My uncle was murdered, is that when this all started? No, of course not this all began the moment I was born. A trajectory I could not ever change. I look back at my life and all I see stagnation. I always thought things would get better, surely someday things would start to look up and there would be some way out of this darkness. Yet, as the years keep rolling by I no longer cling on to that same hope. No, I think I’m well aware that this life was not meant to be fruitful. Not meant to be get better. Some people want to end things, but I don’t– this isn’t one of those posts. Instead, this is that slow chipping away, that slow wasting away, just waiting for this all to end. I think I’m done pretending that things will ever be better– I think I’m at that point where I have begun to realize that some people get stuck in inescapable cycles. When I was little I learned about the poverty cycle, but somehow thought that if I worked really hard I could simply crawl out. And then in college it happened, the thing that would keep me forever in my place. I don’t think in any of these journals I have ever mentioned mental illness. It feels dirty, shameful– as if anyone stumbling across these ramblings would read this– and think “that’s it?”. But, it doesn’t feel like a small weight, it feels all encompassing, soul-crushing, and sometimes even physically painful. Even now somehow I am trying to justify that I am sick, I mean I feel sick. And mentally I am able to see all the ways in which I am not right. I am wrong. This feels so wrong, so so wrong. When will I feel right, even fine would be a miracle. Sometimes, I have thoughts where I wonder if this is my true personality or just the one masked by all the sickness. Writing this out I had thought that maybe it would give me some sort of feeling of relief, but I don’t. I feel foolish, I think there are people with actual problems and here you are still struggling over some stupid problems that exist solely in your head. I can’t even remember a time when I didn’t have this, and I get angry– for being born into this cycle of poverty which kept my parents wholly ignorant of the child with with the many many mental health problems. Why couldn’t they see it? Why didn’t anyone notice? Is this the story where I have to save myself? But what if I can’t even get up most days to even begin to do that? What if this world is too hard for such a soft person? My uncle being murdered reminded me of how we will never get the chance to escape from where we are. We are fully a product of our circumstances.
Last month was hard as hell, even now the effects of all that happened are lingering into this fresh new month. I usually like to think of myself as a magical thinker– I tend to soothe myself my imagining everything being better, almost as if by magic. [Perhaps, that is a problem for another day?] Last month, though, I couldn’t even bring myself to do that. In fact, it took every bit of my mental strength to keep myself afloat. There were a series of downs that have made me continue to wonder if things will ever get better. I think I tend to romanticize what that even means, maybe to the point where the small victories in my life start to look inconsequential in comparison. To be perfectly honest the idea that there isn’t a solution or a positive outcome in my life scares the shit out of me. This month, and last, have been rough in that regard, I keep thinking; is this really it.
I keep speaking of April as this horrible month, but to be honest it was a series of really shitty but small bumps. And maybe it was that they were so small that made it all the worse, because if something so small could uproot my life maybe it was never as stable as I led myself to believe.
So, what happened? April began with the horrible decision to put our old beloved dog to sleep, but old age didn’t kill him. Is anything in my life ever peaceful? I think that’s what made it all the more horrifying, here was this very old dog (17 this year!!) that was supposed to die of old age– you know that peaceful death that creeps up in our sleep. But maybe death is never peaceful, maybe just like life it’s messy and awful. Instead, it was an accident, and a rushed decision where we had to say; that no we didn’t want this old boy to fight anymore. I said earlier that April was a series of small bumps, and in a way that’s true, because his death was something we had been preparing for– dogs don’t live that long this is a truth we all know when we bring these fur babies into our lives. But it was, also, something that still hasn’t sunken in. Some people think of loss as this huge overwhelming thing that comes all at once, but for me it has been more of waves– it comes and goes.
Then not long after this, I got involved in a small accident that left me immobile. I’ve dealt with physical pain a lot in my life, but typically I have always been able to push myself through it. This time to have something that made it so I could not leave even if I wanted to was a completely different experience. I have never felt this claustrophobic in my own skin before. In a way it has made me appreciate the movement I do have, but then the third horrible thing happened, where even had I truly wanted to leave and push through the pain I physically could not have done it. The last horrible thing, was that I became severely ill. Being ill, on top of my injury, really messed with my head. I was largely in capable of moving, and I had horrible brain fog.
