Living in a world between normality and insanity

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A look into the past … part 1

Things have been really good for me for awhile now. My moods have stabilized and the emotions are no longer so raw. I don’t fear life anymore and live mindfully from one day to the next not letting obsessions take over.

For the first time in my life I am living, I am real and I feel like I have value but it wasn’t always like that. Recently I found some of my ramblings from 2 years ago that reminded me I have so much to be grateful for.

Here is the first one. I post in hope that someone else can connect with what was going through my head and not feel so alone. In hope that those reading will find hope as well, that if I can make it out on the other side then so can you.

Written June 2016 – not good enough

I close my eyes and I see swirls of grey, black and white spinning around in my vision. A visual representation of what is going on in my mind. The black represents the depression that seems to be sinking in. Bringing with it thoughts of failure and unworthiness. A voice screaming in my head “YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH”. Against all rationality and knowledge that this is untrue, I still lean towards believing it. The grey for the confusion that seems to be swirling around my mind. Thoughts flying around interrupting each other and not letting anything make sense. Lastly white as the recovery I have built up in my life. The positive and sane reactions I need to survive.

It’s a mess though all blotted together like paint on paint in oil. I’ve been in denial for a while, avoidance more appropriate. “I’ve handed it over so it must be fine” and I realize the absolutes are back. The black and white thinking that flitters in and out of my life. All or nothing, it is or it isn’t. Who said that just because I’ve handed it over that it will be alright? But for me right now that’s how I’m thinking. I’m either fine or I’m not. Why can’t I be both? Don’t I fail and succeed like everyone else? In truth I am no different to any other person in the world yet I feel so alone in my head.

I sit here out in the open with a coffee to gather and sort out my thoughts. Heavy metal music playing in my ears because it calms me and right now I need to be calmed. My emotions are overwhelming me and I need to center myself. Realizing that the last month has affected me more than I have acknowledged or allowed. So honestly, I feel like a failure. Like I’m never going to get my shit together. Reality tells a different story though I struggle to see the truth. I am struggling to find any identity within myself that doesn’t have a title attached and I have no titles attached to me now. I move from day to day in a haze pretending that I’m okay when the truth is I’m not. But if I’m not then what am I? I try to tell myself that it’s okay to not be fine, to not be on top of the world but all my heads reminds me is that I have failed at yet another thing. Another disappointment on top of the many disappointments before. If I am dishonest I don’t have to acknowledge how deeply this hurts me. How sad and empty I feel inside.

“I will be okay” I tell myself. “I’ve worked hard to be okay” “please don’t take this away from me now” I plead with God. For naught though because God doesn’t work to this way. Is it okay to feel let down? To feel angry? I trust in God and believe in him, that he cares for and loves me but why does he let the negativity and bad thoughts return time after time? Why does he let the depression take over? What more must I do? I don’t know anymore so I plod on the best I can. Bit of a pity party right there though and I don’t like that so I lie to myself and stay positive. No matter how hard I try though I can’t deny that right now I am not fine, I am broken once again. If I was ever fixed in the first place.

I know I’ll leave my solitary spot here and go home to my amazing house mates, who when I share with them will tell me how beautiful I am and what an amazing person I am. How much they love me and how much I mean to them. And I know in my heart it’s true, that’s how they feel but I don’t feel the same. I’m sad, hurt, disappointed and through everything I still haven’t learnt not to listen to the voices in my head. I’ll smile though and tell them I love them too but go to bed empty inside because I feel so lost. How do I find myself? How did I lose myself to begin with? What am I? Who am I? Where do I look to? What do others see that I can’t and how do I learn to believe them instead of the voices from the past?


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The War

The deepest parts of my mind have come out to play. The segment that rarely get airtime raises its voice. The dangerous darkness begins to sing its song once again. But I am not the same person anymore and the Blackness cannot just engulf me without a war. The armies gather on either side. On the right is Recovery, tools I’ve gained armed with suggestions and good intentions, love and serenity. On the left is the Blackness, buried inside of me, wearing the known, the comfortable, spears of negative thoughts and beliefs of shame and unworthiness. The Blackness is putrid, rotten to the core. Old belief systems that are no longer true yet remain just as believable come back to the surface. I struggle to push them back and remind myself that I am loved, I am valued, I am cherished. I have won but the battle still remains. 

I have hope yet death intrigues me. I know reality yet believe the lies. I am torn between the darkness and recovery. On the one side I have everything to live for and on the other there is only suffering. But the darkness pulls, it lies but it comforts. It is known, it is safe. Lies, lies, lies but I believe even when everything and everyone screams otherwise. I fear that one day the darkness will overwhelm me, that I will give in to the nothingness and be surrounded, but not today. Today I fight with everything I have learnt. Today I let the light shine a little brighter. Today I live, even just for a moment longer. Today recovery has won. Tomorrow will be tomorrow and in that day I will fight another battle. In that day hopefully the war will not be lost. For now I relish in the victory that today has brought. I lay my head down and surrender to God that tomorrow another victory will be won and that one day the war will be over for good. 

