The Slippery Slope

February 19, 2013

Last night as I was driving, I had the feeling that I was on the edge, poised to fall off into depression again.  I was tired and fearful.  My mind was racing forwards and I was imagining all sorts of evils related to my jobless situation.  It was a horrible feeling.  That the precipice on which I stand was about to crumble.  I felt quite powerless and afraid.  I don’t ever want to go back to how I felt in the fall, winter, and into January of this year.  So many years of my life have been lost to illness of some kind.  I would like to think I have left anorexia behind me, but the thoughts and the images still haunt me.  Perfection is a goal I have not given up yet, either, although it is ludicrous to think that I could ever achieve it.  Me…absolutely imperfect in every way.  So hopelessly inept that it is laughable that I would conceive the idea that I could even flirt with perfection in the first place.  But there.  These are negative thoughts.  I must be ever vigilant of these destructive tendencies that I have towards negativity.

Perhaps I am feeling like I am in a funk because I went backwards for a bit.  The days since I last wrote in this journal have not been easy.  The weather has been grey and cold of late.  That also makes it harder for me to function.  I see the greyness and I want to stay in bed.  I had a dreadful “sleep day” on holiday Sunday.  I slept the day and the night away, missing it altogether.  Shades of my recent past.  Today I woke up late, and I have just now got up from an hours lie down on the couch – not actually a nap because my thoughts were racing as I lay inert, but a rest period just the same.  I guess this behaviour makes sense because I am coming off of the buzz of having five sleepless nights in a row.  I hope that is why I feel exhausted, and not because I am heading into another depression.  I would like to get my sleep, and/or lack thereof, under control.  Either night after night I lay awake, unhelpful thoughts bombarding me, or I succumb to a slumber so deep that I don’t gain consciousness for an entire evening and a day.  And sometimes even longer.  It is this up and down existence that is hard to manage.  Let’s face it.  Right now, ALL aspects of my life are hard to manage. The sleep issue just ascorbates the situation.

I have yet to finish my resume, and vacuum and wash the floors.  I’m not following my laid out plan very well, despite the fact I have clearly allocated tasks and chores to do on each given day of the week.  Why do I seem unable to adhere to a schedule of my own design?  The Program showed me that I need structure in my life in order to function…period.  And yet I resist this fact with every fibre of my being.  Why is living each day in a motivated way so seemingly difficult for me?  I know I can do it.  I’ve done it before.  I’ve lived in three different countries on two different continents, and I managed on my own, for the most part, successfully.  Perhaps I am still in the shadows of the overhang of my depression.  What a wretched place to be.  But again, I am drowning in the negativity of my thoughts.  I HAVE been making progress.  I absolutely cling to that belief.  I guess some slips are to be expected.  Just as long as it doesn’t become a long slide down that slippery slope into the abyss of my profound sadness.  How I abhor that slippery slope that I know so well.

I have to go somewhere and phone to get my telephone turned back on again.  That was bad of me not to pay my bill.  No.  I just made a mistake by not paying attention to the due date on my statement.  I am not bad.   Next time I need to be more aware of time and the timing of my bills as they come in to avoid having this happen again. I am totally embarrassed that this has occurred.  What will the person on the other end of the line think of me?  What will I say to try and explain myself?  I hope nobody I know finds out about this faux pas.  I cannot bear to be judged any more.  On the other hand, what kind of a company disconnects a phone just because you are late in paying your bill?  I’ve never missed a payment before.  This seems like a harsh punishment for being derelict in paying my bill once.  AND, I have to pay a fee to have it reconnected.  That really makes sense.  If you don’t have the money to pay your bill in the first place, where are you going to scrape together more money to get your phone turned back on?  It’s hard not to feel like I am one of the downtrodden.  I have been there practically all of my life, but I so hoped I had moved beyond this condition once I had finished the Program.  I guess only time will tell.

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September 17, 2017

The tone of this journal entry has changed significantly, as compared to the more recent ones.  It is laced with negativity and fear.  The feeling that the other shoe is about to drop is as tangible as the shoe itself.  I can almost picture myself looking skyward over my shoulder, waiting for it to fall, and for me to collapse underneath it.  But I can also sense the desperate attempts to rise above these negative thoughts and feelings, as they are occurring.  Only three days have passed since I wrote positively about a memory I had had, but within those three days a shift has taken place.  The pendulum with its perpetual swing is beginning to carry me back to a space I have learned to dread.  A space of darkness where possibilities are vanquished and squashed under the unforgiving heel of a steel-toed boot.

My struggle to overcome contrary emotions and to bask in the light of positivity is tenuous at best; then…and even now.  Although at present I am equipped with strategies that assist me to live on the brighter side.  Mindful breathing, affirmations, and a spiritual connection with the universe all help me remain under the sun of an optimistic lifestyle.  Does the slippery slope still exist?  Most definitely!  However, with the awareness of the choices I make in my daily life, and how they affect me in turn, I am better able to combat the darker influences in my brain and to live a life of peace and happiness.

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Bring It On!

