Ideation

This morning it finally hit me. As the electric toothbrush was buzzing inside my mouth, I looked my tired face in the mirror. It wasn’t really morning. It was past noon. My debilitating anxiety and depression has confined me to years of not being able to function properly because any attempt at tying myself down to a deadline incapacitates me with severe anxiety. It could be something as inconsequential as sleeping at a certain time and waking up at a certain time, or it could be vital things like doing a 9-5 job or going to university. After causing myself more harm for years by trying fight this handicap, I finally got the hang of it some 4 years ago. I accepted that I had a handicap, albeit invisible, and that I had to find a way to manage it. Acceptance, after years of denial.

So I’ve been making small strides, over the past couple of years, that saw me getting significantly better.
Once I faced my ugly truth, my inner beauty came out; I started writing, in earnest, I became brave, bold, adventurous, and stopped at nothing in trying to make the world a bit better by tackling uncomfortable subject matters in my writing.

But even so, there was so much that I wanted to do but couldn’t. Mental illness isn’t something you can get around by good ol’ willpower and positive thinking anymore than you can get around physical illness with good ol’ dieting and exercise. Just this past month, I went to Denmark over a short  weekend and when I returned home, I paid for that by spending the next 3-4 weeks bedridden with a complete mental shutdown and anxiety so severe that it was difficult to even move my body. That’s why I had been writing so much – I had to find a way to channel my energy, or else, if left intact, it could quickly turn into suicidal urges. It’s the horrible truth that very few of us – those riddled with these illnesses – speak of because people usually add insult to an already deep wound.

I’ve been taking tiny steps in trying to explore what it is that I *can* do, whilst trying to stabilize my mood by doing more of what makes me happy in the moment – even if it’s Coke drinking and staying up all night binge-watching shows lol. And I’ve been trying to understand the mechanism of the particular fear that blocked my attempts at going out in the world and do things like study, travel (more than I have), run my own business, etc. Which leads me back to the aha-moment in front of the mirror earlier:

I wanted complete freedom. That was the gnawing feeling of frustration that I’ve been chipping away at for years. I wanted complete inner freedom to go wherever my creative energy took me. That’s all I wanted. And to do that, I had to find a way to manage the scary feelings, the ones that punished my weekend getaways with flooding my system with insane amount of fight-or-flight responses. Because that’s what I was afraid of, that was what was holding me back.

And I remembered that had achieved something similar before – my daring vulnerability. I used to be afraid of what people would say, because I needed their approval so bad. The flipside of that meant that I would avoid anything that would piss them off. Once I let go of that, I had nothing left to fear. Yes, it was still unpleasant to get backlash and disapproval, because I’m a sensitive person and I don’t like confrontations. But it didn’t deter me anymore. I was free in that regard. I had full freedom of expression.

Every action can’t be undertaken unless the associated fear is faced and accepted – subconsciously or consciously;

You can’t swim if you fear drowning
You can’t love if you fear being hurt
You can’t seek if you fear not finding
You can’t ask if you fear rejection
You can’t be yourself if you fear disapproval
You can’t be resilient if you fear failure
You can’t be creative if you fear the unknown.

I spit out into the sink, and rinsed my mouth. My head felt cleaner, my heart felt lighter at this discovery. Hope is a currency I live on, and I recycle difficulties and road blocks to make it through another day. As I rinsed my toothbrush under the running tap water, I looked back at my reflection and though I was still tired, my lips curved in a faint smile. On any other person, it’d be undetectable. But on this face, it made all the difference in the world.

Electrifying pain

As a young child I was bizarre. Curiously pedantic. Pedantically curious. I was attuned to intricate details, mesmerized by the most mundane stuff. Stubborn! Oh lord, my middle name is ‘hardheaded’. I, of course, have my biased defense of the trait; ‘ I’m incessantly curious!’ I quip.

I asked mum why I had to feel pain? She told me that pain was useful because without pain there is no sensation and then we wouldn’t be able to walk. And if we hurt ourselves really bad, we wouldn’t feel that too and we could die.

 

That lesson stuck with me. For every step that I take inwards in introspection, it’s as if I’m performing a surgery without anaesthesia. I’m cutting away the vines of my childhood pain and rip open the scar tissues to extract the bullets that have been slowly permeating my mind, lacing it with a young child’s fear.

Being vulnerable is like being pierced and keep from flinching. The pain becomes physical at times. I feel it run down my legs. Knot in my stomach. My chest constricted. My back tense. I let it surge through me like a gushing river. I tell myself to ignore the urge to suppress it, and to let the river of tears out. Two decades of tears and blood.

I collect memories. I hide in the pain, in plain view. I close my eyes,grit my teeth and lie down. Whenever I reach a level of consciousness within me, the accompanying pain always startles me. Though I know the drill, nothing can prepare me for the pain because the more aware I become, the stronger the current of pain that surges through me. I brace myself.

The current of pain electrifies me. In its wake I find energy. It livens me. I’m vaccinated against fear. I pain, I live, I reflect, I am free.

I loved what I saw in him. I love who he is behind the iron curtain he set up against pain. How unfortunate it was that he couldn’t see himself. I hope that one of these days he’ll reach that place within him and brace the pain to see himself. For that day, I’ll be patiently awaiting.

 

Be unedited

 

unedited

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
— Franz Kafka

Can’t touch this

smoke

“I never wish to be easily defined. I’d rather float over other people’s minds as something strictly fluid and non-perceivable; more like a transparent, paradoxically iridescent creature rather than an actual person.”
— Franz Kafka

Forget who you aren’t

“Reputation is what others think of us; character is what God knows of us. When you have spent what feels like eternity trying to repair a few moments of time that destroyed the view others once had of you then you must ask yourself if you have the problem or is it really them? God doesn’t make us try so hard, only enemies do.”

— Shannon L. Alder

I don’t mind being hurt

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
– Margery Williams (The Velveteen Rabbit)

No more posts.