Thank you to all of you who have started following my blog since the post “Flying Ford Anglia” was posted. I’m glad you all enjoyed the post and started following, but a fair warning…you may not know what you’ve gotten yourself into.
I like to write, and I like to imagine myself a writer, and sometime I manage to come up with something that is witty or curious or just off the wall enough to make someone laugh. However, this blog isn’t all full of crafted phrases and thought out ideas; it isn’t always something that deserves a thumbs’ up or a LIKE. It is full of angst and swear words; crabby responses that can’t be voiced in front of a real person; minor ponderings of a soul gone astray. It may interest you, it may not; but I wanted to let you know right off that it is ALL over the place.
But primarily, this blog is about my struggle and/or ease finding happiness in a crazy mixed up world. This world is so chaotic now – what with random terrorism being more common place than shocking, and children mowing down their playmates with semi-automatics. I don’t really know how anyone manages to go through this life without an occasional panic-attack, but I’ve been assured by some that they’ve never experienced one.
Not true for me. In fact, lately I’ve been having all kinds of anxiety. My heart pounds in my throat, and I can’t sleep through the night. I’ve developed dark circles under my eyes, and l have a haunted face that I wear around the house. You probably can’t tell this when I’m at work; I try hard to keep a stiff upper lip and carry on. I smile and laugh and offer friendly service. I go out of my way to help or nag, and sometimes complain about people that annoy me. But inside lately is a belly of acidic juices churning to the beat of grumpy music. Inside I’m a bucket of nerves that are like little live wires cut free from the electrical pole, squirming around, sparks a’ flyin. I walk around looking like a normal (albeit odd) adult human being, but inside I’m raw and just a little thing. In fact, I’m scared to death.
I sort of suspect that this is because of the third grade. For those of you new to my scene, I have multiple personality disorder, and I’m struggling with working through that rather large can of worms. Presently the worms are all coming from third grade, I think.
Third grade is an elusive situation. I can’t really remember anything. I have pretty much blocked the whole year out, and know only primary basics; like we lived with my grandmother that year, and my older sister chose to sleep and hang out in the garage, up in a pile of boxes that were stacked on top of each other reaching almost to the top of the garage ceiling. We had moved out of a house we were renting, and whatever we could stuff of our belongings went into my gran’s garage, and my older sister buried herself in there like some kind of little mouse nestled in wood shavings. And I only know this fact because she recently told me about it.
The stuff I know from that year in my life is that I was sleep walking a lot, and the next year I developed an ulcer, chronic headaches, nose bleeds, and asthma. And the fact that pretty much the whole year (minus one or two vague memories) is obliterated from my memory makes me think something was pretty scary at that time in my life.
So all of that to say, right now – with my heightened anxiety over nothing, or little things – I sort of think that third grade personality is wanting to come out, wanting to deal with her stuff.
And it’s freaking me out. I’ve spent my whole life squishing down bad memories and scary monsters. I’ve spent a great many years lying to myself that there are no skeletons in my closet, and bolting it up just to be sure. I am scared to death of the memories of a little nine year old girl making their way into my life, and making a shambles of my existence.
But I guess, to be who I need to be, and to embrace the beauty of the darkest side of my soul, I must.
So hang on if you want, follow if you dare, the ride may be bumpy, I just don’t know…
It gives me some small comfort that pretty much everyone I know is on drugs. Prescribed medications, of course. Mostly. I even joke that we should have someone at the door where I work, standing to the side like a WalMart greeter. I envision them holding a platter with colorful pills of blue, yellow, pink and green, offering whichever flavor the incoming customer prefers. It would just make everything so much easier if EVERYONE were on medication.
That said, when did we all become so stressed out? Mental illness has been around for eons and ages. People have been axe-murdering each other since forever ago. But I have to wonder if it wasn’t television that gave us all the big boot into modern day neurosis.
From what I’ve read and in my own non-professional understanding, back before World War II we didn’t all realize that the guy next door could potentially be a serial killer. We were all sort of content to smile at one another and believe the best in our neighbors. Once war images started being televised, society realized that there was some ugly stuff going on in the world. Not that we were really oblivious to the dark side of life, but maybe not aware of its reality on such a large, worldwide scale.
Nowadays it seems everyone is on something just to handle the craziness of everyday life, and social media isn’t making it any easier to maintain one’s sanity. Seems like any stupid thing you do might be subject to millions of viewers on YouTube if you happen to be in the vicinity of someone with a cell phone, which – let’s face it – is pretty much everyone. And the constant play by play of a life can wreak havoc on the mental condition of anyone.
My advice in a crazy mushed up world? Think about what you WANT, and remember what you’ve already DONE.
