Living in a world between normality and insanity

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Fine but not fine?

maxresdefaultSpent lots of time up in my head today, both spacing out and thinking about what was said in my session and later with my sponsor. Wondering why I was craving so much last night, not just craving but the vivid images that filled my head. Feeling the blade press through the skin and watching the blood seep through the gap. Playing with it as it spirals and leaves tracks of red down my arm. Even now in the late afternoon the image is so real and tangible. I find myself leaving reality and fantasizing about it. Fantasy is all I have though, I can never go back down that road but oh how I want to right now.
This morning I spoke of being disconnected, out of sorts. I realize as I look through the day that yes, I could say disconnected which is a truth in a way, it is more dissociated than anything else. I sit in conversations and feel unreal as though everything is happening around me but not to me. I spend moments just staring off into the distance when I should be focusing on the conversations around me but I don’t feel a part of it. I don’t feel a part of anything at the moment. I think back to the images in my head and wonder why they remain more real than the life around me. Release stands out, pain stands out but denial stands out above everything. Avoidance of what might really be going on, fear of what I maybe don’t want to face. I can’t touch it though and through the day it feels like reality is slipping further and further away.
I don’t feel negative and thoughts like being unworthy or not good enough nip at the edges of consciousness but haven’t seemed to have broken through yet. I still feel generally satisfied with my life and where I am placed in it but I can’t seem to merge the emptiness with being satisfied and I am left confused. I do all the right things, work a solid program but still I am reaching for something and I can’t seem to grasp what it is. As I write this all I have eaten is a small cinnabon which is not nearly enough for the day. I realise that I have not been taking care of myself, not nurturing myself and if I’m honest I don’t care. So at the end of the day I can no longer deny that I am not in a low space but where does it come from.
I immediately want to blame a circumstance but off the top of my head, I tell myself that I am happy, that there is nothing wrong with my life. Is it true, I want it to be but I have just stepped out of financial security, leaving a job. Can this affect so much though? It sounds weird but I don’t want it to be my mood, that means looking at medication and puts me out of control but the more I think about all the symptoms the more I come to think that it might just be my mood. Living with BiPolar sucks, being Borderline sucks even more. I call myself stupid because by now I should know healthy coping mechanisms yet still I slip into melancholy and dreams of slicing my arms up.
The dreams have expanded now. I sit and have a smoke and hold the cigarette as close to my hand as I can without burning it. Playing with temptation but I can’t seem to stop myself. What if I go to far, what would happen if I let the cigarette touch the skin, kept it there until a blister forms? I can’t though, I would shatter so much, I can’t. Is it sad that the thing stopping me is not that it’s unhealthy but rather what others would say, what I would lose. It’s insane and once again I find myself not caring.
Writing this rambling is the first thing that I’ve connected to all day, the first thing I have felt involved in. I don’t want to stop in case I start to feel empty inside again, in case I slip off into the nothingness that has been hovering all day.


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Milestones Jitters

On Sunday I celebrated 9 years in recovery. Over 3000 days of 24 hours at a time. The strange thing is that even after all these years I still struggle around my milestone time. Saturday night was one of the hardest nights for me. Everything seemed to trigger a craving and I felt lonely and abandoned inside. The reality was that I have many friends and those that could kept me company via whatsapp messages, facetime and facebook.

So what have I learnt? Well one is to never take this time in the year for granted and to put things in place when my milestone comes around so that I am not alone and in a safe space. Second is to remember that this is a hard time for me. The week before my milestone was confusing and frustrating. My anxiety was so high and everything felt lost and empty. I couldn’t figure it out until the actual day. I need to be kind and gentle with myself and remind myself that this is normal for many addicts. We all seem to struggle in the surrounding times.IMG_0703

My sponsor has suggested that I write a journal. Something to catalog what happens and what I can do to ease the pain of the moment. So things to put in the journal are the fact that my mood is affected. Not because something has happened but simply because it is that time of the year. To set up safe spaces and make sure I have friends around me so the emptiness and loneliness are so present. To be kind and gentle to myself and take it easy.

All in all it was a great milestone. I shared at a meeting on Monday night and celebrated with a bunch of friends. I was reminded of how my recovery inspires others and that even though it doesn’t always feel like it, I am working a good program and people look up to me and love me. Hard to accept sometimes but that is the reality.

Here’s to another year of work on myself and change for the better.


The Ability of Choice

It was only a few days ago that Robin Williams passed away and much discussion has already been generated. The topic most discussed in my circles is the that of choice. Why would someone choose to commit suicide and or was is a choice at all. We’ve just had a lovely heated debate at college about the ability of choice (I am studying psychology). So I though I would write down my thoughts on the subject.

So do those who commit suicide choose to do so or is there really no choice in the matter. Let me start by saying that everything in life is a choice and I really do believe that we choose our actions. That said I also want to say that sometimes it feels like we don’t have a choice, that there is only one way. I know this sounds like I am contradicting myself but let me explain further.

If you are offered the choice between R1 or R1,000 with no consequences, most people would say there is no choice take the R1,000. I think it’s similar, while there is a choice it doesn’t feel like it and so we say there was no choice. Another example would be if you were driving along and in front of you was an offramp to the left and a cliff in front of you – is there really a choice?

In my experience with my own depression I rarely stopped to think about whether there was another option. Suicide often felt like the only choice there was. Now my friend at college says but that’s just avoidance and while I agree with her I do not think that in that moment anyone is aware enough to see the choice. So while there may be a choice it is shrouded in darkness.

