Headspace

After this last weekend, I feel as though I’ve been on a rollercoaster that ran through a tornado.

On fire.

Well, maybe not on fire, literally…

But, my brain sure hasn’t slowed down long enough to catch up with all that’s happened to my emotions.

It started on Wednesday.

I was talking to one of my coworkers, who just so happens to live in the same town as my first ex-husband.

And I asked her if she ever saw him around…and if she did, to say “hi” to him from me.

Long history short, I was trying to let him know that there were no hard feelings over the past, & that everything was cool with my end of the world as far as we were concerned.

That night, I received a text from a unknown number, with a photo attached.

Of 2 of my coworkers…and my ex-husband.

Who – just coincidentally happened to run into each other at the state fair. 

Cause this shit happens in my life.

Thinking the unknown number was said coworker, I replied “LOL, what a coincidence!”

And got a reply from — my ex-husband.

Who I proceeded to text back & forth with for the next two days.

Who asked me to go out to dinner with him Friday night, which I did.

And then, proceeded to ask me if there was a possibility that we could try again for a relationship.

Buckle up.

Click……..click……click… click ..click click…click…..click…clickclickclickclick…

J and I have a long history. 

In the past when we first met, we moved way too fast, didn’t know how to handle conflict, or each other, & we each had things we needed to do, places we needed to go, people we needed to be…and we couldn’t do that together – not the first time around. Our marriage blew up in our faces after a short & stormy whirlwind of a relationship.

4 years ago, we found each other again, and…once again, tried to move things along way too fast. At least, he seemed to want it that way, until he suddenly disappeared off the radar after only a month of dating. I was left, floundering & confused, not knowing what had happened, and without any communication from him…

I wrote a letter, telling him that I was hurt, but that if he ever decided he was ready to talk, he knew where to find me.  I still loved him, but couldn’t hold onto someone who didn’t want to be with me. I had to try to let go.

Hence, telling the coworker to pass along the “hi”.

I knew he’d never make the first concession, never say the first word.

So, I nudged the brake.

And the rollercoaster took off.

I’m not sure where the ride will take us, just yet.

I’m still anxious about being left in the dark, alone & silent, again.

Although, I asked for 2 things.

That he be honest, and that he not shut me out. Whatever comes up, we talk about it. 

Everything is new and fragile, yet familiar…I know this man, I feel so comfortable talking to him, being around him. It’s natural, like breathing in and out.

My headspace is so full…

And the tornado spins.

Numb

It’s been 5 days now, and I still feel as though I’m walking through some sort of nightmare…

I know I have to get my shit together, I have things to do, chores that won’t do themselves (obvi…I live alone.), a job that requires my full attention for 8 hours a day, 3 pets that need care & love. 

I have children that still need their mom to occasionally check in with them, even tho they no longer live under my roof. Parents that deserve that same checking in, even tho I haven’t lived under theirs for decades. Friends who deserve attention, because they care enough to check in with me.

I ain’t got time for this, I got shit to do.

And yet…I’m just…numb.

Underneath the work-mask…my face is a blank gaze, a “thousand-mile stare”.

I’ve come to a turning point.

And yet…

I’m not sure which way I’ll turn, just yet.

All I know?

Things are becoming much clearer to me. 

What’s truly important. 

To hold onto the moments that ring that little “bell” inside my head that tells me “this is something you need to remember…this…This…is a cherished memory”. That we only get to go through this life once, we only get these moments once, and then they’re GONE. 

DON’T FUCKING SQUANDER THE OPPORTUNITIES YOU’RE GIVEN TO SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE YOU CARE ABOUT.

They won’t be here forever.

Who’s truly important in my life.

The people who’ve stayed, through all the bullshit, good times and bad, light and dark, held me while I cried & joined me while I laughed.  

The fair-weathers will find the door. Swiftly.

I don’t have time for that, anymore.

I’ve given up on Love.

Beloved Nephew says it’s just not time…yet… That there’s someone out there for me who’ll see how great I am & will realize I’m too good to let walk away.

