It has been a day. It has been a week. At this point it is safe to say it has been a life. A difficult up and down life that doesn’t have an ending other than one that looks like death. Why is it that my life is full of a complaining worthy messed up group of days? I have no idea. And these days it is hard to find it in myself to even work towards something else.
Maybe I have finally accepted the fact that I have a dark and sometimes ridiculous disease that no one around me seems to have. Maybe I have finally realized that turning in circles over and over is exhausting, and when it doesn’t have a specific destination in mind it becomes just a dizzying experience. Life is like sitting on that tire swing and twirling oneself around and around and realizing that not only can you not actually see anything, but you can’t actually stop yourself from wanting to throw up about half way through. On that swing you can’t define the trees from the grass, the sky from the ground, and the laughter of those around you from the tears streaming down your own eyes.
I have been having a bad couple of weeks. This isn’t news as even I realize that having a couple of bad weeks is as mundane and normal in my life as the cereal I eat for breakfast. The lesson, the need to explain these last weeks, lies more in the reason. Because every bad turn is predicated by something, even if it is something easy like the change of weather. All of us willing to study ourselves through the foggy glass of mental illness know that triggers, small acts, little words, lack of somethings can often start a downhill spiral that does not let up until we have reached this turns bottom. And then it starts again.
I spend so much time in this place of bad that it is more of a home to me than the sunshine and laughter of anything else. Even my small and incredible children and their laughter can be a foreign sound when I am at home in my own misery. And despite others ability to count on that laughter to make their day, for me so many times it is just another sound. Not a sound I wish to quiet, not a sound I wish to ignore or get angry at; just another sound in the thousands. And in those thousands is my own sound of soulless defeat because I can’t and I won’t find a way towards the beautiful; I will stay in that darkness for comfort alone.
These last weeks have been an interesting definition of darkness. I can’t say that the last couple of weeks have been like anything previously known. Instead it seems to be my disease has given up on something precious while still functioning on a level that pleases those who need me to be whole.
My therapist, who is probably closer to the actual me than anyone else, knows there is something major changing. Something that is sitting underneath the mask that I always wear. Something that doesn’t look like the past nor has the face of a future but rather looks exactly like it has for the last couple of years. But there is something changing underneath it all.
Maybe my cells for the first time are beginning to dance. Maybe my very blood is beginning to lessen the weight of its own responsibilities in order for me to exist. Maybe the very atoms in my soul are fusing to the new and leaving the old behind.
This more than anything I would describe as loss. Not loss of self, not loss of someone dear and true to ourselves, but the loss of a belief. It is my opinion that the loss of a belief is in many ways much more dangerous than a loss of someone you love. Life and death is part of this world and it is something we must not only understand at a very young age, but come to terms with; but the loss of a belief is not something any child can be prepared for, much less any adult.
The loss of a belief means that something that you have counted on, something that you have held onto, a nebulous and unshaped reality is now gone. Maybe it is the loss of a fairy tale, a dream that you held onto for so long. Maybe it is the reality that our dreams most often deserve to remain dreams; it is to problematic when those dreams become reality. The loss of a long held truth that turns out to be false can be not only devastating but often times life threatening.
Imagine, if you will, that you have spent thirty years dreaming of your wedding day. You have it planned to a tee. Everything from the garter you will wear to the reception’s starry tent is mapped out. You use this dream when the day is long. You use this dream when the day is hard and exhausting. You use this dream when you have nothing left to hold onto. It is yours completely, not shared, not even cut out from some magazine. No one but you can see, hear, feel this dreams; and one day the truth comes along.
The truth comes that you will never have that wedding. You didn’t bother to imagine a groom that wasn’t what you needed to hold onto; it was simply the dream of something completely yours that was important. So for whatever reason, whatever happenings, the ability to count on that dream is now gone. Maybe reality set in. Maybe you received news that guaranteed that wedding was no longer an option. Whatever happened, your dream, that thing you held onto when the chips were down was gone.
This, of course, if you are not familiar with the loss like this, can lead to depression, hurt, and even suicide. Because if you can’t hold onto the dreams that make you sane, how can you hold onto to anything? There are those of you out there reading this and assuming that I am talking about death over an altar, I am not. It was just the furthest example from my own loss that I could come up with. But no matter the dream, the downward realization of this loss can be, more than anything else, destructive. And it is very hard to survive intact.
I know that recently I suffered a loss; my therapist all but pissed me off to make me come to that conclusion. You should have seen my face when I realized what it was that was causing so much pain these last couple of weeks. I had just gotten to the point of screaming out the truth to her for once and for all when I finally heard this truth and that this loss was swimming inside of me as quickly as those germs that will take me physically down.
What do I do with this loss? What do I do now that I have realized that the loss is there and that the loss is affecting who and what I am? What do I do to move pass this loss and find a new thing to hold onto? What do I find to replace a thirty year belief? What do I do to come to terms with that which may be a little loss to the world but is the loss of my life?