All these things combined made it so that my routine was severely messed up, and I had really no idea until then how much of my identity I have tied to this daily routine. I felt out of it, and almost as if I had no purpose. I do feel silly thinking that, and yet it is my truth. This month has also taught me that people around me don’t care when they deem your problems small, not even if they turn around and complain about equally “small” problems. The mantra that has been thrown in my face: but so and so has it worse so count your blessings, isn’t helpful it’s just called being an asshole.
And maybe this all happened to teach me a lesson. Perhaps, part of it is to value the amount of physical mobility I do have left. Perhaps, the other is to stop caring so deeply about others who don’t reciprocate the same energy back. Maybe the lesson is that life is chaotic, and to take it one day at a time? For now, life is still feeling interrupted.
Motivation is one of those things that’s always been lauded as the corner stone for a great life. You can see how deeply rooted it is in our society when watching any sports advertisement, these peak athletes who do whatever it takes to get to the top. However, in my own life motivation feels elusive and almost mythical. I have often gone months without the desire to truly stick to one thing, I frequently give up a hobby when I find it too taxing or too boring. Now obviously this is a problem. For one, it means I can never excel in things because I don’t have the motivation to truly continue to practice hard at it. I just lack the conviction to see things through. Is this a character flaw? Possibly. Either way it is something that I’ve been actively trying to change about myself. One of the big ways that I recently did this was by forcing myself to wake up at 7am every day. I have to say that I have never been much of a morning person, I have always been someone that went to sleep at 3 or 4 am and then slept until mid morning. But I began to suspect this horrible sleeping pattern was damaging my health. I should say that I have tried to become a morning person in the past to no avail, I’m a night owl through and through. But something different happened this time. After having read “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg I was brimming with motivation to get myself back on track. I at first tried to change my sleep habit by getting up immediately and taking a shower, which did not work at all and within days I was back to sleeping in late. Next, I simply got early and then soldiered through the day on little sleep. Somehow this worked, and although truthfully the 2 weeks it took me to get my sleep schedule fixed were absolute hell. I felt exhausted all the time, I had frequent headaches, and my mind felt foggy. Yet, after those 2 weeks of adjustment I was able to fall asleep at a reasonable time and then wake up at 8 am. What I can’t wrap my head around is where the willpower to stick to those horrible 2 weeks suddenly came from. To be honest, although I hated waking up late and feeling like I had to rush through my day; I wasn’t that invested in becoming a morning person. And yet I was determined to find what was going to work.
Now it’s been long enough that I’m not afraid that I will slip back into bad habits, but even still there is this inner motivation that keeps me from pushing myself awake past an hour that I know will mess up my new schedule. I think present frustrations stem from wanting to know how the world I can harness that motivation and willpower that I clearly somehow possess and apply it to other areas of my life. I truly do not know how to do that though. I guess if I did I would be publishing my own self-help book!
Nonetheless, it’s an interesting dilemma I’ve been facing. I’m still trying to figure out how I can tap into that part of myself, because I know that sticking to things is the only way I will be able to move forward. Yet, for all these years I haven’t been able to ever do that.
If anyone has any good self-help books or motivating podcasts that I should give a try then please let me know!
I guess this is where it starts, it feels strange in a way having to even do this. Perhaps “having to” doesn’t quite fit, but it feels that way. I think living in this era of digital innovation there’s this idea that people are even more connected than ever, but strangely I have never felt more alone. Having to live with an invisible illness can make it hard to interact with people, because I look fine but inside I’m truly anything but fine. And as time has gone by I’ve found that friends slowly start to drift away, probably because they find it hard to constantly have to hear about my problems. Even opening up and having the dismissive retort has made me slowly start to back off, and thus close up. Yet, it’s strange I need to tell someone. I feel this strange need to talk about all the mundane little problems going on in my life, to let someone know about my new interests, about that new book that I just feel in love with. I need to complain about my pain for what seems like the millionth time, without having to worry that they are judging me or brushing me aside. That’s why I’m beginning this, just a random place that I can share whatever I want without having to beg for some response or get blown off by friends who could care less. I think that’s another reason why living in this era is hard, if whatever you say isn’t jarring enough, funny enough or dramatic enough your friends will just brush right past it. Everyone is so used to just scrolling by hitting like and not even truly having to respond or hear the other person out.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware that, basically, I just want to complain. I guess, I do. More than anything I simply want to be heard.
Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton