Dear depression, Why I actually do want to feel these feels
I can’t write if I can’t feel
I write poems. I write essays. I write short stories. I write (am writing) a novel. I write short form. I write long-form. I write of truths. I write of mistruths, of humor. I write of drama, of that hopeless suicidal lack of feeling. (If you know that feeling, my writing may cause something to stir inside of you. My writing may convince you that you are not alone. My writing may possibly convince you that you are completely alone.) I do try to stay away from horror for my life has met enough already. I have trauma. I get treatment. I have bad dreams. I skip treatment. I am bipolar. I am narcoleptic. I am epileptic…they think. I am schizoaffective. I won’t let these stop me. I do, sometimes, let them define me. I do, without a doubt, sit back and let these idiosyncrasies take both of my gloves as well as the wheel of my writing mobile and if you keep reading, you’ll see what happens; you can decide if that is wise or not for me to forfeit such a power to such an unstable combination of forces. I say this in contrast to my previous efforts in life to control and confine who I was, what I put on paper, or what was “wrong with me” Now, I fully condone what comes out on paper. I am not equating my writing to my ethical center, but also in a sense I am. What is writing if it is not your real center? Where else do true thoughts and love come from?
You may have expected to hear that what defines me is the fact that I am a loved mother, a cherished daughter, an avid runner, or a highly skilled ICU Nurse. No, no, no. These things come so naturally and do not define me. They are simply part of my daily life. Technically, so too does writing, but I have an escape valve with a hole as big as the one in my filter. So, when I write it is of my soul and my soul is wounded. When I write it is natural but the sharing of it is not. I often wonder to myself,
Is it even morally responsible to share a shattered soul? To potentially seem as though you want the mercy of others and for them to even try to pick you up and bag you, or worse, glue you together?
Sure, it’s human nature to want to fix things, I get that; I’m a goddamn nurse. But I don’t want to be fixed or changed, managed perhaps. I want to understand and to be understood. I want to help people through my honesty, no matter how twisty and turny the road to my quirky truths may be. It is an important part of my therapy to journal. My journal is my right-hand lady. Well, she’s a lady right now. Just wait until her pages are full, then I may have a male journal again. ( yes, I have a comprehensive list of every inanimate object that I have ever named, and of course, its’ corresponding name but more on that later) ( and yes, that is definitely normal)(And thank you for being such interactive and inquisitive readers)
Of course for every artist there is some level of difficulty when sharing your inner thoughts, as personal as they can be this is easy to relate to. Each work represents your best to its readers, whether it is or is not in your mind. When someone else reads or listens to what you have composed, they will judge, consciously or not, that order in which you placed those letters and how your prose did flow or how your words did not rhyme. “What is up with that inverted syntax?” “Is Yoda in town or did she just think it was cute?” “That sentence had to be a run on, no, no actually she made it work.” “She ended that next sentence with a preposition though, got her!” None of this matters. What matters is that you write. What matters is that you share. What defines me is what I am and what I am right now is trying to learn to share my works. What I am is dealing with medication adjustments and the havoc those sometimes reek on my life. What I am is a struggling writer, not for money, but for inner peace. What I am is realizing listening to my journeys and perspectives, ranging from hope to despair, have begun to touch people, have begun to change people.
I am a writer by choice and by obligation. I know that doesn’t sound pretty. In my writings, you will hear frank stories of grit and grime, of love and loss, of doubt and trust, and of mental illness and reality, or in some cases, the lack thereof. I get confused. I get frustrated. I think I’m not alone. I know that I am alone. Sometimes I write short and choppy. Sometimes I write long, rhythmic, and picturesque pieces of literature that make me appreciate my brain and its abilities when my myelin sheaths are well lubricated. I am intelligent. I can be belligerent. My cat is missing. I am obliged to keep writing, lest I will lose myself too.
Now, Fast forward (or travel back in time about thirty minutes, whichever may be more applicable). You know that feeling you get when you can almost sense that you are about to sense something? …Well I don’t. I feel like I am about to feel it all, whatever it may be, all of the time, even when I’m already feeling a feeling! Feeling something is better than feeling nothing, or so they say. Well, I don’t feel like feeling these feels. I don’t feel like feeling those feels. I feel like feeling nothing would be best in this scenario but I already felt them pass by my other feelings and now I am swimming in the feelings these waves left behind. Do you see my predicament? If you do I’m impressed because so far the basis of this entry has yet to be highlighted. The problem is I want to be healthy. I want to have a job that engages my mind and makes me feel like I’m contributing in a positive way to this strange world we find ourselves in. I don’t want to suck people’s time and energy with my struggles, that is for electrons. I don’t want to sit around and accomplish nothing, or worse, get clinically worse, that is for neutrons. I want to be a damn proton already! and so begins that journey for “balance” everyone seeks. Mine specifically relates to how much I can feel and still function.
So all this chemistry 1101 talk must be brought by my brain waves which are already shooting towards the more technical side of mental illness. Sure, therapy is where it is at, but I mean all types of therapy, and if your brain chemistry is off and a physician believes you should try a medication to improve your quality of life when other methods alone are not enough, then I fully believe in trying. The thing is….you begin to feel like a mouse, a guinea pig, a monkey, or whichever other animals they use for drug testing which you most relate to. Some things work, oh wait, no, that was a placebo effect. Some other things work, oh wait, I can’t stop vomiting, and in this case, I actually don’t mean words. Some things don’t work. That seems an obvious addition to this list, but the next is a dilemma I never considered. Some methods and medications make certain parts of me “better” or “more manageable” but change the other parts of me, the ones that I liked, in fact, I desperately clung to them to maintain my sense of self through all of these changes. I didn’t sign up for that. I want to improve, I want to feel in control again, but at times, unfortunately, all I’ve come up with is “sick” or “dulled” or “muted”
This long-winded essay was all to say one thing. The solution I have found is that of work. The real, self-actualization and methodically disciplined routines and devotions which change your perspective, and then yourself. Before you know it, you’ve changed the perspective of another about you. Watch out, you may soon even help someone with the vantage point from which they glance in their own mirror. If I simply give in to pharmacotherapy and medical testing, my wit is dulled, I lose my sense of humor (and I am very very funny so this is a great shame), and my motivation sneaks away from me and hides under the dog toys I no longer find myself tossing for and tugging with my hound dog. I don’t mean to imply that I’ve been prescribed massive amounts of tranquilizers to just shut me up….or that I would throw those away! (I joke, I joke) I simply believe that the best pill I have ever swallowed is everything I have ever written. For me. For you. For him. For her. It doesn’t matter, it might be a thank you scribble to a great waitress, my words are my best currency and without them I cannot afford the other therapies anyway.
And so, I want my bipolar depression to know this for herself once and for all, I actually do want to feel these feels. I want to feel every ounce of sad, mad, and glad. I simply want to learn how to manage my reactions to the world around me and writing is how I have come to accomplish that. If I can’t feel, I can’t write. It’s not rocket science; it’s just a simple cause and effect. Though I do imagine rocket science has a lot to do with cause and effect though, you know, due to physics, so my apologies to the high number of rocket scientists who read my work. But mostly, thank you to all of the writers and artists out there who perform and create for not just themselves but for others as well. I am finally beginning to understand the true worth of embracing that aspect of who you are. Without it, you’re just you, well, without it. You’re missing something, your soul is not whole. Forget ever discovering a healthy work-life balance. And most importantly, forget ever discovering what sharing your feels with another can ultimately amount to for them.