* Think of the best case scenario for the day and hold that image in your mind. Yesterday, for example, I was feeling punky, and I imagined myself out on a lake, just floatin’ on a boat. Improved my mood immediately! Did I get to go out on the lake? No. But seeing myself there made my body relax and set my mind at ease, so that I was better able to deal with what was right in front of me.
There are waayyyy too many of these kind of lists: “I should have”; “I ought to”; “I didn’t”. We all beat ourselves up over the littlest of things, because there are always so very many things to be doing.
* Keep a journal (I use an old unwanted book someone was tossing out, and use colorful Sharpie markers to write all this down) for your new lists. In one column or page write the things you’d like to accomplish for the day: Grocery Shopping, Pick up Dry Cleaning, Wash the Car, etc. In the other column or page, write down what you actually accomplish that day. Include little things like: Treated myself to lunch on the river. Took the dog for a long walk. Finished that short story I’ve been putting off. Washed some dishes. Took a long bath.
We tend to berate ourselves for things we DON’T accomplish instead of praising ourselves for the many things we do without thinking about it. Try to remember and include all the awesome things you took care of today.
Will this increase your performance and efficiency? I don’t care! The fact is, being nice to yourself will probably give you a longer life expectancy than beating yourself up over a less than perfectly organized house.
Just my thoughts on how to be Accidentally Happy with just a little effort.
This weekend started off in a pretty interesting manner. I was at work minding my own business when someone I know (but just barely) asked me if I could tell when people were going to die. This may SOUND like a bizarre question, but it isn’t really, when factoring me into the conversation. I am a bit of a psychic. I don’t know if I should say that, because it’s not like I’ve been tested and approved, like some of those new commercials or adds brag about. Still, I’ve been known to acquire information accidentally. Like which player on the team is going to get the winning touchdown, or what your favorite sexual position is, or who has a problem staying away from the “ladies”. So the question didn’t surprise me, and I told her that even if I DID know when someone was going to die, I wouldn’t tell them. I mean, come on. “By the way, you have a week to live. Hope you have something planned”.
Her response was curious. “Oh, well I’ve been thinking about killing myself, and I just wondered if that showed up”.
Well obviously, this freaked me right out. She wasn’t telling me she was headed off to Rite Aid to get a fresh razor blade, or off to KMART for a load of ammunition, but it was unsettling nonetheless. And it’s not like I don’t understand these issues; depression, insanity, the call of a nice shiny pointed object. I get it. But this sounded to me like a call for help.
I was rattled by this open bald-faced admission, and went to another friend for a word of advice. Do I give this person my home phone number, so they can talk to me about this issue? Do I call the police? Do I alert her immediate supervisor? We settled on me giving her a hotline number, urging her to email me RIGHT NOW, and setting up a date for coffee NEXT WEEK, emphasizing that she WILL be around still next week. I was encouraged not to try to handle this situation myself, but to try to redirect her to a professional.
Still, that night I cried for quite some time. I was worried. I felt responsible. I thought that if she DID kill herself, and I was the only one that knew about it, I was totally culpable. What should I have done differently? I ended up calling her on her cell phone, and she was very flippant and nonchalant about the whole situation. “Oh, this is something I’ve been dealing with since I was fifteen. I think about it all the time”.
She wasn’t REALLY going to kill herself. She got depressed. She thought about her mortality. She cuts herself and takes pills sometimes, but not deeply enough to sever anything of importance (relatively) and not so many pills that she whacks herself off. So what, is this all just about the drama? Are you bored? Do you just want to give people around you nervous breakdowns?
No really, I very much understand this whole situation and way of life. But I just seriously think you need to get some help. Life can be better than this. You CAN be happy, if you want. Eventually. With pills. Or booze. Or a credit card that allows you to do a lot of shopping.
So I’m worried about this girl, and the next day am still bothered about the situation, and then yesterday talked to my therapist about this, and even today had to discuss the issue with several other people. Because this is serious. This isn’t like suddenly changing your hair color, or radically altering your physical appearance with tattoo sleeves or facial modification. This is the end of your life. This is you laying this death on someone else’s shoulders … potentially.
Sometimes people kill themselves, I understand that. I get that some people find this a viable option and a necessary evil, and I’m not advocating it nor am I denouncing it. It is, and has been, a part of life. But seriously, you need to think about WORDING people. If you talk casually about suicide on a regular basis, in front of people you barely know, you will likely get a reaction. If it isn’t really something that is a “big deal”, maybe you should consider just saying you’re depressed. Or angry. Or that you hate life. Actually going so far as to say you are thinking about killing yourself is a bold statement that will likely be met with some sort of response involving your immediate supervisor, the police, or a mental health professional. People DO care; but please, if you are just bored with your life, or looking for a way to pass the time, or just don’t have anything interesting to say, then you need to think up some new lines. It just isn’t good suicide etiquette to fake people out about your mental desperation. Next time, I might just hand you the extra gun I have in my glove compartment.