I scoff inside my head & wonder to myself… “Then why’d they all leave?”

But again…I ain’t got time for this…I’ve got shit to do.

I have things I need to accomplish before I leave.

And the clock is ticking…..

Crawling

The darkness inside my head is so absolute right now, it’s difficult to identify the light.

Please don’t assume that I will take the “copycat” option, because I won’t, I can’t. 

But right now…I can’t say that it hasn’t crossed my mind once or twice.

I’ve thought about the subject of suicide for the majority of the last 2 days, since hearing about Chester over the radio. 

I’ve been locked in a cycle of numbness, shock, deep depression and tears, and something approaching normalcy- which is the mask I have to wear out in public and for work, so I can keep my job.

But, alone…my brain is stuck in a cycle of horrific awfulness, sadness over the loss I feel because of Chester’s death; it’s an overwhelming void inside.

Only one person in my life really gets how I feel about this band, these people who belong to this group, Linkin Park – my Beloved Nephew. Because he feels the same way about them. He knows, because he’s been through some of the same type of shit, and has had the same type of reactions to their music.

How the music gets under your skin, inside your head, and takes you someplace else. Telling you that it’s completely OK to feel angry, to BE angry, and to USE that anger to fuel yourself, to use it in your fight to make it past your demons, to surround yourself with all the emotions you feel, both good and bad, To wear them like a GODDAMN CAPE and USE THEM to pull yourself out of the black.

It’s OK. I don’t expect anyone else to get it.  Music is subjective, it’s art, and not everyone is going to feel the same about the artists others enjoy. 

And given what I remember and have experienced of grief, I know that loss takes time to work through. 

(Insert psychobabble logic here)

But, fuck.

It hurts.

It hurts so goddamn much.

And the only one I can reach out to who understands is hundreds of miles away.

So I go through this alone.

Fuck.

Crawling in my skin
These wounds they will not heal
Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real

There’s something inside me
That pulls beneath the surface
Consuming, confusing
This lack of self control I fear
Is never ending, controlling

I can’t seem to find myself again
My walls are closing in
(Without a sense of confidence)
(I’m convinced that there’s)
(Just too much pressure to take)
I’ve felt this way before so insecure

-except from Crawling, by Linkin Park

Songbird

Chester.

I wanted to write about this last night, but couldn’t. It was raw, & I’m not sure if I could’ve even written a coherent sentence without breaking down.

I still feel like an open wound.

As though a friend died.

And I know, some might not understand, they might say…”But you didn’t know him, he was just another celebrity, blah, blah, blah…”

Not to me.

Chester has never been just another celebrity, or just a singer to me.

Linkin Park has never been just a band, and their music has never been just anything to me.

Pts. Of Authority was the first video, the first song of theirs I ever heard or saw, on MTV, back when they actually still played real videos. 

I immediately fell in love with their style & their heart. Mike’s ability to rap his anger, his frustration & his Alpha status, Chester’s cracked-glass screams and his plaintive cry to the audience to hear his heart and his pain…they understood what was inside my head at any given moment. As though they were snooping through my daily emotions, and my nighttime dreams & nightmares, they seemed so in tune, so in synch with exactly how I felt.

Hybrid Theory, Meteora, The Hunting Party, all these CDs have given me outlets for my emotions in one way or another.

Their music has gotten me through some of the darkest, most awful, deepest depressions of my life.

2007 saw Minutes to Midnight come out…and in 2009, my best friend/soul sister passed away.  Her nickname? Midnite. She passed, literally…minutes…before midnight… And Linkin Park was there for me with Leave Out All The Rest. (which to this day, I still have difficulty listening to without losing my shit)

Their album, A Thousand Suns, released in 2010, was the music that got me through my divorce in 2011. I listened nonstop to that CD, playing it over and over…screaming and crying through the lyrics.

Living Things came out the year after, in 2012, and helped me work through the pain of starting over, post-divorce. It helped me work through being, once again, a single mom, trying to make my own way in the worlds of parenting, dating, and handling emotional baggage.

And… This year’s One More Light…breaks my heart…and mends it…and breaks it again…over and over.