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Caught napping

Hello again everyone, sorry it has been so long since the last post. Life has been truly hectic here on my side and things just got away from me. So in essence I have been caught napping. Wanted to kick things off again. Not really because anyone might read these meaningless posts but simply because it helps get things off my chest and clears my head. Hopefully they might help someone else feel not so alone at the same time.

So the end of the year came and went and I can’t believe that we are already almost 5 months into the new year. Time really seems to move faster as you get older. We have been learning a lot about getting older in one of my classes this year. Anyways, I am glad to say that I have finished my Diploma in Counselling and Communication and graduated about 2 weeks ago.


That was a fun time. Now I am busy with my Bachelor’s in Applied Social Sciences and things are definitely tougher. For one I have to write exams now and those totally freak me out and my failure schema rears it’s ugly head. The subjects are cool though, my favorite one at the moment is Sociology, I am finding it really fascinating and enjoying the objective view on the world and what is going on in it.

Business cardOther things, well I have been working hard at a rehab facility but it is not a full time job and so have been desperately looking for something that pays more and is a bit more permanent but not really finding anything. Got a little disheartened as wasn’t getting any replies to my CV. I have realized though that I think God is telling me to focus on counselling and work in that industry. So I quieten my heart and try to hear God clearly but it is hard and trying to control things comes too naturally. The other hard thing is to continue trusting God when I don’t know how I am going to pay the bills at the end of the month but I have to and I continue to despite the difficulties. I have designed my business card now and am attempting to hand it out wherever I can and hope that God brings me business. So just putting it out there, if you know anyone who needs counselling please send them along. (Also I know I probably misspelt counselor but it’s all about where you live, and I stand by that LOL)

Well I think that is all for now. Will definitely try to write more regularly and keep the thoughts coming. Remember this blog is all about living life between the normal and the insane. So some posts might be normal and some might be bizarre. Love to you all.

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Another poem that I wrote in the midst of all my pain in depression. When I look back at these I realise how dark things got and feel completely blessed and grateful for all the people that helped me get out of that space.

“Never a tear has wet my face, yet everyday I cry

So caught up in all the pain that everyday I die

See me as I pass you like a ghost into the night

Hating myself everyday for these demons that I fight

Everyday I try to be, exactly what you wanted

Yet everyday I find myself by the darkness taunted

Don’t you see, don’t you hear, can’t you understand

This bitterness, this rage in me, I can barely stand

I hate my life, I hate my mind, I hate what I’ve become

A torn and twisted broken soul that lies to everyone”

– written 22 March 2010

I still go there sometimes but the bouts are briefer and not as dark. There is hope and I want people to see that. Depression and Bipolar are not death sentences and we do not have to be held prisoner to them. Thank God that he saved me and stands by me when I struggle.

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Sharing is Caring

The other week I shared in a rehab clinic and again at an NA meeting. I was reminded that I get super anxious about talking to large crowds of people so much so that I want to throw up. But I shared anyway and it was good for me – facing up to fears and all that. The thing about sharing though is that you are sharing about your own life experiences and thoughts so no –one can really say you are wrong. They might disagree with you or think differently but my share was still just that, my share.

It’s kind of scary sharing though because you have to be honest (well I suppose you could lie but that wouldn’t really help me or anyone else). Before I could get honest with those I was sharing to I had to get honest with myself and what I believed. I suppose some of the fear comes in with what people might take from my share. Like what if someone hears the wrong message or it hinders someone’s recovery in some way. I had to put that out of my mind though and hand over control that the right people would hear the right message.

I spent a couple of days before sharing looking at the topic and how those things have changed for me and how I came about reaching the space where I am at now. It’s an interesting process trying to figure out how I got here because the thoughts and actions didn’t just change overnight, it was a process. I didn’t share for long, only like 10 minutes, not because there wasn’t lots to say but more because I just wanted to keep it simple and stay away from my “glory” days experiences. Anyway it was good for my process to share and I hope it encouraged others. If you get the chance to share go for it – the outcome is worth it.

Durban Convention 2013


What’s in a diagnosis?

I have been diagnosed with many things such as addiction, bipolar, general anxiety disorder and borderline personality but what do these diagnoses really mean and have they changed or impacted my life in any way. On the one hand the answer to that question is yes, some of them have changed my life, changed the way I live but on the other hand no, they have not, not beyond giving understanding of the disorder.

Living and loving life

Living and loving life

I am not my diagnosis, not any of them. I am Carrie-Jean Hickman, I am myself. Just because I have one or more disorders does not take away my identity. I know many people who have let themselves become their disorder, they have given in and given up. But I am still responsible for my life, for my decisions. I still have choices.

My disorders have changed my life because I have had to learn to change and adapt. For example, I will never drink alcohol (or do drugs) again,and I am okay with that. I may have to be on medication for the rest of my life but you don’t find me moping around about how my life is ruined or I can’t live, okay maybe sometimes but not often, because of my diagnoses. I live life, I love life and even though some days are a challenge I get out there and into the game.

I choose to take my medication everyday and I choose to change my behaviours. I do not have to accept the disabilities of these disorders if I do not want to. Everyday I get up and live life, not always because I want to but because I have to. If I let my diagnoses get the better of me I am doomed to a life of confusion and unmanageability in which there is no hope.