Let’s say there was a choice, that someone chooses to commit suicide. What are their other choices? Continue to live life with no hope? Continue to feel the absolute pain? Continue to die a little each day. Are these really choices? Wouldn’t you choose to end it all if you life was filled with blackness, hurt, hopelessness?

When it feels like this is all life ever was, ever is and ever will be the choice to live gets taken away. I have been there and only through the love of God, my family and friends that I am still alive. It has taken years of hard work to raise the self-awareness that many who suffer with depression never get. I feel for every one of my compatriots out there who suffer with this illness. Love to you all.

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All or Nothing

Finally after waiting for weeks we got our assignment marks back. Now I am always eager to get mine and see how I did, so far I have never been disappointed. Well this time I was, not once but twice. On assignments that I thought I had worked really hard on. straight away my perfectionism came up and I was really upset with the first mark. The worst was the lecturer laughed at me when I spoke to her and said it’s a good mark.

phd012014sNow a good mark, I believe is subjective. If I am used to getting and A a B is a bad mark, if I am used to getting a C then a B is a good mark – subjective right. I obsessed the entire way home from McGregor when I got the first mark and let it affect my mood for the entire week. The second mark came through right before I went to bed a week later. Do you think I could sleep? No way, I lay up for hours obsessing over the mark. Then I switched to all or nothing thinking.

It went something like this, if I can’t get a good mark then I’m not going to try. Screw them (although I probably used more colourful language at the time). I totally wanted to give up. I was so demotivated, still am a little. I know that this type of thinking is both my addict and the borderline in me – doubly screwed right. I have worked hard at not buying into this type of thinking but when it comes to something as important as my marks I find it hard to just let go.

Anyway, at first I wanted my assignments remarked but realised that the educators would just laugh at me cause in general the marks are okay they are just my lowest marks ever. I need to move on and convince myself to give everything to the next assignments which are due in the next 2 weeks. It’s hard but I have good support and know that I am not alone. These little glimpses of my illnesses come out every now and again and I just have to fight harder till they fade away again.

All in all, as disappointed as I am with myself and my marks I will try again and again. Time to stop giving into the madness and get back to sanity.

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Good for the Soul – Part Two

2014.07.18-20 - McGregor Retreat (85)_Snapseed

The first thing that was good for my soul was the doing of something for others which we did on Friday and you can see that blog before this one. The second thing I did this weekend which was good for my soul was doing something for myself and that is exactly what I did. On Friday around lunchtime we packed the car and four of us set off in a stuffed car for McGregor to join a bunch of girls for a girlie weekend looking at Tradition One.

2014.07.18-20 - McGregor Retreat (9)_Snapseed We arrived around five pm and there were already some people there. Unpacked and ready to chill, and chill we did, it was freezing there so I had my beanie, gloves and scarf as well as blanket around me. Fire blazing in the fireplace and I was ready f2014.07.18-20 - McGregor Retreat (223)_Snapseedor the weekend.

What followed was one of the most amazing weekends that I have had in a long time. A weekend filled with making new friends, getting intimate and trusting others. I have never felt so vulnerable and safe at the same time. I must thank each and every lady there for making this weekend happen and playing a part in helping me grow.

Can’t wait for the next one. I feel refreshed and ready to take on the world and my life again. I really needed this break and time away, the love and respect I got was an added bonus. Sending love out to all the ladies who were with me this weekend.


Holding on or Letting Go

Did you know that the easiest way to catch a monkey is to get it to grab hold of something, if it really wants it it will never let go. Whilecapricious-yogi-letting-go doing my step 4 which is a moral and fearless inventory about my character defects I realized that I am holding on to some resentments, not because I want to but because somethings are just really hard to let go. If I forgive someone something where they did me wrong does it make what they did okay, does giving it over mean that my feelings of hurt become insignificant.

But trying to forget something doesn’t equal letting it go. Sometimes it is so hard to let go and move on but I know the right thing to do is to forgive. I understand that forgiveness doesn’t negate the judgement of the act or the consequences but it does free up my heart to serve GOD. When I am to preoccupied with resentments and anger I focus on someone else instead of GOD and although these things don’t just disappear my GOD helps me deal with each thing as he purifies my heart and draws me nearer to him. Praise be to GOD for the characteristics he has like grace,mercy, love and forgiveness.

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See my heart bleed

Was looking through some old notebooks and found one filled with poetry that I had written in a time of great struggle. So nobody panic, this is not how I feel. I just wanted to post it up for others who might relate and so that people will know recovery is possible. So here it is:

Cut, burn, listen, return
See my heart bleed from the inside and learn
You watched me like I was never there
Eyes glazed over, a vacant stare
Hide, lie, reject me, I die
When I am gone will you remember to cry
Silent tears, a memory
When will you listen, when will you see
Blood, pain, hate and disdain
Confused and alone, I try to refrain
I use a blade, an expression of words
The only way I know how to be heard
– written 30 January 2010

So there it is, that’s how I used to feel. Alone and unheard but things are better now. I have a voice again and am trying to use it. It isn’t always easy but it’s getting better everyday.

If you are out there and struggling with addiction, self-harm, depression, etc. get some help. Open up to someone. You are not alone unless you choose to be. There are people out there who love you and want to help. Good luck.