The song, Heavy, so exactly describes what it’s like having anxiety, it makes me wonder, again, whether the guys have set up cameras inside my head.

Good Goodbye… Is just brilliant. Both song & video. Although, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to watch any of the videos for a while that have Chester in them. Not without breaking down.

But…Sharp Edges…wins. Hands down, my favorite song on the album. I love them all, I really do. But that one – for some reason, just grabbed me by the heart & won’t let go.

Just like Linkin Park did all those years ago with Pts. Of Authority.

Just like Chester did with his cracked-glass pain-filled cry.

Just like Mike did with his Alpha rapping and his smooth synchronous singing.

I never got to see them in concert.

It might sound selfish, but to me, it tears a hole in my heart every time I think about that fact. I will never see them all together in concert. And the tears start again.

I hope the band does decide to stay together. I do. Someday…I hope to be able to see them in concert, even if it’s with someone else singing the other lead. But I know that’s not the top concern on the guys’ minds right now.

My heart goes out to them, and to Chester’s family. Their pain is immeasurable right now, I’m sure. 

As a fan who loved his music, and as someone who feels as though she’s lost a friend… I leave you with this:

Songbird on my window, 

Please sing a song for me

As I sit here crying

I’ll join the harmony

Songbird the end is nearing

I hear it, I am not wrong

You’ve flown, my eyes are tearing,

Songbird, please…

Just one last song….


Living Dead Girl -Chapter 1

“Hello, my name’s Patsy,” I spoke, mostly to the floor.

“Hello, Patsy”, disembodied voices echoed back at me from the circle I sat in. I refused to look up…there was no point.

“Did you have anything else to tell us today, Patsy? Why you’re here, maybe?” The cool, soft voice of Dr. Tellman (yeah, irony there, am I right?) cut through the gloom of the purposely-dimmed room from my right. She kept us in a semi-darkened state to “free our inhibitions and allow us to speak easier”, or something like that.

“I’m here because the State thinks I’m nuts, that’s why I’m here, Dr. Tellman”.

“And what did you say to them to give them that impression, Patsy?” Still, with that same easy, coaxing voice. God! She could sell milk to cows, which would be difficult, because of the whole lack of communic-

“Patsy?”

“Oh, sorry, Doc, woolgathering. I told the State’s doc the truth, is all. And he marked up my sheet like a game of tic-tac-toe. Next thing I know, here I am with the rest of the Cranks, Tanks & Yanks.”

Creaks, whines and rustling met with that statement, & I knew I touched nerves, and got some of them curious. 

Off to me left, I heard 

“Whatzat? Whatchoo said? Cranks, Tanks & Yanks? Zat some kind of insult or sumpthin?”

“No, not an insult, Tommy, it’s just my own way of describing this place.  You see…Cranks are real crazies, through no fault of their own. Something’s wrong upstairs, & they can’t help it. I feel bad for them. 

Tanks are the ones gone crazy because of drugs, alcohol, or both. They did it to themselves, so they get no sympathy from me.

And Yanks, well…those are the poor ones that been through hell so bad, abuse, war, rape, you name it, they’ve suffered & seen it, and they can’t contain it inside their brains by themselves. They get yanked all over by others, put through torture so horrible, ain’t no one should have to go through that shit, specially not alone.”

“And where would you put yourself in that labeling system, Patsy?” Dr. Tellman attempted to get us back on track, but I could hear in her voice that I had her interest.

“Nowhere, Dr. Tellman. I’m not in any of those categories, because I’m not crazy. But the truth sounds an awful lot like crazy, these days, so I might as well have a vacation, hmm?”

I could hear her pen scritching against her clipboard as she wrote notes, quick & efficient, just like her. If I concentrated, I could probably envision her wrinkling her nose as her ash-blonde hair fell over her eyes while she wrote, and her tucking it neatly back behind her ear, sliding her pen atop her ear to wait for the next thought.

“And what is this ‘crazy truth’, Patsy?”

“Well, that I’m a Reaper, and that I’m a living dead girl.”