February 8, 2013

Going on my third night without sleep.  My mind is absolutely buzzing.  I’m not even sure what it is I am thinking about exactly, as thoughts are flying around in there at an alarming rate.  It is so odd.  An idea forms and I begin to think it through, and then another thought bombards into that idea, sending it flying into the ether.  Which in turn is replaced by yet another notion…and so it goes.  I feel like I am using an inordinate amount of brain power without having any results to show for it.  I must admit, this is a far cry from where I was in December, paralyzed with inertia.  Now when I sit still, my head is a racetrack.  I am finding too, that I have energy to start tasks that would otherwise have been impossible for me to even fathom when I was in the doldrums.  But again, completion escapes me.  I start with one chore and get it half finished, and then it occurs to me that something else also needs to be addressed, so I leave the first job undone and move on to the next.

I’ve decided to take a break.  It is a gorgeous day and I am out on my swing at 1:10 PM.  T and S have joined me.  The birds are sweetly singing, chirping out the news of the day, and the sky is azure blue.  I LOVE my swing.  It is so peaceful.  The gentle swinging action puts me at ease.  Much like how I imagine a baby must feel when it is being rocked.  I look at my dried raspberry bushes and wonder of their bountiful promise this summer.  My apple and cherry trees stand stalwart respectively, awaiting the time when they will spring to life and be laden with pristinely white blossoms.  My lilac tree behind me displays its branches, that guarantee will hold the heady scent of lilac when they bloom in June.  My wind chimes are tinkling.  Fairy chimes.  There is a cool breeze, but the sun is warm.  The breeze wafts around me, as the sun shines on my face and hands.  The warmth of it spreads through my body to its very core.  My coat is undone.

The East side of my yard is blanketed with snow.  Banked and white.  The West side has some snow as well, but it is melting and there are puddles along the fence and in the raspberry bushes.  The North side against the house is a combination of dry and muddy parts, and the crown of my strawberry rhubarb plant is bravely peeking out.  The South side against the garage is deep with brilliantly sparkling snow.  I must remember to clear those rocks out by the side of the garage so my raspberries can continue to grow.  I can’t wait for spring to come when N will come and finish the backyard!

T is in amongst the raspberry bushes.  One of his favourite haunts during the summer months.  S has just scaled a snow drift mountain, and is perched on top, sniffing the air.  It feels and looks like spring, but I am afraid we have lots more winter left to experience.  It’s hard to believe on a day like today.  A jewel of a day!  I just took a deep breath of air into my lungs and it even smells like spring!  That fresh, slightly dank aroma of mulched leaves and dirt.  Why, I see a few sprigs of green grass!  Hey…I see LOTS of green grass sprouting up!  Oh, wouldn’t it be amazing if after all these years of having Phil the Groundhog see his shadow, that this year he didn’t and we got an early spring instead?  What a time worthy of celebration!  An early spring and an extra long summer would fit the bill perfectly!  Perhaps I should send out some wishes to the universe to bolster the possibility of this happening.

The universe…God…whatever is out there.  I have felt for so long that It/He/She doesn’t like me, or rather cares little for me, but likes to challenge me for its own entertainment.  And not JUST me.  A score of us purple sheep the world over,  A universal entertainment troupe.  The folks on the planet who struggle, or suffer, in varying degrees, for what benefit?  For whose benefit?  It’s hard to make sense of all the pain that exists in the world.  To justify why it is present.  Why IS it present?  What purpose does it serve?  It’s easier to think that someone or something up there is simply watching a television program that we have all been cast in.  And ratings are always higher when adversity is featured.  I have always said I wanted to touch people.  To make them laugh, or think, or cry, through my acting and my stand up routines.  Maybe I got my wish.  Just not in the way I thought I would.  The audiences that I had hoped to enthral have been diminished to one being…or one entity.  And the time that I was meant to be on the stage is actually my life as I live it each day.

Today I am feeling positive.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it is because I am riding a tide of delirium that has occurred because of my lack of sleep.  It doesn’t really matter why.  How long has it been since I felt this way?  Can I even remember a time?  I just feel like I can handle anything that comes my way.  So if there IS a being out there that wants to be entertained, I am ready and willing and standing by the stage door.  Bring on the events as you see fit!  But this time, I am writing the final script, and I will be the one that enjoys the show!

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July 2, 2017

Well, that passage is far removed from most of  the others that I have penned earlier in 2013.  At the end of it there is a cocky challenge that I sent out to the universe.  Something that I wouldn’t necessarily do today.  But unbeknownst to me, I was sailing along on the high at the start of a manic episode, and such behaviour is common at this time.  Although I think it is wise to have an attitude of confidence, I have learned that too much of a good thing can get me into trouble.  On the other hand, I don’t think with my life-long history of self-loathing and depression, that I could EVER reach a point where I was overly confident!  Hah!

