Monthly Archives: August 2019

When My Mind Attacks Itself

Standard

I’m going through a slew of old blog entries that I started writing, but never finished.  Some are a couple years old.  I’m struck at how I can go back and read some of my own writing, and be surprised at how much I relate to it!  The following was written during a time of paranoid depression.  Doesn’t that sound fun?

I love to write.  It’s therapeutic for me in a million different ways.  My hope is that this will find its way to someone who needs to read it.  My reason for putting these writings out for all to see is that someone else might find reading it therapeutic.  That someone might feel less alone, less paranoid, less crazy.  That someone might come to a greater understanding of the beast she is dealing with.  So, please, pass my posts along to others.  Share them so they can find those who need to feel the words come off the paper (screen), and embrace them in a hug.

Peace.

I feel alone much of the time, trapped by my own thoughts and paranoia.  At the same time, I know that I am loved by many.

There is a constant battle going on inside my mind.  One side tells me that I’m a burden, that I’m needy, that no one really likes me.  This side convinces me that I shouldn’t contact people.  I should just wait for them to contact me.  After all, if they really care about me they will want to communicate with me.  They will want to share a funny story, or ask my opinion, or see how I’m feeling, or just say hello.  That’s what people do with people they really care about and enjoy spending time with.  Right?

So I wait.  Sometimes I wait all day and I hear from no one.  My phone doesn’t ring.  No one knocks on my door.  No emails.  No texts.  That must mean that no one cares.  They must be so thankful to have gone a whole day without hearing from me, their annoying, needy ‘friend.’  I try to tell myself that they are just busy.  They have jobs and families and other friends.  Their lives do not revolve around me.  The fact that I didn’t hear from them today does not mean that they don’t like me.  I tell myself these things over and over again everyday.  Most of the time I don’t believe it.  I want to, but I don’t.

Sometimes I do believe that I’m important to others.  I do believe that people like me.  I feel comfortable enough to text or call, just because I want to, but not because I have a specific thing to say.  I might share something funny, or send a picture or video.  I’m goofy like that.  If they respond, great!  If they don’t, the other side creeps in and tells me that I’m being annoying again.  It tells me that I should be embarrassed for initiating contact with others.  It tells me that, once again, I messed up.

As I type and reread this, I realize how childish and immature it sounds.  Trust me, I know.  The thing is, no matter how much I know it, it’s still my reality.  I do not know how to change it.

It’s exhausting living like this.  The constant struggle consumes my thoughts.  I go through the motions of everyday, but much of the time my mind is a million miles away.  Being in two places at once is overwhelming.  It’s easier to just be by myself and not have to pretend to be plugged into whatever it is that I’m doing.

Being alone is easier, but not necessarily what is best.  Being alone for a while is great.  It’s peaceful.  It’s calming.  It’s good.  But, I thrive on relationship with others.  I love to be with friends.  I love to laugh with them, sing with them, talk with them.  I’m happiest when I’m with people whom I’m close to.  So, too much alone time turns into depression, which leads to more paranoia.  Vicious cycle.

This kind of inner turmoil is exhausting.  It isn’t visible, so it doesn’t seem like a real thing sometimes.  That’s why I question myself.  That’s why others can easily tell me why I should brush it off.  That’s why it seems ridiculous.  But it isn’t.

Paranoia is real.  It’s my mind attacking itself.  You may not see the war, but it’s real.

A little like Joseph

Standard

Anyone who read yesterday’s blog post can surmise that it was just ‘one of those days’ for me.  They come and go, but inevitably I awaken the next day and realize how blessed I am.  This morning I was reading the story of Joseph in the Bible.  I’m struck by the fact that he endured some things that really were outrageous!  His brothers sold him as a slave, and he was wrongly accused and imprisoned.  Years of his life were spent either as a slave or a prisoner.  I don’t know about you, but I would certainly feel justified in raising some cane if either of these things had happened to me!

The Bible tells us, though, that the Lord was with Joseph all the while.  God protected him and caused everything he worked on to flourish and thrive.  Even though there were a few things that seemed to go wrong in his life, God never allowed anything catastrophic to happen to him.  He protected him, and used all the ‘bad’ things for Joseph’s own good in the long run.

It’s in this way that I can relate to Joseph.  There have been things in my life that have been less than desirable, but nothing earth shattering has happened to me – at least not yet.  I feel that God has blessed me immensely in this way.  He has, thus far, protected those who mean the world to me from sickness and harm.  He has protected my family from financial hardship.  He has protected us from suffering natural disasters.  He has provided for us everything we could possibly need.  He has even blessed us enough that we can use our resources to bless others.