Shadow #FamChallenge

I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and High-Functioning Depression.

This has cast a large and looming Shadow over a good portion of my life, and it’s not something that a lot of people understand.

GAD isn’t just feeling anxious over stressful things in your life…it’s feeling stressed all the time about everything. It’s a sense of dread, of tight anticipation that something bad is coming, right around the corner, every second of every day. 

It’s illogical and it’s irrational. 

It’s a chemical imbalance that requires meds, balanced nutrition & exercise to mitigate & treat – but there is no “cure”. No magic pill, & no ultimate therapy that makes it go away forever.

And it’s not something you can “fix” by saying “Just don’t worry about it, it’ll all work out. Let it go, why don’t you?” 

I take my meds, & get along pretty well most of the time, anymore, as far as that’s concerned. I still have panic attacks every now and again, but they’re fewer and farther between now, since I started taking better control of my meds & managing my stress in other ways with music, exercise, reading, writing, & my other coping techniques.

My depression, on the other hand…

It’s a sneaky bastard.

High functioning depression is hard to spot in a lot of cases, because the people who live with it are just that good at hiding it.

Here are some of the warning signs that go along with HFD:

1.Difficulty experiencing joy: I know how this will probably sound…but…while I can be happy from time to time, laughing & smiling, going on about my day, I can’t remember the last time I Experienced Joy. True moments where I actually let go of myself and just relished in the joy of a moment? Nope, couldn’t say – it’s been that long. It’s always tinged with the dread of “knowing” that it’s not real.

2. Relentless criticality — of self and others: For me, this is moreso about being self-critical. I know that I do a lot of self a deprecating humor. This is not always healthy. 

3. Constant self-doubt: Yep. 

4. Diminished energy: Mass yep. I’m tired all the time. I try to push through it, because I have to…but there are days I – just crash.

5. Irritability or excessive anger: I try to keep this in check, but yes. I know this is there. There is a well of anger inside of me, that, sometimes, spills to the surface.

6. Small things feel like huge things: And they build up…

7. Feelings of guilt and worry over the past and the future: oh god, remembering things I did from years ago, overanalyzing conversations inside my head, rereading texts and emails to catch “hidden” meanings & subtext…

8. Relying on your coping strategies more and more: I constantly shift my strategies to try to find something that will work, because after a while…they stop working.

9. Generalized sadness: It doesn’t ever go away completely. Not ever.

10. Seeking perfection: In myself, not so much in others. I am my own worst critic in many ways, I know this. 

11. Inability to rest and slow down: My brain never stops. Even in my sleep, obviously, because I’ve been dealing with insomnia for years now. I can fall asleep, but can’t stay asleep, waking 3 and 4 times a night, often from nightmares. And “crash days” don’t seem to garner much in the way of recuperation, it’s more just getting to a point where I can cling by my fingernails again for the next few days.

If you met me for the first time on the street, you’d probably never guess these things about me. 

That’s the nature of High Functioning Depression. “High” being the operative word there, because I do get out of bed every day, go to work, make small talk, handle my life…for the most part…

The depression just sits in the shadow, patient, waiting…

Until I’m alone, usually on the weekends, or at night, when I’m really tired but can’t sleep. 

When my defenses are down.

GAD AND HFD are companions, they mesh well together, and can get so tangled up in each other that they often get misdiagnosed. And the stigma that goes with them is not fun, either.

My ex used to call people with mental disorders like GAD & Depression “weak-minded”.

There’s more than one reason why we’re divorced.

But it’not a weakness of the mind.

It’s a chemical imbalance. And in me, it’s a combination of chemical imbalances & past traumas that cause my issues. I take meds for the one. I work through the other.

Blogging is a help with that.

But the Shadow of GAD and HFD still holds steady over my head, & I know it’s something I’ll live with my whole life. 

As long as I have to sit in the Shadow… maybe I can start trying to think of it as Shade instead…

And at least welcome the fact that it keeps me out of the direct, and damaging UV rays that cause skin cancer?

Well, hell…it’s a theory…