Friday, March 6, 2009

What It Feels Like (Originally published on 10.06.2008)

It starts with a string inside of you that snaps to attention. It pulls your insides taunt and wraps around your lungs. Your heart speeds up and you struggle to breathe. Then the thoughts start, the horrible intrusive negative thoughts that would bring any strong person to their knees. At first they whisper:

“You’re ugly, you’re fat, you’re worthless, even your own family doesn’t want you, people make fun of your presence, you’re a burden, your existence is useless, and you’re a mistake.”

But they grow louder. Louder than screaming, you begin to feel them. Feel the bass of a speaker in your own brain. The feeling of hands closing around your throat causes your breathe to quicken and you begin clawing at your skin. Usually this is when the calming voice kicks in and tries to reassure you that this will pass, that you are worth it, that you deserve to be here. But sometimes that voice is drowned out and you are left with the feeling of razorblade winged butterflies battering your heart. You begin to worry that people around you will start to notice so you try and occupy your mind or ignore the thoughts that are bulleting your brain.

1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4

You count your fingers over and over but the feeling just gets worse. The string coils tighter and you begin begging your own brain to stop.

But it doesn’t. It only gets louder.

So you start playing with the sharp edges of your keys. Pain forces you to the present. But then people start to notice. They ask if you’re ok but your jaw is clamped shut for fear of screaming. Because your brain is attacking you, because you have no control over your thoughts, because you would do ANYTHING to get those feelings to stop. Anything. Even if it goes against everything you stand for.

In my case, trusting a little yellow pill to shut off my brain and allow me to breathe again. I let it dissolve under my tongue while apologizing to everyone around me. I wasn’t strong enough, I couldn’t hide it. I can’t hide anything anymore. The thoughts melt away and all I want to do is cry. Why is this happening to me? What did I do that triggered this?

Why, why, why?

How can people scoff at this feeling? How can people say that you can control it? How?

Then the what if’s. What if next time I’m not strong enough to stop the feelings? What if I don’t have the magical little pill?

But I can’t think like that. I can only hold my own hand and hug myself and reassure myself that I am strong enough. But there has been this thought floating around in my head. How could someone still love me if they see me at my worst? After they watch my eyes roll back in my head while tears are streaming down my face? While they watch my body arch and my fists pound into the ground? While right in the throes of an attack I suddenly go blank and begin talking to myself.

How could anyone love that?

I know that my friends will always be by my side but I know that I can still scare them. I just don’t understand how a man could still love me after witnessing that. But then again I don’t how to allow myself to be loved. That requires trust. I’m so worried about letting someone see me. Physically and Mentally. I hide so much, all the time. I feel that I have to. I have to hide the fact that I’m sick. But I know I don’t do the best job. I talk about it constantly because I don’t control my own fucking mouth most of the time. I am so very tired from keeping myself in check because I really don’t know what will happen if I let go. I don’t know if it would be a good thing or fatal.

I really don’t understand how people can think mental illness doesn’t exist. I wish I could force them into my head for a day and watch as they crumble. Because you need practice to stay alive. You need reasons all the time. My reasons are my friends, bits of my family, things I’ve yet to see, people I have yet to touch, stories that I need to tell.

I will make sure that I am strong enough. I have to.


Bert said...

Does your psychiatrist have much experience with relaxation techniques? Maybe you could try EMD or something.

You have to learn to trust people. Your friends love and care about you, so why does it seem so impossible that a man would too? I dont think trust is earned really. Trust has to be given freely. Theres no way to quantify how trust has been earned, so you have to give trust, and if the recipient is trustworthy then they will maintain it. Many men would love you, but no one can love you if you dont let them.

Youre a strong person, and are doing much better than you realize. Things will get better, life is cyclical.

+/- said...

i wasn't going to post a comment. because i'm on g-chat with you right now, and it'll be a little repetitive repetitive...

but here goes,
that was a very vivid, and eloquent description. i see the amount of control you have to use to keep yourself appearing "normal". i see now that it's as if your brain is losing control, yet there's that strained little rope to reality that is trying to keep you in check, the little part that realizes there are consequences of actions.

there's a little bit of conditioning your mom didn't fail at completely. there are social ramifications to hurting yourself. whether it's a cut, or an overdose, you'd be thrown in the loony-bin. i know you'd rather it be the sunny-bright voice that takes care of you and soothes you back into reality, that you're not fat, ugly, stupid, worthless, what-have-you's. sometimes it won't be. sometimes you just have to trust in your instincts, that possibly, you'll be committed. sometimes it's a negative influence that may help in the long run.

you're feeling desperate sometimes. i can see that. like you're grasping at straws, and you're afraid that there won't be any left. perhaps this will be true. i don't think there's any amount of relaxation technique that will help with the hopelessness of your situation. i'm not saying pills will always be your only option. but, you could carry them with you for when things get really bad.

don't be afraid that you'll be like your mom. with anything you do, you come from a different perspective, and you have a different understanding than she ever did.

and so what if people notice you behaving "strangely". fuck 'em. your friends come back.

sure it made me concerned a bit when you were having your... melt down? on saturday. but i knew you'd be ok. whether it was eventually, or immediately, i didn't know, but you did get through it.

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