Living in a world between normality and insanity

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A look into the past … Part 2

Please read the intro of part 1 to see the history here.

This piece of writing describes 1 of the many battles I have had in my head while struggling to overcome mental illness, addiction and self harm.

I post it with the hope that it will help people to understand what their loved ones might be going though or if you are the one struggling to remind you that you are not alone.

WARNING: Slightly graphic and may be triggering.

Vivid Images, written 29 June 2016

Spent 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.



A Higher Power who is God

I was sitting talking to an addict about spirituality and how it fits into recovery. The 12 steps speak about a “Higher Power”. Steps 1-3 are about admitting the unmanageability of our lives, our inability to change without something greater than ourselves and then handing over our power to this greater power, our “Higher Power”. For me this “HIGHER POWER” is God, not just god as a general term but as in GOD (the “I AM”) creator God, saviour God, holy God. The God that, despite my general out of control behaviour, my natural inclination to sin and reject him still loved me anyway, just as I was – ALL MESSED UP.

Addicts (and humans in general), do so many things, that in recovery seem unforgivable – to ourselves and others. As we realise the severity of damages we have caused we struggle to love ourselves let alone expect others to love us. When I think about my higher power I doubt he can, or would want to, love me either. For in reality I am completely unworthy of his love. I think about how I continuously sin and reject him, lie, hurt others and myself and wonder if he is still around. I have abused the grace the he so freely offers me.

The conversation centred around this for awhile until it dawned on me that this is exactly what grace is. The very action of God’s grace is his grace. I am no better or worse in his eyes than I was 5, 10, 15 years ago. I am still a sinful person, I still hurt God with my actions. I will never be perfect enough to no longer need his grace. It is this that makes his grace so exceptional. It was round about here when I realised that it is not about me at all, it’s actually all about God. This leads us back to the beginning of the conversation with a much clearer picture of the first 3 steps. I cannot do this by myself, I need my higher power. I need my God, his grace, his strength and his love. The amazing thing is that I do not deserve any of this but he made it possible, made it available to me by sacrificing his son, his perfect son, in my place, giving me righteousness that is not truly mine. This is grace, this is my HIGHER POWER. He really is higher than me and is a power that provides hope.

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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