Collateral Damage

One of the worst things about having my cocktail of mental illness/being me is that I can’t control when I hurt people. I mean, I suppose that’s probably true for everyone, but this morning, it wasn’t a matter of me being careless and saying something cruel. Instead, I got thrown off, and started melting down within the first 20 minutes of being awake.

Two impossible situations stood before me and I needed to merge them but couldn’t. Time passed. I was stressing out and hurting The Flutenist, and I knew it, and I got more angry at myself and more ashamed of being caught in this struggle at all, and I got more paralyzed and more frantic and…

It was bad.

Sometimes, stress can empower us- give us extra energy (more blood flow), extra clarity (more oxygen to the brain), and more motivation (tension fuels action). For me, there are days when all of those processes work, but I can’t find an outlet. The energy and tension funnel inwards, my body shuts down, and my mind just becomes a whirlpool of rapid, frantic thoughts. 

Nothing gets done. I know I’m stuck but I don’t know how to get out. Or if I can.

But it’s internal; no one but me can affect it or communicate that it’s happening. But I don’t know what to do!

So I almost made him late to work today and I sent him an email while he was at work, explaining everything that had been running through my mind. (I usually regain writing before speech, so it’s my go to response.) I wanted him to know that I knew that I was hurting him and making things worse for him and that I took that seriously. I don’t know why. 

It’s been a few hours and I can’t see how that could have helped anything.

I’m so stupid.

Yeah- today has been very bad in terms of self-talk. I’m back-sliding and I hate it but I don’t know what to do. I just!

Argh!

I wish I were normal.

Or that I could tell where my depression stops and where I start.

Or that I knew what I was capable of.

Everything, every tiny thing, is this epic struggle between being too hard on myself and not pushing myself to grow. I never know whether I’m doing it right or not.

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“Subtle Scars”


This is my first watercolor painting. I was trying to learn about how these paints differ from acrylics, how wet they should be, what strokes look like, etc. It’s certainly nothing to write home about, but today, I thought it would be worth making a folder of these, to watch my progress.

I actually believe that I can improve at a new skill, and I am at peace about not being good at it on my first try. This is such amazing progress for me!

It wasn’t that long ago that I was too scared to try things because I thought I would fail, that people would judge me, that I would lose the approval of others, etc. I’ve come so far, and I’m proud of myself. 😊

Anyway, I don’t usually title any of my art, but I named this one “Subtle Scars,” because the tree looks like it’s been struck by lightning. There’s usually a wounded section on the trunk, a large portion that dies because of the current, and then that section eventually falls off. The rest of the tree is often healthy, continuing to grow and thrive long after it has been damaged in the storm. So, that’s what I see on the empty area in the center: the missing branches and the resilient tree carrying on.

Welcome to the Wilderness

I just shared the URL of this blog with some friends and family members, so it seemed fitting to write a welcome post for them. And yet, what can I say? I’m writing this in advance, on a blog with few views, to a group of people who may not read any posts here. Some will, but others probably won’t. Still more may read a few entries and then stop. Goodness knows that I try not to take it personally.

This leaves me in an awkward spot: how can I write something that both values the people who read and doesn’t set me up for disappointment if it ends up having no views? Maybe I’ll just write about this experience, explore the discomfort and its source, so that I will still draw value from it even if no one else does. That seems reasonable to me, and Kuno has no opinion on the matter, so it’s unanimous.

I’m excited about people reading this blog because it will make me feel valuable. They are taking time to invest in me and to pay attention to my struggles. It’s validation.

I’m afraid that no one will read this blog, because it could set off a long chain reaction of thoughts: that I’m not valuable, that I have nothing to say, that my voice isn’t worth hearing, that no one cares, etc. If you’ve ever struggled with doubt and fear, you can probably fill in some of the thoughts that I have missed.

Most of the time, when I look at my blog’s stats, I try hard to breeze over them and not to take them personally. On the days when there aren’t views or comments. On the days when no one follows or likes. Even on the days when someone does respond, I still try to ignore the stats. I feel like if I accept the success as proof of my value, I must also accept the failure as proof of my flaws. I cannot have only one side of the coin.

But is that true? Do we have to depreciate all of our successes if we want to keep our failures at bay? Or, even more relevantly, are we responsible for the responses of others to our work or is that separate from us entirely? I suppose that it probably is separate, because I have no control over it, but still…

I feel like I’ve been taught that my effort determines my results. Has that all been a lie?

Holding Pattern

I’m sitting at my pharmacy, waiting on a prescription that I dropped off almost 5 hours ago, which was supposed to take 1 hour, which isn’t filled because my insurance won’t cover it, but that I still need anyway. Sometimes, life is just like this. Work all that you want to, but you can’t get things to turn out right or play through quickly.

I wanted to avoid this trip all together- there’s a former/present?employee that I really don’t want to see. But I’m being an adult, and that means coming anyway. (I miss being a child sometimes.)

I’m just gonna sit here uncomfortably with my shame and this 80s radio station until they call me back to the counter. I wish that I could guarantee that I wouldn’t just end up dwelling on times when I gave everything, tried with all my strength, and just watched things crumble. But I can’t promise that, because I will, and I am.

Working hard is supposed to ensure success. Hasn’t anyone told the world about this rule? Heh. Of course not. Nothing is that easy.