepared to not give up. Be prepared to try again. And again. Be strong. Be truthful, especially when you know a lie would be easier. Be the person you want to be. Be the person you wanted to be at seven. Be thankful. Be respectful. Be someone who makes today a good day.
Most important of all, don't try to be someone else. Be you and be confident it will always be enough. It's where it all begins and it's the way you'll get to where you need to go.
A song to be a Tuesday: Electric Light Orchestra "Don't Bring Me Down".