Joseph eventually became second in command in Egypt.  Rags to Riches.  He remained faithful to God, even in the worst of circumstances – and God also remained faithful to him.  God knew how the story of Joseph’s life would end.  He knew the hard times wouldn’t last forever.  He also knew how Joseph needed to grow and be molded so that he would be ready for the later triumphs.  He knew all along.

I have no idea really when I began writing this post.  It’s been a few years, I’m sure.  I just finished the above paragraph today.  “Nothing earth-shattering has happened to me” is no longer true.  My earth has shattered and been rebuilt a few times.  During the rebuilding, I have been able to see glimpses of what God may have already written in my future chapters.  I am so thankful that God provided us the account of Joseph’s life, as proof that beauty can rise from the ashes.

My ashes have been dark, and some still are, but they are becoming more and more full of color.  My ashes are becoming beautiful.

The Weird Stuff

Standard
It feels like I’m hanging upside down. I’m sitting in the chair, everything is normal. Slowly I begin to feel it change. It feels like there is a seatbelt holding me in the chair, and then all of a sudden I’m upside down. Just hanging there. My head feels heavy, and like it’s falling forward, though it isn’t. I know I’m not inverted, and I know it sounds crazy, but I have no better description. Eventually, the sensation dissipates, and all goes back to normal – seatbelt off, right side up.
It usually happens when I’m using my computer. My fingers begin to feel heavy. As the heaviness increases, so does the stiffness. It becomes difficult to move my fingers. They don’t want to cooperate. It’s as if there is a disconnect between my brain and my hands. Typing becomes quite difficult. I have Wreck It Ralph hands. Big. Bulky. Clumsy. No thanks. You can keep your hands, Ralph.
My face feels weird. All I can think of is a seal’s face. Or better yet, one of The Who’s from Whooville. Their faces. The area around the mouth and up to just beneath the nose is puffed up. It’s like a snout or something. That’s how my face feels. It’s hanging out, farther than normal. It’s heavy.
Sometimes my eyes see things that defy logic. The ceiling moves. The mud is sliding. I mean, it isn’t. But it is. My eyes say yes. My mind says no.
Then, of course, there is the dizziness, and the loss of balance. Those have become staples. Then there are all the bugs I see, and the things lurking on the sidelines. And not so new, is the difficulty of driving. The cars come at me from all sides. My car aims for the edge of the bridges, trying to take us overboard.
These are all just weird things I experience on the regular.
You?

The Door

Standard

It’s in the room with me. It’s always there. Always closed. Taunting me with its bright, shiny handle.

The handle that won’t.

It won’t open. Won’t let me in. Won’t grant access to the other side. No matter how hard I try, it will not open. It isn’t locked. I know this because it turns. It turns. For some reason, I keep trying it. Surely one of these days it will open, and I will finally find freedom.

Freedom.

Freedom from the darkness that surrounds me. It’s been dark for too long. I have wrestled the darkness. I have willed it away for fleeting moments, but it has always returned.

It always returns.

I can see the light seeping through the edges of the door. It’s black on my side, but I know the light is on the other side.

Do you have a door? A door right there, in your sight, within reach, yet not. Do you weep in desperation because the light behind the door is off limits?  Do you wonder if the door will ever open?  Or do you wonder if the other side will forever be off limits?

Sometimes the door becomes translucent enough that the room fades from black to grey, and sometimes even to light grey.  The darkness is like a heavy fog and thick, humid air.  It’s hard to see, and hard to breathe.  But the grey?  In the grey, I can see.  I can breathe.  Grey never quite becomes white, but I can take a deep enough breath to survive.

Enough to survive.  Ugh.

That’s not enough.  Not for me.  I want so much more than that.

I believe a lot of things.  God.  Jesus.  Holy Spirit.  It’s real.  All of it.  And I believe it – all of it.  I know that I am loved and protected.  I know that nothing is a surprise to Him, and that He can handle everything that I cannot.  I know that He will show me how to use all of this suffocating darkness for His good.  I know all of this.  Without any doubt, I know it.

Yet…

None of that erases the pain.  None of that means that it will all go away.  Knowing does not equal healing.  Believing does not equal a problem-free life.  I still hurt.  I still struggle.  My days are still filled with too many bipolar-related things.  I don’t think I could believe anymore than I do, yet here I am, still smack in the middle of the darkness.

And so I wonder…

Will He remove the darkness this side of Heaven?  Does His plan for me require that I continue to carry this cross?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that my only job, when the door becomes black and closes out all light, is to breathe.  One breath at a time, all I have to do is keep breathing, and He will do the rest.  Every breath will probably hurt, and I may even wish them away, but as long as I don’t stop, the door will loosen, and the light will return –

Or at least the grey.