As I read, I am taken back to this time.  Despite the fact I was just recovering from a debilitating bout of depression; that I had no job; that I had no way to pay my bills; that I had lost most of my friends due to my illness; and that I struggled daily to feed myself and maintain a weight that would be substantial enough for me to survive on, I was happy IN THAT MOMENT.  Whether it was derived from a chemical imbalance in my brain or not, there is no denying the contentment in my voice as I described my treasured back yard oasis.  What I want to remember about this important fact is that rain is followed by sunshine.  So many of the memories I have in my life are difficult, or shrouded in pain and sadness.  I seem to have forgotten most of the lovely and happy times I have shared with my family and friends.  Whether it is due in part to the ECT, or because I wasn’t really present in the times as they were occurring, I do not know.  It’s very unnerving to be so blank about my past.  But that day’s writing is a reminder to me that I have had good days.  That I will continue to have good days.  And for those that are less than that, I now have strategies in place that will assist me in finding my way through any darkness that may come.

 

Facing the Day

February 6, 2013

Another sleepless night for me.  I am weary today, but I am afraid to take a nap in case I don’t sleep tonight.  I haven’t followed my schedule today, or for that matter, in several days, as I lay in bed for a long time willing myself to get out of bed.  Getting up each morning is still so hard.  I don’t hate the day the minute I wake up anymore, but I just don’t seem to want to get going.  I guess I am still hiding out from the world.

I have made some good strides forward.  Dr. F is amazed at the big leap I have taken.  But I fear that this supposed progress is only temporary.  I hope I am not falling back.  I couldn’t take that.  Being on my own is difficult, as I no longer have an enforced set of activities I am required to complete.  I am my own boss.  This is a role I am not comfortable taking.  More truthfully, this is a role I have not a clue how to adopt and take on for myself.  How can I not know how to manage me?  How is it that I have never learned this basic survival technique?  It is unfathomable how I could have gotten so far into my life without grasping this simple premise.  And yet here I am.  Blindly making a muck out of experience after experience.  Terrified to step out on my own.

How do other people manage themselves?  Why is it that I have never thought about this crucial piece of reality until now?  What a simple concept, and yet it is one I don’t understand.  I have been ill so much in my life.  Hospitalization after hospitalization, to the point of sometimes becoming institutionalized due to the length of my stays.  I think of all the help I have received and the care that has been given me.  I have required this attention because of my illnesses, but at what cost?  Is it any wonder that I have difficulties standing on my own two feet?  Couple that with the fact that my family sees me as being fragile and unable to cope.  They have tried to protect me from what?  Myself?  The world that surrounds me?  Whatever the answer I am left lost and alone.  Feeling unprepared and unable to face each day as it greets me.

OK.  My heart is pounding, my chest feels constricted, and I have a nauseous feeling in my gut.  These physical signs are telling me that I am panic spiralling.  Never a good thing.  I must do some breathing exercises and focus on the moment of now.

I look at my luscious plants.  They are so beautiful and green.  Such a variety of different shades of colour.  It’s quite remarkable and spectacular at the same time.  Like me, they love the sun!  Basking in it each day brings me warmth and satisfaction.  A comfortable feeling of contentment creeps in as I feel the subtle warmth of the rays on my arms and hands.  This morning it was cloudy.  A greyness permeated the sky that suggested snow was on the way.  But now it is delightfully sunny with a slight haze in the sky.  It is like the clouds from this morning haven’t completely burned off.  I look up into the depths above me and marvel at its perfection.  With all of its different moods, the sky remains constant.  Something I can count on seeing each day and night.  If only I could learn to count on myself, then I, too, would be able to take care of me and face each day with dignity.

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May 27, 2017

I like most mornings, now.  I arise very early and then relax into my day by luxuriating in the downy folds of my cotton bedding while repeating my positive mantras at a lazy pace.  I am then able to eat breakfast, and although I cannot say I enjoy it particularly, I like the idea that I am feeding my brain and my body for whatever comes my way.

There are still days when I struggle to get out of bed, dreading what awaits me.  During those times, I strive to think of what I have to be grateful for, and I do my daily affirmations with a blind fervour, trying to occupy my mind with positivity, as opposed to focusing on what is negative.  This can be a challenging activity because for so many years my brain has been bent in the direction of negativity that I naturally navigate towards it.  But the more work I do establishing new positive neurological connections within myself, the better able I am to reach and remain on the bright side of that spectrum.

Now the grand question is whether I have learned how to take care of myself.  Anorexia has shattered what little self-esteem I possessed before its onset, so many decades ago.  It has not been built up significantly to date, despite my concerted efforts in this area.  And I remain rail thin, which would indicate that my ability to care for my basic need of sustenance is one that is sketchy at best.  But I AM functioning in the real world.  I have maintained a career for several years, and although I would like to have a partner, I live somewhat successfully on my own with my dear doggy and kitty.

True happiness still eludes me, as countless years of self hate have taken their toll, and the ability to be kind to myself is grossly impeded by my inner critic.  But I have learned to accept most days as they come, and to do my best to focus on the moments that occur, in real time, regardless of whether they are moments to remember, or ones to forget.  I hold onto the belief that with continued hard work on myself as a person, I WILL find total peace, and even true happiness.  In the meantime, I welcome contentment as my companion as I face the days that come before me.